31 Mar 2022

5YRS: In conversation wtih JP Enfant

Introduction by the interviewer

On the 9th of March, 2022, the team went to JP’s house to shoot a candid conversation with him to promote the new 5YRS of DGTL RECORDS record that he’s featured in. 

 

We had a really fun and easy-going conversation, which I separated into three sections.

 

Section one talks about his past, where we talked about his upbringing in Breda, his residency at Trouw, his relationship with De School and his perspective on the Amsterdam scene as a whole.

 

The second section dives into his creative identity, creative process and routines and his musical productions. Where we talked about the importance of a routine and what elements are taken into consideration when creating a track.

 

The last section dives into his other creative pursuits and what to expect from him in the future. We talked about his work at Lab111, where he was the concept developer.

 

The interview was an hour-long, and below you will find the transcript of our conversation. I kept the editing to a minimum so you can feel like you were there with us, chiming into everything we had to say. I hope you leave this conversation with some new insights you didn’t have before.

 

You can listen to the EP he’s featured in here, and you can pre-order the vinyl here.

 

Section 1: The Past

  

 

Akila Ksatryo

For those who don't know who you are, can you give us a little introduction?

 

JP Enfant

I'm JP Enfant, DJ and producer based here in Amsterdam. I run my own record label, Psychedelic Romance. I used to be a resident at Trouw and De School, and also used to run a party called Les Enfant Terribles. I don't know if the younger generation knows that [laughs]. I've been playing with DGTL for a long time, I think like five or six years. And yeah, that's why we're here today. Because of the five years anniversary.

 

A.K  

So first and foremost, congrats on the new EP, and on launching Psychedelic Romance. Shifting it from a club night series at Trouw and into its own label. You just had a show at radioradio the other day, and will also be doing another radio show this weekend, too, right?

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, that's more like a club night. So that's the first club event we're actually doing with the label. So first, like label night, so to say. We wanted to start quite small as it's the first one and make it more intimate. But eventually, yes, we want to grow in that and go bigger, and have also more rooms, do different setups and incorporate also the art parts of the label more into the club night itself.

 

A.K  

Okay, so we're gonna start with a little picture. Can you tell me a little about this place?

 

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, [laughs] this is a Cafe Janssen. This is kind of the place where I started playing when I was 16 years old. I kind of have warm memories of this time. Wow, is this a recent photo? It still looks exactly the same. And now it's been bought by Hardwell, I suppose, where he's part owner. And it was kind of the place where a lot of kids went for the first time to go out on a Friday night, drinking beer from four o'clock for happy hour. And it was kind of the place where all my friends went to. And that's where I wanted to play when I was 16. To have like, kind of an entrance into nightlife. And from there I basically grew to all the bigger places, like Graanbeurs and De Spock. De Spock is kind of legendary because Tiesto started his career there. But also Kerkplein, which was like kind of the bigger thing. 

 

The weird thing was when I started playing there, I wasn't even allowed to go in myself because you had to be 23. And I was 17. So every time I had to play there, I had to get the owner of the place to get me in because the bouncers wouldn't let me in. Yeah, that's the time I started really playing for crowds. Back then that was kind of like, top 40 music were like hits, but also mixed with house. More like club house kind of stuff. And you could only play at Janssen if you were technically very educated, because you had to mix hip hop to house to Dutch music to like all kinds of different genres, and if you were not able to mix that you were not allowed to play there. So I took kind of pride in it that I was technically advanced enough to play there. 

 

A.K  

I also remembered reading online that you also went to Magik records a lot as well.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, the record store of Tiesto. 

 

A.K  

Exactly. And that you were actually mentored by somebody called Yva. Do you still talk to him nowadays?

 

JP Enfant  

Sometimes we talk. We don't see each other very often. He's still at Breda and I'm here. But every now and then we chat, like we chat up on Instagram or Facebook or elsewhere. Yeah.

 

A.K  

Can you walk me through your decision to leave Breda and your decision to move away from the commercial side of DJing, like what you said about the top 40 tracks, and into the underground aspects of techno music?

 

JP Enfant  

Well, I was always into techno. Before I even started playing in the bars, in discotheques, and in clubs in my hometown, I was already collecting techno records. And at a certain point, I got fired from a place because I refused to play Dutch music at that time, because I didn't feel like it was the right moment for it. Tiesto got fired at the same place. So that's kind of a good thing, I suppose. Or at least that's what I tell myself [laughs]. And at a certain point, I got offered a residency at Star Beach in Crete. And that was the moment that I was like, “okay, this is a step I take, if I take this step, it's hard to take a step back to what I actually want”, which is playing techno. So at that point, I decided like, “okay, if I want to do this (play techno), I go for it. I just leave this behind, I got a lot of experience out of it, which I'm very grateful for. But this is not the world I feel musically comfortable with, and also mentality wise, comfortable.”. That was the moment I had to decide, either I go fully commercial or I go to what I love to do. And then I decided to move to Amsterdam and start my own parties here, which became Les Enfants Terribles.

