What is your name?
At daytime we go by the name of Daniël Leseman & Hans Peeman.
How did you start?
We are friends since high school, we know each other for 20 years already!
We started collecting and playing vinyls (trance, totally different from what we do now haha) when we were 16. That evolved in us wanting to make music ourselves. We released a few EP’s back in the day either solo or collab. During our studies it kind of faded to the background and we picked it up again around 5/6 years ago. In 2012 we started our own label Outplay and began releasing vinyl in 2014, which also marked the beginning of our Fouk project with First Things First EP. A lot has happened since then 🙂
Where are you currently based?
Daniël lives in Utrecht and Hans in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, about an hour away from each other.
Please tell us about the With Lasers EP on Heist Recordings, how did this come about? What were the high’s and low’s of this process?
It’s our second EP on Heist and from the beginning of the process Lars & Maarten wanted us to push our own boundaries for this one. So we made a lot of material to experiment and bring our sound to what you can hear on With Lasers EP. We’re really pleased with how it turned out eventually.
We felt we had to reinvent ourselves a little bit, that was the hardest part. It really took some sweat and tears, but it definitely paid off in the end.
Making F3000 work as a track was a definite high for us. When we made it we immediately felt “this is where we want to go with this EP!”. We’re quite happy with how the arp bass and the electric bass parts interact in the track.
Image credit : Lennard Heijer Fotografie
Please describe your production process?
It varies quite a lot, but usually we start off with a nice sample or groove, could be some nice chords or drums or bass, whatever tickles our fancy. We then add percussion and drums and start playing our own things on top of that.
Sometimes we end up removing that initial sample and ending up somewhere totally different because of the things we add and play. We don’t have a set way of doing things. We like a track to evolve organically and to capture the spontaneity in the creative process as much as possible.
We use a lot of harmonic distortion and filtering to shape our sound (we love the Soundtoys plugins, they’re really versatile!) and always aim to keep the human element present in our tracks. So we hardly quantise things.
What are you working on right now?
We’ve just finished a new EP for Outplay. It will be the first full Fouk EP on our own label, so that’s pretty exciting! We’ve been on quite a creative hot streak since finishing With Lasers EP, so we’re making a lot of new original tracks. One of them will be coming out on a V.A. on Times Are Ruff with a lot of great artists after the summer.
And there are a couple of remixes coming up!
Please tell us about the below Fouk Remixes, how do you find inspiration before embarking on a remix? Is there anything that you listen to before hand? How do you prepare and tackle remix each time?
We usually have an idea before starting a remix, but same as with our originals they evolve organically most of the time.
Luke Million – Back To The Rhythm (Fouk Remix)
It’s a vocal driven pop track and it was a nice challenge to make it our own. We really wanted to turn it around and change the feel of the harmonies together with the vocals. Fitting the vocal from a major key to a minor key in our remix was the biggest challenge 🙂 Once we tackled that it went pretty naturally.
It came out not so much as a club driven track but more of a track with a song structure.
Kraak & Smaak – Smile (Fouk Dub)
We’ve worked with Kraak & Smaak before and same as the remix we did earlier for them the source material was easy to work with. From the start we wanted to make a dub mix for the club in contrast to the original.
Chromatic Filters – Slow Emotions (Fouk Remix)
We made this one quite a while ago so we have to think for a bit on how we did that one haha! The original is a pretty slow melodic library type track. We didn’t want to lose the melodic part in the remix and wanted to up the tempo a bit. Once we laid down the moog bass line we had a solid base to finish the track.
What is your equipment setup?
We both have our own studio at home, but with almost similar setups. So it’s pretty easy to work in both.
Together we have:
Logic Pro X with lots of plugins
Universal Audio Apollo 8 audio interface
Universal Audio UAD-2 Satellite
Universal Audio UAD-4 Satellite
Alesis M1 Active mk2 monitor speakers
Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 audio interface
Moog Sub Phatty
Moog Slim Phatty
Roland Juno 106
DSI Sequential Prophet 6
Korg Arp Odyssey (x2)
Nord Rack 2 (we don’t really use this one)
Waldorf Blofeld (we don’t really use this one)
Studiologic Studio 88 master keyboard
Arturia Keylab 49
Røde NT1-A mic (x2)
We both have SL 1200s which are 16/17 years old already, wow!
