Between The Spaces: Lemontrip Talks
The diversity amidst Amsterdam’s musical scene is quite remarkable at present. The city seems to have experienced a prompt surge in aspirational artists, clubs and culture, which has in turn been met by flourishing interest from likeminded scenes in both Europe and further afield.
As a city with a population of under a million the extent of creative range amongst the musical community is surprising. One artist who’s career sees him based in the Dutch capital is Pepijn, or as you might otherwise know him, Lemontrip. As one of the booking team behind Amsterdam’s newest nightlife destination, De School, and as an artist signed to Fog Mountain Records he has been well positioned in observing the cities recent development.
He describes the city and his reasons behind choosing to make it his home.
“I have been here for three years now. There are a lot of producers, but I like that, it’s cool, and it makes for a competitive edge. The city is quite small but at the same time that’s an advantage, if you make a good record then everyone will hear it, especially with experimental music. I’m originally from the South, from Tilburg. It’s a really industrial city with factories but the scene down there is a problem, especially if you make obscure music.”
It has been a little over a year now since the closure of Amsterdam’s much loved nightlife institution, Trouw. Pepijn describes how his experience of playing the illustrious club inspired his relocation.
“I got really frustrated living in the south. I had the odd gig here or there and people wouldn’t dance and didn’t get it. Then I played my first show in Amsterdam at Trouw and after pressing the first button people went crazy. I was like alright, cool, wow. At that moment I decided to move to Amsterdam.”
Since moving to the city Pepijn has found himself involved in the vision behind De School.
“I work at Subbacultcha. It’s an independent music and arts platform in Amsterdam, we organise on average around eight shows per month. When De School opened up they were looking for a partner to book cutting edge music and live shows for them in a wider sense. We said ‘right, okay, let’s do this’ and we moved our office into De School. There’s a darker vibe here, it’s rawer and more industrial, I really like it”
As an artist Pepijn has found himself at home under his musical moniker, Lemontrip. His sound sees him dabble in the spaces between ambient and fully-fledged industrial techno. His music is built for dark spaces and after hours dancing. He describes how artists such as Raime have influenced his sound and have helped to formulate his musical taste.
“I started making downtempo music, around one hundred beats per minute. I was a big fan of Tri Angle and Holy Other but after a while I became dissatisfied with what I was doing. I felt more at home on the dance floor late at night or early in the morning. That was where my heart was, it was a natural evolution.”
It can be hard to place where the music of Lemontrip might sit amongst the musical scene in Amsterdam as an outsider. It seems as though it hasn’t been focused or targeted towards a particular demographic. Maybe this is part of the Dutch charm at present; the music of a number Amsterdam based artists is following an approach of non-conformity. It makes for essential listening.
Pepijn’s story is just one of many in a city which can only be described as a musical pressure cooker. The music that he produces is fierce, reflective of his small town industrial roots and late nights spent dancing in the likes of Trouw. In the coming years it will be interesting to observe the expansion of an already bursting scene as the city begins to move away from its previously stereotyped associations, but that’s a subject for another day.