We’re so looking forward to the new Junkie XL album, Synthesized—due to drop November 27 via Nettwerk Records. Tom Holkenborg has been a staple in EDM culture for as long as I can remember, like 15 years or something, but there hasn’t been a Junkie XL album in about four. We hear Curt Smith (Tears for Fears) makes an appearance, Isis Salam (Thunderheist), Tommie Sunshine is featured on a track too, there’s some spoken word by Timothy Leary on “Leave Behind Your Ego,” with a rare excerpt from “The Psychedelic Experience: Going Out.” Sounds like the Dutch-born musician, remixer and producer is going big on this sixth full-length.
If you're in the mood for something big, somethings tough and something bass-heavy... enjoy this free Maverick dub mix download of “Gloria,” featuring Fredrik of Datarock. We’ve got it here for you first.
And here's a video for “Off The Dancefloor” created by Japan’s Trippple Nippples. It's off the new album too.
We tossed out a few questions to Junkie XL too. Have a read…
What percentage of your skills were you born with? How did you go about acquiring additional skills? Learning from others? Teaching the self?
A very difficult question, what is genetic and what is taught or learned. I can't really answer this question with percentages. What I can says is that I come from an very musical family, my mother was a music teacher and my father played instruments and was the first DJ in our small town. So music must be in my genes. But I was able to bang on a piano since I was 3 years old. After 3 years of banging my mum would say, “Why don’t try banging like this?” More and more I learned. When I was 9 my parents gave me a drum set. Heaven for the neighbors! Not... I received so much love from various people over the years. The owner of a music shop drum set was 17, Hans was his name. He let me borrow all his synthesizers to fuck around with. A friend Ronald, who had a small studio where I was able to experiment and record. My first band Weekend at Waikiki, all older guys who had seen it all. I was green behind the ears and got taught step-by-step how to program, write, produce and deliver. Later I was fortunate to work with all these great artists and bands from Fear Factory to Madonna to Coldplay, From Rammstein to Nataly Imbruglia etc. Then I met Hans Zimmer, the last couple of years he's taking me under his wings and taught me how film scoring is done. I get taught film scoring from the master himself and work with incredible people like Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chris Nolan and Ron Howard. Whenever learning something new positive encouragement is important. I feel this goes for everybody and thus also for me. My musical skills really thrived from encouragements. Even today. Of course I spend a lot of time in the studio myself and I have a hunger to figure things out musically. Always had this and always will so teaching yourself plays a big part. A combination of genetics, learning and self-teaching is what gave me my "skills"
Is there a moment in life that changed or defined your sonic aesthetic?
Listening to Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd with my older cousin. I was 9 at the time. The trip was surreal, unknown and impossible to understand for a 9 year old. But that moment opened up something in me that has really gotten me to the place I am now.
Speak about the hierarchy of skill (craftsmanship), style (your unique aesthetic) and emotive content in your work.
For me it’s all intertwined so I feel there is no hierarchy. Sometimes you feel more of a writer and you try to put real emotion in the track, the next day you are working on the same piece of music and you give it your style, your sound, so you are more of a producer. But for me most of the time these things all happen at the same time. When I create music, craftsmanship, style and emotion are all working at the same time. The sounds I chose, the way I use them and how I play them work together to create music.
So today there is less of a distinction of these different skills and they often come together in one person or one band. A lot of people do everything. Yesterday these skills came from different people. I like the band Fleetwood Mac, the producers Flood and Daniel Lanois. The executive producer and arranger Quincy Jones. The engineer Lord Randall Wine, master technician Bob Ludwig, etc., etc. It is people like that I admire.
If you were to describe your sound as a scent, a signature fragrance as it were, what would it be called?
Something extremely organic with a synthetic after taste.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?
What’s the secret to your success?
Believe in yourself, be bold, be honest, and stubborn, but also listen to others. Know your limits and work within them. And finally trust some people.
What was your favorite toy as a child and when did you stop playing with it?
A brown stuffed bear my dad gave to me when I was very young. 2-years old or something. Stop playing? Duh?? He's sitting here in my studio, on my right studio speaker.
Stuffed animals are kinda spooky. Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal or supernatural?
Yes. Lets leave it at that.
How will you feel six months after your heart stops beating?
Do you have a pet? If not, what is your ideal pet and what would you want it to do in an ideal world?
My Zen Master ENZO (like Ferrari). He hast no past. He's not worried about tomorrow. He lives in the moment and gives unconditional love. Who doesn't want to live like that?
If you visualize music as your listen, what (generally) do you imagine?
Green, green, green, red, red, red, red, green, green.
If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:
One day you wake up and figure out it all doesn't matter.
Tell me about your most memorable night out. Either as an artist or as a music fan. Both?
Seeing Killing Joke just after they released “Love Like Blood.” I lived for that band back in the day and they delivered that evening on every level.
You can hear the original of "Gloria" here.