De School: Tom Trago + Molly

After the closure of the legendary Trouw last year, its creators have returned with a club based on the same principles although this time even more imaginative as the printing factory is replaced with a school. Inside, Tom Trago and Rex Club resident Molly spun out an unforgettable web of music:

Writing this review, it’s difficult to hold in a kind childish excitement when I look back on the night. This feeling emerges because I was back at school and doing everything I ever wanted to do there when I was 15. It’s an odd juxtaposition: having the fun of a party in an educational institution. Those fantasies of going around at night with complete and utter freedom suddenly become a reality as you meander between dinner hall, classroom and pitch-black basement.

The front foyer is renovated to match a clinical 1920’s wall-to-ceiling, white tile, art deco design of a public building from a forgotten era. In the middle of this pristine, gridded room is a single potted palm tree – you almost expected a surly matron to wheel you away as you hand over your jacket to the cloakroom opposite.

The bathroom is altered in a similar fashion with the mirrors removed from the walls: having a twenty-four hour licence, it’s probably best not to become preoccupied with your reflection (In a similar vein phones were frowned on – so no checking the time)

The basement best sums up this focus away from the self though. At the top are two stairs leading down to opposite ends of the same room. Once a bike-shed, now a smoke filled cavern, the basement reduces everyone to a silhouette. When you dance there it’s just yourself and the music. What was most impressive, though, is that they labelled the venue as 500 capacity and yet could easily squash in 800+, as a result you always had space wherever you might be. I felt bound to this small band of people experiencing the night with me.

As for the music this couldn’t have suited the venue better. Tom Trago, for the first time without his trusty five-panel, played alongside queen of the underground Molly for the duration of the night. I was told that each weekend one Dutch DJ chose one non-Dutch companion, and the two were perfectly suited to each other, as their deep, crisp, progressive house intertwined and criss-crossed out into the night. It was not so much individual songs but a tapestry of sounds that framed the night as a whole. I was reminded of those Innervisions nights where AME and Dixon would start out with simple minimal house before working their way towards a crescendo of hard-hitting euphoric tracks.

Playing for nearly nine-hours, and creating a narrative for the night is the most commendable job a DJ can perform. For those who denote mixing as a simple task, I ask them to look at sets like this, it’s not just having to play for a substantial time, but having to perfectly carry forward from one track to the next in order to gradually build momentum. On top of this the two of them really know each other’s style and record collection – overstep the mark and they’d have to re-map the rest of the night.

There was something so clean about Trago and Molly’s music. Maybe it was just the sound system but every note and beat was distinct from each other, as though they were mathematically placed sounds brought together to create a musical landscape; a kind of sonic tube map. I knew that this was Molly’s style but having seen Trago play much more instant, disco influenced sets, it proves testament to his variation as a DJ.

Having said that, there were times where the music lulled in those initial few hours. It’s understandable given the need for gradual elevation, but then it does make the music less immediately accessible.

However it’s a fairly petty remark and didn’t hinder the night. Overall it felt high quality in all aspects whether it was the people, the venue or the music; kudos to the team behind this.