As seen on: http://www.sixaxle.com/2013/04/six-axle-podcast-031-dj-tlr-creme-organization.html
It’s a bit of an honour to introduce the 31st in our podcast series, from DJ TLR, head honcho of Dutch super-label Crème Organization. We’ve been keen admirers of Jeroen and his imprint for years now. Taking inspiration from innovators Bunker Records, he formed Crème Organization back in 2001 as a foundry for the intelligent, jacking, rough round the edges house and techno he plays and loves. In the twelve years since Crème has released records from some of electronic music’s best and brightest: James T. Cotton, Legowelt, Traxx; as well as supporting its future stars: John Heckle, D’Marc Cantu, Willie Burns.
A veteran of institutions like Panoramabar, Concrete and Womb, we expected nothing less than a pulsating hour of music from the fringes of house and techno from Jeroen, and that’s exactly what we got. Titled ‘Until The Night Takes Us’, his mix fluidly moves between raw rhythms and otherworldly melodies, taking in upcoming label releases, rare gems and some of 2013′s hottest records. We fired a few questions at the man below. Read on to find out Jeroen’s lucid, witty thoughts on the immense popularity of brother-from-another-mother label L.I.E.S., the origins of Crème’s striking artwork, the rise of social media, and the legacy he and his friends have forged in The Hague amongst so much bureaucratic bullshit.
Q + A:
Q: hey Jeroen, what’s up? hows things in the Hague?
A: All good, seems like the world is finally becoming green again after what seems an eternity.
Q: Between your label, Bunker and Danny Wolfers, it appears to an untrained eye like your hometown is establishing a pretty vibrant scene; yet by all accounts The Hague is primarily an administrative city. What’s going on? Are all those EU officials discovering techno?
A: I think those EU officials are mainly into Frappuccinos and overpriced organic asshole sandwiches.. there’s some stuff going on here obviously, Godspill, Bunker, Creme, IFM, Legowelt and some younger crews that are really active like BAKK, but for the rest its pretty sleepy. One surgical strike on about 7 individuals would kill pretty much all activity here, as far as our music is concerned anyway. But The Hague has some pretty big ethnic communities that got their own stuff going on that has little crossover with us. Our stuff is all over the place both nationally and internationally, and the artists are from all over the place too. We run from Moscow to L.A. and back.
Q: The aesthetic you’ve pushed since 2001 is enjoying something of a hey-day at the moment. What’s your take on the immense popularity of L.I.E.S. presently? Do you think it’s part of a wider move towards rawer, more intelligent dance music? Or do you think everyone will be back to listening to minimal and tech house in two years time??
A: Its all fine by me. I’ve known the NY crew since 2001 or something and we’ve always hooked up one way or the other, we roll pretty deep. A decade ago we were touring the States with Speculator who we met in Williamsburg when he was still riding a skateboard. These days he’d probably break his hip if he tried. In 2010 or so we played at some loft party in Brooklyn and Morelli gave me a copy of Two Dogs in A House, one of the first LIES. When I got home and listened to it I immediately mailed if they would make some tracks for Creme, but little did I know the man had plans of his own. My main memory of that party is that he openened with some track by Omar Souleyman and it was insanely hot that day with crazy thunderstorms. This was a moment on par with hearing the friday chants at dusk outside the Aya Sofia in Istanbul years ago. In any case, what might be unbeknownst to the hype crowd, we have all been around for a while and I see it as one thing; Mathematics, Nation, LIES, WT, Creme, Bunker and some lesser known labels like FrequeNC and Down Low (if that still exists) and around that a whole underground Euro-trash network with labels like MOS, Signals, Lux, Lunar Disko, DABJ etc etc etc.. All people who have been pushing this sound for years now regardless of what gets the props in Resident Advisor and FACT. I’m talking about people like Jamal Moss, Traxx, Ron Morelli, Speculator and a ton of others. So I think its great this music gets some recognition again, and I don’t really care if its spearheaded by LIES or my green potions brewing grandmother cause we all benefit from it in the end, and deservedly so. Also can’t forget the great work of labels like Clone and Rush Hour, who through the years have been consistently doing what they wanted while creating a vast infrastructure of distribution and promotion. Their work cannot be over estimated.
As far as in two years, who knows. I’ve seen a few swings of the pendulum over time, and no doubt something else will be in the spotlight for a hot second, but we’re here to stay I think. We have been around too long to go away and we have influenced too many people. Besides, our shit’s just too good.
Q: As borderline comic book nerds, we’ve always been drawn to Creme Organization’s ace artwork. Could you tell us a little more about the artist, Godspill? How did you guys meet?
