Denislav Velev, better known as Garo to friends, is one of the key architects behind the blossoming Bulgarian music scene. Having founded the Red House parties in Sofia, Garo went on to hold a residency at Surrcasm, a party devoted to supporting and developing the best of Bulgarian underground talent and held other residencies which saw him support diverse international talent such as Ion Ludwig, Maayan Nidam, James Dean Brown, San Proper, Awanto3, and many more. It was a period which proved to be pivotal in defining the smooth, layered sound he exudes today.
Having outgrown the scene he helped to create, in 2013 Garo moved to Berlin lured by the endless possibilities the city could offer for his own personal and musical development. A true vinyl junkie, Garo is often to be found head buried in the bins of Berlin's record stores and flea markets, digging for dusty gems and rare pearls. Such dedication and diligence towards unearthing obscure treasures allied to his own rich cultural heritage have endowed Garo with that much sought after ability to effortlessly and naturally blend classic and contemporary alike, across a wide range of genres spanning from mature house and Detroit techno to trippy experimental sounds. “Every track has its moment,” he says. "What matters most is the groove."
Ahead of his performance at this year's Meadows in the Mountains—where he has long been a resident—he has shared a recording, which is available to download below. Also on the lineup Youandewan, Valentino Kanzyani, Bruno Schmidt, and Shanti Celeste—to name just a few. This year's edition takes place from June 9- 11 in the Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria, with more information available here.
When and where was the mix recorded and could you tell us about the idea behind it?
As the proposition from Meadows in the Mountains to record this resident mix for XLR8R came at the last minute before flying to Sofia for my gig there in Studio EW, I said why not provide the live recording of my set. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen technical issues with the recording, I decided to re-record (part of) it again once I got home.
How did you choose the records to play?
The records chose themselves in the moment, inspired by the company of dancing and smiling friends underneath the sun in the garden of Studio EW, full of love. I spent a good month beforehand at home in Berlin picking out the records to put in my bag, however.
Can you tell us a little about what Meadows in the Mountains means to you?
I have been lucky to have been involved as a Meadows resident since five years, almost from the beginning. It has been wonderful to see how it has grown in that time from a small event to an established festival talked of in small circles around the world. I was born and grew up in the Rhodopian mountains where the festival takes place so it has a very special place in my heart and I look forward to playing there every year and seeing so many familiar faces from previous years as well as many others who come to my home from all around the world. Every time I come back with great impatience, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. I hope this mix gets you in the mood to join us in the meadows, on the mountain, in the fresh air and Bulgarian sunshine.