This month’s featured artists are Tom Trago and Detroit Swindle!
Do you want to know when your favorite DJ will be playing some tracks, or are you curious about new Dutch voices in town? In iyr #DutchDanceAgenda, we will post monthly updates on who is playing when and where, and highlight different Dutch DJs that are spinning their decks in the US at the moment.
Let’s face it: the best party is a Dutch party. As a brand, a passion, and a movement, “Dutch Dance” has been dominating the international dance scene for years. Many Dutch DJs have gathered a worldwide following, and fly all around the globe to move from one enthusiastic crowd to the other. Proving that established dance icons and fresh talent do not need to stand in each other’s way, Dutch legends like Tiësto and Hardwell have been taking the new generation underneath their wings.
From underground talent to household names, the Netherlands’ party scene has built the reputation for harboring everyone’s kind of DJ. However, with so many successful and famous DJs from such a small dot on the map, it is almost impossible to keep track of all the Dutch DJs that are performing in the United States. So for the latest updates tune in on our Twitter page!
The #DutchDanceAgenda is more than only an overview of Dutch DJs playing in the States each month. We also interview some of them about their development as DJs, their experiences in the US, and new releases. This month’s featured artists are Tom Trago and Detroit Swindle, who bring new material to the States!
Amsterdam-based DJ Tom Trago recently released his album Bergen, named after his current place of residence: Bergen aan Zee. We had a chance to interview him about his development as a DJ, his views on the US, and of course his upcoming shows. You can read it all below!
As a child, Tom learned to play the piano and as a teen, he would play soul, hip-hop, and jazz, in trendy Amsterdam coffee bars. He was also involved in the radio show “Future Vintage”, in which he would get in touch with a wide variety of different musics. When he hit his twenties he started to produce music himself for the Amsterdam-based label Rush Hour.
By now, Tom has been running his own record label, Voyage Direct, for almost 9 years, on which he pretty much only releases Dutch electronic music. It was set up as a platform to connect people surrounding Tom in the Amsterdam house scene who hadn’t met yet. He released his last album on Dekmantel, however, to show that this scene in Amsterdam is basically one big family helping each other out.
Asked about his first experiences as an artist in the States, ‘some six US tours ago’, he notes that he was rather surprised by the success of his shows. ‘It was quite bizarre to realize that in the USA, where a lot of dance music originated from. Especially in places like Detroit and Chicago, I was truly surprised that people knew me.’ By now, Tom has friends in every place he plays, from LA to New York. ‘I actually feel quite at home in the States nowadays.’
“Recently,” Tom says, “there has been a fresh wind going through the American perspective on electronic music.’ This switch is mainly one from extrovert to introvert experience. In general, this accounts for a transition from all-out raving to intimate clubbing according to the DJ. “[The clubbers] would rather come for a nice night of dancing with friends rather than having to throw their arms in the air, so you could say the American dance music experience returned to the club.”
Looking at Tom’s tour schedule we see that he has highly concentrated “powertours”. In these, he plays several shows in a matter of days, often returning home within a week. As different as the States are, he still loves to travel through it even if it’s just for a couple of days.
During his upcoming “powertour”, Tom Trago breaks the habit of DJs only mixing pre-recorded tracks, and will perform parts of his new album – Bergen – live in LA & New York. That is, he brings his keyboards & drum computers in order to play interpretations of his recent works. By doing so, he changes the aesthetic of his performance from a rave-oriented one to more of a live concert, focussing on the music itself. Go check it out for yourself, on one of the dates below!
Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets of Detroit Swindle have been spinning it for over 6 years now, in which they have established themselves as solid allrounders. Their first album came about rather accidentally back in 2012 when an English label picked up on their groovy beats. Within half a year the duo released another 3 EPs, skyrocketing their status as producers as well as performers.
Their name is of course inherently linked to the US. The usage of “Detroit” came forth out of an appreciation of Motown music, of which the funky disco influences liner on in their own music. “Swindle” was added to clarify the fact that they did not come from Michigan, nevertheless they are well-acclaimed in and around the motor city.
