Secret Cinema’s mentee and probably one of Hollands’ biggest and tallest export products these days steps out with his first LP called ‘Warm’. Egbert loves to take his fans on a journey on his live sets and so does his album, a very warm and uplifting journey. Warm might not be only a good word to describe the entire album, but also his character.
The album will be released on the 4th of November, but you can listen to the album right away. Check the end of this post for the pre-streams. Egbert also shared a recording from his impressive 6 hour liveset in ‘De Melkweg’ for our podcast serie and we had the opportunity to ask him some questions. Read more here, you might be impressed what he sometimes gets up to after he finishes a gig…
25 years of dance music in the Netherlands. Which moments were most memorable for you and how do you think about the recent developments within the Netherlands? You travel a lot, so we are interested to hear what you think about the Dutch scene and its development.
I turned 28 last week, so I can’t say that I was part of it the entire last 25 years. If I do gigs outside of the Netherlands and people find out that I am from Rotterdam, then they often directly associate it with the Dutch Hardcore scene. My oversea trips make me realize how professional everything is organized in The Netherlands and how hard we party over here. The amount and extend to what we party and how it is accepted by society and the government, is pretty unique and unsurpassed in this world. Holland is partyland number one.
Talking about the evolution of house music, little Egbert woke up one day and heard a 2 Unlimited track on the radio and suddenly knew his vocation. True?
I can remember when “no limits” was released and it was quite cool to play it out loud at the pool. All the cool kids listened to it. I reckon I also had it recorded on tape at that time. It was not necessarily my favourite though, I listened more to Michael Jackson which was more of my thing and still is. It was only later when Mauro Picotto’s ‘Lizard’ came out, and that sort of tracks, when I fell for techno.
You recently played a 6 hour live set at Melkweg. Did you feel pressure before and how do you prepare yourself for that?
Months upfront I was sitting in the studio each day from nine to nine to come up with new stuff, to mix things again and to put it into a mega live set of 80GB and four laptops. I actually did wake up sweaty sometimes and from time to time I thought I couldn’t do it. The very thought that over 1000 people would come especially for you, that an entire team would put so much energy in that night, helped me a lot to feel responsible to make it a memorable evening. The evening itself I was quite relaxed, due to the effort that I put into it initially. I thought by myself, if it doesn’t work out, then it couldn’t have worked out
The downside of a live set, from the artists point of view, is mostly the fact that you are playing your own material over and over again. On stage you always seem quite energetic. How do you motivate yourself for every gig and keep yourself keen to improve?
I have a quota; at least one new track each week that I can play. It is a lot of work but I don’t have a 9 to 5 career and I enjoy sitting in the studio. Moreover do I play a different set every week and I can improvise alot live, I can decide in which direction to head and that is a great interaction with the audience.
The support from Secret Cinema and also Sven Väth seem to have had an important role in the start of your musical career. How important was the support of Jeroen? What did you gain and what did you learn from him?
Jeroen was with me from the beginning on, he helped me with my first vinyl, mixed it and gave it the final touch. He has more than 20 years of experience on stage and in the studio, he knows what works and what won’t. Especially when it comes to mixing, he taught me a lot, anyways no one ever told me before what to do ( I just tried out stuff).
After the first vinyl release he put me on prime time at Whoosah, and on a couple other of his events. That is how my career was kickstarted and I gained fast popularity in the Netherlands. Sven did the same thing with me abroad. From the attic of my parents to a stadium in Madrid with over 12000 people in less than 6 months. Unreal.
How was the period before your success? Have you been active with producing for a long time before you were picked up by Jeroen? Did you encounter struggles during that time?
I am busy producing music since I was eight. I sat behind the computer almost every day after school. That was what I was doing for ten years without having a clue that I would have a use for it later on. I didn’t think I could make a living out of it. It was only later that I created a myspace account to check if there was any interest and in the same week I was sitting on a table with Jeroen Verheij and Michel de Hey.
Ok, tell us the story behind the album, any specific emotions, background etc?
The album gives ‘warmth’ while still keeping the energy level high. I miss the warmth in a lot of music. A lot of artists only deliver coolness in their music. I like it when there are peaks and downs, combined with warmth and bangs, I find it exciting and pleasant to listen to.
Your album has that impeccable Egbert sound, ever thought about heading in to different directions sound-wise?
It is not a conscious choice, when I make music the special ‘Egbert sound’ emerges itself, no idea why.
Despite the fact that you like cars, made your cat an own Facebook account and that you have been producing music since you were a toddler, what else should we know about Egbert van der Gugten?
I often give random people a lift after a festival or a gig, people that I don’t know at all and drive them to the station or home. Sometimes without them knowing that I was the one playing the gig they just attended. Or give strangers a whole load of tokens and that kind of stuff. I really like those kind of Charly and the Chocolate factory good deeds.
Biggest lesson learnt in live?
You can exercise something a thousand times at home, but live in front of an audience you can always run into unexpected circumstances. So make sure that you can improvise and react upon that situation.
What does the future hold in for you? A milestone you still have to hit?
I am busy with a lot of things at the same time, remixes with big artists, making music videos and some real cool gigs lining up, like a three hour set with Secret Cinema in ‘Womb’ in Tokyo and the next day in the Kobe Tower. That is basically something I am really looking forward to. Besides that I’m really grateful I already achieved lots of milestones I never dare to dream off.
“Cheers for the interview, I really hope I can do this for the rest of my life.”
Egbert’s album ‘Warm’ will be released on the 4th of November and you can pre-order the album on the GEM Records website.