One of many DJ collectives responsible for the almost revolutionary breakthrough in big room house music is Showtek – two Dutch producers who set out to give the new generation of dance music fans a voice as well as an outlet to express artistic freedom and reignite a sense of adventure among fellow producers, to explore the never ending avenues of creativity within dance.
Although brothers Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen were only recently catapulted into the spotlight, they began their innovative exploration through dance music as Showtek over 15 years ago. First experimenting with techno, the duo found their niche whilst immersed in the hardstyle scene, pioneering the underground genre with their passion and dedication to pushing the boundaries of electronic dance music.
2012 saw their big break with the release of one of their biggest hits ‘Cannonball’ and ‘Booyah’ that not only shook the dance music scene, but rippled over on to the commercial charts – a very hard task even for the more widely recognised DJs.
Four years on and the brothers are at the top of their game. Whilst continuing to produce their unique brand of electronic, heavily influenced by their hardstyle roots, Showtek are as committed as ever to sharing their appetite for musical expression all over the world, touring regularly and uploading podcasts whenever possible.
Their record label ‘Skink Records’ established in 2013 is also aiding the development of aspiring artists to become a part of this rapid movement within music, and with support and admiration from big names like Tiesto, Hardwell and Bassjackers, and popularity for the duo ever increasing, they are driving EDM to new musical destinations.
With what they have already achieved in such a short space of time, the future is looking very exciting for Showtek. We caught up with them ahead of DLDK Manchester this weekend.
It seems you are very busy people – managing your label SKINK whilst trotting all over the globe and producing your signature sound, much to the delight of your fans. Your career has seen you scour almost every inch of the world. Do you enjoy the travelling aspect of your work?
Of course it gets quite exhausting at times, but it’s a dream come true and we do enjoy seeing all these new places. We feel extremely lucky and love playing for different crowds all over the world.
Have you developed any particular bonds with any country you have visited? What has been your favourite place to perform?
There are so many awesome places to play. The crowds we play for everywhere really give all their energy and dance their feet off every time. We have to mention that Holland is also one of the best, and playing on our home ground is always very special.
You have very recently collaborated with multi-genre dance group Major Lazer to produce new track ‘I’m a Believer’. How was it working with a group that has a very different style to yourselves? Were you able to give each other tips on production methods?
Absolutely. I think the track perfectly blends both of our styles. It has a really cool blend of sounds and it was such a sick project to work on. Although they have a different style to us, we were all very open to trying out each other’s ideas – and that’s why it worked so well.
‘Booyah’ has got to be up there with one of the biggest big room anthems, claiming chart success (number five in the UK charts) What was the original idea behind the creation of this track?
Initially we had the melody, and we were just experimenting with the track. We changed two keys and then all of a sudden playing it back, it just sounded right.
Were you expecting it to have as big an impact as it did within the dance music scene?
We tested it on some of our friends when we made it and everyone’s reaction was just like “WAAAH!” so we knew we had something special on our hands... but we couldn’t have predicted the extent of its success.
A number of remixes have been produced of ‘Booyah’ since its release, it must be very humbling to have someone appreciate your work enough to provide their own take on it. Were there any versions of the track that stood out to you creatively?
We really love the Party Favor Festival Trap Remix as it takes the track to a completely different realm and is a lot of fun to see people react to it. As we mentioned before, we like to switch it up a little and this song does just that.
You yourself are renowned for your remarkably technical remixes of some hugely successful productions, from artists including David Guetta, Marcel Woods, and even Carly Rae Jepsen. From your collection, do you have a favourite track that you enjoyed working on?
Working with David Guetta is always amazing. We have a really great connection and our styles work together very well. I think creating ‘Bad’ was one of the top projects we have worked on. The track is still one of our favorites.
What skills do you think developing and established artists can learn from producing remixes of classic anthems?
Well, it’s a great way to show your skills as a producer, because you’ve got to learn to treat the track with respect, but at the same time make it your own. It’s also a great way to get noticed as an aspiring producer.
Your origins within the music industry lie in the hands of techno and hardstyle. Are there any plans to revisit either of these genres in any studio releases?
We will always revisit these genres, and blend them into our productions. We like to mix all sorts of styles into our music and we never manage to stick to just one.
2013 saw the launch of your very own label ‘Skink Records’. Why did you decide to establish SKINK in the first place, after being signed to various different brands (including Spinnin Records and Musical Freedom) for many years?
We always wanted to have a label of our own, as we have so much music that we want to get out there. It’s also great to be able to release music you believe in from other artists on your own label. It also just gives us that freedom to do what we love.
What is next for SKINK?
We have just released Justin Prime’s debut track on the label called ‘Insane’. It's a real festival banger and you will definitely be hearing it lots over the summer season. We will continue to release our tunes and other artist’s tracks on SKINK – so keep your eye on our socials for more info.
Don’t Let Daddy Know is a global clubbing experience that has seen events take place all over the world including India, Amsterdam and Turkey to name a few. How did it feel to be asked to play at the event in Manchester for the second year in a row?
It felt great. We are so happy to be a part of such an awesome event and we are ready to bring the madness during our set.
Catch Showtek on Sunday 1st May at Don't Let Daddy Know at Victoria Warehouse Manchester. Tickets available below.