No Boundaries with Eelke Kleijn [Interview]

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Not one to be contained, Eelke Kleijn applies his musical talents wherever they are needed. Be it an underground show, a trailer for a movie, or one of his refined musical compositions, he is a man that brings music to the world wherever it is needed. Yet, he is not slapping his sounds this way and that on whatever he can, he goes about his work in different media with much thought and careful consideration.

His style of music is beautifully atmospheric and always diverse. It will get any artistically respectable club going, but it will also take you on a journey, so it is no surprise this man has found himself venturing into the cinematic world. He is a layered creator, and the more time you spend with his music, you see how deep this Eelke Kleijn can go.

If you want to become a fan of a musician that will stimulate mind, body and soul, then it is time you stopped wasting time, and get to know this man from the Netherlands! Or if you already are a fan, well then you are in luck, he answered some of my questions, so now is your chance to become an Eelke Kleijn super fan!

What is going on so far for Eelke Kleijn in twenty fifteen?

So far it’s been a busy year even though we’re hardly out of January. I’ve started the year with my North American tour, so I’m currently in the USA. I’ve played Chicago, Miami, Toronto and New York up to now, and upcoming are Calgary, LA, San Fracisco, San Diego and Tijuana. It’s a really interesting start of the year for me since usually January is mostly studio time.

How has the reception been to your latest ‘Space Disco’ release? How do you feel about it?

The feedback on that EP is really good, on both tracks. It’s sort of an extension of where I have been going with my music lately. Space Disco has this slight funk to it, while Universoul Soul is a record that really works well at peak time. They both got some great feedback in my recent sets, especially because I was playing and finetuning them for about a half year before the release!

What is the essence of Eelke Kleijn? Do you have a creative philosophy?

My creative philosophy is probably that I don’t really have any boundaries. I like to do different kinds of music, and I try to do all of those well. I don’t have one set path that I follow, I always like to take up new challenges even though sometimes they can be very different from what I’ve done before. I think it’s extremely boring just to be making the same music for years in a row.

What is an Eelke Kleijn live show like?

I try to keep my DJ sets focussed towards the underground. I’ve always been about house and techno music and I suppose that will never change, that’s just the kind of music I love to listen to in a club. I play a lot of my own records but also other peoples music that I like and want to support. I do a real live show every now and then, which is my own music performed live on Ableton with controllers and synths. I try to keep those a little bit more unique, so that might happen a few times a year maximum.

As I’ve read you are a man of many talents and pursuits, how do you approach composing for movie trailers versus music composition? Is there a different mindset required?

I judge my music by how well it works. If it’s written for a club, it should get a good club response, and then I’m happy. And if I’m working on a radio tune, it should work well on radio, otherwise it’s not a good radio song for me. The same goes for music for film. In essence you’re writing music that has the primary purpose of selling the movie or the trailer, so that is the most important thing for me. Of course you’ve also got things like artistic integrity and taste, I try to find a good balance between all of those but the most important thing for me is that it works well for the purpose that it serves.

How did you get started in composing for movie trailers?

I started with doing really small animations. Things like ads, company movies, etc. That got me familiar with writing music in a different way, I look back at that as a sort of practice session. I became better in scoring for film and hitting important moments with my music. Once we got in contact with some people from LA things started to move quickly and I got a few options to score a trailer. Again that took a while to get familiar with but after a year or so the first things started to come through.

One day do you hope to score feature length films?

I’ve actually done my first one this year. A Dutch documentary about Frans Afman, a Dutch banker who developed a new system for financing movies in the 1980s with Dino Delaurentis (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1929178/). But this is definitely something I want to pursue in the future!

Similar question, but more music focused, how did you get started composing dance music?

I’ve liked dance music from when I was a kid, but I started making music when I was 16 I think. At that time I’d been playing the piano for a couple of years and I worked at this music store. I used to bring home all this equipment and just experimented with it over the weekend. I bought some gear every now and then as well. I guess I was messing around for 2-3 years before I had my first release in 2003.

What are a few of your favorite or definitive Eelke Kleijn songs?

Some of my own personal favourites are Lovely Sweet Divine, Rauwdouwer, 51 Degrees Nord, Luigi’s Magic Mushroom, Ein Tag Am Strand. I feel those are really defining of what I like to listen to and sort of showcase me as an artist.

What are a few of your favorite genres? And follow up question! What are your favorite films?

I really enjoy almost everything. At home I can listen to anything, from Marilyn Manson to Massive Attack and classical music and everything in between. Some of my favourite movies are Pulp Fiction, The Big Lebowski (actually anything by the Coen Brothers), Sushine (mostly due to the insane visuals) and some of the animation movies like Shrek cause I love watching those with my kid.

Who are you listening to lately?

Too many to mention. Although if I can do one shoutout, I’ve been really impressed by a lot of the guys on Steyoyoke from Berlin.

12. What is your best advice for creative types? Any particularly notable words of wisdom you would care to share?

I’ve found out that it’s best to strike a balance between your own creative vision and what the market wants. If you only follow your own vision sometimes it can be hard to make a living out of what you’re doing. And that doesn’t just go for music, it goes for painters, sculptors etc as well. But you’re not gonna be happy only creating what other people want you to. Strike a good balance between those two is the best way to make it in the creative world but also to make a living out of it.