Bakermat: Live & Direct
Dutchman Bakermat is something of an anomaly in electronic music in that he’s a trained musician as well as a DJ. Having already release music on the likes of Delicieuse Records and Soundplate, his debut album is about to drop soon – and all signs would seem to suggest that his reputation is set to soar as a result.
The album, much like his music to date, is a fresh fusion of house and techno, all produced in a minimalist manner with shades of jazz and soul a prominent feature throughout.
Ahead of all that, he plays a debut live show that will see him play songs old and new with a saxophonist, key player, bass player, vocalist and percussionist. It takes place at the Brixton Academy on 6th September with support from Goldfish and is hosted by Red Sky, who have a reputation for going that extra mile in terms of production, All this means that punters can expect huge LED screens, pyrotechnics, forward-facing visuals and lighting, and generally the sort of awesome vibe and aura you’d expect at a rock concert. We caught up with the main man recently to find out more…
It looks like you’ve had an amazing summer thus far. Talk us through your feelings on the warmer months this year and how it compares to the winter…
Summer has been absolutely amazing for me – I played at a lot of festivals with great people and great crowds. I don’t prefer one above the other, because you can’t really compare winter gigs with summer gigs. Winter’s more about clubbing and summer’s all about festivals. I play different tracks at a festival than I do in a club. Though I have to say that my music fits summer festivals very well, because it’s very happy, melodic music.
What sort of music did your grow up on? Does that stuff still inspire you now?
I grew up with jazz, blues, soul, classical and rock music. I checked out my father’s music collection when I was very young and started collecting my own music by the age of 9. Jazz, blues and soul music will always have a big influence on my music. I only started listening to dance music when I was around 16 years old. In 2010, when I was studying, I decided to make my own music. I wanted it to be a fusion of all the music I collected over the years. That means combining jazz with soul with deep/tech house and minimal.
Tell us about your debut live show – why did you decide to take on this challenge?
I’m a very lazy person by nature, it’s in my blood, but it’s always trying to fight that laziness. About 5 years ago I discovered a great way to deal with it: accept every challenge and make goals. Once I say yes to something, I’m extremely motivated to make it work and I work 24/7 to make it happen. The live show is one of those challenges. I’m still young and inexperienced in the music scene, so I want to spend all my time in my development. A live show with a full live band is next level; it’s totally different and way more complicated than a DJ set. It’s extremely educational for me to work on this project.
I understand you are a trained musician – what level did you get to and what instruments can you play?
I used to play the saxophone and the piano. It’s a while ago though, but I can still play some basic stuff. I never really ‘mastered’ these instruments, but I have all the knowledge i need for making my own music now. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.
Have you written lots of original music for the new show or is it more a trial and error thing?
I wrote a lot of new stuff for this show. There’s a special intro and outro and also some edits of original tracks. I’m trying to make the show as entertaining, original and inspiring as possible. I think those are the key values when I was building up my live band show. It had to be fresh and inspirational, but most of all I want the crowd to have a great time.
And how did you find other band members to work with?
I know a lot of musicians in Holland, so I started asking around and got some really good reactions. I think it took a week to get all the band members together. We’re currently rehearsing in the Melkweg in Amsterdam so that everything will be as smooth as possible.
Is it fully live, or is it based on pre-made loops or the like?
The difficult thing with a live band is that you don’t have the freedom you have when you’re doing a DJ set. When I’m playing a DJ set I have a 100% freedom in my track selection. With a live band that’s simply impossible, because the musicians need to know when they have to play, in what tempo they have to play and in what key they have to play. I play with Ableton, which is a software based on clips and scenes, and have two midi controllers to control effects and add synths/sounds.
What are you most excited about or most afraid might happen at the debut show?
I’m afraid something might go wrong, but which performer isn’t? But I fully trust my band, sound engineers, light engineers and my gear, so I’m not that stressed. I’m really excited about the chemistry on stage. As a DJ you’re always playing alone, now I’m playing with a lot of other people.
Why is the debut in London and not in your home country – are you as well known at home as you are here?
I’ve already done a lot of shows in Amsterdam this year and last year. I actually host my own festivals there called ‘Bakermat presents’. I only had a limited amount of live shows planned for this year because it’s very expensive for me – because of the musicians, gear, light, sound etc. It’s an investment. I had a lot of offers for different cities but I chose to do the live shows in London, Paris and Le Mans because I had great gigs there before and love the crowds. Maybe next year I’ll do one in Amsterdam as well, but this year I didn’t want to overshadow my own festival.
How does playing live compare to DJing, do you think? Do you prefer one or the other?
I never played fully live, so I can’t say if I prefer one above the other. The thing I love about DJing though is that you can adapt your set to the crowd and the ambiance. I think being a good DJ isn’t about beat-matching or difficult tricks; it’s about playing the right track at the right time. The cool thing about live performing is the energy and the chemistry on stage.
How much thought has gone into the visual aspect of the show? Will people find it fun to watch, too?
I thought about doing visuals, but I agreed with my manager that it would be too much on stage. I think it will be fun for the people to watch the band play. I do have an amazing light show though, which will be very entertaining.
Any other acts inspired or influenced your live show at all?
Acts like Parov Stelar, Kraak en Smaak and Moby influenced my show.
What else you got coming up/are you looking forward to this summer?
A lot of great festival gigs, the release of my album and obviously the other live shows that are coming up!
Bakermat debuts his live show in London for Red Sky on September 6th at Brixton Academy.