In the crowded field of Dutch DJ/production duos, Firebeatz shines. With a blazing stream of massive club anthems (Punk, Just One More Time Baby, Dear New York, Wonderful, and Bazooka), the duo of Tim Smulders and Jurre van Doeselaar balance a busy life of touring and production with explosive doses of fun in the mix. It’s easy to see (and hear) why everyone from Tiesto
and Sander van Doorn
to Nicky Romero
and Martin Garrix
have collaborated with the energetic duo.
RS: “Guitar Track” is one of the anthems of the year. Who actually played the guitar part?
Tim: Sander van Doorn played an air guitar! He came up with the melody and a guitar break and wanted to make something new and beautiful with us. We worked on it, gave it back to him, and then worked on it some more and came up with the whole track.
RS: Did you do this while you were touring with him?
Tim: Yes, we actually met him in the States after a gig, and after discussing the guitar break he wanted to take it to the studio and try it out.
RS: Have y’all thought about putting a topline on it?
Tim: Maybe, it has crossed our minds, but I think it’s already strong enough how it is. If we wanted a crossover in material it could use a topline, though.
RS: This track came just a month after your massive track “Helicopter,” how is it different working with Martin Garrix, Sander van Doorn, and Chocolate Puma?
Tim: The guys from Chocolate Puma are sample-based guys so they are from the old school where they used to work with machines that took hours to create something, so they are really creative. Sander has more of a trance background and Martin is just plain crazy.
Jurre: Everyone has their own style so it is always cool to combine it.
RS: What is it like working with Tiesto in the studio?
Tim: It is amazing because he is such a legend and actually won the legend award which qualifies him as a serious legend! He is a really cool guy and he is not arrogant at all. We worked really well together and had some Jäger in the studio- so that helped in the process.
RS: I can see you guys working really well with him because he is a little bit of a goofball and you guys are goofballs as well.
Tim: Yes, we love to goof around!
RS: If y’all could collaborate with anyone in the entire world, who would it be?
Jurre: The Prodigy or The Chemical Brothers
Tim: Basement Jaxx
RS: From collaborations, let’s talk about some remixes. “What Now” by Rihanna is such a downtempo record, how did y’all make that into such a big anthem?
Tim: It was difficult because it is a ballad and 3/4 tempo track. We struggled in the beginning to make it a big dance record, but we actually found that it worked out really great. We focused on finding a new melody in the break and the drop was for the clubs.
Jurre: It was pretty hard to make it fit, because like you said it was a 3/4 tempo and 90 BPM, so we took the parts that we liked the most and made it fit. It took us about 12 hours to fix all the parts and then we made a drop that was club banging.
RS: Is it more of a challenge to create a remix for a big pop artist like Justin Timberlake or Rihanna versus doing your own production tracks?
Tim: Most of the time we work really quickly with remixes. The big team and the vocals are already there, so we can build the Firebeatz club sound around it really fast.
Jurre: We always try to keep some part of the hook intact since it is already such a hit. There is no point in changing the winning concept because people want to hear that part of the song. The only thing that people want to hear from us is when it goes loose. We always try to make the break similar to the original and then make a nice build-up.
RS: In your club sets do you play these pop remixes as well?
Tim: Not every time. It depends on the crowd and what fits in the set. For instance, if you play at a festival, sometimes it’s nice for recognition but in the clubs we normally play harder stuff.
RS: There is a track online that is you guys mixing Sander van Doorn - “Joyenergizer.” Is that really your mix and is it ever coming out?
Jurre: It is not coming out; we made it as a bootleg. The plan was to release it as an official release, but there was already another remix that sounds like the Firebeatz sound. Lazy Rich did a really good remix, but the sound is similar to “Dear New York.” It would be confusing to release that track next to that remix, so it is exclusive for our sets.
RS: Going back through your tracks, I noticed that “Wicked” has a bit of a ‘90s vibe to it, is that a style that you are exploring? In the house world the ‘90s is back with the Prince Club and Disclosure, are you trying to do that in the harder world as well?
Tim: It is something that we did with the "Dear New York" track and something that we love to make. Our background is in that area, so naturally we want to make songs with that kind of stuff in it. I don’t hear a lot of people doing it though.
RS: Is “Wicked” a Chuck D sample or did you re-vocal it?
Tim: We revocaled it but the original is Chuck D from Public Enemy's “Welcome to the Terrordome.”
RS: “Wonderful” was one of the best videos of last year, how did it feel to see yourselves animated in such particle form?
Tim: It was amazing to see ourselves transformed to those creatures. We did the shoot in an abandoned building and they shot us from all different angles. We didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but when we saw the results we were like “what the fuck is this?” They created a whole different world behind us and it was crazy to see. They did a really good job on it and we were really happy with it.
RS: As Dutchmen, what does ‘sausage fest’ mean to you?
Jurre: It is a party where you eat a lot of sausages. Just kidding, it means the same thing that it does in the States.
RS: We know that y’all like ribs and Jack Daniels, what other food and liquor combinations do y’all like?
Jurre: We like Corona with everything, meat with good wine and sushi.
Tim: We like pretzel dogs, burgers, and beer.
RS: So where does the name Firebeatz come from?
Jurre: It started as a joke. There is a Dutch expression that says “go as fast as the fireman,” and in the beginning when we were working in the studio we always said “it needs to go like the fireman.” When we needed to get a name, we decided that it needed to be something to do with fire and came up with Firebeatz.
RS: How old are you?
RS: Okay, what do you think about this whole group of 17 year-olds that are making club tracks?
Tim: It’s crazy, it is a new generation and they are starting really young. When I was 12 years old there weren’t computers like they have these days. I think that makes a huge difference in why there are a lot of younger guys that are producing, I think it’s wonderful.
Jurre: They are going to be the new generation, when we are done they can pick up after us and go even further.
RS: You aren’t even close to being done yet!
Jurre: No, we are just starting!