The name Dirty Dutch
is synonymous with DJ Chuckie
, who started the label that helped launch the electro-based Dutch House sound to the world. His track “Let the Bass Kick” was a breakthrough, and his work with David Guetta
on the ‘One Love’ album took the sound from the clubs to the mainstream. Seven years later, Chuckie cotinutes to travel the world spinning while keeping a steady stream of quality productions and remixes flowing into the sets of DJs everywhere. 2015 marks the launch of Metamorphosism, a new direction for Chuckie with a massive 9-hour set in February as the premier showcase. If his recent work with DJ Vice & SGT SLICK
(“Rock Da Scene”) and Kronic & Krunk
(“Vamanos”) is any indication, be ready for some explosive new hybrids of EDM to be unleashed.
RS: You are one of the main guys that started the Dirty Dutch scene, where did that name come from?
Chuckie: I wanted to throw my own parties because I was doing so many parties for other promoters, and it was never something that I really liked or the way that I wanted it to be. I came up with the name Dirty Dutch because I wanted to have a concept that would reflect me in the music. I was playing a wider variety of music inspired by the streets and whatever the streets were listening to, and obviously people weren’t just listening to one style of music. The name Dirty reflects the streets, and then Dutch obviously because we are in Holland. In 2008, I made “Let The Bass Kick” that basically gave the name a face.
RS: There is a new batch of “Let The Bass Kick” remixes that just came out, were you involved in those?
Chuckie: No, the label was involved. I was happy with it because I wasn’t involved in the whole A&R thing and so it surprised me. They came back with a pretty amazing remix by Lucky Date which has a really 2014 sound and I absolutely love it.
RS: I have always wondered, did the LMFAO vocal version come after your track or did you seek that out?
Chuckie: Right before the Winter Music Conference in 2008 this guy from Chicago named DJ Inphinity made a mashup and sent it to the whole industry, including myself. By the time that I got to Miami for the Winter Music Conference, everyone was playing it. It was really good and so I got in touch with LMFAO and asked them if they wanted to do it and to check out the bootleg. I tweaked it a little bit and made it sound better and eventually it came out like that, it was pretty amazing and it worked out so well.
RS: There is dirty Dutch and there is dirty house, what is the difference?
Chuckie: I have no clue what the difference is, for me Dirty Dutch is not really a genre but people do associate it with the high pitch synths and the portomento style pitch bending, but to me I don’t really have an answer. I think that people would say that Dirty Dutch is more of a hip-hop influence and that dirty house is more of the Chuckie beats or something.
RS: In the US you are signed to Big Beat and Atlantic, as an independent guy with your own label here in Amsterdam, what is it like working with a major label in the US?
Chuckie: It was really hard for me to understand the way that a major label works. First of all, it was my first time entering the US and working with one of the biggest major companies in the US. I learned a lot and that was really important for me to see what the process was and the way that they work records. It took me a minute to grasp it but finally I got it. You can’t really beat the power of a major label because they blow it up not only in one continent but all over the world. It is always really fun for me to work with the people at Big Beat because of their experience and everyone has been in the game forever. I learned a lot from them and it is a big learning process. I have to agree it is totally different from working as an independent and having my own label because I have a whole different strategy.
RS: I really like your song “Skydive,” when you made the track did you write the vocals? How did the vocals come about?
Chuckie: I went to New York for a session with Stargate, who are the people that produced the biggest tracks for Rihanna and Shakira. We were writing some music and I laid down an instrumental, but it was just an instrumental and then I went back to Aruba. They called me a couple of weeks later and told me that they had a really great song written on it and they sent it to me. The lovely Maiday from the UK, who is a very great songwriter, basically killed the track and it came out amazing.
RS: When you work with David Guetta, how do the two of you collaborate together?
Chuckie: First of all, David and I met in a whole different way and it was actually at the first ADE that I attended back in 2007. I had to do the warm up set for David and he walked in to the room and saw me DJ and to be honest, I put a lot of work into my DJs sets. He saw me playing and was like “wow, that’s cool man, you have to come with me to Ibiza.” I was shocked because he just asked me to play with him based on my DJ skills. Once I got to Ibiza we started talking and I shared some of my music with him. The whole dirty Dutch sound was new to him and back then he we was producing a new album called One Love. After I shared some music with him and we talked about a lot of stuff, he was really inspired by the sound. He always gives me the credit and says that the whole One Love album was inspired by the Dirty Dutch sound. I always wanted to work with some of his vocals so he sent me a bunch of the tracks that he was doing, for example the track that he did with Akon. Back then it was my first time going to Vegas and I had a session with Lil Jon and I think that was actually the first time that Lil Jon collaborated on an electronic music track. It was a new thing for him and also a new thing on the market. After that I started working with David and did another remix for him with Fatman Scoop, which is kind of a similar style and was really fun to do. We are still friends and we talk about music a lot and every now and then we call each other up and just share music.
