DJ Surgeles: “That feeling is indescribable”

DJ Surgeles and Marceline 2022
For this edition, I spoke with the Dutch techno talent Kole Leijen, better known as the producer DJ Surgeles. Of course, he still remembers how it all began. "Thousands of people danced along in the parade!"

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

This edition, I spoke with the Dutch techno talent Kole Leijen, better known as the producer DJ Surgeles. We have known each other for several years, and I have come to know DJ Surgeles as a gentle, super-friendly, and incredibly talented man. Of course, he still remembers exactly how it all began. "Thousands of people danced along in the parade, and even in the tram, the passengers didn't stand still!"

“My first performance took place during the Legalize Streetrave in Amsterdam. It happened by chance. At the age of sixteen, I was working in France and played a cassette tape for someone from Amsterdam. That guy liked the music. He spontaneously said, ‘I’ll call a friend right away who organizes the Legalize Street Parade.’ So, it happened. Before I knew it, I was allowed to DJ on my own truck. I was in the middle of a parade that went through the Amsterdam city center and the IJtunnel, ending at the NDSM Werf.”

DJ Surgeles first gig - DJ Surgeles: "That feeling is indescribable"


“All my friends helped to build the truck. They also joined in during the parade. I still remember the reaction to my first track, Dopplereffect’s ‘Rocket Scientist.’ Everyone went wild! The feeling you convey to people who love techno is indescribable! Thousands of people danced along in the parade, and even in the tram, the passengers didn’t stand still!”

Serbian blood

“From that moment, I knew: ‘I will never stop making and playing music.’ That’s also a bit in my Serbian blood. When a Serbian commits to something, he doesn’t stop.” (laughs) “I am Dutch myself, but my mother is from Serbia. She used to be a singer, and her brother played the accordion. My father was an avid record collector, so my love for music runs in the family.”

DJ Surgeless 2013 - DJ Surgeles: "That feeling is indescribable"

Old sound

“At the age of sixteen, I immediately bought two Technics SL1200s and a Pioneer DJM600. I was behind those turntables day and night. I also regularly went to Amsterdam every Saturday to score techno records. The collection grew rapidly, and my sets became better and better.”


“Before the dance music era, I already had a nice collection, but it consisted more of jazz, rock, and records from the fifties, sixties, and seventies. My father was a sailor in the sixties and seventies. He was more often in America than in the Netherlands, and in the United States, LPs were released much earlier than in the Netherlands. When he was back in our country, my dad amazed many friends with his acquisitions. I inherited the music from that time at a young age, and it shaped my taste. When I play music at home, I still listen to that old and authentic sound.”

DJ Surgeles 2018 768x1024 - DJ Surgeles: "That feeling is indescribable"

Pink Floyd

“As a kid, I already scoured flea markets for interesting LPs. All my pocket money went into it. It was also quickly clear in primary school that music was entirely my thing. We had a record player in class, and I brought in very peculiar vinyl that the class didn’t really know what to do with.” (laughs) “Think of Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Pink Floyd, both of great influence on me regarding electronic sounds. In addition to that, I played the drums and could play the piano quite well.”


“What really impressed me was a performance by Carl Cox. I was seventeen, and there I was, during Impulz at the Brabanthallen. Carl Cox was blasting away with three decks and delivered one of his best sets ever. I could only look up at the magician with vinyl in my eyes. That’s when I knew: ‘I want to learn that!'”

DJ Surgeles at Awakenings - DJ Surgeles: "That feeling is indescribable"

Dave Clarke competition

“From that moment on, I started producing because it was said, ‘If you’re just a DJ, you won’t make it.’ So, it was necessary that I mastered that. After I made one of my first tracks, I became one of the winners of the Dave Clarke competition during the first edition of the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in 1996. If you won this, your tracks would also be played on 3FM in Dave Clarke’s ‘White Noise’ radio show. By now, I have appeared 24 times with my own productions on that show, and I receive a lot of positive feedback worldwide.”

