What is your name and role within Flexican?
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m currently based in Amsterdam, the music here is really diverse. We have a huge house and techno scene, but we also have a big Dutch hip-hop scene and eclectic scene, where a lot of genres come together like a big melting pot. I think people really like to hear different kinds of music over here. We also have an established Caribbean scene, so musically, it’s a great place to be.
You’ve just released a new record and track ‘ Come To Me ‘ where and when did you record?
I created ‘Come To Me’ Iin the summer of last year. I recorded the song with Feliciana, and it was actually a quite spontaneous session. I played some music, and she liked the first beats. We actually recorded the idea in one afternoon and the next time we saw each other we finished the song. We recorded everything in my studio here in Amsterdam, on a really nice summer day.
What influenced the sound and songwriting?
What influenced me was the making of the beat, because I didn’t write the song, Feliciana wrote the song. The influence of the song was, basically, that I had a sample from Fania Records. I wanted to keep that Latin feeling in it, but use like an R&B 90’s kinda hip-hop vibe to the beat, and also to bring it more contemporary to the sound of this moment. So to have it more sub-base in the track and to have it more abstract, sound wise, if you understand what I mean. The influence is like a crossover between the 70’s and the 2018’s and everything in between. I wanted to give it something different than most of the things you hear nowadays.
How do you usually go about writing music?
The way I start writing music or making beats depends a little bit on the situation. I usually like to start off with a sample I’ve heard or I’ve come across, or a moment where I was like ‘oh shit I really like this sound’, and then I start to make some basic ideas without really overthinking.
The other method I use is more like a jamming session, to give the song a more robust sound. I work with a keyboard player, a piano player, his name is QSS. Then I start to make some basic ideas, and he starts playing some cords and some melodies. I record him, and later on, I start arranging it and changing sounds. I try just to create and not to think too much about it and later on edit and see what’s good and what’s not good.
How did you first start playing music?
The first time I started playing music as a DJ, I think I was ten years old, nine maybe. I started making radio cassette tapes like I was a radio DJ. I was just recording myself and hosting a radio show on a simple HiFi set – playing tunes after each other and making the announcement before and after haha. I think that’s where the DJing started from. After that, when I was 15 years old, some friends of mine started to buy records and turntables, and I was like ‘oh shit I would also really like to do this’. That was also the time MTV was playing ‘The Grind’, where people were dancing on TV, and there was also a DJ. I was really fascinated by what he was doing, scratching and playing music and everyone was dancing, and I was thought ‘I think I have to sell my drumkit and buy turntables and start DJing’. So, at the age of 15 or 16 I started DJing, and at the age of 19 I started getting my first DJ gigs and from there on it’s been my full-length career.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Lately, I don’t listen to a lot of music, actually, because I’m working so much with music in the studio, so I have to clear my head when I’m not making music. On the bike or in the car I do listen to a lot of podcasts, one of my favourite podcasts of the moments is one by Jamie Lidell, it’s called ‘Hanging Out With Audiophiles’. It’s a nerdy podcast about studio engineering, musicians kinda stuff, studio gear, everything is really for people that are familiar in this area. Nothing is explained, but everything is really technicalstuf. It’s really nerdy, Jamie Lidell does a great job giving tips and coming up with interesting artists to interview. It’s a great show.
The last show I really enjoyed was an interview with Mark Johnson; I seriously listened to all the episodes in one or two weeks haha.
How did you go about finding the right samples after digging through Fania Records for 2 years:
Finding the right sample, that’s really in the moment when your body starts like ‘oh what is this’, when it starts to move and when you really get excited about that part of the song. That’s the moment that I know the sample is right and that the sample is something special, something that I can use. Sometimes it’s really small parts or really big parts of the song, and it really depends on the vibe. If it’s a loop or a part of a song and it’s perfect, I really like to keep it that way and not to do too much about it, to keep the magic of that loop or that part of the song. I think there is something special, something magical, about finding the right samples. You just get really excited, and every time it’s like you’re hunting for the right piece and listening to a lot of songs after each other and skipping through them. I just have to be patient because sometimes I have to listen to like hundreds of records per day and not find the right sample. Especially when it’s something I’m really passionate about it can take more time to find the perfect sample.
What do you like to do outside of music?
Outside of doing music, what I love to do is go to the woods. Going to nature and to be with my family. I like to walk around and feel the energy of nature, relax and have a good picnic. Just being outside of the city and outside of the hectic world. I also love to do morning yoga at 7 o’clock, to give the day a kick-start and I like to swim. Those are my favourite moments to energize myself.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
ADE is coming next week, so it’s going to be exciting to have a whole week with parties and people to meet and see old friends and meet new people too. What I also have planned at the end of the year is to make a special year mix. I’ve been doing that annually for ten years. It’s like a sum up or a wrap-up of all the music I’ve made, all the edits that I’ve made and migrated songs that I played in clubs. Really a summary, it takes me a couple of weeks to make it because I try to make a flawless mix and something special for people to look out forward to.
Favourite food and place to hang out?
My favourite food varies, but when I’m making music in the studio my favourite is salads, big salads! It’s good, healthy food, its light, it doesn’t take too much energy to digest. There’s a really good spot around the corner from my studio. It’s called ‘sla’, which means cabbage in Dutch haha. They have a big diversity of salad bowls, and everything is organic and vegetarian or vegan. They also have great smoothies; I love to have nice coconut water and kombucha. I think that’s important for a healthy studio life, to not eat junk food and to elevate yourself and don’t bring yourself down in the creative process.