For this occasion they also contributed to our podcast series. For full tracklist click here.
The guys from Pin Up Club are taking big steps to greatness with some impeccable releases that triggered many music heads. Their sets, whether it be LIVE or DJ are filled to the max with synths, broken beats and hypnotic rhythms. They don’t bow down to rules, add natural elements to their tracks such as a recorded Japanese cricket and Jelle’s unborn son’s heartbeat. In their daily life Josef makes sound and music for TV shows, such as the Dutch hit series “De Luizenmoeder” and Jelle spends his time shaping children at a high school.
Time to get more familiar with one of DGTL’s debutants.
When I arrive at their studio in De School, I get a warm welcome from Josef and Jelle. The two boys, or should I say men; they’ve passed the 35 mark already, even though they kept their boyish looks. They have a chemistry together that is immediately felt. They already start sharing stories before I could even press record. How Jelle threw his back out just before Ohm Festival. Josef: “That’s when you know you’re really getting old.” Jelle answered my question if he sat down during their set with a solid “No, just popped some painkillers and let’s go!”
DGTL: So on to some more serious questions, how did the Pin Up Club get started?
Josef: I came from hip hop, then I joined a breakdance crew. After that I started playing and making techno, but it just wasn’t for me. I did want to pursue music more. I grew up with Otto Kraanen from Bordello a Parigi, he told me “Don’t make music you think people want to hear, create the music that comes from within yoú. Throw your heart and soul into it, think of a format, a niche and make it work.” It was a simple choice, I have a strong predilection for 80s hardware, not the music from that age per se, but the tools they used. I got pushed in the “disco-corner”- something we still haven’t really got out of. After that it went pretty fast, gaining much recognition after just two releases. I came into some charts, but I didn’t feel like my music was where I wanted it to be. Mostly because I felt like I was lacking in creativity for melodies. It was all just a bit too superficial, easy.
Look at italo disco, you can make a hundred songs sounding just like the old days. But I want to make a tribute to that sound, not make the exact same thing. Jelle and I already jammed from time to time, making weird pop electronica
cross-over music, nothing too serious. That was when we came to the realisation that maybe if we got together we could make this project a lot bigger and better. At that point we both chose for the project, full focus on Pin Up Club. Gigs started flowing in, the releases and remix request came in, getting more and more recognition. By doing this together, by embracing Jelle’s creative brain, brilliant melodies and tough stance on dance music we were able to make Pin Up Club so much stronger.
Jelle: Haha, my tough stance?
Josef: Yeah, you know, when I feel we need a break in the arrangement of the track and you correct me by saying it’s bollocks to put a break there. What makes me go like, “Yeah, what the hell. Why should it.”
Jelle: Maybe it’s good to mention I am not hailing from the dance scene at all. I always played in bands, I sang a lot. Always in the sound of the Beatles and Beach Boys. Pop music. Josef and I just made a cross-over of what we did. I don’t get my inspiration from electronic music mostly, somewhat of a revelation really, to be able to put that aside.
DGTL: Funny to hear it’s Jelle who claims that the arrangements should be off. Coming from a pop background you would expect that there is a much stricter pattern hailing from that scene than the dance scene?
Jelle: Maybe. But I never conformed to the standard structures when I was still writing my own songs.
Josef: You’re never tied to any structure. The pop/rock from the 70’s wasn’t always set on a four to the four beat. Especially the Beatles had some pretty bold choices when it comes to arrangement and structure, something you definitely don’t see a lot in the dance scene nowadays. That is something we want to achieve, making music without restrictions. Maybe that’s the reason why we’re standing out at the moment. We refuse to commit ourselves to previous set rules. Rules don’t exist for us, and if they are there, we want to break them. The more we live by this idea, the more comfortable we get.
Jelle: It’s exactly as Otto (from Bordello a Parigi, red.) said, make what comes from your heart. I think that’s one of the biggest known secrets. Things just happen when we get together, and we need to record that.
DGTL: Does that mean most tracks you made were a result of a jam session?
Josef: We finished two tracks a short while ago and sent them to the record label. We had an hour left in the studio, so we decided to create some music to go with it, an intermezzo that would glue the two tracks together as an EP. Basically, a two-minute jam. In the end, the label bosses totally loved it, and everyone who heard it too. So, we had to re-record it to a full track.
DGTL: Isn’t it hard to change it to a full track without losing the essential of the jam and discarding these two magical minutes?
Josef: It’s very likely that you fail. It’s a miracle we pulled it off, actually. It became one of our favourite tracks we ever made.
DGTL: When will this be released?
Josef: Probably early upcoming summer on Phantasm Records. A new vinyl label, who just released their first EP.
Jelle: And we have an amazing producer that will do a remix. Perel! She also played the De School not too long ago, that was amazing. We are really pleased with her version.
Josef: Our kind of music is getting the better hand in scene at the moment. People who have the same mind-set are also breaking through, Perel is a good example, So are Job Sifre, Curses and many more. This is giving us such a kick, since we believed in this for years.
DGTL: Do you think the underground is winning ground from more commercial sounds?
Josef: Commercial sounds will always have the upper hand. What I find revelating is to see that people are getting a more open-minded view on obscure music and niche genres and actually look for it on festival line-ups.
DGTL: Are you rather in the studio or on stage?
DGTL: You really have to choose…
Jelle: The one can’t exist without the other. I’m getting energy from both of them.
Josef: Yeah, but live is more of an adrenaline and dopamine rush!
Jelle: Like a shot of legal heroin, haha.
Josef: I do really prefer to play live set instead of just a DJ set. I like to be able to change the music while I’m playing it. Also with the mix we made for DGTL, we’ve tried to make our own composition with the tracks made by friends and some of our heroes. But with a live set we can really shape the music, and put the dancefloor upside down.
DGTL: Is there room to change the live set for every gig, or do you have one live set you perform for a certain amount of time?
Jelle: In all the live sets we did this year thusfar, we haven’t played the same live set twice. We are also thinking about how we’re going to do this in the future. Change our ways, not live as a DJ, but more like a band. Where we can change the BPM easier, and also play tracks that aren’t easily mixed together.
DGTL: What’s essential for a good record?
Josef: Your soul! This is without discussion. If there is no soul in a record, I won’t listen to it.
Jelle: If you listen back to a track, you just need to feel it, if you don’t, you need to start over.
DGTL: Is there a dream label to release on for you two?
Josef: I think in the dance; the ultimate goal is usually Kompakt Records. Their reach is insane. But for me Dark Entries, Hivern Discs and ESP Institute are high on my list right now.
DGTL: What acts are you eager to see at DGTL Amsterdam 2018?
Josef: Basically, every artist at our stage (Frequency, red.). Job Jobse, Job Sifre, Palmbomen II & Betonkust and DJ Dustin… But DGTL is also a chance to discover new music.
DGTL: Are you also familiar with our sustainability program?
Jelle: Yeah, I think it’s really awesome how you manage that. We’re no vegetarians, but we don’t eat meat every day. It’s just terrible for the planet. It’s cool to be a part of this, and maybe after DGTL we will become more sustainable ourselves. Maybe we can make an EP full of political content!
Josef: Time for a cargo bike! I’m kidding, but we all definitely need to get more involved. We can’t keep looking away from the things we did and do to our planet.
DGTL: What is the best advice you can give for young producers?
Jelle: When I just started out making music, I wanted to make music no one has ever made before. At some point you realise that things aren’t that simple. Make music that is close to your heart. Work hard and make something you love yourself. That’s when the magic happens.
PICTURES BY: STUDIO VICTOR KRUIT