May 03, 2016
Zonderling One on One
We caught up with Jaap from Zonderling to talk about the Dutch duo and their uniqueness. Be sure to listen to some of their top music on Spotify and enjoy the music video for their latest single, Keep On, while you check out the interview.
What does Zonderling mean to you?
It’s because Martijn’s last name is van Sonderen and through that, Zonderling was an easy term. Also, it’s because our music is kind of different from the rest. We’re kind of a loner – that’s the Dutch meaning – Zonderling is kind of a loner in the contemporary EDM scene. Maybe it’s not the easiest thing to pronounce but we don’t really care.
Why do you guys choose Dutch names for your tracks?
The Dutch thing mainly happened because a lot of our music was instrumental music that we tried to name in a way that covered the vibe. In our native language we have a bigger pool of words to choose from than in English. Sometimes, you can picture something while making a track. For example, when making Telraam, we pictured the sounds being the little balls shifting on an abacus. Abacus in dutch is Telraam. We have a lot of unfinished tracks with really silly names. Our sound is starting to change a little because we’re working with vocalists and it would make more sense to name songs after what the lyrics are actually about. For Crazy For You, the song name is purely due to the vocal.
How do you select vocals for your tracks?
It has to have an impact on us. With Crazy For You, we got a whole package filled with vocals. And in there, was the vocal from Bishop. As soon as we heard it, we thought, “Wow, this is really haunting and pretty special.” Then, we started making a track around it.
What is your relationship like with Martijn?
Well, he’s part of another act, Noisia, and can’t be in two places at the same time. I’m Noisa’s label manager and run their three record labels. That’s my ‘normal’ job, so to speak. I’ve been DJing for 16 years and that’s how we met initially in our hometown. I started doing the label management 3 years ago, and then Martijn asked me to become part of his side project called Zonderling. He makes drum and bass, but he always used to make other music. Then, he started putting it out on Spinnin’ as Zonderling and that turned out to grow and grow, and then we started working on it together.
How’d you get involved?
We have a lot of contact and are in the same building a lot as well due to our work. I work with him for Noisia, so it was very easy to connect. Our music tastes match. We even found out that we used to go to the same parties 10 years ago. We connect on multiple levels. The main difference is that he makes music and I DJ.
How do you collaborate when you’re on the road?
Skype and WhatsApp. For instance, he messaged me last night asking how the show went and offering to give more edits of tracks if I needed them since we made some special stuff for the tour.
What’s the funniest thing about Martijn that we don’t know?
His cat’s name is Saus which is Dutch for sauce (laughs). Martijn is crazy about sauces – he knows everything about them.
So is the next song going to be Crazy For Sauce?
(Singing) Craaazy forrrr Saaaauce. For his bachelor party, they put a bunch of sauces in front of him and he knew all of them including which brand by smell and taste. It’s unbelievable.
How would you describe your set to someone unfamiliar with you?
Tonight was a pretty good example – I had 75 minutes, and that 15 minutes extra gives you just enough freedom. About halfway through my set, I took everything back down and started to play our older techno stuff, because that’s part of us as well. I know some people aren’t really going like it, but I don’t care, cause we like it! When you play a track that slows it down, it allows you to build it back up again. How would I describe a Zonderling set? Well, we have a term for it in the studio - priegel house, which means house with all these tiny things in it. ‘Priegelen’ is fooling around with stuff. And we fool around a lot, which is in the music – lots of different layers.
What show did you see as a fan that made you want to be a DJ?
Ah, it wasn’t at a show, it’s far more deeper than that. I had never seen a DJ before I wanted to be a DJ. That was around 17 years ago, and it was so different. Everyone wanted to be a fireman or whatever. For me, I really liked music. I’m a big fan of theme parks and roller coasters, and at the fun fair where I grew up they used to play house music at some of the attractions. I was crazy about those rides, and then I got crazy about electronic music and wanted to play it. I used to go out to little tiny discos, and then I saw a DJ, a local guy. I thought it was pretty cool to play music and entertain people like that. Then I met some guys and started DJing at their home and a few weeks later, bought my own turntables and here we are!
Wow, that’s crazy.
Crazy for turntables! (laughs)
Anything we should be on the lookout for?
Well, we have a new single, again with Bishop. It’s called Keep On. It’s kind of like Crazy For You, but a bit different. It has that vocal by her again. We’ve never even met her in person. We’re also working on two new quite big remixes – not going to say for whom though.
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