Step forward man of mystery! Record of the summer?
Interview : Dan Prince
Hey Eelke, welcome to DMCWORLD – where in the world are you right now?
“Thanks Dan. I’m currently at my home in Rotterdam, the Netherlands chilling on the couch with a glass of red wine.“
Well you have been the mystery man for the past few months, the world and his daughter have been trying to chase down the man responsible for ‘Ein Tag Am Strand’ – so why all the mystery?
“Well you know how people often get prejudiced by just looking at an artist name or label. So we thought it was a cool idea to see what this track would do without any sort of information, just music and title. And apparently it worked!“
Were you listening live when Danny Howard played it on the Pete Tong show on Friday night?
“No I was actually out playing at a gig, but got a text saying he dropped it, so naturally I was a happy man for the remainder of that evening!”
What can you tell us about the history of the track, we understand there is a vocal track that is due out on a major label in a few weeks?
“As you’ve heard the track is called ‘Ein Tag Am Strand’. It’s a track that I finished in 2011, but from the second I came up with the melody, I just felt this track could be something special. So all the time between then and now we’ve been planning mostly how to get it out there in the best possible way. I think ‘Ein Tag’ is all about feeling good. It’s a happy record, one that will make you smile when you listen to it. Dance music sometimes takes itself too seriously. This track just plays with all of that, and on top of that it’s catchy as hell!”
You quite happily admit that you are always trying to invent your sound as you find working the same sound gets boring after a while. Do you think too many producers are guilty of this?
“Well I don’t blame them because I understand where it’s coming from. It’s good to have a sound that separates your from everybody else and if you have a hit record it’s easy to try and do something similar and repeat that. But I’ve always tried to do something new each record. That really keeps it fresh for me.”
What is the one piece of studio equipment you cannot do without?
“At the moment my UAD Quad card. I love the Universal Audio plugins, they make your stuff sound like it was recorded in a $100.000 studio. I used to own a lot of hardware, but I’ve sold off a lot of it and only kept the bare essentials. Nowadays I’m working more and more in the box.”
It was you birthday a few weeks back, how did you celebrate?
“Well it was my 30th. And I always said I wanted to celebrate big when I turned 30, in a rented house with loads of friends, that sort of thing. But in the end I didn’t really plan any of that.. I just had some close friends and my family over and we celebrated at home.“
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
01. Eelke Kleijn – Ein Tag Am Strand
02. El Mundo & Satori – In the Blink of an Eye
03. Boss Axis – Challenger (Alle Farben Remix)
04. Dominik Eulberg – Noch Ein Bass Im Armel
05. Chymera – Caprica Burning (Lake People Remix)
06. Timo Maas – Dancing for my Pleasure
07. Egbert – Liefdesland
08. Miss Melera – Stare
09. Hot Since 82 – Error 909
10. Tone of Arc – Surrender
You always have ten different projects on the go in your studio. What is floating around at the moment?
“Right now I’m working on the radio edit for Ein Tag Am Strand. Also two projects for Toyota Japan. Some music for a movie trailer. And I always have a couple of my own tracks that require work. I like to produce small 15 second loops on the airplane, I might do 4 or 5 of those on a flight. And then when I have some time to work on them it gets easier to decide which ones are worth finishing.”
What is the best and worst thing about living in Rotterdam?
“To be really honest I’ve lived here my whole life but I don’t have much feeling with the city. I’d say the best thing is that most of my friends and family live near here. The worst thing for me is that it’s about an hour away from the city where everything happens, Amsterdam.”“
What is coming out next from your label Outside The Box?
“We’ve got a couple of great releases lined up. First up is a new signing, Louis Kolben from Italy. He did this amazing timeless track that I remixed myself. After that we have releases by Arjuna Schiks, MUUI and Rob Hes lined up.”
You list your influences as such varied artists as Muse, Jazzanova, Timbaland and Jean Michel Jarre. You started playing musical influences at an early age also. So did you grow up in a musical household, it seems music was everywhere!
“There is a lot of music in my family background, but neither my father or mother played an instrument when I was growing up, they just listened to a lot of music. And I didn’t even start to play myself until I was 12. Until I was 24 I mainly listened to dance music, but after that I sort off opened up and nowadays I listen to a lot of things. Also because I work on so many different projects. When I’m working on film, they might reference Nine Inch Nails or Rob Zombie. But the next day I’m working on dance and I listen to completely different artists for inspiration.”
What is the last great album you listened to?
“David August’s new album, Times. It’s wicked!”
Where are some of the stand out gigs from recent months?
“Sensation Sao Paulo was great, I played the VIP area 2 weeks ago. Also Ministry of Sound in London was incredible, I played with my friend Hernan Cattaneo. It was a first timer at MOS for me, so big thing!”
Who is the person from history you would like to have a beer with?
“Jim Morrison. My girlfriend’s a big fan of The Doors, and ever since I read his biography I’ve been interested in finding out what he was like in person.”
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday off work?
“Great weather, chilling with my girlfriend, my daughter and all our friends on the water, and a barbecue.”
Who are some of the producers around the world you are giving high fives to right now?
“Pig & Dan are some of the most talented producers out there for me. Love their music. Also, Dominik Eulberg, Gregor Tresher and Minilogue, Chymera and Olivier Weiter, big fan of all of them!”
Proudest moment of your career to date?
“That was probably the moment I heard my music was used for the movie trailer for Parker. Epiqurus (my management) and I had been putting so much effort into getting something synced to a big movie; we got out the champagne that same evening!”
And finally, what one piece of advice can you give to aspiring producers wanting to follow in your footsteps into the studio?
“Try to walk the fine line of producing what you love, and what other people will love. There’s no use in writing music that only you like, but writing music you don’t like yourself doesn’t give much satisfaction either.”