[Exclusive Interview] Yellow Claw's Medieval Appeal

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What do you get when you stir a pot of trap, hardstyle, house, dubstep, hip hop and moombahton? Yellow Claw. Brought to you straight out of the Netherlands comes a trio with a hell of a lot to offer the the electronic music culture.

Yellow Claw know what they're doing is working and we know what they're doing is working. The music they create pushes boundaries, crosses over the norm, and generally... it's loud as hell.

"Shenanigans is one hell of a dope word. It sounds like it can only be about medieval stuff like sword fighting and riding horses.

As a matter of fact, that’s what we mostly do when we’re on tour."

From running a label to running shenanigans all over the world, these guys really know what it takes to thrive and survive. Their specialty? Not giving a single fuck about what you think about them.

Over the last five years, you guys have been successfully doing what many in the industry struggle with - blending genres. Crossing over sounds that typically you wouldn't put together. It’s creating a lot of noise in the community and frankly, we can’t get enough of it. Where do you draw the influences from to create your own unique sound?

When it comes to dance music, Holland has such a rich history of styles and influences already. There is a lot of that in Yellow Claw. From early Gabber Hardcore to the Bobbeling sound of the Caribbean that was brought along by the Suriname and Antilles fellow countrymen. Having DJ'd for a decade, both Jim and Nils were always interested in literally mixing up genres. It creates an atmosphere where all boundaries have disappeared.

2013 seemed to be your guys' dominant year – From signing with Mad Decent and Spinnin' Records to gracing the coveted stages of TomorrowLand in Belgium – you really came out and showed the electronic music world what you have. Last year you went a step further and introduced your own label Barong Family. How has that been going?

2013 was the year we got the opportunity to play our sound for crowds around the world. That is what we do best and enjoy the most -- playing a good set of Yellow Claw music. The label has actually taken off way harder than we first expected it to. We have an office now and get tons of demos sent to us, even from producers we have been admiring for years. 2015 will be a crazy year for the label as well and we have so many crazy releases coming up -- it’s insane.

How does label life differ from that of tour life? How do your roles and responsibilities change when you're recording in the studio vs putting someone else in the studio?

For our first two releases, we had to find our way into not getting into the music part too deeply and specifically but really trusting the artists and their own vision. Although we are there with them in the studio, listening to their demos and giving our opinions, it stops there. And that’s a good thing. We are just there for them to support and advise on everything they need.

What would you say has collectively been your greatest achievement so far in your career?

Our greatest achievement is Yellow Claw, as it is. Up until now, we didn't have a manager or a big record deal. We toured, had the music videos, our fashion brand BLOOD FOR MERCY and the label Barong Family. And you know what the best thing about it is? That we’re still as good of friends as we were when we started this thing.

As one of the only groups pushing the boundaries of crossover music, what is your response to the fans who ‘genre bash’ or put pressure on producers (ie: Showtek, Headhunterz, Coone) for their decision to pursue other sounds in their careers?

Those are not real fans. Those are scared people that try to inflict their fear and insecurity on you. We have nothing to do with them and don't pay attention to them. And to be honest, we don't even get that a lot. Because when you try to genre bash somebody in this game, if you pick us -- you will have a damn hard time. And they know that. Our people buy a ticket to the unknown when they hang with us, and they know that.

Such a great answer. Give 'em hell! What kinds of shenanigans do you find yourselves in while touring different countries?

Shenanigans is one hell of a dope word. It sounds like it can only be about medieval stuff like sword fighting and riding horses. As a matter of fact, that’s what we mostly do when we’re on tour.

That's absolutely perfect. Advice for producers pursuing a career in this industry?

Do you.

Last question! What are you most looking forward to in 2015, and can you give us any details on what is up and coming for you?

We just dropped our single Till It Hurts and plan to drop our album Blood For Mercy later this year.

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