Eelke Kleijn has always been quietly amongst the greats throughout the last ten years in underground music. The Dutch-born DJ and producer, has recently been appearing on some major festival lineups. It is also no surprise that the young producer has a vault of tracks under his belt across compilations and records labels. Overnight sensations are just that, overnight, but a true artist's talent only strengthens with time, effort and patience. Slow and steady always wins the race!
Magnetic Mag sat down with Dutch veteran DJ and producer, Eelke Kleijn to talk about his steady rise over the past decade and how he ended up at Rapture on The Soundgarden Stage.
MM: How has it been for you over the last ten years going from a new artist at 20 to being a recognized name in the industry?
Eelke: It’s been a really cool journey actually. It’s cool because a lot of people sort of explode onto the scene and I feel like I have more of a slow but steady rise over the years. The cool thing is that you build up fans and crowds everywhere you go so every time you return it gets a little bit better. Then you get to this point where everywhere you go you go to full clubs and a lot of people coming to you so that’s been really great.
MM: What is it about Rotterdam that made you choose it as a home base?
Eelke: Well, it’s basically just the city where I was born. From a musical perspective -- actually I shouldn’t say this because I’ll get flamed from Rotterdam people -- but, I don’t think the Rotterdam scene is that interesting. Amsterdam has always been more my thing. But you know, I was born there and it is a really nice city. I’ve definitely have had some of my first musical experiences there and I have all of my friends there and my family, so that’s mainly the reason I still live there. But music-wise, I play more in Amsterdam.
MM: So you prefer being based in the Netherlands with your personal life other than playing somewhere else in the world?
Eelke: Yeah, I’d say so -- also because I have a family, a wife and a daughter, so they always stay at home when I travel. So I wouldn’t want to be in another place or another country for that long.
MM: Do you have any up and coming release or things that you’re working on that you can share with us?
Eelke: Yeah, definitely. A couple of remixes coming up. I just remixed a tune for Einmusika 10 Years, they’re doing a large compilation of remixes of some of their biggest tracks and I got to remix a track for that, which turned out really well. Also, I have a new artist album that’s coming out by the end of the year and we’re slowly going to bring out some singles from that in the second half of this year so we’re really looking forward to that one.
MM: Are you excited to play anywhere that you haven’t played before?
Eelke: Yeah, always. Last weekend, I was on an Australia-New Zealand tour so I went to -- Australia, I’ve been to a few times, but New Zealand was the first time for me and it was really great. I got three days off as well, played two shows and then just trekked from the country for three days. Took a good camera with me, so you know, started taking pictures everywhere. I really enjoyed seeing places when I’m traveling. If I can, when I go somewhere new I take one day off and see something of the city or country.
MM: It is very difficult for the DJ, the schedule eats up a lot of time to absorb anything.
Eelke: Yeah, on the one end you want to come back really quickly because I have my family at home and I want to make music so I want to be in the studio on the other end I feel that if I’ve been in new city -- Like my first visit to New York, was 10 hours or so -- so you go there and it’s like, “Oh, this is New York and you’re out.” So nowadays I try to take -- at least for all the new places -- one day off and get to see it a little bit. And in one day you can actually get a really good feeling of the city.
MM: It also plays a lot into the DJs health to be able to gradually move through the tour.
Eelke: It’s very important I think. Also in terms of eating healthy and I try to workout a lot even when I’m touring just to keep in good shape and keep healthy because if you don’t, you get into a habit of too much drinking and partying and flying all the time. You can’t do that for years and years.
MM: How do you feel that the music -- especially in Europe -- gets translated as opposed to how its translated in the Western Hemisphere?
Eelke: That’s a good question. No, it’s not exactly the same although I do feel that trends that you see developed in Amsterdam or Berlin and other places, you do see those trends translate to the Western Hemisphere as well and other places too. Although sometimes not as big and not right away, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. Just speaking for my scene, I feel that I get great parties in Amsterdam, I get great parties in South America, and I get great parties in the US and in Canada as well. I feel now with music, globalization and the internet, everything gets translated really quickly from one place to the next. Even in terms of me playing a new tune or a new release by myself; if I play that somewhere and it gets videotaped and I’ll play it a month later somewhere else, people actually recognize it because they’ve seen it on video on Facebook. It’s definitely not like 15 years ago when every sort of city or scene had its own sound. That’s changed a lot.
MM: Final questions! How was your Rapture experience?
Eelke: Really good. I love playing slowly in the beginning or moody and building that up gradually. I was able to do just that, right here. So I think it was a really really good vibe and we had a lot of nice people there, so it’s been great so far and I’m going to stay here at least until midnight or so and enjoy the festival for a bit. It’s probably going to get a lot better from now on.