(Photo By: Ruudbaan)
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Thom Jongkind and Idir Makhlaf, better known as Blasterjaxx, before they played an epic set at Exchange LA last Friday night. It’s been a busy summer for the Dutch duo. Not only have they been traveling the world playing the festival circuit, they’ve been working behind the scenes as well to launch their very own Maxximize record label, a sub-label of Spinnin’. They also successfully put on their very first Maxximize party at Open Air in New York City in August.
My time with Blasterjaxx was brief, but we were able to cover a lot of topics including their recent shows, some of the challenges of launching their new label, some of the highlights of the summer, what they enjoy when playing in Los Angeles, and if we might see a Blasterjaxx album in the future. Here’s what Thom (mostly) and Idir had to say.
Tell me about the Maxximize show in New York. I know it was a success, what were some highlights?
“It’s an island, and we came on a boat, and I think there were like 15 boats, and they were full of party people. It was crazy. There was so much energy and everyone was so excited for the show. There was so much love, and we’re very proud of what we achieved with the lineup we had and all of the people who came to the…let’s say, small festival, because it was that. We had more than a thousand people over the maximum capacity, which was crazy, so we’re very happy with the success, and we re looking to do more of these.”
Obviously, you guys are starting your Maxximize label, as well. What have been some of the challenges and how will that give you guys more freedom with your music and exposing other artists?
“We’ve been negotiating for over two years now, so I think that’s been quite a challenge. With label deals there comes a lot of extra business on the backside of it. But, we’re very excited for the radio show. We’ve received so many demos and there’s so much more music out there than what’s getting released. We’re very picky when it comes to the music that gets released – the underground/more unknown music, so we’ve finally got a platform to deliver, from our point of view, some fresh new music to the scene. And in collaboration with Spinnin’ Records, I think it’s great, because they have a very well driven marketing machine, and they know how put a track in the market. So if we deliver the tracks, they deliver the market, I think that’s a great combination.”
You guys always have a steady stream of output, how often do you guys try to put out a track, and what are the chances of a Blasterjaxx album in the future?
“I don’t know, there might be a chance for an album, you never know. But, I think for this year it was a little harder to come up with all the music and to get it released, because, one, we got a little more picky, and two, we had less time in the studio.”
Idir: “We changed studios. We didn’t have a studio for eight months.”
Thom: “We tried on the road. We tried in little houses in Australia during a tour, and in L.A., but it didn’t work for us.”
You guys have performed here in L.A. before, what makes the L.A. crowd stand out for you and what do you enjoy the most about the city?
“Overall the whole crowd in California is very into the Blasterjaxx sound – into the hard drops, the nice edits, and all the music we play is what they love here, and it’s great to play here. It’s one of our favorite states to play. I think tonight will be another special night. This is the second time we’ve played this club, last year when we came here it was our very first time playing in L.A. and it was also at Exchange.”
What were some of the highlights of the summer festival season and what surprises do you have in store for fans in the fall and winter time?
“We’ve got a big surprise coming up, but that will follow later. The highlights? Well, we played Tomorrowland main stage this year. That was a very big highlight. We played Tomorrowland in Brazil on the main stage, as well. I think we played every festival that was on our wish list for this year, on the main stage. Those were our highlights, we can’t complain, everything went very well this summer.”
As far as their performance, Thom and Idir satisfied an eager crowd with a medley of contemporary hip-hop and electro hits mixed in with Blasterjaxx classics such as Faith, Mystica, Rocket, and Fifteen. They even threw in a new ID track…Thom did say the guys had some surprises for the fans this fall season.
That’s not all…the guys are giving away 2 VIP tickets plus a backstage tour and meet and greet to their September 25 show at STORY nightclub in Miami.
To enter, email Mark Fabrick at [email protected] by Monday, September 21st stating why you love Blasterjaxx. We will randomly select two winners from there. Blasterjaxx will announce via their socials on Wednesday, September 23rd. **You MUST be 21+ to enter**
Check out this cool video of their Exchange performance and get maxximized!