If you have been on Facebook over the past two and a half years and follow any number of DJs, you will have likely noticed a stream with Cercle. Like most the first time around, you probably wonder why is there some DJ playing music in the Eiffel Tower, or in some castle or at an airport? They have brought in the likes of Kölsch, Solomun, Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Charlotte De Witte, ANNA, Zimmer, Deborah De Luca and many more to exotic places all around France and increasingly Europe. They even hosted an event with Møme in Tahiti. We chatted with Cercle founder Derek Barbolla to find out a little more about the journey the company has taken, how difficult it is to put on shows in these crazy locations and more.
1. How and why did you start Circle?
It all started in my apartment two and a half years ago. We first livestreamed some friends Djing in my living room. This was just for fun, and I quickly had some complains from my neighbors so we started doing these broadcasts in other venues in Paris. First, in a little cave under Paris, then in a club, then on a boat on the Seine River, and in October 2016, we sent an email to the Eiffel Tower asking for a collab, and they accepted! Since then, we never stopped.
2. How do you choose the places to pick the sets?
First thing is the aesthetic aspect of the venue. We always try to find beautiful / impressive places to shoot, and it can be in nature, monuments, museums, buildings, anywhere!
Also, after that first aspect, there are the technical and security aspects. Some venues, although there are really beautiful, can’t host a concert because of various reasons, that’s why we always scout all the venues at least once, sometimes two or three times before locking them and proposing them to the artists.
3. What are a few of your dream places to host an event?
Achievable dream, I would say the Egyptian pyramids.
Nearly unachievable dream: I'd say the Moon! (yes I said nearly, Elon Musk if you are reading this, hit us up!)
4. Do artists have to match the venue or is it more a marriage of convenience?
We always try to create a story between the artist and the venue. But sometimes it’s difficult: the artist is not available or he/she doesn’t like the venue or sometimes, the venue is not available. But I think most of the time, we achieve it.
It’s not 100% up to us, sometimes the artist we invite completely merge with the venue, and creates something really unique. And I think that’s the thing I prefer: that’s the magic of being live!
5. How difficult is it to get all of the venues to agree to host your events?
It really depends on the venue. Sometimes it’s easy, because we have the chance to come across really open minded teams.
Sometimes, it’s more difficult and we talk for one year or more before the venue accepts. Sometimes they never accept, but that’s how it is!
Also, we have the chance to be able to host concerts without onsite audience since the main audience is online, so this can help a lot, specially when there are some security concerns.
6. Why did you choose to have your events on Monday?
At the beginning, we choose Monday because it was the best day to be at home, on your computer, or on your TV, watching a livestream. So I would say first of all because of the online audience being better on a Monday.
It's also great for the artists, because they rarely have other gigs on Monday.
We figured out that Monday is usually seen as a difficult / bad day for a lot of people, being the first day of the week. And, I think a lot of people enjoy having something nice on a Monday now!
7. Being so reliant on Facebook for your streaming, how do you deal with their constant changing algorithms for reach?
I think the most important thing is to stay true to our concept. If people like the content you create, then they will be engaged, and the algorithms should keep you up. If people don’t like it, then the algorithms will put you down. So, this is of course very challenging for us.
8. Did you expect to see the brand grow so quickly?
Of course not. I think that we realized that there were something happening after the first set on the Eiffel Tower. The day after (even during the livestream), we received a lot of emails from people, artists, labels, even from a big major asking to meet us. Then everything went really fast, I can’t even believe that there has already been two years going by.
9. Most of your events have been in France, but there have been a few in Belgium, Switzerland and elsewhere. Do you plan on doing more outside of France?
Yes, for this new season (season 3!), we will try to expand the series out of France.
But of course, since we are a Paris based team, we’ll keep doing events in France.
10. What else is in the future of Cercle?
Our main goal for this new season is to expand internationally. I think that’s the most challenging thing for us now because everything can be really different than in France, culture wise. Also, it can be really difficult money wise, since we are a team of 6 to 10 people to move out from France.
We are also working on a new project, but we are taking our time, because we don’t want to speed up things, and then doing them both bad… So, stay tuned!