ALMOST A DECADE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WITH AN IMPRESSIVE CV OF GIGS & RELEASES TO DATE, WE SPOKE TO ROB HES AHEAD OF HIS STELLAR UPCOMING RELEASE ON HIS OWN IMPRINT 'PURSUIT'...
Hello Rob, thanks for taking the time to speak to us at Virtus, where are you right now?
You're welcome guys. I’m at my home in Hoorn, that’s in the Netherlands. You probably never heard of it. But it’s around 40km from Amsterdam.
You've been in the scene for a number of years now...can you tell us how you first became interested in electronic music and taking the career path of a DJ?
I was interested in music early, and when I was around 10 years old I discovered electronic music. My first music addiction was actually hardcore music (gabber), it was really popular in Holland at that time. I remember I was too young to go to parties, so I bought a lot of cd’s and videotapes of parties like Thunderdome. I loved to watch all the DJ’s playing and doing their tricks, so from that time I knew I wanted to be a DJ.
Have you only released music as Rob Hes, or have you experimented with any different alias'?
Yes, I had a lot of aliases, but didn’t release under them that much. I had some vinyl releases back in the day when I did hardcore. My alias then was Devillien. And after that I did releases under the name Spetterphat. Funny thing, because I signed an EP on Gabriel Ananda’s label, Gabriel asked me why I used this difficult name Spetterphat and not my own name Rob Hes. So, he convinced me to change my name and the rest is history!
Since your first Rob Hes releases back in 2012 the techno scene has changed quite substantially, how would you describe the path your own sound has taken over the last few years?
Wow time flies! I started to produce techno in 2010 and as you read above I came from hardcore. It took me a long time to discover how to make a techno track. It’s so different compared to the other style, but I think I really found my own style eventually. If I am listening to my own music, I find it hard to hear my ‘style’ but a lot of people always say to me that they can hear a new track and know it’s one of mine, so I guess that's a good thing!
Starting a record label seems a natural progression for most producers that want full control of their own output...has it been a simple process to create your own brand to share with the world?
Indeed, it was a natural progression, but it was not a simple process! If I’m doing something I want to do it good. For example, choosing a name and find an artwork concept with my artwork guys cost me almost a year. But I’m really happy with it and it feels right to me. I’m also really picky with signing music. So, it took a lot of time, but it still does now, but I hear some really amazing feedback on the promos we have been working on, so its all worth it.
What are your plans with Pursuit in the near future, any upcoming EP's and events we should watch out for?
We have a lot of releases coming. My next solo EP is coming with a remix by Ron Costa. We have the ‘Wild Cards 02’ compilation coming out in October with Loco & Jam, Carlo Ruetz, Dennis Apec and Black Odyssey, who is doing well with his track ‘Antares’. Nicole Moudaber is playing it a lot.
The main thing that I’m trying to create is my own Pursuit family. It’s hard to find new talent that blow your mind, but when I do I really want to help them by giving them a platform, along with the advice they need. We can also help them with securing remixes and collabs with artists which they would never have had access to before. This is what we did with Duss, two talented producers from Poland, and they have their EP out in December.
And finally, I am doing my very first label showcase at ADE this year. Because there is so much competition I decided to do it at a Thursday from 14.00-21.00 with a really low entrance fee of €5. So people on a budget can also come and party. It will be a really intimate party for 275 people. And I’m so happy with the line-up: Kaiserdisco, Loco & Jam, Joran van Pol, Duss, Teenage Mutants, SAMA and myself.
After many gigs in different parts of the globe, can you name one stand out Rob Hes show that you will never forget?
I had a lot of unforgettable gigs, but recently I played at Tomorrowland at an amazing stage with DJ’s like Sven Vath, Richie Hawtin and Nina Kraviz. Everything was perfect that day. The room was packed, and I decided that day to play only Pursuit stuff and my own music. I recorded my set, go check it out.
In a congested world of constant music being released on a daily basis, do you have any artists that you are really digging at the moment?
I love to discover new artists. I was this year at Dancefair with Pursuit and did a demo drop. A lot of people came by with a demo where I listened to their music together and gave them feedback etc. Here I discovered Dennis Apec, a fellow dutchman. At that time, he had something catchy, but also a lot of things I didn’t like. But Dennis really listened to my feedback and couple weeks later I signed his first track. Now he has his own EP coming in November with a great remix by Teenage Mutants and more is coming.
In the studio, what is your go-to plugins or hardware that you love to use in your music?
Because it’s summer here at the moment, I do not use a lot of my hardware, as my studio becomes a sauna. Lately though, I discovered Neutron Elements – this plugin is so amazing. Its next level mixing. It works really fast. I also like to work with all Arturia synths – they’re always good!
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting a career as a DJ/Producer, what would it be?
For people who start now? I really believe in the 10.000-hour rule. What means practice 10,000 hours in your studio until you reach a professional level. Or in other words: Work your ass off!
Finally, where we can catch you next for a live set?
For me my next gig is a Festival in Belgium: Jungle Rave on 15th of September. Another gig I really looking forward is Fabrik in Madrid at November 17th.
Pre-order ‘State Of Mind’ EP: https://www.beatport.com/release/state-of-mind/2369023