“Genuine connections are in, superficial interactions are out.”
It’s time to meet Noetherian (Robin van de Griend) and Maybe_Helena (Floortje van Oosterhout ), the dynamic duo set to open our Echobox Presents Glamcult radio show tomorrow! Robin, interested in the metaphysical, helter-skelter rhythms and musical negative space, aims to make the brain dance and the body listen. A key figure at Stranded FM and co-founder of the friend-group-turned-label P2P, they’ve been making sure to nourish genuine connections in the Utrecht nightlife scene.
Maybe_Helena, actually called Floortje, has no interest in memorising genres – her mind is preoccupied with the Maison Margiela couture show. A lover of campy clubbing and short skirts, she infuses their DJ style with bouncy, silly, and offbeat energy.
Together they bring a playful, diverse mix to the table, combining Robin’s brain-dancing tunes with Floortje’s penchant for the gaggy and unexpected. Get ready for a set that effortlessly oscillates between heavy and silly, promising a playful musical journey infused with infectious energy.
Hey! How’s your day going?
R: I’m okay! I have some exciting new courses on metaphysics that I’m starting today, that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I’m already in the room where it’s gonna happen! So yeah definitely some pre-game excitement.
F: I’m good too! I just came back from therapy so I might be a bit floaty in my head haha.
Tell me a little bit about yourselves, what brought you to music?
F: I’ve been partying a lot and I feel like I experienced a lot of freedom in clubbing – as a lot of queer people do. I found music as a side thing first… I think it was part of feeling very camp for me? I felt very campy when the right music was on and everything matched up – it helped me discover who I am, and become myself as well. For the last two years I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in a bit of a teenage fantasy, or some kind of infinite puberty. Moving to the campy elements of music helps me express myself better. I listen to a lot of stuff that makes me feel like the teenager I couldn’t be! Very girly, rockband- girl. That energy helped me establish who I want to be at this moment.
Do you think your younger self would be proud of who you are now?
F: Super proud! This highly femme, teenage fantasy has stuck with me for a while now, but I’m still discovering new things constantly, it’s so infinite.
R: I really identify with the way that music can be a material onto which we can project some kind of alternative self-image. What specifically attracted me to club music (and clubbing in general) was this feeling that things are a bit different in the room than in the daily world. Music that has creative use of reverb or certain textural qualities, quite literally creates a space into which I can kind of feel part of something special. I guess maybe that’s what you can call queer, in a way… there’s also a sort of darker side to it, in the sense that the club is hidden, people can’t take pictures, it’s literally dark inside. The place is not as visually focused as the usual or daily world is. Somehow this creates space for me to feel different.
So where for Floortje it’s about camp, you’re attracted to a certain form of escapism and almost invisibility?
R: I think it’s interesting that two aspects come out of this – there’s the aspect of changing into an outfit and showing a part of yourself that you wouldn’t show in daily life, but on the other hand also the invisibility is also a part of making it possible to express yourself. If it’s not even just the darkness of the club, it’s that the walls of the club are a boundary of the outside eye not being able to look at what’s inside.
Can you describe your personal DJ styles, and where you get your inspiration from?
F: It’s very fleeting – I’m quite jumpy. I can really put my lack of focus into music. I don’t like genres. I can’t remember them. I’m constantly asking ‘is this techno? Is this also techno? Oh, is this breakbeat? Is this also breakbeat?’ I don’t really care about it, it’s just a gut feeling. So, I would say my style is bouncy, its fleeting, it’s this chop and screwed idea. Let’s just cut up everything! And If I have to describe myself, I love adding a bit of ‘stupidness’ to everything. I love it when things are a bit off, sexy, silly…
R: I agree about genres, they should be descriptions, not prescriptions. Words I would use to describe the music I play are ‘contrasts, dynamics, space’. If I’m gonna talk genres then I’m gonna say I’m quite inspired by the broader UK hardcore continuum. This is really an umbrella for a few styles of music that really show what negative space can do with music. I was listening to some old dubstep tunes and I realised a new kind of minimalism is found there. Right now, it’s easy to look for ‘bangers’, but if you’re only playing bangers, something starts lacking. I really need that sort of space in between, energy wise but also sonically – less sounds, more reverb, and then in this open space this banger can drop. I’m really inspired by how breakbeat and drum and bass type of genres have found new ways to create that ambiance! What really inspires me lately is artists like Sylvere, Siu Mata, and Amor Satyr.
Robin, you say you like to make the brain dance, and the body listen: can you elaborate what you’re looking for in music/DJ’ing?
R: It comes from ‘braindance’ which is a different term for breakcore, but I have this experience sometimes when the boundary between dancing body and listening mind kind of goes away. For instance, when music has a lot of percussion that’s too fast or too complex to move to, but it is doing something in my head rhythmically. I feel like my head is dancing but in a noncorporeal way.
And Floortje, what do you aim for in a set?
F: I like it when it’s a bit gaggy, or a bit silly. I love to lose myself in the basement of a club where the music does something to your head where you’re like ‘Oof’ – but I also like when things are just a bit silly and unexpected and you can just laugh a bit. It breaks a little bit with the seriousness.
Where did you guys meet and can you tell me about how you started DJ’ing together?
R: Our origin story!
