Interview: Five minutes with Eelke Kleijn

RÜFÜS DU SOL has teamed up house producer & composer Eelke Kleijn for a remix of ‘No Place’ off their forthcoming ‘SOLACE REMIXED’ album. The album will be released on Friday the 6th of September. Ahead of this release, we were able to sit down and learn a little more about Eelke Kleijn.

The Netherlands born and based DJ has created several well-known remixes for the likes of John Legend, Pendulum and James Newton Howard and Jennifer Lawrence. However, he is also able to stand on his own as a producer and create some truly original mixes. We see this as the DJ flourishes in all forms of the industry as he also produces music for other media, such as television series, commercials, movie trailers and animations.

The Rüfüs Du Sol ‘No Place’ (Eelke Kleijn Remix) has just premiered via Mixmag.

Hi Eelke, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. It looks like you’ve had a good year so far. Tell us some of your highlights?

My pleasure! It’s been a really good year so far. I spent a lot of time working on my new live show, that premiered during DGTL here in Amsterdam last April. To be honest, I was incredibly nervous, but it all went really well. I also really loved our own DAYS like NIGHTS event at Woodstock in July, it’s one of the best venues in the world for me and everything just came together on that day. Budakid and Patrice Bäumel playing incredible, and myself closing the night with a 3h set.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation?

As far as I can think back, I was always intrigued by electronic music. When I was 7 or maybe 8, I spent a lot of time recording songs from the radio and then creating my own mix tapes. And of course, I was handing those out to my family and all my friends haha. But I only really started to get into music around the age of 12. My music teacher at high school told me I could play well for someone that had never played an instrument before. After that, I started taking up piano lessons and also started messing about with samplers and sequencers.

Your latest remix of Rüfüs Du Sols ‘No Place’ has just been released. How did you approach this remix? What guided your re-interpretation of ‘No Place’?

I have a couple of rules regarding remixes. First of all, I need to like the original, that is the most important thing. I also need to feel like I can add something or change something in the original to make it my own. And I definitely want the remix to sound different from the original, but recognizable. I don’t see the point in doing a remix that ends up sounding like something else. For my ‘No Place’ remix, I wanted to try and see if I could create a slightly more organic version, so I started out on guitar. Those melodies that come in during the first minute and a half were the basis of the track and I played those on my Strat. After that, I started to add drums and started playing with the vocal. I also had a chord change in mind with the bassline, but I left it out on purpose until about two and half minutes into the tune. After that, it’s basically just adding little bits and layers and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Overall, I spent quite a while on this one, definitely a couple of weeks. I’m just a pretty slow guy in the studio, I like to take my time 😉

Your previous release Moments Of Clarity features five remixes. What do you look for in a potential remix collaborator?

In general, I like to have my music remixed by artists that I appreciate, but I also find it important that they have a different sound than I do. With remixes, you can try and reach a broader audience than you could do so on your own, but then you will need to ask people that can take your track and present it to a different crowd.

As a classically trained pianist and composer, what led you to the electronic music that you create now?

I would say the composing only started after already writing electronic music. I started creating my own tracks when I was 16 or 17 years old. And I always had a thing for melodic music, I also really like classical instruments such as violins and cellos and they’ve taken up a prominent position in many of my tracks. Composing music for media was just a natural step up from there. I do think my electronic music is a little bit more dance floor oriented at the moment. If you listen to my second album Untold Stories that was released in 2010, I tried to combine some the worlds of dance and classical instruments, and in retrospect that doesn’t always work. I’ve learned a lot though since, and I’ve got better at recognizing what will work on a dance floor and what doesn’t.

If you could write the score for any existing film, which would it be? Why?

Definitely The Big Lebowski, just because it’s my favorite film ever and it feels like a proper challenge at the same time.

What are some of the challenges you face running your own label? What makes it all worth it?

There’s always challenges running your own business, I think that goes for everything, not just dance music. If you compare labels nowadays to say 20 years ago, there’s just so much more music out there and it’s harder to get noticed in between everything. But fortunately, we’ve got an amazing team that takes care of everything from distribution to online presence and socials. It’s a big part of running a label nowadays. I’m mostly involved in the A&R process myself, it’s great to let other people handle the other stuff that I’m not necessarily good at.

What can we expect from you in the near future?

First of all, there are a couple of remixes coming up from the Moments Of Clarity album. Nicolas Masseyeff is due later this year, also Raxon and Nora en Pure are still to come. I’ve also started writing new music myself, I’m not really sure yet when that will be out exactly, but I’m currently in the process of testing those tracks in my sets and then coming back and making minor changes to them. And I’m continuously working on the live show. I’m starting to feel comfortable with the current set up and synths, so I am thinking about adding something new. Maybe some percussion pads or so. It’s a work in progress 😉

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