This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
During an evening at Paradiso sometime in early 2017, Mr. Minitech Project Faroukh Hasham introduced me to Dutch DJ/producer Rens van Nellestijn a.k.a. Full On Funk, who has been operating under a different alias since 2021: Kind Of One. Farouk thought I should definitely interview Rens about his first gig. So it happened in May of that year. “I was mixing with trembling hands.”
“I’ve been finding myself completely in techno under the name Full On Funk for about three years now. Before that I worked as an all-round DJ for more than ten years. During that period, I discovered all genres of music both at home and abroad and incorporated them into my sets. From the ski-hut in Salou (Spain) and The Three Sisters in Amsterdam to a beach house on Mallorca and a great dance café in Hungary.”
“I love music and I had a great time as an all-round DJ. I’ve been able to put in a lot of hours behind the decks and I’m now reaping the benefits on a technical level. As an all-round DJ you play about six hours a night. Especially in my early days, I often had to make do with a duo CD player. I learned to mix with that.” (laughs) “I can say that thanks to that experience, at least on a technical level I feel very confident in the DJ booth. But that certainty was not suddenly there.”
Count to sixteen
“I remember well that I was mixing with trembling hands. Fortunately, I had a good mentor who really taught me the first tricks of the trade. John van Ravestein aka John Macraven is still one of my best friends now, about ten years later. John has been one of the few all-round DJs for 25 years who still manages to play about four to six evenings a week. I have enormous respect for his perseverance and I am glad that he took me under his musical wing at the time. He was the one who taught me to count to sixteen. Not only in house but in all genres of music this turned out to be the case. Lesson one for each DJ.”
“Over the years I turned out to be very stubborn. I simply wanted to play something different from others and surprise the audience as much as possible. Of course, every DJ ultimately wants that, but as an all-round DJ you are expected to play what the audience wants to hear. In my stubbornness I wanted to educate the audience and play more and more what I liked. People had to like my music! So I played a little different than the rest.”
“I got more and more interested in house. It started with Hed Kandi and groovy house and then moved more towards tech house. Eventually I discovered my real passion within the heavier techno. At some point I stopped playing all-round. I secretly do it every now and then, but I don’t putting in the time anymore. When I play all-round, I only play music from the early days. Still nice to do every once in a while.” (laughs)
'Techno is a way of life'
“For the past few years, however, I’ve spent all my time producing and playing techno. ‘Techno is a way of life’, they sometimes say. I think there’s definitely some truth in that. When I had my first techno gig under the name Full On Funk, it felt like I was playing for the first time again. Originally, I also played tech house and deep house under the name Full On Funk until once, at a small party in Zwolle, Gunterfest, I thought: ‘Fuck it, I’m going to blast techno’. When I received great reactions from the crowd, I was convinced.”
Nothing to lose
“There wasn’t even a monitor at that event but that was quickly arranged during my set. Following my set was an EDM act. People entered from a band performance in another area and I felt I had nothing to lose. I went for it and pulled the fattest, dirtiest and grooviest techno tracks from my folder and overdosed the audience with Drumcode.” (laughs) “One of my good friends was present and said that he and his girlfriend normally never liked techno, but they loved what I played.”
Do things differently
“From that moment on, I made the switch to techno with the mission to use my broad experience with diverse genres to do things differently. For me, ‘Funk’ stands for combining various styles, both in my sets and in my productions. I try to make techno a kind of funky. Okay, maybe hard to explain, but to make it easy: ‘Full On’ just stands for working hard to achieve my goals. So: accelerate and go.” (laughs)
Various 'first gigs'
“Over the past two years I have actually been able to relive several ‘first gigs’. For example the first time that Bob Holtkamp booked me as a techno DJ at Bommelding in Zwolle. He had heard me play at that first party. Then the first time in a big club in the Hedon in Zwolle on OUT. And for the first time on the main stage of a major festival, The Promised Land in Leeuwarden. This thanks to the people, including trance hero JOOP, from my ‘home base’ label, Airborne Artists. They have supported me 100 % from the start.”
“A year ago I started our radio concept 50HERTZ together with some really cool artists. We broadcast weekly on Deep FM (NL) and Diesel FM (USA). At the moment 50HERTZ besides myself is hosted by Mitch de Klein, Igor, Jamie Fullick, Janick Megroot and recently also by David Leese. A bunch of great artists and especially cool guys who don’t sit still but do everything they can to make steps in this hard but awesome scene. We work together to help each other, but also to provide a stage for as many other upcoming talented artists as possible as well as established names who support our way of thinking. Partly thanks to this concept, I got to know a lot of cool artists in the past year in both the Amsterdam techno scene and beyond, who gave me a chance and helped me a lot.”
A whole new network
“During the last ADE we organized our first event with 50HERTZ. That then led to the first official techno gig in Amsterdam at Technic Fabrique. I got this opportunity from the incredibly spontaneous artists Daniel Robson and Yesse Berkhout. Then there was the first time at KRAFT in the Melkweg thanks to Minitech Project. Faroukh is an incredibly nice personality who goes out of his way to help others where he can. He also introduced me to the organization. There was also the first time at Dusk and then at Excess Den Haag, by invitation of Jayzo and Zett Feral. They are also two very nice and enthusiastic artists and organizers who do everything they can to give people a chance to prove themselves at their great events such as Excess, The Wanderers and Together.”
“To top it all off, I recently performed for the first time at the famous Techno Tuesday, also in the Melkweg and organized by Linda and Dejan, the latter of whom is better known as Dexon from Indeep’n’dance records. They work very hard to offer new faces the opportunity to present themselves during their concepts. I have a lot of respect for that. It was a really great evening where I showed exactly what I want to do in my sets.”
“I am extremely grateful to all these people and those who continue to offer me opportunities in the future. The first time at a new party is always exciting. No longer ‘scary’ exciting, as it was ten years ago, but exciting because it’s a new challenge where you can prove yourself again. I’ve come a long way and finally ended up in techno. Every day, I enjoy all the great people I have met and together we are trying to achieve our goals. Always on the look for new ‘first times’ with each other and for each other, striving to get that satisfaction that we felt at our real first gig.”
This article is originally published on DJMag.nl in May 2017.