Daniel Zuur is an electronic musician and live composer based in Amsterdam.
The magic year 2012 was just a great year for him: He was the winner of Dutch biggest competition for producers, Vinylized, he played at Paradiso, Studio 80, Perron and Tivoli. Daniel also had some releases on the Katermukke label, Manual Music, Cinematique and he is owner of his own records label, Zauer Records.
As a teen Daniel played the drums and percussion in several bands. Aside from the drums, Daniel developed an interest in making electronic samples and sounds which led him to becoming the live performer he is today.
Daniel composes each track as an individual story that creates its own unique atmosphere. These stories are full of exciting melodies backed by warm beats. His style can be described as deep techno with a touch of melancholy. Daniel’s music distinguishes itself by delivering a characteristic sound and structure. Throughout his music the emphasis is made on tension and melody rather than repetition. Each track is treated with precise care and proper timing, allowing them to build up to a climax. All of these facets contribute to a highly dynamic techno set. Daniel has a numerous variety of original tracks that he is able to adapt to live on stage. Therefore, he is able to collaborate with musicians such as pianist Jan Vayne and singer/songwriter Florian Wolff. Consequently, no set will ever be identical.
With a lot of ideas for the future, Daniel proves himself a worthy player in the world of electronic music.
"One of the most promising producers of the Netherlands (DJ Isis)"
On February 15 2013, Studio 80 will host the fourth edition of PRISMA. Among others, local rockstar Daniel Zuur will play a triangular part in this nocturnal celebration of emo-electronica. Theatre professor by day and electronic musician by night, Daniel has been performing live, experimenting with electronic samples and releasing several EPs since 2008.
Daniel recently started his own label Zauer Records with the promising aim to produce without the limitations of existing musical genres. These recent activities were a perfect chance for me to ask him some questions and finally understand what the real difference is between a live act and a DJ. And of course, to discuss the latest developments in the electronic music scene.
Can you explain what it means to be a live performer?
“In my case it means that I start with producing in my studio. After the recording I “dissect” my samples into different tracks and arrange everything with Ableton. During a live performance, I reconstruct the sample live. I use different gear to tweak the sample, which means that you get a different sound effect every time.”
Can you describe your musical style?
“I prefer characterising my style over putting a label on it. It’s like techno but more melodic, with pushing bass lines and a reasonable amount of vocals, sometimes with singer/songwriter elements. It’s more like a mash up of styles, more complex and diffuse and therefore impossible to classify in one genre.”
How did your style evolve over time?
“Although there is always some continuity, my music is in constant change. I started out in 2008 with live sets mainly based on loops. Later on the sound became more spacey and now the focus shifted to kicking beats. I change because I’m inspired by musical trends, but also changes for pure practical reasons. Nowadays I get booked on later in the night so I have to make sure I have good beats so people can dance.”
I’ve noticed that some DJs get more popular and get booked a lot, while others just seem to fade away. It feels a bit like a Top 40 sometimes. What is your opinion on that?
“Well, it happens. That’s the way it’s always been. Artists become popular because of the way they perform and the way they entertain an audience. A good example is DJ Ici Sans Merci; doesn’t matter at what time he plays, the guy is a guarantee for absolute madness. You know that if you book him you’ll be safe. With a live act, that’s a lot riskier. In theory its possible, but the way you perform is much more dependent on the moment.”
Because of new digital techniques and programmes like Traktor, it has become very easy to mix some tracks and to call yourself a DJ. What do you think of these recent developments and what influence do they have on the local music scene?
“Well it is true that it has become easier to mix tracks together and get a good sound. And with that, the possibility to organize parties and book low cost DJs. The result is a much higher quantity than quality in our scene. On the other hand, it does give young musicians the opportunity to develop their skills. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you use, Traktor or whatever other program, if you’re really talented you will distinguish yourself from the rest.”
Lately there has been greater focus on stage presentation and stage performance. How do you feel about that?