Jeff Mills

“Not much later, Jeff Mills gave a performance at the Patronaat in Haarlem. I burned a DJ mix on a CD and handed it to him. When I woke up the morning after Jeff Mills’ performance and opened my email, I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had a message from Jeff, stating that he was very impressed with my mix. He also asked if I was interested in a Purpose Maker DJ mix for his website. I honestly admitted that I was greatly flattered by his proposal, and the mix was quickly featured on his website.”

DJ Surgeles with Jeff Mills 2020 1024x1024 - DJ Surgeles: "That feeling is indescribable"

Betty Hill Case

“Since that day, Jeff and I have had a lot of contact, and sometimes I accompany him when he has to perform in the Netherlands to see how the master does it. I have also had a release on his label Axis Records in the meantime. In the future, more of my tracks will be released on that label on vinyl. The first one is scheduled for January 6, titled ‘The Betty Hill Case.'”


“Jeff regularly gives me tips, and I learn a lot from him. He is a real teacher for me. And what is more beautiful than being able to work together with one of your idols?! The release is part of a plan that Jeff and I have worked out together. We first investigate the well-known case of an abduction by extraterrestrial beings, and based on that, we write the music. This is a very different approach to producing. You become even more involved in your own music.”

DJ Surgeles the Betty Hill case - DJ Surgeles: "That feeling is indescribable"

Vinyl series

“The vinyl series that will be released from January 6 (2017) will form a particularly interesting listening story because it is a unique combination of electronic sounds and interviews that take you on a journey through the story of Betty Hill. The development of the storylines and the music provides an incredible experience of alien life. When we investigated the case, Jeff and I got the idea to explore this alien abduction and use it as the basis for our music based on our findings together.”

“In short, I can reveal something about the story. Betty and her husband Barney were an American couple from New Hampshire. Allegedly, the couple was abducted by extraterrestrial beings on the night of September 19-20, 1961. How this inspired us, you can hear on January 6. As for my career, I have already had the opportunity to perform a lot, with highlights such as Tresor Berlin and Awakenings Festival in Amsterdam. What I set out to do at the age of sixteen is fully on track.”

This interview with DJ Surgeles was originally published in December 2016 on

Who is Surgeles?

DJ Surgeles a.k.a. Kole Leijen is a true musician with a lot of energy. He started digging into his parent’s records collection at the age of five and at the young age of eight his sister introduced him to house music. Soon after that, young Surgeles got his first set of turntables as a present for his birthday and started visiting regularly his local record dealer.

After a couple of years he started producing his own dark, deep and swerving techno. In 2005, while attending a Jeff Mills’s show, Surgeles managed to give a demo CD to The Wizard. The very next day Surgeles received a personal mail from Jeff Mills claiming that his music sounded great and that it inspired him to let Surgeles make a mix for his Purpose Maker Label. Two weeks later Surgeles’ mix was on Jeffs Mills’ Axis Records’ website for the 10th anniversary of the all-time Techno anthem ‘The Bells‘! Later that year, during the Amsterdam Dance Event, Surgeles won a competition hosted by Dave Clarke for the best produced track and was then picked to play on Dave Clarke’s White Noise radio show on 3FM Radio.

Around 2007 Kole started throwing his own parties called ‘Civilized?” at the legendary Escape club in Amsterdam. While 2009 marked the beginning of his career as record-label boss, as he launched his brainchild: ‘Underground Freedom Fighters (UFF) Records’. Ever since, the collaborations with Jeff Mills kept on flowing and Surgeles’ consecration came when Jeff asked him to make a compilation for his label, ‘Something In The Sky’. In 2017 Jeff entrusted DJ Surgeles to take care of “the Betty Hill Case”, a 12″ inspired by the story and the interviews of an American couple, who were allegedly abducted by extraterrestrials in a rural portion of New Hampshire in 1961.

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