Jan 20, 2020
CHARMES: Focused & IN CONTROL For 2020
CHARMES is focused and IN CONTROL as he's already got the wheels rolling on a massive 2020! Coming off a big year which saw him rack up the DJ support on releases on labels such as Musical Freedom and STMPD, he’s turning his attention towards his newest release “Plugman” which comes out this Friday on his own imprint IN CONTROL. We dive into the production, as well as his new Mixtape series under the same name, and CHARMES shares some of his big branded event plans alongside many more exclusive pieces of exciting news!
Werner, thanks for joining us today. You’re off to a fast start already in 2020 and before we jump into the new music, we wanted to take a second and reflect on the past year. What were two defining moments in 2019 for you?
Hey guys, first of all, thanks for having me. 2019 was a busy and solid year. I had nine releases on several labels such as STMPD, Musical Freedom, Armada, Thrive and more. I enjoyed a lot of support from fellow DJs and it definitely was a year where I pushed my own sound and also sold out several IN CONTROL events in my hometown Amsterdam. With that said, there’s several highlights, but if i have to choose two:
My gigs at Ushuaïa Ibiza for Martin Garrix's party. Such an incredible vibe every year. It’s the sixth year in a row that I’ve played on the Island and I’m as happy as a kid in a candy store when they ask me to come back every year.
Music wise, it was the year of the clearances. My team and I managed to finally clear two songs that had taken ages to get all of the paperwork done. After one and a half years we finally released “These Sounds” on Musical Freedom & “Bass Down Low” on STMPD. Both tunes I’ve played for such a long time in my DJ sets. But nobody could stream them, until finally last year!
Your new single “Plugman” is out this Friday, so take us through the production process. How’d you go from the initial inspiration to the final track that we here today?
Haha, this one is funny to tell, I was watching an old episode of Knight Rider back in 2018 and the theme song really got stuck in my head. Of course I couldn’t do the same melody, but I tried to create the same feel – an 80s/90s vibe with a rare bass groove. I made the instrumental first and then tested it for a long time in the club as a bootleg. The crowd response was amazing every time so that was my confirmation to do something with it. I called up a songwriter to do the writing with me and we wrote the lyrics.
"Plugman" is a metaphor I use for playing a productive role by supplying my signature sound by public demand. If you call your “plug” then you’re mostly calling somebody to get you something rare or exclusive that nobody has. I’m just trying to supply my fans every month with new tastemaker music that isn’t out there!
How, if at all, does “Plugman” represent the sound that we can expect from your releases this year?
Yes it kind of does! The vibe will always be house with a solid bass groove, but I will never make a follow up with exactly the same sounds or arrangements. Maybe using some of the same elements, but mostly trying new sounds and techniques to push my limits in the studio as well. I already know what my next single will be… and I can’t wait to release that beast as well! Some more power grooves are waiting for you guys! #staytuned
“Plugman” is also coming out on your own imprint In Control. What can you tell us about label plans for 2020? Are there bigger plans with In Control as a brand for this year?
Yes DEFINITELY! We started In Control as a music label, but the motto behind it applies not only music wise, but also in general (your mindset, lifestyle, etc.) to have it all “in control.” My philosophy for years has been: do what makes you happy and not what others think you should do. We are not on this planet to please other people. Just do YOU, get that experience first... then you can listen to others. It may sound selfish, but I know lots of people who are doing things every day even though it makes them unhappy. People are slowing down or are confused when they are distracted by others. So live your life… FOCUS.. you are “in control.”
Coming back to the label – the plan is to do more live shows. I did four last year, and am planning for more this year. I’ve gone back to doing four to five hour solo sets, where I can build a whole evening with music I want to play.
I’m also doing a mixtape series every month, consisting of my most played records of that month.
I’m trying to do solid label releases monthly, and it doesn’t have to be a Charmes song. I’ve been receiving great music lately, so I’m planning to release music from other artists as well. (PS if you read this and want to send a demo for my label, you can send to email@example.com, house music only).
And last but not least, as I am a mentor for many, I’m doing some In Control live sessions for the upcoming DJs and producers as well. More info about that soon!
Last week you dropped a brand new Mixtape filled with big tracks. Tell us a little bit more about how you approached the mix in terms of track selection and flow.
All of the tracks are carefully selected and my most played tracks of the last two to three months. This sound clearly resonates with my audience and proves how superficial musical boundaries are. It’s a combination of tech, deep & swag house but it’s keeping the tension high. I always try to make and play new tastemaker music and try to tell a story with my music. As an artist, that’s the message I try to convey.
Can you highlight three tracks or artists you included and why they stand out to you?
Chris Lake - “Stay With Me.” For me that tune is the anthem of 2019… played it almost every set. LOVE IT SO MUCH!
Chris Lorenzo - “Bad Bitch.” Every time I play this tune people ask me if it’s mine! Hahaha. I don’t know why… but this one’s such a BANGER!
Black V Neck - “Tarzan.” Claude von Stroke’s Dirtybird keeps dropping those rare unbelievable tunes! One of my favorite tracks in my DJ sets as well! (That groove, Oh MY GOSH!)
Lastly, as we head fully into the new year and new decade, what are two goals that you’re hoping to achieve?
Well I have more goals than two… but honestly… if my family and I can stay healthy, fit & happy this decade then I’m GOOD. Sounding very cliché I know, but it’s so damn important. I’ve seen too many people get sick or some die too soon. Being a father of two beautiful daughters growing up, plus doing what I love to do... man... I couldn’t wish for more. I’m grateful.
You can pre-save CHARMES - "Plugman" today! https://incontrol.complete.me/plugman
short link 1001.tl/fh3k2b