Sonic Spaces | Feed - Amsterdam East
A newly revamped restaurant and soundbar in Amsterdam East has quickly grown to be one of our favorite spots to listen to (and play) music, dance, meet friends and eat. For our second interview in our new series 'Sonic Spaces' we sit down with Patrick and Simon - two-thirds of Feed's founding team!
Who are you? Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your connection to this place & music?
Simon: I've been living in the Netherlands for 15 years now. I grew up working in the hospitality industry in Sydney in restaurants, bars, and hotels. 2 partners and I started Drovers Dog in the Indische Buurt in 2013. Back then there was a lack of good quality coffee and solid brunch options, (in my opinion!) like smashed avo on toast, a real good eggs benny, a classic Aussie Brunch.
Over the last 8 years, we opened up 2 more Drovers Dog locations in Amsterdam. One in Oud Zuid and the other one right here on the Wibautstraat!
Patrick: I’m a music lover who moved to Amsterdam from Melbourne in early 2019. Soon after arriving, I was looking for a job in hospitality, I met Simon at his restaurant when it was still called Drover’s Dog. I passed on the job but we quickly became mates. I loved the space and community which Simon had fostered, and so I’d often pop by to spin records in the evening. Back then the space had a simple Pioneer / Technics set up. Nothing like what it has evolved to now.
What was your inspiration to add the soundbar concept to the restaurant?
Simon: I spent the lockdown deep cleaning an empty restaurant and thinking to myself: "What can I do to transform this space into a destination instead of just a location?"
Growing up with a love and passion for all musical genres, for years I wanted this location to be more of a night venue than a brunch restaurant. Under the name Drovers Dog, people immediately associated the place with an Aussie brunch cafe/restaurant so to say we're more of a bar as well was kind of a mixed marketing message.
So, thinking totally outside the box, Patrick, Lucas, and I developed the Feed Amsterdam concept! Lucas has been a great friend for over 10 years, a music, marketing, analytics and horeca guru! He came on board in 2018 and worked with me in the business as an assistant manager. I've always had a rule to never work with friends but this trilogy between the three of us is fantastic! It was just meant to be. With all our different backgrounds, tastes and loves, and strengths combined, we have developed Feed from the ground up.
The space had a mezzanine level above the bar which could accommodate 16 people. This space was never really used. During the lockdown in my deep cleaning sessions I thought to myself, why not build a radio booth up there where people can watch people playing music that's also played through the venue, but not just music, the radio side is a public asset for anyone who wants to use it, be it for discussions, spoken word, live acoustic music and of course, DJ-sets.
Tijmen de Nooy Photography
Patrick: That’s a tricky question. There was no single defining place or person which inspired Feed, rather a culmination of experiences from various perspectives - although I’m certain that Melbourne’s music culture played a part on the music side of things.
As soon as I was old enough to pass off as 18, I’d regularly visit clubs and bars in Melbourne’s thriving nightlife, particularly Lounge - where local legends Benny, Liam, and Nick hosted a weekly party called Lucid. I remember seeing local acts like Andras Fox, Tornado Wallace, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Tom Moore, Moopie, Toni Yotzi - it was wild and raw. The team behind Lucid worked bloody hard and they were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge - they taught me a lot. The sense of community which they fostered within the local music and cultural scene was pretty damn inspiring.
We also had a great radio station in Melbourne called PBS 106.7FM - a community broadcaster that has been an integral player in Melbourne’s diverse music community - dedicated to nurturing, inspiring and championing Melbourne’s diverse music community. I remember regularly tuning into CC:DISCO’s Smoke and Mirrors show on Friday with banging disco, house, and rock records. It was at PBS where I also first experienced playing on the radio, having been invited by the talented local selector Adriana, on the Opalakia show.
What’s in a name?
Simon: Many names were put on the table from the beginning and it wasn't until a night around the kitchen table with flatmates having beers and games that we came up with the name Feed. A physical feed, a radio feed, feeding people education as to how to eat seasonally and sustainably.
Can you tell us about the sound system and the booth?
Patrick: The sound system is comprised of two floating C30-ANC Active Noise Cancelling full range audio loudspeakers designed by Amsterdam’s Kees Neervoort and built by Eindhoven’s Quint Audio. They are the first of their kind.
The appearance is inspired by vintage Augspeurger studio monitors, but if you think they sound anything alike - you would be mistaken. The Active Noise Cancelling is created by the use of two 15” woofers on each side of the C30, that work together with the two woofers on the front, in order to create a tightly controlled dispersion pattern for maximum full range output on the front side and minimal overspill behind the system. The sound is pushed through the venue with an additional two Custom Quint Audio C6s.
