"The future is unclear but we do have to fight for a better world now"
The dj sets and productions by Esther Duijn are powerful statements, emblematic of her energetic and no-holds-barred approach, we're excited to share this interview with you, offering a glimpse into the mindset of an accomplished producer and dj exquisite, elegant and rave on the dance floor.
Hi Esther! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Hi, I am still in Amsterdam but tomorrow I finally head back to Berlin and I am super excited to go back finally. I normally start off my day with yoga and running and learning to play the piano (or synthesizer in my case =). Then I get on with the activities of the day, music production, podcasts mixing. Also I like going for walks outside meeting up with my quarantine buddy Darkraum etc.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
My daddy used to play records from Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk & Klaus Schulze for example when I was a little girl. I used to fall asleep on waves, melodies & sound structures that were created by the synthesizers they made it with. I was totally obsessed by the cover of Klaus Schulze / Timewind. Here the link to the full record:
Then at the tender age of 13 I went to my first illegal rave in an abandoned warehouse in my birthtown and then&there I knew I was going to become a DJ. I wanted to be the one telling the story & take everyone with me on a magical musical journey through the night.
Which artists have your interest these days?
Minimum Syndicat, Drvg Cvltvre, G Flame (The Advent), Steve Rachmad, Umek (Zeta Reticula) Soulphiction / Jackmate, Stingray, Neil Landstrumm, Low Entropy, Anthony Rother, Daniel Bell and many many more.
What do you like most about the artists you follow?
The fact they are very diverse and bring genuine quality to the music they create & deliver.
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?
Because I have been listening to acid and electronic music since the tender age of 11 years old I learned to listen to how sounds, structures, melodies & harmonics are in harmony with each other. This is my guideline when I mix all the genres.
How would you define your sound?
I am a collector of electronic music, from disco (edits) EBM new wave to deep obscure raw distorted dubby techno to acidhouse to electro to techno in various styles to underground style ravey acid hardcore. I think the red line is that whatever style it is, it has to sound not too clean and not too polished and definitely not too cheezy.
What can you tell us about your last EP: Dawn of the Last Era? How did it come about? What inspired you?
I wanted to make some proper dark techo with a haunting metallic feel to it.
And your contribution to the VA Vandal Coalition? What did you want to transmit with your track?
I just worked my little machines & daw and cuz I am into heavy distored acidlines combined with raw barking kickdrums and hihats that cut like a knife this came out. I let the sounds guide me.
The track is now on my soundcloud and I am giving it away for free, just send me a PM and you get the WAV.
Are you preparing a new work? What will be your musical direction?
Yes, always, atm I am really into acid, my TB-03 and my TD-3’s are mostly my melody makers and I love my NAVA extra 9. That together with my collection of effect pedals defines my sound.
How do you deal with C19 confinement with your work? Has this situation influenced your creative perspective? What social and musical implications do you think this situation can lead to?
I just take it day by day atm. We all had a massive blow when shit went down due to C19 beginning of March in one way or another. I have accepted a lot of podcast and stream requests and I just do what I can to survive.
2020 is a year where non functioning systems that were building up for decades (environment) & centuries (racism and the suppression of minorities) or let’s just say basically the unsustainable economy & social structure we live in came to a clash. The future is unclear but we do have to fight for a better world now.
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?
I am cleaning out my recordcollection. I think I have approx 4000 records and I decided to get rid of stuff that did not stand the test of time for me personally. I have found a lot of amazing records by amazing artists from the 80ies 90ies 00ies 10s and rediscovered also very current stuff. So its been an interesting ride through what I see as my personal musical evolution.
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
I am going to share a recording and a stream here, the first one is a live recording from Tresor.Berlin Globus, all vinyl. For me this is just a really fond memorie of playing in my favourite club surrounded by my friends and a lovely dancefloor full of amazing people. The second one is a live stream I did for Club in The Clouds / Vice while we were in isolation.
What makes a good mix to you?
A good mix is mixed tightly by hand and ear, beatmatching tight obviously, flow has to fit, no melody or key clashing and you need to hear an actual proper skill set in it.
Hard techno, EBM, industrial... What do you like about each of these genres you play with?
Hard techo, rave and acid techo to proper raw sounding hardcore (so no happy hardcore) I just love. I grew up with hardcore and I moved on to techno. I love the harder styles but I am also totally in love with the obscure raw deeper stuff like dub techno, electro, EBM, distorted downtempo stuff.
In which clubs have you played and have you felt at home?
Tresor.Berlin is my residency and my home away from home. Everyone who works there is just amazing and they make you feel wanted & special. The crowd really goes hard for it, I just love that.
Also I love playing Gegen. The hedonistic vibe at Gegen is very special and unlike anything else. I love it when I play that every half hour Fabio, the founder of Gegen, comes and checks if everything is ok. The booth is quite high and his cute head just pops up and signals “are you ok luv?” It’s just very sweet and you feel appreciated.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
What makes you happy?
Music, my friends, yoga, my record collection and my gear.
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects?
Besides doing my bimonthly Another Earth stream, which recently moved from Red Light Radio to HÖR Berlin I have a stack of releases coming out:
Aug’20 Remy-X, Night Shift (+ Esther Duijn remix)
Label BFT Records (DE)
July’20 Esther Duijn, Dionysus
Label: TrashEra (DE)
June’20 Richard Holhburn, Disappearing in the act you’ve become (+ Esther Duijn remix)
Label Diffuse Reality (ES)
June’20 Esther Duijn, DEITY (+ Scalameriya remix)
Label: Gegen Records (DE)
April’20 Esther Duijn, No Dignity
Label: The Meaning of Rave (PL)