Dutch DJ Deepend is synonymous with positive vibes, keeping dance floors full and dance fans enthusiastic. Led by Falco van den Aker, Deepend ensures its creations rise above the dance music pool by creating a signature sound. Colliding house roots with groovy, melodic and pop elements, music has created a studio crush for Falco. His live shows do not disappoint either, mesmerizing crowds from Ushuaia & Pacha in Ibiza, Tomorrowland & Sziget, to nailing a 10-show supporting tour with David Guetta throughout Europe.
We had a chat with Deepend at ADE 2018 and spoke to him about getting into electronic music, taking charge of Deepend and loads more.
T.H.E – How is Amsterdam Dance Event going on for you?
Deepend – It’s going very well actually, it started yesterday. I played two shows at the Radio 538 and the Spinnin Sessions, my label. So yeah, we had a great start.
T.H.E – As an artist, whenever you visit the Amsterdam Dance Event. What are the kind of goals or what is the kind of highlights you set for yourself before coming here?
Deeepend – Yeah, like Amsterdam Dance Event for me is all about meeting people. Like during the year, you are in touch by email maybe and Amsterdam Dance Event is an opportunity to meet everyone in person. So, I am touring a lot and all the promoters, club owners, press, DJ colleagues come to Amsterdam and we hang out. So, for me, the most important reason is to see everyone in person. Have some beers, have some fun and that’s where the plan starts for the rest of the year. Like “hey, we should do a collab or like hey, we should do a release.” That’s how it works!
T.H.E – Did you already plan collaborations with anyone here at ADE 218?
Deepend – Yeah, not like any real confirmed collaborations but yeah you are meeting a lot of DJ’s. You get drunk sometimes, which is like helpful (laughs) so yeah, that’s how it works. It’s so, yeah, it’s fun to catch up with everyone! And after ADE, you start following up on all these things and then the planning starts for the new season.
T.H.E – And talking about collaborations, which artist do you want to collaborate with?
Deepend – I think, a collaboration with my friends in the business – Lucas & Steve, for instance, would be a very cool one. We’ve known each other for years & years. And we were playing really small gigs in the south of the Netherlands because we were living there. And we actually grew up together in this industry so it would be really nice to do a collaboration with them.
T.H.E – Any other artists?
Deepend – I did, like, a collaboration with Sam Feldt two years ago. The track’s called “Runaways”.
T.H.E – Yup.
Deepend – Which did very well so I think it would be a very good idea to follow it, to make a follow up on “Runaways”.
T.H.E – Definitely! I mean, I personally love the single.
Deepend – Oh yeah. Oh great, that’s great to hear.
T.H.E – So kudos on that!
Deepend – Yeah! Thank you very much!
T.H.E – In terms of your sounds, right. Have you always been into deep house or did you have an interest in other genres as well?
Deepend – Yeah, definitely! When I really started, like in the early days, I started making hip-hop beats… just for fun. And then I discovered dance music. And like normally as a producer, when you start, you just start with making music that you like. And you start to copy music, so I did like progressive house, which was really big then. Like to the early days of Swedish House Mafia and Eric Prydz.
And then the EDM became big.
T.H.E – Big Room.
Deepend – Yeah, the big room sound. And then for me, I wanted to be more melodic, so I went to deep house. And I started to develop this and then I came into deep house, which came on the radio. And suddenly, you are maybe producing pop music. It’s just like pop with electronic elements. It’s like so many genres… tropical house… everything.
T.H.E – How did you discover dance music?
Deepend – I think it was through the radio and through friends. As a friend of mine was like really into DJing back then, he started to send me music. Like the early releases of David Guetta. This kind of music and then suddenly, it became mainstream. So that’s when I discovered dance music pioneers like David Guetta, Tiesto and Armin van Buuren.
T.H.E – Now you focused specifically about how deep house is the kind of territory you of operate in.
Deepend – Yeah.
T.H.E – Do you see that continuing?
Deepend – I see that my taste is changing, or my style is developing. And I think it’s quite normal as an artist, you’re always evolving.
