003 : BAS AMRO (Wolfskuil / Freerange)

By Joe

Holland, known globally for it’s thriving electronic music scene , must look to younger pioneers to continue flying the flag. Enter Bas Amro- the producer, DJ and party starter. First catching our attention when playing for Jaunt some years ago, we have been incredibly excited to release this podcast for some time. His latest EP “Imposter Persona” for Wolfskuill has been one of our favourite records in years, both “Dissociation” and the title track proving heady home listens and offering beautiful relief on the dance floor from more thunderous sounds. Deep, melodic and unique. He is as busy driving the Dutch party seen forward with his Basic Grooves movement, a massive and inspiring party we cannot wait to get over the water for. Thank you Bas, for an exceptional trip and for being so eager and willing to keep the scene thriving on all fronts!

Where and on what equipment did you record this podcast? It is bloody great by the way, so thank you very much?

Thanks for the nice words, glad you like it! It was recorded with my two technics, an Allen & Heath Xone:92 plus a laptop for the tracks that I didn’t have on vinyl.

Musically speaking, What has been keeping you most busy recently? How do you divide your time between production, DJing, admin, touring?

To be honest, I’ve been really busy hosting Basic Grooves in the past few weeks. It got to the point where I really had to struggle to find time for music production. Fortunately things are a bit quieter in terms of the event, so that allows me to spend some more time in the studio. Usually I try to start my day with music making, and I just keep going till I had enough. Then I focus on the event side of things, invoices, contracts, and itineraries, that sort of things. There is no way I can make music after my head is filled up with that stuff, hence I try to keep it in this order. Towards the weekend I focus more on DJing and gigs.

Could you tell us about your work with Basic Grooves?

Basic Grooves is one of the longest running club nights in The Netherlands. To a certain extent, it was my introduction to the way house and techno music is supposed to sound in a club. I got involved with the people hosting it, and not much later I was one of them. Currently my position is very much all round. Together with two friends, I look after the line-ups, marketing, décor, technicalities and hospitality.

I first came to know you after your “This is Me” EP on Bla Bla Records. I got in touch about a podcast after picking up your recent EP, Imposter Persona on Wolfskuill. It is so brilliant. I noticed a change in your sound somewhat, perhaps more of a techno focus in parts?

I guess it’s fair to say that, although obviously it doesn’t really feel like a change to me. Personally I see it more like a development. I made and played tracks that I wouldn’t make or play today. Yet, in each and every one of those tracks, I can still hear WHY I liked those tracks, and the same reasons motivate me today. Hence, I just feel like I’ve purified my sound, rather than changed it.

Your music now reminds me of the sort of stuff i saw Zip playing at gottwood recently. The breakdown in “Dissociation” is one of the best moments in a record I have found this year, what made you go for that slowing down effect? It is not like anything else I have heard, with the beat returning at the ideal time for mind and body.

Nice to hear that! No particular reason I think. I was just playing around and when I let the sample play till the end, I liked the way it sounded and figured it would be cool to do that only once in the track. That became the little breakdown, combined with some other chords to smoothen it a bit.

Do you play your own music out much?

I do, although it’s mostly when I have some new material I’d like to test. I don’t really play my older stuff.

I also found your EP on a Juno chart from Jane Fitz. She played for us earlier this year and we still smile when we think back to how brilliant she was. Which was the last DJ set you saw in full that totally blew you away or changed how you approach your own sets?

Sadly I haven’t really been able to check out as much as I’d like to, lately. However, I heard Levon Vincent play an amazing set in Berghain a few months ago. I loved the way he just took his time and gave each record enough space. Also, Helena Hauff played a really cool set at Drift festival last month.

When DJing, what is your main aim besides getting people to dance? Some like to try and melt minds, others bring euphoria, others like to challenge the dancer with the weirdest stuff they can imagine.

All of the above, really. When everybody is dancing, totally accepting what is coming out of the sound system, and every now and again someone gives that look that says “you’re crazy”, only to continue enjoying, that’s when I really get that realization that I LOVE DJing.

How do you find most of your new music these days? Any labels or producers that you buy on release without even needing to listen?

I check out everything, well almost everything, that’s available on Clone and Rush Hour. I also have a list of favorite labels and artists that I follow on Beatport.

What has been a recent gig highlight?

Two weeks ago I played Dominican Republic and it was just perfect. Crazy party with crazy people, partying on the beach till the sunrise. I’ve never seen anything like it.

At what age did you start making music? What three pieces of production equipment/software could you not be without?

I started making music at the age of 13/14. It was just some free music software and a cheap pair of headphones. When I was 14, I bought my first set of decks and that’s when it really started for me.

What still excites you the most musically?

New music generally. Actually, exactly what I described above about what my main aim as a dj. I just love it when I hear something that is so unique, yet so cool or beautiful or sad or whatever. That’s when I really get inspired and feel like making music right away.

What can we expect from you in the near future?

More music soon!