To coincide with the upcoming Beef event BE AT: Peter Horrevorts on 19th October in Prague’s favorite underground club Chapeau Rouge we bring you a rather special interview with Peter himself. Enjoy…
Hi Peter, thanks for coming to Prague to play at the BE AT party on 19.October at Chapeau Rouge. This is your first time here, right? Are you going to stay for a bit and explore Prague or is this an in/out trip for you?
Thanks for having me! This is my second time actually… I’ve been in Prague during a school trip on high school. I dont remember that much of it but I do recall that we had great fun! I remember me and a couple of friends sneaked out during a tour and we went drinking beer on a terrace.
This time my girlfriend is coming with me and we’re staying a few days longer to check out Prague. We’re gonna hang out with Michal Schwa. He has been friend since I did my first tour in Australia. I also released some music on his label “Beef Records”. I am already looking forward to good times in Prague.
How did it actually all started? When was the Peter Horrevorts project born? Did you parents influence you to make electronic music?
My mom always played various kinds of music while I was drawing or playing when I was a little kid. I remember that I was fascinated by certain kinds of electronic music.
I wished I could make this kind of music myself so I bought a little keyboard and thought that would be enough to get started. But then I painfully realized it wasnt that easy!
Years later I visited a friend who had a computer and he showed me software called “Whacker Tracker”. It was one of the first trackers on a PC. With only 4 channels and 8-bit samples, he showed me how to make music with it. I immediately knew that this was the ticket to start making my own music and convinced my parents to buy a computer.
You come from a smaller town called Hilvarenbeek in South Holland. Where do you live now?
I used to live in Tilburg, a city in the southern part of Netherlands but I just moved back to Hilvarenbeek. My parents own a little house with a garden so when it became available I moved back to my hometown.
Do you produce at home or do you have a studio somewhere else?
One of the reasons I moved from the city to the village was that my studio was in Hilvarenbeek, next to my parents place. I was tired of driving back and forth. Every time i was home and had an idea I couldn’t really do anything with it. Now I just roll out of my bed and start pushing buttons in my studio. It as a great location, I can push the levels up without any complaints from neighbors. The acoustics aren’t that good but I have never worried that much about perfect room with proper acoustic properties. I just adapt and get familiar to the characteristics of the room to get descent results.
What’s the scene like in Holland? From outside it seems like that most of the superstar trance Djs come from there? Why is that? Is trance really that big over there?
Its funny because you wont hear that much trance anywhere here. Not on the radio nor clubs or festivals. The festivals for instance, are all mainly house and techno oriented.
Festivals like “Awakenings” and “Welcome To The Future” are amongst the biggest in Holland while I dont know any big trance festivals here. You wont see a Dj Tiesto or Armin Van Buren performing often here in Netherlands.
I don’t know exactly why that is but I think the Dutch people are a bit spoiled because of the rich history in dance music so they want to dig deeper. For example; in the festival season there are about 4 huge festivals every weekend and that doesnt even include the smaller ones. That’s a lot when you consider the size of the country and its population. And not too mention the dominance of Dutch artists in those silly “best DJ of the world” awards.
But there is a change going on, trance is making its comeback because of DJ’s and acts like David Guetta and Black Eyed Peas incorporating an even more cheesy trance sound. So the authentic trance sound is going back to the ‘underground’ while this new breed of dance music with a mix of pop, r&b, electro, trance and even dubstep is taking over. I don’t really mind, its a totally different market and world.
And what about underground house scene? One of the best labels around ‘Rush Hour’ is from Netherlands right? Clone also I think.
The ‘underground’ house scene is very big I even dont think I would call it that underground. Events that focus on cutting edge music, art and technology are getting more popular by the day. Every city has a similar events. Tilburg for instance, has “Incubate Festival” that goes on for 2 weeks. Which is remarkable because Tilburg isn’t known for its underground culture. In fact, almost every event that focused on underground dance music failed to succeed in Tilburg.
Rush Hour is amongst the best labels of the world if you ask me. They have been around since the early days and still they are steps ahead by releasing quality music in a broad range of genres while never loosing that typical, timeless Rush Hour sound. I often wonder when a release comes out if its a repress or a new release. I really admire the A&R guy from Rush Hour for its selection of artists and music.
Yeah, he is doing an amazing job. Actually there is a nice interview with the Rush Hour boss on RA. Definitely worth checking out. Now tell us what is the best club to check out when visiting Holland?
I am not a big clubber… I prefer a good festival above a dark club… but when I go there has to be something interesting going on. So for me, there is no particular club that I always visit. I don’t care that much about the interior or location of a club… if the music its good, its good enough. Of course, an proper soundsystem is important to enjoy music.
The city-center of Amsterdam is ideal for clubbing because of its wide variaty of great venues. There is always something cool lined up. “Trouw” for example, has a great line- up of artists and therefore i can recommand it to anyone who likes house, techno and beyond.
