"There is a dance magnet under the floorboards." You can find this short and very accurate description on the Facebook page of the Tell Me Club. It has been shaking the feathers of Sofia's night owls in every possible way for an entire decade – with a colorful roster of regular and visiting DJs from near and far, with the vibrant designs of Yasen Zgurovski and all kinds of other decor that has transformed the club's atmosphere countless times, with its ideal location downtown, with its local color, and by granting its visitors the freedom to shake off their chains and meet kindred spirits whose "tell me" is always sincere.
A bar with this kind of open soul can only make it for ten years if there is a tight-knit team behind it, who knows how to survive not just a wild night, but also a bad week, or even month. How it all happens at Tell Me was told to us by the two Violets –Violeta Hubenova and Violeta Gendzhelieva, who deserve the credit for making the club one of the important venues for Sofia's nightlife.
How did you decide to open Tell Me, and what keeps you going ten years later?
VH: It happened very unexpectedly for me. I met Violeta as a client, and a few months after the opening I jumped in with both feet. And we're still going to this day, but with a few more kindred spirits with two feet each.
VG: The motivation: childhood friendship. The team: good intuition. Friendships unfold over a lifetime, and we grow with the help of the most faithful and cordial ones.
Who are some of the colorful personalities the club has introduced you to, and what are the valuable friendships it has given you?
VG: We introduced the club and the club introduced us to many artists with whom we're still working and creating to this day.
VH: This place, in addition to being a magnet for dancing, also has a magnet installed which draws the city's most colorful people to us. Our friends often become part of the team, temporary or permanent.
Tell Me / Photo: Boryana Pandova
Tell Me is already an institution in Sofia's nightlife and has been attracting a diverse community of free thinkers for years. How did this audience form over the years?
VH: This is the most popular definition of what Ivan Vazov 12 feels like – freedom. I have no idea how it came about, but it probably has something to do with love, free love.
VG: I hope it doesn't dematerialize due to the pandemic monopoly of blockchain hoops (if you don't steal, you don't eat).
What is Tell Me's place on the Sofia club scene, and what is missing from it?
VH: There are many people missing who are not in Bulgaria, we mostly see them on the dance floor between Christmas and New Year. What we offer is a music selection oriented towards full-fledged dancing, as well as a sense of home and belonging.
VG: Our work is about meaningful content, attitude and respect between people and music.
What has working in that kind of place taught you – what valuable knowledge and skills have you gained over the years, and what have you learned from the struggles along the way?
VG: It has taught me patience, self-reflection, faith, hope, love and determination.
VH: It turned out that the place becomes a living organism with a brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and other systems. Each of us plays the role of a certain organ, and when everyone is in synch, nature can take over.
The club has a distinct visual identity. What are some of your favorite makeovers of the space?
VH: Yasen Zgurovski is the one responsible for our visual identity – and other things, too. Colorful, tattooed, multi-talented, gentle, brave, an iconic part of our team.
VG: The music sounds so good and gets you in the right mood thanks to Mihail Peshev, a talented musician, a dear friend and lovely person.
What are some stories from the Tell Me kitchen that you would definitely include in your future memoris, if you ever decide to write them?
VH (laughs): We don't have a kitchen!
VG: What happens in Tell Me, stays in Tell Me!
How do you see the place in another ten years, what would you change and what do you never want to change?
VH: I picture the facade with giant plants hanging from the second floor, but disco is still blooming inside.
VG: We create things together now, so that tomorrow can be clean and bright.
Where can we usually find you outside the club? What other places become "yours" during the day or at night?
BX: Higher altitudes.
VG: Wherever there are friends and smiles.
Tell Me is at 12 Ivan Vazov Street and at: @TellMeBar / @follow.the.rabbits