Future Leader #1 Josh Dupree

Our first ‘Future Leader’ is Josh Dupree aka Guy van Koolwijk from the city Nijmegen, located in The Netherlands. We chose Josh for his vast appreciation for music and his technical ability and well, just an all round nice guy. So we threw some questions at him, asked him to give us a mix and our Damion Pell even caught up for a few red wines in Arnhem over Christmas with him to talk industry and get the low down on Holland.

We hope you enjoy our very first ‘Future Leader’

Every DJ has their own reasons for wanting to become an actual DJ, what inspired you to take it up and what were some of the challenges you faced when beginning?

It all started when I was about eleven years old. At that age we started to give parties in elementary school with our classmates for our birthdays. It wasn’t much, if anything, but it was lots of fun. As there was no one who we knew who wanted to DJ there, a friend and me took it up. Also because we thought the music was rubbish most of the time. We scraped together some old stereos from our parents and just played CD’s we thought were cool. Some investments later we had our own little drive-inn show traveling our local area for all sorts of parties. After about five years of doing so I got really lucky and got to test play at a local club in Arnhem. The resident DJ thought I was doing okay and took me under his wings. He still is a very close friend of mine and we are taking on different kinds of music projects together, like Metamorphosa. It’s nice to have a mentor in this business that can really kick you around from time to time.

You are a relative new comer to the scene and started out on vinyl, what made you chose this direction instead of going direct to digital?

I actually played digital a few times with my mentor using Traktor Scratch, but back in those days the software wasn’t all that stable and after a bad upgrade and a few fatal errors during our show we decided it wasn’t the time to go digital yet. And besides, we really loved the feel of vinyl and it’s direct control. After 7 years of playing vinyl and CDJ’s every weekend I had grown somewhat bored with just two or three players and so, after some trials, I switched to four decks Traktor DJing.

Now all of the focus goes into creating new surprising combinations and adding new elements to the mix from other songs and self-made samples. Contradictory to what some people say, I actually like the fact that you don’t have to worry about setting records straight. That’s the reason I got bored with it in the first place, it had just become too easy. With Traktor I saw an opportunity to add another layer on top of the standard two or three records you’d mix traditionally. And this new layer? That one is where I think all the fun is!

Occasionally I still play vinyls and I still really love to do so, because it’s a different ballgame. Both ways of DJing have their advantages and both can learn from each other.

Hailing from The Netherlands, how hard is it to make your way in such a mature and high profile scene?

Putting it like that, it sounds impossible to make your way in to the Dutch scene. But as I said before, I started small and moved on with baby steps. Plus I’m not only DJing. There are lots of other ways to get involved in music and make your way around. I like organizing events and marketing as well. I’m working for a festival in Arnhem and I’m organizing my own parties, big and small, with friends in crazy places. And that’s just as nice! All the things you do for the love of music will eventually, if they’re any good of course, get noticed and that’ll help you make your way I think in such a high profile scene. As long as you’re passionate about it and keep progressing every year you should be okay.

What would you say are some of your biggest musical influences?

One of the names that first come to mind is a DJ from Chicago, Mark Farina. He influenced me a lot when I started because he made lots and lots of music, which I thought was exactly right. I didn’t have a clue what my sound was anyway so I totally went for it, getting to know other legends like Sneak and Derrick Carter in the process. Some sets I did back then were totally inspired on his Chicago house, acid jazz and down tempo works. We played a lot of down tempo music in my club as well so that worked fine. And who doesn’t enjoy a Mushroom Jazz on a lazy Sunday?

With time progressing I took up all sorts of influences. A list could be like this: Funk from Deodato, Disco from Fingerman, House from Hot Since 82, but it’s more of an infinite process where even the different seasons have their influences.

Besides these guys I’m greatly inspired by the technologically profound works of Richie Hawtin and James Zabiela. The latter also is a great musical inspiration. The former is just awesome. They are the ones that use the ‘layer’ to its full potential, with great results.

One special mentioning should be for Melon. Who opened up my eyes to something that changed the way I look at DJing. He is a fairly unknown Dutch DJ but he just rocks a venue in a very nice way. One day I heard a set of his which started out with just really slow but nice funky songs and as in any good old story entertained all the way to the end when he played house again. And a DJ with a name that’s a fruit? Delicious!

Is there any artists out there at the moment that are really hitting all the right notes musically for you right now?

Yes, I think the guys from Super Flu are nailing everything right now. They have just released a new album called ‘Halle Saale’ and it’s exactly what I think electronic music should be about. I played the whole album on repeat for weeks, and almost all the tracks are fit to play in a set. Their sets are also amazing which is nice since a good producer doesn’t necessarily make a good DJ or act. Besides that, they have a truly awesome way of telling you how to think about their music. It feels almost sacred.

So the answer, I believe, is yes…

http://super-flu.de/

You are involved in an amazing project called Metamorphosa. Can you tell us more about it and who else is involved?

Metamorphosa is a new concept with a group of dedicated electronic music lovers accompanied by a grand group of artists with different backgrounds in modern art, we have recently started on. The basis is the love for Berlin and the amazing parties that are given there everyday in old abandoned warehouses and other unusual places. Maybe we over-romanticize, but that’s the way we see it, and I would definitely linger to that. We combine raw and vile new locations with what we think great house music should be about. To sort of try to expand the idea of what a party can be. We think a party can be more than a fixed club with just good music and fun people, it should be a place were you can go on an adventure and discover all sorts of stuff. Maybe just even something that’s only a hint of, but makes you enjoy thinking about it nice anyway. Making it a more of a concert idea where you go to see everything, not just the main act. The art department really adds to that by transforming, without it being noticeable, the venue into a modern art gallery blending and adding to the experience.

Any plans to host it further than Holland?

We’ve just had our first event in October and the second one is due this spring so for now we are sticking to Arnhem, but I’m definitely not saying no to taking the project abroad. Maybe in the future, maybe under another name, maybe in collaboration with another party, dreaming about it is always nice.

What are your thoughts on the dance music industry in Holland at present and where do you see it going?

I really like the fact that old music genres are getting put back to live. There is a band from The Hague which is very popular doing new rock ‘n roll songs. Disco is coming on strong; crowds really love that, especially when it’s on a sunny beach. The technique has brought us to a point where we actually put tiny errors in new disco records just to give it an old feel. It’s just enough to notice when your mixing, but it keeps tings alive. Keep it groovy and funky. I hope disco will keep coming some more and in different ways because it can take a lot of positive energy to the dancefloor.

A natural progression for most DJs is to produce, any plans in the future to hit the studio?

I have been putting some time in the studio, but some is definitely not enough. The bar for me would be high up and if I were going to make records I’d have to be supporting it a 100%. So yes, I’m going to hit the studio, probably with friends who are far more experienced to learn from and see if I’m able to make some good music myself. I’ll definitely get in to that.

Lastly, any plans for 2014 that you wish to share with us?

Getting my degree in communication and then I am going to further enjoy the shit out of life!


About the author

For the last 20+ years, Damion has been an international touring DJ, promoter, touring agent, label owner, magazine editor and producer. He is currently the Group Editor and Managing Director of Decoded Magazine. Hear more at https://soundcloud.com/damionpell-1

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