At the beginning of the year, I stumbled upon an album that'd COMPLETELY redefine my perception of "Progressive House". I'm talking about This is Not Our Universe, the chart-topping sophomore album by Dutch Electronic duo Tinlicker. Through this remarkable project and a slew of other monumental releases under Anjunadeep, mau5trap, and Armada... The name Tinlicker (Micha Heybroer and Jodi van Achtoven) is mentioned among the modern heavyweights of Electronic dance music as they welcome audiences to a garden-fresh sound that's reluctant to be pigeonholed, especially since they pull from a range of unlikely influences.
This is what amazes crowds about Tinlicker, however it's their ability to craft deeply emotive moments that anyone from around the globe can relate to that have people so attached to their artistry. Their latest 2 track EP Hypnotised/I Can Feel with Spanish DJ and producer Dosem acts as a shining example of that sentiment while simultaneously serving as absolute dance-floor bangers. In this interview Tinlicker shares with us the challenges around releasing the EP, dealing with expectations, and much more.
You've mentioned that on the first few studio dates you had when you met for the first time, that everything clicked so well. Which areas do both of you specialize in respectively which make your production process as a team work so well?
We’re both really good at making tea and complaining about the weather. Besides that, it might be the combination of my (Micha) Drum’n’Bass background and the endless knowledge Jordi has of Dance music in general. This creates a fresh way of looking at mastering/mixing and arranging and lets us think outside of the box we don’t want to be trapped in.
"Tinlicker, the duo who is the modern face of Dutch progressive dance music" - that is a quote I came across from a 2020 interview you guys did. I'm quite curious about how you feel about that statement? And how do you deal with the pressure of having so many eyes and expectations on you?
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We don’t see ourselves as the face of progressive dance music. I guess we don't see ourselves as the face of anything except our own lives unless this is the matrix haha. We try not to think about other people's expectations. The biggest challenge is living up to your own standards while experimenting with new ‘musical’ directions.
What are some of the memories you cherish most about the early years of Tinlicker before you guys really blew up?
The cold beers while being happy with a shit tune we finished :P
It's been nearly 2 years since the release of your iconic album This Is Not Our Universe and looking back, what lessons did you learn from the creation process and the release that you apply to your current projects?
That's a hard question. Maybe that sticking to your gun eventually pays off. I mean in the beginning people found it really hard to place us. Our music didn’t really fit anywhere, as It was a blend of a lot of genres, but we believed in it. It took quite a long time for the puzzle to fall into place, but now that it did it allows us to keep following our own path.
I guess this is a question on the mind of many Dosem and Tinlicker fans... How did you guys initially meet and what inspired the idea to release a project together?
We initially met Dosem at an Anjunadeep open-air show in London. He closed the night and did that very well, so we invited him to play at our ‘Remember the Future’ party in Utrecht as we love his ‘Techno’ approach to the music and during dinner we just decided a collaboration could be fun.
What were some of the VST's and gear you guys mainly used during the creation process?
Anything with a reverbbbbbb…… We always use the Valhalla reverbs, Glue compressor, Diva, Repro- 5, Sound toys - Crystalizer, etc Then again it’s not really about which plugins to use, more what you do with them.
What would you say was the most challenging aspect of the production process of Hypnotised/I Can Feel?
Not being able to test them out in a club due to covid. Both these tunes are made for the dancefloor and with everything being closed for a long time it was hard to maintain the right feeling of what these tunes are all about. We’re still curious how they sound live.
How are you trying to make people feel, or what kind of space are you wanting to put people in after they've experienced the project?
The feeling of being able to dance again with strangers in unknown places.
In general, how is your music received in Holland compared to the rest of the world?
Somehow it's a Dutch thing to underappreciate its own talent, so as a musician you have to prove yourself outside of The Netherlands before getting recognition at home. However during this pandemic, we noticed we gained a lot of love here which is great. I guess when we can start doing shows again we’ll see where we stand.
In which ways would you say the Electronic music scene in Holland has changed compared to when you first started playing gigs throughout the country?
I think the acceptance of this ‘new’ progressive sound has gained a lot of ground all around the globe. People have opened up to blending genres. Which we think is really healthy for the evolution of the music we love.
From following you on social media, your tour schedule looks quite hectic (esp before 2020). You guys are in different cities so often. So how do you maintain relationships with friends from home and maintain the spark between you and your partners?
It's not easy, that's why we also play shows individually, so the other one can maintain those relationships at home and even then it’s something to keep fighting for.
Quote you'd put on a billboard?
Be humble you fool
So... 1) An artist/band you would have a D.M.C (Deep Meaningful Conversation), 2) An artist/band you'd love to party with. 3) An artist you would like to be your mentor? You're welcome to pick from artists/bands who are retired/dead.
Micha / Jordi
1 Madonna / Kevin Parker
2 Eddie Vedder / Slipknot
3 Tom Yorke / Johann Johannsson