T.H.E – It happens with every artist.
Deepend – Yeah, working on new ideas and that’s how you become an artist. So, I’m really like into, let’s say, like radio music. So, it’s like deep house… tropical with pop music. I make music straight for radio streaming, like “Runaways” with Sam Feldt. But in my DJ sets, I play higher energy music.
T.H.E – Club friendly, yeah.
Deepend – Yeah, club. So, I make club mixes of my radio songs but now I’m really focusing on proper club tracks as well.
T.H.E – That’s interesting.
Deepend – Yeah, so that’s my focus for next year – to produce more club music, in addition to radio. I will keep doing radio.
T.H.E – Whenever you make music, what kind of pressure do you go through because you are already an established producer. You make a sound for yourself which people know that Deepend is putting out something.
Deepend – Yeah.
T.H.E – There’s an expectation that comes with it for your fans?
Deepend – Yeah. It’s like, I think the sound is something that develops quite naturally. I don’t have to push it or force it. It just stays really close to myself so the music I release, I really like so that’s easy for me. But like after the first hit, Matt Simons’ Catch & Release, which was #1 in 6 countries. The pressure after that song was great.
T.H.E – Yeah, it had to be.
Deepend – So yeah, you try to fit all those expectations of the crowd and it was quite tough to make music for aboutacceptedhs I guess. Until I realized that, hey, I made this hit when I was just having fun in the studio. And I wasn’t thinking about whether it is suitable for radio or is the arrangement suitable for Spotify or something like that. I was just making music and since then, I’m just focused on making music. And I have also acceped that not every song is going to be a hit. Like all the guys, we all produce a lot of music. And some of them are good but some of them are not that good.
T.H.E – Yeah, not the level of a hit.
Deepend – Yeah, yeah. It’s impossible to create only hits. It’s like even the big artists, like when you listen to Michael Jackson’s album. You listen to some songs from the album and those maybe are hits, but not all. And that’s how it works. So, it’s like making a lot of music, also collaborating, sharing ideas to spark your creativity.
T.H.E – Yeah.
Deepend – And that’s the way to work.
T.H.E – What sparks your creativity when you’re in the studio?
Deepend – I really like to listen to other music so sometimes I check out playlists on Spotify. Or I try to find like some samples or like sometimes, it’s like a drum pattern. Or I go to live sets to discover new music and often during my DJ sets, I play music and then you see the crowd.
T.H.E – How the crowd reacts?
Deepend – And they say “oh, this is really cool”, like the crowd responds to this kind of bassline and then you start to produce something like that. It’s like, just surrounding yourself with music and just like being inspired.
T.H.E – You have obviously played at a lot of festivals and played in lot of cities. Which has been your favorite location?
Deepend – Festival-wise, it’s Tomorrowland. I’ve played there for 3 years in a row right now.
T.H.E – Did you ever attend Tomorrowland as a fan?
Deepend – No.
T.H.E – As a producer?
Deepend – Yeah.
T.H.E – So after your set, did you ever have the chance to visit other sets also?
Deepend – Yeah, yeah definitely. The first year when I played Tomorrowland, you get the opportunity to come as a visitor on the other days. Normally you have to pay, you have like a tight schedule, so you have your DJ set, press things to do around so I spend 1 day, I took a day off to go to Tomorrowland and see all of the stages and all the little details. It’s incredible! So also, the next two years, I always take time to walk around. To see Martin Garrix, close the Main Stage, it’s incredible! So, most of the time, I am bringing my family like last year, I brought my parents with me to Tomorrowland.
T.H.E – That’s actually very nice!
Deepend – And they were like holy f**k, what’s going on.
T.H.E – To them, it would have been a culture shock.
Deepend – Yeah, yeah definitely! Like when they were growing up, they didn’t know festivals, and this was more like a theme park. Like the amount of details, it’s almost like Disneyland for them.
T.H.E – How important have your parents been in helping you grow as a musician?