A: At a squat party in the early Bunker Team days. We used to do these parties in a place called the Garage in the early 2000′s.. No Larry Levan references or anything, it really was an old garage. These parties were great like some parties in The Hague can be great, with a bizarre mix of freaks, hooligans, junkies, mental patients and weirdos. So of course Godspill was there. A friend of mine introduced us and from that I don’t really know.. I think he made some stuff for me, maybe it was the Bangkok Impact album and we kindof clicked, we have some weird brother-ive-never-had thing going on. If I wanna make sure to leave no witnesses he’d be the first I’d take out and vice versa probably..
Q: You seem to have embraced the social media age as well as anyone. What’s your take on it all? Do you enjoy sharing opinions with likeminded folks around the world, or do you see dealing with keyboard warriors as an unfortunate requirement for running a label in 2013?
A: Some days I hate it and sometimes I can’t get enough of it really, but it’s become part of the daily routine for better or for worse. I don’t see any reason to bash it too much since it’s brought so many good things and it is pretty empowering for us. In order to keep my sanity though I make sure I am offline for a few hours a day or at least don’t respond to mails or chat things. For the rest I use it in an impersonal way. I learned a long time ago in the forum days that it doesn’t pay to have loud opinions. It doesn’t change anything and it’s just lame in the end, so I usually keep my mouth shut unless I have something positive to say.
Q: Limited pressings are something which is attracting a fair amount of polarised opinion in our industry at the moment, particularly in light of the rise and rise of Discogs. What would you say if I told you there’s a limited pressing Legowelt remix off your label going for £42 on Discogs right now? Does it piss you off that people are taking advantage of the exclusivity that limited pressings entail, or proud that you’ve released a record so hot it’s going for four times the price?
A: I don’t really care, it’s a matter of supply and demand and I have paid silly prices for rare records in the past. If people wanna pay a certain amount for something it that’s their choice, whether or not it’s worth it is entirely subjective and also dependent on someone’s spending power. I don’t have the desire (or the means) to keep everything in print all the time and once I’ve sold it its out of my hands and people can do whatever they want with it. Trying to control that is not something I wanna spend time and energy on.
Q: What’s next for Creme Organization and yourself then? Any particular upcoming records or parties we absolutely shouldn’t miss?
A: I have a pretty bizarre release schedule for the coming months so keeping an eye on the Soundcloud thing might be the best strategy if you wanna know what’s up. I don’t really value one project over the other but on of the bigger one’s at the moment is the upcoming Neville Watson album that’s due for May. Apart from that I have about 8 or 9 releases scheduled for Creme and about 6 for R-Zone, a new label that now runs simultaneously and independently. And thats only the stuff that’s been finalized. For myself, I just keep working on the label and the Godspill mailorder that we run together with Mehdi and Gerben. There I focus mainly on what to buy and some drab stuff like accounting and other assorted office crap like seeing to it there’s enough printer ink. For the rest I DJ and travel around and that’s going quite ok at the moment so lets hope it stays that way. So obviously, any promotor who likes this mix get in touch, I’m cheaper than a high level escort but pretty much guarantee a happy ending.
Q: Finally, could you tell us a little about your mix?
A: Well making these things is a bit of a pass time for me and a good way to listen to new stuff that I can DJ. I just really like to play music at home alone and get in the Zone. Besides I am fortunate enough to get a lot of good promos and unreleased stuff and I get a lot of new releases through the mailorder. By throwing them in the mix I can get to know the tracks and see what works for me. So I end up doing about one or two a week usually. It helps to keep me sharp and people seem to like them too, which is cool.
This one has also got a bunch of new stuff in it, I don’t know what’s out or not really. Some of it might be but it has some upcoming Creme bits, a new Space Dimension Controller, Kowton, Marquis Hawkes a new Viewlexx, Actress remix of Legowelt, a new M>O>S and some mondo trainspotter tunes that you have to figure out yourself. Usually I try to keep an ear out for stuff that is dark and melancholic and dreamy round and I aim for a really beefy bass heavy sound. No pretentious story telling or anything, just stuff I think that works together in a sequence and I’m into hearing with mixes that give me a rush. Usually it depends a bit on my mood of the evening, and lately it has a been more claustrophobic with this ongoing winter mess, but it might be more fluffy again soon when we hit the bbq zone. I usually listen to it a bunch of times in the dark and then go and make a new one when I have enough tracks. Its a very selfish exercise but I figure I have to like it before others can and if it freaks me out enough then I put it out there. One final note, if you listen to it on laptop speakers you’re a pussy!