Last year, via In Conversation, I had the chance to speak with one of techno's finest rising talents, Remco Beekwilder. In it, we discussed everything from his introduction to electronic music, leaving his day job to pursue music, and why hard work trumps all. A year later, his label Emerald has released its first VA compilation, and will soon be releasing Remco's debut album, 'Culture Vulture'. In the exclusive interview, we catch up to see what he's been up to since our last chat, his new album, and the success of Emerald. As a bonus, check out a teaser for the album at the end of the interview.
Hey Remco, hope you've been well, my friend. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Last year you were a guest on In Conversation, and since then, so much has happened for you. Tell us, what all has been going on since our last chat?
Hey Kane, the pleasure is all mine. I’m doing good and I hope you are as well. I’ve been through some positive changes since our last conversation. I’ve been able to work a lot on new material and plan ahead with my label. Also started to exercise more frequently, but it still goes with ups and downs depending on the weekly travel and lack of sleep.
Emerald is really taking off, to which we wholeheartedly say congrats. First, it was the first VA compilation, and then you announced your debut album Culture Vulture. How do you decide what projects come when?
Thank you, I really appreciate this! I’ve been playing a couple of the tunes from the VA for a long time. These particular tracks didn’t make it appear on a solo EP for whatever reason and that’s when the idea came to collect all these good single tracks, ask some friends to contribute as well and present all of those on a VA compilation. Turned out as a double vinyl release and I’m proud of the result.
When the VA was complete and ready to press the album wasn’t finished yet, so the VA naturally came first.
Your album is a reflection on your musical journey through the years and touches on a bit of everything. Why did you feel it was important to write your album in this way?
It was never meant to write the album this way actually. The whole idea of making an album started when I felt stuck making music in a certain routine I was going through. I wanted to go back making music when I started making music and explore sounds and genres again.
When I started making music I didn’t pay attention to what it should sound like or if it would fit ‘Remco Beekwilder’. I just created sounds in the heat of the moment moving from Hip Hop to Trance -
Hardcore to Drum and Bass and back. If it felt right, I’d finish that track.
The last period I was more focused on making music that would fit ‘Remco Beekwilder’, but a lot of potential great music gets lost working this way. If I wasn’t 100% sure that the track was a match for the profile, I didn’t finish the track and jumped to another project. For me making an album was the perfect escape to make music again, without thinking of boundaries or a profile. There’s enough room to make a left turn or a right if you’re doing a full-length album. The perfect opportunity to take it back to where it all started as a bedroom producer.
There are only a few collabs on the album. What was it about these artists that made you want to work with them? Were these tracks written specifically for the album?
The first collaboration track is made together with Stranger. About 2 years ago we nearly finished a collaboration EP, but we never found a home for the tracks. This particular track is one of my favorites of that collab EP and I’ve been playing it weekly. As it became a part of my sets and me I felt it found it’s destiny on my album.
Tim Tama and I are working on a collaboration EP on EMERALD. We figured it would be cool to share the first work on my album to give a glimpse of what a collaboration between the two of us sounds like.
Last collaboration track is with Nur Jaber. I’ve met her when I had my debut playing at Berghain. After my set, we’ve had a chat in the garden and I caught her saying that she could sing as well. We exchanged contacts and the idea of doing a project together was founded. After several e-mails back and forth we set the concept of our project. Without pushing each other too much in certain directions the result came naturally.
When we last spoke, we spoke about trance music and how it helped shape your taste in electronic music. Hold My Hand has a very trancey atmosphere to it. Was this intentional or did it just naturally occur that way?
As I approached the album with the vision of making music what I’m feeling at that particular moment, it came naturally. The process of making this track is similar to making hip hop cuts with the use of samples. This track contains samples only, chopped and rearranged, no use of VST’s or hardware. Just the basics of chopping samples and creating a new rhythm.
It's impressive that your album is 14 tracks, as most albums today seem to fall way short of that. How many tracks didn't make it to the album, and what was your process like when deciding which to keep?
I’ve made approximately about 20/25 tracks. Not all tracks are finished though. I’ve selected the tracks that seem to be falling in shape with the others and are more unlikely to expect from me in relation with doing solo EPs.
Another thing we spoke about was work ethic. With so many things happening on your label, have you had to adjust your ways of working?
Not really. I’m still a morning person so my work ethic contains getting up in the morning as if I would go to the office and start working on music or music-related tasks. I feel most comfortable with working during office hours as I’ve been used to do this for years.
One last question for you. Any updates on the new studio you've been building? We are excited to see what you'll be putting out with this new workspace.
Unfortunately not. It turns out that this project needs a lot more time than I expected and due to deadlines and other projects, I’m not able to spend much more time on building the studio. It’s a slow process, as it’s not my main priority.
Culture Vulture will be available June 7th via Emerald Recordings