City Guide: Vladimir Ivkovic presents Dusseldorf

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Originally hailing from Belgrade, Vladimir Ivkovic not only has the best name in dance music, but is a long-standing and integral part of Dusseldorf’s club scene. Originally getting into selecting through spending time at his father’s venue ‘Sara and Omen’ back in Belgrade, Vladimir has been at home in Dusseldorf for many years now and is a resident at Dusseldorf’s legendary club, Salon des Amateurs; keeping good company alongside Lena Willikens, Jan Schulte and Tolouse Low Trax. Vladimir’s skills don’t stop at DJing however, he also plays a central role in running the labels Offen Music and Loco Dice’s label, Desolat. We’re thrilled to present Vladimir’s own city guide for Dusseldorf, complete with a dark and experimental mix of 100% local music, and an extensive and oft wryly-written guide of what the city had to offer. 

Check out the map above and interview below for Vladimir’s favourite spots, while you listen to a 100% Dusseldorf mix.

Favourite place to buy records?

My favourite place to buy records is Hitsville. The store exists since 31 years, and Ralf who owns it today started to work there 25 years ago. So besides friendly service there is lots of knowledge. There is fine balance between new releases and 2nd hand: punk, rock, pop, reggae, kraut, jazz, techno, house… each have their little sections.

Worth mentioning as another store in the city is A&O Medien. There you’ll find mew release on vinyl and CD, music books, DVDs and more.

Slowboy shop and gallery closed recently, but the music department should open soon somewhere. Until then check their online shop.

Favourite live music venue?

There are always nice concerts and performances at Salon des Amateurs. Zakk is cultural centre established in 1977. Place for discussions, spoken word, concerts and more in an old factory building. Loud live music in AK47, Düsseldorf’s punk rock club no.1. Stone is located in a legendary Rattinger Hof. There are concerts and a chance to meet ghosts of exciting times when Rattinger Hof was artist bar or later the place where punk first happened in Germany.

Then there is Tonhalle a concert hall in a beautiful former planetarium built in 1925, home of Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.

Best soundsystem / favourite club?

Salon des Amateurs. Our home and breeding ground for many good things that happened in the last 13 years. Toulouse Low Tracks, Lena Willikens, Jan Schulte, Rearview Radio… you’ll hear them there. Jondo, DJ Normal 4 and the Aiwo posse are never far away. And there are wonderful guest artists.

Then there is Golzheim, proper club where you’ll most likely hear good house and techno.

Best parties in the city?

Salon des Amateurs, Fridays and Saturdays. ‘Desolat im Salon’ on Sundays, when it happens. ‘Music Is’ at Golzheim. There are ‘Something parties‘ in Tanzhaus NRW. There is also Kiesgrube in Neuss. It’s very close to Düsseldorf, and a perfect place for people into some kind of Ibiza techhouse sound and crowd. It takes place on a sunny Sundays from April until September. But when you visit the city it’s always good to ask someone at the Salon, check flyer and poster at Hitsville, talk to people and find out where is something nice happening. And there is annual Open Source Festival with it’s fine diverse program. This year you can attend on 8th of July.

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Best view of the city?

There are few places that offer best view of the city  – depending on what you want to see. Rhine Tower Rheinturm with it’s 240,50 meter is the highest building in the city and obvious choice if you want to spend 9 EUR to get to the top. The terrace of Tonhalle offers a nice view in summer. Sitting on a Rhine wall in front of Fortuna Büdchen can be interesting. There is great view from Skulpturengang of Kunstakademie, which is located in the Altstadt.

Favourite Cafe’s and Restaurants?

There are lots of places, so this is just small personal selection..

Zur Sennhütte, quite small place, friendly staff, great food.  Recent highlights: Rote-Beete-Carpaccio & Semmelknödel mit Wirsing & Trüffel. Check Papella, New Georgian restaurant & Bar. When you’re there, also visit Solobar and check some of their exotic cocktails. Bar Olio, Italian bar / restaurant with tasty food, fine staff and interesting mixture of guests. There are  several good Japanese places around Immermannstr. like Naniwa Sushi or Takumi for probably best Ramen in town. If you’re not into Japanese food, but into toys, street art, caps, and urban wear, pizza and burger you’ll find then at What’s Beef and What’s Pizza. Proper Napoli pizza you’ll find at Di Napoli and more burgers at Feuerstein’s. Simple fresh vegan food for nice prices you’ll find at Butze and simple tasty falafel for unbeatable 2.50 EUR at Falafel ala Kefak – they sell falafel from a trailer located at the front of their future restaurant. Leopold Wagner is 86 and his Poldi, if you’re into authentic Wiener Schnitzel you’ll have quite unique experience there.

Is there somewhere you like going to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time away for yourself?

The best place to escape the city is a walk through Grafenberger Wald, a run around Unterbacher See. There are also kite and surfing opportunities if you travel with your board, maybe a meadow at Volksgarten park. Also you can just go to the Rhine river and walk in the direction of Kaiserswerth.

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Best place to experience something unique to Düsseldorf?

