DJ Overdose: “You don't have to be starving to make art, most of the time you have to be smart and know how to put that into product or promo”
He was born in the Hague and slipped on “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash in his early teens. Some 30 years forward, and DJ Overdose is billed to play in STRCAMP festival next weekend in Lithuanian woods. It won’t be a DJ set, however, but a raw performance that will make you flutter.
DJ Overdose deserves a broader introduction before we proceeed with the question and answer series In fact, you could have met him if you watched the documentary on The Hague scene “When I Sold My Soul to the Machine“. He has known some of the other representatives – Mr. Pauli, for example – of the scene since school and he’s fond of hiphop and even more of Miami bass. In fact, Mr. Pauli and DJ Overdose have worked together as Novamen - we'll talk about that later.
Today DJ Overdose stands somewhere between proto and future, between the 80s of the last century and the third millennium. His sound hasn’t drastically changed and he’s well aware of what he’s doing. Let’s start with the recent example of DJ Overdose’s production that has been released a few months ago. There’ll be some older gems inbetween the questions and answers.
Do you consider yourself a representative of The Hague electro school?
I guess so, I’m from The Hague and I have released on most of the local labels.
Your artist name is DJ Overdose but you play live shows. Have there been confusions over that? Have you considered shortening the name?
Well I was a DJ first, I haven't heard of confusion, when I played live with Novamen I always used to scratch live too, it is true I’m not DJing when playing live but all most of my releases have DJ Overdose on them so it would be stranger to play as just Overdose. I think.
Never thought of shortening it but I do play live as Model Man too, maybe I should just play live under that name.
Model Man's EP was the first release of Bordello A Parigi! What is your relationship with this nice label and De Dupe, its owner?
I had played a live-set as Dream Disco for him and he asked me that if je started a label if I would want to release on that. He's a cool guy and I liked what he offered when he really started up. He said we would do a nice cover and inner sleeve and a sticker and some candles and a cherry on top of the release so I gladly said yes since I would love to see that. He lived up to his promise and the release looks great! I will probably release on BAP again if I can compile the right tracks for it.
Do your DJ sets broadcast a different message than your live sets?
I don't think so, at the heart of both there is electronic music, but maybe the DJing is a little more diverse since you won’t only hear what I can do.
Is recognition important for you? Recognition from colleagues, musicians, and recognition from fans? Are you interested in how many records were sold etc.?
Well, yes of course I like it if somebody gives me a compliment about liking my music or that a track has this or that something which somebody likes, but that's not what I do music for.
I do it because I like doing it, also I wouldn't know what else to do. I am most happy I have something I can do with a passion.
I never made a record that sold a whole lot of copies; I think it's more of a freak thing, which regularly doesn’t sell all too much. When I started I think most records sold about three or four times what they sell now.
Do you think a musician should be able to earn enough money from his art; or should the income come from elsewhere in order for art to remain sacred?
That is different for everybody, there's musicians who choose a commercial route but can't make it work and there is some underground people who hit the mark and can make a decent living.
It's also very important how much time and effort you put into it. You don't have to be starving to make art, most of the time you have to be smart and know how to put that into product or promo.
Can you tell, when listening to someone’s debut single, if the person will make it long term? Do you follow new music at all?
No, and even if somebody makes a good first record who says he or she will continue at all, good or bad. I don't really follow new music, but do hear some of course.
Can very popular music be very good music, or is the best music usually kept underground?
Yes, why not. There's a lot of good music in all genres that is popular and there is a bit to the side music for people who dig deeper and find some gems, either personal or undiscovered by the mass for any reason.
Is a DJ/electronic music performer just a music provider for the party or does he have the right to be on the pedestal and receive the rock star attention?
Rock star is a bullshit title for anybody anyway. All anybody could be is appreciated and admired but everybody craps their pants once in a while, and ends up dead at his own funeral.
Do you find your journeys around the world inspiring or in any other way useful for your creativity? What are the most interesting places you’ve visited?
Yes, sometimes when I came home from a good gig and I had fun I can come home and remain that feeling. Or if somebody else was playing good music which I enjoyed. Or if it was crap it could also help. Anything can be inspirational or drain you.
Has the Hasbeens project stopped?
Yes, the record, which is getting released on Bordello a Parigi now, is the last one; it's the last track from the time we were making stuff together.
Have you ever MC’d or tried to sing?
Yes, I do on some of my records.
Do you like it better to work alone or to collaborate with others?
Alone most of the time but sometimes it's nice to work together with someone. 90/10.
How has your technical setup changed through the years? Do you have more gear now or do you tend to minimize the collection?
Yes I have more gear; I almost never sell stuff I buy. But it's all a bit luxury goods, I don't need a lot. When I recently moved house I had a super compact studio with an Ensoniq -- ESQ1, a Simmons Trixer and a Roland TR-606 and I made about ten tracks in a short period. Limitations CAN be very good.
I also go back and forth with producing more in the computer; sometimes I do a lot in it and then I get tired of that and only use the hardware.
Your release schedule only speeded up a few years ago and was quite slow and rare before. Why so?
Because before that I was still figuring out how to finish tracks.
Making songs is something I learnt in the Novamen period mostly.
Also I have periods when I do nothing and then other times I produce a lot of stuff.
Do you go out? What are your favorite artists to listen live, or to party to?
Not really, I go out to bars sometimes, clubs I only see when I have to play and once in a while when I go see a friend who is playing or when all of a sudden I notice my drunk ass ended up in the club.
Is it possible to overdose music? A certain genre of it, perhaps?
No, you can use music to torture people though. I haven't heard of anybody using my music for that so I guess I’m all right.
D.D. 2004 - 2016
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