We caught up with DJ and producer, De Hofnar, ahead of his European and US tour to talk about his new album, festivals, fashion and what he’s got in store for 2017.
You’re about to release your upcoming album, King and Queens. Can you give us some more information into the making of the album?
Almost two years ago I had talk with Armada, my record label, and showed them a lot of tracks that I was working on. They were very surprised that I had a lot of different stuff and asked me if I ever thought about making an album. I was pleasantly surprised because I never thought about making an album so quick after being in the scene for only 2 years. I took the challenge and was blessed to getting the opportunity. The change from just making a single or SoundCloud release to entire album was quite big, but was something I had always dreamed of. The idea of the album was to make it very personal and to show the world that I have more to give than only melodic/tropical house. In my opinion the result is just that and I can’t wait to show it to you guys. Expect the unexpected!
Who influences you musically?
Many artists have influenced me over the past years. I think you can hear that back on the album where I combine a lot of different genres. In the beginning of my career it were artists like Nico Pusch and Bakermat. Later I was very inspired by music that was even deeper, like Worakls and Fritz Kalkbrenner. I also have a love for good produced pop music from the likes of Justin Bieber and even Dutch Hop Artists. I’ve got a really broad taste of music and I think that’s necessary for me to get creative in the studio.
When was the precise moment you realised you could make a career in music?
That was when I started to get booking requests. The funny thing is I declined my first 3 booking requests because I didn’t DJ at that moment. I just produced music. After that I decided to learn, and it went very quickly after that. I did a lot of bookings and I took it very serious because I thought this is the moment that I can earn money with the one thing I love: music. Still no one knows where and when I did my very first booking because I wanted everyone to think that I was a professional already.
Where was your first ever DJ set? How did it go?
Haha, as I said nobody knows that only my team and me. But I can tell you that it was I Belgium at a festival with approximately 500 people. I was really nervous and I prepared my set to in perfection. At that moment I was really happy how it went, because I didn’t have any experience at all. I also think that the people liked it because the promoters booked me a few more times. But I still needed a lot to learn at that moment. The only thing that you can do to improve your set is playing as much as you can. In my first year I played almost 100 gigs. Some big venues, but also a lot of smaller ones, just to get the experiences and perform better every time.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
That’s an easy one. Getting the opportunity from Armada to produce an album, and work on this for nearly 1.5 years. It wasn’t always easy but I think this a dream coming true for every artist. I worked with the best songwriters, producers and A&R’s and I’m very proud of the result.
If you could collaborate with one other artist, past or present, who would it be?
There are and were a lot of incredible artist on this planet but I just would love to hear Justin Biebers voice on one of my productions, haha.
Where is the most memorable venue you’ve ever played?
That’s a good question. I played at Ushuaia once, but it wasn’t that busy, so that one doesn’t count for me haha. It’s normal to say a big festival like Wish Outdoor Festival, Corona Sunsets and Extrema Outdoor. But to be honest the best gig I’ve ever had was in France. Where I did a closing set at main stage for 20.000 people. When I finished my set, the crowd kept yelling and singing my name for 15 minutes. That was an amazing experience!
Who and where was the most memorable DJ set you’ve ever seen?
That must be Fritz Kalkbrenner at a festival by the sea in Marseille. I just love his style of music and the live singing with his set was awesome. His tracks are deep but also poppy. His performance with the live singing makes him stand out from most other DJs. And at that festival the visuals were just amazingly fitting with the music and the location. It was almost perfection in my eyes.
Who are you listening to on repeat at the moment?
‘Disciples – On My Mind’, what a tune! For me this track shows you that less is often more. You can listen the track over and over and it doesn’t get annoying.
What’s your guilty pleasure track?
That must be Ultimate Kaos – ‘Casanova’ haha. Always on a great party started in the local pub. When I was younger I made a fun bootleg of this track and was even picked by the local pubs here in my hometown, fun times.
Where can we see you playing next?
The next gig one is Jospop Festival in Belgium. It’s quite a nice festival with my buddy Sam Feldt.
What other shows have you got coming up this year?
I’m having a little rest after my first summer tour where I played in South Africa, Brazil, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. From the middle of August I start performing again and I will go to Germany, Belgium, Mexico and The Dominican Republic. For New Year I’m going on a Brazilian tour as I did last year.
What does a typical day in the life of De Hofnar look like when you’re not creating music?
First of all a good sleep in! Then wake up slowly and hang out with my friends. I love to have a big barbecue or go to the lake with friends just playing some football and have a couple of beers. Life can be so easy then.
Are you going on a lad’s holiday this year?
I just went a weekend with 11 friends to a house near a lake in The Netherlands. We rented a boat and it was just perfect. The only thing we did was drink beer, barbecue, making a bonfire and just chill.
Being an international DJ, you must have your pick of the girls, but what’s your best chat up line?
Are you Netflix? Because I could watch you for hours.
Sorry Laura (girlfriend), for reading this haha.
Drink of choice on a night out?
I prefer more drinks on one night: wodka redbull, gin tonic, beer and a good glass of champagne.
Favourite film/TV series?
I still like “Inception” a lot and can watch it over and over. But when I hang out my friend I love watching “Bob’s Burgers”.
Describe yourself in three words?
Easy-going, chill… BUT stubborn 😉
Who’s your biggest fashion inspiration?
I’ve no specific fashion idol or what so ever but I love to see people that created their own style.
Can you describe your style? (Fashion)
It’s quite basic. I never wear strange colors but mostly just basic colors like black, white and navy blue. I mostly wear plain tees or sweaters combined with a good pair of jeans. Shoes are important, for a long time I wore Air Max 1’s, I did have a lot of different pairs, but at the moment I have a new favourite pair: sand colour Filling Pieces. I just love them. Oh and never forget my hat. I always wear a hat. My favourite one right now is a sand colour cap with the text: ‘’I am the creater’’. It matches my shoes well and the text just matched well with the album that is dropping. After all I created it haha!
Do you have any advice on anyone aspiring to be a DJ?
Don’t overthink and just do. Make a lot of music. It’s the only thing, which will get you there. Don’t talk too much, just do it.