|Interview with DJ and producer Eric de Hollander|
|Written by Dimitri Kechagias|
Eric de Hollander is a DJ, music producer and radio host by profession. He knows the complete history of pop music from 1970 to present out of his head, and he is fan of Dateq mixers. Eric is always busy producing music and mixes; his mashups, remixes, mini- and mega mixes are broadcast daily on radio stations around the world.
Dimitri; Thanks for accepting our request to do this interview with 1mix Radio which hosts your Mixwaves.com radio show. Let's start with the basics; are you from a family that has any connection with DJ’ing and electronic dance music culture, or any other form of art? How did they react when you announced to them that you wished to become a professional DJ and producer?
Eric; No one in my family has music or an art education or any connections with the music or media industry. Their reaction was; "Cool Eric, keep up the good work and we support you". Fun detail of my family; they say that they never listen to my show on the radio, but the joke is that they know everything what happened in my show.
Dimitri; It would be great to know when you took the decision to get into the Dance music, and under what circumstances?
Eric; It was around the age of 10 that I started listening to music. My dad gave me a compact cassette to record music from the radio. From that moment on I recorded each track that I liked. A couple of years later, I was 12 at the time; I bought my first record "Don't Go" from Yazoo (1982). Every week I went to a music store searching for the newest music, but only listening to the music was boring for me, so I bought turntables and a mixer to mix the music that I liked. I recorded my own mixes and gave them to my friends, they loved it and they asked me to record more. Thus began my love for mixing music and from that moment on I knew one thing; I would work in the music industry.
Dimitri; When was your first DJ gig for a big crowd and did you feel confident playing in front of such a large number of people? What do you remember the most from that first ever experience?
Eric; I was 18 when I had the first DJ gig for a big crowd. I am always confident, it does not matter for me how big the crowd is. I do my job, the crowd enjoy what I doing behind the wheels of steel and I enjoy what they doing on the dance floor.
Dimitri; You mix only with vinyl and CD's; may I ask what is your opinion is about laptop DJ’ing?
Eric; That is not DJ’ing; everyone can be a "DJ" when he or she is using mixing software on a laptop. In my opinion you should only call yourself a DJ when you can mix with vinyl and/or with CD's.
Dimitri; Does it matter for the crowd from which medium the tracks are played in a club?
Eric; People want to be entertained, that is for sure. But I don't think the crowd likes to buy a ticket if they know they are being cheated by a DJ who is faking the set. People wanna see the DJ at work, not a "DJ" who is playing the set from a laptop. I mention no names, but I know plenty of DJ's who are recording their sets in the studio before their gig. What they then do is this; when they are in the club, they push the "play" button and are faking that they are busy with DJing. In other words; take your job as DJ seriously, because it does make a difference to the crowd from which medium the tracks are played in a club.
Dimitri; Eric; you are well known for your mashups, remixes and mixes. Would you like to describe the process of producing them? How long does it take to finalise the mashup or mega mix?
Eric; Yes, I will. I grab my CD's and/or vinyl records, I search the tracks I will use, I open the software Ableton Live on my Mac computer, I click with the mouse on the Recording-button and then I start with mixing the tracks. After mixing I master the sound of my production, I click with the mouse on the save-button and then I am ready. For example, if I must create a mashup of 6 minutes; the time I need for searching the tracks takes a few minutes. The time of mixing the mashup, that takes 6 minutes. The time for mastering the mashup, that takes also a few minutes. Searching for the tracks I must use, mixing and mastering the mashup of 6 minutes takes in total 10-15 minutes.
Dimitri; Do you have someone special that you trust that you play track to first in order to get an outsiders opinion. How much do you value their opinion?
Eric; Yes, I have; his opinion is important to me, because he is my biggest fan, but he is also critical at the time when I need it, and that is really fine to have.
Dimitri; You get a lot of demos; can you tell us if you have time to listen to all of them, how do you listen to music and do you send personal comments to each artist that has sent you demo's?
