This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
In 2015, I interviewed Dutch artist Luca Perini, a.k.a. SpeakerFreakz, about his DJ debut. He remembers it like it was yesterday. "When you had a gig, you brought your record bag."
“My first gig was during Dansation, at the White Theater in IJmuiden. I was almost sixteen. Was I nervous? Hell yeah!” (laughs)
“I always played with vinyl at that time, so when you had a gig, you brought your record bag. I always brought too much, thinking that I could respond to the audience on the spot. I’m quite impulsive, so if I didn’t have a record with me and still wanted to play it, we were in trouble. Better bring an overloaded bag…”
“My parents were present at the first gig to support me, along with two friends: Rick and Richard. Richard’s cousin organized Dansation (see heading picture) at that time with two other friends. One of them is also known as Ricky Rivaro. It was fantastic that they gave me the chance to DJ for the first time at a real party. I got to open the event. And that while I was fifteen and actually not even allowed inside.”
“The set went well, except for one transition. The DJ booth was hanging from the ceiling to prevent records from skipping. However, I bumped into it once, causing one of my records to skip right during a transition, and my records suddenly sounded horribly off. Fortunately, it was still very quiet, but these are things you remember.”
“I never really had a mentor. My uncle had a friend who DJed under the name DJ Marshmellow. He once helped me get started with the equipment for an afternoon. After that, I started practicing at home. At the same time, a friend and I bought a DJ set: two Soundlab beltdrive turntables and a Numark pro 626 mixer. Then we started practicing together.”
“In 1996, I started collecting early rave and happy hardcore. That was my big love back then. That love never disappeared. But when hardcore started to get a bit darker around 1999 and 2000, it lost my attention. I started looking and listening more around me and discovered club trance (read: Klubbheads, DJ Jurgen, Jean, and others). I thought this was cool. After all, it also built a party, just like early rave and happy hardcore. There was a certain euphoria in this music. It was a feast!”
“In 2001, I went to Dance Valley for the first time. I couldn’t leave the HQ Stage. Wow, this was awesome! Public Domain, JP, Tom Harding, and Joji Biomehanika, what heroes! I had to keep an eye on this sound. Meanwhile, people like Pavo and Dana, who were in the hardcore scene before, came forward with a somewhat newer sound: a branch of the hard house sound, but just a bit harder.”
“At that time, parties were organized under the name Oxygen at De Lichtfabriek in Haarlem. Hardstyle was born, and I was completely converted. Of course, music always evolves, and so does hardstyle. In my perception, the scene started thinking more in boxes, and I noticed that the hardstyle crowd was getting rougher. Not for me, so I dropped out and lost interest.”
“Due to my broad exploration in the dance scene, I wanted to play tracks more and more that didn’t fit into the standard boxes. I didn’t want to ‘just play hardstyle’ or ‘just play early rave’ or ‘just play jump.’ I wanted to be able to determine freely what I considered most suitable to make it a great party.”
“As a DJ, you don’t just play what the audience wants to hear, but it’s also important to educate the audience, to let them hear those tracks that you think are cool and need to be heard! This can be done in freestyle! Anything goes! At a freestyle party, the audience knows that they can expect anything in terms of style, but that a party will definitely be built. Euphoria comes first!”
“In this style, I have grown tremendously in a relatively short time. I won the DJ contest of Ground Zero two years ago. I also had several releases last year on the Basic Movements label and bookings at various festivals, including Wildness festival and Obsession Outdoor. This year, I will also perform at Dance Valley.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you need people behind you who believe in you, who, like you, see that this is your passion and that you do everything to go for it. Raoul Coolman has been that wheelbarrow for me. He often pushed me to get the most out of myself. I am very grateful for this.”
This interview with SpeakerFreakz was originally published in May 2015 on DJMag.nl.
Who is SpeakerFreakz?
SpeakerFreakz, known in real life as Luca Perini, was born in Haarlem, The Netherlands. As a small child, he was already exposed to electronic music by his father, who was a big fan of bands like Depeche Mode, A-Ha, and Kraftwerk. At the age of 11, SpeakerFreakz came into contact with DJs and rave music. He was immediately fascinated. His parents decided to give him two turntables for his twelfth birthday.
During that time, SpeakerFreakz played under the name Da Lucci in various small clubs in Haarlem. Musically, it was mainly focused on old school and early rave. As he got older, his skills grew. In 2001, SpeakerFreakz attended a party called Oxygen, where DJs like Pavo, Dana, and Luna played hardstyle. He was immediately captivated by this energetic music.
With the evolution of hardstyle, he decided that just playing hardstyle wasn’t enough. He wanted to create his own music. So, he came up with the name SpeakerFreakz and participated in a remix contest organized by Trilok and Chiren for their label Mythica Records. His remix won and was released.
Simultaneously, Speakerfreakz was picked up by the organization of Free 2 Party, which believed in his skills and gave him the opportunity to perform for a larger audience. This resulted in performances at various events and venues, including Marcanti in Amsterdam, Beachclub Riche in Zandvoort, The Sand in Amsterdam, and more. And so, SpeakerFreakz began his musical journey.