Joris Voorn sits at the epicenter of the Dutch electronic music scene, the most renowned and instantly recognizable artist from Holland, representing underground house and techno on a wider global stage. For a country with a population of just seventeen million Holland’s contribution to world electronic music is unsurpassed. While house and techno trace their roots to the marginal and mainly black American underground, its taken a relatively small country in the European lowlands to flip electronic music on its head and turn it into the global powerhouse it is today.
Having played around the world at some of the world's biggest festivals and clubs, Joris has garnered quite the fan following over the years. He also successfully runs his own radio show called Spectrum Radio which recently completed 100 episodes. We caught up with Joris Voorn in Miami during Miami Music Week last month and spoke to him about his upcoming music, his record label, early influences, Amsterdam and much more. Read the full interview below.
Hello Joris, thank you for having a word with us. How are you doing?
Of course! I’m doing great, thanks.
When we think of Awakenings, your name is the first one that pops up in our minds. From playing at their festivals worldwide to curating their annual festival for your own night, how has the association been with Awakenings over the years?
My first time at Awakenings was in 2003 and I really love playing there, I have only missed one or two years. I am very happy with the opportunity to host my own ‘Joris Voorn & Friends’ stage at Awakenings festival again this year. This really gives me a connection with the festival, more than other gigs or festivals I play at.
Amsterdam – the modern day mecca for underground music and also your home. How often do you like to play in your hometown? How different is the vibe in Amsterdam as compared to the other shows you do around the world?
I love playing in Amsterdam. I feel like the scene in Amsterdam is better than ever. So many great artists are playing in the best clubs here. There’s no city as alive and crazy as Amsterdam.
You have a new album coming, could you tell us more about how the album is shaping up? When do you plan to release it?
I try not to say too much about albums anymore because an album can take up to a few years to make and I made the mistake before that I announced my album in an interview and it had to be postponed. I don’t want the fans to be disappointed so I don’t give away too much information these days.
Talking about your early influences, which were some of the artists and clubs that influenced your music? What are some of the changes that you have seen in the culture over the years, positive and negative?
Some of my major inspirations have been Karl Hyde and Jeff Mills. Those guys have done so much for the dance scene and their music is legendary. What I can tell nowadays, is that social media is becoming a standard for the new talent. You have to be visible to stand out, I think that has changed. Of course it’s great that we can share all of our thoughts and events, but do we have to?
With the rapid advancement in the technology around a DJ, how important is it for a DJ to adapt and evolve with the new tech? At the same time there are a few artists like yourself that continue to maintain the balance between the old and new, how do you do it?
Things are always changing and evolving, and for a DJ it could be handy to get along with the new tech and it is important to keep up with time a little bit. But I don’t think it’s a necessity to make use of all the new technology. There are so many DJ’s that still love to play vinyl and that’s still very much appreciated as well. I like to find a balance between old school and what’s happening nowadays because I enjoy both sides and want to keep a bit of the past, but also move along with the future.
Which aspect of your music do you enjoy more, the production or the DJ’ing and why?
Both sides are so different. Producing your own track is so rewarding, I love creating. DJ’ing is amazing, standing in front of a crowd, sharing my love for music with them. It’s so hard to compare the two because for me they’re equally as great.
Your label Green has been doing exceptionally well over the last few years. What are some of the challenges you face with running the label while carrying on with your busy touring schedule? Any new music we should watchout for on Green in 2019?
I’m living a busy life, for sure. The biggest challenge may be that I want to invest so much in both, but you only have so much time, you know. When I’m travelling, I like to take my time to work on Green. We are having major plans with the label and you can definitely expect some new music this year. One of those plans is the shift in name, but more news about that is on its way.
You have played Vh1 Supersonic here in India on a couple of occasions? What was it like to play in front of the Indian audience? Will we see you coming back anytime soon?
The gig at Vh1 Supersonic was amazing. Indian people are also really into the music and their energy is really infectious. I noticed that they had a lot of energy during the party but when I was in town they were like really relaxed! A big cultural difference with my hometown Amsterdam.
How was Miami Music Week for you this year?
Miami Music Week is a really great festival and the main thing I love is the weather! MMW really feels like a vacation because of the sun, the pools and the people that are in holiday-mode! My plans for this year were spinning at Day 3 of Ultra Music Festival and I’m also hosted my own Spectrum party, so yeah, I had a great time during this edition!