Interview: Reinier Zonneveld

Interview Reinier Zonneveld

If you think about Reinier Zonneveld you think about a diversity in productions, surprising collaborations, big milestones including a Guiness World Record and now there’s even a museum exhibition at Our House in Amsterdam. The well-known techno pioneer, mister ‘karren maar!’ has a busy schedule, but we were lucky to be able to have a conversation with him during the Reinier Zonneveld x Our House Museum exhibition. The museum had a unique opening show whereby we were able to have a glimpse of Reinier’s life. It gave some insight into his personal life as well as the DJ/producer life. After that we were able to go through the museum where we saw his Guinness World Record and other achievements. At the interactive section, very important to keep a museum interesting for a large demographic, we were able to listen to Reinier Zonnevelds music and try to create a DJ set ourselves. At the synthesizers section some visitors were busy attempting to create a track using the sounds of Reinier.  Check out our interview with Reinier below.

How does it feel to have your own curated exposition at Our House Museum here in Amsterdam? 

It feels super surreal as I have accomplished many milestones so far. However, to have an exposition about my music and my life is an absolute honor.  At the opening of the exposition, it was amazing to see my family, friends, and other professionals from the ‘music’ industry gather here at Our House. Firstly, it was incredible to witness how good the opening show was as I didn’t see the documentary myself beforehand. I’ve visited the museum before when Armin van Buuren did his exposition here. Initially when I heard of a museum about dance music, I wasn’t too sure about what to expect. Because not everyone possesses a lot of dance music knowledge. Although, when you visit Our House you will gain insight and knowledge regarding everything that dance music is about. Especially, since it immerses a complete experience from the show, the documentary and the instruments giving you more history and feeling towards it. 

Get tickets to experience the Our House museum here!

I believe you can track down a record in any genre that you would enjoy. For example, I’m not a big fan of death metal, but as long as you keep on searching you will find something in that genre that you will like. Many people believe techno music is just ‘boom boom music’, however if you visit the museum, you will find out through the history and other styles of dance music that there will be something that fits your musical taste as well. 

Techno music is not just a movement and the genre should be taken seriously. It’s not just people gathering in a warehouse and getting smashed. I believe by attending this exposition you can truly witness this for yourself. 

How did the exhibition come about? 

I was asked about doing an exposition and honestly, I felt it might be too early in my career. However, on second thought I was like let’s give it a go. Together Our House, The Media Nanny and the Filth on Acid management team have put in a lot of effort to make this exposition come to life. Even my family has participated by digging up old photographs from my first home studio and newspaper articles.  Joel Beukers’ videographer accompanied me a couple of weekends and together with the team we created the documentary part of the show. During the opening show you can really see what I do in the studio and in my life. I’m proud of the result as you can see that I am just me and it’s very authentic. 

As mentioned, you’ve realized several milestones. From being the highest newcomer in the DJ Mag top 100, a Guinness World Record during your own ‘Karren Maar Festival’ and now an own exhibition in Our House Museum. What other milestones do you want to reach and are you able to celebrate these milestones? 

Yes, I am definitely able to celebrate my accomplishments and successes.  

My next milestone or achievement is already on its way. It will be my album as I am proud of the result. For an EP I can settle myself with a track being solid for the club but for my album I want all the tracks to be perfect in every environment. From festivals, clubs, to listening to it on your AirPods on Spotify. As you can imagine it has been a lot of work. I create my own tracks sometimes even while performing on stage. I mix and master all my tracks myself. Sometimes it can be difficult as I am a perfectionist and want to deliver a perfect album which takes a lot of time and effort including a lot of material. At times, I create a new track in an hour however the entire process of tweaking it several times and testing it live on stage takes a good while as I want to deliver the album just perfect. Also, whilst touring a lot, I dive into the studio to sleep a couple of hours and continue working on my productions. 

Your label Filth On Acid (FOA) is relatively young however it is doing great on platforms such as Beatport and has had a lot of support from artists such as Carl Cox, Vini Vici (your latest release) & Hi-Lo. With what order artists would you like to collaborate and with what other genres?  

