Joris Voorn. Tomorrowland Belgium.
Pre-Opening Season 5.
Círculo de Bellas Artes.
Luis Arranz: Hi Joris, thank you for attending me few minutes, if you want, we can start with the beginning, what made you decide to work as DJ?
Joris Voorn: You know, it was never my plan to become a professional DJ. Of course I would’ve liked to, but it was never something I thought was an option. I just started playing for fun, as a hobby and because I loved the music, though I was putting a lot of time and effort into it, I really wanted to become a very good DJ but I didn’t have so many gigs in the beginning, like most people at least back in the days. So I never thought it was going to be an option until I started making music for myself and also for hobby, you know, just because I wanted to. And then once I sent my music around, people started to appreciate it and I had some releases and that’s when I actually was able to get some gigs from for my DJ sets. And that’s when I realized, you know, that maybe there’s a future and I can professionally be DJ instead of just as a hobby. But yeah, that took a few years.
And you wanted to be an international DJ from the beginning?
You know, when I started deejaying, that was not something I ever had in my mind. I could never imagine that, you know, I would be flying around the world traveling as a DJ. I was just looking at my own country, looking at the DJs that were here. I mean when I started, there was no social media. The whole landscape musically was very different, so you couldn’t really see what was happening in New York or in Barcelona or in Australia. You know, like maybe that’s something you heard or read about in a newspaper or in a magazine. But that was not something you really knew. So my view on the world was very different and I was only looking at DJs, let’s say in Amsterdam or Rotterdam in my own country. And I was thinking like, Oh, it would be great to play in these places as well because I wasn’t living in Amsterdam at the time.
What is the biggest challenge you have to face it through, to be an international DJ?
The biggest challenge I think is actually being away from home a lot, you know, and trying to maintain a regular life, like a normal life as a normal human being, you know, and at the same time be able to travel the world. That’s a challenge sometimes, but it’s working out quite well. I think, um, I make sure that I take enough time off and that I spent some time with my family as well and that I spent some time in the studio instead of always traveling.
And what was the point of inflection in your career, when you saw that the things are starting to be as you expected?
I think the big difference became when I started to release on some, some bigger labels. And also when I had some releases that that did really well, like some singles that were picked up by a lot of DJs. I think that’s when I realized that, you know, maybe there’s a future in music for me because, all these people are playing my music and appreciating the music and that’s when I actually managed to get some gigs internationally.
Had you ever thought any time to leave your work as DJ?
I never thought about leaving my work as a DJ. I’m very happy that I can travel as much as I am, and play all these great places. It’s a job. Yes, of course. But it’s also something I really love doing and I do it with a lot of passion. So it’s not something I would give up soon because I’m still really much enjoying it so much.
You say few times, that your main influence in your work is from the DJs from Detroit. You added new influences these years?
Yes, of course. In the beginning, Detroit DJs were my true inspiration. You know, like guys like Carl Craig, Derrick May or Jeff Mills, but over, that’s a long time ago, you know, that’s more than 20 years ago that I started listening to these DJs. I think nowadays there’s a lot of inspiration from a lot of these younger artists as well. Does it, you know, there’s a lot of great young artists that are pushing the boundaries and making new kinds of music, new kinds of new genres, and bringing something new to the table. And it’s very important to listen to these artists as well and try to stay relevant, you know, and to listen to what other people are doing. So yes, there’s a lot of inspiration that I draw from a lot of young producers these days.
Like who, can you give an example?
For instance, one DJ Duo that I’ve really been appreciating this art path. I think they’re really great bringing something in, let’s say from almost like a trance techno to the bigger dance floor, which I think sounds really good.
It always stand out from you, that you had been very honest with your music and your own style, after 20 years, you keep that thought or you start to introduce more commercial music to your style.
Back in the days when I just started making music, I was just making music without really thinking about how it was going to sound on the dance floor or so much or if it was going to be played. I didn’t really play my own music in the beginning so much, but the moment I, a bit later, maybe five, six years after I started touring a lot, I started playing my own music as well and I started making sure that the music I was making sounded good on the dance floor and that was fitting in really well. It’s always important, you know, to make music that is not just for yourself but also for the people on the dance floor. They are used to listening to other artists as well and it’s nice to see that they appreciate your music. So I think it’s good to stay true to yourself, but it’s not necessarily the same mistake show to one sound. That’s a mistake that I see a lot of DJs make that they think that staying true to yourself is staying true to the sounds that you started 20 years ago, but that, you know, things change. Life is too short to always be eating the same dinner at night, you know? So why would you listen or play or make the same music every single day? That’s, that’s not something I believe in. I believe in diversity.
You become famous because your style and your sound is different than the other DJs and producers. I guess that in the beginning in Rotterdam, when you start to play music and play your music, it was complicated to keep your work with the other DJs.
