Dutch electronic dance music (EDM) act Sick Individuals has certainly had a big year this year, and the duo is showing no signs of slowing down or stopping as of yet. Consisting of 2 friends, Ray and Jim, Sick Individuals first met in Netherlands in 2008 while studying music composition. Believe it or not, prior to their gig as a DJ duo, they were composing for television commercials until their mutual fascination for both classical and modern music inspired them to become who or rather what they are today. As such, in 2010, their business partnership as Sick Individuals was born, with great influence from their musical idols such as Daft Punk, Bingo Players, and Swedish House Mafia.
Since then, they’ve produced for and with big EDM icons such as ex-Swedish House Mafia member Axwell (“I AM”), Revealed Recordings’ Dannic (“Blueprint”), and they’ve also churned out remixes for popular artistes such as Avicii, Rihanna, Icona Pop, Tiesto, and David Guetta, just to name a few. In fact, their remix of Icona Pop’s “I Love It” was so groundbreaking that the duo received a high level of support and recognition in the dance music industry.
Needless to say, their rise to fame was quick, with thanks to the support that they’ve garnered from fellow DJ/producer peers as well as social media. In fact, in the past year or so, they’ve made many appearances some of the world’s biggest festivals.
More recently, they were rocking out at Asia’s biggest festival at sea organised by our friends from Livescape Asia, It’s The Ship. We got to speak to them real quick when we were there, and boy, were we glad to have been able to do that! Here’s what went down:
Hey, you guys! How are you liking the ship so far?
Good! We did like 3 after parties yesterday. It’s actually our second time playing on a cruise ship because we did Groove Cruise before in Los Angeles.
How did you guys plan your set for this one then since it’s not your first time playing on a ship?
How do you prepare for a set like this? You don’t (laughs). I think this is like, when you’re at a festival like a big thing like Sensation, you kinda know what you want to play. You just need to make sure that you have space for what you wanna play. We usually talk about what we want to do but as of last night, we saw that people were having a good time so we’re having a good time. And we were like, “I wanna play that old record!” and “I wanna play this one!”. And people were at the beach party before our set so we had to like, really pump in the energy again a little bit. During the beginning of our set it was raining too so we had only about 20 people at the main stage where we were at. So we started playing a more happy vibe kinda music and more and more people came. But imagine if at the hotel we’re like, “Oh, let’s start with this banger!” and then we go there and there are only like 20 people there. It’d be like, “Okay, no, we’re not going to start with that banger” (laughs).
So it’s all about reading the crowd and making decisions on the fly for your set?
Yeah! Because you can’t prepare for things like that. We also always play our own records except for maybe the ending, we play other things. I think Laidback Luke once said that DJing is like playing a deck of cards. So we all know that the tracks are like the cards, it’s just a matter of when you need or want to throw those cards in.
What are you guys working on right now? Anything you can talk about?
Actually, we’re doing a collaboration with Dannic again and that’s going to be awesome. It’s not finished yet but we’re already playing it out and testing it. So that’s going to be out on Revealed Recordings in like February or March. And then we’re doing another one with D-Block & S-te-Fan (DBSTF), they’re here on the ship as well, and they’re switching over the house, so we’re doing a 128bpm track with them. It has got a vocal and we’re actually going to work on it today too. Also, we just released a new track on Spinnin’ Records called “Olympia”. That came out about a week ago and there’s a really nice music video for that one. Um, what else is coming? Oh we’re also doing something for Mainstage Music (W&W’s label) and we’re also working on some tunes and we want to send ’em over to Axwell again.
That is a LOT of music! But the dance music sphere is continuing to evolve and in fact, in the past decade or so, it has changed greatly. Where do you think it’s gonna go next?
In Holland, the “big room” stuff is already out of the picture. At festival, it’s still playable but in clubs they’re already starting to play more underground stuff. And Holland has always been in front of the whole dance music scene and everything will follow suit after. Then there’s that deep house scene of course that’s going on but I don’t think that it’s going to take over because it’s a good sound to have in the beginning of a festival but it doesn’t have the same kind of energy. In the US, especially, the whole EDM sound like with the hard drops opened up a lot of doors for a whole lot of underground sounds so a lot of people are listening to hardstyle or techno or tech house. Some countries are also pretty new to the whole dance music scene but as soon as people hear 200 drops that are exactly the same, probably they will discover some new artiste at some point and think, “Wow, finally, this is different!”.
And how will you as DJs, as Sick Individuals, adapt to that change?
For us, we’ll keep making progressive house and making tracks that have great melodies and vocals – those things will stick forever. I mean, I can still listen to amazing tracks from Axwell or Sebastian or Dirty South from 5 years ago and those tracks are still cool and dope! If you make a really commercial club track, well, you’re not going to want to listen to them again in 5 years because it’s only a “thing” like right now. We love to work with melodies and collaborate with singers and songwriters.
Alright, thanks guys for speaking to us!
No problem, thank you!
We’ll leave you now with one of our favourite tracks from Sick Individuals, which also happens to be their collaboration with Dannic, “Blueprint”.