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In conversation with Elias Mazian

Embracing a new definition of strength with Dr. Martens’ MADE STRONG campaign

Nestled within the core of Amsterdam’s flourishing music scene, Elias Mazian is a DJ that resonates across the city’s diverse musical landscape; from underground venues to influential hubs. His journey, performing in intimate, dimly lit bars to renowned festivals like Lowlands, has etched a dynamic presence for Mazian within the electronic music scene. Today, we have the privilege of exploring Mazian’s world as the local voice of  Dr. MartensMADE STRONG campaign, paying homage to the brand’s deep-rooted connection with music culture. This initiative heralds a new chapter for the brand, deeply rooted in its momentous identity cultivated over six decades. Mazian’s participation in the MADE STRONG campaign aligns with the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), where he will be performing on the Dr. Martens stage at the ADE Hangover. Capturing the essence of resilience at the heart of the brand, we celebrate the stories that redefine the notion of strength in contemporary times.

Hey Elias! Let’s begin at the beginning: How did you first get into DJing, and what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
I started DJing because I was always interested in giving situations a soundtrack, and figuring out which song fit best for a moment. There was a small bar in the city that I grew up in that provided me with a spot to DJ all night, every Saturday. There I learned how to mix and spin for a crowd, how to keep them interested and all of that. I then realized that having an audience right in front of you is quite different from just playing songs at home ha-ha. During that time, I also started going out a lot and I became obsessed with electronic music, to the point where I constantly dreamed about being in the DJ booth myself. That dream came true, and here we are…

I really enjoy your Private Hearts series — tell me about it, and what vibe you wish to create during this 1-2 hours in time…
Thank you! After all those late-night hours in clubs, I realized that my passion for music wasn’t limited to just dance music. I absolutely love collecting beautiful songs and sharing them. Besides, songs always hit harder in the morning. Your ears are still fresh and receptive. Combine that with a cup of coffee or tea, and your day couldn’t start any better. We are now over 150 episodes in, and it has become something very special. With a dedicated community that always tunes in and is very engaged with the show. More than I could have ever dreamed of.

You’ve performed at various venues and festivals. What has been your most memorable performance to date, and what made it so special?
There are so many! This summer, the performance with my band at Lowlands was truly a highlight. Having 3,000 people singing along to Nooit Meer Einde and applauding and cheering for you, absolute goosebumps! In terms of DJing, Nachti in Olganitz was definitely a highlight. It’s a festival that I’ve visited so many times, and now I got to play on a Saturday afternoon. There was no thinking involved; everything just flowed naturally. Trust me, that’s not always the case…

You are a prominent figure in Amsterdam’s music scene. What do you think makes Amsterdam such a vibrant and influential hub?
Amsterdam is small in one sense – everything is easily accessible by bike, but in another sense, it’s grand in its expressions. Culturally, so much is happening, and because all these different subcultures are strongly interconnected precisely because it’s small and accessible, interesting art quickly emerges. There’s a lot of cross-pollination because the distances are so short, both literally and figuratively.

Your collaboration with Dr. Martens and their MADE STRONG campaign is a lot of fun. Can you tell us more about your involvement in the campaign and what it means to you?
Being asked to collaborate with Dr. Martens was a real honour for me. Dr. Martens has consistently maintained a deep-rooted connection with music culture, dating back to the days of punk rock and continuing through to the present. It’s incredible to think of the brand’s enduring influence and association with musical subcultures. So yeah, I’m absolutely thrilled that I had the opportunity to make my own contribution to this heritage.

What does strength mean to you as an individual? What makes you “strong”?
To me, being strong means knowing who you are and what you stand for. It’s about having a stable and intrinsic motivation, understanding why you do what you do, and doing it with passion. There will be setbacks, and you might lose your balance at times, but the inner strength that defines your core will always guide you in the right direction. That’s what strength means to me.

How do you associate this definition with the Dr. Martens brand/story?
Dr. Martens has a history of being worn by those who have a clear sense of identity and stand for their beliefs.

You are also featured on a tram for the campaign! That’s a fun Carrie Bradshaw moment. What did seeing this for the first time feel like? Shy, proud, excited?
It’s surreal that my face is visible around the city every day. I try not to dwell on it too much, but I do enjoy the photos people send me. I think my future kids will find it particularly amusing. When I’m old and grey, I can tell them that I was once featured on a tram.

The MADE STRONG campaign in Amsterdam is associated with the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) and your upcoming performance on the Dr. Martens stage at the ADE Hangover. Could you share your favourite ADE experiences?
I don’t have a specific experience, but I find it truly remarkable that the entire city pulsates with electronic music culture. People from all over the world come to Amsterdam for five days to share that common passion. As you bike through the city, you can hear dance music coming from every corner or shop.

The best/funniest ADE memory?
I always enjoy the Sunday of ADE the most at De School. During the closing weekend, everyone comes together to dance out the very last of their energy after all the meetings, appointments, and gigs. There’s a sense of relief and, at the same time, excitement because it’s the final stretch. The grand finale. There’s always an electric atmosphere that is truly magical. I’m DJing there again this year on Monday morning in het Muzieklokaal. I can’t wait…

Can you give us a glimpse into your upcoming projects and collaborations that your fans can look forward to?
I’m currently working on a house EP that will hopefully be released next year, and we have a club tour with my band coming up, featuring four shows in the Netherlands, with the final one at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. There are some more special things in the pipeline, but I have to keep my lips sealed on those for now!

Words by Grace Powell

Learn more about Dr. Martens MADE STRONG here! 

Catch Elias Mazian at Dr. Martens’ stage at ADE Hangover