Lars and Maarten have been regular visitors to the States over the past couple of years. In particular the northeast – with Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York as key points – has become a common route for the two. One of their favorite US performances so far, however, must have been a Los Angeles warehouse rave according to Lars.
The duo is keen on returning to the US on a regular basis, keeping an eye out to expand their US territory so far. Maarten mentioned he would be up for going down south, perhaps playing New Orleans at one point. For now, the duo travels criss-cross through the States, from Los Angeles to Chicago, Palm Springs to Washington, Detroit to New York, and finally their last show in Boston.
During this 7-gig US tour, Lars and Maarten will perform their newest album High Life, which they recently released on their very own Heist Recordings. It features various collaborations with for example with the Dutch nine-piece instrumental collective Jungle By Night and English soul-singer/songwriter Tom Misch, adding to the eclectic style. According to Lars, the album was “basically a cross-section of their taste at the moment”; a “recording of taste” that proceeded from jam sessions. The end result is definitely a success on record; if you want to hear it live check out the dates below!
Nick van de Wall, better known as Afrojack, started his career at the age of 14, as he performed at local pubs and clubs, and earning additional income with designing websites for fellow musicians. In 2007 he released “In Your Face”, the first recording under the Afrojack name. He received international success with the song “Take Over Control” featuring Eva Simons, which charted in 10 different countries. He took part in Episode 2 of ‘Behind The Speedo’, which is a comedy series by Redfoo. Currently, Afrojack is listed as number ten in the DJ Mag Top 100.
For more than 15 years, the Grammy-nominated Dutchman has been living to the rhythm of his own, international success. Armin van Buuren‘s 5 times number one position in the critically acclaimed DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll has been the result of his loyalty to fans, his creativity in the studio, the perseverance with which he hosts his weekly radio show “A State of Trance” and the energy he transcends to the crowds in front of him. Despite the heavy pressure that comes along with being one of the world’s most popular DJ, Armin has always kept his focus on the music. And that’s exactly what keeps him going.
Uplifting music with samples from genres such as soul and gospel is Bakermat’s specialty. While studying Psychology in Utrecht at the age of 18, Lodewijk Fluttert produced music and played at student parties. When the internet picked up his tracks “Black Cat John Brown” and “Zomer”, his career really took off. His track “Vandaag”, a combination of a saxophone sample and the famous Martin Luther King speech “I Have A Dream”, became a great hit all over Europe when B1 recordings released it with an English title, “One Day.” Bakermat melodic sample based music brought him to festivals such as Tomorrowland.
Best friends since high school, DJ, Marlon Flohr, and producer, Ralph van Hilst came together in 2007 to create the Dutch duo known as Bassjackers. The duo exploded onto the scene and in 2011 their dancefloor bomb “Mush Mush” was picked up by Tiësto and released on his label Musical Freedom.
Since then, Bassjackers have reached massive new heights in their career with numerous chart-topping bangers and hit collaborations with the likes of Martin Garrix, Afrojack, KSHMR, and Showtek, to name a few, as well as remixes for A-list artists including Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, and Ne-Yo.
Maarten Hoogstraten wasn’t like other kids his age. When he was 10, his friends were buying toys to play with, but Maarten was already spending his cash on vinyl and CDs.“You know how it starts,” he said with a chuckle. “I was the one who bought records when I was young, I bought lots of vinyl, seven-inches, twelve inches, and when CDs came about I bought a lot of CDs, growing up, I spent all my money on music.”
When he was a teenager, two events would change his life. An early music software program called ProTracker was released, and he would meet Paul Baümer, who would become his musical partner for the better part of the next 15 years until he suddenly passed away from cancer in 2013. Though they didn’t start out as DJs, once the demand grew for them to play out live, they learned how to mix on CDJs. Soon, they became regulars on the EDM circuit, playing massive festivals, like Electric Daily Carnival, Tomorrowland, and Coachella.“I think we started to become better producers once we started to DJ,” he said, noting that they would bring new tunes on the road and play for a crowd to gauge their reaction.