 

A.K  

I read about this whole entire breakaway in another interview where you sounded a bit hesitant in your decision, as if you weren't sure whether this was the right choice because obviously, back then you had the choice of this whole entire thing with going to Crete, which sounds super fun..

 

JP Enfant  

It's tempting. Especially at a young age. You have to be strong to let that go, basically, because when you're 18 it seems like a lot of fun to go to a party island for the whole summer and do what you love to do, which is playing music. But as much as it was tempting, it was also daunting for me, looking at the long-term implications of it, and what I actually wanted. The first time I walked into Club11, I was like 16, and that was really inspiring. Going to places like Space on Ibiza, and DC 10 was also really inspiring and brought me on the right path about where I wanted to go. And that made me decide not to do it, and to walk my own path and create my own adventure.

 

A.K  

It seems like since then, you've had a really stellar career in Amsterdam, from Trouw and De School, and now with DGTL. It seems as though your decision has really panned out for you.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, I'm happy you're saying that. It of course also requires a lot of work. It doesn't come out of nowhere. Some people only see it from the outside of it, like “oh, yeah, he's playing everywhere, blah, blah, blah”. but of course, there was also a lot of work in the background - a lot of struggles, a lot of sleepless nights [laughs]. And yeah, I'm happy I am where I am today. And I feel like I know more and more, even now, about where I want to go.

 

A.K  

Since then it seems as though you've kind of made your name, and that you're a bit more confident and reassured with your decision...

 

JP Enfant  

Let me kind of say this, I was already really sure about my decision when I didn't decide to go with Star Beach because I knew that was not the choice I wanted to make. So, I was looking for a kind of way to break away. And that was kind of the trigger moment, basically.  

 

A.K  

Was there ever this A-ha moment,  one of those - “Yeah, I'm happy I made this decision, sort of situations.”, you know what I mean? 

 

JP Enfant  

Well, the first time I had that was when I played Trouw for the first time. I think I was a young kid of 20 years old. Playing in a club like that with its name and reputation really gives you a kind of reassuring feeling that you are on the right path. And then again right after they asked me to become a resident there, which was, of course, very flattering. And also for a relatively inexperienced DJ like me back then. That helped me a lot to grow. 

 

Recently, I think, when we stopped doing the parties for LET, I kind of felt that I had more freedom to choose even more my own direction in the sound and the kind of aesthetics I'm following right now.

 

A.K  

It seems like your love for music really comes from the experiences that you’ve had in the scene and through experiencing different parties, something that you couldn't feel in a commercial club. I wanted to ask you what makes this scene in Amsterdam different from scenes that you've seen elsewhere?

 

JP Enfant  

Oh, that's a good question. Well, of course, the cards have really been shuffled again after the last two years. So I kind of find it hard to pinpoint that right now. What makes it different, for me, is that there was always a kind of sense of working together in the Amsterdam scene, which I think is really important to have a healthy scene because when scenes go more inward, they get stuck. So you want that kind of cross-pollination going on, like one scene is influencing the other. For instance, hip-hop gets influenced by techno and the other way around. For many people, that sounds like a very extreme kind of way of seeing things. But I think this is essential for musical growth and for the development of the scene itself. And Amsterdam used to have that a lot, like a couple of years back. I think Corona made that go away a little bit more. And I hope that's coming back, and I see already slowly that it's coming back.

 

A.K  

Yeah, because when talking about scenes like Bristol or Berlin or Kyiv for example, you instantly think of a specific sound. I talked to a lot of people about the sounds of Amsterdam and nobody ever gave me a concrete answer about what that sound is because of the wide variety of different sounds.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, and that's also charming. This is a topic that keeps coming up, like Amsterdam doesn't have a specific sound right now. There used to be this minimal sound which was really associated with the Amsterdam scene back in the 2000s and late 2000s. People like Kabale & Liebe,  Julien Chaptal,  Lauhaus, and 2000 and one, were like doing this minimal sound with like a house feel to it. Since then, I kind of find it hard to pinpoint what the exact sound is. 

 

Of course, with not having De School here right now, or a similar club, it's hard to pinpoint what that sound is because most of the sounds that exist also revolve around a certain club or event space which has a collective of artists along with it. You see that in Berlin. I mean, of course, you had Tresor back in the days and Berghain now, that's very specific and defining for the Berlin sound. Kyiv and Paris also have the same thing.

 

A.K  

Do you think it is a strong point, or a weak point that we are lacking an identifiable sound?

 

JP Enfant  

Both. Because for the outside world, it can look like we cannot decide on what we want [laughs]. But for the creative side of things, I think it brings many and diverse kinds of sounds and outings of creativity, which I think is really important for moving forward, where other scenes get a bit stuck sometimes. I think that Amsterdam is always moving. And that's very positive.

