When you think of the Dutch EDM scene, a lot of big names come to mind – Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Fedde le Grand, Hardwell and more. But, be careful not to blink, because we have a new name about to join the ranks of the greats: Sick Individuals.
Coming from strong musical backgrounds, the DJ duo met while studying Music Composition and Production at the Utrecht School of the Arts in Hilversum, Holland. From day one, the two hit it off, eventually leading to their business partnership in 2010 and the start of Sick Individuals.
You may be familiar with Sick Individuals from their Axwell collaboration, progressive house anthem, “I AM,” or you may know them from one of their many hit remixes like Icona Pop’s “I Love It” that have spread like wildfire through the dance music community. Not only has the duo conquered the remix space of the industry, they’ve also been pumping out many more top-notch originals since 2014. The duo’s true musical talent is apparent in their tracks, which bear their signature mark of well-mastered beats and vocal pairings – one of which, “Prime,” was released today. The Dutch EDM act cites their goal of sharing “more love, harmonies and melodies in the scene” – and, after seeing their live show, I can definitely attest to their ability to do so, both on and off the record. Sick Individuals performed at Rumor nightclub this weekend – and killed it – during their first-ever visit to Philadelphia. After the show we had the opportunity to sit down with Ray (Rinze Hofstee) and Jim (Joep Smeele) for an EPIC, exclusive interview.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: We wanted to welcome you to Philly for the first time! Did you guys have a chance to go out and visit the sights while you were here?
- No, we just arrived actually. We did get to see an old building, our driver said it was where the US started…
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Have you guys ever had a Philly Cheesesteak?
- What is that?? My manager called me today and told me to have a Philly Cheesesteak!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Ugh! We should have brought you some...
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You guys have really cool beginnings on how you guys met as well as a really respectable musical background. How do you think that has influenced your work today?
- We both studied music and for someone who studies music, it is much easier to make it. We just came from LA and we worked there in the studio with a couple of singers and songwriters. I think for us, it’s much easier to write songs. We get our start with piano and guitar, and from there we make the EDM tracks.
EPIC: Have you guys heard that Philly is the City of Brotherly Love?
- No, haha! But someone sent us a tweet today that they were welcoming us to the City of Brotherly Love.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Since Philly is the City of Brotherly Love, we were going to throw it out there that you guys seem like you embody that saying. You have great chemistry on stage! Why do you think your dynamic works so well?
- Ray is good at everything where I miss, and we compliment each other in every way... but that’s only in music. In our private lives, we are totally different.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Oh yeah? How are you guys different in your private lives?
- What we like, what we do, how we spend money. I’m black, he’s white… we are the complete opposite!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What kind of hobbies do you guys have in your free time?
- We don’t have that much free time. When we aren’t working, we are sleeping!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What’s your average night’s sleep?
- On this tour? Three hours… we didn’t sleep at all.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: In 2013, you guys did a ton of remixes and in 2014 you started to make your own originals. What do you guys have planned for 2015?
- We want to do more originals for sure. In 2014, we started the originals, but that was just a warm up. Now we have the label interested, and we want to bring it to the next level. We want to expand what we do for our bigger shows with more visuals; that is the main goal for this year. Last year, we played all of the major festivals, and this year we want to play all of those festivals, but play on their main stages and/or have the headlining spot.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Let’s touch on that for a second- festival season is coming up in a few months... what are you guys going to do differently in your sets this year?
- It’s always good for every DJ to play their own music, and what stands out for us is that we play a lot of originals. Today we played at least 40% of our own music, and the rest were edits that we did ourselves; we always try to keep it original. We are also working with a new visual artist to bring something new visually. It’s going to make a huge difference.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Are you guys going to be going down to Miami Music Week?
- YES! We already have some gigs planned.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Nothing that’s announced yet though…can you tell us or is this a secret still?
- The pool parties and where we are going to play is still in the air. It’s going to be fun and we are definitely going to be there! Miami is like a vacation for us as well; we rent an apartment and we chill. Last year we played 11 parties in 6 days!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: 11 parties in 6 days? #TeamNoSleep! But anyways, you guys have “Prime” dropping on Monday right?
- Yeah! We just shot the music video in LA, it’s going to be a SICK music video. “Prime” is coming and we are super excited. It is a step out of what we normally do. We make a lot of progressive and vocal tracks, but in our sets we also like to play some bangers... so we thought “Hey! Why not make one of our own?” That’s why we made this track and I think it really works. It’s better to play your own music instead of someone else’s, and during our set we don’t ONLY want to play progressive house. We love progressive house, but you don’t want to cry your whole set. You just want to cry at the end when you realize you had a good time. You also want to enter your mind, party, and not think about anything…and that is “Prime.”
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: We feel like this hit is going to be huge for you; what was your inspiration for it?
- In our set, we played progressive tracks and had some groovy tracks in the beginning that were all of our own, but in the middle, we wanted to have a banger where everyone was jumping up and down! We thought “lets make our own track like that.” It’s something we always wanted to do. Now we are focusing on a new original that we are going to release. We are working on one of our most emotional tracks right now actually. We’ve been working on this track for a super long time and collaborated with the guy from "Sunrise (Won’t Get Lost)" -
- . It’s completely different from “Prime.”.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Okay, last question, do you guys have any pre- or post-show rituals?
- We high five. That’s it… nothing too crazy. We get that question a lot and we realize that we have to think of something crazy. We’re so normal haha!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Thank you guys so much! We had such a fun time!
Make sure to get your copy of PRIME on Beatport!