“If your show is good and authentic, it can definitely improve your performance. Live act KiNK for example is a guy so honest and authentic that his charisma and facial expressions add a lot to his performance on stage. Personally, I like to dance a bit while I’m performing but most of the time I’m pretty focused and calm. When I perform together with Florian Wolff, we have much more interaction with the audience. It feels more like a show and so far we’ve always gotten a good responses to it.”
Have you ever felt a pressure to produce new material?
“No I’ve never felt it. I never had a really big hit so there was no pressure to follow up on a previous successes. But I do know that that it can sometimes be hard sometimes to live up to the expectations of your audience. I don’t think I would ever have that with producing because I make music primarily for myself, not for other people. Even when I produce a commercial song, it always has a certain “Daniel Zuur” ring to it.”
PRISMA is in a week. What are your thoughts on the concept?
“I’m really happy with this initiative. It brings new opportunities for Studio 80, they now have a complete different sound to add to their already diverse program. The emphasis is back to the melodic side of techno and that is really my cup of tea. With PRISMA I have the feeling that can do what I like best.”
What kind of plans do you have for the future?
“I just started my new label ZAUER on which I want to create a platform for a more complex sound, especially more deephouse. Before, when I sent out my music I always got positive responses from labels, but it just didn’t seem to fit in their genre. So I thought: “You know what? I’m going to start a label myself!” And so I did. I have big plans, but I’m not going to tell you all the details. And for me personally, I want to make my performance more interesting by integrating more live elements, such as the Korg Wavedrum, to make it even more live.”
Interview by: Laura Inzaurralde Suárez/ www.overdose.am
No words, just check out the video!
Daniel Zuur presents his new music platform and label Zauer Records by bringing you a prize winning EP (Vinylized).
This first release is called ‘Look Up’ and has the typical Daniel Zuur style distinguishing itself by delivering a characteristic sound, structure and melody. Listening to the track, you can hear elements from the early days of house music mixed with the sounds of modern music. The EP is completed with remixes by ‘master of melodies’ Arjuna Schiks and ‘prince of Detroit’, Anonym.
“I can smell a little bit of shit” is the second track from the EP. This is a real four to the floor house track with classic melodies.
‘Look up’ was presented at the Amsterdam Dance Event as the winning track of the Vinylized national dance producers contest. The Amsterdam based producer convinced the crowd and jury with his refreshing track. The jury (Michel de Hey, Estroe, Juan Sanchez and others) was truly amazed by the production quality of Daniel's track. It’s contemporary sound and originality made the difference between this track and the other entries. Curious? Check it out now!
Also available on 12” vinyl.
For a preview of the tracks: check soundcloud.
Terry Toner (Electronation, Nachtdivisie): “Well produced and original track with phat sounds. Great groove, contemporary and the bass is magisterial! I can feel it!”
Rakesh Sharma (Anna Agency): “The track is build very well, easy listening production.”
Michel de Hey (Hey Music): “Good atmosphere, cool beats, sweet melodies. Alternation between tough and melodic fit well together. “
Juan Sanchez (Format): “Nice atmosphere, subtle, modest.”
Claire van der Hall (ClairePR): “Music for professionals! Very nowadays with heavy bass, great production. Not for beginners. “
Rogier van Twuijver (Epiqurus): “Daniel Zuur deserves a price for his daring original sound. I would love to hear a whole album of this. “
Liho (BergWacht): "Nice EP ! Great to have it on vinyl. My favorite "Look up" original !"
Mason: “Very original track!”
Slang (Spring Tube / Movement / Digital Sensation UK | Proton-DI-AH radios): "20 Fingers are back from the 90s? "I Can Smell A Little Bit Of Shit" sounds like some funny shit. Regarding the music Arjuna Schiks work is pretty good here."
Ille Bitch: "Great first release with wonderful tracks, will play Anonym remix, great track!"