It’s an ever expanding list. Once your start it’s a slippery slope haha!
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
We’re both into music full time now. So it’s nice to sometimes take a break, even if it’s from something you love 🙂 Though music takes up a lot of our time we still find some time to relax and/or do absolutely nothing. Working together with your best friend is fantastic, but we noticed we really need to make the time to do friend stuff as well next to all the work/music. We always joke to our girlfriends it’s like a second marriage lol!
Daniël: I am a sound designer. I recently finished working on a scifi feature film project where I got to make everything from futuristic laser weapons to explosions and drones. That was pretty awesome to do! I love to watch movies and tv series. I also love to cook and take the time to prepare some special dishes or baking my own bread.
Hans: I was a graphic designer before this and I always loved to draw, but unfortunately it’s been ages since I really sat down and took the time to do it. I love to watch a lot of movies and series as well. I have a thing for watching really crappy movies from the 80’s, don’t know why haha. Maybe because I’m always inside my head and think a lot, watching mindless pulp is the perfect solution 😉
And every other free time I have I read a lot, especially when traveling!
Please tell us about your forthcoming new EP on your very own Outplay Records!
It’s a pretty varied EP with a definite Fouk feel. There’s even a downtempo track on there which we’re quite pleased with. We wanted to do something else than a club/house track. It’s bit of a preview of what kind of tracks we’d like to put on an album next to the more disco housy stuff.
How did Outplay Records become a reality? Please tell us about the origins?
We’ve been talking about starting our own label since beginning making our own music. Years and years later, in 2012, we started Outplay together with Kristoffer Ljungberg, we know him from other music ventures. After two years Kris decided to leave Outplay because of different views on the direction we wanted to take Outplay. After that we began releasing vinyl which gave a lot more satisfaction than doing just digital.
How would you describe your music genre?
The deep house genre has become so all encompassing so we like to say house music with jazz/funk/disco influences.
What are your plans for the future?
Make music. Play lots. 🙂 We’d like to make an album eventually and do a live thing as well. So keep doing our thing we love and grow artistically.
Image credit : Alwin SInnema
What do you enjoy most about remixing? What are the greatest challenges that you face from track to track? How did the below colabs come about?
With remixing it’s really fun to get to turn a track into your own sound; finding a balance between creating your own groove and using the source material without losing the connection with the original track. Like mentioned earlier the greatest challenges we’ve faced were making pop vocals work in a jazzy setting and holding on too much to our original idea instead of letting the remix evolve naturally. It doesn’t work to try and force something when making music. That’s why deadlines always suck (but are of course necessary).
How did you get into music?
Going to parties and buying records and getting curious about how it’s made. Daniël has been musically trained from a young age playing keys and he studied Music Production & Sound Design.
Any plans for a future album? If so, what could we possibly expect to come out?
We’re definitely intending on making an album, but we haven’t planned anything yet. We don’t want to do a straight up house music album. Expect us to stretch our creative muscles at least 😉 So downtempo/hiphop/funk next to our disco/house thing. Maybe a few collabs.
What are you listening to at the moment?
- Gershovsky – Disco Baby (Floating Points & Red Greg Edit)
This one has been taking a long time to finally get released. We expect that by the time this interview gets published everybody has been hammering this one to death 😉
We’re digging your latest podcast: Heist https://soundcloud.com/heistrecordings/heist-podcast-14-fouk
Who are your top 3 influences and icons?
We get asked this question a lot and we always dread this one a bit. There are soooooo many influences and people we admire a top three is next to impossible for us. And it keeps changing every time we think of it really, we keep discovering new lovely music! From the usual suspects of the 70s funk/disco/jazz era like Idris Muhammad, Ahmad Jamal, Roy Ayers to contemporary favourites like MCDE, Floating Points etc.
How was your tour of Australia earlier in 2017? What did you think of touring Australia and the shows / scene in general?
We had such an amazing time in Oz! Lovely country, people are so relaxed and really into the music we play. They sure know how to party 🙂
Quite knowledgeable as well about the things we do, which was humbling for us!
We’d love to come back!
Featured Photo Credit : Lennard Heijer Fotografie