RISING AGAINST THE ODDS; INTRODUCING THE BOOMING UNDERGROUND OF ATHENS

Continuing New Era’s global tour of underground music scenes and meeting emerging creatives, the brand heads to the Aegean coast to meet the emerging creatives of Athens. Faced with the backdrop of the Greek financial crisis, these musicians are rising against the odds to make their mark on the scene and reinvent one of the world’s oldest cities.

Tune into Fade Radio in Athens on any given day of the week and your head will be sent spinning by the sheer range of music on offer. The community-run platform boasts over 100 regular residents who play every genre under the sun, from the improvised electro-acoustic of Saber Rider’s show ‘Libra Season’ to the trap playlists of DAZEDBOI.

 

“The creative community here is very active. There’s a lot of people doing music and people are always hungry for parties… but being a DJ and producer in Athens is not easy. So, we need places like this to give opportunities to new artists.”

Fade Radio founder Dennis Green

 

Fade Radio is vital because Athens is a city still recovering from the shell shock of Greece’s decade-long financial crisis. Government funding is abysmal, and creative communities are expected to fend for themselves. In any city, this might have resulted in the decimation of the arts scene, but here the underground is booming against all the odds. That’s why Fade Radio is the focus of New Era’s latest music documentary.

The station is housed inside Romantso, a cultural hub in the historical centre of Athens that was once the home of a cult literary magazine from the 1960s. The building operates as a music venue, nightclub, cinema, theatre, and workspace, and is a beehive for anyone in the city with a thirst for expression. Green was already working at Romantso when he had the idea for Fade Radio and pitched it to his friend DJ Problems.

 

“When we started, we really didn’t have anything; no budget or equipment. We made the graphics, and bought the servers so that we could stream on the internet, and that’s how it all began… It’s a really nice feeling when you start something from zero.”

DJ Problems

 

“You can be whoever and play whatever music you want,” said Saber Rider, one of the station’s residents. “They welcome anyone regardless of background. That’s the best thing about it.” She’s emblematic of the local art scene, in that she’s a little bit of everything: composer, sound engineer, DJ, and piano teacher. What limits Saber Rider and her peers is the lack of support for artists. “Athens is inherently creative, but it’s also a very difficult place to create,” she said. “It’s at a tipping point. People are trying to form collectives, but it’s rather difficult because there is no state funding at all. The Ministry of Culture usually has some grants, but this has been cut by 60% this year. That gives you an idea of what we have to face. Every city is creative in the sense that it contains people. But is art in Athens able to exist? That’s the real question.”

Another Fade Radio resident, DAZEDBOI, is immersed in the city’s trap scene.

DAZEDBOI is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo but grew up in Kypseli, a multicultural neighbourhood of Athens.”You get to see people from all over the world around there, so you aren’t close-minded,” he said.”You get people from different groups together, and you get an exchange of ideas and networking.” He agrees that artists are being pushed to the limit. “You’ve got to be tough, work all the time, progress as a business, get to know people, and promote your stuff,” he said. “No matter what, you gotta keep chasing it, by any means.”

That’s why Fade Radio is such a shining beacon for every artist in the city. It provides a rare platform for young creatives to express themselves, not just to their local crowds, but to an international audience tuning in online. In July of this year, New Era teamed up with Fade Radio to put on a special showcase of the talent coming out of Athens. The sellout party took place at La Traac, the skate cafe owned by Romantso, and was headlined by DAZEDBOI, Saber Rider, Dennis Green, and DJ Problems.

“Having New Era here to explore the community is great because people around the world can now see what we’re doing here,” said Dennis. “This act of giving back is so helpful for the community. We are going to run DJ workshops with the grant, to help people who want to DJ but don’t have the equipment.” Things are hard, said DJ Problems, “but I believe in the future – I want to believe that things will get much better.”
Check Out The New Era Collections Worn By Fade Radio

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