Interview – Sam Wullems en Fede Claes

With the clubs reopening and everyone waking up from their corona nightmare, FOMO is back! We spoke to them about their exciting new plans. And don’t worry, the boys have enough planned to keep you from sleeping!

Hello guys, can you introduce yourself? Who are you and when did you start?

‘’Hey, my name is Sjoerd and I do the programming of FOMO Rotterdam.’’
‘’Well, hello there, my name is Tom Westerwoudt. Within FOMO I take on all-round tasks. From production to a little bit of marketing. However, my focus is on networking and making sure we can host the concept in places. Outside of FOMO I’m a student who wants to make his mark on the city of Rotterdam.’’

‘’My name is Merlijn, I’m the graphic designer at FOMO Rotterdam and creative mind for the art program we curate during our events.’’

‘’Hola, I’m Luuk van der Heijden, I do Marketing and Production at FOMO, I have a lot of experience within the nightlife scene and have worked at different places like PERRON.’’

‘’Hey, I am Mats van de Poll. I’m 21 years old and I’m studying Leisure & Event Management at the Willem de Kooning Academy. For FOMO I do the finances and I am also Creative Mind. I am always looking for new creative additions to the concept. We started in September 2019 and in February 2020 we officially announced FOMO. Then at the end of March 2020 we went online with our first event.’’

Where does FOMO stand for?

‘’Fear of Missing out. I think it’s a known feeling to many, the fear to miss something. Our name has a double meaning in a way. We were missing something in the City of Rotterdam, and we want to create something that people didn’t want to miss out on.’’

Why did you start the collective?

‘’We had nothing to do on Thursday nights. Bar had been closed for over a year and we realized cultural night life in Rotterdam was deceased. Luuk invited Tom, Sjoerd, Mats, and Merlijn over to have a brainstorm session on how to revive the situation. Around that time, Luuk had an internship at PERRON. So, we had the tools. All we did was complain, now it was time to take action.’’

‘’During the first months of FOMO we decided that our event should revolve around a concept, so we could create nights where people would walk away with a feeling of “wow, what did I actually just experience?”. Our intention was to create a meeting point for other creatives with a passion for music. Interaction between the audience is especially important to us. We focus a lot on the atmosphere and pay special attention to the physical setting and our décor. We try to incorporate a visual factor (prikkels) not solely have a line-up.’’

How do you want to create the interaction at a party?

‘’A variety of different decor is important. We want to design and decorate in a way no one has seen yet. For example, we would open multiple areas and host the party in the hallways too. The floorplan has a lot of influence on a party. By breaking the norm in the floorplan, we create new spaces for people to connect. We want to make people question where they ended up.
With our livestreams we spice things up too. We included interactive elements like a donation button for the food bank and live artwork creation. In that way we make it more dynamic.’’

What does it mean for you to be in a collective?

‘’We are all very different and of course have our different outlooks on nightlife. Being in a collective means that we get to involve all our different perspectives and create unique concepts through voicing our opinions. Next to different opinions, we have different skills too. Luuk is great at marketing and production. Then there’s Sjoerd, who with his knowledge on music creates unique programs. Mats is the entrepreneurial one who runs around behind the scenes. Tom scouts the locations and Merlijn is our graphic designer. All five of us have so much love and passions for what we do. It’s noticeable how much we’ve grown and how everyone found their own productive spot within the team.’’

How does Rotterdam influences FOMO?

‘’Rotterdam has a rich and sparkling nightlife history. The city had always been the forerunner on the front of electronic music. With that, creatives play a big role in Rotterdam, and they are a very important inspiration to us. We got to experience the cultural renaissance at Schieblok with clubs like Bar, Transport, Perron and Annabel. But at a certain point, all the newness and new clubs started falling one by one. That was the moment we started filling the gap ourselves. We saw what could happen when nightlife was done right, and we also knew what we were missing now.’’

What is the typical sound of FOMO Soundsystem?

‘’A mix of disco, electro, techno and everything in between. One part of our collective is into hard and heavy techno, the other part is into Italo, disco and house. We like to play danceable music, especially in the beginning. We aim to create a special opening with a fitting DJ for the event so people will feel comfortable to get loose.’’

You are a quite young collective; do you think you can bring a new voice in the nightlife?

‘’Yes, we don’t only focus on a good lineup but also on finding a fitting and inspiring peripheral program. Young creatives who haven’t found a platform yet are the ones we reach out to to work with us. With them we combine music and art in our events. Our goal is to stimulate every sense.’’

‘’Art increases the interaction between our audience, because what they see is now something everyone has in common and that ignites conversations. Of course, there are also people who are new to art, don’t really understand it yet or have no interest in it. They might find something interesting or even learn something new. The art is not limited to visual art, it includes installations and performances too. So yes, we definitely think our way of operating is going to bring something new to Rotterdam’s nightlife.’’

And do you have upcoming events?

‘’The 4th of July FOMO will produce their biggest event up to now at Weelde, due to recent developments with coronatests it’s possible to dance, finally!! It’s going to be an event together with Rotterdam based live performers. Along with the visual art installations the concept comes really to life!’’ You can follow us on Instagram @fomo_rotterdam for more updates!

Instagram: @fomo_rotterdam
Facebook: FOMO Rotterdam

Photo: Sam Wullems (sam_with_the_cam)