Guest of Honor: Clone founder Serge puts DJing in perspective.

Guest of Honor: Clone founder Serge puts DJing in perspective.

Jun 19, 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.

Electronic music all-rounder Serge has been rocking venues since the late eighties. He has build quite a résumé as an international DJ and founder of Clone Records, the umbrella under which a few sub-labels operate which bring you some of the finest records the international electronic landscape has to offer. Because we usually only see him at his Clone nights in Trouw we were glad we could dance to his music at C.O.B.R.A and MOOD two weeks ago and we even got a chance to have a nice chat with him afterwards about his label, the electronic music scene, and his DJ-career.

You build the institute Clone Records from scratch. We understand the early days were totally different in comparison with now. How?
It’s actually not that different. Well, of course it is, but the way I started is still the way you can start nowadays. These days records are often used to promote the artist, that seems to be the way to make it. It’s all about becoming a popular DJ or producer. When I started it was all about selling records, that’s probably the biggest change.

I needed more freedom and wanted to break with people’s expectations.

Since you’ve divided your label into sub-labels, do you release music you wouldn’t have released before?
Yes. That was the reason to change things! To be able to focus more on music and to collaborate with new and young artists instead of being a label known for this or that. I needed more freedom and wanted to break with people’s expectations.

Vinyl nowadays is becoming a medium for more devoted music lovers but digital releases have a bigger reach. Is there a tension between these things?
Yes and no. The different media are just ways to consume and use music. It doesn’t change the music itself, it’s just a different experience. If you prefer to download, fine with me, I’m not the person to tell others what to do. However, I think the vinyl experience and the idea of having an actual piece of music instead of a digital file is worth much more to me.

Most plumbers wouldnt even come and fix your sink at three in the morning for the money that some promoters offer.

Besides your Clone nights in Trouw we don’t see you that often in Amsterdam. Why?
Haha you really want to know? It’s a very banal reason but I just dont play below my minimum fee, I’m pretty straight with that. I’m not playing for 150 euro and unlimited drink tickets, so I decline a lot of offers. Lets put it this way: most plumbers wouldn’t even come and fix your sink at three in the morning for the money that some promoters offer.

How come that older DJs seem to have less difficulty to step over genre boundaries?
Thanks, haha, but I guess I’m an older DJ by now. I think everyone who started before the mid- nineties is used to playing all sorts of music. For example in the Roxy it wasn’t strange at all to hear raw underground acid tracks in the same set as poppy hip house tunes that made it into the charts. Sometimes when I kept hyping the crowd with house, it even got to a point where I got commanded by the club owner to slow down so people would go to the bar and drink more instead of only dance. Back in the days you had to play with moods and different styles much more than DJs right now have to. Nowadays its accepted to stay in one style or mood all night long, which I think is often very boring. However there seems to be a recent development that more and more DJs are breaking with this one style thing. I think that’s great because it makes you a more complete DJ and it enables you to follow your personal taste and passion instead of the dogma’s of the specific styles or genres. It’s not a guarantee for success though, because people love to pigeonhole DJs.’

What’s the ideal setting to play in?
I really like clubs that manage to get a thing going regardless of who’s playing, where people just go to the club without paying notice to the flyer and where they don’t need big name every week to pull a crowd. Kind of the old situation where they had good resident DJs like in the Roxy, The It and Nightown. Places like the Panoramabar, Fabric and Robert Johnson are actually doing that same thing right now.

What can we expect from Clone and Serge in the Future?
I don’t know. For Clone this is the future. We listen to futuristic music from the 80’s 90s and 00’s which is now retro. We have devices that are more complicated then the ones they used in Star Trek. I don’t know what more the future can bring. I think it will mainly be variations on current and past situations and developments. There are no further technological developments right now, I’m just trying to change my mindset to that idea and find a way to deal with it.

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