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Breaking Through: Joran Van Pol



With deep house becoming such an inimitable force universally with regards to popularity amongst the genres of electronic music, electronica has perhaps finally received the acknowledgement it has long sought. Nonsensical ramblings of underground versus mainstream continue to bumble on, though are weeded out with consummate ease from genuine music fans for whom these words have little value. The beauty of electronic music today is that the spectrum of popular dance music is greater than it has ever been. The quality of music, not only for the most popular styles but also those that are quietly simmering away on the brink of resurgence, is exceptional.

The comeback of minimal in the early 2000s commanded a split of opinions with some finding it dull and lifeless, but others embracing the elegance of its simplicity. In 2013 minimalistic tracks are appearing on releases amongst other genres, for example Daze Maxim’s “Tableara” on his “Farbfilm” EP and Matthew Jonson’s forthcoming album where he returns to his trademark minimal sound. Few record labels have persisted with such music when the overall climate has dictated something so radically different for many years. Richie Hawtin’s M-nus imprint has stuck to the techno formula with which it has welcomed plentiful plaudits, certainly not as stripped back a sound as it may have purveyed 10 years ago though some would argue that we are teetering on the edge of coming full circle.

When a sound is revived and rejuvenated there are often fresh faces amongst the familiar to welcome it in. Joran Van Pol is a 22-year-old masters student from the Netherlands. He has already featured on Richie Hawtin’s MixMag cover compilation, his “Faded” track has been the opening track for many a Hawtin or Dubfire set and on 13 May 2013 his “_conscious” EP was released on the M-nus label. If you listen to Joran’s productions or watch him DJ it is hardly surprising that he has so quickly risen to accumulate these accolades. Without a shadow of a doubt this young lad is on the horizon of a long, illustrious career within electronic music and one that will harvest him thousands of fans worldwide.

Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Joran. Before we move on to have a chat about music, let’s quickly talk about the press image we have at the top of the article. It’s very emotive. It looks pretty dark. Was the crossover between the image and your music intentional?

Bit of both, for me it is important that everything is consistent. So I like the fact that the mood of my music is reflected through this press picture. When we got in the studio the photographer and I knew what direction to head down, but you always have to see how the picture will pan out eventually. I am very happy with the result.

What are you up to at the moment?

I’m currently trying to finish my masters thesis at university as soon as possible so I have all the time to work in the studio and be on tour. I’m putting a lot of effort into producing new music in order to follow up on my debut release on minus.

What’s your masters in?

Organization Studies, not related to music in anyway. It’s mainly about behaviour in and out of organizations.

And how has it been balancing a masters and your career in music?

It’s nice to have both, since they both challenge me in a different way. It’s obviously difficult to balance the two as they both require quite some attention. I managed to balance the two quite well the past few years, but now its becoming a bit of a problem as my music career is starting to take off.

I can imagine. Have you been mostly DJing in Holland because of your academic commitments then?

Not intentionally. I think the only way to get real attention outside of your home country is mainly through releases – or you have to be a resident of clubs like Berghain/Panorama Bar. Although I’ve been working on music quite some time, the “_conscious” EP that was released last Monday is actually my debut EP.

We’ll talk about the EP shortly as it is a cracking release and is getting a lot of attention. Though on the topic of DJing and getting attention, you played at Richie’s ENTER. party at ADE. Not just anybody appears on an ENTER. line-up…

Yes, that was amazing and a dream come true. I was in touch with Richie as he had put out one of my tracks, “Untitled 2”, on his MixMag cover mount CD called “New Horizons”. Being featured on that CD also grabbed the attention of the Awakenings guys (who took a large part in organizing the ENTER. Amsterdam edition), so I also got in touch with them. So I was in touch with both of them and ended up on that line-up. Which was special in so many ways to perform there.

So that must have been quite a milestone for you in terms of your career as an artist?

Yes, for any artist living in the Netherlands and doing something techno related, it’s a dream to play at Awakenings. Being in touch with Richie it was also a dream to play at ENTER. and I got to do both at once. The Gashouder is a legendary location, fitting in about 3000 people. In terms of attention as an artist it was great as well. When you’re on the flyer for ENTER./Awakenings with Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Matador and Loco Dice, people will take you more seriously.

Absolutely, your name is being mentioned in the same breath as great figures within the scene already, when did you first get into electronic  music?

At quite an early age, 11, I got my first set of turntables – which did not have a pitch control – and a mixer and started collecting vinyls and dance music. In the following years I DJd at all sorts of parties until I landed my first club gig at the age of 17 at Studio 80.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

Not in the sense that my parents or family were playing instruments in a fanatic way. However, my parents did like to play music at home a lot. Especially my dad, he liked electronic influenced music. So I got exposed to stuff like Mike Oldfield at quite an early age.

I guess at the age of 11 you were listening to very different stuff. How did your music taste evolve over the years and what was instrumental to you becoming acquainted with and loving dance music?

When I was 11 I was already listening to electronic music, but more progressive kind of music. Later I moved onwards to electro house, minimal, techno, tech house only to end up at minimal again. Back then (2000-2001) there was some electronic music being played, I was immediately interested in that sort of music than the rest of what was being played on the radio. I think that that is what got me interested in the first place

And so what would you say your influences are in terms of the music that you produce?

I cannot really pinpoint a couple of artists that clearly influenced me as I produce some quite different styles of electronic music.  Though I always liked the idea of less is more. Obviously I’ve been very influenced by the works of Plastikman/Richie, Dubfire, Gaiser, Matador, Petar Dundov, Trentemoller, James Holden etc.


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