Long before I became an architect and wanting to become a photographer, I used to be a waitress. For one whole year. At Rocky Racoon, in Patras. If you happened to drive by this city, Rocky Racoon was the place to visit. So, while I was serving coffees and beer to RR’s customers, Nikitas was the dj. And I used to comment on his style, all the time. Because Nikitas Mantas did not only know about good music, he also knew about good outfits… among other things. And now, almost seven years later, I got the chance to visit him in his apartment in Exarcheia, while he played his records, telling me how he prefers to play music on vinyl rather than cds and how he became a fan of aek. Here is mr. Nikitas Mantas, an account manager, a dj, but most importantly a charming man.
You studied Mass Media, wanting to become a journalist. But then did your masters on Marketing and turned out an Account Manager. What kind of journalism did you want to do?
I wanted to become a sports journalist. But that came out of the question really fast. Then I wanted to cover politics, but at that moment in Greece, when I had just gotten my degree, if you wanted to find a job, you had to work for free for a couple of years and then maybe you’d start getting a regular salary. So, I moved to the UK to do my masters.
And you would be supporting which team?
So, who is your favorite sports reporter?
Alexis Theofilopoulos. For sure.
What is it with fans and football and the press in Greece?
I really don’t know. I think we are making a big deal out of it, because football in Greece is really poor. So there’s a lot of fuss going on with the fans and the way they organize themselves. I mean, Spain, who has some very good teams, has only two or three sports newspapers. We have ten times that!
But apart from being an account manager, you also have been djing all those years. Do you go after a certain name?
Yes, eisbär, which means polar bear in German. It comes from a song by Grauzone from the 80s, a bit post punk, but also electronic. It really reflects the vibe and the style of that age, when that kind of music started to take form. Actually I think the band comes from Switzerland.
Do you remember the first time you worked as a dj? Where was it? And what did you play?
It was Rocky Raccoon in Patras. I think it was back in 2004. But I have no idea what I played that night. Probably Radiohead, Depeche Mode and Interpol.
And now you play…?
At Key Bar. Every other Friday.
You seem so fascinated with music. How come you didn’t try making your own?
I played the piano for about ten years. Then I got a small synthesizer from a friend and started playing some tunes on that. But the thing is, if you want to make music, you have to be 100% on that, it has to be the only thing on your mind. And unfortunately my time is limited.
This year, you started your own show on indieground, an online radio. Is playing on the radio different than djing?
Yes, because it gives you the chance to play things that you wouldn’t be able to play at a bar. So it’s my opportunity to share all the music I love with other people. And it’s really cool, you know, because you get to meet people that have the same taste in music as you and you get to talk about it and discuss things. When I play music at a bar or a party, I have to keep in mind that the people are here to have fun and to relax, so the music must follow that direction.
What would be the song you’ve played the most the past months?
Mind your own business by Delta 5.
And you play using mp3s?
No! No way. I use cds mostly, but the last couple of months I have started also using vinyl records. It feels right.
So you said you wanted to become a journalist… and then you said you loved music. So why don’t you mix those two?
I sometimes do. I recently wrote a piece for Lifo on the albums that fascinated me the most this past year.
Swans, Slag Guts and Silent Servant.
Ok. Lets talk fashion and clothes now. What is a big disaster when it comes to clothes and guys?
Shirts with a really low neckline. Anything pink. Mask – shaped sunglasses. Sweaters thrown casually at your back, that make you preppy.
And a disaster on a girl’s outfit would be?
Anything too provocative. A bad pair of shoes. That’s just about it.
You’ve spend some years living in Germany and you can’t stop talking about how much you love Berlin. But you are living in Athens. Why’s that? What would you change in Athens?
I have wanted to move abroad and I have thought about it a lot, because, let’s face it, it’s not the best of times to be living in Greece right now. But I have good friends here and we are having a good time. And I have a decent job. So, Athens it is. But I would change the sidewalks. There is no space for a pedestrian to be in this city. I have a friend who recently had a baby, and I thought about what a drag it must be to try to survive in this city, with no sidewalks, and a baby stroller. But apart from that, a larger Museum of Modern Art would also be good to have in Athens.
And, last question. If you had someone over from another country, where would you take them?
I would take them to the Central Food Market downtown for some good bites at 7am. To Strefis Hill to see the breathtaking view of the metropolitan area of Athens. I would take them on a walk by the beach, but I really don’t know where exactly, since I only stay downtown. To Key Bar for some good music and drinks. To Pop bar, if it were still open. And probably to Galaxy Bar in Stadiou Str. for some more drinks.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above: Nikitas is a big fan of walking. That’s why he only stays downtown. He rarely uses his car or the subway, but loves to go everywhere within walking distance. / What’s more to that, he is a great cook and hates takeout. / As for the football teams, he became a fan of aek, because it had won two championships in a row and it seemed a good idea to support aek. He still thinks it’s a good idea to support aek. / If he could cover any game in history, he would cover the Dream Team playing for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. / Yes, during the photo shoot he drank coffee, fresh orange juice, milk and brandy. All that. In just one shoot. / The long blue coat Nikitas is wearing was bought at a second hand shop in Berlin for 60euros. Gesundheit.