Mariyan Hristov a.k.a. Dj iHOU – a music connoisseur and dj originally from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, he’s lived and worked in Sofia and is currently based in London.

His love affair with music dates back to early childhood when he starts exploring the variety of genres and collecting works of numerous artists, who bring him joy and inspiration. His musical mission is further inspired and supported by his elder brother – a renowned producer, audio engineer, and was a resident DJ at the legendary club B52 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria back in the late 90’s.

Shortly after the start of the new millennium, his ever-growing passion for music encourages him to venture into mixing his favourite tracks and deliver them to the people through the art of DJ-ing. It is not long before his superior selection and ‘ear for quality music’ is enthusiastically appreciated by the crowds he spins for.
He manages to truly express himself and connect to people by mixing various styles into a perfectly flowing, harmonic and emotionally-engaging blend.

After graduating high school in 2004 he moved to Sofia, Bulgaria to study photography and visual arts. During that time his day job revolved around web development and graphic design, as well as animation and audio/video editing. He claims, however, that music was the main driving force that consistently inspired his creativity, made him feel alive, and gave him goose bumps, no matter what. His unquenchable thirst for new and fresh music motivated him to discover and spin unique tunes, while helping him continuously grow and expand his diverse music collection.

In the last 12 years he’s quickly gained popularity in the capital after being a resident dj in places like club Mascara, Opera Bar and Memento. He also played in numerous clubs and bars around the country like: Culture Beat Club, Wake Up Club, Tell Me Bar, Jackin’ Bar, Club Plan B, Sugar Club, Carrusel Club, Bar Sputnik, Gloria Mar, 75 Bar, Kino Caffe, Gramophone Plovdiv, North Star Bar, club Fargo, Club Bash (Plovdiv), Barbossa (Burgas), CUBO (Varna), Bar La Mouche (Sozopol), Wake UP Varvara, and many more. As well as having taken part in a number of music festivals and gigs alongside some famous djs and live bands like: Incognito, Kraak & Smaak, Osaka Monaurail, The Sweet Vandals, Tortured Soul, Tri O Five, Magnetik, Nik Weston, Onur Engin, DJ Spinna, Aaron Dae, Jojo Flores, Black Coffee, Bucie, Halo and others…

iHOU is a versatile dj and collector that likes and feels inspired by many genres, including: deep/tech/afro/soulful house, disco edits, funk, soul, nu-jazz, broken beat, bossa, reggae, lounge, downtempo, dub, mushroom jazz, jazzy hip-hop, and almost everything that has a high level of aesthetic integrity.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hello iHOU! Thanks for being our special guest. How are you?

Hello! Not too bad, as they say. I started enjoying this expression lately.

Where about in the world are you at the moment?

Well, currently I am in London but going back to Sofia very soon.

Tell us, how did everything begin with you?

I can’t even remember clearly. It was at a very early age when music touched my soul. Maybe back in the early 90’s. I have an older brother who was really keen on music and probably that was the main reason. There weren’t many interesting things to do back then. My brother went on a dj course and later on he became a resident dj at one the coolest clubs ever, in Plovdiv, the legendary - B52. He was bringing turntables home all the time and that was the most inspiring thing I had seen back then. In the late 90s, we were lucky enough to have a computer, thanks to our father. My brother was bringing some older djs and producers home, recording radio ads, making music and doing graphic design as well. I constantly watched in amazement. So, little by little, I started getting into things and shortly after the millennium I had the guts to get on the decks and play in a club. I had just graduated school and was studying photography in university but music was the one I was in love with and couldn’t do anything without it.

Share with us what the best thing about your country is? What makes it so special for you?

The best thing for me is that I can be myself and not pretend to be someone else and work just for a wage.
The other great thing I can’t do without are the mountains, the sea, nature, the rivers, the people. I realized how much I love everything after I was away from it. Knowing now, that I am going back fills me with a warm feeling and joy and passion. The other great thing is that it’s really close to Greece, which I love as well and spend a lot of time there whenever I can.

Why iHOU? Sounds interesting.

Well that’s a tough one. In the beginning, I couldn’t really think of a name that describes me best and that’s how friends used to call me, maybe because people were screaming like that (ihooooouuu) when I was playing at parties. It’s kind of called “The iHOU effect” the uplifting moment at the party where everyone’s into the music and dancing. A friend once told me that is the censored version of psycho but that’s another story. So it just stayed that way for the last 14 years or so. I am still thinking of another name but everything sounds like a cliché to me.

As we know you don’t only play one genre in particular? What do you enjoy playing the most?

Yes, I like and get inspired by many different genres all the time. I like to say I have different personalities and that’s the reason I cannot realy pick just one and declare it as my favourite. I have a theory that there’s different music for every mood, place and time. When I am alone I always choose music corresponding to my mood.
When it comes to playing in front of people, I would say that I most enjoy the sound of deep, minimalistic, hypno house on a solid sound system like Funktion-One.

Can you name some of your favorite artists?

Now, that’s the toughest question for me. I will have to think a lot which to say first and at the same time be very careful not to miss anyone out and also what order to place them in. This would actually take me a lot of time so I will try to tell you an artist/band of different genres.Different artists and bands from different genres, I’ll just give you some random ones that inspire me:

Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Black Seeds, Blazo, Freddie Joachim, Eric Lau, Jonny Faith, Mr. Moods, Opolopo, Mop Mop, Mister T., Timeworn Inc, Lack of Afro, Los Charly's Orchestra, Afrolicious, Dele Sosimi, Bosq, Mus Threee, Très Joli, Anthony K., Calvin Fallo, Ralf Gum, Jihad Muhammad, Black Motion, Adam Port,Justin Imperiale, Abicah Soul, Melohman, Kevin Yost, Anthony Mea, Deep Active Sound, Big AL,Moodymanc, Mihai Popoviciu, Rishi K. and many more which I am sorry I can’t mention but it would took me a day to think.

How do you normally select your music? Do you have your favourite labels and producers you follow or do you just randomly listen to different artists depending on the style?

Both and many others. When I search for new stuff, I browse different sources depending on the genre. I also receive music from friends - artists like promos, private and unreleased tracks. I have a large digital collection as well, I am a member of a private community for music sharing that is not publicly visible, where we share, discuss and comment on fresh music.
I am also a member of a small group which I fund each month; they buy vinyl’s, digitalize them and send them over to me in a lossless format.
There are many ways I get music and they keep changing. That’s the way, when you are a music junkie and just can’t get enough.

When was your last gig? How was it, did you have a good time?

My last gig was at a private birthday party in the backyard of a beautiful house of a special friend of mine and we had a lot of fun. It was an afternoon party but kept going after midnight. That’s what usually happens. It’s part of the “ihou effect”. Sometimes when the vibe and the crowd is proper, I enjoy playing from up to 10 hours and then crash and sleep sweet. 

How would you describe a great party? Would it be indoors or outdoors? What would the music sound like?

I think I just did in the previous question. I do like it outdoors with an intimate group of people who truly appreciate and love good music.
Mostly, it sounds like a journey through genres with a slow gradation with ups and downs corresponding to the mood of the crowd, usually starting with an intriguing beginning, going through a set of emotions and finally ending with some gentle music to calm down the audience and leave them relaxed so they can leave with a pleasant feeling of a fulfilment.

What would you like to tell to our audience?

Always keep your passion alive!

Nice to have you with us iHOU! Wish you all the best!