Dutch producers have had such a massive impact on dance music in the past few years. What factors in Holland have led to them becoming such a powerhouse in dance music?

I think it has a lot to do with the country being very small, it’s easy to quickly drop by each other’s studios and stuff like that. Of course the music is also super integrated into our culture and has been for many years. It also might be just a part of Dutch culture to work really hard and to not be afraid of collaborations to help each other ahead in reaching goals.

You’ve been in the dance music scene for well over a decade now. What are some of the positive and negative shifts you’ve seen in the community since your start and if you could change anything about the state of dance music, what would you change?

I wouldn’t change a thing! Most obviously of course is that the popularity of the genre has grown tremendously. I don’t think anybody could’ve foreseen the explosion in popularity and the unprecedented opportunities and development for the music and industry as a whole that came from that. That explosion in popularity is something I’m most thankful for. It’s one thing to love what you’re doing but in the end it’s about sharing your music and connecting with people from all across the globe through the same passion, and, the bigger the audience the more opportunity there is to share! Right now I’m really happy with the everything-goes vibe that exists musically and as a consequence, I’m feeling very free artistically myself and I think that there are only good things to come for the current climate the industry is in.

You’ve helped foster the careers of various artists through your record label and other efforts such as your radio show. What artists out there today do you think more people should be paying attention to?

The game changed so much over the last few years, there are so many great tracks and genres out there and everything just keeps evolving at a super fast pace, so I think mainly you should pay attention to every new and unique thing popping up. When it comes to more established names I love what Dannic and D.O.D – both of whom I have collabs coming up with – are doing, but new kids Robin Hustin and Funkmachine definitely know their way around the studio as well. Artists like Billy Kenny produce and play nice and hard house grooves which I really like, but also artists like Kid Panel, Marten Horger and the well-known Chocolate Puma are artists with a lot of talent and massive tracks!

Are there any other artist’s radio shows or podcasts that you listen to?

I try to catch as much as I can, but between keeping up with all new music, spending time in my studio, traveling and doing my shows, there is just so little time left to really sit down and enjoy some radio shows.. I try to keep myself updated as much as I can in-between traveling though, and I love the dedication of Armin van Buuren and the crew at BBC radio to always push their limits when it comes to delivering solid shows.

What new releases in the past few months have you particularly enjoyed and what made them so special?

I like the current climate where a lot goes musically and many styles spiral from that, making picking favorites more and more difficult as there is a lot I like! Right now I’m very much into house with breakbeats and specifically loving ‘You Don’t’ by Marten Horger and Neon. I love playing hard grooves and this track really is a great example of a break track done well.

Who have you always wanted to collaborate with but have never had the opportunity?

There are so many! Outside of the dance scene, I’d love to work with Lukas Graham and Bruno Mars. That would just be amazing!

Since 2006, you’ve been able to consistently keep your spot as one of the most influential DJs in the world. What steps do you take to evolve your sound along with the changing tastes of dance music fans?

Mostly it comes naturally. My inspiration comes from everything and nothing, but of course a major influence is the musical climate surrounding you. Next to that, I haven’t let myself be pigeonholed musically too much from the beginning of my career. I think I’m too strong minded for that anyways, but also my personal musical interest is just too broad, a good track is a good track you know. That’s always been my main focus, just making and playing good music, and I hope I’ll be able to continue to for a very long time!

Your sets have been considered to be some of the best to ever be played at Ultra. How long before your set do you begin planning and what sort of factors do you take into consideration when compiling the set list?

I always prepare and to a certain extent I still get nervous. When you think about it it’s the craziest thing ever, I’ve done I don’t even know how many shows by now and I think it’s just me being a little bit too much of a perfectionist every now and then and just wanting to give every member of the audience my very best time and time over. Deciding what to play usually does come quite naturally, especially when talking about Ultra Miami specifically, as it’s kind of the start of the new year and you know you want to be including some of the new stuff you’ve got coming up and I just kind of build from there. I keep things close to myself so I don’t go about doing something massively different all of a sudden, it’s just really about tweaking it to perfection and putting the cherry on top 🙂

Your opening song at Ultra this year was your new single “Dancing Together”, which represented a shift in style from your album release in 2016. How was the reception to your new single and did it meet your own personal expectations?

Wow. I have to say it did and way more over. I’m very happy as this track felt absolutely right to start the year off with.

In your past interviews, you’ve mentioned the emotional nature of writing songs and lyrics. Which song of yours do you have the most emotional connection to and why?

Lost, a song off my Something Real album featuring the vocals of Jonathan Mendelsohn. In the process of producing it, I had lost someone close to me and it really came to represent that. It’s sad but beautiful at the same time. In the end it’s why we all need music right?!

What should we expect from you for the rest of 2017?

A lot of new music!!! This year is in many ways a fresh start for me. I’m very happy with the new direction for Darklight Recordings moving into a collaboration with Armada Music. And all over I’m feeling super positive and energetic, I’m making more music then ever and I feel very free in an artistic sense. I can’t wait to start releasing and seeing what the rest of the year will bring!


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