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“I’ve learned to be deaf to other opinions” Wouter S interview

Kompai label owner, producer, and DJ Wouter S has made a strong mark on the Dutch scene over the past decade, with releases on Unknown to the Unknown, Waze & Odyssey’s Street Track, and Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse Records, among others.

His latest release is a remix of Mees Mattern’s “Da Slapper” on Huxley’s Dumb Safari imprint. With the remix out now, we caught up with Wouter for a chat.

How did your early experiences in the Utrecht underground music scene shape your approach to techno and house music?

Utrecht was amazing in the first decade of the 2000s. There were loads of illegal raves and high-quality clubs. People like Sven Väth and Chris Liebing played here a lot. I attended events, observed how they played, and thought, “I want to do this better.” So, I tried.

Which artists or genres have had the most significant impact on your musical style and why?

Anything between house, garage, and techno. I like the combination of these three styles, so I try to blend them in my sets.

Hosting successful monthly parties at Poema from 2011-2012 was pivotal for your career. How do you think these events influenced the local music scene?

When I started these parties, they were quite influential nationwide. Nobody was pushing the UK sound, and I booked unique names ranging from Bicep to DJ EZ to DJ Haus to DJ Q. We hosted big events in cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The local scene is currently quite steep, but Hush stands out, selling out monthly events in the house scene.

Can you walk us through your creative process when producing a new track? How do you start and develop your ideas?

Honestly, I just start with a small loop, smoke a joint, and let my mind do the rest. All jokes aside, I get inspired by going to parties and hearing my favorite DJs. I remember the patterns and try to recreate them in my own way.

What drew you to remix “Da Slapper,” and how did you approach putting your unique spin on it while respecting the original track’s essence?

Mees contacted me about making a remix for him. I listened to the tune and thought it was tight but could flow better. I added my own kick, created a groovier bass, and remixed the stems I received. That’s why it’s quite similar yet different from the original.

How has the response been to your remix of “Da Slapper,” and what feedback have you received from fans and fellow artists?

People I respect, like Cevin Fisher and Terry Francis, gave their opinions. Those are names I highly rate. I don’t focus much on others’ opinions of my music. It’s art—some people love it, some hate it. I’ve learned to be deaf to other opinions to stay true to my style, but I do hope everyone likes it.

You’ve worked with artists across various genres, from minimal techno to jacking house. How do these collaborations influence your sound?

I’ve worked with many big names in the scene, from huge EDM producers to small local producers. I enjoy collaborating because you always learn something new. These collabs have influenced my sound and can be heard in every track I put out.

You’ve played at major festivals like Loveland and opened for Fatboy Slim. Which performance stands out as particularly memorable, and why?

The one performance I’ll never forget is TOFFLER Festival 2015. I played the slot before MK, with three other headlined stages at the same time. After 2-3 tunes, the area filled up to 7000+ people all going all in. At that point, I felt like I was in god mode.

The electronic music scene is always evolving. How do you balance staying true to your sound while also adapting to new trends?

As a DJ, I’m quite eclectic. I play house, techno, and garage, but always within the Wouter S spectrum. I’d never adapt to a sound I don’t like. However, I tend to be a crowd-pleaser and a crowd reader. Regarding new trends, I’m not a big fan of trance and hard techno. I’d never adapt to that. The music industry goes in circles, and eventually, it will flip to a sound I love again.

What are your goals for the next few years?

My goals are to put out more music and play more shows abroad. I’ve focused a lot on playing in the Netherlands because I love my own bed the most.

Da Slapper is out now on Dumb Safari

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