F: We met through friends during Covid, we were in the countryside with 8 people and dragged speakers to this Antikraak monastery somewhere, and everyone partied together, but Robin and I just disappeared into the kitchen rolling cigarettes talking about…
R: really important stuff haha. I think we were already being silly from the get go. A sort of playfulness I had with you.
F: Since then we’re still just rolling cigarettes for hours and being a bit stupid together. When we put on tunes together, we just have this silliness – we’re just letting go and dancing super stupidly.
What do you bring out in each other, and what can we expect when you two b2b together?
R: I think Floortje really reminds me to play the silly tunes and to make sets light. I’m not saying that I’m very serious, but I can be a bit heavy at times. But having only heaviness or only silliness is boring. We move between each other’s style and try to surprise each other.
Can you elaborate on your DJ names? J
R: I liked the word Noetherian, it’s something I saw in my Mathematics studies. I don’t really like this nerdy link anymore haha, I don’t want to be this math nerd. But I guess it’s still there.
Exposing you! And you, maybe_helena?
F: It’s a dumb story but I forget a lot of things, so I text myself all the time. I have whole conversations with myself on my phone. And when I send them, the messages also come to my MacBook, but weirdly my MacBook always calls me Helena? I told my friends this when were a bit trippy and they were like ‘oh my god, maybe you are Helena’. So that’s why. It’s just this little glitch in the system. Now I feel like okay, give the name to me then. I surrender.
Haha! If you could collaborate with anyone else in the world (besides each other), who would it be?
R: Maybe I’d like to work together with someone from a different time, and then see what they would do with current day technology.
F: I watched this interview of Zoe Mc Pherson and I like their music, and what they’re doing – I saw their gear and the offbeat shit that they do and I was like wow, I would love to learn how this is made. I don’t know how much I would bring to the table if it was a collaboration but I would love to just sit there and learn what they’re doing because it’s just so off. They don’t sample things from other people, they just do field recordings and smack on things and then make a completely different sound out of it.
R: The way they talk about the sound design really comes from a place of intrinsic interest – it’s really passionate.
Do you have anything you’re really into fashion-wise right now?
F: I would say boots are never too high and skirts are never too tiny.
R: I would say that really when I can go out that I can dress in a way that I normally would not do. I think especially more femme clothing I would normally not wear so quickly in daily life – but I think when I dress femme, I get into a sort of role (sounds a bit too reductionist) but I somehow feel like a different person – I wouldn’t say that I’m finding myself then, I also find that a bit difficult, but at least I feel in a way that feels close to me, natural. This aspect of seeing each other and being seen – I feel a sort of harmony there in the club. I’m not thinking about what I’m wearing, but at the same time it’s doing something to the way I move, feel and am with people. Because it feels so close to me its surrounded with a lot of insecurity – but the club is a place where I feel safe to go into conflict with these insecurities. Not because I always feel safe or secure in these environments, but it’s at least fine to feel these feelings. Its more an answer of what fashion does for me, than what I’m ‘into’ right now.
What’s your fav song at the moment?
F: Slipping by Flore Sinclair and Stuck by Stacey Orico.
R: there is an EP: Heaven/hell by Frankie. Beautiful, ethereal, like the early work by Laurel Halo. this reminds me of that somehow.
Most inspiring artist or DJ?
R: Zoe Mc Pherson.
Pre-club or post-club ritual that you can advise others?
R: having a long and drawn out dinner before the club. The club can all feel so fast, the dinner beforehand can feel like a good moment to get in touch with each other.
F: I love to dance on my own in my room before I go. That’s the best.
What’s something that you can’t live without?
F: My stuffed animal that I’ve had my entire life. And something I would advise people to use is the Dior lip oil.
R: friends. dumb but true. Feeling of community.
Are there any events you’re looking forward to?
R: I’m really excited for Rewire!
F: I have VIP tickets for Nicki Minaj which is definitely I’m something I’m excited for. I’m also excited to see Florence Sinclair.
Normally I like to ask what people are manifesting for the coming year but I’m also curious of what we’re leaving behind in 2023! Ins and outs?
F: We’re leaving behind: excuses to not go to a protest and not to be political. I think that’s not happening anymore. And also, small talk with people because they want something from you, is out.
R: Yes! Genuine connections are in, superficial interactions are out.
And for me, feelings of powerlessness towards big problems in the world are also out. I had this lecture series about the Anthropocene and I always felt a lot of powerlessness because of it – but I started realizing that it shouldn’t be a call to inaction but it should be used as a motivation to think about how to relate to powerlessness, and what are ways in which I can do something. Trying to find alternatives. So in for 2024: trying to find noncynical ways of relating to things that are happening around us.
F: Also, professionalism is out – boring.
R: In: booking friends because you like what they do, and out: TikTok DJs. Out: the focus on very short hyped up moments – in: a more genuine and enduring enjoyment and community. In is also themed radioshows. With a funny theme.
Were you still thinking of something to add Floortje?
F: My mind was just wandering to the Maison Margiela show by Galliano. Has been my basic thought for the last week – horrible but also nice. I’m just busy with that lol.
Nobody can blame you! See you both Friday <3
Tune into echobox.radio at 19:00-22:00 for our takeover!