Eric; I take always the time to listen to all the demos I get. And yes, each artist gets a personal mail from me with my feedback on his or her demo. How do I listen to demos? I think I listen the same way as you listen to music; only difference is that I listen to how the recorded mix sounds technically. How good is the quality of the sound the sound of the recording, are the vocals good, is the mix something exciting or is it boring? Is there an intro, climax and an end, what does it do with my emotions and does it give me the feeling that the artist hopes to reach with the recording? That is the way I listen to music. Everyone can sing a song, but not everyone has enough talent to sing a song in the right way. For your information; from a thousand demos I may get, there are perhaps two interesting enough to contact the artist who has made the demo.
Dimitri; You are also a legend because of your knowledge of music; you know the history of Pop music from 1970 to present by heart. Is it hard to remember all this information and do you have a special way to memorise it?
Eric; I know also in which studio the track is recorded, how long the record is, which position the record has or had in the chart list of the USA, UK and the Netherlands (Antilles). My brain has a photographic memory; everything I read, see or hear I do remember. No, it's not difficult for me. And no, I have not a special way to remember all the information.
Dimitri; Not many DJ's and producers are openly gay; would you like to tell us when you took the decision to come out?
Eric; For me it was easy to come out as gay, because I don't care what people think or say about it. The way how I think is simple; do you like it? That is great for you. You don't like it? Sing a song about it or go away. Sometimes it’s really funny how people react, because some people can't imagine that I am really gay. Well, for them I have news; I am really gay.
Dimitri; Have you ever faced discrimination against you because of your orientation within the club circuit from other DJ's or promoters or DJ agencies?
Eric; Yes, a few times. Some DJ's and producers don't like DJ's and producers who are gay. I am not sure why, but I think for the same reason as in soccer. I really don't know, but it's weird, that is all I know.
Dimitri; Your radio program Mixwaves.com is a worldwide success. What is the secret behind your success?
Eric; Mixwaves.com is a free international "In The Mix" program for radio stations. Different DJ's producing a new mix every week. In our program you hear the best and the newest Dance, Electro, House and Top 40 tracks of this time. We have existed since 2006, before then there were no free high quality radio shows for radio stations. We were the first; in a short time we got a big name in the scene. Since 2008 I have one rule; only radio stations with a broadcasting license are allowed to broadcast Mixwaves.com, but also only when they have my permission. This ensures special status and exclusivity for the radio stations. See it as a VIP-treatment, but for radio stations. I think this is the secret behind the success of Mixwaves.com.
Dimitri; Which episode of your Mixwaves.com radio show do you love very much and you will never forget producing?
Eric; The episode "Week 24 of 2013" I will never forget. All styles of music was in it; Dance, Club,
Electro, House, Tech-House, Trance and Techno with some nice 80's and the 90's music influences in it. It's really a nice episode that I have made with my close friend Bertram Kleizen. That guy has talent; I love his style of mixing and also his way of working.
Dimitri; Why did you decide to join 1mix Radio and what is so special about this radio station?
Eric; I know Paul, the owner of this radio station; he is a good friend of mine. I love his way of working and attitude, he is modest and friendly. What I also like is the format of this radio station, the professional way of working and the freedom that I get to do my show and the way how I think it's the best way to do. That is the reason that I have decided to join 1mix Radio.
Dimitri; Are you an active and passionate user of Facebook/Twitter and other social networks? Do you spend a lot of time interacting with your followers and do you see this as vital or as a waste of time?
Eric; I use Facebook to show people a part of my personal life, not for promotion or something like that. I am DJ and producer, that is true, but I am also a human being and that is what people wanna see. Everybody can add me as friend and sent me a personal message. Only friends can see my timeline and post a reaction about the things that I post. I also use Twitter, I re-tweet everything that people say about my show Mixwaves.com. The personal contact with people on social networks, that's cool and that is never a waste of time.
Dimitri; Last but not least, tell us your piece of advice to other gay DJ's who may want to come out and be openly gay and hesitate to do it.
Eric; Have an "I don't care what people say or think" attitude. Do not be afraid to be yourself, be proud of who you are and what you are doing.
Many thanks to Erick for accepting our request to answer our interview and be so outspoken and honest in his answer
Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Music Journalist, Radio, DJ
Many thanks to Paul at 1mix for proofing and publishing
Mixwaves radio show is streamed every Friday at 10:00hrs GMT on the EDM stream