With a name like Dirtcaps, you know they keep it grimey. The trio of Danny Groenenboom, Max Oude Weernink, and Tim Haakmeester mix trap, hip-hop, electro, and house for a unique, edgy sound that ranges in speed but is always energetic and powerful. “Stand Up,” “Where’s the Bomb,” “Projectile,” and “Hands Up” are just a few of their massive tracks, while collaborations with Alvaro, Yellow Claw, and Party Squad showcase how their sound transcends genres. 2015 is off to an explosive start for these truly dirty Dutchmen.
RS: What is the story behind “Brah”?
Danny Groenenboom: We did it together with Alvaro, but the track has been finished for a long time- there was just some trouble with the label and stuff. Now we are going to be releasing it on Mad Decent on May 26th.
Tim Haakmeester: It is actually kind of a follow-up track for “Dagga,” which is where all the collaborations started.
Max Oude Weernink: We finished both of them more than half a year ago and we wanted to release it, but we didn’t find a good label until we found Mad Decent, which is really where we wanted to be. It isn’t the standard EDM kind of sound, but it is a new sound and that’s where we want to put it out.
RS: Your sound is like a hybrid between hip-hop, trap, and electro. Do you have any problems incorporating all that into one set when you are playing live?
Max Oude Weernink: No, but for other people it may difficult to understand because we start out at a low tempo and we raise it up to the highest one. We start out at 110 BPM and end up at 150, but that is the style that we want to promote. It is a new kind of set with no genre and no rules; we have a bit of a hip-hop, trappy, house kind of thing that we want to stay with.
RS: I loved your mix of Yellow Claw; was that a challenge to do with that vocal?
Danny Groenenboom: Max co-produces for Yellow Claw, so the thing is that the vocal was in our mind for a long time. We wanted to find a way to give it a new feeling, so that is why we did something really out of the ordinary and made the remix.
RS: Max, what exactly do you do with Yellow Claw?
Max Oude Weernink: We have a studio complex together, and 5 or 6 years ago we started producing together. They went towards the trap kind of stuff and we went more towards the housey stuff. We are less aggressive than Yellow Claw, but I co-produce with them on every track and they also help us with a lot of stuff.
RS: So it’s one big happy family. Congratulations on the Buma award.
Max Oude Weernink: Thank you.
RS: I love the snapbacks and the long t-shirts, what is your next merch going to be?
Tim Haakmeester: That’s a tricky one; we are working on the new snapbacks and I think that they are going to come out soon. We just got the samples in and we are just tweaking them a little bit and then they are going into the shops. We are doing a new shoot and new press pictures and we are working on a massive gold chain with Dirtcaps and the Jäger sign on top of it. It is going to be massive and we might sell a few, like for limited editions.
Max Oude Weernink: You just have to wait for when it is finished because it is a lot of work.
RS: How did the three of you meet up?
Danny Groenenboom: Max and I went to the same high school together, so we have known each other since we were little and we started DJing together. In 2012 we met Tim in Amsterdam and we joined forces, and now it’s the three of us.
RS: At the end of the gig, which hurts more- your ears from the sound or your eyes from all the flash of the pictures?
Max Oude Weernink: My liver from the Jäger.
Tim Haakmeester: I am going to say the liver too- but otherwise the ears.
Danny Groenenboom: For me, it is the eyes because I always wear ear protection.
RS: If you could remix any track by Biggie Smalls which would it be?
Danny Groenenboom: For me it would be “Juicy,” that is my favorite song.
Tim Haakmeester: I would say "Ten Crack Commandments."
Max Oude Weernink: For me it is “Juicy” as well, but on the other hand I think that you don’t remix Biggie. There are some tracks that you don’t touch and Biggie is one of them. In general you shouldn’t remix those kinds of tracks because they are good as they are, and if you start cutting it around again I think he will be mad at us.
Danny Groenenboom: You know that Biggie screamed our name in one of his songs. Listen closely to the song "Hypnotize" you will hear Dirtcaps in there.
RS: Wow I did not know that. Let’s flip that, if you could remix any classic hip-hop track which would it be?
Danny Groenenboom: Like Max said, some tracks you just can’t touch. Let me think about it.
Tim Haakmeester: Busta Rhymes- "Gimme Some More," that one is a really cool one I would like to remix.
Danny Groenenboom: P. Diddy - "Bad Boys for Life."
Max Oude Weernink: I like the "Ruff Ryders Anthem," and that kind of stuff that you can really trap out.
RS: Being on the road so much and producing, how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle with all the craziness? We know that you love Jäger, but …
Danny Groenenboom: We try to work out and watch our food and drink a lot of water and stuff like that. Sometimes it’s not possible, so you just go with the flow and then later on when you are at home you just sleep extra and try to eat healthy. Our studio is actually a health center nowadays.
Tim Haakmeester: Yeah, we are all about dieting this year because it is going to be so busy and everytime we are in Holland and in between shows we try and be as healthy as possible, because there are going to be times when you are on the road and eat McDonalds.
Max Oude Weernink: I am the guy sitting in the studio just eating and smoking cigarettes, and that’s it.
RS: So you guys are the ones on the road and you are the ones at home?
Max Oude Weernink: Sometimes I stay in the studio because I have to finish up all of the stuff that needs to be done. Healthwise, I think that I am the worst of the 3 because I like mayonnaise and steaks and that kind of stuff.
Tim Haakmeester: “Snackbox Max” is what we call him, actually!
RS: After “Brah,” what is your next track or collaboration that is coming?
Danny Groenenboom: Before “Brah,” our new single with Rochelle “Fools Paradise” is coming out. She also sang on “Shotgun.” Two days before we got here we released our “Fired Up” remix from LNY TNZ and Ruthless with the Kemist.
Max Oude Weernink: We are also doing an EP together with Yellow Claw. It is four tracks and it will be coming out on Barong Family, the Yellow Claw imprint.
Danny Groenenboom: We also have some really cool collaborations with Sandro Silva and D-wayne. We are making an EP with LNY that is for later this year. We are also working with Wizkid, who is a Swiss guy that is just coming up.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Tim Haakmeester: Stay Schemin. That’s our motto.
Max Oude Weernink: Thanks for supporting us.
Danny Groenenboom: Stay Schemin – that’s all there is to say.
Interview conducted during Winter Music Conference 2015.