We also used to have an old marine ship in the industry docs of Amsterdam called “Stubnitz”. The old ship’s location, interior and Function One soundsystem was then perfect formula for an underground party. Unfortunately, the nomadic ship has left since a few years to other countries.
Can you show us your current top 5 tunes and tell us what inspires you?
I haven’t been listening to club tunes for the past month because i have been working on a special project called “ØBSKUR”. This project doesn’t really focus on club music but is all about a more experimental approach to electronic music and visuals.
But I could name a few artists that are dominating my Spotify playlist at the moment; JDilla, Linkwood, Flying Lotus, Rondenion, Actress, Machinedrum, Shigeto and the list goes on…
Nice! How did you get involved with the Kanzelarmt label owned by Heiko Laux?
There was this moment where I had the feeling I had finally found my own ‘sound’. I started sending around some demos to the labels I admired. Kanzleramt was amongst the list and Heiko responded the same day that he wanted to get me on board. From that moment I started releasing music on Kanzleramt.
You have released a really nice track ‘Secret Cinema & Peter Horrevorts – Ana Bola’ on Cocoon. How that came along? It must be pretty hard to get signed to this label. Did anything change for you after that career wise?
I was working with Secret Cinema on some tracks and this track was the first one to roll out. Secret Cinema has good connections with Cocoon and sent them a draft version of the track. Cocoon replied that they loved it and signed it for the compilation. So it wasn’t that hard actually.
Career wise i gained more attention as a producer but I had a short break this summer from performing as a DJ. So it’s hard to tell what it did for my career as an DJ.
What is your usual gig set up?
Depends on how I perform. When I do a DJ set i use Traktor Scratch with the control vinyls and the X1 controller. This way I always have my complete music library with me and I like the creative uproach of DJ’ing.
When I perform live i use Ableton Live for sequencing my tracks. To control Live I use my Maschine Controller and a BitStream 3X. Sometimes I use Resolume VJ for visuals which I control with my X1 controller.
Cool. It would be great to see how you manage controlling music and visuals at the same time! But what about your studio set up? What are your favorite studio toys?
I don’t have a high end studio… I have KRK Rokit 8 and Phonic P8a monitor speakers and a dodgy Phonic Helixboard 12 Firewire mixer. The thing what I like this mixer for is the input capabilities for convenient recording and sampling.
For controlling I use my Roland E10 as a master keyboard and I also have some controllers as extra knobs like an Akai LPD8 and my Maschine.
I also have some outboard stuff like compressors and a tube exciter… I hardly ever use these because they don’t sound as good as some plugins I have. I do like play around with my Korg Microtribe, Monotron and Monotron Delay for sound design or pure pleasure. I also have an old Technics tape deck which i use occasionally to record stuff on a cassette! Its just more fun and inspiring to use machines a side of software.
My favorite toys are U-He Zebra, Kontakt, SugarBytes Turnado and Softube Valley Dynamite.
Whats in the pipeline for you? Some news projects, challenges, tours?
This weekend i have an exciting project coming up; I am performing on an event called “Blown Away” in Rotterdam. At this music festival I will be playing together with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra led by one of the best conductors of the world.
I will be playing live as ØBSKUR, a side project as mentioned before. Because the themes of my ØBSKUR project have an dark fairytale, surreal, atmosphere it fits in nicely with classical music. I have created a special set that approaches the music more in a story telling manner instead of a DJ approach. So it will be like watching a movie filled with transitions of crazy, epic effects and atmospheric music.
Do you have a ‘dream’ artist you would like to work with or remix?
Radiohead! I am a huge fan of this band and their perfect mix of abstract electronica, jazz, classical music and rock reminds me to keep on pushing boundaries when I am making music.
We know that you usually take your time when producing tracks/remixes. Sometimes even a few months or longer. Why is that? Are you such a perfectionist? When listening to your tracks it actually seems like that.
Yes, I am a terrible perfectionist and it gets me in trouble often. I have a thing called ADD, which is similar to ADHD but its more inside the head than physical. This “Attention Deficit Dissorder” is one of the reasons I have an critical eye for detail in music but also in design and stuff. It also makes me an perfectionist. I can spend hours on a certain irrelevant element in a track while I should work on other stuff first. Before I know it, hours have past and I haven’t really done anything that has priority at that moment. This state of mind is called “Hyperfocuss”… I loose focus on daily stuff very fast but when I am working on creative things I am super focused on this particular thing.
Another reason is that I don’t hand in half work. I only deliver goods that I am proud of. When its not 100% good, I dont give it. If you listen to my remixes, none of them sound the same. Every remix is a unique project, build from scratch.
This takes time but ends up in quality. I do realize it’s not always that professional. I’m still learning to prioritize my work but things are going in the right direction. I always try to say this in advance to a label manager when they request my work, but I m not too good in planning so that makes it more complicated sometimes.