Amsterdam is known as a city with many nationalities. But on mainstream radio stations, the weekly charts and the annual top 2000, this diversity is rarely reflected. Many genres remain underexposed, and music from many languages is not getting the attention it deserves. But it’s bubbling beneath the surface and genres such as cumbia, traditional Persian music and Turkish pop increasingly find their way to new audiences. In this article, we talk to four musical all-rounders and touch on their cultural background and how it influences their musical direction.
Whereas most of us are itching for the pandemic to be over, one of Amsterdam’s eye-catching newcomers Mairo Nawaz experiences this moment in time as an opportunity for transformation. As an upcoming DJ, he fared well under the wings of mentors Victor Crezée, Cinnaman, and Carista but is now forging his own path as an artist and a human being.
Technology, Dystopia, and Developing Ideas
When De Ambassade’s first EP surfaced on Amsterdam-based record label Knekelhuis in 2016, it was easy to believe that the two tracks on there, Geen Genade and Wat Voel Je Nou, were remastered and repressed from an album by an obscure Dutch new wave band from the late 1970s or early 1980s. Two EP’s, Verloren (2017) and Standhouden (2020) and an album, Duistre Kamers (2019), followed, all released on Knekelhuis, showcasing their distinctive gloomy melodies, and echoing cold Dutch vocals. On a cold winter day in Amsterdam, we met up with the three band members, to uncover a bit of the mystery around them.
As much as DJs and live acts, the panels at Dekmantel Connects are an essential part of the programme we wanted to build. Floor Verhulst has put some of our knowledge-sharing guests behind the lens, and you can find their portraits in this article.
Taking the rave to the supermarket
Since the nightlife is forced to lock down many of us feel the loss that the ban on clubbing has left behind. We take a closer look at four inspiring alternatives to keep the music, arts and culture going while struggling with challenges of social distancing and other corona measures.
my name is not mata explores sensuality and finds beauty in darkness
Formerly known as Mata Hari, sometimes operating as pyruvicac.id, my name is not mata, refuses to coalesce into a definable form. As eclectic as they are danceable, her mixes are a kaleidoscope of jagged broken-beat, gothic industrial, feminist spoken-word, R&B and electro, each twist and turn sparking new, effervescent shapes. Catching up just after the recording of her Dekmantel Connects stream with the legendary DJ Marcelle, we spoke about the joy of dancing and her desire to be authentic, especially when facing difficult times.
Creating more with less:
building your budget live set-up
Whilst some pieces of gear will inevitably be mentioned through the course of this article, it acts more as a presentation of considerations and workflow perspectives, which can either be used when deciding what it is you need to perform live, or as a way to get more out of what you already have.
Synthesizers and Spirituality:
Arp Frique and Mariseya on crossing generational and cultural divides
The magnetic sound of Arp Frique is flushed with electric colour and warm, pulsating beats. Retro-futurism meets seriously slapping basslines, conjuring 1970s disco danceability. The pair gave a sneak-preview into their artistic process and shared passion for making music that knows no bounds.
Local artists, clubs, and everyone else within the Dutch scene have also always been a strong influence on everything we do. So, with physical life happening on a new micro-level, we’ve been centering our own music ecosystem in a new way. In doing so, we wanted to shed a light on what shapes the widespread electronic music community in The Netherlands, from Amsterdam to Rotterdam to Groningen.
The world of electronic music has never seemed closer to the world of TV & Film – the 2010s was called a golden age for this audiovisual crossover, but who benefited?
In this Dekmantel Connects long-read, RE:VIVE's Gregory Markus goes deep on the history of fringe musicians scoring blockbuster films, the influence of cinematography on 'cinematic' electronic music by the likes of Bas Bron and Palmbomen, challenges facing the Dutch screen industry, and how to fortify this connection between artistic mediums for the future.
Creativity through crisis:
Blooming amidst a global pandemic
In the limbo of our current global pandemic, artists are facing particular challenges. Especially for any artists who were up and coming in the past few years, the current year may have initially felt like riding a wave then crashing into a wall. But beyond these challenges also lies a time of renewed inspiration, reshaped creative processes, inward reflection, and unforeseen collaborations.