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Tuesday 08th, July 2008
Eelke Kleijn
Eelke Kleijn interview
Updated: Thursday 28th, May 2009

: Dutchman Eelke Kleijn is a 25 year old DJ, producer, remixer and also owner of his own label 'Outside The Box Music'. In 2003 Eelke released his first single ď4.5 Billion YearsĒ, interestingly named after our planet's currently estimated age, on Segment Records. This very limited 12 inch drew the attention of John Digweed and Seb Fontaine and is still held in high regard up to this day. It opened the door to labels such as Lost Language and Plastik Park. In 2007 his first solo artist album 'Naturally Artificial' was released on 'Global Underground'.

Trance.nu: Iím in Rotterdam now in the studio of Eelke Kleijn, who is a 25 year old DJ, producer, remixer and also label owner.
Eelke, when did you started exactly with making music productions?

Eelke: When I was 16 years old, I was working in a music store and since I already played piano, I got interested in making music. When I finished high school, I was 18 years old and in that period I was more and more serious about making music, since I had more spare time. So around that period I started to do my first productions as well.

Trance.nu: So who got you interested in making music ?
Eelke: In that time I was going out a lot and when I was in a club I was really interested in what the DJís were playing. Plus I was working in a music store, so I also got in touch with people who were making and playing music. I made a sort of a deal with the owner of the store and every weekend I could borrow a synthesizer, so I could test use in the weekends and had to bring them back on Tuesday morning, haha!

Trance.nu: In 2003 your very first release came out and now itís 5 years later and you have a pretty cool list with productions and remixes behind your name.
In the past you did a lot of productions together with people such as C-Jay and Rutger van Bostelen (M.I.D.O.R.). Are you still producing music with them, or not at all?

Eelke: With C-Jay Iím still making music every now and then. Especially in 2005 / 2006 we did a lot of productions together, he is releasing his debut album pretty soon and I did the entire mastering for the album. Iím still in touch with him and sometimes we swap ideas with each other as well for example.
And with Rutger I worked tillÖ I think mid 2006 and right now weíre not really doing anything together anymore.

Trance.nu: At the moment you are working with Nick Hogendoorn a lot. How does it goes when you start with a new production?
Eelke: Nick normally comes to my studio and then we start. We start, for example, with a beat and a bassline as well, so you have a cool groove already. After that we play both something on the synthesizers and we improvise a little and we try to find something cool. Itís a good and fun way to work like this, since we both have to be happy with the result of course. So Iím influencing the things Nick does and Nick is influencing me as well with his ideas.

Trance.nu: Does it happen to you that you get ideas for a track at a strange place, or weird times. Like for example, when you wake up in the middle of the night or something like that? Are you getting out of bed then to work on that track or not?
Eelke: Haha, no, but I have to say that I know that it happens to other people for sure. So when they are in bed, the get a melody in their head, but Iím not one of them. I get the ideas when Iím in the studio and normally never when Iím outside the studio. Yeah, it happens sometimes that I have a melody in my head, but most of the time thatís the melody from the song that I just heard on the radio, haha! So Iím not one of those people who has new melodies in his head all the time. When I sit in the studio, Iíll get my inspiration and the ideas.

Trance.nu: And does it work better for you if you produce during the day, or maybe even at night?
Eelke: In the past I used to do a lot in the evening, but now I just see it more as a real job. So lately Iím trying to make sure that I donít make music in the evening anymore and just rest a bit. Normally Iím in the studio between 8 and 5 or sometimes 6 and I try to make as much music as possible then. I have to admit that it does happen that Iím still busy with making music in the evening, but after a long day I try to do something else as well, such as the administration and stuff like that.

Trance.nu: Which other artists / producers are inspiring you?
Eelke: I listen to Massive Attack a lot and in the past I used to listen to Enya a lot. John Williams, who writes a lot of stuff for movies such as Star Wars for example. Jazzanova, euh, I really love TrentemÝller, so itís lots of music from different genres. And in the past, around 1999, I grew up with music from TiŽsto, Ferry Corsten and Armin van Buuren and that was my inspiration back then. But I still listen to lots of different types of music, so I get inspired by a lot of things.

