One of the wildest facts about you is that you are actually, truly deaf. Tell us what is was like for you starting out and how you've manage to come so far in the music industry as someone who is hearing impaired.
I started like like many other producers back in 2011 by watching tutorials and downloading FLP's like "Blasterjaxx Style FLP" or "Hardwell Free FLP." I didn't felt any hindrance from my hearing impairment at first. I was just doing what I love even though the quality of my tracks weren't the best. I remember I made shitty mashups with "Just Be" by Tiesto and "Mirage" by Armin van Buuren with awful transitions, but that is just how I got into things.
As for the hearing problems, they've caused me to take many breaks from production because I was using my ears too much. I have a cochlear implant which allows me to hear most of the frequencies but not all of them, which means that I couldn't effectively master my tracks. If I worked in the studio for too long, my hearing became more muffled which makes it difficult to work with any the details in my tracks. So every other month, I had to refresh my ears so I could come back to the studio with as much clarity as is possible with my implant.
How did you go about finding your own sound? Looking over your Soundcloud, it seems like you've done some future house as well as straight house and tech house which is a curious blend.
I wouldn't necessarily say that I have my own sound because I just did what I love and I approached my music with an open mind. At the beginning, I was making some pretty poor quality bigroom tracks with a subkick but then I got into soft, melodic stuff with progressive house as well as some tropical and chill stuff. There was a few festival trap songs thrown in there as well but nothing really resonated with me like progressive house. At one point, I was looking for more genres, so I listened to techno, tech house, and house sets. It started to grow on me so I tried and making some tracks of that style. I settled into making progressive house for "the melodic side" of me and house tracks for the the underground side.
So I took a break at Hypnotune and released some finished songs and started to working more on my artwork. Spinnin' Records and Revealed Recordings asked me to do work for them and I starting growing my network as a graphic designer. The commissions kept rolling in and then bigger artists asked me to do their logos like Brooks, KEVU, and Declain to name a few.
How did this all fold into the formation of your company, Studio Rijpkema?
Back in 2016, I also started to follow graphic design education in my hometown. The school was called Cibap which is well-regarded in creative circles around the Netherlands. My teachers advised me to start a full, legal company to challenge me and take my talents to the next level. My dad is entrepreneur and he gave me the support and advice I needed to make it happen. The biggest reason for forming the company was that I began to earn money that was going over the limit in my country for a non-entity, so I was essentially forced to form a company.
I'm interested on your outlook of the industry as a whole at this particular level with Soundcloud and Spotify-based labels like Exposed.
My opinion is that labels like Exposed are the bridges between artists and the major labels. We never called ours a major label or had intention of becoming one. Our philosophy was always to help underground artists and give them a stepping stone to Revealed Recordings or Spinnin' and we did a good job with that. We signed artists like Krimsonn, Subliminals, Swede Dreams, Danny Ores, and Huntersynth to name just a few.
It's hard to have a label like that level if you don't have the money needed to invest in promotions and services. We invested all our money in SoundCloud from 2016 till the end of 2017 and then we tried Spotify but found it to be quite the challenge for a label of our size. Eventually we found some promoters who helped us get a decent amount of plays and exposure for our artists.
While we made our fanbase around people who resonated with our philosophy of giving a platform to aspiring talent, I had to part ways with the label to handle my other priorities and obligations. It's important to me to take care about the people I've surrounded myself with like my girlfriend. I really want to build a future with her and so I need to invest my money into that. Another reason for leaving was that I lost my motivation to promote releases that didn't give me much back in return. Exposed has since shifted course with the style of their releases to make them easier to market and I wish them all the best in those efforts.
Tell us about your daily life and motivations which have brought you your success thus far.
I find it important to show my fragile side and how much effort I put into my craft. I worked at least sixty hours a week on Exposed, Hypnotune, and Studio Rijpkema which really put a strain on me. Mental health is something that should never be ignored which has led to the breaks I've taken with Hypnotune and selling my stake in Exposed. For me, I wanted to have the time to care for the people around me and put in a normal forty hours of work a week to make a living while still have some time for myself.
A huge thank you to Peter for taking the time to answer our questions! Please follow him through his Hypnotune and Studio Rijpkema accounts using the links below!
Hypnotune: SPOTIFY SOUNDCLOUD FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM
Chris W. Lao
Writer, DJ, and Student.
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