Hi Crouwel, and a very warm welcome to Techno Mood. Great to have you with us for the first time! Please can you introduce yourselves briefly to our readers?
My name is Valentijn Crouwel, based in Amsterdam I produce and perform music under the name Crouwel. I’ve been involved in music ever since I started playing the piano at age 6 and have since continued my musical journey with different instruments, genres and productions. I’m a big fan of techno, underground dance, indie dance and many more genres that keep us moving throughout the night.

Despite everything that’s going on in the world right now, how has 2020 been for you so far?
So far for me 2020 has been a year of songwriting and production. I have focussed most of my time on producing new songs, as I have unfortunately been unable to play live due to Corona. I’m really looking forward to the clubs opening up so that I can get out there and see how the audience reacts to some of my new (unreleased) material.

Congrats on the release of your Floating EP on Reflektor Records. Can you talk to us about the concept behind this project?
Thanks! I am very happy to be working with Reflector Records on this release. It is a great match. They really understand the genre very well and can hopefully elevate us both to a new level. Floating came to be when I created a pretty deep beat and bassline and teamed up with my friend Chris Mulder (Yakumo Orchestra a.o.) to add some more ambient melodic sounds. His modular synthesizer has some great modules to create a dreamy ambient soundscape. The combination of the two keeps you on edge, with a driving punchy groove mixed with floating ambient melodies.

We’re loving the three different variations on a single theme. What was the idea behind that?
Because the song is built up of such two different parts, a deep beat with light ambient melodies, it lends itself perfectly to be split and edited into different versions. Without the beat and some minor additions, the synthapella really sounds like a relaxed ambient song. Once the beat and bassline groove are added it becomes suddenly a lot more dance-able. Hence we created all these versions.

The normal version is great to be mixed into a set, be it early in a set to set the mood or as a bit of a breather in a deep and dark set in the middle of the night.

The synthapella is great for a laid back and chill melodic ambient vibe. The edit is mostly a shortened version, with less of an in and outro, cutting more to the core elements of the song.

How did you get introduced to Reflektor Records?
My manager, Guillaume Warmerdam, has a good relationship with Reflektor Records and introduced me. We have ever since had a great connection and I’m very excited that we have decided to release the Floating EP as our first collaboration. I believe the people over at Reflektor Records really understand the genre very well, which helps in moving forward together.

What are your favourite pieces of studio equipment for producing?
I’m a big fan of my Moog Sub Phatty. I use it on almost all my songs. It adds such a warm and rich body that I can’t really imagine not using it. Also, I’ve recently gotten an Arturia Drumbrute (Impact), which has helped me improve my drums quite a bit, as I used to only work with samples in the box. I also am a big fan of the Strymon blueSky for amazing sustaining and ethereal sounding reverbs.

Do you have any more releases coming up that we should keep our ears peeled for?
Due to Corona I am building up quite a list of next release candidates, as there is so much time available to produce. I’ll be sure to let you know when we have decided on the next song.

What do you like to do when you’re not making music?
I like to hang out with my friends, travel, go to museums or art exhibitions and read up on developments around the world.

Before the pandemic, what the last show that you performed at?
Actually I did not play live as Crouwel that much yet. The last one was during ADE 2019, I played an intimate show at Van De Radar. It was loads of fun, but too long ago!

What is the first thing you want to do once everything worldwide gets fully better again?
I look very much forward to playing some shows again! Also, I hope to remember the things that happened while Corona affected us. There are many things we can learn from that changed in this time.

Any final words for our Techno Mood readers?
Thanks for your time on this interview and listening to my music. I hope you enjoy my Floating EP as much as I did creating it.