 

A.K  

It seems like other scenes can benefit from the fact that Amsterdam is constantly moving, but what do you think Amsterdam can benefit from other scenes that you've visited outside our city, or at least our country?

 

JP Enfant  

Also, that I think, is a hard question. I think what we've seen over the last few years is that clubs are kind of overthrown by the festivals. What I would love to see, and I know this interview is for DGTL. But what I would love to see is that there's a bit more of a balance there, where the club scene is also cherished by the festivals. Because the clubs are the incubation room for the artists that play at the festivals. So it's really important for the infrastructure to hold that closely. In cities like Berlin, clubs are kind of the main thing. And that's also because there's not a lot of festival spaces in the city itself, I think. But the equilibrium, there could be the other way around, like a little bit more festivals, I would say. But you see that Club culture there is even bigger. It's more important there. And I feel like we can learn from that.

 

“But you see that Club culture there is even bigger. It's more important there. And I feel like we can learn from that.”

 

A.K  

Yeah, I also believe that electronic music never had its roots in festivals. 

 

JP Enfant  

No, it's always created in this incubation room, which is the club or like, a small venue, or illegal parties. Illegal parties became really important during the pandemic, I think. Some people will hate me for that, but go ahead [laughs]. I'm aware of it. But yeah, that's where the new things start to exist, and which the whole kind of infrastructure and ecosystem will benefit from in later stages. So I think it's important that we keep nourishing that part of the scene.

 

A.K  

What do you think festivals bring to the table then?

 

JP Enfant  

The festivals bring a stage for artists and for talent, and that brings the artists to the wider public. And I think that's also a really important role. Because yeah, that's something to let a scene grow. And also go outwards. Again, outwards, of its own limits. It's important to have that.

 

“Again, outwards, of its own limits. It's important to have that.”

 

A.K  

I'd like to ask a few more questions about clubs, because it seems like you're definitely a club kid?

 

JP Enfant  

I am yeah.

 

A.K  

As somebody who's never had the opportunity to visit De School, or Trouw unfortunately before they closed, can you tell me why these places are special for you and for your community?

 

JP Enfant  

Trouw is different from De School, of course. So let's start there. 

 

Trouw was the first proper club I played at, and where I was a resident. That always holds a special place in my heart. The mentality of the team taught me a lot in terms of the way they dealt with creativity. For instance, if you wanted to do something, and you came with a solid plan, there was always a space to do it, like with my Psychedelic Romance nights.I got kind of a wild idea, called Olaf, sat down with him. And he said, yes. And I was like, wow, I didn't expect that, necessarily. Because it was new. It wasn't necessarily an idea that was commercially already very fruitful. But still, he gave the space to experiment in order to bring something new to the table. And I think that's really important for club spaces, that these are places where you can experiment and find new ways of doing things creatively. Basically, this was really the mentality that was Trouw. And that's inspiring. 

 

Also, the experience I got from it, myself, as an artist really helped me to grow. And the vibe in that place was just special, the high ceilings, the kind of sound that was there, it asked for a certain kind of music as well. I always tend to think that the space itself defines what kind of music you play there. And with Trouw that was more like grotesque, and I really played a lot of like this stabby dub techno, because it could breathe there, you know, it could breathe in that huge hall. Which made it even more spacious, in a way cavernous chords that echoed through the space itself. And that became a thing that was really helping me to get further in what I wanted. 

 

And then De School was the place where I really got to define myself more and more, where I felt like I could become like an adult kind of artist, so to say - more grown up. I could sophisticate my sound more, got more opportunities to do long all nighters because of the 24 hour license. And also to book artists with the team itself for my nights, and that really helped me to define my sound even more, although the sound that I played there was a bit darker in general, because of the dark basement. Again, the space defines the kind of music that you play. And every now and then I also tried to incorporate what I also did with Trouw, like the more of a UK bass, post dubstep thing that I love to play as well. The community at De School was also really tight knit. And, yeah, we all know what happened two summers ago, that's still really painful for me to think about. In the end I feel most of us learned from what happened there and that’s the bright side to it.

 

“And I think that's really important for club spaces, that these are places where you can experiment and find new ways of doing things creatively”

 

A.K  

It's also quite evident the pain you felt seeing that your first track on your new EP on Psychedelic Romance was based on your experiences of having De School closed, for example. But it was also really nice that you brought up the whole entire thing about music and spaces, because I never thought about that before, how music changes depending on what the space allows it to be.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah. Like a good example of that is a space where the acoustics are really good, you feel more comfortable, right?  This is a very simple example of how sound influences humans in a space itself, but also defines what kind of music could fit there. And I think that kind of element of spaces and music is often overlooked. And I think it's really important that people start to be more aware of that, that not every kind of sound fits in a certain kind of space.

