Down the Rabbit Hole with…Joren Edwards »
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Throughout the course of the past twelve months, we’ve been hearing endless stories from DJs claiming that “2020 was going to be my year”. But in Joren Edwards’ case, it really did feel like the young Dutchman was on the cusp of something great. Despite releasing only two records to date, the Utrecht-based DJ/producer has still managed to showcase his sounds on some of contemporary house and techno’s most in vogue labels, including Archie Hamilton’s Moss Co and Chris Stussy & Prunk’sm PIV Limited. With a year of self-reflection behind him and the promise of further expert sounds to come (and thankfully, the end of the pandemic in site), it seems Edwards will finally earn his right to shine on a dancefloor near you soon. We checked in with Joren recently to chat meditation, studio tips, life-defining dancefloor experiences and upcoming releases for the likes of Priku’s ATIPIC and Real Gang Records…

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When and how did you first discover electronic music? And specifically, the more minimal sounds for which you’re known for?

I discovered electronic music when I was a young kid, around six or seven years old. There was a TV program called ‘The Music Factory’ where you could call in with the program to submit a track you wanted them to play. My parents did this very often and always asked for ‘Around The World’ by Daft Punk. I was scared as hell of the video clip so I was afraid to watch it….but the sound I heard on that record was a sort of loop that I fell in love with and of course the vocal throughout the entire song. 

What was it about minimal music in particular that you find so appealing?

In my opinion it’s the loop that’s constantly changing, I like it when things get weird on top but the groove is still banging. It’s not about huge buildups but a slowly evolving record. Something I’m still learning every day to perfect that in my own music. 

Do you remember your first ever party? What were your initial thoughts on everything? Were you instantly blown away or did it take a while?

I can’t remember my first visit to a club but I can remember hearing Ricardo Villalobos for the first time at ‘Free Your Mind’ festival, back in 2016. He played for a couple of thousand people, the sun was shining and every single person on the floor had a great time. One of my mates who wasn’t into this kinda music danced his head off! And yes, I was instantly blown away about the tracks that he played at the specific moment, the little bleeps & blobs combined with heavy basslines but it didn’t feel like a bassline, it felt like kicks or toms programmed in a sort of rhythm with a lot of effects.

What about your first ever party where you DJ’d? Can you tell us a bit about that experience?  

Oh yes I can remember that! I used to play in small bars in my hometown just for friends and some other people that were accidentally around. Nobody really liked the music that I was playing haha, hardly anyone was into underground music. Sometimes the bar owner just turned my master down for 10 minutes so he could play some Top 40 music to get as many people in the pub as possible before 2 PM. 

My first gig as Joren Edwards, where people did appreciate my musical efforts, was at Thuishaven Amsterdam; Benny Rodrigues invited me to play there after I sent him some music. 

Which is your favourite place to play music? Seeing as we’re all back in lockdown, can you tell us a bit about your favourite memory of playing there? 

I’m lucky to say that I’ve got many good memories of playing at special locations but I’d like to mention two of them. It’s the one I did right before all this nonsense happened. I had the chance to play at the VBX after-hours at ‘The Loft’, which is the top floor of the Adam Tower in Amsterdam. I played from 7 AM till 10 AM before Ferro and Christian AB. It was special because my closest friends were all there to enjoy this moment with me. Playing at Wildeburg Festival on the countryside of The Netherlands, was also one to remember for sure. The weather was great, a lot of like minded people so an amazing vibe. I shared the line up with Ion Ludwig, Fumiya Tanaka, Sonja Moonear & Reiss.

You’ve released so far on the likes of Moss Co and PIV. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with these labels? How do you know the label owners and how did your music end up there? 

