A Dutch Man Making An English Sound: De Sluwe Vos Talks
You may have caught snippets of a new sound emerging from Holland – perhaps in a Bicep set, or emerging from the filtered funk of a DJ Sneak session. In response to the predictable clang of EDM and the dull smoothness of deep house, a new group of producers have sprung up, nurtured in the illegal rave scene of student town Utrecht. Playing a sound that mixes an unlikely set of influences – principally wubbing Speed Garage bass and swing and aggy techno kick drums, the scene has become sufficiently developed to pick up a name : Power House.
De Sluwe Vos is one of the scene's front runners, crafting peak time bangers that connect as easily with the UK bass crowd as they do with the proper techno heads – we caught the man in his studio to ask him about a summer of festivals, the Dutch illegal party scene, and how many bottles of beer he likes to neck during a set…
Hey man, what have you been getting up to?
I've been puting out my album – it's getting released in three stages – the third part is just coming out, it’s something I’ve worked really hard on – the album is really broad minded; it’s hard for people to get it in one go, so I decided to cut it up into three parts and introduce all the different sub genres in different stages. The first part is deeper, the second part is the club anthems and the third part is more back-to-mine. It builds up! As a person I like all different styles of music so I wanted to share that with people.
The name Power House has been used for what you do – how do you feel about that?
The name power house? Im not a big fan of genres at all, but I like it in a way, it says what it is actually.
What I’ve heard from the scene seems to take a lot from late 90s Speed Garage-
Yes, the UK is a big influence on what I do, there’s so much good music coming from England, London especially, it’s been a big influence on my career. I was listening to garage and all of a sudden I found out about speed garage, and I followed that for a bit. At some point I combined these two things, the garage groove and warmth, and the bombastic elements of speed garage, the bass and the hardness of the drums. When I combined these two it made my sound more unique
Going back a little, I really like the Broken Snare tune of yours – did you decide from the off to make a tune from a knackered snare?
I heard a tune with this snare rhythm in the break, and I thought it was the wickedest thing, so I was trying to make some sort of snare loop with the 808, and all of a sudden I linked my 909 in the wrong way. I wanted to trigger the snare, and the drum loops started to roll. I was like ‘Wo! maybe I can make this into a track’, just making something from a snare and drums, and Broken Snare came out. I use a lot of hardware to make it as human as possible, to get all those little mistakes. Mostly I use a 909 and tape recorders and this filter bank, and I record a lot of my own drums, like snare drums
I’ve heard that there was a crazy rave scene in Utrecht a few years back – did you go to any of the parties?
I went to school in Utrecht and started listening to Samuel Deep and all the Slapfunk guys, and it was a big thing for me then – they were on top of the illegal rave scene in Utrecht. I got really quickly involved in that scene, and it shaped my sound and my interest in house music
Did you put on any parties yourself?
Yes! I lived more in the east of Holland, and we had an old student building where all my friends lived. They had old wine cellars, and we threw parties there. It was so amazing, people came and paid 50 euros and could drink all night – we used to buy wine and beers in Germany and bring them over the border, so all the drinks were free. Hahaha, man I had a big alcohol problem, but it was definitely a good time for me. At some point it got too big, there were too many people coming and we couldn’t fit them in the cellars so we had to stop with the illegal raves and start doing legal parties
What are you like playing drunk?
I think I play better when I’m drunk than when I’m sober actually
Ha! Do other people agree with you?
Actually they don’t notice when I’m drunk – at some point when you drink in during your set you don’t notice that you’re drunk , cos your concentrating on the music, then you stop and you’re like OK, where did this come from?! And you realise you had 60 beers or something..!
Well I guess you’ve got festival season coming up so plenty of time to drink – what are you looking forward to?
We’ve got like 36 festivals this year in Holland. It’s my favourite time of year, you see everyone out and its really fun. For the summer you should go Welcome to the Future, it’s a small festival but the music is really good, they’ve got a great combination of young talent and bigger names, they’ve got Villalobos and Loco Dice playing, and they’ve got a nice mixture of house and techno artists. And The Amsterdam Open Air Festival is two days, it’s got an EDM stage and a more house/ disco stage – I’m going to play a house-y festival set. It’s all the best of Amsterdam combined into one festival
Are there any other DJs you’re going to check out at the festivals?
I think Boddika and Carlton, I like the techno DJs they flip it a bit, more shuffling beats, breaking it down and bringing it back to the dubstep, it would be great to play a set that way. I played with Carlton a while ago in Amsterdam, and he played before me so I had to change and play a proper techno set, it was really nice
De Sluwe Vos, thank you
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