About the author
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.
He’s a household name in the local party scene, being Next Monday’s Hangover’s resident and booker and of course through countless gigs. I’ve known him for over a decade and we even lived together, back when he was just Ridz. Unknown to most, he started off as a true rockstar, and over the years evolved into the musical genius we all know and love. To celebrate his upcoming 30th birthday he’ll pull off an all-nighter in Canvas on Saturday. Time for a trip down memory lane!
So, any early midlife crisis questions about the meaning or emptiness of it all? The scene, music itself?
“I have to admit it’s not all that fun to turn 30. You see, I’m an adventurous guy and not really the serious type. I don’t feel old, and it’s hard to say goodbye to youth, to that YOLO vibe. Never let people tell you that you can’t do something because you’ve reached 30! Consider that my warning, especially towards parents and lovers.”
Every DJ should have played in a punk band.
Yeah I know what you mean… Is it the party scene that keeps you young?
“I like to enjoy life so I’ll still be around 20 years from now. Maybe not that extreme, but I’m not into suburban bliss yet either. It’s not about going in new directions per se, that’s something that happens naturally. My sound is different from what I played five years ago – it used to be just emo-elecronic but nowadays I listen to Latin and African music a lot, and combine that with modern Western dance music. I like to call it Latin trance.”
When I listen to your older tracks though, like Mozes, I still recognize your sound.
“Melodies have always been leading. I played in a few bands as a teen and was a big fan of guitar punk and skate rock, genres where guitar symphonies play an important role. DJs that were raised the electronic way are less inspiring to me; every DJ should have played in a punk band to better understand the music. It’s raw, imperfect. The bottom line is: electronic music should never be put together mathematically, it needs feeling. People play it safe too often.”
Well put dude. Talking about origin: your artist name comes from a collaboration with your former drummer. How do you look back on that project?
“After my band days I discovered Ableton, and started jamming with Daan. This one night we got stuck, so I said ‘Come on, give me some chemistry…’ He stopped dead and shouted ‘Dude that’s it!’ So we did accomplish something that night after all. After a year we went our separate musical ways, but I was hooked! Electro and minimal turned out to be the winning formula. The Stubnitz, Club 11, I got to know James Holden. It was the perfect mix of partying hard and making my own music. Damn, I miss those days… OK now I really sound old, haha!”
I don’t really prepare for a set, I prefer to be guided by what I feel.
Maybe it’s time for a new bio? You’re a mango lover who’s sense of rhythm and melody was shaped by his youth in Africa and South America and sharpened by playing in bands. Do you deliberately include everything that shaped you as a musician?
“Definitely, one hundred percent. I don’t really prepare for a set, I prefer to be guided by what I feel. As programmer I don’t like to label things either. Like Next Monday’s Hangover, I call it indie electronica but what we do there isn’t limited to that. Of course you need genres, but anything goes as long as it’s deep melodious, maybe even close to techno or disco, unconventional and exciting. I like to expand my own horizon as well, some projects lead to different stuff… third world music, so to speak. Can I coin that one?”
Haha, nice one! But what does all this mean for your party this Saturday? What can we expect?
“I cover a lot of styles and genres in my music, you can hear that in the teaser videos I posted. Cheerful, not that serious, but with a tropical vibe. I might even do one with some firing techno in it, to round it off. But it’s going to be a great night! After Canvas we’ll go to Doka. After all it’s my birthday, I need to chill out as well. Some special guests like Wham de la Creme and Funkerius will hit the decks, but strictly non house! My mom will attend with a dozen of her Latin friends as well, so it’s a party for all ages.”
Ah yeah, Mom Chemistry. I remember you grunting and sweating at Sign Out’s last gig, with her proudly watching. Great stuff. Do you ever miss playing guitar? The last time I saw you handling one was at Awakenings years ago.
“True, though lately I did play the occasional guitar, like with Christmas at the in-laws. That positive vibe is coming back, expect more guitars in 2016! As for performing, it’s a different kind of stage. To be honest, a band gig is more satisfying. You’re literally sweating while playing, being in sync with the band, it’s so much more fun. But the crowd’s response doesn’t match that vibe most of the times. That’s the fun in DJing: getting a crowd to go crazy. It’s external versus internal satisfaction. I wish I was in a really successful band…”
You know I have a thing for this one, but I just have to ask: is Soco Amaretto Lime by Brand New still your favorite song?
“Well, I actually stopped having favorites. It’s the same with friends, I don’t really have one best friend. But it’s still a special song to me, because I played it a lot myself, in special places and on special occasions. If I ever die I want it to be played on my funeral. Forever young, that’s what the song is all about. So we’re back to where we started, the circle is complete. I guess the answer must be yes then…”
Some Chemistry Toda La Noche
When: February 13, 22:00
Where: Canvas, Wibautstraat 150
Entrance: Pre-sale €8,- | Door 10,-
More info: Facebook event
Photo by Jip Broeks.
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