INTERVIEW: Introducing Dutch DJ duo ‘Magnificence’ (part I)

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The Dutch duo Magnificence (Maurice van der Molen and Robin Klaver) should sound pretty familiar in your ears. With last years hit single ‘With You’ on Revealed recordings, their no. 1 single with Nicky Romero and now signed with PRMD/Warner USA (think Aviici); these guys are on their way to the top. Both being 24 years old from the city of Leeuwarden in Friesland (NL) made us curious about their story.

We don’t know a lot about you guys, but were gonna change that. When did you start DJ’ing?

Maurice: I started DJ-ing when I was like 17, Robin started way earlier though.

Robin: Yeah I started fooling around with music at like age 14/15

Were you guys friends before you started working together?

Maurice: No, we met each other at school. We both wanted to become teachers at that time and eventually that’s how we got in contact with each other. We became best friends right away. We started making music together from that day on and we were in the studio every day! I didn’t even know how to make music but I did really like it. Robin was already really busy making music and he’s the one that taught me how to DJ in the first place. That’s how we got started. We almost immediately got a 3,5 year residency.

Wait you got a 3,5 year residency that fast?

Maurice: Yes at a club in the Netherlands which back then was a pretty famous one. They attracted some big names, think Sean Kingston. The club was called TDF (The Dance Factory), which is one of the biggest venues in the north of The Netherlands.

Oh wow really, yeah that place used to be banging back in the days!

Maurice: So we did 3,5 years there and at one point they even let us do Saturday nights which was awesome because we were only 17 years old! We got signed to Spinnin’ Records and we stopped the residency here to work on our international profile.

What kind of music did you guys start off with?

Robin: Hmm.. where did we start with..

Maurice: Well Robin was a pretty big Nicky Romero fan back then, but we played a lot of dirty house and latin beats.

Robin: We would play a lot of eclectic house with both latin percussive and big room influences

I’m kinda getting some Sunnery and Ryan vibes, am I right?

Robin: Yeah, the vibe Sunnery and Ryan bring is definitely one we appreciate a lot and also they are awesome guys to hang out with as well.

Time to get you guys to New York I hear! How does that work? You guys have no degree in music although Robin is from a musical family and you’re both from a back then really small town (now 2018 European Capital of Culture). How are you planning on making it big?

Maurice: Well, we believe in our creativity and that hard work will pays off! We started like every DJ, which means we would play at birthday parties for 10 year olds, weddings and our resident club. We didn’t know anyone and didn’t have any industry connections. Robin had this old equipment and CD’s at home which never worked and would always fail halfway into the set.

Robin: Yeah that stuff always failed.

Maurice: After years of hard work it finally started growing and it turned into who we are now. We like to think we’re ready to take on the world in the next couple of years, after touring in India and China and doing club shows in Miami, the UK, Belgium and of course The Netherlands

Was there a specific person that saw something in you and wanted to sign you guys?

Robin: Well, in a way we got discovered by Jorn Heringa at ‘Spinnin’ Records’ in 2014 and signed with ‘Music Allstars Publishing’. In that time we were sending our music out to different DJ’s and record labels and he thought our sound was really unique. Singing with ‘MAS’ and ‘Spinnin’ Records’ back in 2014 also opened doors for us with other labels, leading to our collab ‘Heartbeat’ with Nicky Romero on Protocol Recordings and our releases with Thomas Newson for Revealed Recordings early in our career.

Oh wow, those labels carry some big names!

Robin: Yeah, we did our publishing and management with MAS and currently we still run our publishing with them. Early 2017 we signed our management at Epic247 and thank to this we’re focussing on making a lot of new music now so we can send that the labels we love to work with, like Revealed and Spinnin’ and we’re releasing with PRMD for Warner Music USA as well. We also re-did our branding to mark a new fase in our career so I’m very excited to see what 2018 is going to bring us!

Do you guys look up to a certain DJ? Or who is your inspiration?

