During Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) last month, we had the chance to speak with Jorn Heringa, Head of A&R (Artists and Repertoire) of dance music label Spinnin’ Records. Jorn has been working for Spinnin Records for more than 15 years and has worked together with some of the biggest artists in the industry including Martin Garrix, Afrojack, Nicky Romero and many more. Most recently, Spinnin’ Records started a new project called “Spinnin NEXT”, a new platform for DJ talents who are about to break through as the next generation of dance artists.
We interviewed him during the Spinnin’ Sessions event at club AIR in Amsterdam to give us some inside information about the music industry and to talk more about his latest project “Spinnin NEXT”. This was a very special moment for Play BPM, since Jorn is barely open for interviews.
How does it work to ´scout´ new artists to a label?
15 years ago, when I started working for Spinnin’ Records, we were the ones searching for artists. Times have changed and nowadays artists come to us by sending in their music. We receive hundreds of demo’s on a weekly basis. During ADE people even approach me on the streets. But generally, we meet people in different ways. By listening to new music online, keeping an eye on new trends or sometimes it’s through industry connections that flag promising artists. Martin Garrix for example was introduced to us by a connection, we then invited him to come in and signed him immediately.
What is Spinnin’ NEXT about?
Spinnin’ NEXT is a new platform for groundbreaking young DJ talents who are about to breakthrough as the next generation of electronic music artists. The rotating pool of artists currently consists of Carta (CN), Curbi (UK), Dante Klein (NL), Dastic (NL), Mesto (NL), Mike Williams (NL), Sophie Francis (NL), Throttle (AU) and Trobi (NL). The composition of the group will change over time depending on age, career levels and newly discovered artists.
What was the reason you set up Spinnin’ NEXT?
First of all, those artists have their different styles and different ways of producing music. Normally they produce by themselves, alone in their bedroom. They have very good specific qualities but keep doing the same thing.
With Spinnin’ NEXT we give them the opportunity to work together and inspire each other which helps them to create better and more divers music. It’s similar to a football team that groups the best players together. Each player will play better than he would by himself. During Club Spinnin’ the artists of Spinnin’ NEXT had their first show together. It created a certain chemistry and new kind of music which was great.
Furthermore, with Spinnin’ NEXT we provide a platform for these artists, a new brand that allows us to market them differently, next to their own individual artist branding, reaching more music fans in a different way.
Is the combination of good music and good promotion the power of Spinnin’ Records?
Yes, nowadays the marketing of a track is an important part to make the DJ grow as an artist. Marketing products are hotter than ever, more popular than certain styles at the moment. Marshmello is a good example of that.
Which extra attention do DJs receive for Spinnin’ NEXT?
Besides extra marketing and promotion, we provide them with the right additional tools to accelerate their careers. This includes intensive A&R guidance, international writing camps, live events, live streams and Spinnin’ NEXT events around the world. Last month they came together at Ibiza where we rented a house and studio. They had the chance to dive into each other’s tracks, production processes and create new music together. Most young DJs have less experience with producing vocals so that was one of our focus points.
What was the reason to start to work with the Brazilian DJ Alok?
I approached him a few times to work together on new tracks. First, because I liked his music, but besides that, I wanted to reach a new growing market: Brazil. After we had worked together for a while, we produced ´Hear Me Now´. That song finally went worldwide and now Alok is playing all around the world.
What do you think about the Brazilian market?
Brazil is growing very fast and new talent keeps popping up. At the moment, we are also working with Vintage Culture, definitely one to watch.
What are the conditions to work together with a DJ? On what basis do you choose to produce a track together?
It’s about a combination of good music and the right attitude. Martin Garrix is a good example. He really knew what he wanted to achieve and was very determined.
Why are there so many Dutch DJs?
It started very early, or how we say in Dutch. ¨It has been poured into the person with a spoon¨. Since the 90s, we got some groundbreakers like Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, DJ Jean and Feddle Le Grand, which opened up the scene for Dutch DJs. Since then, DJs are helping each other and introducing other Dutch DJs to the industry.
Also, the big Dutch radio station, Radio 538, had a big influence by playing a lot of electronic music since the 90s, the “dance smash” for example (a track of the week segment on Radio 538). Another thing is attitude: Dutch artists are more serious about their careers. They have a vision of what they want to achieve and keep focused on that. They party, but don’t get wasted on alcohol, drugs, sex and rock & roll.
Is Spinnin’ Records going to work with other genres in the future? For example Techno?
We keep it on! The best example is Spinnin’ Deep to Deep house, Tech house, but the underground Techno scene is a totally different world. We tried it in the past once, signed a few DJs, set up a sub-label called ´Polyplay´, but after 3 releases we noticed that although we really liked the genre, it didn’t fit with Spinnin’ Records vibe.