Hard to the Core: Getting to Know Dj Baba

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In the year 1974, a child was born in the Netherlands. That child, named Martjin van Langen, would grow up to be one of the Netherland’s most visible dance music ambassadors. As a young child, Martjin was not aware of the journey he would set off on years later. Little did he realize how his life would so drastically change once he started listening to Dj Dano’s show on the Grooveyard at Radio 100.

Martjin van Langen has been djing as Dj Baba for more than 20 years and throwing parties for just as long. Some of the party concepts Dj Baba has had a hand in include Hard Time, Trance Nation, the well regarded monthly Harddrive events, and Platinum. Dj Baba has also entertained crowds at Ground Zero, Multigroove, and Hellbound, making his mark wherever he steps behind the decks. Last year Martjin was booked to perform during GOODGREEF’s famous Trance Weekender in Panama Amsterdam alongside Menno de Jong, RAM official, Stephen Kirkwood, ReOrder, and many more.

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Martjin takes pride in spinning on vinyl and bringing the old school vibe to the people. It’s common for artists to forget where they come from, but when I recently spoke to Martjin, it was clear how grateful he was to the people that have influenced him and supported him along the way.

 

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Your first gig was at a Mushroom event in Hemkade 48 called Birthday Party. Tell me about your first gig.

I was involved in the Mushroom parties to make decorations and help with promotion. At the time I started to mix vinyl at home. Of course I had a dream to play in front of the audience and because of that dream, I locked myself up all the time with my records and gear to practice the art of vinyl mixing. When I recorded a mix, I let some friends listen to it to get feedback and one day I was finally satisfied enough about a mix to let my friend Spider Willem listen to it. He told me to keep on practicing. 

My first gig was a birthday surprise from Spider Willem. It was so cool. I didn’t even have a dj name, so I played under my own name Martijn. At the event I started as opening dj, shivering and also ready to do this. The party was wicked and awesome!!! I will never forget that day and am so grateful for all the support from my friends who came to rave into the night.

What would be your dream lineup for your birthday party? The sky’s the limit and you have the money to book anyone, so who would you have on the lineup?

If I would do a Birthday Rave with all my friends in the lineup who are involved with dj-ing, we could make a rave for a week or so. My dream line up with no boundaries in style and with the artists I like to listen to or who are a great influence for me in electronic music are :

Mark Acardipane, The Dreamteam ( Buzz Fuzz, Dano, Gizmo and The Prophet ), Dana b2b Pavo, Champ E one, Bonzai Classics ( live ), Francky Kloeck, Bountyhunter, Fierce Ruling Diva ( live ), Bass D & King Mathew, Spider Willem ( classics set ), Darkraver b2b Vince, Promo, Lenny Dee, Stanton and so much more!!

You have been djing for over 20 years but have also been involved in throwing parties. What did you learn from this time and has it influenced how you work as an artist?

For me throwing parties was to make it possible to play my music in front of an audience. Because I did this I came to understand how promoters work, the importance of your promotion, and the influence of competition between organizations.

As an artist in the digital world you have to make constant interaction with your audience and followers. Promoters will look at your likes and news and the response of the people in their comments. In the old school days it was all about the connections you made and the music itself. For promoters now it is important to see their events sell out so they will choose the best options with the most likes in their budget and then they check your music. You can be the best dj in the world but if you don’t promote yourself or if you don’t know how to make a connection with the world to let them hear your new tunes, you will always play in the back room.

For now, I want to learn more about making my own music. I had a late start because of throwing my own events but I have no regrets. I would love to learn more about the music I love.

Got some vinyl ready 4 tomorrow, Hardcore & Dance Promotions present a Crazy Lazy Sunday Xmass Special, thanks to the…

Posted by dj-baba.com on Monday, December 26, 2016

 

You have been known to spin vinyl on two or three turntables. What draws you to vinyl over CDs or USB sticks?

It’s the magic of Vinyl combined with the gear, the feeling when my fingers are actually in contact with the sounds I want to mix and controlling the SL 1200s with the pitch control. When I cover up that miscalculation of the pitch by using skill and knowledge to touch that record, every push or delay I make by touching a record is a move created in my own style to get two or three tracks together in the mix. Combined with a Dateq XTC I’m in heaven.

Digital mixing is also fun. It’s a different goal in mixing for me. There are unlimited choices to blend the tracks and I can mix faster. The sensation and fulfillment when I get that mix just the way I want it with a vinyl mix is more satisfactory than a digital one, but that’s personal.

You specialize in old school, rave, early hardstyle, and hardcore classics. What is that one classic track you find makes the crowd go wild, no matter how many times it is played?

“Evidence” by Parsimony is my all-time favorite record and I am the lucky bastard to have it.

In addition to djing and organizing events, you can add teacher to your resume. What is the one piece of advice you would give any dj starting out?

Start with finding your own sound. Don’t be a copy, stay original. Practice will give you the knowledge to get that mix you always wanted. Stay focused and choose your gear because it feels right, not because someone says it is the best and you should learn it like they do. Remember it’s your way of making music and you do it your way.

What new developments in music or artists coming up are you excited about?

It’s good to see more artists blend several styles together in their music and mix. In the old school days we had House Music and we could listen to all styles combined in one mix.

Have you been to the United States? Any plans to travel here in the future?

No I have never been in the United States but I like to come and rave with you all… soon!!

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Learn more about Dj Baba at his official website. Follow Dj Baba on Facebook and Twitter. Hear Dj Baba on Soundcloud, Mixcloud, and Youtube

About Shannon Demny

Born in Houston, Texas Shannon continues to live in Houston, taking care of two daughters, checking off life goals, and sharing the gospel of trance music. Part of the local Houston scene since summer of 2001, she has steadfastedly attended events, promoted local shows, and has committed herself to listening to as much electronic dance music as her ears can handle. Will work for beats and tacos.

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