Robin: Well I have to admit for me the biggest influencer is definitely Axwell and the Axtone vibe, but at the end of the day we’re not really focussed on a certain DJ when we’re in the studio, we are more focussed on a vibe. We wanna keep it very close to ourselves and make Magnificence a brand that will be known across the entire world. Of course we have our sources of inspiration and do we have certain influences in our music, but we really try to keep it close to ourselves.

Maurice: Exactly, we get our influences out of everything, so many different genres, but for me it’s mostly house music and 70’s funk music, not specifically from certain DJ’s. We like to combine influences from a lot of genres. 

So under what category do you wanna place yourselves?

Robin: I’d go for Electro-House or Bass-House with some Indie-House sounds to go along. We haven’t really figured that out yet since we’re still working on new vibes every day. We’re trying to see what lies close to us and our sound, but if I would have to answer that now it would be Electro-House on our club side and we’re love producing a more creative Indie-House sound as well, which helps us build our radio & streaming profile.

Maurice: That sounds about right. I call it Techy-Bass-House. We were in the Progressive House for a while and we did a lot of fun things with that, especially the track with Nicky Romero, but we really wanted to do something new and that’s also how we produced “With You”. There are a lot of new club track to be released in 2018 that we feel could become really big but also some stuff nobody expects.

Do you have a certain area of the world where you wanna start or do you just wanna take the whole world at once?

Robin: We wanna inspire people, that’s our goal. It’s not about a country, continent of part of the world. We wanna inspire everybody everywhere.

Maurice: Based on our streaming we know our biggest fanbase is located in USA and Europe at this point, touring wise we also have a hotspot in Asia, they stream less in Asia, but the turn out at our shows is crazy, we experienced some epic fan moments during last years tour through China and India for example.

Let’s talk about festivals. Which festivals have you guys been at?

Robin: We played at Summer Festival in Belgium and some major festival in the Netherlands like the Revealed stage at 7th Sunday Festival with 40.000 visitors, Promised Land Festival with 15.ooo visitors, also Hemels Festival and Nazomeren Festival.

Maurice: I must say that in general we do a lot more club bookings then festivals.

Robin: We actually only have festivals in the Netherlands. We did have Belgium, but that’s pretty much the Netherlands haha. In general it is really all club bookings and we did do a big China tour already but also all clubs, including Space and BBR.

Maurice: Oh in Asia they know how to party and that’s really awesome to see. Everybody in the world responds to music in their own way; in Scotland everybody constantly sings along to “Here we fucking go” and in China they barely look at you because they think you have the same status as Justin Bieber. We also did sets where everybody is very calm and quietly dancing in his own comfort zone, but that’s mostly the Dutch mentality; that is the most fun part because it turns into a challenge to hype up that crowd and when everybody starts jumping you feel like you achieved something big. When this doesn’t happen it’s like having a wake up call and you realize you have to work a little harder then normal.

So do you adjust your music style to a crowd?

Robin: We always take a look at the audience; for us that’s what DJ-ing is all about. Like, what kind of level of energy they have, which country we are etc. We have a bunch of different edits of our own tracks in our laptop and it depends on the crowd which one we choose to play. In Asia it doesn’t matter which version you play because they have the same energy level no matter what.

Maurice: They’re all big EDM-lovers and all they care about is hearing EDM, I do think they still have a hard time listening to newer sounds because they’re very focussed on those hard old school Electronic Dance sounds; at least that’s our experience. Although in a small country as Holland the level of DJ-ing is high and in every region the crowd has his own vibe they like. Past summer we were spinning at “Nazomeren Festival” in Groningen (NL) and we played a pretty hard Latin/Groove House set and in a different city we gave the crowd a very EDM-ish festival set. Both sounds fit us very well, and in both ways we do manage to add our own Magnificence signature to it. So in the end we do have a real interaction with our audience; basically, you just have to come to our shows and be part of it!

Annamarije Smedema for EDMNYC

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