Paul Hazendonk (Manual Music): "Arjuna Schiks remix is my pick. Good luck with the new label!"
Gemma Furbank (Union Label / Manchesterglobal Radio/ Danceradio.ca): "Yeah man digging Look Up :D Wicked drums and bass. Fab job on the remixes really enjoyed them both."
Qbical (Manual Music): "Arjunas remix is great, "I can smell a little bit of shit" made me laugh so I'll definably play that one! Great start of the new label!"
Unders (Dancefair): "The Anonym remix is the one for me. Real nice to see Daniel's name pop up everywhere though.. this guy is on fire."
Robin de Lange (Cinematique): "Congrats to Daniel once again for winning the Vinylized competition and thumbs up for the new Zauer Records. My picks are the original mix and Arjuna's remix. Cool and original stuff!"
Daniel Mehes (Manual, Wolfskuil, Flow, Dubmetrical): "Look Up original and the Anonym remix are ace! Great stuff ."
Daniel Zuur wins the Vinylized 2012 national dance producer contest. The Amsterdam based producer convinced the crowd and jury with his track called ‘Look Up’. This was announced during the Friday evening broadcast of Ministry of Beats by Edwin Diergaarde. The jury was amazed by the production quality of Daniel’s track. It’s contemporary sound and originality made the difference when its was compared to other entries.
Vinilyzed was organized for the 8th time by GRAP, an organization supporting Amsterdam pop music. Previous winners include Arjuna Schiks, Sebastien Lintz, Sebastian Sleebos, Quentin van Honk and Phonic Funk. The aim of Vinylized is to offer a platform for dance producers to present themselves to the industry, press and audience.
Daniel Zuur wins the starter package prize. His track and remixes will be mixed and mastered at SAE Institute Amsterdam. Later on the tracks will be pressed on a 12 inch vinyl and the digital version will be distributed through portals such as Beatport and iTunes. Zuur wins a year long of studio hours at SAE Institute Amsterdam as well as a producer package including a MIDI-controller, bag and headphones. Daniel will get the opportunity to showcase his track during several events. The first one will take place on the 30th of August at Club Stereo in Amsterdam. The release will be presented during the ADE Next Vinylized Panel on Saturday the 20th of October.
This year’s jury includes Michel de Hey, Terry Toner (Electronation), Juan Sanchez, Funkerman, Irfan Er (Top Billin’), Sandeep, Edwin Diergaarde (Ministry of Beats), Sasja Kooistra (de Volkskrant), Marnix Bal (Loveland), Tom van Wijk (AIR), Martijn Mischgofsky (Misc Agency), Estroe, Maarten van ’t Veld (Stealth Records), Rakesh Sharma (Anna Agency), Claire van der Hall (Claire PR), Mason en Rogier van Twuijver (Epiqurus).
We are looking forward to welcome Daniel Zuur in our studios. Stay tuned for the mixed and mastered version of ‘Look Up’.
Bron: SAE Institute
The well known Dutch DJ Isis calls him one of the most promising producers of the Netherlands. It will be no suprise then that we are very proud again to welcome Daniel Zuur to the Cinematique family.
This Amsterdam based electronic musician and live composer has always been keen on making music. First through playing drums and percussion in several bands, nowadays using modern technologies and electronics. He composes each track as an individual story that creates its own unique atmosphere. This vibe can be felt even more when Daniel is playing live. His talent and open minded approach brought him on stage not only with his own equipment, but also with other musicians like singer/songwriter Florian Wolff and pianist Jan Vayne. For Cinematique he delivers a very strong EP starting off with the title track 'Three Days' full of dreamy pads and beautiful melodies. 'Pracht' is another piece of melodic techno, which shows music can be both beautiful and uplifting. The EP concludes with the nasty but amazing sounds of 'Disorder' introducing the darker side of Daniel Zuur.
Check out the previews on the cinematique soundcloud page.