Yeah, I think it’s always very important to do something different than what other people are doing because if you do the same thing, other people have done that already, you know? So you have to be different, can be a very good thing. Like, of course you still have to find a connection with the people, that they like your music. But if it’s different, it stands out and people will notice it. If it’s the same as what everyone else does, then they might as well just listen to someone else.
When you are doing new tracks or a new album, what is the creative process of Joris Voorn? Do you follow a guideline?
It can be very, very different. My creative process from one track to another, you know, sometimes I just sit down and get inspired by one note on a synthesizer and then the next note comes and then the next one and then the sound of the synthesizer changes. And before you know it, you know, inspiration just comes and you just make a whole track. It’s hard to say where it really comes from. It’s just a process that happens, you know? Sometimes you think about another track that you know or a music genre that you, that you want to refer to in your music and that can be an inspiration as well. Like, you know, for instance, listening to something that you’re working on and then thinking like, Oh, maybe this, this kind of nineties piano sounds could sound really well with it. You know, and then you take that piano sounds and then, you know a whole new musical world opens. So it’s really, you never know where the music takes you. You could just sit down and hope for the best. Sometimes it works really well. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. Um, but it’s difficult to say, now I’m going to make this because I do that sometimes. Sometimes I sit down and I’m like, Oh, I’m going to make a techno track. Uh, and then it becomes a very melodic, deeper sound, you know, and sometimes it’s the other way around. And then I strip all the melodies and something different remains.
What got your attention at most when you became an international DJ?
It was really great to meet a lot of people, you know, to meet club owners, to meet artists and to meet fans. Sometimes you know, to meet drivers, to meet everyone in the industry and it’s basically like a whole world that opens up, you know, and you get to know countries by the people that you meet. And that’s been a really great thing. And one of the things that, that I’ve always enjoyed most is for instance, sitting down at a dinner with a promoter before the play in the club, or DJs, you know, that play on the same night, sit down together and talk about music and life and have great food. I think Spain for instance, is very good in this, you know, like you guys have a real dining culture. So late dining, you sit together on a table and you just drink some good wine and have some great food and talk about everything. That’s been a great way to get to know the world.
It´s in your mind, the best moment you live in the last years?
That’s a very difficult question because there’s so many great moments, I think to stay a bit close to home. I think closing for the very first time Awakenings Festival of the big main stage. That was a very special moment for me, where, previous years DJs like Richie Hawtin, would have close to stages, because I was able to do that for the first time, I think three years ago and this year again. And that was a very special moment, to have that responsibility to close a festival like that. That’s a huge responsibility but also, you know, like a milestone.
There are a lot of DJ stars who has a huge marketing campaign with them. What do you think about this?
Nowadays, it’s very important to have an online identity and to have kind of like a brand associated with you. This is something that is quite new because back in the days that was never a thing. But with social media and the internet, people want to always see what you’re doing and how you’re profiling yourself. For me personally, it’s not always ideal because it kind of takes away from the real thing, which is the music in the end, but the music alone is not always enough. You sometimes needs to add things to it like visual things and you have to think about an image and branding and marketing and that’s sometimes a bit much. But it is the way it is.
You come to Ibiza from a lot of years ago. How do you see the evolution of the Island?
It’s changed a lot. Like I came for the first time maybe 12 years ago and the parties are much bigger. There’s many more underground parties nowadays. It’s like almost, I think more than 50% of the parties is underground related. So it’s techno or deep house or house or tech house and that’s really different. So there’s a lot of parties and sometimes a few too many maybe. But there’s still some really good ones like Ushuaïa is a really big one, but it’s great, great fireball ways and that’s really important. So yeah, I think the vibe was also quite different. I think nowadays people come to Ibiza to also see these big parties, you know, and that there’s also a lot more VIP than back in the days, I think 10, 12 years ago there were not as many VIP tables. People were just dancing, you know, like on the dance floor. Nowadays that has changed a little bit.
Do you think that Ibiza keeps that spirit as best Island for electronic music?
I think it’s still very important for music, but it’s not important in the same way as it was, maybe, a long time ago because there’s, because worldwide, there’s so many parties nowadays. You know, there’s so many great festivals and clubs and everything everywhere that it’s not only about Ibiza anymore. And I also think that Ibiza is a lot more than just parties. It’s a beautiful Island that has a lot to offer. Great food, great nature, great beaches obviously. So that’s, that’s something that’s always going to be there, whether it’s going to be music or not, it’s always going to be a great place to visit.
What is the dream of Joris Voorn?
Oh my goodness. I think I’ve, you know, been my dream, I think when I started my dream was always quite modest. I was always just thinking only about the next step. I was never thinking about playing huge stages. You know, like when I played my first small international gigs, I was like, Oh, this is great, maybe next, next time a little bit bigger. But I never imagined that I would probably be playing for like 20,000 people or 10,000 people. But it all happens and I’ve been very grateful that I’ve been able to have the chance and still have the chance to play at so many of these great festivals and great clubs as well. So, you know, my dream would be that I, that I will still be able to connect with the audience for many years to come and that I can keep doing what I’m doing at the moment.