Some listeners let Ryan Seacrest or Pandora be the day's soundtrack. It’s easy and convenient. But others make personal selections that are specific, judicious, and occasionally pompous. Hours are spent searching for new tunes that not only sound good but also tug at the soul. Among electronic dance music listeners, the fan experience typically begins with cheese and ends in the underground. Alice Deejay's “Better Off Alone” and Ian Van Dahl's “Castles in the Sky” are gateway drugs that typically lead to addictions to
Musicians change too. Eelke Kleijn is nothing like the producer he was in the early 2000s. Back then, he was in the trenches of his native Holland smashing it out at 140 bpm with Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, and Ferry Corsten. His track “Breathing” was once the tune of the week on Van Buuren’s radio show, A State of Trance, which approaches the greatness of winning a Miami New Times Best Of award. Almost.
“Early on, I was mainly into
The beats per minute have slowed. He's hanging out around 122 bpm these days. His two albums, his single releases, and the set he played on Virginia Key Beach at Rapture Music Festival this past March are exhibits A, B, C, and D of Kleijn’s diverse relationship with music. His catalogue runs the gamut of dance music sounds. Influenced by the swaying palms in Miami this past March 22, his set was full of sunshine, house vibes, and tribal sounds. His albums Naturally Artificial and Untold Stories are different. They seem sometimes experimental, insightful, and introspective. His singles are grooving and occasionally tropical, which is fascinating because he’s from Holland, where sunshine is a rarity. He'll return to Miami Friday, July 27, to play at the dark and cozy Do Not Sit on the Furniture, the perfect venue for his evolving sound.
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The circle of life is in effect for Kleijn. He’s working with van Buuren again these days — kinda. Kleijn’s label is Days Like Nights, and he’s partnered with the Amsterdam-based Armada Music, which is owned by van Buuren, Maykel Piron, and David Lewis.
“I owned and operated a label called Outside the Box from 2006 to 2010, and I did everything. It was a lot of work with signing music from other artists, marketing, and then making my own music and DJ'ing. Armada Music is a huge company with a big reach, and it’s great to speak Dutch with them. It makes things a little easier,” Kleijn says.
No one ever stops loving "Better Off Alone" or "Castles in the Sky" — it's just that we've listened to them and tracks like them literally thousands of times. When that happens, fans move on to artists like Eelke Kleijn, just as he has moved on.