Lucien Foort: “‘Mate, you play such unique music'”

Lucien Foort and Marceline 2017
Dutch dance pioneer Lucien Foort performed in a gospel choir and as rapper named Crypto D. "We had a new kind of sound."

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Of course, the debut story of Dutch dance pioneer Lucien Foort should not be missing from my list. From rap to raw dance! "We drove there with three overfull, large record cases."

“Unlike DJs today, I started as a producer and not as a disc jockey. In fact, I actually started as a rapper. My first gig was in 1985 with a rap group called The Scene at Club Fame in Dordrecht. Besides me, the group consisted of two other guys and a friend from Dordrecht who also rapped. He called himself ‘Mister Beauty’ and I was ‘Crypto D’.”

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Raw and recalcitrant

“We had a new kind of sound that was really coming up. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but it was cool. Raw and different from the tunes I learned at music school. Rather contrarian, screaming and deliciously recalcitrant. Of course, I wanted that as a young boy and it fit perfectly with puberty. During that period, my parents also had a gospel choir. When my uncle couldn’t sing along or someone else dropped out, I often was the substitute to fill in the bass parts. Again, that was something completely different and attracted me immensely.”


“In 1988 I entered military service. That was still mandatory in those days. After I completed my military service in 1989, I ended up in a different group: Funky Tribe. In 1991 we performed with this band at Noorderslag. In the same year I released the album Quadrophonia with Olivier Abbeloos. I have toured all over the world with it. That track quickly became a big hit.”

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Tactical move

“The fact that I eventually started DJing was actually more of a tactical move. I’ve always been pretty businesslike in that regard. When I started as a rapper, I saw that the DJ got more money. Then when I started playing, I saw that the record company’s producer was making even more money. At the time, for example, if you sang, you got a hundred guilders, the DJ got three-hundred guilders and if you made the record, you got a thousand guilders. That amount continued to increase. I realized soon: ‘If I ever want to make money with music, I have to move up in that hierarchy’.”

Rely on your own strength

“I was eager to make a business out of music because I wanted to move on in life. That’s how I’m raised. My parents always instilled in me that I should keep developing myself and try to move forward. They took into account that as an immigrant-looking kid growing up in a white world, you always have to make sure you can rely on your own strength. Sometimes you can have the wind against you and then you need to be able to fall back on your own strengths and expertise. I have been spoon-fed that from my mother from an early age.”

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“I have been in music schools and orchestras since I was very young. The steps from rapper to making my own music and performing as a DJ were not that difficult. I simply have a talent for music, so that was good and made it all a bit easier. Okay, of course you also have to find the right people, have a bit of luck and people have to grant you something.”

Unique music

“Then I started playing in Club Fame in Dordrecht a few times. The most logical step for me was to get in touch with the local discotheques because I am from that area myself. I played at Club Fame with René van der Weijde (Dave Leatherman/Atlantic Ocean/TFX) and my cousin Stanley Foort and a few other guys. At one point a guy came up to me and said: ‘Mate, you play such unique music, shouldn’t you try that in Rotterdam? In Dordrecht there is absolutely no market for this. You really have to do this outside this city’.”

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“After giving it some thought, I called Ron Matser. He was the owner of the then Rotterdam Club Carrera, later Club Baja and now closed. With his help and that of Willem Seton, I totally made a career out of DJing. You may know Willem Seton as the father of Joey Seton and as the owner of the Rotterdam club Toffler. Because with Quadrophonia I had already performed at the opening of Club Carrera, it was a bit easier.”

Overfull record cases

“So, I called Ron and said I would like to come and play sometime. He immediately replied: ‘Come by and try it’. Because I didn’t have a car yet, I instantly called my cousin Stanley to ask if he would please take me to Rotterdam.” (laughs) “We drove there with three overfull, large record cases and I was allowed to give it a try.”

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“That went very well, so I played there on a regular basis on Friday night. This started with an empty room, but after about six months the place was filling up. In ’95 or ’96 Ron paid me back by letting me play outside as Carrera’s resident on Queen’s Day. That was one of my most memorable bookings. At one point there were about a thousand people standing under the canopy in the Karel Doormanstraat in Rotterdam. We had a heavy sound system, and I was allowed to bang all afternoon! That was awesome! Then Ron and Willem’s Lunapark was added and from 1995 I started playing professionally.”

Sasha and Digweed

“From that point on, I started to refine my own sound as a DJ. I noticed that some of my records, one banging techno and the other more progressive, were well received by a number of foreign major DJs such as Carl Cox, DJ Sasha, John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo, Jimmy van Malleghem and Chris Fortier. These renowned artists picked up my music!”

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“At that time the internet was not super-hot  yet, so at one point I received a vague fax from a record store in England called Massive Records. Through that fax I heard that my record was number 1 in their monthly Top 100. I immediately picked up the phone. They wanted to make a deal: I would press a hundred records, the store would then pay 75, but would also ensure that my music ended up with all DJs. This was done months in advance, so it was hugely exclusive. This made my records even more popular.”

Essential Mix

“That’s how I gradually built up my own music empire. In 2002 I was asked to do an Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1. Subsequently, from 1998 to 2006, I flew all over the world as a DJ and performed in almost every major club on the globe. That’s quite special.”


“In my career I have come across many different people who have given me pointers. Having a mentor though, as it is nowadays, was not an option in my time. I learned everything related to music like a carpenter’s apprentice: I simply accompanied the people and looked what they did. In my case that was even after I had already released Quadrophonia and had already flown all over the world.”

“In the Netherlands however, that doesn’t mean that you can automatically play everywhere. So, I just joined the back of the queue and watched over the shoulders of various people in, for example, Club Carrera and Nighttown. I waited patiently until I got my own chance. That wasn’t always easy, by the way, because people were like: ‘You’ve already scored big hits, now it’s our turn’. Fortunately, Ron and Willem gave me the chance and I grabbed it with both hands.”

This interview with Lucien Foort is originally published on in February 2017.

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