Tjade is one of the most exciting prospects to come out of the Netherlands in recent years. Regularly gracing established labels in the form of Live at Robert Johnson, Mule Musiq and many more besides, several of electronic music’s most-esteemed have picked up his productions in recent years. Most notably is 2019’s Koi Jaye, a track that springboarded him into the global spotlight thanks to plays at DGTL, Dekmantel and AVA by the likes of Palms Trax, Job Jobse and Hunee to name a few. This July Tjade gets set to make his debut on André Hommens These Eyes imprint, with the standout two-track Balancing Act EP. With the release approaching we’re excited to be chatting with Tjade today…
Hello Tjade! Great to have you with us today. How are you doing and whereabouts are you based at the moment?
Hi there! Thank you for having me! I’m doing great now that the future is looking much brighter than it has been in a long time. I am currently based in Utrecht, The Netherlands. I’ve lived here for the past two years, after spending about seven years in Groningen, NL for my studies and early career.
It’s been a tough year across the music scene but there’s hope that things are edging closer to normality. What have the restrictions on the music scene been like where you are in recent times?
It’s been a horrible year for live music to be honest. Although my country has handled the pandemic relatively well, we haven’t been allowed on a dancefloor for almost 1,5 year. There was a shimmer of hope last summer, where we could play sit down events for a couple of months, but those were quickly banned in September. Like most of my colleagues I played a ton of livestreams and radio sets, but not having a crowd in front of you gets really boring really fast. Not being able to do what you love most has been very depressing at times, but the people I love are still healthy so that’s what’s most important in the end.
This July you’re set to debut on André Hommen’s label These Eyes with your ‘Balancing Act’ EP. This is a serious release! Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this EP?
Both tracks were made in the early stages of lockdown and are very heavily inspired by my mental state at the time (as are most of my tracks). ‘Balancing Act’ is a representation of me being both very angry at and sometimes also coming to peace with the whole situation. It’s meant to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions; anger, hope and acceptance mixed together in one track. ‘Means To An End’ is more sentimental and fragile. It’s a reflection of me reminiscing about good times and I think also accepting the new reality. I guess all my anger was gone by then.
These Eyes has kept a super high standard since its launch back in 2017, featuring some brilliant music from the likes of Breach, Jonathan Kaspar, Marc Romboy and more and now yourself. How did ‘Balancing Act’ come to find its home on These Eyes and what’s it mean to you to have your music on the label?
The label is absolutely amazing. The output has been of such a high standard and I can’t believe I am actually going to be a part of it. Andre and me started talking after my debut EP on Mule Musiq; he messaged me that he was really into it. I had a lot of new music finished by then and sent it over to him and he was instantly drawn to the two tracks we are releasing. The whole process after that has been wonderful to be honest. Andre is so passionate about the label and the music he puts out. He is super super involved in the whole release process and also very considerate of the wishes I had as an artist. It really feels like a co-production between me and him and it’s been a breath of fresh air to work with him on this release over the past months.
Did you get to try any of the tracks from the EP out in the clubs before the pandemic?
Sadly, no. Trying tracks in a club setting on a good PA is usually a very important part of my production process. Usually I would test my new tracks in OOST, an amazing nightclub in my old hometown in Groningen. I used to play there a lot before the pandemic, so I knew the soundsystem really well. First I would go to the club before it would open to play my new productions while I walk across the dancefloor and take mental notes. If I was happy enough I would also try them with the crowd there later on during the night. This EP was made during lockdown though and I haven’t been in a club ever since. I can’t wait to hear it on a big soundsystem.
Can you run us through what your creative process is like when you work on a track? And are there any key pieces of equipment you like to use?
It works best for me when I have a specific mood or situation I want to get rid of or want to reflect in music. For me making music is an outlet of things I shouldn’t keep inside or want to express to the world. In addition I can also be highly inspired by a great DJ set I hear and believe I also want to make music like that. I finished a whole EP in two or three days once after hearing Marlon Hoffstadt play in Groningen at one of my own parties. Naturally these are all high paced eurodance/trance/neo-italo tracks. Studio wise it’s actually pretty boring, because I mostly work with plug-ins linked to my keyboard. The only other piece of equipment I have is a Novation Bass Station 2, which is a very compact and easy to work with analogue mono-synth. I don’t think I will ever really be a hardware guy.
Who have been your biggest musical influences throughout your life?
Electronic music was part of my life really early on. I grew up idolizing artists like Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Don Diablo, who were all making great trance and electro at the time. I remember buying my first singles and albums and playing them out really really loud in my bedroom on the stereo I got from my grandma. I think you can still clearly hear the influence these three artists had on me in my productions. As a DJ I think I was mostly influenced by Job Jobse. The way he has a grip on his audience is mesmerizing. He’s always looking into the crowd in stead of his mixer and constantly analyzing what the people want. I also learned from him that you as a DJ are much less important than you might think. It’s not about you and showing off your most niche or “cool” tracks; it’s all about giving the dancefloor the best time they could hope for. I try to live by this philosophy whenever I’m on stage.
Thanks a lot for chatting with us today Tjade! Congrats on the upcoming release and we wish you all the best going forwards. To round things off, is there anything else coming soon from yourself that you can let us in on yet?
The pleasure was all mine! Thank you very much for having me. I have finished three other full EP’s that will all be released late 2021 or in 2022. Two have been given to amazing labels already and for one I am still looking for the best home. In addition I have a remix coming up on Bordello a Parigi this summer that I am super happy about. Other than that I am so happy that my summer and fall tour schedule is filling up very nicely and that I can finally play at all those cancelled events. Good times ahead!