 

“And I think it's really important that people start to be more aware of that, that not every kind of sound fits in a certain kind of space.”

 

A.K  

There's a very interesting way that you look at music, hence the whole Psychedelic Romance thing, but I'm gonna save that for later. I was super happy to bring up Olaf because next the question is based on an interview you did where you mentioned him, saying that “I wanted to do something unconventional by combining Techno with UK bass-styled music. Beforehand, I didn’t expect Olaf Boswijk would ever say yes to the idea when we were meeting. Instead, he said yes immediately and gave me space to develop and to experiment together with the team there.”, now this is the really interesting part, “That spirit and mentality is something that never left me.” -  Can you explain what you mean about that spirit, what is that spirit? And what is this mentality that you speak of?

 

JP Enfant  

The mentality of trusting each other and to create a secure base for the artists you work with. I think that's something that is really important for me, in my development as an artist itself. So that's something that never left me. And that I also want to offer with the label (Psychedelic Romance) to other artists. Basically, a place where you can easily experiment without being judged for it, and without getting weird faces for what you do. Because it's not conventional, in a way, you know. And of course, at a certain point, you want to see if it's working or not. But that's something if you go in with an open mind, that will come eventually, or it doesn't and then at least you tried, but then that's also fine. 

 

A.K  

It seems like this is something important for you, the whole entire aspect of a community that supports you. From either the open mindedness of a community that is welcoming to all sounds, to people who've helped you in your career from people like Olaf, and Yiva, to even the crew at Breda in Magik. I just wanted to ask, is there anybody in your career who played a really important role in where you are right now? Or do you have a lot to be thankful for?

 

JP Enfant  

I think the guys that I worked with for LET, we went on this adventure, which was really nice for a long time. And I really appreciate what we did there together, what we built there. Sometimes, not everything went completely well as in every organization, but the fact that we could trust each other - asking them to join me for this adventure, and like the many things we did, both really successful events and the flops, I really appreciate that. Especially one of my closest friends from University, Kolja, who also used to run Shelter. I think he was really important in my development as well. Also Nicole Grootveld has been really important throughout. She was a JP Enfant supporter from the first hour and always encouraged me to take it further, to play that one record that I thought would have been too much for many people or to tell me when a set wasn’t as good as she was used to from me. Those are the people that you can trust and are honest with you, those are the ones that make a difference in your life in general.

 

 

Section 2: Mixing, the Creative Process and Music Production

 

 

A.K  

That's great to hear, now I kind of wanted to jump into the second section, which is about mixing, the creative process and the whole entire aspect towards making music. As mentioned previously, you've been DJing for 15 to 20 years now. Has your approach towards learning the whole entire skill of mixing changed from your earlier days as a DJ? Do you still learn as much as you did way back? Or are you a bit more cozy now?

 

JP Enfant  

As far as mixing is concerned, I think that I'm pretty skilled. Now I play four decks CDJs, I used to play three decks vinyl, that's still harder than playing four deck CDJs. But if you mix too many layers, that doesn't make sense anymore. So in that sense, I feel like I'm still learning but more in like the way how I operate the CDJs. So the different technical possibilities that you can use in a creative way. 

 

Like when I started mixing, of course, I had to learn in a very short amount of time, or at least that's how I felt, that the learning curve was much more steep then. So it's really like going into it. I am autodidactic, so I taught myself by just listening to others mixes, which I kind of replicated. I had a really hard time beat matching when I was 14. But I think everybody has a hard time when they start mixing on vinyl. No matter what he/she/they would have done. 

 

I started to pick up elements of how to do it, how to listen to it. And I was basically mixing at least one hour, every single day for like, a year. I picked up the mixing part really quickly. And now yeah, of course, it's like a second nature. So the mixing is easy, so to say. But to be creative with it is still something that I work on. And the funny thing is like now, if you master a skill, you can play with it, you know!? You can use that skill to be truly creative. So that's what I'm doing. I'm playing with how to mix it, making jokes sometimes in the music. That's what I love to do. 

 

A.K  

Yeah, it's something that you also mentioned before as well, that your approach to mixing was cyclical. Where the end was the beginning and beginning was the end…

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah. So earlier, we talked about how to make waves in music right in DJ sets. For me, that's always an approach that I really like to have. Because you can play with the dynamic of the night in that sense, you go up, you go down again, you go up, you go down again. And by that you create a dynamic where you have people peaking at a certain point, but also give people the time to dream away, or float away a bit more, and be drifting on the waves itself, so that you don't push it too hard. Like, what I see sometimes is that people only want to do peak time. Peak time, peak time, peak time. And that to me, doesn't make sense. Because if you do peak time constantly, in the end, you have a flatline. Without the lows, you don't have the highs. And that kind of principle, you see in a cycle as well. So if you fold out a circle, you get a wave, you get this (makes a waveform with his hands from a circle). And that's kind of what it is.

