Local Rockstars: Cinnaman talks Colors, basslines and melodies

Local Rockstars: Cinnaman talks Colors, basslines and melodies

Feb 24, 2011 |  by  |  Music
About the author
Ridz, advertises, produces indie/electronic music, performs throughout the Netherlands but ultimately always ends up at an Amsterdam based ensemble... then he blogs about all these things.

Whether you went out last weekend to check out an uber geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious musical talents rocking around the dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we take remarkable artists out for their favourite drink at some random Amsterdam-based hangout.

Cinnaman has been labelled as one of the most diverse and talented DJs in the Netherlands. Next to bringing out several Beat Dimensions compilations, he’s also one of the captains behind Viral Radio and Colors. With 5 Days Off right around the corner, we got to speak to the man at Cafe Struik about DJing, Colors, Amsterdam and his night at 5 Days Off.

You’re involved in so many things, what’s your profession in the end?
I like to organize parties but in the end DJ-ing is my main thing. I produced a few records as well, a while back everybody that produced something was automatically a DJ, nowadays the art of physically mixing on stage is appreciated again, that’s a good thing.

I like to change because the whole dubstep thing exploded so rapidly.

Do you have a style at all?
Not really, I couldn’t tell you. For example, Colors is a dynamic mix between house and dubstep and Viral Radio is darker. In the UK, they stayed with drum n bass and went on towards speedgarage, two-step, grime, dubstep and a more funky sound nowadays. That’s how I like it. I like to change because the whole dubstep thing exploded so rapidly the last two years.

Do you think dubstep is dying?
It went so sky-high that the genre couldn’t keep up with itself. It’s always the 140bpm and the hard bass lines, it got so boring after a while that I started appreciating the slower, more melody-based releases like the Joker and early Code 9 stuff. In the end melodies make music more interesting, and dubstep became one big angry sausage fest. Colors is a project I started that was more sexy and simple than Viral Radio. It goes from funky to two step, garage, and other music from Detroit and London. Both the music and its gender is more diverse.

Has it built up a new scene?
Well I guess we’re influencing new people, especially in a city as Amsterdam where everything grows so fast and everybody ends up knowing each other. At first we had to do our best to gather a line-up of international DJs in the market, nowadays we have less trouble finding them, both locally and internationally.

So what’s your connection with Amsterdam?
It’s mainly Rush Hour and Aardvark. I’m originally from Den Bosch but I used to visit him a lot in Amsterdam for the Rednose parties. One day I got in touch with Rush Hour and discovered Moodymann and Theo Parrish, I must’ve been like 17. At my 20th I ended up moving to Amsterdam and getting a job at Rush Hour.

What do you do when you’re not DJ-ing, producing or promoting some party?
My life is full-time music, it’s a way of art you can only live 24/7.

I’ve probably organized about a 100 parties and I still get nervous

What gives you a bigger kick, organizing an event like Colors/Viral Radio or performing an incredible DJ-set?
I really enjoy performing a good set, but I find myself to be too critical for myself most of the time. On the other hand I’ve probably organized about a 100 parties and I still get nervous for them. The older I get the more serious I take my DJ-sets though, therefore I think they get better and better each time.

How do you promote your events?
Mainly online, through Facebook, Twitter and a bi-weekly radio show. If people already know you it gets easier. Flyers and posters are a waste of money, I prefer graffiti tags like the one behind me now.

What would be your biggest accomplishment?
Oh, so many man. In a way it was really nice to play at Sonar, I got to close at the day festival. As organizer it was definitely Colors with Jackmaster and Joy Orbison in Trouw last year.

Do you still frequently visit performances from others in Amsterdam?
Yeah I definitely still visit DJs from abroad and local talent. For example, yesterday, I was quite surprised at Katapult in Studio 80 by Beesmunt Soundsystem playing. Other than that I like to listen to Rinse FM a lot.

Is that where you get new material for upcoming gigs from?
Not really, I get sent a lot of promos. I still have a fairly traditional approach towards DJing, I burn five CDs every week to play with, which can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

So what’s your opinion on the laptop DJ revolution?
I don’t like it. I can appreciate it when DJs play with Traktor or Serato and keep it physical in a way, but I don’t like the ease of pre-mixing. If something is perfect it’s boring, it has no soul.

A track needs to sparkle the brain in a way or create a slight emotion, it’s very personal. Somebody else could think it’s shit of course.

So what can an aspiring future-dub producer do to get on a Beat Dimensions compilation?
It’s really hard to put a formula behind that. I just listen to the first 20 seconds and if there’s no unique sound to it it will probably not interest me. A track needs to sparkle the brain in a way or create a slight emotion, it’s very personal. Somebody else could think it’s shit of course.

Anyone around the block to lookout for these days?
I expect more from Go Unit, a London based performer. As far as local rockstars I think Steven de Peven is doing a lot of good stuff and I just got to listen to the new Tom Trago album yesterday which is amazing.

Finally, looking forward to 5 Days Off?
Haha yeah, it’s gonna be a heavy week. Last year I got to play there, now we’re setting up a whole night of Colors in Paradiso on march 5th. It’s an amazing line-up with MJ Cole and Joy Orbison headlining. I’ve been a fan of MJ Cole since I was like 17, it’s good to see him do a come-back 10 years later. I’ll probably check out every other party during those 5 days!

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