Jan Berendsen has been producing music under the alias of Jengi since high school. Drawing his inspiration from many influences and genres, his own unique indie electronic productions have been hitting the bullseye since his first single ‘Bruh’ back in 2014. A name on many people’s lips for big things in 2019, DMCWORLD catches up with the dynamo as he tours Thailand and drops his new single ‘Rollerskates’ this week…
Interview by Dan Prince
Jan a huge welcome to DMCWORLD. Where on this crazy planet are you today?
Bonjour!! Right now I’m in Thailand for two gigs.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard this week?
Jaël’s new single Lonely featuring Sumin, that’s a really good song
A really exciting end of year for you with a new release swinging our way. But before we check into that, let’s rewind for a moment and discover where this crazy journey began…
Wayyy back when I discovered Garageband on my dad’s computer, after graduating high school, I decided to study Sound Engineering in Utrecht, NL. After that my skills were tight and that’s where it all started.
What is your earliest memory of music in your childhood?
The Rock/Punk/Hiphop songs on Tony Hawk Pro Skater!
You hail from the small town of Den Bosch, a small town outside Amsterdam which you describe as a “tiny Paris or Barcelona”. Tell us about the place…
It’s the best! Lots of bars where you can drink, a lot of stupid people which is cool, good restaurants and all my friends live there. The city has a rich history of art and old buildings. It was a fort back in the days.
How did electronic / dance music first enter your world?
At college where my classmates were showing me cool artists like Kaytranada and the platform Soulection.
What was the dream back then, was there ever anything else you wanted to do with your life?
Professional skateboarder or film editor. I was a better skateboarding than I was a musician, but after lots of hospital visits and broken skateboards I was getting weak and vulnerable.
Was there anyone in the music industry who was especially kind to you in the early days, was there anyone in particular who gave you a helping hand…?
My guru Darin G from college haha, he was the producer of a respected Hiphop collective back in the days, now he is a teacher, and on the keys in several acts, so he’s doing great I guess.
Tell us about the inspiration you yield from the sounds of the South Korean electronic scene…a strange source of inspiration?
They have lots of smooth beats, I really like the mellow vibes and they are literally just like me: humble, not too much speaking and friendly.
But we also hear that drinking cheap wine helps give you musical inspiration?
Hahaha yess, I used to have a favorite cheap wine brand Mooi Kaap, which I would drink a lot with friends while making music, but they changed their logo to something ugly and fancy so I don’t drink it anymore. But as a creative, you need to find things to relax, and for me it’s hanging out with friends and going out in bars.
What is the one song that when you hear it, you always think, ‘I wish I would have made that tune’?
Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves The Sunshine or Bonobo – Bambro Koyo!! I like slow soul jams, but I need to find a way to make something like this. And Bonobo’s song is so intense, that jam is perfect when you’re on travelling.
Following on the success of your Bazzi remix which amassed over 5 million streams is the track ‘Rollerskates’ from your forthcoming RARE EP. Please talk us through the track and also the rest of the EP that drops itself on November 23rd…
Yes! I was really into Breakbot, Daft Punk, Fatima Yamaha when I made that song. My thoughts about the name was a quick decision. When I finished it, I was able to buy rollerskates and riding through the city in my underpants which I didn’t unfortunately. http://hyperurl.co/ListenToRollerskates
Before all that, though there is the small matter of ADE to contend with where over 2500 artists from around the globe will perform in 140 of the best venues this magical city has to offer. What is your timetable looking for the world’s biggest club festival this time round…?
On Thursday: Studio KOTO Label Night in Kopstootbar with all my KOTO homies The Flexican, Wantigga, Jaël and Canblaster.
Friday: playing a few songs before a master class at Het Parool Theater. Later that day I’m going to chill at KLEAR in Paradiso because a few people are playing from Korea who booked me at Soap Seoul.
Are you looking forward to ADE or is there a sense of trepidation just how big a monster of an event it really is?
I’m nervous in a positive way. It’s the best week to perform in my country; I really want to show the people what I can and surprise them with more crazy music I’ve collected. And I can meet so many people from Soundcloud and the Gram who are not from NL. It’s awesome
And finally, what are some of the plans for 2019 already being talked about in Jengi world…?
I’m turning 23, I probably have my own room in the centre of Den Bosch, I have a new winter coat because it’s sooo cold and of course much more music and hopefully an Asia tour and I really want to see more parts of the world like South America, Africa, Australia and stuff!
Jengi ‘Rollerskates’ – out now. ‘Iced Tea’ is out 2/11 and the full EP drops 23/11…