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Groovy Interview : Mario Walden – Notorious I.B.E (English version) Mario GB Full view

Groovy Interview : Mario Walden – Notorious I.B.E (English version)

Le mois dernier, nous sommes allés au festival Notorious I.B.E , un des plus grands festival de break-dance à Heerlen en Hollande. À cette occasion, nous avons rencontré Mario Walden, directeur de la production. Découvrez son interview ci-dessous.

Groovy Brain : How did you came that far ?

Mario Walden : Well I start as a bboy dancer, I and Tyrone (Artistic Director : Tyrone Van Der Meer) know each other from the hip-hop culture. We had a group called «010 Bboyz» and he was the only at that time with a mobile phone, so we decided to make him our manager (laughs).

He was always busy with organizing everything like performances or bus trips to other countries….In 1998, a club asked  him to organize a break dance event, so he started to call people and I was helping him because I had my driving license and he can’t do it alone.

At first I was managing the artistic part but it wasn’t really my thing so I decided to manage the production part…and this is how it all begins. From that, we start to organize not only I.B.E, but also the Dutch Bboy Championship, 7 to smoke battles and other small events.

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Groovy Brain : The Notorious I.B.E is one of the main hip-hop dance event in Europe, how do you feel about this ?

Mario Walden : There’s other many good events in Europe, like Juste Debout, U.K Bboy Championship, Battle Chelles Pro, Battle Of The Year…I think the difference with I.B.E is that it is a festival.

Tyrone went to Modjo concerts and learn so much from there and learned how to create this kind of program, we just have tried to do the same in the bboy scene. There is not only one program, when you come to IBE you have to schedule what you are going to do.

Groovy Brain : As a pioneer, what advice can you give to the other organizations?

Mario Walden : I don’t see myself as a pioneer because many organizations made events before us, like the Rock Steady Crew and the Freestyle Session for example…There’s so many events from the USA and which made us do the same in Holland.

In our country, you can get support from the government which gives you money and fundings. The government the cultural sector, we get lucky that’s the reason why we can organize big things like I.B.E.

I realize that the thing that we are doing is big and also hard, because there are so many things to consider like the agendas, the artists…Sometimes I am thinking it is too much. But it is not only me and Tyrone, we are a whole team and we came from Rotterdam to Heerlen and do things in the city. We work with people from France, from USA, it is an whole collaboration.

tyrone IBE

Groovy Brain : With the globalization of Hip-hop dance and social interactions between dancers I want to know how these new media help you to make it bigger and more social?

Mario Walden : Social Medias are the main media. When I.B.E was cancelled, I get so many messages in one day from all over the world, and that is what makes the event so big. Other events like Juste Debout or Redbull BC One have livestreams, it’s amazing! Everybody is connected, if you are at home or in another country or continent you can watch these events and be updated!

But for me, the best promotion still, when people come to IB.E and have a good time and tell their people to come to I.B.E the next year, it is simple and efficient !

Groovy Brain : I.B.E is a real W.O.M, to be honest it is my first time here and all friends told me to come because the city was just crowded with dancers but when I saw videos I just saw the dance part, and it makes it more attractive, because you want to see the other things…

Mario Walden : You know also what I like with our event…and I think it is the same with Juste Debout : you see a lot of different people and generations, people come from all over the world.  I.B.E is a full Hiphop event; you can see bboys, Djs, House dancers, Hip-hop dancers… There’s an “adult feeling”, you have conferences, talk shows, art galleries, the hip-hop market… it’s not only a jam.

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Groovy Brain : I feel like I.B.E is a full Hip-hop event and I would like to know what Hip-hop means to you? 

Mario Walden : For me it’s my lifestyle, hip-hop is a lifestyle. I was born in 1975, I raised up with soul music, jazz and black music in general.  My Father was a dj, he passed away when I was one and my mother was always playing this music: Aretha Franklin, James Brown… I’ve grown up with that and this is the music we dance on today…the music my mom was playing, so it’s my life!

When I was around 8 years old, I started to understand a music a little bit more, then I saw two documentaries about hip-hop culture on television: Style Wars and Wild Style, with all these young black kids in the Bronx doing these hip-hop things…and I didn’t know it was hip-hop ! As a black kid, I felt related to them, we were the same and I wanted to do the same.

Then I started graffiti, bboying,and djing, my brother is also a dj : Dj Cut Nice (very popular in the bboy scene) and all of my friends grew up with that ! Nowadays, I went into house music, I make beats and try to spin in club because my hip-hop is not what I heartoday…I focus more on house but my background is hip-hop.

Groovy Brain : I.B.E seems to be a real hip-hop event, you promote the values of Hip-hop, what do you think about other organizations which promote a bad image (or more commercial) of hip-hop?

Mario Walden : I understand what you mean, but many of these people who organize events like this , they don’t know. I’ve grown up with hip-hop; I’ve got this background with me.

I think it depends on the place and the environment you are but at the end it is: Peace, Unity and Having Fun ! I do also commercial event, like the production for Red Bull BC One, but I have my hip-hop background and people know it, not everybody can have this.

To be honest, you can be underground and pure but it is always a small group. At the beginning I was really frustrated about these events, but now I let go I am 38…and also I need these people to come to my event (laughs).

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 Groovy Brain : How do you see I.B.E in 5 years?

Mario Walden : You know what after every edition I’m like “I don’t want to do this anymore” (laughs).  But seriously, I hope we can still do our things. We don’t want to get bigger, we just hope to still do it because we always need fundings, sponsors and you will never know if you will get it from the city…

My hope is to do the IBE like a real festival in a big field not in the city anymore, what we do here in Heerlen is amazing…but it is hard! For the city it is good because we bring many tourists but to protect our festival it is better to do it somewhere else. Maybe we are going to do that, but we don’t want to call it I.B.E, because “I.B.E IS I.B.E”!

IBE bboys

Groovy Brain : You bring many people in Heerlen every year, what is the best place for Hip-hop in Netherlands?

Mario Walden : I don’t know, it is not fair if I say it’s Rotterdam, because I live there, I know what is going on there. For bboying I think it is Eindhoven, but Rotterdam is a real Hip-hop city (laughs), with a real hip-hop feeling!

Groovy Brain : How is the image of hip-hop in general in Netherlands?

Mario Walden : People are a little bit confused between hip-hop and rap, we all live in the hip-hop culture. When I say that I work in the hip-hop culture, people think that I am a rapper…but I can’t rap (laughs), I promote, I dance. And there’s many confusion in Holland between rap and hip-hop.

In Holland, they don’t call it hip-hop, they call it “urban” because the word “hip-hop” sounds too “black” and for lot of people “hip-hop” is too aggressive…it’s because they don’t know.

“Urban culture” sounds more friendly!

Merci Mario !

Si vous ne savez pas quoi faire ce weekend, rendez-vous au U.K Bboy Championship à Birmingham !

Suivez le Notorious I.B.E !

Facebook : www.facebook.com/TheNotoriousIBE

Twitter : @TheNotoriousIBE

Written by Estelle

Community Manager dans le menswear. Passionnée par la culture Hip-Hop. Danseuse à mes heures perdues et sosie de Beyoncé de dos, dans le noir. J’aime la musique , les Pringles originals, le Fanta à l’orange, les burgers, le nougat, le pecorino... et la série Berverly Hills (sauf Kelly Taylor) !