Remember that extremely catchy Elvis remix that was used in just about every commercial? Or the adrenaline rush of music on Need for Speed? How about the remix of Coldplay's Talk? Believe it or not, all these are thanks to one man: Tom Holkenborg, a.k.a. Junkie XL.
Although, being a musician now a days can be extremely fatiguing, Holkenborg doesn’t seem to feel it at all, working on remixes, films and video game tracks at the same time. Not to mention going on tour to support his latest release, Booming Back at You. His drive you ask? A love of life and music that fuels his creative genius.
As he celebrates his second decade in music, after chatting with Holkenborg it sounds like he has a couple left in him. Clubplanet recently caught up with Junkie XL to chat about his recent release, how he feels about music today, and he finally reveals what he can’t do.
Clubplanet: So what’s been on your agenda lately?
Junkie XL: A lot actually! (laughs) Well I’ve done about 40 gigs in the last couple of months, including the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Coachella, about 25 clubs in the states and a couple of gigs in Europe. I’m heading back in four weeks to do more festivals over there. At the same time I’m working on a movie, a video game and a couple of remixes.
CP: Going into your latest album, Booming Back at You, did you have a concept in mind before going into the production?
Junkie XL: The only thing I knew is that I wanted to make an album that was very close to what I liked at the time, which is something uplifting, fun, raw, with definitely a lot of humor and definitely dance oriented. I really didn’t want to make this album a conceptual album.
CP: It seems that when you perform you really have a great time and really seem to enjoy the music and the crowd. How did you fall into music in the first place?
Junkie XL: Well I come from a family where everyone played several instruments. When I was three-years-old I was already banging on the piano, and when I was 12 I played the drums, bass, guitar and keyboard and I knew that that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
CP: What are some of your musical influences?
Junkie XL: Oh man, they’re all over the place. It starts with Elvis and The Beatles to Pink Floyd. Punk, hip hop, obviously electronic and dance. There’s just so much good music out there.
CP: So what would you be doing if music wasn’t in your life?
Junkie XL: I would be a chef. Outside of music cooking is my biggest hobby.
CP: What’s your opinion on the state of music today? Do you see it heading in a particular direction, or do you think there’s a lack of creativeness?
Junkie XL: No I don’t. I think that this is one of the most exciting times when it comes to music. There are just so many great bands out there. I mean, things have changed and music reaches the masses in a different way now. It’s not the traditional record company that finds the band. It’s all about MySpace now. So now there’s a whole different way for music to reach the masses, but good music always does. The question is though, how are record companies are going to react to that?
CP: You’ve worked with some great artists like Robert Smith, and even Chuck D. What new artists out there would you like to collaborate with?
Junkie XL: Well that changes over time as well. When I was younger I was always looking up. I always wanted to work with Robert Smith or Dave Gahan. Now since I’m older myself, I’m looking for the new artists that are coming out, what’s the fresh young talent? That’s why I like working with younger guys like Steve Aoki. I’m always looking for new people that are up and coming.
CP: Do you have a song that’s been recently stuck in your head?
Junkie XL: Actually I do. It’s from a band that I found on MySpace called Black Kids. They have this song called, I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You. Great song!
CP: You’ve done your fair share of remixes. Are there any tracks out there that you’d love to get your hands on and put a twist to?
Junkie XL: I don’t know. It’s really hard to tell at this time. There’s no song that I really want to do. But there are a lot of really great songs that I love a lot.
CP: You seem to create songs that make it hard not to visualize an image or a scene of some sort in anyone’s head. Have you ever thought about trying your hand at directing?
Junkie XL: No I haven’t, and I don’t think that it would be my forte. Even though my music speaks in images, coming up with images to support my music is really not my forte and I’ve always worked with other people to do that for me.
CP: You’ve remixed classic songs, collaborated with premier artists, and worked on projects for video games and films. What can’t you do?
Junkie XL: I’m a horrible singer!(laughs)
CP: What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
Junkie XL: There’s gonna be a lot of touring and more films and video games and remixes. Artistically it’s going to be very interesting.
CP: Any final words for your fans on Clubplanet?
Junkie XL: I’m really pleased with the way the fans have been approaching my music with an open mind, since it’s changed so much over the years. I just really hope that they continue to stay open minded.
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