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In 2014, I had a brief contact with Dutch DJ Dimitri about his first gig in Heerhugowaard. However, his first exciting gig was in the famous Amsterdam Club RoXY. "I learned how to entertain people but also give them a little music lesson."
“My first gig was in 1984 at the Heer Van Jericho in Heerhugowaard. This was a large discotheque with a mix of audiences. There were groups of hip-hoppers, new wavers, and disco enthusiasts, all of whom I had to keep entertained.” (laughs)
“I was well-prepared. That means I knew my music inside and out. The story unfolded on the evening itself. I played and still play in the moment.”
Test Run at the RoXY
I was given the chance to finish
“I remember well that Eddy eventually told me he was going home and that I could finish the set. That lasted until five in the morning. That was quite late for me at that time, as the venue in Heerhugowaard closed at three o’clock.”
Support from artist village posse
“Fortunately, this gig was a success, and I was allowed to stay. The next day, on Sunday, I had to do a test run at the Richter. That was a well-known soul, funk, salsa, and house club in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time, I was living with my mother in Bergen, and a whole posse from the artist village by the sea came to support me in a van. From then on, I had a regular night there as well. Just like at RoXY, I played there for about eleven years.”
“I never really had a mentor. However, I did learn from an older friend of mine, Hans Dekker, to entertain people but also give them a little lesson in music. Additionally, Derrick May inspired me around ’89/’90 with his Detroit techno style and the energy that came with it. My technique, mixing music styles, and how I structure the set, I always create and develope myself.”
This interview with Dimitri was originally published in February 2014 on DJMag.nl.
The music career of Dimitri Kneppers (1967), also known as ‘Dimitri from Amsterdam’, reads like an encyclopaedia. After over thirty years of spinning records, you could call him a real veteran, known for his enormous sensitivity, true feeling and mixing skills.
Dimitri is one of the first DJs to mix a house record with break beats or drum ‘n bass, proving he is not only capable of mixing those styles together by tempo and rhythm, but also by melody or tune/pitch, creating real-time compositions. At that time, it was a ground-breaking style that has been copied ever so often, although never truly coming close to ‘the master’ himself. By 1991 Dimitri spinned at all the major (warehouse) parties in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.
He released his first record and started his own label Be.S.T. (Beautiful Soul Techno). From 1992 onwards he continued to take over the club world with gigs from Tokyo to Australia, Paris to Peru and residences at Twilo in New York and Ibiza. He started his famous ‘Hi-Tech Soul Movement’ club night in RoXY on Thursday nights.
People from all over the world came to check out his distinctive taste of records, in which many consider him still truly authentic. From 1994 on Dimitri was voted number one club dj of The Netherlands four times in a row. In 1996 he was voted number 3 in the world by UK’s DJ Mag.
Dimitri took a 3-year sabbatical in 2007 (after playing non-stop for 23 years), trading the club scene for life on a farm and voluntary work with children with learning disabilities. In 2010, he returned with a residency at Club Trouw in Amsterdam, one of the best dance venues in Europe. In 2013, he suffered from a life-threatening bacterial infection, but was back at the decks at Club Trouw in only 5 months, proving that music has the power to heal, one of his strong inner beliefs.