Author: Iliyana Braykova
Photo credit: Dilyana & Valentin (Gibelin), Ivaylo Milanov
Valentin is the other half at the core of Gibelin. He usually shuns the spotlight and likes to capture the emotions of the events clearly in his memories from behind the scenes. In part two of the series “Our playlist”, where we introduce to you the agency team, Valentin takes us on a journey which begins in the late 1980s. This is Gibelin's story of love, passion and more.
1. Wu-Tang Clan - “Reunited”
He's a hip-hop fan by heart, and the Wu-Tang Clan is the first band that the future concert planner saw live. A great start - for Valentin they are the biggest in the genre. He remembers being one of a group of high school students dressed like their hip hop idols with scarves tied on their hands and heads. He now chuckles at his appearance at the time, but admits that this was the beginning of his long lasting love for music.
2. Massive Attack - “I Against I”
Not only hip hop, but also trip hop has had an influence on him. "To this day, the coolest concert I've ever attended was Massive Attack’s gig in “Festivalna” Hall many, many years ago in Sofia." Valentin shares the memory with two of his closest friends. One became his best man and godfather to his child. The other is the designer of the first Gibelin logo, showing the agency's past is firmly rooted in the underground music scene.
The track “I Against I” was not selected by chance. It is part of the soundtrack of a very essential movie for Valentin: “Blade” came out in 1998 and opened his eyes to the "dark side of art". In a tumultuous period for Bulgaria, in which access to Western music, and especially to the underground scene, was severely restricted, “Blade” offered something new to the Bulgarian audience and sparked curiosity in Valentin and his friends. Subsequently, they spent many nights listening to “Darik Radio”, recording audio tapes of the DJ Steven's show tracks. Valentin forever sealed the relationship with this impactful movie on his back with his first tattoo at age 18.
3. Comfort Fit - Bit By Bit
"This piece is very important and at the same time unfamiliar to almost anyone, including Dilyana, although it is very closely connected to her." It unfolded in the club “Mixtape” in Sofia at the end of April 2011. That evening, Valentin got to know his better half Dilyana, unaware of what their future may hold. In the early hours of the day, only four people remained in the club - Valentin himself, Dilyana and their two best friends. DJ Comfort Fit, who is from Berlin, wanted to go home, but Valentin would rather continue to chat with his new acquaintance. After the young lovestruck man asked him in German to stay for a little while longer, the DJ agreed to another half hour. “Bit by bit”, step by step, another love was born, which would become the heart of Gibelin.
4. Technicolour, Komatic, Jayma - Stay
A few months later, on December 3rd 2011, again in the “Mixtape”, the very first party, organized by Valentin and Dilyana, got underway. They invited Technicolour and Komatic, who at the start of their career had already shown that they would become two of the leading Liquid DnB DJs. The party invoked great interest and set the start date not only for Gibelin but also for the label “Future Sounds of Sofia”.
Valentin says that after the event, their relationship with the DJs slowed down, but last year their paths crossed again, at a party by Peter Rogers, who presented the duo at the “Gretchen” club Berlin. Valentin introduced himself to him, expecting that Peter wouldn’t remember him, but it turned out that the party at Mixtape eight years ago had left a clear mark on the DJ's mind as well.
5. Lenzman, Riya - Open Page
In the beginning of Future Sounds of Sofia, as well as of Gibelin as a fraternal organization, there was a desire to promote the audiovisual Drum and Bass in Bulgaria. At the time, this was a new approach to the genre, as DnB parties were rarely accompanied by impactful visualizations. The effort to bring Lenzman to Sofia took years, but remained a top priority as he is one of the biggest musicians in the scene. When the event finally came to be, Valentin and Dilyana had already moved to Berlin. They missed the party, but remained passionate about it from their newfound German home.
In response, they invited “Future Sounds of Sofia” to Berlin for the Berlin-Sofia Connected event which united vibes from Berlin and Sofia on the one hand, and DJs influenced by the English and German DnB and techno scenes on the other. The Void Club was packed. Valentin remembers fondly that the underground is fundamental to Gibelin and hopes that there will always be a place for such passion projects.
Photo credit: Andy Powell (Komatic), Valentin (Gibelin), Peter Rogers (Technicolour), private archive
6. Faithless - Sun To Me (Mark Knight Remix)
For Valentin, listening to Mark Knight is like bathing in the rising sun at the beach. Setting his focus on electronic sound, he began attending outdoor parties. After meeting Dilyana, he wanted to share these emotions with her. Valentin added “Sun to me” to the Gibelin playlist because one of the major plans for the agency's future is the realization of a summer festival, be it at the sunbacked seaside or in the lofty, cool mountains.
7. OGI 23, 100 Kila - Tri prasta uiski (Three fingers whiskey)
"Why this track? Probably Dilyana would have chosen it too if she had more than ten tracks.” The concert of OGI 23 was one of the first events organized by Gibelin in Berlin and is closely linked to the revival of the student society “Hashove”. Valentin is proud that his work, together with Dilyana and the previous generation of students, has helped to raise funds and create momentum, thanks to which the current wave of young people have great success with their awesome ideas. The song called "Three Fingers Whiskey" is a reminder that the concert was performed in cooperation with the Sofia bar "Petak", whose bartenders also toured Berlin alongside the band. Fun fact: whiskey is the Gibelin Team’s favorite drink.
8. Oratnitza - Male le
Valentin’s relationship with Oratnitza is both professional and emotional. First, their 2019 tour of Germany and Luxembourg, organized by Gibelin, was a great success and also a very happy memory. Second, Oratnitza is the band that played at his wedding with Dilyana. The newlyweds were so keen that the ethno fusion band entertain their guests that they delayed the date of the wedding. "Male le" is Valentin’s favorite track as it brings together the most distinctive elements of the band's sound.
9. Ivan Shopov, Avigeya - Chichovite konye
Valentin has had the pleasure of working with this performer many times. He says: “Ivan Shopov is an incredible person, very gifted, very motivated. He definitely stands out among Bulgarian artists as such.” Ivan Shopov, who wasn’t yet a part of Smallman in 2015, played at the after party following their concert in Hangar 49 in Berlin in 2016. The collaboration grew into a friendship and during the gig, Ivan told Valentin with great passion about the process of creating his then yet unreleased album Kanatitsa. Being among the first to hear his new music was a unique privilege.
10. S.A.R.S. - Perspektiva (Perspective)
S.A.R.S. is one of the groups that have influenced Gibelin the strongest, both personally and professionally. In their common history, the band's two tours in Germany, and the cooperation with the cultural centers, occupy a special place. For Valentin, S.A.R.S. are great musicians and their concerts are Gibelin's most successful collaboration with Stroeja. He remembers vividly, while the Serbs were playing in Stuttgart, an audience of over 500 were jumping and bouncing in the rhythm of the song Perspektiva. Just like in the movies!
Now, we look into the future, hoping for many new musical experiences in the spirit of our playlist - combining our love for music and the passion of the audience.