The Warehouse in Zurrieq is a place where I have personally been twice and both times it has been quite the experience. It is hard to put into words just how niche of a venue it is in terms of the typical Maltese nightlife. It is a place where you really have to go and experience the hedonism of the location for yourself. For me, it seems as if it is a venue where anything goes, within reason, and a place where you can really let yourself go with no concern of the judgment or skepticism that you find along the dreary and tedious streets of Paceville. It is a place that is far too rare in Malta.
The owners are Felix Zahra & Carmelo Cassar, men of exceptional ambition and adventure in various different fields. Along with their day jobs, Felix is also DJ, and the pair very recently opened IL-Grokk, a wine bar also in Zurrieq.
Felix even spent the last few months Djing in Asia, kicking the year off in India, before venturing over to Japan for several weeks. However, despite their hectic schedules, he and Carmelo have managed to consistently keep the beats flowing in The Warehouse at least a couple of times a month. It was in IL-Groqq where I met Felix on a warm Saturday evening and he explained the story of The Warehouse.
Origins of The Venue
It first began as simply a garden, scattered with just orange trees and cactuses, there were no buildings at all, with the parties originally occurring in a cottage just a stone’s throw from where The Warehouse currently stands. After 5 years of partying in this cottage and repeat complaints from the neighbours, Felix and Carmelo managed to convince the previous owner to allow them to convert the land into a party venue and the work began.
With a glorious view of the sea as a setting, they began building the club from scratch. From the palette seating and the bar inside to the garden area outside, where it is possible to dance beneath the stars in the summer, everything you see is their creation. The only help in the project coming from local tattooist and spray-paint artist, Just-Ink, who added the finishing touches to the interior.
Their goal from the outset has been to provide a truly unique venue, different to anything Malta has seen before. Specialising from day one in all things underground.
Since then, The Warehouse has very much become the home of Psytrance music, with Felix & Cassar’s own Inner Voyage project waving the flag every month, but the venue also plays host to Techno, Rock, and Hip Hop parties on a regular basis too.
Being a DJ himself, Felix had performed at parties and clubs all over the island, which he found all to be the same, and this is exactly what the pair didn’t want in their club. Instead, they want each DJ who plays there to feel a different vibe everytime they enter.
The mission here is purely to provide an alternative to commercial music. A mission Felix feels has been accomplished, as if he didn’t feel it had happened, he says wouldn’t have kept running the club.
Striving Forward Into A Party Fuelled Summer
Although Felix admits veering away from the mainstream makes things ticking over financially a task at times, he is adamant he would rather be doing this than doing something that wouldn’t make him happy.
With the club run and operated by friends in a way that they all want, it is easy to see why Felix and Carmelo are so content.
Plus, from what it is planned for the summer, The Warehouse seems set to power through stronger than ever, as despite his other commitments, the next few months is looking jam-packed for Felix, Carmelo and their crew.
They have planned their own festival, Alchemy, which will run from the 15-17th June and is set to have three stages scattered across The Warehouse and its surrounding area. Each of the stages will host a different genre, with Techno inside, Psytrance in the garden, and Psy-chill in the camping area overlooking the sea.
It is not all about music though and they have regular events for other causes happening all the time. The next one is a very special all-day charity fundraiser for Children Aid next week, called Nuts Mayday, where people of all ages are welcome.
It is clear that in many ways, community is more than at the heart of The Warehouse, it is The Warehouse!
Felix and Carmelo have much bigger plans on the horizons though and Felix explained they always striving for more in all terms of their ventures and their plans for future don’t seem to stop here,
“We have created the dream we had with it. We have created something good, something big. We’ve done a lot, but we can’t exclude something bigger than The Warehouse. Maybe a bigger club, something slightly different, but with the same ideas, something you can’t find anywhere else.
We will keep on going with what we are doing because we think what we are doing is good, but we can maybe improve. Get new ideas, some new sounds, and some new genres. We have Techno, Psytrance, Hip-Hop, RnB & Dance, so maybe we can do something else, we have to be creative!”
I have no doubt that Felix, Carmelo and the crew at The Warehouse are sure to pull through on their ambition. But, for now, you can check out The Warehouse this Saturday for the latest Techno Family event, or if you want some great food and wine by some great people, why not pay a visit to their restaurant IL-Grokk!
Words by William Macmaster