Trybe at Fuse Brussels: Interview with Edwin Oosterwal

Clubber Confession is glad to present you a new collaboration with Trybe and Fuse Brussels. We will be partner with them in order to bring you some of the hottest names of the scene with interviews and reviews.

We had the chance to meet with Edwin Oosterwal – dj, producer and label manager for Green and Rejected – during the Trybe night which saw also Joris Voorn on the decks.

The next appointment will be an interview with Claptone which will come at the end of December, so stay tuned for that!

Edwin played a really nice set, starting with a more housey approach and progressively going toward harder sounds. We agreed that playing in a venue like Fuse is something special. This place makes it easier to connect with the crowd, partly because of the atmosphere but also due to the deep electronic music culture that runs in Brussels. During his two hours set, it was really interesting to see him getting more comfortable while the time was passing, most probably thanks to the explosive response of the crowd.

Edwin is a Dutch born artist, in the game for around 25 years, who had the chance to live and travel in many other places around the world. He decided to settle back after a while in his home country, partnering up with his old time friend Joris Voorn. Today he is label manger, dj and producer.

Recently Edwin published on one of his labels (Rejected, the other one is called Green) Elasticity, an interesting EP which will make the fortune of any dj in search of powerful gems to fire up the dancefloor.

But now, let’s get into the conversation.

So Edwin, thank you for this opportunity. Is this the first time you play at Fuse Brussels? How is it playing in this iconic club?

Edwin Oosterwal: Actually I have played here before, I think this has been my fifth time. I always love playing in this place, the connection with the crowd is amazing. In places like this, you don’t really need to think about djing, the records just come to you, it is never a struggle at all. It feels like coming home, it’s one of my favourite clubs.

Believe me, it is special also for us on the other side! We can say that probably the music culture and the long tradition of electronic and dance music of this city has an influence on the attitude of the clubbers. Places like Fuse allows the djs to express themselves freely, is that right?

Edwin Oosterwal: Yes, exactly. You don’t really need to worry about the crowd, because you know they can take it. The freedom you have in a place like Fuse makes your music and you mixing much better, you use this freedom in a positive way. You can take risks and really play the music you love!

A good thing I always notice in this club, so many young people. While EDM and more commercial sounds have been particularly booming in recent times, it is reassuring to see younger generations still fascinated and captured by underground music.

Edwin Oosterwal: that’s a very important thing, true. We need the younger generations. I have been doing this for 25 years now and the people I was playing for when I started… well they don’t go out anymore! Fuse has been around for the same time, more or less, and you can really feel that this place breathes house and techno. People come here for the music!

You have been around for a while, as you said. You are Dutch, but have also been living and playing abroad as well. How has it changed the panorama of electronic music since you started and what did you get from your experiences abroad?

Edwin Oosterwal: back when I started it was another world. First of all, djs were not the superstar they are today, the focus was more on the music. No social media or marketing to be worried about. Sometimes I miss that, but I don’t wanna sound like some old guy, always complaining. It is part of the scene now, and we have to live with that.

I would say that living abroad was really important for me, living in Sidney and New York was such an important experience. I was playing there, not as much as I do now, but especially the time I spent in New York was great. You know, the special disco vibe of this city, New York house has been a big influence on me. It was actually nice to live in this city – the place with clubs like Studio 54, Paradise, Garage – and where so many important things for dance music just began.

This is something we always ask to the artists we meet. We are called Clubber Confession, and we wanna know if you have been a clubber before being a dj.. Do you think this is something important in order to be a good dj?

Edwin Oosterwal: I think it is important. I myself was a clubber before being a dj. As many others, I started djing at home, then I did some small gigs with friends and gradually it became bigger and bigger, but i started clubbing before djing.

I think it helps a lot, you know what may work for the dancefloor, you have a better connection with the crowd. It definitely helps you understand better the people dancing in front of you.

You are currently managing two labels, Green and Rejected, together with your partner in crime Joris Voorn. We talked with him a few weeks ago at ADE (here the interview with Joris) and we discussed the main reasons why you decided to have two different projects running in parallel. Now I am curious to hear you on this, so what are for you the main differences between Green and Rejected?

Edwin Oosterwal: Green was actually Joris’ label for releasing his own music. When I came back to the Netherlands from Sidney in 2005, we started to make music together and decided to release it on our own label Rejected. The idea behind Rejected was mainly to publish music ready for the club, ready for the dance floor. While Green has a broader approach, with a more complex musical offer, Rejected is designed for dj and for the dance floor.

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of being able to meet so many talented djs and artists is to see how many different paths can lead to the same result, which is turning your passion into a profession. Many djs had proper musical training, other just learned by doing. In which category do you fall? Did you grew up in a musical environment? Did you have a formal musical training?

Edwin Oosterwal: No, I didn’t have a proper musical training, I just taught myself by doing it, trying and trying with patience and dedication. I also found the opportunities given by social media, especially YouTube, very helpful. If you are a young dj or producer, I would strongly advice you to spend some time digging into YouTube videos, you can find almost everything there and it is a very easy and affordable way of learning things about music theory, arrangements and anything you might need. If you know where to look, everything is online nowadays…

Another difference from the past, in today’s electronic music scene, is that almost every dj is a producer and viceversa, you included. Which one of these two aspects of your profession you enjoy most? And is it really necessary to be a producer if you are a dj?

Edwin Oosterwal: I don’t think it is necessary, there are a lot of good djs that are not good producers and the other way around. So you can be a dj without being a producer and you can produce fantastic music without touring the world and playing every weekend.

Speaking about myself, I was firstly a dj. I have been making music for a while now, but in the past this wasn’t really my main focus. In the last few years I have been investing increasingly more time in the studio, and I think I am starting to appreciate the producing side more and more. I still consider myself a dj first, but I would say now the gap has narrowed.. I would say 60% vs 40%.

Going a bit broader on the electronic music scene, we have witnessed in the last decade to a fast growth of dance music, which became now a massive phenomenon, also in terms of economic and commercial impact. Given that house and techno started as underground cultures, as safe spaces for the outcasts, what is the role today of dance music and clubbing in relations with the whole society?

Edwin Oosterwal: I am not a big fan of keeping what we are doing as underground, and I am not even sure if there is still something we can call underground. Now electronic music is everywhere and we cannot really talk about underground anymore.

Still, I think that today the scene is really good and has a lot of potential. It is also very open to young people, offering them many opportunities to get together and live an experience where – even if for just a few hours – everyone is accepted. Even if this not underground anymore, at least in the way we intended it in the past, this is the legacy we should keep from the past: an open minded culture where everyone can be free and accepted.

Check Edwin’s music and events on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Have a look to the sick music released by Green and Rejected!