The Dutch house scene is a historically rich one, with veteran game-changers like Armin Van Buuren, Sander Van Doorn, and Olav Basoski hailing from the proud country, along with newly-crowned legends like Nicky Romero and Hardwell. But in addition to its numerous vets, there is an astounding amount of new talent coming up through Holland’s house scene. One of the most impressive acts of this “new school” of Dutch house is SICK INDIVIDUALS. This up-and-coming house duo has been on an unstoppable rise lately–having breakout performances during Miami Music Week (playing alongside the likes of Axwell and Deniz Koyu), as well as putting out a slew of original releases and a few highly-notable remixes (including their remix of Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Qulinez’s “Troll) this past year. Now these former music students are gearing up for an exciting end to their storied 2013. I got the chance to talk to the duo about their origins, their production technique, the state of the new Dutch house scene, and their plans for the rest of the year and beyond. Read on for the full interview.
Your EDM: For those who don’t know you, please tell us a little bit about yourselves.
SICK INDIVIDUALS: Hi there! We’re Jim and Ray of the SICK INDIVIDUALS from Holland. You may know us from our original releases like “Free” and “Soldier,” or remixes we did for Icona Pop, Nervo, and Qulinez (which was featured on Size Records). Our group was formed a few years ago while we were both studying Music Composition and Production at the Utrecht School of the Arts in Hilversum.
Your EDM: Tell us about your musical background. Did either of you play any instruments or produce other types of music before you got into house music production?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: Back in the day Ray was into hip-hop beats, and Jim was a real trance fanatic. Together we found our ‘Sick’ sound a couple of years ago and we are still trying to perfect it. We’re always aiming for the highest quality!
We both play piano and are synth-addicts. Ray is a vocalist and guitar player as well. You can hear him in some of our tracks! His mother was actually a soprano in classical music.
Your EDM: How did you two originally meet, and what made you decide to start producing together?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: We met each other at the School of the Arts four years ago but we started producing together as a duo in 2010.
We quickly found out that we had a lot in common with each other music-wise. But we also found we have the same approach concerning our productions–mixing, producing, etc. We have musical chemistry on stage and in the studio. This is pretty important, because we’re in this for the long run!
Your EDM: What was the first production software you used, and when did you create your first track?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: (Ray) The first production software was FL studio 4 and Reason. But even before that, I was using Windows recorder. It could record your audio with a max length of 30 seconds, haha! I recorded guitar and vocals with it, and then I would speed it up or down. Good times–it was really fun!
Your EDM: Your production style is extremely versatile, to say the least. I’ve heard tracks of yours that range from big-room progressive, to clubby electro. How do you view your production technique now, and what are some important things you’ve learned over the years in producing?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: The reason why our productions are versatile is because we don’t like doing things twice, or doing the same things over and over. We’d get bored with it. Instead, we want to try something new. But now, after all the tracks we’ve produced, we think we’re slightly heading into a new direction where we feel comfortable and we’re we get the most energy out of it. We think our productions will always sound versatile, but it will always have a lot of energy and some good harmonies!
Your EDM: I understand you guys had a pretty crazy time down in Miami while Ultra Music Festival was going on. Tell us about some of the more notable gigs you played down there. What were your impressions of Miami?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: Well, performing with Axwell, Thomas Gold, and Deniz Koyu was pretty cool to kick off our trip! Our manager arranged backstage passes for Ultra every day, so for it being our first time Miami, it was pretty awesome! We also did some panels (for remixing/production) at the WMC (Winter Music Conference in Miami). Of course, we also played at some after parties in some penthouses. But these stories are not for everyone, haha.
Also, our Icona Pop remix was going really strong in Miami. (Ed. Disfunktion also played it to great results in their NYC gig back in March.)
We just can’t wait for next year!
Your EDM: You’ve made some incredible remixes, most notably your remixes of “I Love it” and Leah LeBelle’s “Lolita.” Are there any more big remixes on the horizon for you guys?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: Our main focus right now is on making more Sick originals, since we finished a staggering 22 remixes last year. We get a lot of remix requests, but we critically review every request. For us, time is a valuable thing, haha!
Our “Savoy – We Are The Sun” remix is coming out at in the summer, which you can listen it to it in our latest “Sick” episode:
Your EDM: You come from the famed Dutch EDM scene, one of the richest and most respected in the world. To me at least, electronic dance music in the Netherlands seems to have gone through three phases: the veterans of the scene like Junkie XL and Armin Van Buuren, the modern-day stars like Nicky Romero and Hardwell, and now, the “new school” of rising Dutch house stars like Disfunktion, DubVision, Justin Prime, and you guys!
What are your thoughts on the modern Dutch house scene? Who are some notable producers/groups on your guys’ radar, and how do you see the Dutch scene moving forward?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: One producer we enjoy is Dannic. He’s a young producer that has great production skills and feeling for funky house tracks. We definitely need more producers that make great party music like him!
House music has been a huge part of Dutch culture for decades, so like many of the DJs and producers from here, we are all influenced by many years of electronic dance music. We can’t really predict where the Dutch scene is going at the moment, but what we do notice is that things are speeding up. The divide between being a good local producer and DJ, or a famous DJ in Holland who has an international career, is getting smaller. That status is relatively easier to reach now.
Your EDM: You’ve toured some incredible places, including Ministry of Sound London. Any touring plans on the horizon? Any chance we’ll be seeing SICK INDIVIDUALS playing in North America again sometime soon?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: Absolutely! We have several gigs in North America coming up and a bus tour is on the horizon…no exact dates yet though. Hopefully we can update you guys soon on that! We love to play in the States!
We will be performing this summer mainly in Europe, but we will be back in the U.S. before you know it!
Your EDM: Tell us about some of your recent and upcoming tracks. What can we expect from Sick Individuals for the rest of 2013?
SICK INDIVIDUALS: We just released our brand new track “Free”
And this remix for “Someday – You’re in my Head”
Several originals are coming up in the spring. In the summer, we’re planning a release off Steve Angello’s Size Records.
And another release (original) that we unfortunately can’t say anything about it yet…but it will be BIG!
Your EDM: Lastly, feel free to make any plugs/announcements to our readers.
SICK INDIVIDUALS: Enjoy our special mix we made for all the Your EDM readers with only SICK INDIVIDUALS material. We will see you soon! And please check out our Facebook to stay in touch.
And let the SICK Music craze continue…!
Thanks to Jim and Ray of SICK INDIVIDUALS for a very entertaining interview. Make sure you check out the Exclusive Mix above and download your copy. In addition to their Facebook, be sure to keep up to date with SICK INDIVIDUALS through their Twitter, and check out their releases on Beatport. And as always, for the latest in news, tracks, events, and commentary, keep it tuned to Your EDM.