"The music we listened to as children became the start of a long journey which is now part of how we communicate with sound"
Black Cadmium intends to put energetic and meaningful music back on the agenda. Made up of two music lover brothers, the duo have been incubating their love of rave since the 90s.
We had the opportunity to speak with the producer duo, so enjoy your reading and check out their latest projects.
Hi Mike, Joe! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Depending on if I have a day of or not, I start the day of with a morning meditation, just to clear my mind and start fresh. After that, I have some breakfast and get ready for my morning workout.
At home chilling with my son and partner. After that doing my workout and meditations.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
For me (Mike) it started in elementary school, I was about 12 years old and I borrowed The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation from my classmates older brother. At recess I went home, we had an hour…and that was just enough time to listen to the whole album and go back to school again…
My love for electronic music started in the late 80s and early 90s when a classmate in primary school had brought his father's very first “Turn Up The Bass” CD or cassette tape on Friday afternoon. That father was an infamous Parkzicht club visitor in Rotterdam.
Later, through an eight year older cousin who also often went to Parkzicht, I came into contact with hardcore (L.A. Style - James Brown is Dead was a big hit then!) And mellow (Robin S, It Cd’s), those were 2 movements that I knew at the time. Mellow house and hardcore that was it…. The love for Detroit Techno came mid 90s , Uk Garage and all the cool sub genres.
I used my allowance to buy mix cd’s and sometimes I took some change from my stepfather’s wallet... haha
I really had everything, from Thunderdome to IT Amsterdam, Technotrance to House party and had almost all the editions in the early 90s.
I see that you also play with many instruments. With which of them do you feel more comfortable?
We started creating music inside the box but after a couple of years we just started missing something. We were always intrigued by using hardware, so it seemed natural to make a switch to the analogue world. After trying a couple of synthesizers, we landed at Roland’s TR 08 and TR 09 next to some other boutique brothers. We quickly found out that it’s not about what you use, it’s about how you use it..
Why is the name Black Cadmium?
Cadmium is a chemical element used in various applications varying from batteries to electroplating. It is also highly poisonous.
This is a metaphor for the discrepancy between one’s capability and the world's view. Basically, our life story and it sounds cool AF.
How much of your youth and life in Suriname has influenced your choice in sound & style as a DJ?
We were both brought up with a plethora of sounds ranging from what was popular at the time to more obscure and underground music, born in the Netherlands though…But black music and culture will always course thru our veins. The music we listened to as children became the start of a long journey which is now part of how we communicate with sound.
Could you imagine a world where you are a full-time DJ? Or is it important for you to have a separation between DJing as a passion and regular life?
We are also interested in entrepreneurship in the catering industry, so we would certainly do that in addition to DJing. Passion can be expressed in many ways.
When did the idea of starting a project begin to take shape? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?
We’ve been dj’ing for about 20 years, actually Joe a little bit longer. The first record I played was at an endless afterparty (like they always were) at Joe’s house but that story is for another time…
We started producing about 15 years ago. Thru the years we had gigs in a lot of venues and a couple of festivals. But Black Cadmium came to life about 3 years ago, that’s when we really made a paradigm shift.
Which artists have your interest these days?
Derrick May, Steven Julien, Violet, Ben UFO, Omar S, Moodymann, Carista...
How do you manage to combine such disparate genres? How do you manage to give them unity and harmony? What do they have in common for you?
Once you start categorizing to much, you’ll be out of touch with what your feeling, in fact you’ll be overthinking. That should not be the case when experiencing music.
Rhythms, grooves, vibes, emotions, timing, momentum, etc... Those are the things we contemplate and we’re pretty meticulous about it. It’s about mixing and matching of energy.
How would you define your sound?
Heavily influenced by the London – Detroit connection. From Hi-Tek to grimy UK sounds.
What does each one contribute to your duet?
We are both involved in all layers of our collaboration. Joe is more of a ‘helicopter view’ guy and I’m mister meticulous. So, we complement each other’s strengths.
What have you learned from each other?
We’ve known each other for quite some time now, but by working together, we became better listeners and communicators.
What is it about breaks, afrofuture, acid, rave, grime & experimental… that you like so much?
They all have a purity to them which really appeals to us. We like thinking out of the box, breaking boundaries set by the mainstream which seems to be so dominant…
What can you tell us about Kharma Radio & Club?
Both are musical platforms for musical expression. The radio show gives us more room to experiment, invite guests and interview them. The club night was set up to bring that intimate vibe in a 4 to the floor format.
How is it born? What is your philosophy? What are you trying to convey?
Joe and I are both spiritual people, not to be confused with religious. We both believe in karma, good and bad. Kharma Radio & Club are both celebrations of positivity. By positioning yourself in the positive, you will receive the positive.
What are you missing in the music industry?
More new artists of colour, different genders, but mostly quality over quantity.
So what music are you currently obsessed by? Have you picked up any records recently that you have been playing in every set or have been listening to every day?
Gravitease Angel - Chercher Ca, Interplanetary Criminal - Pain (All I Want),
I can’t stop playing Secret Rave – Untitled 01 and some DJ Plant stuff, Omar S, Apron stuff….
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
The theme of the set is based on the events of the latter concerning racism. We opted for music that sounds black to the ears, but what might as well have been made by a white producer and some clear messages with great vocalized house and techno. But as always full of energy and no limits concerns sound.
Everything goes, no filters.
What makes a good mix to you?
It should vary in tempo, sound and it has to have a fair amount of ballsyness… guts. We really hate monotonous sets.
In which clubs have you played and have you felt at home?
With all due respect to all clubs where we have played separately and with each other, but there is not one where we feel very much at home. Every club we played was a fun experience.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
Joy Postell - Consciousness
Tall Black Guy - We Rollin’ For You
Ben Williams - Promised Land
What makes you happy?
When a plan just works out just like you planned it or when music we created connects with the listener. Connecting and growing with loved ones. Staying in good mental and physical health.
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects?
No we can’t (LOL). Just keep following us. There are really cool new music projects coming up on even cooler labels.