Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Feiertag. Let’s start were music began for you and which childhood songs set you on the path to playing music and producing?
I started being interested in music around my 11th birthday, when I got my first Sony hifi set. One of my first singles was “Pretty Fly” from The Offspring. From that point I wanted to play every instrument. Drumming really sticked to me from the very first moment and I did never let go of that. I started taking drum lessons and played along to a lot of different bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine. Later on, as a teenager, I started being more into breakdancing as well, as I became more interested in the hip-hop music scene. Playing along to A Tribe Called Quest and what not, also my first love for producing was born. That developed more into the electronic (big beat) music scene, listening to acts such as Fatboy Slim, Underworld and The Chemical Brothers.
I’ve always been in different bands and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to go the conservatory, which I did from 2007-2011 in Amsterdam. I was kind of searching at that moment and wanted to play drums for five hours a day. Some teachers were asking questions about what I really wanted and what I was listening to etc, and they slowly inspired me to start producing and this is how I started my first solo act (under a different artist name), graduating in 2011. Now, ten years later, it’s time for my debut album “Time To Recover” ;).
Your excellent new single: Saccharine 374 for Sonar Kollektiv combines elements of traditional musicianship along with electronic creativity. And can you talk us through how you produced it, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
I’ve recorded with a lot of different musicians throughout the years and somehow I found this Rhodes loop, which I loved right away. Can’t really remember how I got it, but surprised that I had it, I started making the beat around it. Inspired by the lockdown video of Jordan Rakei’s “Song from Nothing”, I ended up chopping up six different drum grooves and merged that into one. It became a combination between my own recorded rolls / percussion and other weird samples I found. I always try to make the main ‘loop’ with all the ingredients as interesting as I can; I want to be able to listen to it for hours and still like it. I really had that feeling with this track.
I mainly used software for this track; VST’s such as the Diva, Serum, Rob Papen’s Subboombass synths, along with effects as Soundtoys, Fabfilter, Waves, Soothe and Valhalla.
At the very last stage of the track, I had the feeling the track was 95% there, but wanted to get the maximum out of it and decided to visit my synth-wizard friend Len van de Laak, and he did the finishing touches in a subtle way. He recorded additional Rhodes, Clavinette etc, with some cool effects on it. Exactly the finishing touches that it needed.
buy Saccharine 374 (Sonar Kollektiv) https://feiertagsk.bandcamp.com/album/saccharine-374
What attracted you to playing the Drums as opposed to another instrument? Which drummers have given you the biggest inspiration?
As a child I had a lot of energy. Playing drums reflected that the most, I could literally hit it off of me. Later on, during my study, I became more interested in other instruments as well, especially in playing the piano. I’m taking piano lessons at the moment, which helps me in writing better harmonies and creates better understanding in composing.
There are so many great drummers out there, it’s hard to choose one. Definitely The Godfather of the drums is Steve Gadd to me; his timing and his linear grooves are just beyond this world. I also like Nate Smith, Dan Mayo, Yussef Dayes, Deantoni Parks and Richard Spaven, to name a few.
Listening to your recent mix for Worldwide FM Berlin sounds like a fiery fusion of lots of diverse influences. Can you tell us about what inspires you creatively both within music and from the world outside of it (painters, poets, writers etc)?
I get mostly inspired by other musicians and artists. And yes, it’s true: I’ve got a wide interest in musical genres. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. Especially a couple of years ago I created a wide array of music. Now, I feel like I’m a bit more focused in what I want.
I’m really inspired by weird musical instruments from all over the world and try to incorporate them into an electronic mix. On this album I worked with the Tanzanian singer / multi-instrumentalist Msafiri Zawose and that’s the perfect example how traditional African music is combined with synth-heavy club material.
The human voice and song obviously pays a big part in what you do. How do you feel about the strength of contemporary song writing, and what is it about words that an instrument can’t convey?
Well, I have to say, I’m not a real songwriter. I always kind of start with creating an instrumental atmosphere first and when the track structure is developing slowly, I will decide if I’m going to need real vocals or not. Sometimes vocal samples are just enough for me as well; I really repetitive vocal lines when these are strong enough to carry a track.
Luckily enough, I’m surrounded by a lot of talented friends who can help me writing songs and translating my feelings into words and melodies.
Vocals, sampled or not, are giving it a more human touch, and it’s obvious that this triggers something in our emotional brains.
How do you see the future of making a living as an artist in terms of the direction of Streaming etc? Is live performance the only answer?
The covid-pandemic has forced me a bit more into producing only. So, yeah, it’s hard if the only income would be streaming. For me personally I’m doing fine at the moment. I also produce more calm piano-focused ambient music as “Bunraku” and I work on music for commercials once in a while. Besides that, I also teach drums at the Herman Brood Academie here in The Netherlands. So luckily enough I can make a living off of music.
Do you think club culture and dance music will change at all as a result of the effects of Covid-19, or will it be business as usual?
Yes, I think it has already changed. People are listening to other, more relaxed music at home I think. Also, the producers are making other music as well, since they are at home as well most of the time. On the other hand, I feel that when we’re all allowed to go out it will be booming again. People are longing for dancing and partying, and hopefully everybody will go crazy when they can. I’m working on some live bangers at the moment for that occasion.. 😉
And finally. Your debut album: Time To Recover is due out later this year. How would you describe it? And what else are you looking forward to this year?
Time To Recover is a mix between calm and relaxed atmospheric sounds combined with more energetic up-tempo tracks with vocalists. I like to work with an organic mix of live instruments such as the harp, kalimba’s, hangdrum, tonguedrum and then mix it up with more of an electronic approach. I worked with a variety of singers which was great, because they really felt what I intended to say.
The whole album feels like one piece to me, from the beginning until the end. Like a mixtape flowing into the next song. I had to deal with a breakup last year, so at some parts, the album was one big healing process for me as last year wasn’t an easy year for me personally. This, in combination with the covid-pandemic, made me choose for “Time To Recover” as my debut album title. I hope you guys like it and I’m looking forward to play some of it live later this year. Fingers crossed!
Feiertag – Time to Recover – Sonar Kollektiv is released May 28, 2021
pre-order Time To Recover https://sonarkollektiv.lnk.to/TimeToRecover