Jaydee: “Experienced a Natural Euphoria”

Robin Albers and Marceline Dancegair 2016
In this edition of MY MOST MEMORABLE GIG, house pioneer Robin Albers, a.k.a. Jaydee, recounts the gig that stayed with him.

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

When I interviewed Robin Albers, a.k.a. Jaydee, in 2015 about his first gig, he immediately said: "Isn't it much more fun if you ask me about the gig that made the deepest impression on me?" Six years later, here we are. DJ/producer Jaydee talks about his Most Memorable Gig: "Sturdy African-American ladies stood in front of the stage shouting at me: 'I want Jaydee!' and 'Give it to me little drummer! Come on, suck it to me blue eyes!'"

“I’ve had countless memorable performances over the past thirty years, and some have really stuck with me. One of them is my first gig in the United States.”

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Club Shelter NY

“That was in 1992. ‘Plastic Dreams’ had just been released on Belgian R&S Records and was going through the roof in America. I even reached number 1 on the Hot Billboard Dance Charts. Just before I hit that top spot, Katrien from R&S called me. She had arranged gigs in three different clubs in New York for me. They were Club Limelight and the famous underground Club Shelter. I can’t remember the name of the third one. Club Shelter was somewhat the Mecca of black house in New York, comparable to the iT and RoXY in Amsterdam. Club Limelight still has that magical sound.”

Al Pacino

“We were there with three of us: keyboard player Menno a.k.a. Mr. Blue Eyes, drummer Fernando a.k.a. Tony Montana, and myself on the keyboard. Together with my then-girlfriend Michou and this three-piece live band, we headed to Shelter. Keyboard player Menno was a real Italian from Sicily who looked like Al Pacino. I can still see us sitting in the taxi, with him shouting at the driver: ‘Put the gas on the floor, we want some more’. It was like we were in ‘The Godfather’. Hilarious!” (laughs)

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Scorching Hot

“During that week, it was scorching hot in New York. The asphalt was practically melting. It was the week of Independence Day, and we were staying in a beautiful hotel. We visited an adventure park and did some wild things like bungee jumping and racing down a concrete luge track. During a jump with a hang glider over a lake, I accidentally did a triple backward somersault. I received a big round of applause from the many spectators but was mainly glad I didn’t break anything. As the cherry on top, I ended up on top of an American car with four Latinos à la Breaking Bad. I thought I was going to stay there! I immediately settled the damage for $490, otherwise, I probably would have ended up in the hospital.” (laughs)

Plastic Dreams Live

“I started my gig with a live performance of ‘Plastic Dreams‘ while playing the keyboard myself. Shortly after this performance, I was done with semi-live playing. It’s all so fake and relative. Live playing is live playing. I’m therefore not a fan of digital performances with studio gear, like Underworld does on stage. I call it ‘moving your studio to a stage with a pre-programmed computer’. I don’t like that. I have a lot of admiration for Underworld, but a live singer does not make a live band.”

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Short Skirt

“Our live set took place on a tiny stage. The venue itself wasn’t tall, only about 2.50 meters, so tall people could barely stand up straight. The audience consisted almost entirely of African-Americans representing the underground scene. If there were four white people present, it was a lot. I looked like a Latino with my long hair at the time, and the keyboard player looked like Al Pacino. My girlfriend was a blonde with a short skirt and long legs, naturally attracting all the attention. She really stole the show.”

Timmy Regisford

“I was quite impressed because after me, it was the legendary DJ Timmy Regisford’s turn. When I continued with vinyl after performing ‘Plastic Dreams’ live, it was quite nerve-wracking. Back then, we didn’t have USBs. After this performance, I played at Shelter again with Timmy Regisford still as the resident. The man is still very active as a producer to this day. It was the second time I performed behind chicken wire for my own protection. The first time was at Parkzicht in Rotterdam.”

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Mainstream Country

“But back to that gig. The United States wasn’t exactly known for its trendsetting role in dance music at that time. America was mainly a mainstream country. So, I was stunned that the audience started cheering as soon as ‘Plastic Dreams’ began. Strapping African-American ladies stood in front of the stage shouting at me: ‘I want Jaydee!’ and ‘Give it to me little drummer! Come on, suck it to me blue eyes!’ I thought to myself: ‘WTF!? What’s happening here?’ I’d never experienced anything like it before. After the set, we were pulled off the stage and almost torn apart, as if we were three Beatles.”

