Anyone who has listened to the Dutch DJs, producers and artists, Pin Up Club, will have realized that their music never seems to solidify, that it is a flow of sounds and impression is that they never seem to be fixed, like a perfume or a quick view of a body in motion. The usual thing is to remain trapped in its notes, lost in its mystery and in its immensity. And if you do not believe us, go and read one of the most awake, insatiable, curious and creative minds of today’s electronics.
You’re pretty new on our radar, fancy telling us a little bit about yourselves? Who are you and where are you from?
We are Josef van Galen and Jelle Imbos and we met each other about 20 years ago. We both were making music already although our styles were totally different back then, we got inspired mostly by the same artists. Josef was making electronic music blending his hip-hop background with Dj Shadow/Boards of Canada vibed electro and ambient. Jelle was playing in a band as a guitarist and singer, blending his grungy Nirvana influences with Radiohead-like melodies and weirdness. So we started jamming together mixing our musical backgrounds, we called it ‘Space-Rock’ hahaha. In the years after that we wrote a lot of songs together and got acquainted with different genres and sounds. We both were sharpening our own skills at that time. Josef focused more and more on the production side, beats and sound-design. And Jelle was shaping his songwriting skills and ability to write melodies and harmonies. In 2014 Josef started a new project called Pin Up Club and released an EP on Nein Records. Soon after that he asked Jelle to join in on the fun, to add a more melodic depth to the project with a shared dream to take it to the stage.
What’s the Pin Up Club sound? Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
If we talk genres you can say we make trippy leftfield elektronica with some EBM and dark disco influences but some call it Death Disco hahaha. Our influences can be anything ranging from Grunge, Ambient and New Wave Italo to Modern Electronics and Pop but always with a hint of melancholy and an open mind towards sound, structure and combining genres. Bands like The Notwist, Beta band, Weval, Plaid, Boards of Canada, Red Axes, Vox Low have been or are stil of big influence to us.
How’s the Amsterdam music scene? Is there anyone we should be keeping a close eye on?
Amsterdam is a great place for music right now. We’ve seen it go from just bland deephouse and techno everywhere, to people going apeshit over a Syrian wedding singer at the summer festivals or EBM headliners in just five years. There’s a huge scene for the undiscovered genres here now led by organisations such as Redlight Radio, Dekmantel and De School. So much talent arises from this longing for new and strange sounds. Young gun DJ’s like Pieter Jansen, Woody ‘92, Spekki Webu and Oceanic are at the top of their game right now fusing anything from ambient to goa to disco and back. Job Sifre and Dollkraut are at the grungy EBM/Kraut sound front that’s quickly taking over the big stages here.
What were your original aspirations for Pin Up Club? How do you think you’re shaping up?
We just wanted to see where the sound would take us both mentally and physically.That is probably why we started realising our dream to make Pin Up Club a live act. To be able to interact with audience like that is just truly magical. So next up will be touring as far as aspirations go and keep on being able to work with labels that give us love and the freedom to do what we do.
Things are actually shaping up quite nicely. We release two EP’s this year and a bunch of remixes, we played DGTL, OHM festival amongst others and will be playing a lot more exciting live shows this year.
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
Jelle: for me the first encounter with electronic music were bands like Portishead and Massive Attack. I loved them mainly because their music could really take you to another place and time, if you know what I mean haha. It opened up a whole new world for me.
Josef: Tough question.. I guess in a way the hook has always been there, growing up with 80’s music and an unnatural love for drum machine beats in late funk and early hip hop. I guess the point of no return for me would have been Prodigy but the desire to make electronic music myself and actually go out and buy my first drum computer would have come from listening to Dj Shadow, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada on repeat back then.
What is the musical criteria of Pin Up Club?
Jelle: The most important criteria is that our music should come from the heart. If we make a track and we listen to it but don’t feel the vibe, it’s definitely not good enough.
Josef: Yeah we go all in, heart and soul. Also, we are always searching for a specific sound or texture. I try to find life in saturating and distorting things a bit. Sound quality and character is really important to me both as a producer and as a dj.
Tell me about your first ever set, do you still remember it vividly?
Jelle: Our first live set was in a little dark club in our former hometown Delft. The place was packed, a lot of friends were there. It was sweaty and really cool to play our tracks live for the first time.
Josef: Also really f$%#^kin’ scary hahaha.
We all know the digital revolution has affected sales but has it affected creativity?
Josef: I read somewhere that because music is so easily accessible now it forces us to be as good as the music from all times which makes it kinda impossible to stick out. I don’t entirely agree but saw the change from buying records in a shop to actually just browsing thru Spotify playlists happen. Still it doesn’t affect creativity in a negative way i reckon. Truly creative spirits will always find a form to present itself to an audience.
Have you got a favourite track of the year so far?
Josef: Lily Haz ‘Dinosaurs’ blew me out of my socks.
Jelle: Perels’ remix of our track ‘Naoshima’. I hate to say it, but I think it’s better than the original and it gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
Josef: On our third US tour hahaha. I’d love to have an album under our belt by then but still doing our thing together in the studio and on stage.
Jelle: more than one album, I hope. And I have a dream that Pin Up Club evolves into a real live band. I think that will give our music another dimension.
What can we expect to hear from you in the next few months?
We’ve only just released an EP on Phantasm called ‘Naoshima’ with a stellar remix by Perel as mentioned before, next up is our second EP on Bordello a Parigi ‘The Forever Machine’ that’s out by the end of July and two more 12’’ coming later this year.
Any tips for budding or aspiring Djs?
Josef: Play music you really love, not what you think most people would want to hear. And when you play, watch them, observe how they dance or respond to it and use that to decide what you play next.
To you as a person, what is the most important piece of work you have created in your life?
Josef: Wouldn’t call it work but surely the friendships i’ve been blessed with.
Jelle: my son! But if we talk music I think our second EP on Bordello A Parigi “The Forever Machine”is a piece of art I’m really proud of. I think it’s the perfect blend of our musical backgrounds.
What is one deep thought that you’ve had recently?
Josef: Not so much a thought as more of a rule to live by: Smile more, complain less.
Jelle: I always tell my students to never stop chasing your dreams.
What would be your all-time ultimate festival/venue to play at?
Both: Burning Man!!
Do you have any vision or personal predictions about music evolving in the future and its position in the world?
Josef: The trend i’m seeing is a more open-minded festival go-er which is a great thing, basically more curiosity for new music of all tempo’s, genres and origins. More live acts and more cross-over or hybrid sets on festivals and in clubs.
We can’t talk about it too much but we are in the process of recording an EP for a BIG festival/label that will see the light in 2019 and we plan on playing live a lot!