Interview avec Daniel Leseman

daniel leseman

Daniel Leseman, producteur et sound designer hollandais, sera de passage à Montréal ce soir 5 juin au Bleury bar à vinyle en compagnie de Buck Smith et Adam Solomon. Pour l’occasion, l’équipe de Bolting Bits lui a posé quelques questions afin d’en savoir davantage sur lui et ses projets à venir.

When and how did your interest for music start?
When I was young my parents had an electronic organ in the living room which I was drawn to. I took lessons and also learned a bit of guitar. Later at age 15 I got more interest in underground dance music, buying and playing records and finding out how they are made. That was around ’99/’00 during the time the Dutch trance deejays got famous so that’s where I started too. Totally opposite to my current production style. Over the years I developed more deeper styles and released a few tracks every now and then but it wasn’t until a few years ago that things got more serious. Together with good friend Hans Peeman (Junktion) I founded Outplay Records and short after that we started our collaboration Fouk.

What led you to house music?
Early nineties I already listened to some commercial dance music, but the real interest for (underground) house music started when I went to my first club night together with my brother. We instantly got addicted to deejaying. We saved up for two turntables and a mixer and spend pretty much all our money on buying records.

Who are your main influences?
It’s hard for me to name exactly who influenced me. Over the years I’ve done many different styles and inspiration can come from anywhere. My work of the past few years is inspired by music from Max Graef, Session Victim, Detroit Swindle, Harvey Sutherland, Andy Hart to name a few. But I also get a lot of inspiration by listening to old soul and funk records from the 70’s.

How is the club scene in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands have a rich history when it comes to clubs and festivals. Clubs like Trouw and Studio 80 in Amsterdam have made quite a name. Last few years I haven’t been to many different clubs or festivals. I guess I’m spending too much time in the studio.

You said in another interview that your musical background really helped you with what you’re doing now. What instruments did you play and how did they help? And how did they shape your current production/projects?
I’ve been playing keys from early age on. So that’s my main instrument, but over the years I’ve also learned a bit of guitar. Being able to play music helps me find the right chords and melodies etc. And of course, because like most electronic music producers the midi keyboard is the main tool for playing melodies, it helps when you can play keys. In general it’s good to have a sense of what you are playing. For instance knowing that certain chords fit certain melodies really well. Production wise it’s not all about theory. Over the years you get a feel for what you have to do to get a certain sound. Just being able to play an instrument won’t help you with that.

When you are composing, do you envision an ideal moment for people to listen to your work?
Most of the times I’m just envisioning people dancing to my tracks in the club. Of course that’s probably what every House producer is doing. If you enter my studio without me noticing it there’s a chance of seeing me imagining a big crowd in front me.

What are your thoughts when you compose? What is your composition process? How do you go from an idea to a finished piece?
Three hard questions to give a definitive answer to. Every production can have a different start. I can start with a sampled drum loop or play some nice chords with a brassy synth. Usually I make a small piece of 8 or 16 bars which I make into a nice sounding produced loop. From there I then create the arrangement. But production nowadays is very much of a recursive process and I change things as I go. In the end the initial idea of a track can end up sounding very different.

In addition to being a dj you are also a sound designer and co-owner of the labels Outplay and half of Fouk with your good friend Hans Peeman. How did you guys meet each other and how did the idea of starting a label come up?
Yes, I’m also a sound designer for media like film and animation. Those projects allow me to be very creative with sound in general.
Hans and I met each other at high school. At age 16 we started exploring the production of electronic music together. The idea of setting up our own label came later when we both had tracks we wanted to release but were having a hard time to find a label for.. We started digitally, but our love for vinyl made us decide to release vinyl records.

What are your plans for the future with the label?
We don’t plan too much ahead and take our time to select the artist or tracks to be released. Besides our own stuff we like to look out for talented producers and coach them if necessary. Next release will be a various artists EP.

Will your show this June be your first time in North America? What are you looking forward to do other than playing at Bleury?
I’ve been in North America before, but it is my first time playing over there. I’m curious about Montreal. I heard it’s quite a nice city! I saw that the Formula 1 race will be in Montreal during my stay there. As I’ve never witnessed one before it would be nice to get a glimpse.

Interview par : Justine Chassé Dumont