Trance.nu: How long do you normally work on a production?
Eelke: That depends a bit, but normally I work like 2 or 3 days on a production before itís finished. Sometimes I do have tracks that are finished for 90% in 1 day, but the day after I often already have the feeling that there is something missing, or that itís not good enough, or too simple.

Trance.nu: When I was checking out your Myspace page, I noticed something about a track ĎEelke Kleijn - Blackbox (Dubfire Remix)í. Whatís the story about that track? Did Dubfire actually remixed this track?
Eelke: Yeah, thatís a nice story! The other day I was checking Google and when I typed in my own name, I found this one. And I have to say, I donít even have a track with the title ĎBlackboxí and as far as I know, Dubfire never remixed one of my tracks either! So Iím pretty curious what this is, haha! Somebody emailed me that it actually is a track by me, but remixed by ĎDubfunkí, so not ĎDubfireí. But I havenít heard it yet, so I have no idea to be honest. So to clear up things and avoid miscommunications I wrote on my Myspace that this is a track thatís not existing.

Trance.nu: You already had releases at labels such as Baroque, Lost Language and in 2007 your first artist album ĎNaturally Artificialí was released at the famous Global Underground label. Are you busy already with a 2nd album?
Eelke: I am busy with some things, but I really just started with it, so I have no idea when itís finished etc. I have the idea to do a double album maybe, one part down tempo and the other part up tempo. But so far I only have a few little ideas and short pieces of music that are on my computer. Some small examples of 3 Ė 4 minutes that I need to work on still. So that will take a lot of time to finish, but it will be one of my next projects for sure!

Trance.nu: In the past you produced under a lot of different project names such as ĎSix4Eightí, ĎPhantom Forceí and recently your track ĎOn The Edgeí was released under the artist name ĎThe Worldí. Can we expect a follow up from this one?
Eelke: In the past I worked a lot under different names indeed, but those projects were under a different style, so I decided to work with project names instead of my own name. But now I really make music that I absolutely love myself, and I think that when I feel like that, it has to be released under my own name. But to answer your question, I am going to make a new ĎThe Worldí track for sure.

Trance.nu: And for older project names, such as Six4Eight for example?
Eelke: I donít think so to be honest. Sometimes I do have the idea to try to make a trance track again, but Iím not really following the trance scene anymore, plus itís been a while already since I did a trance track, so I donít think it will be an addition to it when I make one.

Trance.nu: You also have your own label at the moment, ĎOutside The Box Musicí. Why did you decide to start up your own label?
Eelke: Well, there are 2 reasons for that; the first one is that itís a lot easier to release your own music. Itís a good way to build up a nice contact list of people, plus itís good to learn lots of the music industry, since itís not ďjust release musicĒ. So itís also the experience of how everything works etc. In the beginning I just started with my own tracks, but after a few releases I had the feeling that it all went really good, so then I also started releasing music by other producers. I also have the ĎOutside The Boxí radio show and now I really can tell that the name gets well known already. But I know that I still have to work on it, to really establish the name. But I really hope itís going to be bigger in a few years

Trance.nu: So youíre really doing everything on your own regarding the label?
Eelke: Yes, thatís correct. I do almost everything myself, from signing the artists, sending out the promoís, making the artwork, doing the websites, the administration etc. I do have digital distribution for the label though, since itís impossible to do that yourself. And I have some good contacts that help me out with lots of things.

Trance.nu: What releases we expect on ĎOutside The Box Musicí soon?
Eelke: The first release thatís coming out is a pretty deep release by ĎNeos Deosí. The track really goes towards techno and it has support already by Hernan Cattaneo and Sander Kleinenberg. Followed up by a release by Yvel & Tristan, with remixes by Ben Brown and Davis & May from Germany. Plus in the future there will be some of my own tracks of course and I have some stuff coming up from Sebastian Davidson, which will be a double E.P , Elusive and Soulfinder.

