Irene Willemse looks back on five years iDOUBLEYOU

Irene Willemse looks back on five years iDOUBLEYOU

Oct 2, 2014 |  by  |  Music

On a Sunday midday I stroll into her cosy apartment, slightly stunned by her remarkably fresh appearance. She welcomes me with a grin and charming green eyes, which reminds me of the first time we met. Chatting away about the surprising fact we got enough sleep last night, I notice her imposing cat Rover staring at me intensely. He embodies exactly how I see her: underneath the charming and calm Irene (31) is a power woman who’s been leading one of Amsterdam’s finest booking agencies for the past five years. I can’t wait to sit down with her and ask her some questions.

Tell me, for the people who’ve been living under a rock the past few years: who is iDOUBLEYOU?
“That’s simple: me and my artists! I founded my booking agency five years ago on my own when I was 26 and never thought about working together with someone. Perhaps I chose a more bumpy and difficult road than usual, as you’re always depending on yourself, but I never regret my decision. Today I can rely on the talent of eight stunning artists: Daniel Zuur, Daniel Zuur & Florian Wolff, Erin, Stefano Richetta, Isis, Ruttenbergs, Formel and Estroe. A roster I’m quite satisfied with.”

What was the source of inspiration that eventually made you start iDOUBLEYOU?
“When I was 17 my boyfriend at the time started to take me to festivals like Dance Valley: my first encounters with house music. I listened to rock and more alternative music, yet techno immediately grabbed my attention. Although I considered techno an ugly name at first, I was searching Partyflock a few years later to get to meet people who liked it as much as I did. It became a big part of my life, I felt at home there and I wanted to know everything about it. That’s how I knew I wanted to do something with it. What exactly? I had no idea.”

I still see my dad sitting in his chair, ‘So, what do you want to do then in this music scene?’ My answer was quite cryptic: ‘Something with organising parties.’

“The scene back then wasn’t big at all and I had never even heard of the word booker. But after the blessing of my parents I quit school and ­started to work part-time for event organisations such as Reactor, Free Your Mind Festival and Rockit Open Air, where I had my own flyer promotion team and did some stage managing.”

“That allowed me to build a big network; Gasten Zonder Grenzen asked me to do my very first booker job. On one of their events I met Kim Tuin, the owner of Barkers, who had a vacancy for a full-time booker for one year. That’s how I was able to put my love for music to use, but it also gave me the chance to give something back to people, something I loved doing. When the year ended there weren’t any jobs in the scene, what made me decide that I had enough experience and the network to start my own booking agency iDOUBLEYOU, which stands for my initials.”

Is your method of working different from the other booking agencies in Amsterdam?
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it different. I want the best for both my artist and the promoter, which means I’m working very accurate and precise to get the best out of my job. The happiness of my artist is most important, not my own ego. My strength lies in the fact that I’m an individual and not part of any organisation. This way I work independently, yet I know everybody in the scene. It’s the hard way but for me the only one that works.”

How do you see the future of iDOUBLEYOU?
“I have bigger plans, but I never look far into the future. I trust that everything comes into its right place when you follow your heart. That’s why I never ask an artist to join my agency; they always come to me. The artist has to be attracted to the agency as he or she becomes part of a small family. What’s important to me is that the artist fits in the group and has a genuine talent that I love to promote. As long as I love the music, everyone is welcome.”

Last but not least: which events are you attending yourself the coming weeks? Anything we should visit in particular?
“Of course I’m looking forward to my own event iDOUBLEYOU’s 5th Anniversary Bash in Mary Go Wild this coming Friday. This event is invitation only, so if you know me make sure your name is on the list!”

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