Tijmen de Nooy Photography
All this is powered using Quint Audio Custom 8-channel amplifier complete with Groningen’s Hypex Ncore amplifier modules, resulting in precise spectral balance, where no part of the audio range is overhyped or underplayed.
In our rounded booth we use the E&S DJR400 rotary mixer together with two Technics and two CDJs - built by Martes, who builds and organizes large and small construction projects within the cultural and creative sector, with a focus on reusing waste materials. I got the idea of a rounded booth from seeing countless photos from Studio 54, it made me wonder why all tables I played on were straight. Martes then designed and constructed the Feed DJ booth and record shelf using material left over from previous jobs and building material collected from the street, including a fallen tree branch that came from a park in front of his house in Amsterdam.
The front of the booth features the wavelength of a 4 bar Madonna acapella - Music makes the people come together, yeah.
What’s on the menu?
Simon: Head chef Martyn has been with me since 2017. Martyn has a complete reign of the kitchen. Changing dishes every 2 weeks with what's in season, what's local, and what's sustainable.
The kitchen's gone more plant-based. Of course, the old favorites stay on! Like our beef burger and the buttermilk fried chicken! (local beef and local free-range chicken might I add) but the majority of the menu is vegetarian and constantly evolving. Martyn is also making fantastic desserts every week.
Pic by Guguism // Guido Porten
Listen to Patrick's conversation from a couple of months ago, with head chef Martyn where they talk about the food (and listen to Metal). The conversation about food starts around 15min in.
Why here? What’s your relationship to the neighborhood?
Simon: We've had this location since 2016. When we took it over we fitted out the complete venue, a massive job. It was always going to be a difficult location being on the edge of the city, the end of the Wibautstraat, and also only having the sun until 2 pm during the summer.
Since we opened as Drovers Dog Wibautstraat we've always had great support from our local neighbors. Now with the transformation to Feed, the same local community is continuing their support and is super enthusiastic about the new concept and the direction it's taking. Over the years this side of town is finding itself again and slowly turning itself around to the spot it used to be with new and old horeca finding its roots again.
Anything special about the place we should know about? (decoration, lighting, art,…)
Simon: We were able to give the space much more warmth with some fabulous found materials such as large Persian carpets, great pieces of furniture, plants and flowers, and lots of additional lighting around the venue! Back in Australia after completing high school, I studied fine art at the National Art School in Sydney where I completed my studies in ceramics and painting.
Art has always played a huge part in my life both in Australia and also here in the Netherlands. I have many friends here in the art scene and it's fantastic to be able to offer them a space to portray their work here at Feed.
Where do you see the place go in the next 1-5 years?
Simon: Well that's hard to say at this point in time. Right now its all about climbing out of a pandemic hole and building the business back up and paying off outstanding debts from 2019 onwards. The support and enthusiasm over the last year has been wonderful.
Patrick: Let’s not ruin a good surprise ;)
What makes this place unique?
Simon: I think the new elements we have added to the concept are quite unique, the listening bar, and all the acoustic treatment that went into the refurb, the radio booth, and the art space, and the constantly evolving food menu offer an exciting experience for returning guests as well as newcomers.
How much work went into the place?
Simon: So so so much! It has been so heartwarming to reach out to all the people that have helped me with Drovers Dog over the years and explain the new concept of Feed and their enthusiasm and willingness to help out and go above and beyond in helping execute the Feed refurb. From electricians, carpenters, metal workers, family, and friends.
Pat, Lucas, and I have put in so much work to get Feed off the ground and where it is today in such a short time.
Its been such a turbulent year for me personally, in January my mum lost her battle with cancer in Australia. We were very close and she taught me so much about interior design and art. At the time of her passing, we had just started the renovation at Feed. I'm not a religious person but I had some very spiritual and enlightening experiences surrounding the time of mums passing and I took that strength from her and forged ahead with her soul on my shoulders. That's a whole other story though but her soul lives on in the Feed concept.
We even named the boat in the artwork on our landing page after her: 'Suzette'. Then only three months after that, my mum's mother passed at the beautiful age of 93. Not being able to travel back to Australia to be with my family was devastating but at the same time, I can constantly feel them with me. Now I have two of the strongest women in my life-giving us the strength and power to make this concept a great success.
Living around the corner from Feed, I've been visiting them as they have been building up this beautiful space and have seen the place grow through their passion, dedication, and community focussed approach. I even found some great mates along the way!
During ADE, Feed will get rid of all the tables and transform the place into a full-on ADE-ready dancefloor:
You can find the details for their ADE events on their website here.
Our very own DJ Tracksuit and Shady Lady are co-hosting the ADE Friday event 'Dice' at Feed, together with Bonnefooi, C.R.A.C.K.E.N. and Sentinel Island Disco: