The rising Dutch DJ puts us in a trance.
A few eyebrows may have been raised when Job Jobse snuck into our top DJs of 2014 list, but for those who have seen him play over the past few years it won't have come as a surprise. Jobse gradually built his name as a resident DJ at the much-loved—and now defunct—Amsterdam nightclub Trouw. He was a regular at its predecessor, Club 11, and his party Drukpers was the first-ever event at Trouw when it opened in 2009. Five years later, Jobse brought the house down when he span the last-ever set at the club, something he describes below as "the biggest honour I can think of." In the intervening years he played a significant role in establishing Trouw as one of Europe's best clubs. His melodically rich mix of house, techno, disco and Italo soundtracked countless parties, and as the club's booker he helped shape the broad-ranging music policy that defined Trouw. Until recently he was also the label manager at Life And Death, the label that along with Innervisions has popularised a style of dance music that Jobse himself calls trance—or at least a form of it. In our recent Thoughts on 2015 piece, we said this style has become the dominant force in underground club music; with his international bookings stacking up, Jobse looks like he's now a key name in this movement.
On RA.462 we get to hear why. As he explains below, it took Jobse some time to settle on an approach for the mix, but what resulted was a timeless snapshot of what defines him as a DJ.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been touring a lot this year. So far almost all of the gigs have been super nice and I'm really enjoying traveling so much. Some recent highlights were the dates I did in Mexico, a nice week in Austin during the SXSW festival and an eight-hour Sunday closing set at Panorama Bar, where I had the chance to play everything from The Age Of Love to Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire."
Besides living in Amsterdam I've been also spending a lot of time in Leipzig recently, due to a certain love interest. I really enjoy being in the city in between the weekends. It has a very nice vibe and everything moves at a bit of a slower pace. And there is an amazing scene at the moment. The recently opened Institut Fuer Zukunft is easily one of Europe's best clubs right now.
And there was also the first vinyl release I had a hand in. It was still not really a production, but a mashup I did between tracks from two artists from Cologne (Barnt and David Hasert), simply titled the "Cologne Megamix." It came out as part of the Trouw Tribute LP, in a special box alongside a book about the club and some nice pictures and artwork. It looks absolutely beautiful and as it's probably my only "release" in the near future I'm really happy it's done in such a nice way.
How and where was the mix recorded?
Some of it on turntables and some of it on the computer. Most of it was done at home in either Amsterdam or Leipzig, but I also worked on it on the road. The final mix was finished in Amsterdam in the middle of the night while eating lots of cookies and drinking lots of milk.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I've put quite a lot of time into this, to be honest. Over the course of a few weeks I did three different mixes. At first I made a mix with only super exclusive unreleased tracks from labels and producers I'm friends with. I somehow had the feeling that this was what I needed for a cool RA podcast. But in the end I wasn't happy with the result. It wasn't about making a good mix anymore, but just about showcasing (or actually showing off) the new stuff. Then there was a second mix, which I was quite happy about, but it was super dark. When it was finished I listened to it on my bike while driving through sunny Amsterdam and I suddenly wasn't feeling it at all. I figured that if you wouldn't be listening to it sitting in a dark room while feeling totally depressed, it wouldn't make any sense.
So I had a third go at it, where I decided to just try to create a beautiful and timeless mix with some of my absolute favourite music out there (some of the tracks in this mix are among the first records I bought). It has some really old stuff in it but also some brand new exclusives. Some of it is still dark, but the overall feel is a lot brighter. Most of all I just hope it's a mix I can listen back to in a few years and still say, "This is what I like and this is what I stand for." And I think I succeeded in that.
How was the Trouw closing party for you? Bittersweet, we expect?
It was the best party I've ever been to. Period. Apart from the huge lineup and an amazing crowd of all the loyal visitors and regulars, it was also the most optimised use of the building the club ever saw. Besides the main room, De Verdieping and the Natte Cel (the secret third floor that used to be the dressing room for the employees of the newspaper) there was also a fourth floor in the hallway next to the toilets. It was originally only supposed to be used as a recording studio for Red Light Radio, but it quickly turned into a full on dance floor with many surprise sets by DJs who weren't originally on the lineup, but who were just there to pay their last respects to the club.
