This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
In 2016 I interviewed the Dutch Corné van der Heijden aka Sceptical C about the start of his flourishing career in music. “I was pumped with positive adrenalin.”
“In 1991 I still lived on Curaçao. One day I noticed two beautiful Technics SL1200’s at my neighbor Harvell’s place. His brother Cyvard practiced with them for his drive-in show. This guy had that much passion that he even made his own speakers. The 11-year old me was extremely impressed by this. That much that, instead of playing outside, I could watch Cyvard for hours and listen to how he mixed the records.”
“Sometimes Cyrvard added a Denon DN-2000F MK1 to the SL’s, and at a certain point even the MK2, that he rented for special occasions. It was a necessity, because on Curaçao not all music was easily available on vinyl. And internet or Discogs didn’t exist in those days. You depended on what the local record shops like Tik-Tak had to offer. Every now and then you could get lucky, because someone had gone to Europe and brought along some more exclusive music.”
“At a certain point, Cyvard allowed me to put on a record. Only on the condition that I would treat the gear and the vinyl with care. Consequently, he taught me how to beat-match with R&B, meringue, hiphop and ragamuffin, also known as ragga. Back then these were the best-known and hottest styles on our island.”
“My first performance was at a birthday party at my classmates Alain’s home. He wanted to form a DJ crew with me and our friend Maarten. Maarten and I would concentrate on R&B, hiphop, ragga and merengue. Alain would play dance music, which was a new genre that, at that point, didn’t much appeal to me. I wasn’t nervous at all at that debut. I was pumped with positive adrenalin to keep me focussed in order to be able to mix smoothly.”
“Of course, I made a few small mistakes, but as far as I remember, I could correct them easily. In the end, it was a very successful birthday party that was attended by classmates and other school-kids. All visitors had enjoyed themselves and I went home satisfied. To continue as a group though, appeared to be undoable in the future.”
New musical door
“After high-school, my passion for music developed and completely got out of hand. In those days, I moved to The Netherlands to study. To pay my way, I got this job as DJ in a local café. I was a multi-functional employee. It went that far, that I sometimes gave the upcoming record a spin while putting the next one into place and simultaneously tapping beer for the customers. In general, multitasking is not my forte, but this I could handle! Through this job, dance appeared on my radar again and I was actually starting to like it. It didn’t take long until I created some space for dance on my generally broadly oriented evenings. As a result, in 2001 a new musical door opened for me. Its name? Techno!”
“At that point, I wasn’t familiar with the techno scene, so some of my friends took me to several techno parties. This way, I cultivated a passion for this sound. Especially when I figured out that my link to techno had been predestined for years. Why? The link was established by a, for me, famous bubbling-DJ, DJ Moortje. Moortje made popular mixtapes that always included new bubbling beats. And what did he do? Of all tracks, he remixed Speedy J’s Pullover into a bubbling version. When the penny finally dropped, to me this seemed so bizarre that my connection with techno only got stronger. My biggest techno-inspiration is Lady Aïda though.”
“I will fast-forward a bit now to 2004. Only then, I was comfortable to present my self-produced techno to the outside world. The boys from The Thirdfloor were interested and offered me the opportunity to present them with what I was occupying myself with. My goal was to play live-sets with exclusively my own material. I hoped that the audience would love it as much as I did. When the crowd went out of their mind, I was happy. Also, every time again it was a acknowledgement that I should continue doing what I was doing.”
“Of course, I had prepared myself for the live set, by practicing a lot at home and testing out music. I wanted to have a common thread running through the set. Every live-act has some issues during his or her set. I won’t even get started about all challenges that I had to deal with throughout the years. I could fill a book with them. Making mistakes taught me a lot. In the end it all depends on yourself. Whether you let yourself be discouraged by fails and therefore quit. My fails actually gave me more perseverance to cherish the good moments and to make sure that I hold on to that drive to produce quality. We are people, not machines!”
“Now, in 2016, I can say that I’ve made some amazing memories at numerous gigs. Underground gigs as well as those in clubs and at well-known festivals. Besides that, I’ve met many artists in the scene, Dutch and from abroad. I want to keep evolving as an artist. The old days of playing vinyl are not passé. Seen as most of my own material is digital though, playing with a laptop has my preference. When push comes to shove, it shouldn’t matter what gear you have to work with. What matters are the sounds you play and whether the audience gets excited or not. They are there to be entertained!”
“I never prepare my sets. Perhaps I’m trying out some shit in the studio and come up with an intro. The rest of the set always evolves organically, right there and then. Simply because I try to connect as much as possible with the audience. And of course, from an educational perspective, I never avoid to integrate a few techno classics!” (laughs)
This interview with Sceptical C is originally published on DJMag.nl on April 21st 2016
Who is Sceptical C?
Born and raised on Curacao N.A., this Antillean boy got raised with allot of musical styles which he still carries with him in his veins. After finding his love in spinning vinyl, Sceptical C had to move to The Netherlands to study. This is where he discovered his love for electronic music.
With a little help of his good friend, teacher and ½ STU Bro’s partner, Tachini, Sceptical C started working with Ableton Live, Cubase and Fruityloops. Together they battled a long way to reach a high level of techno, that would make you move your body and brains on the dance floor till you popped! Nowadays Sceptical C is releasing muic on Elektrax Rec. // Mastertraxx // Burn-Audio // Common Good // Flatlife Rec. // Trust Recordings // Red Section // Kucera Rec. // Gobsmacked Rec. // Extorsion Group Rec.// Gayle San Rec.(GSR) // Naked Lunch // BassAssault Rec. to name a few.
More releases are to follow soon, so this won’t be the last you’ve heard of Sceptical C. The motto Sceptical C goes by nowadays and that a good friend adviced, is: “Don’t speak anymore… let the beats do this for you!”