Meet the line-up!
Playfulness, gentle distortion, and tactility are the three pillars for SOFT CLIP, the freshly born, mischievous DJ/producer duo based in Utrecht. Individually known as Sebastiaan (puurvuur) and Thomas (Gele Lambo), the two never sit around waiting for inspiration. Firm believers of the grind, the magic flows from their hands effortlessly when they’re together – and now this fearless team is eager to take their musical journey to the next step.
Heavily influenced by Nick León, UK bass, catchy hooks and reggaetón, the two come from completely different backgrounds and complement each other’s musical knowledge like no other. Think: big low-ends flirting with sparkly melodies, cute vocals jumbled up with a deep bass, turning the whole into a rich, fun, and gritty mix of their combined expertise.
They will be debuting tonight at Glamcult Selects, and we cannot wait to hear what they’ve cooked up for us. Read below about how they get to work, their first track, and their favorite post-gig food! <3
How are you today?
S: Doing well! We were in the studio and we just started our profile as a new DJ and producer-duo!
T: We finally came up with a name that was long overdue – SOFT CLIP.
How did you come up with your new name? Any specific inspiration?
S: It’s a function in Ableton and in compressors and saturators – it’s a music production term. When you distort a signal, but in a gentle way, or at least a not too harsh sounding way. I’m not even sure how it works in the hardware / technical sense, but it makes sense to us because we make hard music but also with a soft touch. It just felt like it fit really well.
T: The word really stood out to me because we have more ‘tough’ influences, badass sounds with big drums and big bass and we have loads of like more cute elements like pitched up vocals or really pretty sparkly melodies. I think this contrast is pretty central to our sound and aesthetics so that’s why this one jumped out to me.
How do you describe your DJ style?
S: In line with our production – it’s a combination of fun and gritty. Now we’re leaning more into reggaetón and dancehall and these types of sounds, which can be kind of slow and fun, but also dark and menacing. We play around with that a lot. I bring a more UK grime/dubstep/garage influence. A lot of UK stuff and distortion.
T: Playful is a keyword. Also we’re very inspired by the leftfield bass stuff coming out of the UK right now, like Overmono and Two Shell, I feel like there’s some overlap there with the contrast we were talking about earlier. And yeah, Sebas has a really deep UK-stuff knowledge. I’m just getting into that, I come from more a pop / indie band background. Maybe the playful and catchy side is more from my side. But I was also quite early into the whole reggaetón wave that’s happening right now. We love Nick Leon, Florentino.. we just love playfulness in general.
S: It simply cannot be boring.
What’s your main source of inspiration? Is there a specific mindset you need to be in before you go into the studio?
S: We just hangout and talk, maybe play a game of pool.
T: There’s a pool table at my studio complex, and I think that plays an important role in the process. But me personally, I’m not a big believer in inspiration, like, that its necessary to create something. We have pretty regular studio days and we always create something. You have this quote, I don’t know from who it is, but ‘inspiration has to find you working’. I really believe in that. You have to go through the motions and then at some point, it always happens subconsciously, suddenly you become aware that you’re really liking what you’re making.
S: Very rarely there’s an idea in our heads before we just start clicking away in inspiration, it’s intuitive rather than conceptual.
T: And very sound inspired – Sebas is better in playing keys and chords and music theory, where I don’t know so much about that… For me it’s just how things sound and playing around with that – hearing how that changes things.
S: Often I’m fiddling around with a synth patch and Thomas is tweaking it and processing it in ways that I don’t understand and then it becomes something else, it’s really cool. It’s quite tactile. I guess inspiration just comes from doing the thing. Hang in there.
Seems like you really add to each other’s knowledge then 🙂 How did you meet?
T: Via DJ’ing – we both dj at Diep in de Groef. Sebas made a joke… My artist name is Gele Lambo (yellow Lamborghini), and my beer was empty, so he said “Now you’re a Lege Lambo” (empty Lamborghini)… such a lame joke, and to be fair, it also doesn’t really translate. But I laughed very hard. Then we started talking and coming by in the studio. The first session we immediately made an entire track.
S: Immediate home run. And still one of our favourites. It started out as something ambient… we just sampled that into a club track. It ties into what we said earlier of just getting inspiration from doing.
T: All the stylistic elements we’ve talked about were in there, before we’ve even talked about ‘whAt are oUr aEsthEtic tOucHsTonEs’. It just happened and became a blueprint for other things.
It’s nice that you can just GO to the studio, even when you’re feeling ‘uninspired’.
T: I think you can very much train this mindset. The dominant narrative around creativity is really that you have to be in a special mood, or wearing the special pajamas but I don’t find it to be true at all – and I find that quite liberating. Gives you a bit more agency (no guarantees). It can also be fun to make something even if you don’t like it. I feel like the act of creating in itself is very nourishing and rewarding.
Besides DJing and producing, what do you do in your daily life?
T: I work for a meditation app. I edit the audio, make sure there’s no mouth noises etc. I studied Drums at Herman Brood academy (I was in the Dutch indie scene) and then I went to HKU and I studied music production there.