 

“You go up, you go down again, you go up, you go down again. And by that you create a dynamic where you have people peaking at a certain point,”

 

A.K  

How does this whole entire approach change when you go from mixing in a club, like next week, you're playing at radioradio with a capacity of about 300 to 400, and then you have DGTL with like 40,000 people?

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, so you play different kinds of sets. At DGTL, I would say I would play a bit more grotesque, so a bit more, what people call ‘big room’ maybe, at places like radioradio, you can probably go a bit more adventurous. Sometimes I also played some adventurous records on DGTL. For instance, we talked about gqom earlier (before the interview), the South African style. I played that in 2019, because I just came back from a South Africa tour back then. And I always try to incorporate the music I find during touring into my DJ sets. 

 

But in general, you can say that in smaller spaces, you can maybe go a bit deeper, because people also tend to stay with you. You don't have to keep them with you constantly. Because people really make the choice to go there. And as with a festival where you have multiple stages, people can easily decide to go to a different stage.

 

Though, I think more and more, I have my solid crowd that really comes to see me play, which is also an element in that where you can play a bit more with regarding the directions you go to on a big stage.

 

A.K  

Do you still get nervous actually, when you get behind the decks?

 

JP Enfant  

No, no, it's funny that you asked that because I realized like five years ago that I don't have that at all anymore. Only like the times I played for Berghain [laughs]. That was kind of the moment that I was really nervous because Berghain still holds a special place in my heart, like for many techno artists, it’s sort of sacred ground. 

 

A.K  

How did you overcome this nervousness? 

 

JP Enfant  

I don't know how I overcame it. It just came naturally. Like at a certain point. I wasn't really nervous anymore. Just I knew what to do. I knew I could trust in myself behind the decks, basically. Yeah.

 

A.K  

Now we're going to go to the next topic, which is your creative process and your artistic ideals. So I want to start with your whole entire way of actually making music because we are talking about a DGTL record today. A few months ago, I read a memoir by one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, and in his book he specifically wrote a very strict routine. He said he wakes up at 4am, he writes five to six hours every single day, no matter what, even though he doesn't feel it. He runs 10k afterwards, and goes back home to listen to music. And he goes to bed by nine. What’s interesting here is that obviously there are days where he doesn't want to do this, but he compares the brain to a muscle where every single day you have to rigorously train it or else it loses its shape and its ability.

 

JP Enfant  

I highly agree with that.

 

A.K  

I would love to hear whether you had a routine and your opinions about this whole entire thing.

 

JP Enfant  

Yes, I do have a routine. During Corona, sometimes that went up and down a little bit, because it was really difficult from time to time to keep that routine going when there was not much happening. But recently, like two, three months back, I got back into it. And what I do, it's almost similar, I would say. I’d get up at six, then go for a run first. I drink one cup of coffee before my run, then go for a run and come home. It's about a three to five kilometer run, so not too long. When I come home, I meditate. Then shower, have some breakfast, and start working, like doing my emails. And when I get my emails out of the way, I either write, so I journal, or I go straight into the studio and make music. That's kind of my routine. And then depending on how I feel that day I work either till like four or five and go out for a little walk, and see some friends maybe. Or I work till like 9 or 10 in the evening. And sometimes I also have to do some other stuff like more administrative stuff. So either I stop at four and do that or I work on.

 

A.K  

How important is this whole entire routine for the creative process? Because sometimes, people romanticize creativity, where it's like, these wow moments of inspiration, and hit the studio on repeat for a few days.

 

JP Enfant  

Of course, you also have those moments. But honestly, my experience is now that if you have the routine itself, it really helps you to get the maximum out of those moments. Because having a routine doesn't mean that you don't have those moments where you feel inspired. It just means that for me, you can actually translate that inspiration even better into the studio, because you have that routine.

 

“Because having a routine doesn't mean that you don't have those moments where you feel inspired. It just means that for me, you can actually translate that inspiration even better into the studio, because you have that routine.”

 

A.K  

Something else that you share with the author I just mentioned was also this fixation towards exercise. I wanted to ask you, why is exercising so important in this career choice of being creative?

 

JP Enfant  

Because for creativity, you use your mind a lot, or at least your brain, like I wouldn't necessarily say your mind, because if you're truly creative, it just comes of you. But in order to get that sometimes you also have to use your body because those two are always connected to each other. It’s a way to get out of your head and feel your body more. It empties your head, so to say. It's also not always known that people that exercise more, have a lesser chance of getting Alzheimer, depression or diabetes for instance. These are the reasons that you keep your mind fit as well. So by exercising, you take care of yourself, and also of your brain. I think that's why it's so important.

 

A.K  

You are also someone, as you described this as well, is very conscious of your mind-body relationship. Seeing that you are also someone who meditates daily, and that even your label, Psychedelic Romance, is heavily associated with meditation. I wanted to ask you what your relationship with meditation is, and how big of an impact does that have on your career?

