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A Sit Down With DJ Joris Voorn

06:22 Oct/11/2017

Joris Voorn makes music and lets his life keep pace. The Dutch DJ gives new meaning to the word wanderlust, flying to different cities every week over festival season and playing to crowds of thousands. In June alone, the dance and techno maverick travelled to Manchester, Madrid, Barcelona, Sweden, Belgium, Amsterdam and Ibiza, updating his own Spectrum Radio show along the way too. Joris has seemingly mastered the art of hedonism with a clear head: he’s relax and affable – not sour and sleep deprived, as you would expect of such a die-hard professional who gives every set his absolute all. Joris remains grounded and focused: the 40-year old music producer sometimes takes his young son along to festivals (they wear matching headgear); he pretty much answers every tweet sent his way and he’s a stickler for sound perfection, often asking his fans for feedback as well as insights into new mixing equipment.

"I make techno; I make ‘housey’ things. I’ve always done that because musically I find that interesting, I get bored if I just have to do the same thing all the time."

How did you get into the type of music that you produce and DJ?
I just listened to guitar music all the time before I turned eighteen. I absolutely hated gabber, techno and house music. Bands like Chemical Brothers and Underworld were crossing over indie and electronic music. Those are the groups that really brought me into electronic music. In 1995, I started getting more into it, when I started catching onto techno music everything sounded new and fresh. I slowly began appreciating the music, and then I started collecting records which became part of the natural progression of getting into the lifestyle. Jeff Mills, Derrick May and all the techno pioneers were some of the influences for my passion that developed with electronic music. In 1996, I bought a Roland MC-303 Groove Box which allowed me to produce music. I made a lot of music with it but no one ever heard any of those tracks. I have a bunch of tapes sitting in a box. Believe it or not some of those productions are actually worth listening too.

How do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?

I am there for the people, and I will always try to make them dance. Part of me likes to be an educator and show people something new, something inspiring or something they already know in a new form. It’s that interaction with the crowd that keeps me inspired.

This ADE, at the Awakenings Presents Joris Voorn & Friends night, you've got people like Agoria, Hot Since 82, Green Velvet playing with you…

Yeah, I think that's also one of the things that's so amazing. Over the years we've gotten so close, and we like working together, and they're such good nights. I'm super happy. I think it's gonna be a great one.

Your tracks have a unique feel to them. Can you tell us how you achieve that level of polish?

One of the things that has been very very important to me: I always wanted to create music that sounds good in the studio, the club and in the car, and that`s a really hard combination. Finding that balance is a real challenge, so I can get lost in a track EQing a drum or a melody line so its just right.

What were some of the main challenges when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time?

The main challenge was finding good music. Learning how to beat match was easy, it’s like learning how to ride a bike. After that you focus on mixing, creating your own style. For me it’s always been a big part of a DJ's sound, besides the music. DJs like Derrick May and Jeff Mills had a unique technique, and of course I tried mimicking that. But then the music; being at the right moment at the right record store to get the good records, that was a real challenge and something not as easy to control.

You say you’re an underground DJ, but you still have half a million followers on Facebook. That’s pretty massive…

I know, it’s a relative thing now. I’m probably somewhere on the most commercial side of underground. Then there’s the real underground with the real, super obscure DJs. But yes, once you step in Ibiza, you won’t find the real, obscure DJs here.

Techno music is a worldwide phenomenon and it is appreciated all over the world. In your opinion what city takes the music in the best? What city do you like playing in the most?
I can’t pinpoint an exact city that goes crazy over techno, but I would have to say Holland is very open and most interested in techno music than the rest of the world. Last weekend was the Awakenings Festival in Holland, the event had over 35,000 attendees. The DJ list included Trentemoller, DJ Rush, Green Velvet, Kevin Saunderson and a whole bunch of other guys. There are a lot of things happening in Holland as far as Techno music is concerned and it has a very vibrant scene there. I love playing New York City just because the scene is so small here it creates a challenge to get the crowd moving.

Have you got any big ambitions left on your bucket list?

Well, I don’t think I’ll be doing this forever, and of course I’m sometimes wondering what I’m gonna do afterwards. I used to be an interior designer. I don’t think I can go back to that because I haven’t been practising. It’s a bit like skating, if you don’t do it for 20 years, then you can be a but rusty. I would have to start all the way at the bottom, being an intern again. Although, maybe if I’ve made a name as a DJ people are like ‘oh yes! A DJ making furniture’.

Your notoriety has grown with age too?

Yeah, well a little bit. I was always into music. I started playing violin when I was a kid; I played the guitar as well but then I discovered electronic music and I realised that it’s actually quite easy being a DJ. I mean, you don’t have to be in a band to perform electronic music. It’s a very DIY kind of thing, which I really loved, which is why I became a DJ. I just loved music. Even in the beginning of my DJ career, I played everything from Hip Hop to Jungle and Drum and Base – anything I could get my hands on. The only thing I didn’t get really into was proper trends. But for the rest, I tried everything. Then I just narrowed it down to house music and techno.

What advice can you offer to someone trying to create Techno music?

What I did was bring in a melodical sound, when techno was just about beats no one was really playing melodies. I brought in a danceable rhythm with some melodies. It was either monotonous beats or Detroit style. I was trying to get best of both worlds and that helped me become a better producer and DJ. People can listen to my music and can actually feel something with the music I produce. Creating music is quite easy it is not that difficult to make this type of sound. If you have a good feeling of what you are doing then you will not have a problem doing it.

Is accessibility something you think about when you're making your own music?

I think so, yeah, absolutely. It's something that I do believe in. I'm someone that makes music more from the heart, rather than with my brain. It's a different approach to music.

How’s 2017 looking for you? Do you have any new releases or remixes lined up?

With 2017, I’ve been focusing a lot on producing some new music because its just such an important part of the process. There’s a lot of more releases coming: tracks, EPs, maybe even an album at the end of the year, so there’s a lot of new stuff to look out for!

What's your first memory of live music?

That must have been going to a classical concert with my parents. My father was a composer and he had his pieces performed a lot, so he brought his whole family along and we all had to sit somewhere quiet in the audience listening to an experimental saxophone player or something.



As a producer he makes dance music with emotion and class, timeless tunes that will no doubt stand the test of time and defy stereo types and the short lived fads of the EDM hype machine. Miami still has the power to create legends and Joris Voorn is on his way to becoming one of those legends. He is a true DJ in every way, from the craft of mixing to reading the crowd he is flawless in his execution.

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