Hello Jaap, Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I first discovered your work via sound cloud and was blown away by the production values you had back then. Im so glad for you its flourished into this wonderful career you have now, but it wasn’t always so good for you. Tell us a little about the young Jaap Ligthart growing up.
Honored to be interviewed by you guys! Haha you have read my biography? When I was growing up my mom and dad were fully into the Dutch music. Pretty horrific stuff if you ask me! Later on I luckily discovered that there was more to it, thank god!
You currently live in Holland. How has the country influenced your music and who were your heroes?
When I started to appreciate dance music, Tiesto was ‘my first’. What he did back then was really different from what he does now. Later on I listened more and more to the progressive scene, with dj’s such as Sasha, John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo and Sander Kleinenberg.
How do you find the music scene differs in Amsterdam compared to the rest of Holland?
The scene in Amsterdam is huge and broad (from really underground techno to the more mainstream ‘EDM’ parties, but it’s not only Amsterdam, Rotterdam is busy to. Other cities as well. I live near Alkmaar and the scene is flourishing into something beautiful there.
With ADE not so far away, it must be a busy and exciting time in Amsterdam. Is there any specific artists you like to go and see or many of the conferences littered around the city?
I’m a busy man apart from the music, I have a ‘regular’ dayjob and by the end of july I have 2 children, so I’ll make a pick or two. Last couple of years I saw Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Eelke Kleijn and some other true progressive house artists…
Your music is always emotional and melodic. It tells a story in the way the elements interact. Have you always made music this way?
I guess so. I’m not really sure how I do it, every time seems different but at the end it always has some sort of emotional and/or melodic feel to it.
So which came first for you? the DJing or the Production?
I made my first baby steps in dj’ing before I got to producing. When I got to producing I was hooked. And if you first try a production on the dance floor and it works than you’ll understand that the two are connected. I cannot live without one of the two.
You have been lucky enough to released tracks on some great labels such as MNL, Baroque and LuPS. If you could release a track on any record label which label would you choose and why?
I used to say Blackhole because of my ‘Tiesto background’. But a couple of months ago two tracks of me were signed to Blackhole, so I can scrap that one of my list, it was a huge honor. But when I look at the stuff that I play now, I would say Bedrock, Last Night On Earth, Sudbeat or Hope Recordings.
Do you have a favourite track of your own? Whats the story behind it?
I think that’s my remix for NY Fan – Friday Night. I was really happy with the result. Paul Hazendonk (Manual) and Dennis Ruyer (538 Dance Department) said it reminded them of Sasha’s latest work and when I played it the last couple of times the place was really going crazy. I cannot wait to work on some more stuff from NY Fan, awesome voice and a very creative lady.
The music industry has seen many changes throughout the years, but one ongoing battle, is the struggle for exposure in this flooded digital market place. How do you find this affects you and releasing your music?
It has been difficult for me, but on the other hand, if you keep working and working harder to get your tracks and sets better and better, than you can do it I think. I’m not even halfway where I want to be, but step by step it is getting better. Do what you like and do what you do best, that is my motto!
The technology used by both DJs and producers has changed so much over the past few years. Has this changed how you make and play music, and what technological advance would you like to see for DJs and producers in the future?
When I started producing it was all hardware, not one softh synth. Really ridiculous when you think about it. If you look at my studio now, it’s pretty boring. Laptop, extra screen, little midi keyboard, external soundcard and that’s it actually. Oh yes, and a fine selection of software.
When you’re not DJing do you ever find time to go clubbing, and if so, which DJs/Producers have caught your eye?
I still really love Sasha and Hernan Cattaneo, now more than ever. If they are in top shape, it’s true magic what they do.
The production and dj skills of Guy J, Guy Gerber, Eelke Kleijn, Dave Seaman, Eats Everything, Noir and Tensnake gets me going as well!
Aside from music, what else do you do to relax?
When I’m not working, producing or dj’ing I really enjoy having some quality time with my family. But I can enjoy a good movie or a good game of Fifa13 to!
If you could give any advice to any young budding producers out there what would it be?
Do what you like! Make a ton of music and when you have something you think it’s good enough, send it to a label that you think it would fit.
What was the weirdest/funniest thing that’s happened to you at a gig?
Aside from all the panties and bras they keep throwing? Last month I was called the dutch David Guetta. Luckily the one who said it had no clue about dance music, was completely drunk and very annoying. If he would have been serious than I would have quit, right there on the spot, haha!
Lastly, are there any new projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
A lot of new tracks and remixes are coming on labels such as Manual, Blackhole, Lost Language and Lups. Fanny (NY Fan) has some great new material that I want to work with as well. Because of the new baby the end of July I will not play much in august, but at ADE I’m back in business!