 

JP Enfant  

Well, a couple of years back, I started doing it, like 10 years back or something like that. Because, for me, it keeps me sane. It really helps me to have that routine of meditation and have the creation of awareness. Because basically what you do with meditation is you make yourself more aware of the things that are happening around you, but also inside of you. And that means that you get the ability to listen better to what's actually going on, in yourself. So listen to your feelings more, and actually be aware of that. So you can listen to that feeling in a more rational way. I think that's one of the elements of it. Also, I think it's an anchor point. So you take a step back, and take a moment for yourself. And because you take a moment for yourself, you can see things more clearly, with a more of a helicopter view. This also has an effect on your environment, because when you can respond instead of react, it helps to keep things constructive.

 

“And because you take a moment for yourself, you can see things more clearly, with a more of a helicopter view.”

 

A.K  

This whole entire concept of consciousness, in terms of your life routine and even to your way of producing also really heavily comes into play in the music that you create. You've even begun to dissect music and its healing purposes, with the 432hz concept found in Psychedelic Romance. Where did this whole understanding of the medicinal purposes of music come from?

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, so actually, my mom is now a psychotherapist. And she is going into certain ways of having therapy with sound as well using the polyvagal theory, and certain sounds can create a calmness in people. This is a study that is becoming more and more clear now in a scientific way. And that's also something that I recognise in what I do. Why do people react or respond to a certain record at that point? And why do they respond differently at another point in the night? That's something that has to do with the dynamic; everything around us creates that dynamic or energy. The room, the people you're with, the state you are in. So external and internal energy basically. And that formula kind of gives you a thing where the sound influences that, a yes or no thing, or influences that in different ways. And all those variables help in that. Or don't help in that actually, if not done in the right way.

 

So what if you could optimize the music in a way that it does what you want it to do the most. I've said for ages now, like music, for me is a mood saver. So you sit down in the studio, and you save the mood you have at that point. And you want to bring that emotion across forever when you compose and record a song, like you can always enter that file on a usb stick. Then the music is the usb stick and the feeling or emotion is the file. And is experienced when people are listening to the music because music is kind of a language after all. You express yourself in music. And if you can optimize that by creating certain harmonics, and using certain frequencies, then I think you can bring that across even more. And that's what I try to do with that.

 

A.K  

Is this a conscious thing that you take into account when you are in the early steps of producing the track? Do you have a certain feeling or a certain psychological response you want to recreate in your mind?

 

JP Enfant  

Most of the time it just comes naturally. And I don't really think about the outcome itself. Sometimes I do but like nine times out of 10 it just comes, and from what I create in the first place I decide how I want to kind of massage that even more into the direction I want to give it

 

A.K  

How does that go about? Let's say for example, the track you produced for DGTL, because it's quite different from the tracks you have these on your latest EP for example

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah. So with the Generate track for the DGTL 5YRS Ep, I really tried to go back to the generator stage and have that kind of feeling. Like again, music is a mood saver, to save that feeling in a piece of music, to translate that into a piece of music and I think By doing that, by creating a thinking about, Okay, what kind of vibe is it? What kind of atmosphere did that stage bring me the moments I played there? And how can I bring that to the music itself? And I think the elements I choose for that, like it's quite a high energetic track, without it being overly fast. But the elements have little dark undertone, but still have that kind of uplifting feeling. And that's also what I wanted to bring with the record.

 

A.K  

Can you pinpoint any elements of the track or the specific layers that make you go like wow, this is really what the generator stage feels like?

 

JP Enfant  

Well, there is this kind of heavy synth line, right? Like, [mimics synth noises], that kind of almost machine-like synthesizer with the uplifting parts of the melody that comes into the break, and then brings it back up, I think that's really kind of the essence for it, and the heavy kick drum, because Generator is the techno stage. So it needs that heavy, overwhelming kick drum in as well. 

 

A.K  

When do you think a track is finished? Because I know that this can be something really hard for some people.

 

JP Enfant  

[laughs] Yes, that's really hard. What I normally do is work on the first version, like kind of a demo version for myself, and then leave it for a little bit. And then I go back to it. And I think like, “Okay, what is it that this track could use more of”, and then I started adjusting it. And even sometimes in the mixing stage of my tracks, I still adjust some little bits and pieces, for instance, a kick drum that's not completely in tune with the rest of the sound, just replace the kick drum. But when it's exactly finished, that’s really hard to pinpoint. That's something I really had to learn because otherwise, you just keep working on the same piece of music over and over again, and you get stuck. So at a certain point, you just say, “Okay, this is it”, you send it to your peers, people that listened to it, that give you feedback on it. Because you want it to have a certain standard, a certain level of quality. And if they say, if they give you feedback, and you can do something with that, or you see it differently, then use it. And otherwise you just leave it as is. And the things you learn, for instance, in that process, you take that with you for the next piece of music you make. So at a certain point, you have to decide, “Okay, this is what I learned from it.”. It's also like a learning curve, in that sense. This is what I learned from it, and now this piece is finished. The things I couldn't do better, I can do properly in the next piece I make. I think that's kind of a thing that is really hard for most producers and that you really have to learn.