But in June 2013, at the height of their success, Paul suddenly fell ill. Maarten was stunned and didn’t know what to do. But Paul’s last wishes were for his best friend and his musical partner to keep making music. “He always said to me, ‘If you can find solace and continue what we started, please do so. Please continue the music. Carry on the Bingo Players flag,’” said Maarten.
Dutch DJ and producer Dash Berlin is recognized as one of the leading names in Trance music. As a true icon of the electronic world, Dash Berlin is no stranger to the DJ Mag Top 100 poll and was able to secure a place in the Top 10 for three consecutive years. He is well known for his breakthrough track “Till the Sky Falls Down” and has received several International Dance Music Awards. Dashers! Get ready to dance until the sky falls down with Dash Berlin.
Eelke Kleijn is a rare talent. With work stretching across movie trailer scores, deep live shows, and incredibly well-formed production, he crosses a boundary between electronic producer and into a true modern-day composer. With peers and tastemakers standing up for this unmistakable imagination, the Rotterdam-based music maker’s potential has no bounds. With 2 artist albums delivered, an array of originals and first class remixes what he has achieved thus far would be any DJ’s reverie. Ultra to EMI, Global Underground to Eskimo Recordings and Spinnin’ to Suara have seen the young Dutchman’s vision in productions become world heard.
Fatima Yamaha is the story of a release on D1 Recordings, of a small number of records pressed, and of a side-product quickly put on the backburner. Yet the story picks up fully eight years later via Magnetron Music, with the electronic scene going mad for that long-forgotten song. For many years, Fatima Yamaha was shrouded in mystery, known only to be a project led by “a young lady born to a Japanese father and a Turkish mother”.
Now, after two fully sold out tours in the past two years, the mystery remains. In 2015, he collaborated with Dekmantel on a reworking of his hit “What’s A Girl To Do?” and in 2017 the next hit “Araya” arrived. Meanwhile, his live shows unfailingly live up to expectations, offering refined house complemented by virtuoso synths. Fatima Yamaha is now in the spotlights of the electronic music scene.
At the age of 25, Robbert van de Corput, better known as Hardwell, capped off a 10 year journey when he was crowned World’s #1 DJ in the 2013 Top 100 DJs Poll cementing his position as the electronic scenes newest superstar DJ and becoming the youngest ever winner of the coveted Top 100 DJs award. In 2014 the Dutch megastar was crowned World’s #1 DJ for a second consecutive year. Having conquered almost every global territory from Asia to Africa, South America, Australia and Europe, the remarkable story behind this archetypal international DJ is one of devotion and relentless hard work. Currently, Hardwell ranks number three on DJ Mag Top 100.
Part of the explosion of Dutch EDM DJs who emerged during the 2012-2013 season, Martin Garrix kicked off his career in a high-profile way, first landing on the dance charts with his 2012 remix of Christina Aguilera’s “Your Body.” Born Martijn Garritsen, the then-16-year-old DJ spent 2012 remixing Aguilera, signing with Spinnin’ Records, and releasing the “BFAM” single in collaboration with Julian Jordan.
In 2013 he released his solo single “Animals,” which hit number one in the U.K. and reached the Top Ten in eight other countries. His Gold Skies EP rounded up those tracks, adding two more charting songs: “Tremor” and the title track. Garrix also found time to perform and mix the world over, resulting in being the number 1 DJ in the world today.
Throughout the many layers of his winding 16+ years in electronic music, Holland native (now Washington DC resident) Martijn Deijkers, aka Martyn, has always stood in a genreless scene of his own. Though his influences are wide-ranging, Martyn’s music is deeply inspired by the futuristic and melodic aspects of Detroit and Chicago.