I have been able to dive into the studio with a lot of different producers and artists; Angerfist is one of these great producers. Personally, I have had a period in my life when I was listening to a lot of hardcore music such as ‘Take You Back’ & ‘Underground Madness’. When I was about 14 years old, I enjoyed listening to this style of music when I was riding my bicycle to school. Artists such as Angerfist and Promo were guys to whom I looked up to. Therefore, I am proud to be able to have collaborated with both artists on tracks for my upcoming album. It feels very special to me as I have now worked with both these two legends. 

Another artist with whom I did a collaboration for my album is Sjaak the Dutch rapper. I always used to desire to become a rockstar. Unfortunately, rock was dead. After that I wanted to become a rapper, but I didn’t have enough street cred nor was my voice good enough to rap. In my opinion, Sjaak is one of the most amazing Dutch rappers in the hip-hop scene. On a random Tuesday morning I received a call from him telling me he was now making dance music and he heard some of my tracks and wanted to collab. We then did a studio session together, we connected very well and immediately created several tracks.  It’s next level to be able to collaborate with the personal legends I just mentioned. I have also worked on new music together with Oliver Heldens’ alias HI-LO.

How do you keep a healthy balance while living such a hectic life as a DJ/producer?  

Making music means the world to me. This is not only my job but it’s my passion in life. There is nothing that I enjoy more than whenever I hit the studio and shut down my phone and produce for several hours in a row. Also, when producing and creating music live in front of ten thousands of people this gives me goosebumps and it’s a source of energy to me. If you do what you really enjoy it doesn’t matter how little you sleep as it will give you the energy to carry on. 

What do you prefer? Headlining on a major festival in front of ten thousands of people or for a smaller intimate crowd such as tonight? 

Tonight is special to me as it is my own music exposition. However, what is most adrenalizing for myself is performing on a mainstage in front of a crowd of thousands and being able to get them to go wild on my own productions. The bigger the crowd, the more challenging it becomes to keep them all going but when that happens it gives me an amazing rush. 

In the documentary at the beginning of the exposition it shows that you would love to perform at a festival such as Lowlands. At which other festivals or parties would you like to perform in the future?  

I am working on a hardcore alias (Hardkar live) and will launch this new live act on Free You Mind on the 25th of November. This alias will consist of really heavy hardcore music and I’ll be going full throttle. The performance will be live like my techno sets, however I will use other synthesizers and material to really make it hardcore. Whenever I have time, I want to create more of this music and want to aim for a spot at Thunderdome. For me personally it would be an absolute honor to be able to perform at this legendary event. 

If you were to name three colleagues (DJ/Producers) to whom you look up to within the (Techno) EDM scene, who would this be?  

Armin van Buuren is a great producer, which I look up to. Armin is one of the best producers with whom I was able to work together with in the studio. As mentioned before Angerfist and Promo are two producers to whom I look up to from the past.  

Within the techno scene it would be Adam Beyer as he has been in the scene for a long time and constantly keeps delivering great sets and releases on his own label (Drumcode records). I am also glad to be able to do a back-to-back set with him during my own Awakenings event during ADE.  

Charlotte de Witte is also a colleague to whom I look up to and have a lot of respect. She is currently one of the best in the scene and I enjoy her energy and sets she delivers. Her own music is of great quality. Furthermore, Ritchie Hawtin is a pioneer in the industry regarding live performances (live performances with synthesizers). Speedy J is also someone that I look up to.  

Final question: What were your personal challenges whilst organizing your own festival: “Karren Maar”? 

The organization of the festival itself was done by Free Your Mind. The biggest personal challenge/fear was that the weather conditions prior to the festival were code orange/red. I was worried that the event would have to be canceled. During the first few hours, I was worried that people weren’t gonna show up due to the bad weather-conditions. Fortunately, even though it rained both stages were packed with people and it was a major success. Thanks for the interview guys and enjoy the exposition! 

Thanks for your time Reinier! 

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