Exclusive Interview with Andre Crom
Andre Crom is a DJ whose DJ sets move fluidly from sleazy deep underground tunes to jacking house to slow-burning groovers. As label manager for OFF Recordings he tries to implement this variety in style as well. But above all, Crom and OFF release music to give people on the dance floor a good time, nothing more and nothing less. We had some questions for the Berlin-based DJ/producer like what he expects of this week’s ADE and how Berlin has influenced him musically.
You recently made a mix themed around ADE, which is coming out 15th of October. What can we expect?
A selection of my personal favourite tracks of the recent weeks; that will hopefully give people an insight into my vision of the current state of underground house music. I tried to select tracks that have a timeless quality to them, so that it will still sound fresh in one or more years. The exciting thing about this mix format is that buyers get both a DJ mix and the single tracks in a bundle, so it’s great value for money, and it is a release that does not only aim at DJ’s but also at the ‘normal’ clubber who just would like to have a great selection of music at a nice price.
The range of your influences is very wide. Are there any artists in particular that have a special meaning to you?
As I am first and foremost a DJ, I’m strongly influenced by other people’s music also when I produce my own songs. And of course I’m influenced by the people I work with when doing a collaboration. Right now what I play is a mix of functional toolish club tracks as for example Leftwing & Kody, Dusky or Nick Fanciulli would produce.
On the other side I’m really getting deep into emotional “wasted” melodic tracks, as Deetron, Kink, or the Innervisions guys stand for. These tracks do not always fit into a 3 am peaktime club set, but really give me a kick emotionally and I love to play them when people are open enough for it.
Did moving to Berlin changed your musical style or perspective?
As I launched the label after the move: nope. To be honest I don’t think Berlin has influenced me too much musically, as the Berlin sound used to be quite minimal and techy when I moved over here, which was not really my kind of thing. Nowadays there are many house producers in Berlin as well; but I still feel my sound is quite international, which is reflected by my bookings and the worldwide feedbacks we get with OFF as well.
However, the Berlin DJ and party culture definitely influenced me a lot, the very liberal environment here with endless opening hours and easygoing take on drugs is great for having magical DJ sets.
You have a neat way of picking vocals for your tracks. It varies from Blondie to Muddy Waters. Do you first pick out the vocals and then start making the track, or the other way around?
When working with a well-known sample or a remix usually the track is written around the sample; which – if the vocal is good – makes the writing process a lot easier. But I don’t want to work with samples anymore, rather write with original singers.
What do you have (on replay) on your Ipod at the moment?
I love cool electronic/indie bands like The XX, Mano Le Tough, Empire of The Sun, Jamie Woon, The Weeknd etc. Got a lot more into alternative pop in 2013, and look forward to dive even deeper into it, I’d also love to do some remixes for bands like the above mentioned.
What are your other passions besides music?
A: Right now I’m so busy that there is little time for anything besides touring, running OFF and producing new music. I’d love to do more sports again, like Yoga or going to the gym. If the weather is nice, I love to take a trip on my motorbike with a nice lady on the back, and I love reading or watching a series like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Californication.
Where does the idea of the vintage visuals on the OFF’s YouTube channel come from?
We just looked for something with a good vibe to visualize our music, and it’s easy to find nice oldschool videos on the net.
What is your favorite remix of one of your own tracks?
Andre Crom: Reality (Dusky Rmx)
What have you got lined up for us in 2014 EP/Album-wise?
It’s a bit early to speak about 2014 yet; but I can tell you what I personally have lined up. Besides a toolish solo ep I’m just working on, I am starting a new project with Berlin- based Chi Thanh. A very experienced and talented producer and is just starting his own deep house project.Together, we’ll fuse his amazing songwriting- and production skills with my talent to create catchy and minimalistic grooves.
I’m really excited about this project, it almost feels like starting a second career, and we will do some interesting new things like writing radio versions of songs with live vocals and instruments, and then create our own remixes for the club…
Here are some of the things we-re just working on:
– The 1975’s: Me (Andre Crom & Chi Thanh as ‘ACCT’ Remix)
– Jakatta: American Dream (Andre Crom & Chi Thanh Remix)
You’re coming to Amsterdam with ADE to play the OFF Label Night. How does it differ playing alongside your label mates from solo gigs?
I feel much more responsibility for the outcome of the night, than if it’s just a solo gig. So I myself, OFF as a label and our labelnight artists work together with the promoter to invite all our friends and fans to make it a great event. On the party itself, I really like the interaction between our acts, myself and the party crowd – it’s very important for me to run OFF as a family, and it’s the label nights where this family comes together!
What does the Amsterdam Dance Event mean to you and how do you experience it?
A: I love Amsterdam as a city and ADE as well. I have been here many times already and like the intimate and cozy atmosphere. Everything is nearby, people are relaxed and you can both chill and work better than on a huge event like Sonar which is spread over a huge area. It’s our first big ADE labelnight and I’m really excited about it!
You have been in the scene for quite a while now. Do you have other dreams, next to the ones you’ve accomplished already?
I’m really happy with the way my personal career and OFF have developed so far; the last year blew my wildest dreams. So I’m motivated to grow this career further and as mentioned above explore new ways of producing and showcasing music. Besides that, my main ‘dream’, or let’s rather call it plan, is to lead a happy and prosperous life and to be good to the people around me. The good old concept of having a family some day with one or two kids and to give them a good start into life. I feel the more you achieve yourself, the more you feel the wish to pass something on to others, to help them also to do well.
You can catch Andre Crom at White Rabbit invites OFF Recordings ADE @ Sugar Factory this Thursday!
Andre Crom | Betoko |Kevin Knapp | LEFTWING & KODY | mat.joe | Robosonic | Teenage Mutants | Francesco Robustelli (live) | La Vondèl | Maya | JME.N.U. | No Reset |