His rhythmically diverse sound floats across D&B, dubstep and various strains of bass music, just as smoothly as it traverses house and techno, and encompasses abstract ambient soundscapes. Based on musicality and energy in equal parts, Martyn’s layered tracks are a rapt exploration of melancholy, futurism and dancefloor hypnotism.
Mike Williams is known as a versatile artist, passionate and fascinated by music from an early age. Recently Mike signed with Spinnin’ Records and MusicAllStars Management, adding an exciting new chapter to his career. As a child Mike Williams can already be found behind a keyboard. At the age of 12 he starts to take his DJing more seriously. He gets booked on several events, sharing the stage with DJs like Martin Garrix, Jay Hardway, Yellow Claw and Alvaro, while he also starts producing tracks of his own. When his bootleg of Calvin Harris’ track ‘Blame’ gets picked up on social media, he starts receiving support from various artists, including Oliver Heldens.
2015 sees him play different festivals, in the meantime Mike drops a successful bootleg of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘I Really Like You’, gaining over 3 million SoundCloud plays. By the end of summer 2015 the young artist is being approached by several dance parties and signs a contract with renowned label Spinnin’ Records.
Strike up a conversation about the current state of electronic music and it won’t be long before Nicky Romero gets an emphatic mention. And quite rightly so—because at the age of just twenty-six and in the space of only a few prolific years, the Amsterdam-based superstar has managed to build nothing short of a remarkable musical empire.
Celebrated the world over for countless chart-topping records and his electrifying energy in front of hundreds of thousands on the world’s most distinguished stages, the loveable Dutch performer, producer, Protocol Recordings chief and global brand ambassador has already carved an international reputation for himself as one of the most exciting and industrious artists of his generation.
Perpetually dedicated to growing and maturing the Nicky Romero brand at every turn the Protocol don continues to vindicate his position as one in just a handful of the most influential and venerated forces in the international music arena today.
Working from their studio in their hometown of Groningen Nik Roos, Martijn Sonderen and Thijs de Vlieger have gradually developed and cultivated a sound that’s all their own; a sound that’s obsessed with production techniques; a sound that’s instantly recognisable whether you’re hearing three minutes of a Noisia track dropped at a festival or three hours of it while playing Devil May Cry 5. Having pushed the envelope and successfully managed to blend incredible sound design with unrelenting and uncompromising beats and basslines, Noisia’s sound is undoubtedly unique.
Oliver Heldens caught the attention of Tiësto, when he released his single ‘Gecko’. Tiesto immediately signed him to his label; Musical Freedom and released the track with vocals from British singer Becky Hill on June 23, 2014. Heldens also has a weekly podcast titled Heldeep Radio. His songs “Gecko”, “Last All Night” and his remix of Dr Kucho!’s “Can’t Stop Playing” charted as top 5 singles in the UK, reaching 1st, 5th and 4th position respectively. Since 2015, Heldens has been performing under the alias HiLo as well.
Quintino is one of the true DJ’s with a lifelong passion for dance music and on the verge of becoming one of the leading forces in the global music scene today. His high profile work with the likes of Tiësto and Afrojack has made him a household name and his excellent DJ sets across the globe have made his position a highly respected name in the scene. Discovered by Laidback Luke at the age of 18, Quintino started to take his stature as a DJ and producer beyond the normal club scene, playing landmark gigs and high profile festivals. In between producing and releasing songs, Quintino keeps performing worldwide with an estimate of 250 gigs a year.
Performing and recording under the name R3hab, EDM artist Fadil El Ghoul started his career in 2008 producing the track “Mrkrstft” for Hardwell. He teamed up with Hardwell once again in 2009 on the single “Blue Magic,” and worked with Afrojack in 2011 on “Aces High (Prutata).”
He subsequently garnered prestigious 2014 slots at Tomorrowland, Future Music, Creamfields, and Summerburst, and that same year he put out the 12″ “Androids,” “Flashlight” with Deorro, and “Ready for the Weekend,” which were among some of his biggest-selling singles.
