You may know him from nights out in Amsterdam, his 22 Tracks curation for the Hip Hop NL playlists, festivals in and around the Netherlands, or even his collaborations with the likes of Leeroy (from Zwart Licht) or MC Fit. But this Amsterdam veteran has made sure that his name is synonymous to Hip Hop in the Netherlands. We reached out to him for a quick interview, and he was nice enough to give some great answers. Read more below:
Favorite Track: Snelle Jelle & Leeroy - Onderweg
Introduce yourself, tell us something we didn't already know about you?
So I’m Snelle Jelle, I started out as a Hiphop producer and battling DJ. Nowadays I teach new talented producers four days a week at the Herman Brood Academy, but still find time to play at a lot of festivals and club-bookings (during the weekend). Not a lot of people know this but I love watching planes. A couple times a year I go to the spotting place at Schiphol with a chair and watch planes take off to their destination.. So If you see an excited dude while taking off, wave to me!
How would you describe your taste in music? Not your sound, but your personal taste(s) in music?
It's way too hard to describe my taste in music, because it's all over the place! Since I teach music and also work myself (in the music industry), I don’t listen to too much in my free time. I really enjoy silence sometimes! What really attracts my attention is a particular vibe. I hear it in both commercial and underground sounds, so it’s not bound to genres. A weird vocal or an off-key synth can really catch me.
Do you still remember the first time that you realized that you "made it" or were discovered? (first paid and busy gig for example?) What did it feel like? What emotions ran through you and how did you feel?
I've actually never really had the feeling that “I made it”. It doesn’t mean that I feel really proud of stuff that I've done. Some memorable moments were playing the different Encore Festivals. It's amazing - the crowds and the ability to completely manipulate them with records, and to make them scream with every song you play! This year I also played Mysteryland. I played for them for the first time 15 years ago! That's crazy! This doesn’t mean that I only like big crowds, though. The most intense bookings I've performed at were really small rooms filled with like-minded people, where I could do whatever I wanted. Those sets require a less prepared playlist - but that ultimately makes it an actually bigger challenge. Bottom line I like to DJ!
Onderweg is your most streamed track on Spotify. How does that make you feel? Is it deserved? More importantly though, do you reflect on what you did "right" with that track? If so - what did you do "right" with this track? Would you try to replicate it?
Onderweg was actually not made with the intention to release as a single. We made that song as a soundtrack to my road-trip, with a group of friends because something went wrong with the plane tickets. There were 2 options, either cancel the booking in Portugal or go there on a 26 hour drive. We drove. On the way there we made the song, recorded a road-trip video and released it.
I try not to put too much attention on the statistics. I just like to do this, and if other people like it too that's cool. But no harm done when people don’t play it as much. The song can’t be replicated. We really had this special feeling while we were doing this!
When do you know a project is complete? At what point are you able to say to yourself: "it's done. Let's sharpen the edges a little, but I'm happy with it"?
I actually don’t know. Most of the time, I don’t feel like it's done. I can’t listen to my music when it’s released, in order to find whether I still like it. Releasing music is a weird thing. It never feels finished to me.
If there is one piece of advice you could give to someone that was pursuing something other than music, what would it be? And why?
The key to pursuing anything, is to have fun with it. Having fun reflects on your being, which leads to more fun. I never had a whole career planned out. Hell, the first 10 years I started doing music, it was in the evening hours because I still had to make money with a day-job. It never was a goal to make money with music. I just did it because I wanted to, and needed to. Nowadays every euro I make is music related. I actually don’t feel like I work at all.
What's your opinion on the current state of Hip Hop ? What really needs to change, according to you? Alternatively, what's a change you've seen, that (for all that it's worth) you think should stay?
I love it. The Dutch market is now where the French market was 15 years ago. I felt jealous back then, and thought that it would never happen here, but it is. Independent artists making and releasing music, doing shows and paying their bills. Even the people behind the spotlight like engineers, producers & managers are getting by. I really love it!
What’s the biggest misconception people have of the music industry?
Well, I don’t know. Maybe that it’s easy? It’s not :D
What can we expect from Snelle Jelle in the coming months / year?
There’s a lot coming out soon. I shot 2 video’s this year and got quite some collaborations done too!