Tinlicker Wants You to Put Your Phone Away at Treehouse

Tinlicker's Micha Heyboer (left) is "not really a phone guy."EXPAND
Tinlicker's Micha Heyboer (left) is "not really a phone guy."
Photo by Adriaan Muts
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Their stage name has nothing to do with tonguing beer cans, but Jordi van Achthoven and Micha Heyboer of the electronic duo Tinlicker first meet over a pint. Both hailing from Utrecht, Netherlands, and both bald and bearded, the two are a match made in Dutch DJ heaven.

For Tinlicker's appearance at Treehouse this Friday, January 31, only Heyboer will be behind the decks. The duo most recent performance in Miami was during last year's Ultra Music Festival on Virginia Key.

Heyboer succinctly recalls Tinlicker's Ultra experience with a sentiment shared by many who made the brave trek across the Rickenbacker Causeway: “The crowd was good; traffic was chaos.”

Since that festival performance, Tinlicker released its debut album, This Is Not Our Universe, in September 2019. The record's genre agnosticism reflects Heyboer's and Achthoven's expansive tastes in music and reflects their respective musical histories.

Heyboer is also part of the drum 'n' bass group Black Sun Empire, which produces gritty, heavy head-banging dubstep — a stark contrast to the more eased ebb and flow of Tinlicker’s music. Likewise, Achthoven's production work has been primarily in service of the ambient, chillstep, and progressive house genres. Tinlicker is what happens when these two characters and dissimilar dispositions collide.

“I’m a Taurus — I’m pretty stable,” Heyboer says. “Jordi goes from left to right and comes up with all these crazy ideas. I keep him grounded, and he keeps me more creative.”

One such unlikely creation was “Soon You’ll Be Gone” with Thomas Oliver, Tinlicker’s first song to be released by Anjunadeep, the record label headed by progressive-trance titan Above & Beyond. Heyboer and Achthoven linked up with the influential trio after Above & Beyond played Tinlicker’s song “Mandaag” for one of its Group Therapy sessions.

Although Above & Beyond ostensibly has authority over the duo on paper, the trance leader isn't dishing out any advice or directing Tinlicker on how it should make and mix music. “Our sound is quite different than most of the people on the label," Heyboer says. "I think that’s what excites [Above & Beyond] about [Tinlicker], so they just let us do what we want.”

Like many contemporary electronic acts, Tinlicker has worked with multiple labels, including Mau5trap, Zerothree, Anjunadeep, and Anjunabeats, but isn't signed exclusively to any of them. “We just make a lot of music and then throw away the things that we don’t like, and then divide and send to the labels the things that fit best,” Heyboer explains. Rather than limiting Tinlicker to a label pigeonholed in a particular genre, working with more than one label widens the pair's musical possibilities.

A remix pack of This Is Not Our Universe — along with a new single on Anjunabeats — is expected to be released in the next few months. In keeping with Tinlicker’s more relaxed style, Heyboer promises new music is on the way even if there are no concrete release dates attached.

Despite having performed across the world and contended with the dance floor–to–DJ booth bum rush that inevitably follows DJ sets time and again, Heyboer is still surprised when audiences want to take photos of him and Achthoven. “We’re normal people,” he says with a laugh. “Why would you want to take a picture of me?”

Creating electronic music may make someone well-versed in technology, but it doesn’t mean they have to be all-accepting of it. Heyboer appreciates technology for allowing him and Achthoven to make and share music, but he regrets that people sometimes use their devices as a barrier between themselves and reality.

“We both would like to have shows without any phones there. You’ll experience the show totally differently, and you’ll force yourself to interact with other people,” Heyboer says. “I think we should embrace the moments when we're actually still human.”

Tinlicker. 11 p.m. Friday, January 31, at Treehouse, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach; 786-318-1908; treehousemiami.com. Admission is free before midnight with RSVP; tickets cost $20 after via eventbrite.com.

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