Best place to experience something unique to Düsseldorf is Königsalle also known as Kö. Lots of people of Düsseldorf are proud of their city centre boulevard, mainly for it’s luxury shops. But Kö is also Düsseldorf in a nutshell if you sit somewhere and observe.

First thing you miss after leaving Düsseldorf?

Friends, but they are not things… So maybe this mixture of everything there and not too hectic.

Best place to see another medium other than music?

Düsseldorf offers solid amount of galleries, museums and exhibitions like Kunsthalle, Julia Stoschek Collection, K20, K21, NRW Forum, Black Box cinema in Film Museum. There is also Kiefernstr. with it’s history, former occupied houses and painted fronts.

What are your favourite shops for things other than music?

My favourite shops for other things than music are Walther König and Müller & Bohm book stores. There is Vintage Gallerie Vaseline with it’s objects of virtu . Very close to here is Carlsplatz market with it’s fresh food and gastronomy. Don’t miss falafel at Falafel Haus, but feel free to try everything else like gluten free specials at 100% No Glu or italian food at Casa Cortilla.

What’s your favourite street to walk along and why?

In the right mood and when in doubt, Königsalle.

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Are there any markets in your city worth checking out?

There is the already mentioned Carlsplatz. There are flea markets like P1 at LTU Arena with up to 1000 exhibitors / participants and Radschlägermarkt. They take place once every month from march until autumn. Little record fair takes place at Bürgerhaus Reisholz. Considering the fact that Düsseldorf has something like 2 record stores left, Reisholz is a little music market where you’ll meet local collectors and sellers and practice some digging. Check the dates here. Street Food Thursday at Stahlwerk takes place on every first Thursday of the months begins in April and it’s interesting for it’s local and regional food trucks and mobile kitchen. Worth checking for markets is also Boui Boui Bilk.

Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting locals to have a chat with?

Friendliest most interesting locals to have a chat with can be found at Salon des Amateurs. Other authentic locals are at brewhouses at kiosks.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Düsseldorf?

Good thing about Düsseldorf is that everything you need is basically around the corner. It’s sorted. Airport is close and you can easily escape the city. Düsseldorf is far from trends and trendy pressure, so that ideas and things have time to develop.

Not so good is Düsseldorf’s very unique pace between slow and stopping. There is lack of free space and most of city’s offerings are quite generic.

Who’s doing good things for Düsseldorf music right now, who you’d like to shout out?

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by talented people and there is so much good happening now. The circle with Salon des Amateurs in it’s centre. There are something like 3 generations of artists that emerged in the last 13 years: from Toulouse Low Trax, Stefan Schneider, Stefan Schwander with all his projects, Lena Willikens (now based in Köln, but who cares), Jan Schulte, Themes For Great Cities, Stabil Elite, Bar, Normal 4 and Aiwo posse, Offen Music. Loco Dice’s Desolat. Marcel Koch for his record finds. There are new kids like Haut & Knochen who are organizing parties and basically doing their thing. There is lots of exchange and that’s definitely the best about the city.

Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us? Where and how did you record it, what was the idea behind?

The mix was recorded at home with 2 turntables and one CD player for that one unreleased Gordon Pohl track (that will be released at some point). The idea was to wait until all the useless ideas disappear – like recording Kraftwerk or Propaganda or DAF or Kraut… mix. All that is covered quite well and there is even a glimpse into obscure Düsseldorf tape scene on ‘Elektronische Kassettenmusik, Düsseldorf 1982 – 1989’ released recently on Bureau B – and record something when I’m not really aware of „City Guide“. The mix is a reflection my Düsseldorf the way I play it. Lots of great tracks are missing, but they also fit a different mood than the one I had in those 80 minutes of recording it.

And finally, what’s in the horizon for you in terms of live dates or releases we should look out for?

There is Smagghe & Cross’s debut album ‘MA, which will be released on my label Offen Music on 27th of March this year. One 10inch will follow, then a 12inch by Beck, Nash, Reyenga that will close one long circle in my life. I’m really looking forward to it.

There are exciting clubs and festivals ahead: on the 25th of March is Dampfzentrale Bern with Toulouse Low Tracks, 30th Amrch, Listen! in Brussels, 31st March is The Waiting Room London with Ivan Smagghe, 1st April Bunker Turin with Young Marco and so on, 8th April 4 De School for WMMF, 15th April The 20/44 Boat birthday party in Belgrade with Lena Willikens and Ivan Smagghe and I’m looking forward to play b2b with Lena when a bunch of Salon des Amateurs play in Köln at Studio 672 on 30th April.


Maria Zerfall  – Es ist nicht leicht
Toresch – Mojole
Phillip Schulze und Detlef Weinrich – 2015
Neustadt – Neustadt
Der Plan – Leb doch
Toulouse Low Trax – Geo Scan
Toulouse Low Trax – Wooden Words
Toulouse Low Trax – Gang 6
Gordon Pohl – Going (Voxmix)
Francisco Estévez – Phonoson für Flöte, Gitarre, Klavier und elektronische Modulationsgeräte
AI – Anima Itako
Kreidler – Mars Chronicles IV Lo Firer Esplendor
Tolouse Low Trax – Late
The Mogs – Kelly Blame (*ph 606 Inst. Version)

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