Like Traxx for example, who ended up playing three times over the weekend, he just wouldn't stop. To see the club in action like that was so special. Ever since the building was first discovered it was a dream to use every space that Trouw has to offer at the same time, and to finally achieve that on the final weekend was amazing.
The whole thing started with a big group diner in the restaurant on Friday night, and ended with tears on the dance floor on Sunday afternoon. In between there were so many beautiful moments that I could go on and on about it. Like most of the staff and resident DJs, I had a hotel room across the street. I needed to sneak in some sleep here and there, but within the three days of the closing I never let the building out of my sight. It was definitely bittersweet. I've been part of Trouw since day one. My Drukpers residency was the opening night of the club. It's the place that taught me everything I know. So to play the last set ever at the club was the biggest honour I can think of. It's something I have always fantasised about but I never imagined it would actually happen. It's definitely the most special thing I ever got to do. From the moment I took over after Gerd Janson until the last record finished, I was in some sort of bubble. Only really realising what had happened from the look on everyone's faces.
You've become associated with the style of melodic house music that's become very popular recently. How would explain people's thirst for such sounds?
I guess there was a general thirst for a more melodic sound after the all-ruling minimal period in the early- and mid-2000s. I think the huge popularity of labels like Innervisions and Life And Death still comes from that. The reason why Dixon (besides the fact that he's a killer DJ and the smartest guy in dance music) got so big is because he was the first one, successfully, pushing a different sound in a city—Berlin—where everything was about minimal. Everything just kind of evolved after that.
I like to call it trance actually. Because that's what it essentially is. And I certainly think there is some sort of trance rebirth going on. I sometimes like to joke that I'm a trance DJ as well. But I think that of a lot of people. As the great DJ Harvey once said, "All good dance music puts you in a trance." And in a sense, all of my favourite DJs play trance music, whether it's Harvey himself or guys like Optimo, John Talabot or James Holden. But "trance" is definitely not the only stuff I'm into. I actually went from mostly playing disco and Italo to including more house and techno tracks in my sets.
I think the success of this sound maybe also has a bit to do with the fact that some, if not most, of the people getting into it right now haven't listened to a lot of electronic music before. Or at least not the kind you would read about on Resident Advisor. I guess the kind of stuff I (and a certain guy mentioned above) sometimes play comes quite close to the stuff they were listing to before, that's why it catches on easily and speaks to a broad audience. They "step in" on a certain level. Most of them quickly evolve their taste, move on and join smaller scenes. I've see a lot of people around me going from attending their first Innervisions party two years ago to nowadays religiously visiting every L.I.E.S. showcase they can, but because the general interest in electronic music and clubbing is so big right now, the amount of people who "step in" is huge, hence the big popularity of Innervisions and Life And Death kind of parties.
I guess you also cannot deny that drugs have a lot to do with it. A lot of people who "step in" are also simultaneously experimenting with ecstasy pills or MDMA for the first time. And these substances always called for a more trancey approach of things. I guess the dance history has proved that thus far. Just look at the evolvement from house and techno to trance.
What are you up to next?
I'm looking forward to a year with more gigs than ever before. I feel very blessed that I'm able to visit so many beautiful places for the first time in my life. Because both of my parents have a fear of flying I basically never got any further than some road trips to the south of France in my childhood. My very first flight was a few years back, when I got invited to Berlin for my first gig outside of The Netherlands. This is the first year where I'm playing abroad almost every weekend, making my debut at many great places in Europe—Fuse, fabric, Robert Johnson, Rex, Sub Club and DC10 to name a few—in addition to some small tours in Canada, the US and South America.
Besides that there is of course also a lot of great stuff happening closer to home. I have a busy Dutch festival schedule coming up, and I'm planning some events in Amsterdam on my own. I've been very cautious taking on offers in Amsterdam after Trouw's closing, so far I've only played one club gig. The idea is to create something where I can control most aspects myself—a small place with a low entry fee and good sound, where I (all by myself or together with a guest) will play all night long.
Job plays at our Snowbombing party in Mayrhofen this Wednesday, April 8th.