It’s a tale of two cities for Dennis Ferrer, a native New Yorker who has brought his New Amsterdam swagger to Amsterdam, Holland. The half Puerto Rican, half Bermudan DJ-producer is as legendary in his hometown as he is in his recently adopted city, where he now splits his time thanks to the grueling demands of international touring. With recent remixes for Art Department, Hot Chip and Sabb and last year’s remix of London Grammar’s ‘Sights’ still sweeping dancefloors across Ibiza this summer, Ferrer adds to the arsenal of house music classics already on his resume with each new release.
Always one to tell it like it is, DJ Mag USA asked Dennis to give our American readers some solid tips for their ADE trips. He obliged, explaining, “There are plenty of bourgeois, trendy places to eat, but to quote Deetron feat. Hercules & Love Affair’s ‘Crave’ single, sometimes ‘what I crave can do me wrong.’ A hearty meal is sometimes just what the doctor ordered and what the soul needs. Comfort for me, when I’m away from home and partying, begins with keeping with this aforementioned mantra in mind.”
“Okay, no… not after-the-coffee-shop munchies! BUT don’t get me wrong — this could also be applied if one so wishes [laughs]. After a gig it’s normally early morning, 6am or so. Dutch culture isn’t really based upon fast food breakfast shops or franchises like in the US, so I’ve gotta adapt. I know this is gonna sound absolutely ridiculous, but one of the best hangouts to eat at that time is actually… the airport!
I know, I know. You’re saying, ‘but D, why in the world would I want to go there?’
1. It’s really close to the city if you’re driving, 10 minutes tops at that time.
2. Everyone seems to go there!
3. There’s a 24-hour coffee house and popular burger spot.
4. Nobody really bugs you when you stumble in.
5. If you’re really that ripped and you’re with that ‘special’ someone, there’s a Sheraton hotel 300 meters up the escalator so you can handle your business in peace and not have to worry about any walks of shame.
At an airport everyone is hustling and no one cares. Look: imbibing, food, sex and easy access to a hotel? Are you kidding me? Do I have to really talk you guys into this? Better shut my mouth now lest I get in trouble.”
THE DAY-AFTER: HANGOVER ESPECIALE
“On this hungover day, it’s all about Bazar (Albert Cuypstraat 182, Amsterdam) and their Dande Ribs. OH, SWEET MOTHER OF… you guys just don’t understand! This place sort of has a North African vibe going on in it and the food is utterly amazing. I don’t know where to begin. Just find it. The other alternative would be Chinese food. As a native New Yorker, ‘bulletproof’ Chinese for me was like infant formula. I was raised on that stuff! And quite honestly, there is no other spot, NONE, that I’d rather eat at than the historic Nam Kee (Geldersekade 117, 1011 Amsterdam). Their crispy pork is to die for. That stuff is legendary. There is no hangover after those, just a nice case of ‘itis. For those who are wondering why I called it ‘bulletproof’, it’s because most Chinese food places in the Bronx and Brooklyn when I was a kid had bulletproof glass to keep from being robbed!”
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
“After the recovery day, it’s time to go out and investigate a bit. Maybe do a bit of shopping; a nice walk in the city, some coffee shop hopping, sneaker shopping. There’s a fashion stop at one of my favorite clothing stores, 2PR in Damstraat. It’s a great shop that has amazing, cutting edge men’s wear. It’s not huge and that’s exactly what I love about it. No extra crap in there. Just hot stuff. Buy and leave. [Laughs]
“Run down to make the obligatory stop at Patta Shoes or Concrete for sneakers and hit Pancakes Amsterdam restaurant in the Negen Straatjes in the canal area for lunch (Berenstraat 38, Amsterdam). They don’t exactly make pancakes like IHOP or Denny’s in Amsterdam, but I will commend them. Quite honestly though, it’s all about a huge plate of poffertjes drenched in maple syrup for me. My blood sugar is spiking like I’m hooked on heroin just thinking about them!!
“Next stop will generally be stopping by Dijkman music or Midi Amsterdam to see if I need any music gear … which I definitely don’t. But like all junkies, they can’t say no when presented with product.”
LIKE AN ANIMAL
“Sometimes, I want to get my National Geographic on, so we’ll all take a trip to a zoological park just outside of Amsterdam called Apenheul. I absolutely adore monkeys, and this place is all about them. That’s what they have. They’re roaming free! It’s amazing … it’s revolutionary and it would never happen in the United States because everyone would sue everyone for anything that would happen in the place! If you’re American you have to see this to believe it and it honestly is always a fond memory for me. It’s a pretty normal thing for someone to do, but hey, I guess my life can’t always just be about partying.”
“On occasion I’ll have a Sunday free, and this is when the fun begins. Because Sunday in Amsterdam means Thuishaven! What is Thuishaven, you ask? It’s the creation of a bunch of stupendously creative guys who thought it was a grand idea to buy a circus — sans animals and performers — from the retired owner. They decided that Sundays would be the day they would throw parties, using the main circus tent, and they would dress up and be the ringmasters. It’s super fun, crazy, refreshing and getting big. My favorite party in Amsterdam hands down and you wouldn’t really know too much about it if you’re a tourist. It’s much more of an inner circle, word of mouth, not openly advertised party. It’s the perfect end to a week … that is, of course, if you like going back to the airport again for food ... and the cycle begins all over again! [Laughs]”
Pics: VAAG PHOTOGRAPHY