Photo: Press (Jeroen Search)
Jeroen Search’s work ethos is second to none. The Rotterdam-based artist has been releasing records steadily over the last 24 years, each of them a belting confession for his love to all things Techno. Since signing to Len Faki’s Figure label in 2009, Search has both opened and closed its sublabel Figure SPC with an EP and will return to the mothership on March 27 with a four-track EP exploring different shades of Techno. We caught up with the Jeroen Search and present his exclusive Groove mix, recorded with the intention to start off a fresh day and, naturally, get busy working.
You started out as a DJ and producer in the mid-90s in Rotterdam, a city famous for its Gabber scene and, more recently, Bas Mooy’s Industrial-tinged Mord label. What was the local scene like when you started out and which major developments have you experienced in the Dutch Techno scene over the past 20+ years?
When I started producing music together with Misjah for his X-Trax imprint in 1993, we just started out making the music we loved hearing and didn’t think about much else. So it’s a tough question to answer because I’ve never really felt that I was really part of any scene or movement. However, I’ve always did feel a deep connection with Rotterdam as a city. It has its own culture and values, which are probably best defined as a deeply rooted “work-hard-play-hard” mentality. People in Rotterdam always will speak their mind, even if they known you’re not going to like what they have to say. This brutal honesty is something that’s deeply embedded in Rotterdam’s music culture as well, regardless if it’s Gabber, Techno or Rock, it’s always very pure at heart. This shaped me as a person and a musician, and it is definitely something I hope Rotterdam will always retain.
Many producers from back in the day have moved on to other things. What keeps you going after over two decades in Techno?
I just love it, I love doing techno in my studio, on stage – I just love it!
You’ve established yourself early on as a live act and also have a very hands-on approach to producing: Usually, your tracks are recorded in one take. What drew you to performing live and why do choose to translate that approach to your studio work?
To be perfectly honest, it is the other way around. I basically created my live set around the idea that I wanted to bring my studio workflow with me on stage so I could perform along the same lines as I have been working in my studio for years. To me, making music is all about capturing the moment regardless if it is on stage or in my studio. The only way to retain that feeling is to prepare as little as possible for my live sets. Yet I always have some sort of a plan in the back of my mind of what I want achieve with my sets and records. However, there’s also a more practical reason I work fast: time management. Next to being an artist I had a full-time day job at the time, so I had to work pretty fast in my studio to get the most out of the limited time I had available. Only just recently I finally felt comfortable with giving up my day job and now I can focus full on my music. I’m excited about this new experience, it’s pretty amazing to suddenly have all the time in the world again. Not that I have ever felt restrained before, but now I do feel like my creativity has leaped forward in an instant.
In 2014 and 2015 respectively, you have briefly relaunched your label Search to release some old tracks of yours. Why have you abandoned it in 2001 in the first place, only five years after you had founded it?
My Search imprint was abandoned mainly because of the declining sales figures at the time. However, it wasn’t totally by choice. See, Search was never really “my own” label back then, I curated it, but it was funded by a record company. So when the sales weren’t up to their standards they began to question the direction the label was headed. Since I didn’t have the financial means to keep on doing it on my own, I pretty much had no other option than to abandon the label at the time because I didn’t want to compromise on music. The relaunch back in 2014 was never really intended to be a full fledged reboot of the label. It’s just that people kept supporting the music over the years and were asking me for digital files or spare vinyl copies, so I felt it would be a nice thing to remaster and re-release some of the tracks that are most dear to me, just so they’d be available again.
Since you took on the name Jeroen Search in 2008, you have been a regular contributor to Len Faki’s Figure SPC series. What’s your relationship with Len like and what made the SPC series so special to you that you returned to it again and again?
In general, Len already is a really friendly and down to earth kind of guy, but I also like to think that being part of Figure SPC was a journey we took together, resulting in a connection that is deeper than just the music. At the time, I wasn’t really sure in which direction I was headed with my music, and by asking me to do the SPC A, Len handed me a challenge: go make new music for a new label. In hindsight this was something I really needed at the time. It gave me a fresh goal and helped me bridge the gap between my past and present career in music. It changed the way I work, and with each release it made me feel comfortable again with being an artist, for which I’m grateful. Also, being part of Figure is really like being part of a family. This strong bond between Figure and its artists is also an important reason I keep returning to the label, it feels like a natural destination for my music.
Your mix for our Groove podcast is very dense and atmospheric. What was your idea behind it?
I recorded this mix on a Thursday morning in my home studio. The dense atmosphere is probably caused the fact it was still quite early at the time and I’d just woken up. I’m always eager to start a new day and get busy working, so I felt like making something that really translated the time, place and moment I was in at the time into music.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans as a producer for 2017?
There are lots of things planned for 2017. I have releases coming up on Dynamic Reflection, Warm Up recordings, and Figure already, and as for the gigs I have a couple of nice shows across Europe planned for the coming moths.
Stream: Jeroen Search – Groove Podcast 93
01. Visum – Volumen (Monocline)
02. Der Amethyst – Time Machine Escape (Subsist)
03. SHDW & Obscure Shape – Wenn die Masken fallen (Rødhåd Remix) (From Another Mind)
04. Iori – Birds (Semantica)
05. Gemini Voice Archive – Paradoxial Architecture (Soma)
06. Oisel – Rifrazione (Evod)
07. Keikari – Aalto (New Rhythmic Records)
08. Tadeo – The Globular Ray (Token)
09. Hemka – Lamb In Lotus (Float)
10. Kessel – Sensorium (Reeko Remix) (Pole Group)
11. Cirkle – Rorture (Granulart Recordings)
12. Viels – Waling On A Death Line (Dynamic Reflection)
13. Giordanoe – Direction of Rotation (Illegal Alien Records)
14. Vinz Exe – Giedi Prime (Voight)
15. Ruhbarb – Field (Odd Even)
16. Hemka – The Mystery of the Black Flamingo (Float)
17. Reless- Cycle (Shlomo Remix) (World Talk)
18. Voiski – Marble Sadness (Dement3d)
19. SHDW & Obscure Shape – Die Macht des Schicksals (Inland Remix) (From Another Mind)