Interview by Maya-Rose Torrao
What happens when you combine three top-quality underground labels from Amsterdam, an out-of-the-box DIY approach to music, and a passion for collaboration? It’s not a trick question, the answer is De Lichting, a collaborative project between labels Yield Records, Native Response and Working Titles. Self-described as “a coming of age story narrated by a bunch of music heads from the same city,” De Lichting are quickly solidifying themselves as a staple when it comes to releasing quality tracks in the realms of house, ambient and techno.
Using vinyl as their medium of choice for their quality compilation LPs, De Lichting have just dropped their brand new offering, a 2LP vinyl compilation called ‘Twee’, featuring a host of talented artists, including Boris Acket, Nathan Surreal, queniv, Kaap, Human Space Machine, RDS and Eversines. This release follows on from the highly successful release of De Lichting‘s first compilation, ‘Één’.
You can purchase ‘Twee’ here.
The Playground was lucky enough to premiere a track from ‘Twee’, a beautifully churning piece by electronic producer Kaap, which flawlessly blends 707 drums, grungy textures and a rolling 16th bass, and goes right in the feels: ‘Hartzeer’.
Listen to Kaap’s ‘Hartzeer’, below.
We caught up with the guys from De Lichting and chatted about jamming together, being a ‘DIY’ label and what’s in store for the future.
Before we dive right in, set the scene for us – what sparked the creation of the De Lichting collective?
A big part of the group knows each other for quite a while already back from college. Fast forward to today, new friendships occurred and joined the family. We all separately had our own thoughts and vision about making, releasing and enjoying music. There was a big overlap, but somehow we didn’t thought about the fact it could be one collective. It seems we needed to explore certain things ourselves first before we started this joint venture, hence the 3 labels Native Response, Working Titles and Yield. At a certain point, we noticed it simply made more sense to collaborate and start showing the listeners “our” spectrum as a whole.
What’s on De Lichting’s current playlist?
A lot, as we’re with 7 at the moment. We like to go back in time or search for the new kids on the block. There’s nothing in particular but things like; Forest Drive West, Boards of Canada, Helena Hauff, Yves Tumor, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Alice Coltrane, Binh, Anna Haleta, Susumu Yokota, Eli Verveine, Lux, Peverelist, Valentino Mora, Adam F, Neinzer, Beatrice Dillon, Parallel 9, stuff of the Nous Klaer family and more are being rinsed. Next month it may be totally different again or not… The mix of genres on the De Lichting compilations vary, but are all held together by a unique dreamy, acid undercurrent.
How did you manage to curate this specific sound for the releases?
We didn’t curate anything. Basically, making and sharing music together thrived to a sound. There’s absolutely no magic trick to it. Let’s say who keeps company with the wolves, will learn to howl.
De Lichting is not only focussed on its great releases – you guys have recently been involved in some really exciting events, such as the 2018 ADE events. Tell us a bit more about De Lichting’s role in live performance and events.
Over time, all of us simultaneously worked on our solo projects; doing gigs, releasing records and the other necessary things you need to do as an artist. Before ‘Één’ dropped, people kind of knew who we were, but never seen or listened to our music as a collective coherent experience. They never were aware of the strong history among us. We started doing showcases recently to be able to tell our story as a collective. The performances vary in back-to-backs, live performances and solo DJ sets. Thanks to the showcases we have the creative freedom to perform however we feel like. We may have an idea of a time-table, but when somebody feels like closing, we give that artist the opportunity to do so. No artist needs to be bound this way. We do try to respect each other’s preferences and try to share the same amount of time on stage.
What can fans expect from the upcoming ‘De Fabriek Invites De Lichting‘ show, happening this Friday? *
There’ll be mainly back to back sessions and queniv will perform his new live set. We’re excited to check what he’s up to and also curious how the crowd will respond to it.
In terms of releases, De Lichting’s ‘Één’ was the debut 2LP release from the project – how was the response and support for the first release?
We’re happy with the response. People really seem to enjoy ‘Één’ and were surprised about the consistency of it. As you can imagine, we’re excited to receive the feedback of our new compilation.
Now you’ve got your next compilation, ‘Twee’, coming up for release on November 30th – congrats! What would you like people to know about this release in particular?
We want people to simply enjoy the music. There’s no need to know anything in particular about the release. As long as the music resonates with the listener, in any sense, the music reached its goal.
De Lichting aims to take a “diverse collaborative approach” with its releases – can you expand on what that means for artists involved in the collective?
A big part of our collaborative approach is sharing unfinished music with each other. It creates opportunities to provide feedback or useful suggestions in the process of producing. This creates a sense of shared involvement in our individual work. Apart from that, we also visit each other regularly and just end up jamming together. Besides being in the studio together or having our label meetings, being a close group of friends and hang in a bar talking about whatnot works as well.
What does the De Lichting label provide for artists that another label wouldn’t be able to?
The same reason why everybody else starts a label; creative freedom. We started De Lichting with the incentive to be free of any restrictions or agenda, other than our own ideas and efforts. When working with others labels, one might be limited somewhere in the process of releasing a record. However, labels differ widely in how they collaborate with an artist, but we just felt like doing it ourselves. The whole label is D.I.Y. inside and out.
What difficulties have you had to overcome to make sure that De Lichting is exactly what you want it to be?
We all have our own schedules and lives. Many of us have a day job besides DJ’ing and producing music, so it can be a bit of a struggle to bring everybody together on a specific moment or to make definite decisions about whatever needs to be decided. Definitely when somebody is living abroad for a period of time like Nathan Surreal does at the moment. He’s living in Sheffield for a year, but that doesn’t stop us to keep everybody involved. The internet is a great tool to keep everybody updated. De Lichting is what it is. We are who we are and that’s exactly what it’ll be. It’ll transform with us as we transform.
Any emerging/unknown/upcoming artists on your radar that you think the world should know about?
Miss Jay, Adam Pits, Mateis E. Aqir, Tr6y, Nadia Struiwigh, Animistic Beliefs, Andrea Cichecki, Vlada and there are loads more. Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled.
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from De Lichting in 2019?
A lot more music, for sure. We have a bunch of new ideas that’ll come to fruition. The concept will most likely stay the same, but we might do some experimental alterations. Again, keep your ears open and your eyes peeled.