Blasterjaxx , the duo of Thom Jongkind and Idir Makhlaf, have exploded onto the EDM scene. Early support came from Laidback Luke
, who both picked up their tracks to release on their respective labels. Entering the DJ Mag chart in 2013 at #71, you can be assured that with the strength of their recent releases (“Mystica (Werewolf),” “Astronaut,” and “Rocket”), they will be taking a big jump this year.
RS: Where did the name Blasterjaxx come from?
Thom: Back in the day, we wanted a name that was powerful enough to describe our sound. We tried some different names out but in the end we came up with Blasterjaxx and we are still satisfied with it.
RS: How did the two of you meet up?
Idir: At the gym. I knew him because of his music and he knew that I was making music as well.
Thom: We teamed up and had a great connection so we started playing together.
RS: When you two work together do you each play a different role or do you go back and forth?
Thom: Idir is more musical than I am, so he makes the breaks, etc. He has a bunch of set-ups right now, so we pick them out together and try to work them into a song.
RS: When you two DJ do you DJ back and forth?
Thom: I think that we are some of the few DJs that actually play together. He makes the beat match and I mix it in so we both do it at the same time.
RS: How do you decide which track you put vocals on?
Idir: It depends on the break; if the break is cool enough for an instrumental than we don’t need any vocals.
Thom: We mainly try to make club bangers and Beatport tracks, but when we create something for the radio we go with a totally different mindset and it is usually a little softer than when it is just for a club track.
Idir: Sometimes we receive a vocal, though, and we have to build a track around it.
RS: How did going from “Mystica” to “Werewolf” happen?
Idir: We already had “Mystica” and a cool vocalist, so we decided to try it. He sent us that vocal and we really liked it.
Thom: We received two different vocal versions, but we preferred the “Werewolf” version and from there we put it in.
RS: I have always wondered how you come up with a name for a track that doesn’t have vocals on it. How did you come up the name “Mystica”?
Thom: The sound is mysterious.
Idir: We used the name for a mixed tape a couple of years ago and thought that it was cool so we decided to call it “Mystica.”
RS: I loved your mix of BT and Tiesto’s “Love Comes Again” - were y’all nervous reworking such a classic?
Idir: We started it for fun and decided to make a bootleg of it.
Thom: We asked Tiesto for the acapella to make a bootleg so he sent it over. We had already made “Adagio for Strings,” and he liked that, so he decided to give us the vocal. We fooled around and it sounded cool, but to be honest we weren’t really into it. It was a cool track back in the day and such a classic and we liked it back then, but we didn’t have any idea that it would have so much impact on people.
RS: Reading through your tweets and facebook posts, am I right to interpret that you guys are big fans of Pitbull?
Idir: We like his music, but we are more into Daddy Yankee.
RS: Really, have you collaborated with Daddy Yankee yet?
Thom: No, but if he asked us we would definitely say yes!
RS: How do Dutch guys get into reggaeton?
Idir: In the Netherlands reggaeton and hip-hop are still big. It is music for the girls and when the girls are out, the boys come. It was a big thing in the Netherlands a couple of years ago and we are still stuck on it and love it.
RS: This is a little controversial, there is a lot of talk that all these EDM tracks are starting to sound the same. Are y’all experiencing that and how are you trying to change it?
Thom: Yes we have experienced that. For example, we made the “Where We Go” track a year and a half ago and back than it was unique, but after that a lot of tracks came out that sounded like it. We try to make original tracks and think outside of the box and get inspired by other influences. Most producers listen to other EDM tracks to see what works and want us to make something that sounds like that. We are not trying to copy other genres or try to put it in EDM.
Idir: For example, “Snake” has a different melody and sounds Middle Eastern, it’s cool.
RS: How are US crowds different than the European crowds?
Thom: It’s interesting; US crowds are a little bit more energetic, but in some places in Europe the crowds go as wild as the US crowds. In Istanbul the crowds were just as energetic as they were in L.A.
RS: What do you have coming up next?
Thom: We have a cool collaboration with W&W, some original tracks, and a radio track that is coming out soon.
Interview conducted during Winter Music Conference 2014.