Joop Junior: "The last thing I want to be called is a DJ."

Words by: Henry McGraw
Posted: 12/11/13 8:39

Joop Junior: The last thing I want to be called is a DJRichie Hawtin is a man well versed in the art of A&R. Such tendencies have seen him unearth a plethora of talent over the years, with the likes of Magda, Marc Houle and Troy Pierce all benefitting from the Minus boss' guidance. More recently, it's Irish producer Matador who's been busy climbing the ranks alongside the techno A-lister.

Another such producer to benefit from Hawtin's almost uncanny penchant for unearthing new talent, however, is 22 year old Dutch producer, Joop Junior. Having already released on Minus and Ali 'Dubfire Shirazinia's SCI+TEC, he's a man on the rise. Whisper it - but he might just be the most exciting thing to happen to contemporary techno in recent memory.

We caught up with him recently to talk about his story so far...

So, how was ADE then? Did you get to play many nice gigs?
Actually, I missed most of ADE due to a great gig in Hamburg, Germany. But I'm not bummed out at all. I visited Dubfire's party on Wednesday and Richie Hawtin's party on Friday so it's not all bad.

22 years old and you've already produced for Minus and SCI+TEC. Did you ever think this would happen? Was it a distant dream or something you've been pushing for for a long time?
It definitely was something I've been pushing for. I've admired Richie and Ali musically and personally and of course their labels, for a long time now. Releasing on both Minus and SCI+TEC has been a milestone for me. Now, I need to figure out what's next…

So what was your reaction when you heard Hawtin and Dubfire wanted to release your music? How did it all come about? Did you always know your tracks were good enough?
It felt good, but it was something I expected to happen sooner or later. My debut Minus release was early 2012 (the New Horizons compilation) and the Sonus.1 release followed the year after.  As for being good enough, well, back then, definitely not. Like I did, people send (nearly unfinished) demos out way too early hoping they'll get signed. Nobody wants to wait, but it's best to find your way of doing things musically first, and that can take a very, very long time. But, in the end I guess Richie saw the potential of my music, and waited for it to develop further. With Dubfire, on the other hand, it was more organic. I noticed he was playing the New Horizons tracks from Minus. We got in touch, Isent him some music, and it sort of went from there.

Are you confident in your own sound then?
I'm still aiming for a psychological/creative mindset I feel comfortable working in. There's a big learning curve involved. I'm studying audio engineering, and will be doing Sonology at the Royal Conservatory after, so there's still a long way to go. Although I am quite excited with the new tracks I'm finishing. It's more gritty, different, but we'll see.

Have you played with the guys yet? How was it?
One of the advantages of being signed to such labels are the nice label parties! I had the chance a while ago to play at one of Richie's ENTER. parties. More recently, I had the pleasure to play with Ali in my hometown The Hague, and a SCI+TEC special at Woodstock 69.

Have you always been a fan of Minus and SCI+TEC? What other techno labels have played pertinent roles on your career?
I wouldn't say there's many specific labels which played those roles, although I've felt attached to the Minus and SCI+TEC brands for a while now. I think it's mostly a progressive environment like this minimal-techno scene which inspires me.

And do you consider yourself a DJ or a producer first and foremost?
The last thing I want to be called is a DJ. I quit DJing to focus on music production and I've been playing "live" ever since. To be honest, I find present-day DJing boring; there are just a few DJs out there who still blow my mind, both musically and technically.

So, how long have you been making music? Who were your early influences?
For about 3 years now. My early influences were the more popular side of house, that was before it got the 'EDM' name tag. Later I gravitated towards the more minor and experimental electronics. Plastikman, Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, Noisia to name a few.

Dutch producer Joop JuniorWhat was it about techno that influenced you? Do you listen to other strands of music too?
Techno's weird sounds and energy attracted me when I got into it. I think narrowing down to a few particular genres isn't the best thing to do. I'm trying not to miss out on too much music outside of techno, most recently i've really been into Trent Reznor's new NIN album 'Hesitation Marks', which is fairly electronic still.

Growing up in Holland, you must have made it to a lot of raves etc? What do you think it is about the country that seems to produce so many great electronic music artists?
Holland is known for its legacy in electronic music, as for DJs and their parties. I think that not only Holland, but Europe in general has an open and progressive approach towards electronic music. I grew up listening to Stardust's 'Music Sounds Better With You' on the radio. I think without that, we would miss out on a lot of people who are curious enough to explore electronic music.

I've made it to a decent amount of 'raves' (the most overused and abused word in dance). These more recent 'raves' look more like a ketamine clown fest where the music is as slow as your grandma and it's more about pretending who people want to be than who they actually are.

Is The Hague a city that loves techno music? Or did you have to get out of the city for your techno fix?
The Hague's clubbing environment isn't the best, we're missing a university, even though it's the third biggest city in the country. We're missing out on a lot of youngsters who like to party, although there is this (hipster) purist techno/house movement going on right now, which I'm avoiding at all costs...

Obviously you've already produced on a number of great labels, but have you any plans to launch your own? And what else can we expect from Joop Junior over the next while?
With the momentum of the Minus and SCI+TEC releases, the main focus now is on gigs. Music wise, I've got a nice back catalogue of tracks and ideas, but with the lucky position I'm in, I'm not trying to rush any new music. Just keep an eye out.

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