S: I had a boring job that I quit, so I’m looking for a new part time job. In the meantime, I teach piano and Ableton production at a high school, that’s how I get a bit of money now. I’m also working with a few friends on building a label that has our own release soon. Tryna plan a release party for that as well so I’m doing some communication stuff for that. Peer2Peer its called. And for StrandedFM as well.
If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
S: I wanna say more openness or shared responsibilities, in terms of like ‘gatekeeping’, it just seems like there’s relatively few people determining what there’s going on in a city, music wise. But it’s difficult to change that from a practical perspective. I think if there would be more ownership for everyone – instead of a few individuals determining everyone… it’s more like a structural change that I don’t have a lot of creative ideas about, but I like Guest-programming at events. You also need really ‘in between’ spaces – between the super alternative and the super mainstream. That’s where interesting things happen socially and musically.
T: So much… inclusivity has always been a problem. I think the difficult thing is that the market is per definition saturated. Because making music is loads of fun and everyone wants to do it.
I think there’s a problem of getting enough governmental support as well. Making money off of things that are also ‘fun’ always risk not to be taken seriously as “real work” or as commercially interesting – even though I think a club can be very commercially interesting for a lot of people.
T: Or it has to be “culturally relevant” in a really outdated way like an orchestra or ballet. Classic music has an entire grant structure that’s just not there for this type of music. It has to be a matter of time before it catches up because like you said – clubs are a very real source of revenue and tourism. More so than a classical orchestra as well.
I agree! Let’s hope for the best. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
T: Accolades are a bit overrated. I don’t know it’s easy to say for someone who doesn’t have a lot of accolades ha-ha… but it’s like rarely comes close to the feeling of gratification when you make something nice and you’re really proud of it. I’m still really proud of our first track. We were at Maxi in Leiden a while ago and a friend of ours played it and I had this really calm feeling like – I would not change anything about this. That was really great.
S: Its nice that that happens both in the studio as on sets. But I think the only correct answer is being booked at Glamcult Selects! We’ve also talked to some people that were interested in releasing our music… so yeah just informal accomplishments. But indeed, when you hear your own track out, on a really big sound system… and you just feel like ‘Huh. Sounds pretty nice.’ Those are the accomplishments like… we made that!!
What is your favourite song at the moment?
T: There’s this remix of the song Friendly by Erika de Casier Nick León did, and we’re both big fans of him. Good song for mellow club session, but also a good song for home listening.
S: the new LCY track Sora, it’s really calm, breaky electro track.. a lot of spacious noises and weird sound design going on but then these really smooth and emotionally layered vocals over it. I love that about her style, its really harsh and soft at the same time.
Like SOFT CLIP!
If you could think of your favourite club lineup what would it be?
T: I would like to see Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails do a DJ set – I don’t know if he does DJ sets – but he’s a big inspiration for me sound wise, he was an industrial rock musician at first and he just ventured into film music and is totally killing that. So, I feel like it would be super easy for him to be a great DJ as well. And Nick León because I love Nick León.
S: I was thinking in line with the Draaimolen lineup where they do these interesting b2bs, this summer Skrillex is doing a b2b with Blawan which I think is fucking brilliant. Maybe I wouldn’t do anything that boundary breaking, but… something like Simocell who mixes super well, b2b with someone like Komodo, one of my favorite bass producers and DJ’s (more in the dubstep area) – would be interesting to see what they bring out in each other. Maybe like Lurka b2b Batu, mixed with the things Thomas said.. that would be a pretty sick night.
T: And Thomas Hell. He’s really good.
S: three hour closing set.
T: Thomas hell b2b Trent Reznor… that would be amazing.
S: Shoutout to Thomas Hell.
A big one!
What makes someone in the crowd stand out to you?
S: That is a wild question. I sometimes glance at the crowd. You can really tell when someone is really into it nonverbally, and you give them a lil’ nod, like yeah this is a banger isn’t it. It’s also quite nice to be busy on stage – It’s quite a public thing youre doing, it’s quite nerve wracking that everyone is facing you. I comfortably ignore the people. I’m not like Bambunu.
T: I’m just so focused on DJ’ing…it’s more like a feeling, the energy in the room is very palpable. I don’t think you need to look into the room so much – you feel the energy anyways. When someone stands out its more of a confirmation of something you already felt. I don’t really like being in the center of attention. What I like about DJ’ing is that you’re on a stage but it’s not really about you. I really like when LCD soundsystem had this night where they were just completely tucked away in a corner.
What are you manifesting for the rest of 2023?
T: Focusing on making more things in the vein of the first track and hopefully putting together for a release. But I think you should judge your work months after you’ve made it because then you’re not so attached to it anymore. So now were just making a bunch of stuff and in a few months hopefully we’ll see what the red thread is there.
S: Also DJ’ing as much as possible together. More of the same please and thank you!
What’s one question a journalist has never asked you that should really be asked?
S: I like that you’re outsourcing the question. Something like what’s your favorite thing to eat the day after a gig. Fav post gig day food?
T: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (perfect pronunciation). You never have to leave the house to make it. Even though I ALWAYS have to get fucking parsley because I never have fresh parsley.
S: I use dried.
T: it’s not the same man.
S: I like making pancakes.
For breakfast or dinner?
S: brunch.. brinner…
Wow, a lot of DJ’s want to talk about their food.
S: I mean, we do be cookin.