How did you start?
I got instantly hooked on techno after visiting an underground party by local collective ‘Strictly Techno’ at de Vlerk in Rotterdam, a legendary small venue in the city center. I used to visit concerts and was more into punk and hiphop etc. at the time, but after that night I started digging into techno music. This was around 1998 I think, I started dj-ing one year later. Some years after that I got asked to join the Strictly Techno crew and I started my first label soon after that (Audio Assault in 2002), the rest is history…
Where are you based?
In the most beautiful city of The Netherlands, Rotterdam, home of ‘work hard play hard’ people with a ‘roll up your sleeves’ attitude. One of the biggest harbours in the world and loads of great architecture.
Please give an example of your music process?
I usually just get started and see where it leads me. I always like to use this ‘the travel is more important than the destination’ philosophy. I try to work in different ways, to avoid getting stuck in the same process. It helps to change your standard process every now and then. Besides that I mainly try to find moments where I’m really motivated and try to avoid situations of being too tired or not in the mood. I used to make music every free hour, these days I need to be more selective, because of my busy schedule and some ear problems I’m experiencing at the moment.
What are you working on right now?
Because of the ear problems I’m not able to make a lot of music, but I’m currently working on some new projects though, just goes slower then I would like to, to be honest. I’m working on some remixes that will be out after the summer and early next year, but also a follow up EP on my label Mord Records that will be out soon. Besides that I spend a lot of time curating the label. Loads of new stuff coming up.
What is your gear setup?
I got quite a basic set up, not too big. Basically my Mac with Ableton is the center of it all, besides that I use a Maschine 2, some hardware and fx, such as a 909, 303, Analog Rytm, Korg Electric Sampler, Sherman Filterbank 2, Korg ms 20 mini, Korg Volca Keys, Orban 6226, Aphex 204, RAT and Big Muff Distortion etc. Not really looking for a lot of new hardware to be honest, I feel comfortable with a relatively small set up.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
My main goal in life these days is to spend as much time with my family. Since I’m away most of the weekends I try to make as much room in my agenda for quality family time. I love to hang out with my gf and kids. I love watching movies and documentaries, but my main interest is literature and reading. Besides that I love to play sports, I recently picked up tennis again, but also love to run or go to the gym. After quite a heavy period of touring where the use of alcohol kind of got out of hand at some point, I recently realised I needed to get my shit together, so I quit most of my drinking and started to live a healthier life again since a couple of months, so far it works out pretty well. Touring is quite heavy and you need to be fit to actually keep up with this job, especially when you are 40 😉 getting back to your question, my daily life affects my music, since I’m always focussed on everything around me. I always make notes on stuff I read or watch and often use parts of it in my music or ideas. Inspiration comes in many forms, although it’s mostly something thats in my sub-conscience I guess. I don’t literally make a track after reading a book for seeing a movie. But my label Mord for example was inspired by the track title of a Roman Polanski movie called ‘Morderstwo’ (Polish for ‘Murder’).
How would you describe your music genre?
Do you know any music theory?
Not that much to be honest, I always have plans to get into the theory of it all a bit more, but tell myself it might affect my creativity, which of course is nonsense, I just don’t like to do homework, one of the reasons I left University I guess ;). Of course you need to know some basics, but techno is a genre where sometimes the lack of knowledge can also lead to very interesting outcomes, but of course I do have some basic knowledge, was just never really schooled or anything when it comes to musical theory. You learn along the way, sometimes you fall and then you get up again.
What are your plans for the future?
Stay creative and always keep looking for new opportunities and ideas. My label has been doing quite well since the start and we are doing a lot of label nights all over the world. From Paris to New York, Moscow, Tbilisi, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, London and so on. I will try to keep on building not he whole concept and try to keep it fresh and exciting, which means I need to be openminded. Main thing is that I maintain enjoying myself with what I do.
How did you get into music?
Well, like I said before, I really got into electronic music after visiting a techno party. I was still in University back then, but rapidly got hooked on techno and the scene around it. Started organising underground parties and got more gigs as a dj. At some point I decided to quit University (I studied Law for 2 years and a couple of years of History) and focus on my music, working some jobs on the side for a while until I got a full time job offer at Triple Vision Record Distribution, I’ve worked there for 7 years and learned a lot, before I decided to take the big step and go for music full-time around 2008 I think.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Cars and people shouting outside my hotel in Buenos Aires, I’m currently In Argentina, where I played ‘Under Club’ yesterday. But I guess you mean the music I like at the moment 😉 I rarely listen to techno at home, I prefer other music. I listen to a lot of The Cure again recently, since I always love to play music from my teenage years, but also bought the new Grandaddy album, which I played many times the past weeks. The latest album by ‘A Tribe Called Quest’, everything from The KVB, the first Pennywise album, the latest Nick Cave, but also just bought some old Massive Attack vinyls, been a while since I listened to them. Apparently my focus is usually on the music I grew up with and every now and then some new music enters the collection, but most of the times I end up playing old Stone Roses, The Cure of Joy Division etc, I guess that will never change…
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Arnon Grunberg, Speedy J, Ian Curtis, Luke Slater and most of all, my grandfather.
When are you playing next?
Next gig is Output New York, needless to say I’m looking forward to that a lot! After that some festivals in France, Holland and Italy, a mini tour in Colombia and from September on the club season will start again. Calendar is already quite full until the end of the year, so it looks good.