 

“It's also like a learning curve, in that sense. This is what I learned from it, and now this piece is finished. The things I couldn't do better, I can do properly in the next piece I make”

 

A.K  

Is it different though when you create something like DGTL, because when you create something for Psychedelic Romance, which is your own label for example, you have the final say, but when you give something to DGTL, you're being asked to represent a sound for something.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, you have to get through the whole A&R process. With this one, it was really easy, happily. But sometimes there's a lot of revisions on a track, like this has to be different, the arrangement has to be different, etc. That's also a part of it. And I think it's also important that an artist doesn't completely let a piece of music get reformed by an A&R Director, but it's always good to listen to an A&R Director to maybe also learn something from it. 

 

A.K  

Can you tell me why you agreed with this project for DGTL?

 

JP Enfant  

That's because we have quite a long standing relationship. And I also did a release, beginning of COVID. That got a bit snowed under by the situation at that moment. But yeah, I hear from a lot of colleagues that the same thing happened to them, when the release got out at that same period. But well, you live, you learn right? And, like, yeah, I have a good feeling with Tim and we’ve known each other for a while. So it's also a matter of keeping that relationship and trusting each other in bringing each other further with that.

 

A.K  

Is the sound of DGTL and what they do with their platform something you take into consideration when you create something for them?

 

JP Enfant  

Like what I did with the EP we did together (Accepio), it was more that I had a broad selection of tracks. And we (JP and Tim) chose the ones that we both thought were the best fitting for the label. So yeah, it's something where you kind of adjust to the label itself. But in this case, it was more like an afterwards thing. 

 

 

Section 3: Other creative pursuits and the future

 

 

A.K  

Alright, perfect. We're on to the last few questions now. So something I found on your LinkedIn that I did not know, is that you were also the Managing Director and Concept Developer from Lab 111. Can you tell me about your experiences at the job?

 

JP Enfant  

[laughs] Yeah, so what basically happened is that somebody close to me at the time,  approached me. Because Lab 111, was basically next to nothing at that point, like it was a cinema, but not much was happening, the restaurant didn't work out, etc. So they wanted to find someone that could create a new space out of it. And I was super interested, because you've probably been there, the building is insane. And it's in the middle of the city. And I had no knowledge of that building being there, and what was going on there. But I was also already playing a lot every weekend. So I kind of was like, “Okay, I really want to do this, but I can not do it on my own.”. So I asked a good friend of mine, Tobias, to do it together. And then we got Daan on board as well. So with the three of us, we basically started to create a new thing out of that - to create a new place, a new concept for the restaurants, a new kind of wind for the cinema where we hired a good friend of mine, Tom to do the programming. I knew he was a big movie fan. And he used to DJ as well, under Homework. And that seemed to match all very well together. And from there, we started building. Yeah, and make it kind of something that we envisioned would work best in that space. So that meant culturally, but also film programming wise, like Lab11 was not a cinema that could get the A titles straightaway. So we really had to fight for our space and find a way that we could make it work in a way that made sense to us. Which is what they're still doing now, not a lot of new premieres, but more niche, more interesting programming that has a theme or has a certain other quality to it. And I think we managed quite well to get that done. 

 

A.K  

Have you taken the time to feel proud about the achievements you've made, not just in terms of music, but also in terms of projects such as Lab111.

 

JP Enfant  

Not enough, I would say? [laughs] Not enough really.

 

A.K  

Because it's crazy that it didn't stop at just music, but having achieved something so great with lab111 as well. Was it interesting though, creating a community based around film rather than music this time round?

 

JP Enfant  

Yes, there's overlap, but it's definitely different. There is absolutely overlap in the sense of the kind of creative playing field you're in. But a raver is not necessarily a cinema lover, and vice versa. But in the end, I think the people that go to a certain party can appreciate a certain quality of music, and also love cinema. They kind of get on board for both.

 

A.K  

Yeah, because it's an appreciation for something.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah. Exactly. So stepping out of the conventional so to say.

 

A.K  

I'd like to bring a scenario into your mind. It is the end of the world. Well, it seems like we're already very close to it. 

 

JP Enfant  

I love apocalyptic scenarios.

 

A.K  

Let's say, everything is about to go to hell, what three movies would you pick that would best describe humanity?

