Star Sightings: Sick Individuals @ MYST 2016.12.23
Jan 3, 2017 11:16:26 PM ⋅ Shanghai
By Sebastian David
Gig photos courtesy of MYST
Friday December 23rd at MYST, and the Sick Individuals were back in town again, putting on another incredible show. What sets Sick Individuals apart from many other up and coming and established DJs in the world of EDM is that with Rinze "Ray" Hofstee and Joep "Jim" Smeele it’s all about the music.
This is not an act out there to create an image, build a fan-base or take a selfie with the crowd to post worldwide, no, Ray and Jim are two individuals absolutely sick to the bone about producing music (backstage it was all they wanted to talk to me about), and they do it so well that the - often criticized for excessive commercialism - EDM industry has grabbed them by the proverbial collar and crash-landed them onto the main scene to produce, remix, perform and then some more.
Coupled with their extraordinary mastery of music, it’s exactly this humble, enthusiastic, genuine non-star quality Sick Individuals possess, that will one day soon, when other acts will have already faded out into obscurity, as many predict, catapult them into superstardom status next to their childhood idols, Daft Punk.
How did you feel playing at the biggest club in Shanghai, tonight?
Jim: Normally the front of a club is standing up while the people at the back sit down, but here at MYST tonight everyone was standing up the whole time!
Which group or artist was your biggest influence?
Ray: Axwell, Steve Angelo, and most of all, Daft Punk! They have originality in producing, they don’t follow any trend, they’re so good in the details, in the melodies.
Jim: As soon as I heard their new single “I feel it like coming” which came out recently, I felt “holy sh*t! this is mastered in an unbelievably good way”. And that’s what we want to achieve in 5-10 years, to be that goodand independent of trends, to always be “Sick Individuals”.
What’s the secret behind the Netherlands consistently producing world-class electronic music artists?
Jim: Bad weather! (laughs)
Ray: The government supported by creating a lot of music schools for every genre, even for Techno and House.
Jim: Also all the big labels are in Holland, and I think one of the big differences with Dutch artists is that they really like to help each other, which doesn’t happen so much for example with German artists.
Looking at your list of original track and remix releases, it looks like you’ve been in the industry for 15 years, but you’ve only been on the world stage since 2010: How do you find the time to produce, remix and travel?
Jim: In the beginning we didn’t play so much, so we had more time to do remixes. It was also the way for us to get noticed. Now we try to do two remixes a year, but we are mostly producers rather than performers.
Your remix of Icona Pop’s “I Love It” became wildly successful, was that a key moment putting you on the world stage?
Ray: Yeah, it was three years ago at Ultra in Miami, and as soon as Tiesto opened his set with our remix of “I Love It”, we were sitting beside him towards the back and we started to notice the reaction and we must have heard our remix being played at least 12 times at the festival; from that moment people started to ask “hey, who are these guys?”. After that we started getting a lot of remix requests from other artists.
Does your musical education background make it “easier” to produce?
Jim: In some ways, without wanting to sound arrogant, yes, because we can produce any kind of music we want, a classical part, jazz, whatever.
Ray: On the other hand that might consume more time for us because we’re not stuck to one specific type of music.
"Helix” with Holl & Rush has a lot of distinctive sounds to it, what elements did you incorporate into this track? Like a lot of your tracks, it sounds like many electronic genres fused into one.
Ray: We kept changing the melodies and the chords and then in the end we just kept rolling and went with it intuitively.
Jim: Yes, it's a very intuitive track.
Gentlemen, thank you very much!
(Both) Thank you!