Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I live in Amsterdam, which is an amazing place for music. Electronic music is very well represented here, and every weekend you can find a diverse selection of styles in really great venues. On top of that, there are countless top festivals in and around Amsterdam. The airport is next to the city so perfect for international touring artists.
How did you first start playing electronic music?
I started playing the piano when I was about 3 years old. When I was 10, I played around with some old music software, like the first version of Reason. Later, around the age of 16 – the time that minimal techno was ruling the underground scene – I attended my first techno parties and immediately became hooked to the sound and wanted to produce that. So I did.
You have recently released your new album ‘Church Of Clubmusic’ what or who influenced the sound and songwriting?
It’s an accumulation of all the influences in my musical life. There are elements from classical music in there too, but also rave influences from the illegal raves I used to attend and play at a lot. I think it is hard to pick just one influence when you make music. I believe that everything that happens in your life and all the music you listen to, has an impact on the things you do.
How did you go about writing the music for ‘Church Of Clubmusic’?
After finishing my previous album ‘Megacity Servant’ in 2016, I started thinking about a new album already. This time I wanted to showcase a more diverse sound, as the music I produce is very different from the music that I usually play at my gigs. The challenge was to combine many different styles in one cohesive album, so it took a lot of effort rethinking and reshaping tracks until I was happy with how it fitted into the bigger picture.
Where and when did you produce/record?
That really depends on the track. The final versions, mixdowns and masters were all produced in my studio in Amsterdam. The oldest track on the album was recorded for the first time in my student home in Rotterdam 12 years ago: “Frozen Keys”. I always really liked the track, but was never happy with the production of it. Now for the album, I finally created the sound I always envisioned for it. “Hard Gaan” was actually born during a live performance in a club at 6AM, as it was improvised completely. The track always stayed an improv during my sets, but for the album I specially recorded a studio version of the track. Some other tracks like “Ibiza Disco Lines” were recorded in my studio in Berlin first, when I lived there back in 2017. “Evansecent” was first recorded in a hotel room after a gig, “Mind Game” in the airplane back from Mexico, and some of them I recorded in the studio I built at my parent’s place.
Did you work with anyone else during the creation of the album?
Yes, I worked with Cari Golden, she did amazing vocals for two of the tracks. I really love her voice and it blends in very well with the electronic sounds. Besides Cari Golden, I also went to a studio to record myself playing piano for “The Ones Who Know” track. I wrote, composed, arranged, mixed, mastered etc. everything on my own. I like to have full control and I enjoy working in the studio a lot – not only the songwriting but also working on the technical details.
What programs/equipment did you use for the production of the album?
Because I made the tracks during different periods of my life, the tools I used to produce the tracks vary as well. I really like a lot of the original old Roland equipment, like the TR909, TR606 and TR808, you will hear acid from a TB303 and SH101, some Moog thrown in there, but also the more boutique companies like Vermona. I have some nice racks with effects, EQ, compressors, old delays and reverbs. I sequence and record everything in Ableton using some really high-quality converters. I use PMC for monitoring. The actual gear used in the creative process differs from track to track. Some tracks I make are 100% digital, but sometimes they can be 100% analog too.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the creation of ‘Church Of Clubmusic’?
It’s really hard to work and improve older tracks, to make it fit together with the rest of the album and make it sound how you envisioned it – without losing the vibe and feel of the original version. This required a lot of trial and error and thinking about the music conceptually to understand what to change and what not. Sometimes “mistakes” are what makes a track special.
What do you have planned for this album?
I’ll be touring with my live show in the coming months, the more powerful tracks of the album play a big role in the shows.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At this moment I’m listening to some new work from Mees Salomé.
What do you like to do away from music?
There’s not a lot of time away from music for me – I’m almost always making music or listening to it. I like to spend time with friends, eat some good food, watch some series etc.
How do you prepare for your live shows?
Ever since my very first “official” gig, I always play live. For me, it feels very natural and I don’t need to prepare a set. The preparation takes place in the studio, working on new music, and making sure all my equipment is complete and works properly before I leave to the airport. My liveset always varies depending on the show and travel. My main setup is Ableton Live, a soundcard, midi interface, Allen & Heath Xone, Roland TB303 (usually a modded clone), and Native Instruments Maschine. With Maschine I can load in VSTs and keep sequences of the tracks I made in the studio. Then I have a collection of “backing tracks” in Ableton, which are basically just kick + bass + FX. With Maschine I sequence and play all the drums and synths live, which allow me to drastically change tracks and add things – without the need of having 10+ stems per track. The livesets consists out of work from many years and is about half a terabyte or something in size. This allows me to be very flexible and diverse in my shows. It basically means that I decide what to use, drag in and select what I want to play during the show itself.
What do you have planned for 2019?
Keep on touring like always; I have a very full agenda with many great shows all around the world, for which I’m very thankful and happy. Besides touring, I am making a lot of new music and will come with a new release concept on Filth on Acid.
Any secrets that you care to share?
Favorite food and place to hangout?
Too much good food to choose just one… But lately I’ve been eating a LOT of Ramen Noodles. Favorite place to hangout is for sure my home after a good tour!