 

JP Enfant  

Oh. That's a hard one. Well, I would say Children of Men (2006), it’s a really dystopian movie, but really describes the kind of Capitalist-Realist narrative in its extreme, where we're maybe already living in but not really aware of. It goes quite deep. And then Arrival (2016), I think, is a beautiful movie to show what it could be like. So Arrival I think would be really like the utopian kind of way that humanity could work together. That's more the way that I would love to lean towards. But I think we're far far far away from that [laughs]. And then a third one, that I would go for The Matrix (1999). I think The Matrix, especially the first Matrix movie, after that it becomes kind of like meh. It really gives us a sense of the kind of society we're living in right now. I think it was ahead of its time in that sense. And that a lot of things are not what they seem. And yeah, that also ties into the Children of Men movie. (Karl) Marx, once said, I also studied political science. So I'm also thinking a lot about what movies actually bring in political implications. Marx once said, like, “All that is solid melts into air”. And this kind of changed to the situation where all that is solid melts into P air or PR, so to say, and I think the Matrix really shows that. I am not at all a marxist by the way haha.

 

A.K  

And now what about music? Three records that you'd like to present the world by? For the possible future inhabitants of the planet Earth, or possibly, aliens?

 

JP Enfant  

Ah that's a hard one, man. Yeah. Let's see Tomorrow's Harvest (Boards of Canada) I think.. but that's kind of a movie within a soundtrack.

 

A.K  

Yeah, almost like an OST.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, really, really like an OST. I also talk about that in my radio show, where I talk about soundtracks. For the rest. Yeah, I would say things like Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder has been one of my biggest inspirations since an early age. There's a lot of deep lyrics in his music. But he brings it in a way that is still danceable and also quite happy most of the time. So I really would show that one. But I think three records is way too little to show the variety and diversity of different cultures expressing music. So, yeah, and then I would also go for something completely different, like salsa, or, you know, like, bring something else to the table.

 

A.K  

Like you bring one in one extreme field, and another in the complete opposite, that gets people guessing about what's in between.

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, yeah. This is like the gradients of different tastes and flavors. 

 

A.K  

Alright, onto the last question. What do you want your music to represent? and what legacy do you want to leave behind?

 

JP Enfant  

Ooh, I always want to bring quality in my music. And either that, whether that be something I taught myself or bring real quality to the table with the music, I think that's really important. I want it to sound kind of timeless. I know that sounds cliche. But that's really important for me, that if I make and release a record, that in 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, I can still say, yeah, that's something I can be proud of. And that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be a hit record. Because some hits are really temporary. Like they represent a certain zeitgeist. But they don't really represent something in the long term or the art itself. And for me, that's the ultimate goal to be an artist that really stands for his art; intrinsically and externally. Yeah, over the long term, and also have the development to go towards different directions, diverge from your path a little bit and then come back and like, have that kind of narrative also in the music. And also to bring people together because I think that's the main thing that art should do. Whether you love it or not, but the people that love it, bring them together, create something positive out of it. And especially after the last two years, I think that we've seen a lot of situations where the differences between people were emphasized. Now I think it's time to look for what we actually have in common. And think about the ways we can work together instead of pushing each other away.

 

 

“That if I make and release a record, that in 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, I can still say, yeah, that's something I can be proud of. And that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be a hit record. Because some hits are really temporary”

 

A.K  

Super nice. It's a great ending to the interview. Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you'd like to talk about more?

 

JP Enfant  

We covered so many topics, man [laughs]. I'm a bit overwhelmed. 

 

A.K  

What's the future looking like for JP Enfant, is there anything that we should look out for?

 

JP Enfant  

Yeah, I'm working on some new projects music wise. I'm finishing some EPs now. Actually, this month (March), I took to go fully in on the studio. So I'm working on another techno EP, and another more bass oriented EP. With which I did one track, which is like full blown, drum and bass. And I'm also working on a different project. Tim knows about this, by the way, where I made music that was inspired by sci-fi movie soundtracks. That's something I want to do now, every year. I want to bring like a chapter in that story, so to say, and how that looks like, that's still something I cannot tell. But I have some great ideas for that.

 

A.K  

Perfect. Thank you so much, JP, for taking the time to interview.

 

JP Enfant  

Thank you for coming.

 

A.K  

I hope you enjoyed yourself and that you at least got to discover something about yourself that you didn't know before you came into this interview.

 

JP Enfant  

Well, it made things really clear again for me and that was really helpful. So thank you.

 

A final thank you from the interviewer

First and foremost, a big thank you to you for reading this full interview, it was definitely a long read, so if you made it to the end, a big warm shout out to you.

 

Thank you to JP for inviting us into his space, and speaking so openly about himself. And also for the trust he had in us for telling his story.

 

A thank you to both Tim and Tessa for trusting me with this project, and helping facilitate this into fruition.

 

And finally a big thank you to the Raya team, to Justus who came to shoot with us on the day and to David from driving all the way from Groningen to make this shoot logistically easier for us.

 

You can listen to the EP he’s featured in here.

 

You can pre-order the entire 5YRS of DGTL Records vinyl here.

 

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