Behind Hivemind, we say hello to Iliyan, Stilyan, and Martin — three techno DJs and music lovers, driven by a common goal to create value, seek self-expression, and chase freedom. While they are producing music and also looking forward to hosting physical events, they are actually focused on a single core mission — to cultivate community. Getting more and more into the conversation, I feel their passion when the topic of community comes up… Although the word has become increasingly popular not only in our industry but in many other spaces too, I can tell when someone uses it with a true intention. Read below to learn more about the kind of community Hivemind is so determined to build.
1. What started your love for techno?
Iliyan: What made me fall in love with techno was the composition of this music. And the way it made me feel. I’ve been listening to a lot of music from a young age, and the moment I heard techno was the moment I found the thing for me, genre-wise. Its sounds are impactful and affect me emotionally.
Stilyan: My first techno experience was at a party, and I felt some kind of atmosphere that I’ve never really felt before. There was this charge in the air, and I was observing how united people are. It’s like techno brings you all together, and the more I was attending such parties, the more evident it became. What struck me was how present everybody is. It’s like no one has any other worries or agenda at this very moment, and we’re just coming together to truly enjoy the music.
Martin: I like the freedom… The freedom you have to perceive, interpret and feel this music in a way that is so unique and personal to you. There is no particular dance, maybe you’re not even going to dance! Some just meditate to the music with their eyes closed. There are no vocals to guide you, it’s all a symphony of many sounds. I imagine it as this huge orchestra, but instead of symphonic, it’s one that works with modern instruments. And speaking from the perspective of someone who makes such music, I see it as a pool of endless possibilities. Techno is already 30–40 years old, and there are still new things coming out. Of course, there are some sounds that are often used, let’s say percussion, but they’re always presented differently. This is what I like about techno… how diverse and free it can be.
2. What inspires you these days?
Stilyan: Things that are unique and different inspire me. Also things with a meaning. This is actually one of our biggest values behind Hivemind — we are aiming to create something different and to provide real new value to the techno community and the genre overall. I like it when something provokes me to think and dig deeper.
Martin: Here are my biggest inspirations right now. [turns his camera to show his decks and laughs] There’s always something new with this musical style… Techno has always been the one to push the entire music industry forward, technologically speaking. I am constantly reading and learning about the new tech, and if I can get my hands on it, then I can experiment and that is where I find inspiration.
Iliyan: Many things inspire me. But mainly it’s the things happening around me — different situations, atmospheres, even just the weather outside… Depending on my mood, I get a feel of what it is that I would like to create sonically. When I start making music, as Martin mentioned, the “machines” bring me extra inspiration. Right now I am in a period where the more time I invest into making music, the more I get into it and there’s like a great momentum going.
3. How do you scout the talent you work with?
Martin: The channels vary, but it’s always people whose music we love. Sometimes it’s friends of ours, while other times it’s people we’ve never even met in person.
Iliyan: Moreover, we don’t like putting any sort of conditions or limits on the artists we work with. This way we can support them to express themselves authentically and fully through the music.
Stilyan: I can add that the contact or communication is personal every time. We’re always personally in touch with each new person we work with. And these are relationships that last beyond collaborating on a mindcast, let’s say. Furthermore, one of our goals is to always be giving a platform to folks that maybe haven’t been receiving loads of opportunities until now. When we see someone’s potential or discover an artist with a unique and different style, we are compelled to share their music with our audience. This is how we are building a diverse community where big names are always welcome, but there’s also plenty of room for up-and-coming, newer artists.
4. What about offline parties do you miss the most?
Iliyan: The exchange between DJ and crowd… The contact between everyone on the dancefloor. This is what makes the scene so great I think. With online events, as good as the music is, we just can’t recreate this feeling of union.
Stilyan: I feel like partygoers often go out in order to detach from their daily lives a little bit. You have these 5–6 hours to forget all of your negative thoughts and that’s much harder to achieve when you’re at home on your computer… When you’re at a party in person, you can feel the energy, you can feel the vibe in the room. Many people need this kind of “escape” in order to recharge.
