Local Rockstars: Vinyl, analogue music and early-morning sessions with Tommy Kornuijt

Local Rockstars: Vinyl, analogue music and early-morning sessions with Tommy Kornuijt

Feb 22, 2012 |  by  |  Music
About the author
Joris likes to listen and play with music and has a broad interest in people and their creative outbursts.

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 talk to remarkable artists about their music and their inspirations.

Tommy Kornuijt can be seen as an ambassador for the Amsterdam underground music-scene. When I think of him I immediately think of quality music, and especially vinyl. Although he has been DJing for quite some years, it’s no coincidence I’m talking to him now. Besides playing music, Tommy is making interesting moves concerning the organisation of Breakfast Club and an upcoming release on Studio Soulrock together with Robin Kampschoer this year. In this article we’ll discuss his development as an artist and a producer, paying special attention to his love for vinyl and analogue music.

Becoming a DJ

As many do and others should do, Tommy Kornuijt began his DJ-career as a hobby. After playing as a drummer in a band for a while, he started DJing. He bought his first Technics so his friends – most of whom were DJs – could play music at his house. But of course, soon enough, he got caught by the magic of the decks and started spinning himself. Today Tommy is known for his deep and layered combination of house and techno, but it took a while before he knew what he really wanted to play.

From the beginning of his career until now he’s made a shift from the more common tech-house sound to deeper varieties of dance music. When you ask him about a turning point in his musical interest he mentions an amazing night in Club 11 with Petre Inspirescu, also one of the headliners at his next Breakfast Club edition. According to Tommy, you should see this statement in a broader context of an on-going process of defining his style influenced by the raw and organic analogue sound of the late ’90s and people like Zip, Babyford, Maurizio, Ricardo Villalobos, Losoul and others.

Nowadays Tommy has purified his sound and he knows exactly what he wants to hear and play. Because of this process he only has to think about the first two records of his set: “My ideal moment behind the decks is when I see myself do things and think: is that really me? It all comes naturally.” You could say Tommy is a sensitive DJ and person. Not the scope of the audience but the connection he has with them is important. That’s probably why he flourishes in intimate settings: “I’m a people person. Every now and then I need a hug, some encouragement and eye-contact to perform.”

Tommy Kornuijt podcast Overdose.am by TOMMY KORNUYT

Timeless music

Every statement Tommy makes about music breathes nostalgia. Not that it’s impossible to find quality music these days. It’s more that there’s a lot more rubbish to dig through now: “Many modern dance records are best compared with snacks, you download them easily and it’s nice for a brief period of time, but they don’t seem to last.”

Tommy is always in search of timeless music. Because of that search for quality he always ends up buying a bunch of vinyl. The quality of vinyl is higher because DJs who buy vinyl want to make sure a record is really dope before they spend a lot of money on it. “The beautiful thing about vinyl is that it sounds way more organic. Also when you’re mixing, records flow into each other. Not like CDs, klik klak, I hate that! Of course sometimes I’m forced to play CDs as well in my set ’cause sadly nowadays the equipment is simply not okay in some clubs.”

Producing analogue

Expenses play an even bigger role in the quality of music, when looking at the production side of dance music. “Back in the day you had to really want to produce music. You had to buy for thousands of Euros of equipment before you could even start. In the current digital era it’s a lot easier to make music. Besides giving people an opportunity to produce, it also lowers the standard in some situations. Because I don’t want to lose that raw feel I try to make a combination between analogue and digital.”

“For example, when I make a kick with an analogue machine and I play it for ten minutes, that kick sounds a bit different every time I hear it. It’s like the machine recomposes the sound every time it plays it. If you make all the sounds of a track with real machines, the track becomes raw and organic because of the subtle changes of the machine, the track comes to life. I’m not looking for a neat computer beat, but for that authentic analogue techno sound.”

As you might notice Tommy is a perfectionist, which is why it took him long before he started producing. He was already active as a DJ for six years before he started one year ago. Before he started producing he wanted to know what’s good and why. The music he likes the most is analogue, dubby and abstract, the music that fits best in the morning. Most of his tracks so far are produced together with Robin Kampschoer, sort of a mentor for Tommy. “Robin is the king of making music sound awesome.” As a crown on their cooperation they have a release together on Soulrock coming up later this year.

Sfeerimpressie Blauw

Breakfast Club

If you want to explain Tommy Kornuijt’s preferences as a DJ and producer you could say that analogue producing stands for a bigger richness in sound that sounds best from vinyl on a big sound system. And that’s exactly what Breakfast Club stands for. The BFC crew also tries to provide a stage for music that can’t be found much in Amsterdam’s house-scene of today: “Breakfast Club is a platform to fill in what I’m missing in Amsterdam right now. That means deep, more abstract music and long DJ-sets on less regular hours, to challenge artists to take people on a musical trip.”

Breakfast Club really pays attention to musical freedom and with that his wishes as a DJ came true: “For a long time I didn’t know how to find my position in Amsterdam’s music scene. Usually my sound was too deep and underground. It’s also difficult to play a good set when you only get one hour, which is ridiculous by the way. Breakfast Club made it possible to take people on a musical journey from phat up-tempo techno to bangin’ house, I can broaden my sound without making a circus of it. Time is the key.”

All in all a lot of elements of Tommy’s career seem to come together at Breakfast Club. He first started a musical quest to figure out his sound, he then started making it and in the meantime the Breakfast Club concept got off the ground and gave him a way to present all this and thereby contribute to the diversity of the dance scene in Amsterdam.

Breakfast Club

When: 26-02-12 / 06.00-16.00
Where: Club Home, wagenstraat 3, Amsterdam
Tickets: €15
Website: breakfastclubamsterdam.nl
Line up: Petre Inspirescu (a:rpia:r), Marcelus (Deeply Routed House), Brent Roozendaal, Tommy Kornuijt, Jaime Frias, Tom Liem.

Feature image by: Dennis Bouman

Sharing is caring!