Roel Salemink just dropped his debut solo album on Carl Cox’s Intec, so we took some time to chat with him about the release, and the creative process of putting the album together.
Other labels to feature the Dutch producers’ tracks include Bush Records and Filth on Acid, with his peak time brand of techno gracing stages at festivals all over the world.
WWD – Roel, it’s nice to meet you. How are things going, are you excited about your new album?
Roel – Hi, nice to meet you as well, and thanks for having me. I’m doing well, been kept busy promoting my new album, and yes, I’m very excited about it! An album is always something special, so I’ve been looking forward to its release.
WWD – Congrats on the album… I checked it out before our chat and was a big fan! Do you want to give our readers some info about the process of putting the ten tracks together?
Roel – Thank you, I’m happy to hear that you like the results of my work. To be honest, putting the tracks together was not a big thing. I started jamming in the studio with my synths and drum machine to get some rough ideas. From that jam, I used a lot of elements for the album, and most those tracks made it on to the final album. There were only two or three tracks that really came from an idea that was in my head before I started producing them. The last track “Eskes” and opening cut “Free” are examples of tracks that were born inside my head, as I had a clear idea about how I wanted the album to sound from start and finish.
WWD – Was it hard to structure the tracks in an order so that they flowed together, or did you write each one to have a specific role within the LP?
Roel – I had already a good idea of the sound of my album. This album is really an album for the dance floors, but the tracks are also good for listening outside of a club. I knew that I wanted the album to tell a story, and it had to take people on a journey like a DJ does during a club set. For example, “Free” and “My Little Pocketknife” are deep, warm up tracks to ease people into the mood, while “Eskes” or “Item Zero” are the more pounding tracks to close the night with. I’m proud to say that in the end it worked out the way I hoped.
WWD – You have previously worked on an album before in collaboration with Drumcomplex. Is this your first solo album, and how does it compare to working with someone else?
Roel – Working together with Arnd (Drumcomplex) has always been a pleasure and it still is. We are already working on new material as Drumcomplex & Roel Salemink. Working alone is something I often did before I met Arnd, but working with someone else is often very different. The process of working on your own is a bit quicker because you can dive into the studio when there’s some time, and you don’t have to make an appointment together. But the other side of things is that sometimes it’s good to have each other’s feedback while working on a track, and bounce ideas off each other to decide which way to go with the arrangement. So, producing alone or together, both ways have their advantages.
WWD – The album you made with Drumcomplex came out on Carl Cox’s Intec, and your solo one is coming out on the same label. From the start was it always your plan for this release to also come out on Intec?
Roel – Ever since I first started producing, I’ve released most of my tracks on either Intec or Bush Records. Both labels supported me from day one, but there was some doubt from my side about Intec. All my Intec releases were made with Drumcomplex, and I wasn’t sure if it was fair to Arnd to do a solo album on the label without asking him first. I spoke to Arnd about it, and he was okay if I did a solo release on Intec, so I sent the tracks out to Carl Cox and Jon Rundell directly. I have to say that I’m really grateful to Intec and Bush for their continued support over all those years. I’m also working on new material for Bush Records, as the Bush label manager Eric Powell is now a close friend.
WWD – Intec is known best for being the label of Carl Cox but as you just mentioned it’s also run by Jon Rundell. How much input did Carl and Jon put into the fine tuning of the album after you got close to having it finished?
Roel – I have to say I delivered the complete album to Carl and asked him to have a good listen through it. Carl was in Miami for Ultra WMC together with Jon and that’s when they decided to sign it, and they liked how it already sounded, which was very good for me to hear. It means I’d already made something that works really well in both their opinions. I am still very happy with the result. An album is always something special that should mean more than an EP, so it’s always extra exciting to discover how people react to it.
WWD – Listening to the album I’d agree nearly all of the tracks would also work if played in a club. What’s the DJ support been like, and who has been leaving feedback on the promo?
Roel – I made the album with clubs and dance floors in mind, so all the tracks should have a time or place in a DJ set, and the feedback has been massive! Of course, Carl has been playing my album a lot this last year. His favourite track is “Eskes” and he has been using it to close a lot of his sets recently. I’ve also had a lot of good feedback from some big players in the scene such as Laurent Garnier, Pan-Pot, Bart Skills, Joseph Capriati, Pleasurekraft, Karotte and many more. Lots of fans keep sending me messages to ask about when the album is out, and they all want to know about the track “Eskes” which means a lot to me.
WWD – Not to just talk about your album, as I know you have lots of other projects. How are things going with DJ and live gigs, did you have a busy summer with festivals or other events?
Roel – After I finished my album, I had a heavy burn out, so decided to stop doing gigs for a bit due to being sick from the exhaustion of burning the candle at both ends. One year later things are now looking better for me. I have learned to focus on the important things in life, and I’m still working to find the right balance. After the release of my album my agenda is open for bookings again, so I’m excited for the coming months!
WWD – What’s next after the album drops, are there any other new releases you would like to talk about?
Roel – My album was out last week on September 27th, and next month on October 25th there we will release some remix versions of my album. The remixes are massive and include reworks done by Carl Cox, Drumcomplex, Nakadia, Patrik Berg, The Yellowheads and Transcode, so it’s a super strong package! Currently, I’m finishing off a 3 track EP that will be coming out on Steve Mulder’s Orange Recordings. Steve is a good friend of mine, and I’m happy to be releasing the EP on his label.
WWD – Thanks for taking some time out your schedule to chat with me today. Is there anything else you would like to add or talk about before we finish off the conversation?
Roel – I would like to thank you for your time, as it’s always important to have some people like you guys support a release. For the rest I would like to thank Sandra Vriese who did the vocals on the track “Free”, as she did such an amazing job. I also want to thank my wife plus all other friends and family for believing in me. They all helped me through everything last year when I was sick from being burnt out. It wasn’t easy for me, but for my wife also had a hard year supporting me. Thanks my darling! Then there’s the Intec crew as Carl, Jon and Scott gave me everything I needed to stay focused, so I want to thank those guys for being so amazing!
Buy Roel Salemink’s X818 [Intec] – https://www.beatport.com/release/x818/2710909