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Dutch DJ Michel Becks started playing at an early age. “Because we were too young, clubs were a no-go for us.” We met in 2012 and in 2014 I talked to him about the start of his DJ career. "Music has fascinated me since I was seven."
“Music has fascinated me since I was seven. It started with hardrock: Uriah Heep, Led Zeppeling, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Bands like BZN and the Cats still made rock music in those days, instead the ‘eel-sound’ that Volendam is known by. My first disco record was Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire. I particularly liked the B-side, Vertigo. It was almost impossible to find Grandmaster Flash records or 12” master mixes in those days.”
Out of control
“When I was twelve I got in touch with an older DJ, Frank. He played in Haarlem and Zandvoort. Together with him I bought my first mixer and Technics turntables. They weren’t quickstarters yet, but did have a pitch control. One of my friends gave me a complete soundsystem. After that, I was out of control.”
“Me and my friends often went to a clubhouse in Haarlem. In our opinion there wasn’t enough to do for youngsters of our age. The club-board allowed us to organize an event one Saturday night per month. People from all over Haarlem attended. It was always full house.”
“On those nights we didn’t play any Top 40 hits but tracks by the likes of Bobby O., Patrick Cowley, Red Dragon Bank and Sylvester. As long as the track had a synthesizer and wasn’t too well-known.”
“I mostly bought my records at Disco Z and later at Key Records in Haarlem and at Attalos and Boudisque in Amsterdam. Soon the Italo disco genre became popular. I started playing this sound at the small parties that I more and more often organized with friends. Because of our young age, clubs were a no-go for us.”
“After that, for a few years I was a bedroom-DJ. I sold mixtapes to video-stores all over Amsterdam. They consequently sold those to their clients.”
“When I was around 25, I started playing again. I did this mostly in clubs in and around Haarlem. Around 1988 the house arrived in my life and I was immediately hooked! By 1990 I played everywhere in Haarlem and organized small events with DJs like Spider Willem, Dano and Erick E.”
Eye on the Future
“In 1995 I started buying my music at Trancentral Records, that was owned by Marcel Neuvel (DJ Neuv) in those days. Later, Alexander Koning, took over the place. Marcel and I got talking and I said that I was happy to organize parties. And so we did! We gave our first event named Eye on the Future in Beverwijk. The venue was big enough for 250 people. This was a huge success so we grew fast and soon found a new location in Amsterdam.”
“We were also asked to organize events in the Hemkade in Zaandam. We named those parties Virtual Environment. Artists like Monika Kruse, Joel Mull, Tiësto, Erick E., Damon Wild, Gayle Sun, DJ Rush and Thomas Schumacher played at those events. We were also the first in The Netherlands to book Adam Beyer for an event in the Catacombe Studio, underneath a church in Amsterdam.”
“In the end we started hosting events at de Lichtfabriek ik Haarlem. Our Christmas-editions were always sold-out, but also the events The Beginnings, house classics and other parties throughout the year. Besides that, I played at many locations and festivals like Mazzo, Time, Dance Valley and Pleasure Island.”
This interview is originally published on Tuesday June 2014 on DJMag.nl.