Writing this blog has given me the privilege of meeting a lot of awesome people over the past two years. I’ve met people from as far away as San Francisco and Miami, and even from places I hadn’t even heard of like Andorra. That’s why I am starting this new series on the blog, where I sit down with people I think are awesome and whose stories I think would be cool to share with all of you.
Naturally, Tim and Tres, better known as the pair behind We Run Beirut, seemed like the perfect people to kickstart this series with. I met them last summer, and got drunk for the one and only time in my life at one of their parties. Here’s what I asked them after walking into Tim’s Beirut apartment as he was cooking up, wait for it…Mloukhieh!
Tim Winters is from New York state, and is a linguistics graduate. Tres Colacion is an international studies graduate from Los Angeles. They met each other in 2009 in Beirut while taking the summer Arabic program at LAU Beirut. Whilst most of their classmates chose Cairo or Jordan, Tres and Tim did their research and saw Beirut was not too shabby when it came to stuff that happen at night.
The pair loved Beirut, but after completing their summer exchange program, they both headed back to the US to finish up their degrees. Tim had begun to settle, found a job and got a place. Tres though, was bored and two bad break ups later, they called each other up and in the summer of 2010, the pair was back in Beirut.
After 3 months in the city, Tres had the idea for We Run Beirut cooking up in his mind. At first, Tres and Tim scouted all the underground parties in Beirut and became familiar with the local scene. All of us had our picture taken and watermarked with the “We Run Beirut” logo at some point. Which brings me to one of the questions I asked them: “What’s up with the name?”
Tres replied: “People think it’s arrogant and bold, but we didn’t mean the “we” as in me and Tim. Beirut is a young city and its rebirth is all about the young people. These young people are the underground party scene, in a city that is still forming itself versus older established cities. So, we as in all of us in the underground party scene, this generation run this city.”
Tres went on to explain why he thought We Run Beirut’s coverage was necessary: “We found all these different vibrant parties and party crews, but no one was documenting them. That’s why We Run Beirut was set up, and covered everything from obscure dubstep parties, to Cotton Candy, Acousmatik and other underground gigs”
Tim and Tres saw that a lot of people were into the party scene and that Beirut had more to offer than the “rooftop bars” as they called it, seeing how few people actually dance. So, in September 2010, the We Run Beirut parties were born after a Monot club owner offered up a venue.
I asked Tim what was different about Lebanese clubbers, here’s what he had to say: “Well, you guys can smoke inside here. Back home, you gotta go out to have a cigarette and it just messes up the whole party dynamic. What’s also weird here is that you pay after you have your drinks. Beirut is a city that loves to party, and the amount of alcohol people consume here is crazy. The open bar concept doesn’t really exist back home. But, people here handle their liquor better, they don’t fight or throw up as much as in the states. I guess it’s cause Beirut is a small city, and everyone knows each other.”
I went on to ask Tim what he’d change if he could, and he came out immediately and said: “I wish people would focus more on their dancing and rhythm. It should be all about the dancing, dance-offs, you know”
Tres though, went deeper and said: “I wish there were clubs in Beirut. You can’t create a memorable night in a fancy place where social etiquette needs to be maintained” referring to Beirut’s famous rooftop clubs. He went on “there’s no club for the people we party with. But that’s sorta like a double-edged sword, cause if there were such a club, we wouldn’t still be here two years later doing parties, neither would the other party crews in town. So it’s sorta good and bad at the same time.”
Then, I had to ask the obvious question: Are you spies? Time and Tres chuckled and replied, “who are we spying on? Drunk clubbers? We’d also have a nice car, or a car for that matter, and Tim would have some furniture at his place” waving around the spacious Mar Mikhael room with just a bed, a table and some DJ equipment.
Then I asked the cliche question: “what’s next for WRB?”
The pair replied “diversifying and focusing on club nights more. Summer is full of big production, crazy events, so a smaller, cozier environment would be perfect. It also helps you build the scene and discover new talents which would otherwise find it difficult to make an appearance. A good example was the You Say We Say series, which developed into a sort of collective, opening up chances for new DJs and getting back to the basics kinda thing.”
When I asked them what was the plan further down the road, they just answered “making it better.” When I pressed on and said “5 years from now, what will you be doing?” That’s when they both admitted they bought one-way tickets to Beirut, and that they had never imagined they’d stay two whole years. “It’s the Lebanese influence on us: it’s all about the next weekend, not the future. Lotsa trial and error, with lotsa errors, but lotsa good stuff too!”
During the day though, Tim and Tres have different jobs. Tim is a music producer, and one of his remixes for famous Dutch producer, Romax, is gonna be released on Beatport soon! Romax in turn is going to remix some of Tim’s productions and release those too. Tim also works with labels back in his home state of New York, and is focusing on that when he’s not partying it up.
Tres works as a copywriter at Interesting Times, the agency behind many cool campaigns such as the LB beer one. Here, Tres highlighted again the rationale behind the “We Run Beirut” name: “Even before I took the job, we supported the different, the young and the new. One example was LB beer, the fresh face of local beer which has gone far with young people in Lebanon.”
So, that’s it ladies and gentlemen. I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it. Oh, and by the way, guess who might be spinning a set in the next We Run Beirut event? =P