Mike! How are you?
I’m great, thanks!
So you've been DJing in Amsterdam since you were 18, alongside playing at top clubs all over the world - what makes the Dutch music scene so special?
Well, I think our little country has the most parties & pubs per inhabitant in the world. There is a lot going on for many years now, therefore the quality is high and the scene is really diverse. All kinds of electronic music scenes are represented, the scenes are pretty fanatic and all the big global upper- and underground deejays visit our country every weekend. It’s not seasonal, its on every weekend which is quite unique!
You're well known for your legendary "Club Risk" parties. Tell me a little about the origins of "Club Risk"?
I started as a promoter back in 1994. Club Risk stands for realhousemusic and serious fun. My life motto. Me and my Club Risk partner Jeroen Roeleveld organised all kinds of parties, club nights, festivals, one-off parties nationwide. Musically we programmed from soulful house (Luvdancin) to housemusic (Club Risk @Winkel van Sinkel / More Amsterdam) to techno/techhouse (Welcome to the Future i.c.w. Gert van Veen). We were one of the first promoters who brought international deejays to The Netherlands, Derrick May & Kevin Saunderson in 1995 (that’s freaking 21 years ago lol) , DJ Rush (1996) to name just a few of a long list of international deejays & producers.
It was a brilliant and wild time☺
Now I read somewhere that you were hosting around 140 parties nationwide a year ... which is pretty incredible. How did you manage to keep on top of everything?
Without a great team I could not have done this. I try to lead by example and I always try to work together with kindred spirits. People who are (like me) passionate about what they do. As a promoter / agent / manager at that time I could not have done it without all these great people who contributed to my Risk adventures. Thank you all, you know who you are.
As a promoter, you've brought some of the biggest names in house and techno to Amsterdam - artists such as Kerri Chandler, Todd Terry, Kenny Dope and, of course, Louie Vega, who will also be playing at Groove Odyssey on 19th October.
Is there anyone you'd love to see or play alongside that you've missed out on?
I feel fortunate that I was able to book almost all my musical heroes throughout my career.
I would love to play together with Derrick May sometimes. I have booked him several times but we never were on the same bill as deejays. He is such a bad ass deejay. That’s on my bucket list.
I once did a spontaneous back-to-back set with Kerri Chandler 1,5 years ago which was so much fun. Would love to do that again sometime too.
Alongside promoting and playing out at clubs, you also started Risk Agency, which is often credited as one of the first Dutch agencies - how did this start out?
I was trying to get our Risk resident deejay at the time Eric de Man representation at one of the agencies in Holland at that time. That did not really work it out, it took quite a while to even get an appointment and at some point I was like, why don’t we do it our selves and that’s how it started. When Eric was on board other Dutch artists come along such as Per, Roog, Marcella, Bart Thimbles, Max 404, Richard van Overbeek to name a few. Furthermore we also represented international artists (for the Netherlands) such as Master at Work, Jazzy Jeff, Jack de Marseille, Terry Hunter to name a few.
Is there anything that you've learnt as a promoter or an agent that has helped you behind the decks?
Definitely! I have been on the dance floor for more than two decades. And I have witnessed lots and lots of deejay sets from fantastic artists. I believe that is very valuable and thes experiences made me the artists I am today. What I have learnt is that you always have to find your own way. It’s the only way to differentiate your self. And I always respect the vibe of the night, of the club I am at. If I have to warm up I warm up, than I do not play peak time music you know. If I am on primetime they get primetime tracks and than I bring it with more power. This is my promoter’s heart I guess, I always respect the vibe of where I am at.
Now this is our debut year at ADE, but am I right to say that you've played there before? What do you like most about ADE?
I played at ADE many times, firstly as part of deejay collective RiskSoundSystem. Last year I made my debut as a solo artist. I was booked at Red Bull Playrooms where I had to warm up in their main room before Masters at Work. I will never forget that gig for many reasons, this was a great debut.
ADE is just fantastic. Everybody is here. It’s all about the music. As an artist you are not only playing for the party people but also for all your deejay colleagues, promoters, agents & managers. It has become such a great platform to showcase your self. It’s The Champions League of Electronic Dance Music.
ADE’s success is in large part due to the flourishing Dutch music scene, a scene that you helped build – are you proud of its success?
Thank you. Yes, of course! I think its quite extra-ordinary that a small country like ours with only 16 million inhabitants is the centre of the global dance music industry for a week.
You're no stranger to the Groove Odyssey stage – you last played back in June at the legendary Ministry of Sound - what do you like most about playing at GO?
They are all about quality. That’s what I like about them.
I really enjoyed playing at Ministry of Sound for Groove Odyssey. It’s an iconic club with an amazing sound system, the Groove Odyssey party people have a lot of musical history and are really into their soulful house music. I felt welcome and appreciated.
And, finally, one track that you're sure to play on 19th?
A beautiful track of Tom Nisch feat vocals of Zak Abel called ‘Beautiful Escape’ It’s a quite laidback tune which surprisingly works really well on many dance floors. Especially after a few banging tracks I bring it down wih this one. I have been playing this for a couple of months now. Love it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrbaZ7dpJyg
Thank you ☺