I met Archie Hamilton at Thuishaven. I came to see him play back in the beginning of 2018 and asked him for his email so I could send him some music. I was obsessed with one thing: signing an EP on Moss Co. I worked my ass off to make it happen but nothing sounded the way I wanted it to. After a few weeks of not making music I started again and in two days I had an appropriate EP ready. I contacted Archie and he liked the tracks. A couple of days later I saw Archie playing them at Sunwaves Festival. A year later he signed the tracks for Moss Co. Archie was the first one who signed my music and I’m still very thankful for that. Chris Stussy and Prunk are in our network circle, we all kind of know each other. The movement they have built with PIV is outstanding and I was excited when Prunk & Chris wanted to sign an EP for PIV Limited. PIV Limited is a vinyl only label with some great releases and remixers so I was very glad to be a part of the series. 

What made you choose to become a DJ/producer? Did someone or something influence you?

I’ve always liked music in general, when I was five years old my dad started to let me listen to his music collection, for example Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Led Zeppelin, The Commodores and a lot of other artists. When I was six my parents gave me a drumkit so I was able to play to the music my dad was feeding me. I took drum lessons from the drummer of a famous Dutch singer’s band and he was also making tribal kinda music on the computer which grabbed my attention. That was the first time I saw someone making music on a computer. After a while I stopped playing the drums and started focussing more on football. I played at a pretty high level and was invited to train with one of the professional clubs in The Netherlands. When I was fourteen I bought a computer and that’s where I started to produce music inspired by Daft Punk (because that was the first electronic music that I heard on TV). So Daft Punk is one of the main reasons I started producing. Looks like the football will have to wait! 

How do you get your inspiration for producing music? How do you approach a studio day, for example? 

Well, normally I get inspired by going to clubs and hearing what other DJs are playing; that’s my biggest inspiration source. When you’re in the club and hearing certain tracks you know what is working so that’s always helping me with making my own tracks. But we all know what has been going on for the last 12 months so I had to change my inspiration source. It was a tough process. The first three to four months I barely made any music, I tried different things to get my inspiration back but I was not feeling well mentally at the time. 

So I started to go outside more, experiencing nature and on other moments, searching for club recordings on Youtube to get a little bit of the real feeling back. Luckily I’m able to make music again. Here’s my tip; if you have got no inspiration, just relax and do something else, change your focus. You’re not dying or saving lives, right? Always keep perspective.  A regular studio day is waking up, have some breakfast, I’ll go upstairs with a cup of tea and start making music. In between I have studio breaks where I take a walk or meditate for ten to fifteen minutes.. or play some games on the PlayStation.

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Who is your favourite Dj/producer? What is it about them that so appeals to you? 

I have more favorites, Ricardo Villalobos, Ferro, Malin Genie, Alci, Zendid, Cabanne, Denis Kaznacheev and Ion Ludwig. All these guys are inspiring me at the moment. So many! 

How was the lockdown for you? Did you learn much about yourself during this period? Is music particularly therapeutic for you in this way? 

It’s hard, but I think this period is hard for everyone. Luckily I’m still able to make music during these times, no one can take that from me (besides my neighbors but they are cool so letting me do my thing, haha). I learned to meditate (and I’m still learning) to try to stay relaxed throughout all of this, so that’s definitely helping me during these times.  

Lockdown aside, what are your plans for 2021? Do you find it hard to stay on track right now? Do you have any big releases planned for the year ahead?

There are some very cool releases coming up this year. I’ve finished an EP which is coming on Priku’s ATIPIC, there is a track forthcoming on Real Gang Records by Miller and his lovely crew and I have more projects going on but I can’t say anything about that for now. I’m also supposed to play at ‘Paradigm x VBX’ in May, but to be honest, I think that’s also going to be cancelled unfortunately.

Finally, can you please recommend some books or pieces of music that have helped you over the past year? 

Yes, for sure! During the many lockdowns we had this year, I’ve listened to a lot of ambient stuff from Celer, Alternative Rock music from Far Caspian and other artists like Loyle Carner, J Dilla, Gift Of Gab, Bon Iver and many more… 

Thanks a lot for having me and hope everyone is healthy and safe and overall doing well! 

Follow Joren Edwards on Facebook, Soundcloud and Bandcamp 

Words: Matei – Daniel Rotaru

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