RS: In addition to your own productions, you do a good amount of remixes. Looking back on all your remixes what has been the most challenging?
Chuckie: The most challenging remix was probably the Michael Jackson remix that I did called “Hollywood Tonight.” It was his first release after he passed away, and so the company called me and asked me if I wanted to remix Michael Jackson and they told me that they requested Chuckie. It was crazy, how does one going to the studio and remix a Michael Jackson track? It was pretty crazy to do, but I managed and I kept the original vibe in a certain way but also snuck in my own signature sounds.
RS: I come to Amsterdam Dance Event every year and I meet wonderful Dutch people like you and I always try to learn more of the language. What does Zaragoza mean?
Chuckie: Zaragoza is a city in Spain.
RS: Okay, because I saw that on your Twitter feed and I hadn’t heard it before.
Chuckie: It’s actually a funny story, as a kid the only way that I heard about Zaragoza was because back then they had an awesome soccer team and their lives were all about soccer. When I played there for the first time last weekend, I wanted to do something great because it was their annual event and the biggest thing happening in Zaragoza. There were like 10,000 people in my tent and I wanted to make it something really special and something for them to remember. I ended up playing the official Zaragoza soccer anthem and the whole place just went bananas. This is something that I like to do as a DJ and I like to keep the surprise element in my sets and touch hearts.
RS: If Zaragoza isn’t Dutch, teach me something in Dutch that I could say when I am DJing.
Chuckie: It is hard but let me just literally translate it; you could say “Handen in de lucht” which means hands in the air.
RS: I am wondering with all of the touring and production that you do, how you balance your personal life as a human being with a mother of three kids and all your DJing?
Chuckie: It’s really hard and it is all about making sacrifices I guess, I have been doing it for quite a while. When I met my girl, she saw my career taking off and so she was there from the beginning and I think that creates a certain relationship whereby she understands what is going on. Of course every now and then she busts my balls and asks me why I have to reply to this girl and that girl and I just tell her I am trying to be nice! It is part of it and keeps it entertaining. It is all about balancing and making sacrifices but so far so good and I try to take some time off whenever I can but then again people really want to see you perform. That is why sometimes I can’t make it to certain places because have to schedule some free time as well.
RS: As someone who has been around for a little while, what is your take on the DJ Magazine list?
Chuckie: I have mixed feelings about it. House started from a love movement, it was about love and it wasn’t about competition or about money. I think that with implementing a DJ list, you kind of force people into a certain way of competition and some people really take it too seriously and get kind of hostile. It’s cool that it’s there but I think that it is based on popularity, which is fine, but at the end of the day I don’t take it too seriously because I think it would drive me crazy. I just follow my own path and do what I have to do. I am fine with it but at the end of the day it is hard to compare Locodice to Skrillex, it is two completely different worlds and so it’s hard to put them on the same list. On the other hand what are you judging, a DJ or a producer? It’s kind of funny but it’s cool that it’s there and it’s good for the industry that people have something to vote for.
RS: I am going to put you on the spot, outside of yourself if you made the DJ list who would you put as the #1 DJ in the world?
Chuckie: Well I have a lot of questions for you, do you want me to judge based on DJ skills or based on productions?
RS: Consider both.
Chuckie: Based on productions, I would say guys like Deadmau5 or Noisia, but there are also a bunch of techno producers that I really like. It would be really hard to say, but if I had to choose I would say Deadmau5 as far as producer, and as far as DJs I would say probably Laidback Luke, he is amazing and I love his DJ skills. I have seen so many amazing techno DJs, and even a house DJ like TJR is technically one of the best. For me it is really hard to choose, but productionwise, Deadmau5 and DJwise would be Laidback Luke, but then again they are my friends so I am not being completely honest.
RS: Let’s say that you are in a room and in front of you is yourself at age 18, what advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?
Chuckie: I started producing when I was 18, so I would say to learn all of the technology as much as you can. I remember back then I loved just DJing and I focused so much on DJing. I started to produce later, so I would say to learn all of the programs and to learn all about every piece of equipment, I should have started earlier.
RS: What do you want to say to all of your fans out there?
Chuckie: Thank you for supporting the Dirty Dutch movement. February 7th in Amsterdam is going to be a new era for dirty Dutch and it is about to be on.
Interview conducted during Amsterdam Dance Event 2014.