He also landed a featured spot on Calvin Harris’ 2014 album Motion, and a DJ set at the Coachella Music Festival followed in 2015. In 2016, he teamed with the R&B vocalist Ciara for the single “Get Up.”
Sander van Dijck commonly known by his stage name San Holo, is a Dutch DJ, musician, record producer, and composer. He gained international recognition for his remix of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode”, which currently has over 150 million views on YouTube. He has released music on several record labels including Spinnin’ Records, OWSLA, Barong Family, and Monstercat.
He also founded bitbird, a label which has released several of his singles including “Still Looking” and “Light”. San Holo’s first EP, Cosmos, was released via Heroic on 18 September 2014 and was in the Top 100 Electronic category of iTunes.
While only in his early twenties, Dutchman Sam Feldt has become quite the deep house tastemaker of his day. With amazing remix work as well as solid hits like the early 2015 release ‘Show Me Love’, which proved to be his definite claim to fame, he’s one of the DJs to watch when it comes to a new sound flooding the scene. Sam Feldt is definitely not a stranger to the house music scene. After working behind the scenes as a producer for a long time, perfecting his musical talents, he decides to show the world what he’s capable of by uploading his first tunes by the end of summer ‘13. Within a year Sam signs with Spinnin’ Records and releases his first track on the label.
It doesn’t take long for the young producer to get sensed by international dance media as part of a new exciting wave of melodic deep house. With almost two million plays on SoundCloud and 250.000 plays in one week as well as a #1 Hypem spot for his remix of the Sander van Doorn & Firebeatz release ‘Guitar Track’, Sam established himself in the scene.
Whether it’s producing, remixing or DJing, Sander Kleinenberg has been building credibility in on all fronts for over two decades. With twenty years of experience behind him, he’s established himself as an advocate for progress and most of all, a pivotal player on the frontier of electronic music. Sander’s passion for perfection has kept him away from classification, putting hours upon hours into the enrichment of his dj- and producer-skills. Constantly twisting and shaping sounds, progressing in the studio and experimenting on an unprecedented level have brought Sander to the point where a jaw-dropping remix for Justin Timberlake was soon followed by another one for Daft Punk, Madonna, Janet Jackson, N*E*R*D and so on.
Sander van Doorn got in touch with the musical scene in the year of 1995 when he was sixteen years old. His brother’s latest gadget, a “Groovebox 303”, caught his attention. He was astounded when he first experienced the amount of creativity that could be put into creating music. Time and time again, Sander would borrow his brother’s Groovebox and his nephew’s vinyl records and he played the life out of those records. Since then, Sander’s heart belonged to music and it still does today.
Today, Sander has performed thousands of shows in every corner of the world and released numerous solo records, yet Sander is still part of a group of innovative and progressive artists. Sander’s creative process exists of re-inventing musical styles, taking risks in regards to the sound he creates and most importantly staying ahead of the masses.
With two full-length albums, numerous hit-singles, remixes of the worlds biggest artists, sold out gigs in all major venues and festivals worldwide, his own successful record label Doorn Records, and a weekly radio show named Identity, Sander van Doorn continues his musical journey into the heart of fans around the world.
Over the past two years, Showtek has become more than an act; it’s a movement, a tribe formed by the producer duo and its fans that is united in its love for music, excitement, artistic freedom and adventure. Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen, aka Showtek, two brothers from Eindhoven have been making music for over a decade.
Two rebels kicking against the shins of the establishment, speaking a language the party crowd could believe in. It was in 2012 when they truly exploded onto the global dance scene with the release of ‘Cannonball’. Countless new fans joined, new productions got recognized and reached all corners of the planet.
Jochem Paap – the Rotterdam artist owes the nickname Speedy J to his DJ skills – is unanimously considered to be one of the first techno producers to come from the Benelux. Together with people like Laurent Garnier, Aphex Twin, and Richie Hawtin he helped to raise the genre just after it had escaped the Detroit delivery room. Since the early nineties, Speedy J releases on labels like Plus 8, Warp, and Novamute.
