Bitbird signees DROELOE have been making music in the trap music scene for some time now. Their new single “Many Words” is an incredibly emotive track about new love and a phenomenal work of production. I sat down with Vincent at BUKU Music + Arts Project in New Orleans to discuss new music, his upbringing and inspiration, and German folk music.
Run The Trap: If you could describe your production style what would they be?
DROELOE: Damn. I guess these are the three things I try to be: Organic, dynamic, spacious.
A lot of your music is very percussive and is centered around percussive elements. Where does that come from?
My parents were both jazz drummers.
So were they always playing in the house?
Yeah! Either they were playing or there was jazz on the stereo. I used to play the trumpet as well. For almost seven years actually.
Does that mean you prefer to play out all the parts in your DAW or do you like to sequence them in?
I like to play it out for sure. Most of the time I make a loop of sixteen bars and I just play out a lot of stuff. I like to get a lot of layers down. Then I like to mute a couple layers and play some other parts over that. Once I have enough different parts I start to arrange it.
Tell us how you like to work in your DAW. Do you work horizontally or vertically?
Your music is also very melody driven. In the current state of trap, where “Future Bass” and similar styles of music are seemingly everywhere, how do you keep your sound fresh?
That’s the hardest part! I think I’m always searching for chord progressions that are catchy but more importantly uncommon. That’s where I like to go from. A lot of future bass tracks I’ve heard like to use The Axis of Awesome chords. Not all, obviously, but definitely a good amount of them. That’s what I try and stay away from. The more popular the chord progression, the less interested I am. I like simple melodies, but there has to be something strange about it, something that tells more of a story. I draw a lot of my harmonies from [music] theory I learned when I was playing trumpet all the time.
A lot of electronic musicians I’ve spoken to say they don’t like to listen to a lot of electronic music outside of the studio. Is that true for you?
Same with me. I do like some of it though.
Is it hard to listen to it when you’re working on it all the time?
Exactly. The stuff that’s most similar to the stuff I make, I do like a lot, but I don’t really listen to it. I do listen to a lot of drum n bass. Noisia is my absolute favorite.
When you’re out of the studio and not working on music, do you find yourself drawing a lot of inspiration from a specific genre? You grew up listening to a lot of jazz – do you still listen to it a lot?
Definitely. I actually used to rap so I used to make my own beats for that.
Can we hear that?
It’s in Dutch! And not very good. So no, probably not [laughs].
Speaking of the Dutch, there seems to be a lot of Dutch musicians that have been making very forward thinking music for a long time. You and Armin Van Buuren obviously don’t have much in common when it comes to the music you make, but I’m curious if you think the Dutch have a specific or signature sound?
No! Not really at least. The music that Dutch people listen to is really different from the music that the huge acts from the Netherlands put out. There’s a lot of four to the floor techno there. Folk music is really big there too. German Schlager is pretty popular. There are a lot of productions schools in the Netherlands though which definitely could contribute to that. I studied at one for a bit but ended up dropping out.
When you look for music to play out, what catches your ear? Is it arrangement, melody, sound design?
It’s more of a vibe thing. If it takes me somewhere I like to play it out and hopefully it takes the crowd with me.
What do you like to play in your sets?
These days we play a lot of our own music. We used to play a little less because we thought that our music was a little hard to play out. At some point something switched and Hein and I both agreed we wanted to play more of our own stuff. And it worked!
So Hein isn’t with us today and won’t be performing with you on this part of your US tour. Does playing solo affect your set? Do you find yourself playing differently?
Not really different music, but the vibe is different. Two people playing affects how we interact with the crowd. DJing can be done by one person, but to put on a good performance, I love playing with two people because one of us can hype up the crowd a lot more. When I’m on my own I find it hard to do all the hype stuff myself and DJ at the same time. There are pros and cons for both.
How do you like to structure your sets? Do you start at certain tempo every time, open or close with a specific track? Is there anything that you always like to do?
Well I’m definitely more of a producer than a DJ. I’m not the guy who can read the crowd and plays every set differently. The best way I can describe it is that we play in blocks. We can deviate from the plan if we feel the vibe is demanding something else. So we have blocks of heavier stuff and blocks of more melodic stuff. We mostly start with an intro edit of one of our tracks and finish with unreleased music. But since we put out a new track today I’m definitely closing with that.
Tell me about the new track! This felt like a very emotional composition. What can you say about it?
“Many Words” has been a long time coming. We started it over a year ago before we went on our first tour in March of last year. It came out of a jam session with two friends who just started dating. They were both really good friends of mine before so it was interesting to see these two worlds collide but so interesting to see all this early love going on. This track was a very natural thing that came out of it. I tried to hold onto that feeling while I was writing this track and I let it rest for a long time before putting it out. I wasn’t sure about the arrangement that we had initially. It was more of a straight line. We tried to make it more dynamic before putting it out.
Something I like to ask everyone is if money were no object and you were curating a three day festival, who would the headliners be?
Carmack for sure. He’s such a big inspiration to me. Bonobo. Definitely. He’s incredible. Last one has to be Noisia. That would be a dream come true.
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