Wave of Ecstasy

“The feeling this gave me is indescribable. I’ve never used opiates, but I think this feeling came close to that effect. A wave of ecstasy literally went through the room, and I experienced a natural euphoria. I was drunk on the respect and attention I received, especially considering the audience. It was quite an extravagant crowd.”

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MC Romeo

“In Club Limelight, I met the best MC in the world, Romeo. He had hair almost down to the ground, like Predator from the Schwarzenegger movie, and he was quite tall. Romeo and his girlfriend showed us around New York for three days. They took us to see the real New York. We even ended up at a psytrance party in Central Park. We also lay on the beach near Manhattan.”

Little Guy

“After this, I’ve seen practically the whole world, performed everywhere and experienced all sorts of things, but I look back on this gig with a smile because it was my first time in New York. For a small guy from Elst, Netherlands, to perform in Club Shelter and be accepted by this audience was fantastic!”

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Proton Radio

“Today, I’m still very busy. I have my radio show on ISLA 106 Ibiza every Saturday from midnight to 1 a.m. This show is a one-hour mix of intense melodic house. Every first Saturday of the month, I’m on Proton Radio at 2 p.m. after Hernan Cattaneo. Proton Radio is a great station with many excellent DJs in the tech house scene. Some of them have gained worldwide fame through this station, such as Miss Melera, Buddy Suwijn, Olivier Weiter, Clay, and André Zeldenrust. Our country is well represented on the best deep house station in the world!”

“Soon, my double album ‘This is Jaydee’ will be released on BONZAI Progressive. Also, a second album from Electronic Bodyguards will be released on Balearic Records this year. The year 2020 has been the worst year ever for us DJs. Of course, this applies not only to us but to many others. We’re no longer living our lives; it’s been taken away by an invisible enemy that has held us in its grip for too long. I’m afraid of 2021 because fear prevails. I’m afraid that 2021 will also be a bad year without festivals. It’s almost impossible for me to understand, and I think for many others as well. We’ll see what happens. I wish all my fellow DJs strength as we wait for the moment we are free again.”

This interview with Jaydee is originally published on This Is Our House in Januari 2021. 

Who is Jaydee?

Robin Albers (Jaydee) is a Dutch presenter, DJ, and producer. He also produced records for various projects. As Jaydee, he made the house hit ‘Plastic Dreams’ and was involved in hits by The Sunclub and Jody Bernal.

Jaydee started his career as a DJ in 1978 in a discotheque in Rhenen. In 1984, he got a job at AVRO on Radio 3 as a radio DJ. He presented Toppop-radio until mid-1992. He also organized the national championships for DJ mixing several times from 1984.

When house music emerged in the late 1980s, he became captivated by this music style. In 1990, Jaydee became the presenter of the radio program ‘For Those Who Like To Groove’ for AVRO. It was the first Dutch house program on the radio. The program ended in 1992.

He then decided to start as a house producer himself. In 1993, Albers had his first hit with the song ‘Plastic Dreams’ under his alter ego Jaydee. The song, notable for its Hammond organ, became an international house hit. It was subsequently released several times in special remixes. Eventually, it sold over 2 million copies. In 1994, he had another hit with ‘Music Is So Special‘. He also released house records under many other names.

In 1996, Jaydee, together with producers Michel Rozenbroek and Dieter Kranenburg, started the project The Sunclub. In 1997, they had a major hit with ‘Fiesta‘ (de los Tambolireros). This was followed by an album and another smaller hit with ‘Single minded People‘ (originally a B-side of ‘Plastic Dreams’). In the summer of 2000, Jaydee and his fellow producers from The Sunclub were involved in Jody Bernal’s song ‘Que Si, Que No,’ which reached number 1 in the Netherlands.

In 2000, Jaydee was involved in the founding of the dance station ID&T Radio, and in 2001, he became its director. His show ‘For Those Who Like To Groove’ returned there. However, he left his position as director in the summer of 2001 due to a disagreement with ID&T. Since 2015, Robin ‘Jaydee’ Albers has been the A&R manager at Dutch DJ Booking for various labels such as Streamin Music & First Impression. In early 2016, First Impression, Jaydee’s original label, was relaunched.

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