Deepend – Very important. They’ve always supported me. And before I did music, I was studying engineering and then graduated at the university. And I was like working with a normal career then I decided to make music. I came to my parents and I said like hey, I’m going to quit my job because I love to do music. And they were like super supportive to me. They said like, “hey we trust you, go for it, go chase your dreams.” Yeah, that was super nice!
T.H.E – What tips would you have for upcoming producers?
Deepend – Yeah, the main focus should be music, like your own productions. That’s the way to go! Like, for me, it was like when I started to make my own productions and like the first one, back then Soundcloud was big. And you could share these songs with a lot of DJ ’s and then that started, then people started to download or listen to your song. And it’s like your productions are the only way to be like truly unique. And you see the big festivals, they start to book you when you have like a few good songs. So, I think the focus should be music and like, never give up. Like it’s tough. I also experience it. Like I sent all my songs around 100 times to Spinnin, to Armada and it’s important to not give up. Like I spoke to a lot of people and they think like “hey I’m going to send it to Spinnin Records and now I will wait”. But that’s not how it works!
T.H.E – How did you manage to get out of that?
Deepend – It’s like, we did it back then on Soundcloud. So, we posted a song on Soundcloud and then we started to push it ourselves. So, what we basically did is, back then, Deepend was two people and my colleague, he was into software programming. So, we built like a database with that of all the blogs from all over the world and we started emailing them our music. And he made a system via which he could check if someone had opened the email or not. Then, we sent it to them again and again. A lot of people saw our music and then started to write about it. And back then Hype Machine was big, so we became #1 in the Hype Machine charts 3 times in a row. And then suddenly, the labels come to you because they see that there is something going on. And then, Spinnin sent us an email. So, it’s really about looking for these opportunities and don’t stop sending your music just to the labels but try to attract their attention or like go to ADE, speak to the people from Spinnin Records to get feedback on your tracks. Like all these guys are constantly looking for new talent and if it works out, they see you. They discover everything.
T.H.E – When you guys first started off, you started off as a duo.
Deepend – Yeah.
T.H.E – Right! And now obviously you are the only person that is sort of doing it. What happened?
Deepend – Well, it’s like, we started. We were two friends, Bob and me, and we’ve known each other since primary school. And we were just making music for fun. And then we made this hit sound, which kick-started our career after which we started touring. And last year I had a conversation with Bob and he said to me like “hey, I’m not happy anymore.” He was like, he had two passions, which was music and software programming. And also, whenever we entered a plane, I was making music and he was software programming. Like building apps, websites. He was really into it, so he actually said to me like “hey, I want to do something more with software programming. The music starts to feel like a lot of work, which is not healthy”. So, he decided to quit.
T.H.E – But you guys are still in touch with each other?
Deepend – So we’re still best friends but we just were completely honest about our goals. And he was like, yeah, I am not that motivated anymore.
T.H.E – How do you think Deepend has evolved from being a two-person team to a single person?
Deepend – Yeah, I think, like last year was like really a big step for Deepend. Of course, going solo and my year started with doing an arena tour together with David Guetta, which was my first solo. So, I think it was like the perfect opportunity to present Deepend as a solo act and now I really feel like this is a new start for me. Like I did a lot of big shows, played big arenas. People start to recognize Deepend now as a solo act. And I think with the upcoming music, Deepend next year is going to make big steps.
T.H.E – Lastly, what is the one thing that you do not like about the electronic music industry?
Deepend – Waiting at the airport. (Laughs)
T.H.E – That does apply to all!
Deepend – Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like before this, I worked in the engineering industry and which was like, super formal. Working in an office, like super formal. And now I work in the music industry and the people are so nice. It’s like, it’s so cool to work in the music industry. Like you get to know people from all over the world, everyone shares the same passion for music. But this involves a lot of traveling. And I love traveling, to explore the world. But sometimes I hate to spend the full day at the airport.
T.H.E – Cool. Thanks very much, hey.
Deepend – Yeah! Great!
Deepend has just kicked off a very exclusive video series which you can watch through his FB messenger.