Trance.nu: In the past you already did some remixes for people such as Kosmas Epsilon, Stan Kolev, Oliver Moldan, Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren and Serge Devant. Can we expect some new remixes any time soon?
Eelke: Yes, I just finished a remix for Miss Nine and right now Iím busy with a remix for Sebastian Davidson, which will be out on my own label. Furthermore a remix for Yvel & Tristan and one for Davis & May as well.

Trance.nu: Youíre also a DJ, where can we expect you in the next couple of weeks?
Eelke: I will play a few times in The Netherlands this summer, such as at the Dance Valley festival (July 12), where I play at the Renaissance area. The day after I do Scheldepop, the week after I play at Extrema Outdoor and also at the unofficial after party. Two weeks after that I play at the Loveland Festival in Amsterdam (August 2). After that Iím going to play in Kosovo and the week after in Russia.

Trance.nu: So a few big Dutch festivals I see?
Eelke: Yes, Iím really happy with that, since the last few years I played outside The Netherlands a lot. This is the first year things are going really well in The Netherlands as well, which has to do, I think, with the release of the album on Global Underground. So I think itís awesome Iím doing a few big festivals such as Dance Valley, Extrema Outdoor and the Loveland Festival this summer!

Trance.nu: Are you going to play a lot of your own new stuff in those sets? Or what can people expect from you when they come to see you?
Eelke: It depends, since I play some progressive stuff, but I can also warm up with deep house and tech house as well the more heavier stuff, with techno and melodic progressive trance. So it really depends. It also has to do with the location, because when I have the impression that something doesnít work for a certain audience, Iím changing the sound of what Iím playing, so it might be more melodic, or maybe just not melodic at all. At Dance Valley for example, Iím one of the first DJís, so that will be a deep set that I will build up. At the Extrema Outdoor festival Iím in the early afternoon, so that will be with a bit more power. Plus I think I am going to try some new stuff by myself there as well.

Trance.nu: What is your most favorite gig of yourself ever?
Eelke: During new years eve 2006 I played in a club in Serbia, in the city of Novi Sad and that was such an awesome gig! The club was really packed and everybody went nuts! When I left the club at 8:30 in the morning, there were still people lined up to enter the club, insane! And in April of this year, I had a gig in the Ukraine where I played at club Amagama in Vinnitza. It was a small club and I think there were around 300 or 400 people in the club, but it was just perfect, the sound, a super good atmosphere and a lot of good feedback from the crowd. And that also gives me a kick and a lot of energy. So that was really cool!

Trance.nu: Are there countries you would really love to play at?
Eelke: There are many countries that I still want to play at. But I can tell you that Iím really looking forward to a South American tour in September. Weíre still busy with that, but I think that I will visit countries such as Argentina and Brazil for example. And hopefully Iím doing a tour in Australia in November of this year. Itís not totally confirmed yet, but I really hope we get everything arranged !

Trance.nu: I believe you are still studying, is that true?
Eelke: Haha, officially Iím still studying psychology, but Iím really busy with all my music, so I donít have a lot time for it. Iím in the 4th year now, but technically Iím still around the 2nd year, so Iím twice as slow. After my bachelor I am going to stop with it I think. All my time is going into the music right now, so thatís more important for me at the moment.

Trance.nu: So what are your plans when you get your bachelor?
Eelke: Drink a beer and frame it, haha!

Trance.nu: What can we expect from you in the near future?
Eelke: For ĎOutside The Box Musicí I have some new tracks that I did myself. They will be released on some compilations and around the same time you can expect the normal release as well. Some remixes that I mentioned before and Iím busy with something, but I canít say too much about it nowÖ But I was asked to write music for a famous television show, so I hope to have more news on that soon!

Trance.nu: Sounds cool! Well, thanks a lot for your time and good luck in the future!
Eelke: Thank you too!

Written by:
Twan van Loon

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