INTERVIEW | EELKE KLEIJN
You’ve worked on film scores as well as music for television. How does this studio work compare to working on your own originals and remixes? Do you approach the two differently?
Yes very differently actually. Usually when I walk on trailers, there is a sort of musical frame you have to work within. Often the studio will have a really good idea of what they are looking for and might give you a really detailed briefing as well as some reference music. Whereas when I am working on my own music and remixes, it’s all up to me in terms of what I want to make and how I want it to sound. I do keep in mind what label the record or remix is for, so I create a little musical frame in my head. But it still all comes down to personal choice, whereas working on a trailer of film is also about keeping the client happy.
You began producing when you were 16. What are the biggest lessons in music production you’ve learned over the years?
I think my biggest lesson has been quality over quantity. People wil remember you for 1 great track, but they won’t remember you for 20 average ones. Try to make everything that you release as good as possible. By that I don’t really mean endlessly dwelling on a song, but sometimes just choosing not to release a song at all because it isn’t good enough after all.
Although you DJ and produce full time, you have a degree in psychology. Have your studies contributed to how you approach music or life in general?
Not really, to be completely honest I wanted to have a degree to fall back on, back then my musical career hadn’t really taken off. And psychology here in the Netherlands seemed to be a relatively easy study, 2 days at university and self study for the remaining time. To me that sounded like 2 days of school and 5 days of music, hence I picked it. Although I got the degree, much of it has faded by now.
House and techno have always had a place in Europe, including your home country of the Netherlands. What is it like seeing these genres gain popularity stateside?
It’s great actually, and I think we’re only at the start of it right now. For so long we’ve wondered when the states would pick up on house music and now it has. I mean, there was always an underground movement, but it didn’t really happen for the larger audience. And now it has. And I think once everyone gets tired of that bigroom sound in a couple of years, many of them will start looking for other styles. It’s the same progression we’ve had on this side over the last 15 year period.
You’ve just had a gig in San Francisco and will be playing in LA and San Diego this week. How has your time on the west coast been so far?
It’s been really good! While writing this I just played at LA as well last night and it was a really good gig. San Francisco as well, this was my second time there and the gig was incredibly crowded, one of the busiest nights they’ve seen there they told me. On a sidenote it’s also really good to have some time off here, I’m spending a couple of days in LA, rented a car and just going around doing the touristy things I didn’t have the time for on my last tour.
You recently got some new toys for the studio. Can you tell us a little bit about your new additions?
Haha so you noticed! Yes I got a couple new things at the end of last year. For one new monitor speakers, Neumann KH310A. They are a great addition to my Dynaudio’s and they’re threeway speakers, which I had been looking at for a while. I also got a couple of guitar pedals, I’ve been really into that lately. The Strymon BigSky and TimeLine, and also the Eventide PitchFactor. I also got some small but cool synths to add to my arsenal. The Korg MicroKorg and the Novation Bass Station II. They both have a great sound despite their size!
Any up and coming producers that have been on your radar lately?
The guys on the Steyoyoke label have been doing great recently! Some of my other current favourites are Kastis Torrau, although he’s been around for a while, Pavel Petrov, Onno Ober, Musumeci and Metodi Hristov.
You’re wrapping up your North American tour this weekend. What is on the books for 2015? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
There’s a lot of exciting things happening. 2 weeks from now I am off to Buenos Aires for Ultra BA. Really excited about that one, it’s my first Ultra in South America and they got me to close the stage. I am also visiting some of my favourite places again this year, including Miami for the WMC, Australia, Berlin and Budapest. There’s a lot of exciting things coming up 🙂