Global Dance Fest AZ Exclusive Interview With Showtek

On September 23rd at Relentless Beats – Global Dance Festival AZ in Chandler, Arizona, OneEDM got the chance to catch up with two of dance music’s biggest superstars, Dutch electronic duo Showtek. Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen have spent the last 20 years honing their amazing craft. Recently they’re touring America and releasing new singles with artists like Freetown Collective and Major Lazer.

You just started the Amen tour. How’s that going?

W: Great, actually. We haven’t really done like a proper tour in North America since the beginning of our careers, but we wanted to kinda step back into the market a little bit besides just doing festivals.

Some festivals are apart of it, but we also wanna do some venues and more intimate shows because we always do like those huge festivals with big crowds and this tour enabled us to get a little bit closer to the crowds to see where we’re standing and how the music is evolving because as musicians you wanna be apart of that growth as well and see how the crowds responding to new things. It’s going well.

Walk us through writing Amen with Freetown Collective

W: The beginning, we had a song with them with Major Lazer. Believer. And those guys are such passionate creative writers and producers and composers. That song happened with Major Lazer and we liked it. We liked the outcome of it, but we also felt like we wanted to do more with them. So we started working with them, calling, Skyping.

We still haven’t met each other in person. It’s pretty weird. So we tried to get them over for the tour and stuff to do some shows and we planned more stuff and were actually gonna do sessions with them and write more stuff with them because those guys are great musicians.

S: It’s a very positive song. It’s about believing and faith and having hope for a good future and for any struggle you have in life. He’s singing maybe for his trials in his country, and you can feel that when he’s singing. He has a lot of emotion in that, that’s what we liked about that part of the song. It’s about overcoming and its a very positive song, just to send out a positive message. It’s the same with Believer.

W: Believer was like the kick off and then with Amen, we felt like we could do something more. We’ve done so many typical EDM songs, we wanted to do something with a little more depth. It’s not like its a super crossover type song. We didn’t want it to be. We just wanted to play around a little bit with like a different message and stuff.

S: The funny thing is, we’re not super religious either. Amen is more about just hoping for a good thing. It’s just a saying and an expression. I think as an artist you a have a voice to speak up and it seems today that even when we play Believer we also say that we believe that everyone’s equal. Especially in America. This is the country where you are free and everybody comes together as one.

The same with Amen. We just wanted to use some of that energy. Especially as an artist. You can tell a story and travel around the world. You get cultured a lot, so that’s also an inspiration. And the next time you just keep doing that, and sometimes it’s more EDM-ey, and this time it was more pop-ey, but we like to bring some diversity to our sound and style.

Recently there was a video going on around on Facebook about a tribute that you guys did to Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

W: Well the thing is, I hate to say this, but we never tried to get any attention out of it because it’s a very sad happening. Of course, I mean its a very tragic thing. We were playing in Germany and to us, it was a very big song and he was a very talented artist and writer. So when it happened it was such a big impact on us and the people around us. We were doing a big show in Germany and we decided to close down the show with it instead of like a big banger.

S: It’s just one of our favorite songs and we wanted to pay special tribute to it. Especially in 2017. Its gonna get even crazier. News travels so fast. Like, its there and then people forget about it the next day. So the least we could do as artists were to pay some contribution to him and people like started singing it. Especially in Germany. Their huge artists over their. The momentum was amazing and we were very happy to be apart of it. But we don’t wanna take credit for it.

W: No, that was the thing. It was in the news and it was in the German news papers. We were like ‘oh wait, we didn’t try to get any attention!’

‘oh wait, we didn’t try to get any attention!’

Can you guys tell us about one of your favorite tour experiences as the duo Showtek?

W: Well, if you ask me, I think I speak for the both of us, is that two years ago we brought our father on tour. We brought him to LA and New York first, and then we went to South America and went to Brazil and Argentina and Chile. We had 2 and a half weeks. We were on the highest level you can be with your father, just father, and son.

We had the best talks, we went to the best restaurants. I mean, he’s not old or anything, but he’s older and if you’re in your 60’s your not gonna travel to Argentina all the time especially if you’re together with your wife and stuff. You’re not gonna just travel the world. So, for him, it was fun to be with his sons who are traveling the world a lot and also for us it was cool to bring him once.

S: It’s such a different experience when you’re actually in the group instead of seeing our videos or following us online.

W: We had so much fun. He was having a great time. We turned around and half the vodka was gone and he was like ‘Yaaaaay’! Having a great time. He was hanging out with the owners of Ultra Music Festival. That was one of the greatest moments for us in the last few years.

Can you guys tell us a little bit about how Showtek came to be?

W: This is something we don’t take for granted. I was just telling him that its crazy that we started a while ago. Like 20 years ago, and now we’re still touring and still doing festivals. As dudes from Europe being able to play for all these people in America, we feel very honored and respected because we know how many talented artists there are in America and we actually really appreciate that.

What America is known for is that they have their own thing going on, but that they’re also good at discovering things outside of America and bringing them to the stage and actually making it better, which I think also happened to electronic music. So like Major Lazer, Skrillex, and The Chainsmokers, what those guys are doing is next level. We are very honored to still be relevant and part of those big stages, that’s great to us.

Showtek Interview Global Dance Fest
Photo Credit: Angelo Graciano

If Showtek could work with any musician who would it be and why?

S: There’s a lot. Last year I went to a few Kanye shows. I mean I know he’s crazy as hell.

W: He knows what he wants.

S: That’s why he’s so cool and I think his performance is next level.

W: It would be cool to do a song with The Weeknd. Something dark and electronic. I think we would kill it with him.

S: Let’s have The Weeknd on the verse and then Kanye on the chorus and then we have the ultimate song.

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Brian Ogden

Brian Ogden is a man of many interests. His passions include electronic dance music, and everything around it: production, sound design, engineering, DJing, etc. Brian's career has been characterized by the exploration of these various disciplines - he has never limited himself to just one aspect of the world that EDM encompasses.

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