Dutch-native Tjade marks his maiden release on These Eyes this July with the two-track Balancing Act EP. It continues a standout 2021 for the young talent, which has seen him release on Live at Robert Johnson already this year.
Hi Tjade how are you and where are you based at the moment?
Hey there! I’m doing pretty well now that our summer is looking very promising. I’m currently based in Utrecht, The Netherlands; a city at the very heart of our country and super close to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague.
The past year has been crazy for everyone. How have you found things and what do you look forward to most now that things are starting to go back to normal?
Yes it’s been a nightmare to be honest. For the first time after 10 years of hard work on becoming an artist I started touring across Europe and had amazing bookings coming up. To have your passion taken away from you hasn’t been easy, but then again it could’ve also been much worse if my loved ones didn’t stay healthy. That revelation came about half a year into lockdown.
At first the lockdown also gave me lots of time to make new music, which was nice, but after a while the inspiration flowed away because I need to be near a dancefloor for that. The rest of the lockdown I spent working on helping the Municipal Health Service with their corona research & triage. It wasn’t too bad, but lets say I’m beyond happy that I can go back to doing what I love most now. I can’t wait to play for a packed dancefloor again and I can’t believe it’s already happening this weekend.
Your new release ‘Balancing Act’ is out on Andre Hommen’s These Eyes imprint. Can you tell us more about it and your relationship with the label?
The EP was made at the early stages of lockdown, when I was still super angry and frustrated about the situation. On top of it came some other personal issues and I really felt the need to write it all off in some music. Balancing Act is a reflection of the line I was walking between anger and acceptance, while Means to an End is more about me being coming to peace with everything that was happening in my life.
So the relationship with Andre and the label started after my debut EP on Mule Musiq. He sent me a message about how he liked the tracks and asked if I made more. By that time I had some other works finished and sent it all his way. He immediately fell in love with the two tracks on this EP. The whole collaboration between us and the process of making this into an EP has been an absolute dream. Andre is an amazing label head and he is super receptive to my wishes. It really has been a great team effort over the past months.
Can you tell us about the production process of the release?
It’s pretty simple to be honest. For Balancing Act I wanted to make something that sounded angry, but also sentimental in a way. I decided that the drums and the basslines were going to represent the angry part, and the melodies were going to represent the other emotions. The balancing of the two emotions in the track happened when I made both parts and felt that they didn’t fit together on top of each other, but worked really well apart.
Means to an End is more of a non-stop jam that just happened when I was in a certain mood. I wanted it to be close to the other track, because I already knew I wanted them on the same EP, so I decided to use the same drums and some of the same synths.
Everything was made in the box by the way. I don’t have any gear, except for a midi keyboard and a Bass Station 2. I have my favourite set of drums and also spent a lot of time really digging into a limited amount of synth plugins. I rarely introduce any new software to my process.
Who are your earliest musical influences and how did they inspire you?
When I was a kid I was a huge fan of DJ Tiesto and Armin van Buuren. I was drawn to electronic music very early on and I actually remember that the first single I bought was by Tiesto. The sharp synth melodies and heavy drums and bass absolutely mesmerized me. I think back then I already knew I wanted to do something with this later on in life.
I played their music very loud in my bedroom on a stereo installation I got from my grandma. Luckily my parents understood really well that music has to be played loud, so they let me. I think you can still hear their influence on my in my music, because almost everything I make has certain trance elements in it (especially this release on These Eyes).
Which is your favourite club to play at and why?
This would have to be OOST in Groningen, NL. I am really into small to medium sized dancefloors that have a DJ booth that is on the same or almost the same level as the crowd. I really need that connection with the people dancing in front of me, so I need to be able to look them in the eye.
OOST has a capacity of about 300 and you are playing very close to the front row. They have this amazing and way too big Funktion One soundsystem, that has been mixed to sound very warm and overwhelming in stead of the more clean sound we often hear from Funktion One. If your tracks are good, they will work. You never have to worry about anything else. Also the Groningen crowd is very open to basically anything you put in front of them. They are not picky or pretentious; they just come for a good time.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? If so, please tell us about them.
I don’t have a lot of them, but I am very much into modern cinema and TV. I’ve watched almost everything good that came out in the last 20 years (and watched most of it again). Other than that I like to play squash as a sport, drink wine/beers and eat good food with my friends and sit in the sun. It’s pretty easy to make me happy to be honest; just put me in the sun with a good glass of wine and a plate of pasta.
Can you tell us three tracks that you will be playing this summer?
The first one is an untitled track by David Jackson, a fantastic producer and DJ that has become my friend over the past year or so. It’s currently called “Untitled HiNRG” on my USB, so you would have to ask him about the details, but it is this perfect balance of neo-italo, trance and house. You can find it in almost all of my mixes of the past months and you will definitely hear it in most of my sets this summer. You can hear it in this podcast I made from 37:00 onwards:
The second one I will play a lot this summer is Felice – LMBYF. It was released on Johannes Albert’s Frank Music only a couple of weeks ago. It’s the ultimate summer banger; sharp and happy synths, piano chords, banging drums and of course a recognizable vocal sample. I expect you will hear this a lot across all the festivals.
And last but not least I should probably also promote one of my own upcoming projects, which is a remix I did for REES’s new track “Diab”, which will be released on Bordello a Parigi late this summer. One could say it’s the follow up of my first release Koi Jaye and I am super happy with the result. I will also be trying it out on the dancefloors myself of course, because I haven’t had that chance yet. Can’t wait to see how people will react to it.
Lastly, do you have exciting releases or gigs coming up this year you can tell us about?
So other than the These Eyes EP and the remix on Bordello I have finished about 3-4 full EP’s, which I will spread out over the next 12-24 months. I can’t tell you much about it yet, but most were given to labels that I could only dream about just a while ago. More info on that soon.
Gig wise it’s looking very good this summer. I have 1-2 shows every week from the first weekend of July onwards. Most of them will be in The Netherlands, because of covid restrictions abroad, but I am very happy that I will also play Raze Palanga in Lithuania on the 23rd of July. In my own country I am very excited that I have been invited to play at festivals like Lowlands, Soenda and Het Nest, but frankly I can’t wait for any of the shows on the agenda. I’m just super happy to be doing what I love most again.