Frits Wentink, a man of many talents across a multitude of styles. The Netherlands native first burst onto the scene with his first release back in 2012 and from then on has continued to be one of the countries most consistent artists. Frits loves to experiment with warm wobbly synths and we love it too, that partnered with his impeccable dusty grooves is a sure recipe for success, which has lead him to release on some highly established labels such as Heist, Wolf & Shall Not Fade. He’s also the proud head honcho at both Will & Ink and Bobby Donny, two outstanding outlets. An extremely talented and busy man, which is why we are very excited to bring him onto the magazine for a little chat.
Hi Frits, it’s a huge pleasure to have you on the magazine! The whole team is very excited for it. What have you been up to lately?
I did a couple of remixes last month, and produced the soundtracks to two films. But most of all I have been busy building new synthesizers. I took on the challenge to start building my own Eurorack modules a few months ago. But i have now already branched out to other formats such as MOTM and chip based modules. In the past i had some experience building midi controllers but never tried soldering actual analog audio circuits. So recently i started with some simple 4 channel mixers and some LFO and VCA circuits. Over the past few months I learned so much and realised that its actually more doable than I thought.
I try to keep everything diy. From the woodwork of the cabinets, the design of the panels, the actual soldering, the design of the PCB’s to the C++ coding of some of the chips. Its a such an amount of work, but once things start working it is an absolute thrill. The analog diy virus really caught me.
From growing up in the Netherlands to your first release in 2012, where did everything start for you musically? Has electronic music always been your burning passion or do your roots dig deeper into music?
I have always done computer music as far as I remember. A thank you to my very supportive parents is in place here. I must have been 10 when i got a Korg Electribe ES-1 sampler for my birthday. And things just went from there. Not long after that i started buying and playing records. The records i bought back then were really fast and driven, but all that hard fast techno had a nice swing and groove to it. It wasn’t that static. I think that is something that still sticks with me.
As proof of your Instagram you certainly know your way around a keyboard, how long have you been playing?
I get that question a lot. For some reason there is a misconception about me being classically trained. I’m not, and actually don’t regret starting playing piano earlier. I believe deeply in trying things out for yourself, also i’m quite a bad student. The piano is something that I was always interested in but it was only after my 20’s that I started trying to figure out how to play. I bought a decent but cheap piano of an elderly couple that were moving to a smaller apartment. And i that time i was living in squatted places in Utrecht, which meant a lot of moving around. Between my 20th and 25th birthday i had to move 13 times. And the piano moved with me every time.
There was this one piece that i loved, and my goal was to just learn that piece. Not be distracted by to much theory. And because i couldn’t read sheet music I had to decipher what notes were what keys, and write it on the score. It took me 2 years to learn the piece, and from there on i could basically play. I’m still a noob when it comes down to the theory, or how to place your fingers and wrists. But i sort of figured out my own ways around this.
You have such a unique and instantly recognisable sound; I know a lot of our readers will be eager to know your set up. What kind of equipment do you love to use when in the studio?
There is no simple answer to that. I change my setup quite frequently. Where i’m now fully into Eurorack modules and other hardware, there are moments where i just work from the box. Not even midi controllers, just ableton and my macbook mouse pad. Actually most of my work in the end is just ableton. There is so much you can do with that daw. You have to be a bit creative tho.
You’ve released on so many great labels that are close to a lot of people’s hearts, which release means the most to you?
I’d have to say the releases I did on my own labels. To release a record yourself is a special proces. I have 100% creative control, but also carry 100% of the risk. The ‘Live Fast, Dwayne Young’ release (BODO001 2015) is still very special to me. That marked the start of new phase, and i I can now look back to a string of 17 releases over 4 years. It makes me really happy.
Traveling far and wide gigging while finding studio time and running two record labels must take an incredible amount of time and focus, how do you do it all?
It’s true that i’m quite busy, but if you do what makes you happy it doesn’t feel stressful. For instance now i’ve been soldering synths for 100 hrs a week, but its just great fun. The most important thing is to stay in touch with your inner motivation. I am in the privileged position that i can do things that I love and believe in. I do loose that feeling a couple of times a year and its then very important to take a step back and restructure my activities.
There have been moments that as an artist I get dragged into a particular scene to much and i feel i start working for that cause in stead of my own values. Those are the moments when it starts taking up a lot of energy and it can get very tiring.
It must be a magnificent and proud feeling being the owner of such an influential label such as Bobby Donny, what are some short term and long term plans you have for the label?
There is a new release shipping out in a couple of weeks. BODO011 is by Broke Brotherhood, 2 producers that prefer to stay anonymous but have both been involved with Bobby Donny releases in the past. I don’t really have a long term plan for the label. Its a creative output for me and some of my friends.