Q & A: Nobody Beats The Drum Want to Make You Party
By Lindsey Lonadier on March 14, 2012
Fusing a wide range of genres including electronica, house, hip hop, and more, Nobody Beats the Drum has become a Dutch dance-music sensation. Jori Collignon and Sjam Sjamsoedin produce all the music while Rogier Van Der Zwaag creates the video productions, and together the three perform a uniquely unforgettable live audio/visual experience that is known to get the crowd going crazy. They've performed at several Dutch music festivals and throughout the UK, Russia and US. In 2011 the band released two albums, Currents which was composed of their original work andRemixes We Did, consisting of a selection of remixes they made for other artists including Étienne De Crécy, Zuco 103, Shameboy, Aux Raus and others. Look out for Nobody Beats the Drum as they prepare for their upcoming US festival tour which will include stops at SXSW, Ultra, Sasquatch, The Governors Ball and Electric Forest Music Festivals beginning in March 2012.
Your live shows are a combination of Sjam and Jori's musical production with Rogier's visuals, creating what some have called a "sensual assault that's impossible to withstand". Do you create the music and visuals simultaneously or one before the other, and how would you describe the process of combining the two?
Rogier (R): It really depends, but somehow it always comes naturally. When Sjam en Jori are working together on a new track, I normally drop in at their studio to get a sneak peek of what they are making, or I ask them to send over some sketches, with that I start working. Sometimes I just have an idea of what i would like to do visually, and just start making it. After I'm finished, I wait till Sjam and Jori make something I can combine it with. In some cases we sit together and start with an idea before we make anything. We're living and working pretty close to each other back in Amsterdam so It's real easy to stay involved.
You guys have played at both small clubs and large festivals, which one do you prefer to perform at and do you switch up your set or visuals according to where you're performing?
R: maybe the answer is to easy, but I like 'm both. We have always had a really big impact on small, crowded places, and maybe I still like that the best. I like it when there is actually not enough space for people to move, but the music forces them to make space for themselves anyway. That always creates an interesting dynamic, haha. But of course, a 1000+ group of people is always really impressive to perform for, it's amazing to see the dynamic and energy coming back from such a group of people. Right now we have the 333" show, which involves a visual installation that can fit on every stage that is wider than 9 yards. It works with both small and bigger crowds. If we can't play that show, we'll just use whatever the venue can supply us.
Your music has been described a fusion of electro, hip-hop, breaks, and other various genres, how would you describe Nobody Beats The Drum's style and do you think it has evolved or changed since you all first began in 2008?
Sjam ($): There's room for any style, but we always cover it in NBTD-sauce. That sauce is mostly made of electro, rave, breakbeats. It has changed over the years. When we started there was definitely more hiphop in there. We used way more samples. Our way of working changed, we went crazy with the (analog) synths, 808 and 909 sounds. We abandoned scratching. Slowly but surely we were starting to enjoy "four to the floor" beats. When we started out, we considered that totally uncool and uncreative haha! Now i like the "four to the floor" as an outline to get creative over, but we will always keep experimenting with other (broken) beats and tempi.
The crowd at your live shows are known to get really into it and for their non-stop dancing. Was a high level of crowd involvement one of your initial goals when you first began to create music or was it just a bonus? Has it affected how you've created recent tracks?
$: We have a little book we wrote things down in when we first started the band. The first sentences are something like "making people party" and "mayhem on the dance floor". So that was the idea from the start. I think we grew as a band, and the way we approach this and the buildup of the set has changed over the years.
You sample the Beastie Boys in your track "Nine Doors" and have done remixes for the legendary French electronic producer Étienne De Crécy, any other artists you guys would like to remix or work with? Which ones would you like to collaborate in a live set with?
$: Actually, it's not a Beastie Boys sample! Many people think that, but it's not =) If can be called a fan of anything over the years it would be them and I would obviously love to work with them. Pauls Boutique is probably my favourite album ever. Apart from them there are sooo many artists we love and would like to work with, ranging from singers like M.I.A. via musicians like The Black Keys to producers like Erol Alkan. We haven't been looking into a lot of collaborations, because we want to prove we can do it on our own. But in the future we'll surely look for interesting combinations. Interesting people: call us!
Blood On My Hands
Catch Nobody Beats The Drum will be Stateside this month. Full dates are listed below. For more information on the band visit: http://www.nobodybeatsthedrum.com/
March 16 - C3C3 508 House for Virgin Mobile, SXSW - Austin, TX
March 17 - Do512/Shinerbock Closing Night, SXSW - Austin, TX
March 23 - Ultra Music Festival - Miami, FL
March 24 - Mekka (UMF After Party) - Miami, FL
March 25 - Eve Night Club - Miami, FL
March 30 - Webster Hall (w/Vitalic) - New York, NY