Martin: The people. The loud music. Everything. [laughs] And commenting on what the others said, I can’t help, but think of why we chose the name Hivemind. There are scientific institutions working on research that proves that the collective consciousness can create collective emotion. You can’t be feeling sad when you’re in a room with 2,000 people who are happy. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And that’s the power of physical events.
5. How do you prepare before a show?
Martin: With a drink and a lot of music. [laughs]
Iliyan: I don’t really drink before a show… I like to really concentrate when I’m about to play. My priority always is to focus my mind solely on what’s coming and remain very present throughout. Friends even make fun of me sometimes, saying all I see is the mixer and nothing else.
Stilyan: I don’t prepare. [laughs] But that enables me to approach playing in a more spontaneous and organic way… When I surprise the crowd, I feel like I’m also surprising myself. I often do things that I’ve never done before, and I wouldn’t necessarily be able to repeat. [laughs] In my opinion, this makes the entire evening 100% authentic, improvised, and unique. It can never be replicated, and that’s important for our audience, but also for us as the ones who get to bring people together.
6. Who from the people around you has inspired or influenced you?
Iliyan: Martin! He’s the person I can always count on for receiving constructive feedback. And for three years now, he has been crucial for my growth and development in what we do. In life, you need this kind of people who continuously push you to do and be better, and that’s exactly the influence he’s been having on me.
Martin: This became very emotional. [laughs] All in all, the three of us are a great influence on one another. We give each other valuable feedback, sometimes we even scold each other a bit, but that happens pretty rarely. Stilyan, what do you think?
Stilyan: I’m going to share something a bit different… When I started listening to techno, only one of my friends was a fan of the genre. Today, at least 20 people who weren’t into techno have been converted. Realizing I’ve been a part of this process really inspires me and motivates me to continue doing the work in order to share these emotions with everybody I meet.
7. Which are your 5 must-visit festivals? Would you like it if they partnered up with Evedo?
Martin: I really want to experience Burning Man! [all four of us nod and laugh in complete agreeance and excitement] This festival is like an art composition in itself.
Iliyan: Burning Man, yes… That to me also seems like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Something truly extraordinary. I have a few more though! Time Warp in Germany, also Awakenings which Martin was lucky to visit for 2 years in a row. I also need to mention Amsterdam Dance Event even though it’s not quite a festival. It’s more like a conference where the entire industry comes together… There are seminars and workshops where they discuss the scene and where it’s heading. And at night, of course, there are parties! And similarly to this, I’d love to also attend Sónar in Barcelona which follows the same kind of format.
Stilyan: You guys said most of what I would say! [laughs] But I will add Exit which is a fantastic Balkan festival where the organizers put in a lot of thought into their work. The location is a 16th-century fortress which is like a peninsula, and they build around 15 stages there. 15 stages with 15 different music styles, not just electronic. I highly recommend experiencing Exit! Furthermore, we believe there are many amazing DJs that deserve a platform to showcase their talent, and as Evedo continues to grow and partner with music festivals all over the world, these artists will have more opportunity to perform at bigger stages and in front of bigger and more international crowds. That’s awesome and we’re excited to see this come to life!
8. What is your biggest dream or goal with Hivemind?
Martin: We want to do things on our own terms. Participating in the industry for years before starting Hivemind, we were noticing a lot of little things that could be changed or improved. Whether it’s a podcast or a label release, it’s all about expression and flow, and I’m so happy we took this step. It’s one of the most important steps in my life… in our lives. The goal is for this to continue evolving. There are always new things happening in the industry and in today’s world, so I can’t tell you what exactly is the future vision for Hivemind, but hopefully, it’s going to become something that will last, maybe even after us.
Iliyan: We want to leave a footprint on the scene. We do all of our work with the intention to contribute to this space on a global level.
Stilyan: With Hivemind, we are aiming to achieve freedom — freedom to put our values and beliefs at the core of what we do, in order to cultivate a community of like-minded individuals who share these emotions and experiences together. The dream is to bring joy to as many people as we possibly can.
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