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HARD Music Festival

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Eelke Kleijn's Untold Stories Album Review + Interview

To the best of my knowledge Eelkle Kleijn (EK), created the first ever "mixed" artist album and 16 cuts deep at that.  

A sound engineer by heart, EK masterfully produces sonic blends of liquid moves and deep grooves.  His album, Untold Stories, isn't club tempo, instead its a compilation of "other" tempo, making this album truly ahead of its time.  

The production work in Untold Stores, is tip top and it doesn't stop.  Track one - Ortni, is magical, plentiful and followed by Violintermezzo, which hooks you right in. I had a few moments of ahh hah!  My first was for Nu Gaat Het Los, track seven.  Sad But No, track eight melts into, what is easily one of the best and well thought out tracks of the entire album, Theme For Spliffy, a teasing emotional ride that draws one inward and flows insurmountable.  We continue right into track 10, Gevoelsplaat, a melodic-mind-bender.  We're now in the meat of the album with Theme for Spliffy, chords galore and spliffs roar.  

The last two, ahh hah moments occured with, Survival of the Fattest, with its uber catchy chords and wild electro-funk-rhythms.  The last ahh hah was the sequence of Flavour Saver, a tonal emotional tornado into Will I Love ft. Niels Geuzebroek, a listers well earned vocal masterpiece - A true dance music cross over that I can still be proud of at the end of the day.

Interview with EK

This is a very non traditional artist album for a couple of reasons.  One, there are 16 original productions and two, it is mixed.  What was your reasoning behind this?  Do you feel that this will be a new trend in artist albums?
Well mostly I just wanted to do something different. I didn't really like that my last album had pauses in between tracks. While listening to it that seemed to interrupt the flow. Also I wasn't fond of the 'mixable' intro on each track. Of course that makes it suitable for the club but it doesn't really work on an album for me. Neither do radio edits for that matter. So I tried something radically different. I hope it will be a trend, for me personally it makes listening to albums much more interesting!

What kind of ideas did you put into your album?
The album was an experiment, sort of. I wanted to do something completely different. I thought of a DJ set but just with my own material. And I didn't want it to be just dance music. So I just tarted producing and this is what came out, that's the best way to put it I guess. I was inspired by bands like Massive Attack, Editors and Unkle while doing a lot of the album stuff, so it might have come out a little bit more downtempo than I originally intended. But looking back on it I am really happy. I've learned a lot in the past 2 years from doing this album and I still feel it is a really great collection of music just to chill to. It wasn't meant as a club CD, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't work as a club CD. It's just music to listen and 'get into'. I sometimes call it an emotional trip, that's what it feels like to me.

At this stage in your career, has your outlook on music changed and if so, how?
Yes it definitely has. I used to be mainly interested in electronic music. Wasn't really a fan of guitars and didn't follow pop music in general. Nowadays I also write a lot of music for stuff like animations, and I've really had to reinvent myself musically. I'm a lot more open to other influences, I think the last album really shows that.

When your on stage how do you connect with the crowd? Do you have a method or is it organic?
It has to come naturally I think. The thing with me and the crowd is, if I get some really good feedback like people clapping, cheering, etc, that is what makes me get more into my set and interact with the people. I mean, you can put up your hands at any moment of course but for me it's only natural to do that when it feels right. You can't force it. So the sets that I play in front on a really energetic crowd, those are the best for me. That reflects in my interaction with the people.

What producer or DJ has inspired you as of late?
I've been a big fan of some of the new guys I recently signed to my label, for instance DAVI and Alessandro Diga. DAVI is from the USA and I have been extremely impressed with his output. Alessandro is a Dutch guy and his sound is really unique, it reminds me of Gui Boratto a little bit.

Have your been inspired by any US music? If so, who?
Yes mostly by pop coming from the US I would say. Although you don't really hear it in my music, I'm a big fan of Timbaland. Love his beats work, but I guess everyone does right? Also some new indie bands like Class Actress are amazing. Generally though I don't really connect country and music. If it's good music I will listen. If it's not good, I will not ;)

A memorable experience behind the decks?
Moonpark Buenos Aires, first time ever I played for 8000 people. I did warmup and usually when you warm up you're playing for yourself + friends. But here within half an hour the place was really packed!

Favorite club?
Warung Club in Brazil, the energy there is just insane.

Best connection with a crowd?
Probably Full House club in Pristina. There's a recording of this set in my podcast on my website, the crowd really goes mental.

Your music seems to be appropriate for any time of the day, is this a balance of music that you  intentionally select, or just the nature of your sound?
I think it's just in my sound. I don't really think about these things when I am producing music.

I've heard that your going to make a debut in the states this year, any cities your particularly wanting to play?
Yes actually I've been trying to do that for a couple of years but right now it seems like it is getting close. I've had quite a few requests and bookings from the USA in the past 2 years. But for me as a European artist it's almost impossible to take a single booking because of all the costs involved. So it has to be in the form of a tour. The main problem just always seemed to be getting all the heads together and organise one. I can't say much about cities yet, but as soon as I know more it will be all over my website and twitter of course.