003 | JAMES BELIAS presents MAROUSI
Greek Australian DJ James Belias has played at some of Australia’s and Greece’s most famous venues and festivals, including annual summer sets to packed outdoor clubs in Mykonos.
His groovy brand of house, infused with disco and classics, is a perfect starter to the holiday season.
How many times have you been to Athens and what’s the longest you’ve stayed?
I’ve been to Greece eight or nine times, and have made countless trips to Athens. The longest I stayed was six months in 2004 and five months in 2006.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in Athens?
I’ll have a drink with whoever is in town at one of the city’s rooftop bars. Because most my visits are in August, most Athenians are usually out of town when I’m there, so that mostly means catching up with fellow travelers and visitors to Athens.
How do you describe the city to friends that have never been?
Athens is there to be explored, and the richest rewards await those who dig deepest.
Local knowledge helps, and I’m very lucky to have close friends in Athens, so my trips always benefit from the advice friends offer. But even the most obvious things are amazing in Athens and tips and info is readily available online.
The current crisis has also forced Athenians to be creative and as a result, great experiences are to be found everywhere. Two of my favourite cafe/bars are Babouras and Bel Rey.
I tell mates to seek out the less obvious! The city has a rich history and has been continuously inhabited for 5000 years, which means it is not as neat and tidy as say, one of the more ‘orderly’ cities in Australia, the UK or the US. Athens is a ‘warts and all’ experience and if you want orderly, go to Geneva.
Tell us about one of your most memorable nights partying in Athens?
It was 2004 and a group of five of us had gone out for drinks in Athens around Thisseio, a really short walk from Monastiraki. Athens was unseasonably busy because of the Olympics. There were literally people from all over the world around everywhere.
Our table soon joined up with another table as we laughed and made friends. Soon, another table joined us and then another again. Without a word of exaggeration, over the next few hours all tables from the restaurant were linked together and of course, we drank the restaurant out of beer. That was fine with everyone, as the periptero was a stone’s throw away. A memorable night indeed.
What is your favourite Metro stop in Athens and why?
My friends and I always joke about the recorded Metro announcer’s voice because of the way she says what the next stop is in Greek, followed by in English.
And with a stop, like say, Megaro Mousikis, of course there is no difference in the way she says the name of the stop, so it’s not like a tourist will understand the really Greek sounding stops. But anyway, Megaro Mousikis is a favourite, because it sounds poetic.
How would you describe this mix and why did you name it Marousi?
This mix is a live recording from a club and I prefer circulating a live club mix because it better reflects what I do. You’ll hear the energy rise throughout the hour and then I take it down again after the peak and it starts to build again. I like house music with disco elements which you’ll hear in this mix along with an ebb and flow. There are a few classic tracks, like Liquid People ‘Love is the answer’ (from the great Africanism label) and Sunkids ‘Rise up’, and there are some newer tracks like Kings Of Tomorrow ‘Fall for you’ and Dimitri From Paris ‘Disco shake’.
I named the mix Marousi for a few reasons.
Firstly, it was my local neighbourhood when I stayed in Athens in 2004 with my cousins Sandra, Dimitris, Olga and Eva (thanks guys!). I have a lot of mates from the area too, all of whom share a love of AEK and on each trip I try to catch up with whoever is in town and catch a game with the Marousi R21 boys.
Obviously you also have OAKA (Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens) there too, which is great for football and basketball and not to mention larger scale concerts.
Although Marousi is away from the centre, it’s a great and thriving part of Athens.
Cheers to all of my Athens family and friends!