But while techno develops into a dominating force on many dance floors worldwide, Jochem Paap, after the albums G Spot (1993) and Ginger (1995), turns left and heads for other exciting places. On Public Energy No. 1 (1997) and A Shocking Hobby (2000) the sound wizard exchanges flowing, harmonious techno for a much more complex sound, filled with colliding samples, crackling rhythms, and tremendously thrilling turns.
Hardstyle and hardcore pioneer The Prophet has traveled the world for 25 years, performing at parties such as Tomorrowland, Qlimax, EDC Las Vegas, Thunderdome, TomorrowWorld and Defqon.1. He is the founder of leading hardstyle label Scantraxx, which gave rise to the success of many artists, including Headhunterz and Wildstylez. His music is being played and loved by the biggest names both in and outside the hardstyle scene. Unlike his alias suggests, The Prophet doesn’t pass on musical messages; he creates them!
His musical career began in 1982, before the house movement. Throughout the following years he invented, produced, played and remixed hip-hop, hardcore, hardstyle, club, progressive and more. It was important that the music always matched one crucial code word: tough! As long as it sounds tough, his musical heart continues to beat in various rhythms.
Highly regarded by both DJ Magazine and fans of electronic dance music, Tiësto launched his career as one of the world’s foremost trance DJs, due in part to his legendary six-hour live sets, and went on to embrace a more pop-oriented EDM approach.
The fifth Tiësto studio album, A Town Called Paradise, appeared in 2014 on Casablanca. It featured the most pop-oriented productions of his career and a slew of guest vocalists who included Ladyhawke and Icona Pop. Tiësto appeared on DJ Mag Top 100 2016 as number 5.
In an age where very few Artists break the mold and truly shine through as unique and innovative, Dutch/Turkish star Ummet Ozcan raises the bar and continues to surge in popularity worldwide.
Continuously garnering huge support from a broad array of the world’s top jocks like Tiesto, Hardwell, David Guetta, Avicii, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and many many more, Ummet Ozcan is firming his position at the forefront of the next generation of brilliant Dance Music Producers. With an unprecedented amount of artists seeking the formula for club-‐friendly absolution, Ummet continues to deliver dancefloor- and festival essentials with each unique release and can frequently be found in the highest regions of the global charts. Ummet is also known for his softsynth and soundbank design for well-established music software houses like Rob Papen (Albino, Predator) and Acces Music (Virus).
After meeting up back in 2007 Willem van Hanegem & Ward van der Harst came together to form W&W and they haven’t looked back since. The past years this Dutch production and DJ duo have transcended the boundaries of genre and traverse the globe with their music and performances. Fusing styles and mixing influences, W&W combine the uplifting and melodic elements of trance with the raw intensity of electro and progressiveness of house to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Infectious, rebellious and highly energetic, their list of productions is championed by the likes of Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, David Guetta and more for its breadth, diversity and massive appeal to multiple audiences.
Wiwek, living in the small town IJsselstein in the Netherlands, is known for fusing electronic elements with tropical rhythms to create a distinctive and refreshing sound, which he likes to call “Jungle Terror”. The jungle terror style, created by himself, got inspired by his own Indian roots in combination with the love for Tribal House and Hip-Hop music. After releasing the highly anticipated tracks “Angry Birdz” and “On Your Mark”, two tracks that were among the most played tunes at Miami Music Week 2014, the Jungle Terror sound left its mark in the rapidly changing electronic music industry.
Yellow Claw may not be a household name outside of the Netherlands but have a look at their YouTube channel and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one of their singles with less than 2,000,000 views. They take the newest sounds from the club and drive them off a cliff.
Hailing from Amsterdam, the trio first exploded into the scene after founding the Yellow Claw Thursday night party at the Jimmy Woo, which quickly gained a reputation as being one of the wildest and most unique parties in the city.
The gang’s new album, “New Blood”, will be released on June 22nd. You’ll be sure to get a sneak preview of their new material at the shows below!