26 Nov 2022
Sat 26 November 2022 @ 16H
United Identities: Five Year Anniversary
By Jinan Vyent
Five years of club nights, record releases, showcasing talent and more; celebrating United Identities' journey from club night into an established music label and platform.
As part of their Radio Tour, United Identities will be taking over our broadcast this Sunday from 1PM (GMT) until 7PM (GMT). We had a chat with Carista and Suze Ijó about the start and celebration of the much-needed and much-loved United Identities.
United Identities was founded by DJ and curator Carista, and has grown from a club night into a successful music label and platform. The idea of setting up an event came about after Carista’s infamous set at Lowlands in 2016. Carista explains, ”It was a rainy day, and I was feeling quite nervous before my set. But as the tent started to fill up, I saw all kinds of different people dancing to the various genres I was playing, and I could tell and feel that everyone was having a great time. At some point the tent was fully packed and it ended up being one of my favorite gigs.” After playing her set, she thought of ways to translate the feelings inside of that Lowlands tent into a club night and soon after, debuted United Identities in the Oosterbar in Amsterdam. It quickly became a staple in the Dutch club scene with a quarterly club night at the Claire, being one of the few places to see a diverse and inclusive range of DJ’s playing a variety of genres. “It was important to me to create a space where everyone felt welcome, and I saw it as an opportunity to provide a stage for the underdogs and the talents that were being overlooked.”
The label came about in an organic way. “We had been doing club nights and as a way of introducing the artists before the event, we’d give away free downloads of their unreleased tracks and demos. Until one day someone told me that I basically had a record label now.” Carista laughs, “At first I said I didn’t, but I quickly started thinking of the possibilities. Clearly remembering the first time I was holding my own record on vinyl, I wanted others to be able to experience that as well.”
United Identities’ roster started expanding and in 2020, the label released their first compilation album, Modern Intimacy Volume 1. Carista was hoping to create one of those first time vinyl moments for the artists who contributed, but it quickly became impossible due to the lockdown rules of the COVID pandemic. Release parties and events were no longer permitted, and she wondered how she could still provide a stage for the musicians that worked hard on their music and deserved to be heard and celebrated. The first radio tour, in the fall of 2020, allowed the label to do just that. “We had pre-recorded as well as live sets, and the tour took us to different radio stations such as Operator, Stranded FM and Rinse France. It was a great way to promote the compilation album and the label, and for the artists to stay connected to their listeners.”
By then, Rotterdam-based DJ Suze Ijó had joined United Identities. “I had known Carista for about nine years already, and we met in a time of few female DJs, especially ones playing the same sound. We share the same vision when it comes to music and the industry and so we quickly connected.” Suze started curating the United Identities podcasts and worked on both radio tours. “For the release of the second compilation album and the accompanying radio tour, we are taking over four stations in different cities; Kiosk Radio in Brussel, TMP in Amsterdam, Refuge Worldwide in Berlin and Oroko Radio in Accra.”
United Identities has their five year anniversary this year and are able to celebrate their successes in multiple ways again. From hosting a stage at the first edition of Orbit Festival in Utrecht to a boat party at Dekmantel Selectors and an ADE special at Doka. They also had multiple album releases, such as MAYO and Ngoni Egan’s records.
On the 22nd of November, their second compilation album Modern Intimacy Volume 2 was released and to cap off all of last year’s milestones, they are hosting a 12-hour long club night at Skatecafé in Amsterdam. Twenty-eight artists will be performing; from their own roster, as well as those who contributed to the compilation albums. There are also some relatively unknown talents playing that night, which is important to Carista. “One of my biggest drives in doing this is to provide a stage for those that don’t have one yet. We have some accomplished artists on our roster, but I also view United Identities as a meaningful stepping stone for artists at the beginning of their career, and I’m happy to contribute to that.”
United Identities will be taking over our broadcast this Sunday, check out the full line-up here and tune in from 1PM (GMT) until 7PM (GMT)!