Leon casino, Yellow Claw. Photo courtesy of the artist
Fresh off the release of their sophomore album, Los Amsterdam, Dutch DJ duo Yellow Claw are embarked on a tour to numerous sold-out crowds. Signed to Mad Decent, having featured from the likes of Quavo from Migos and DJ Snake, members Jim Taihuttu and Nils Rondhuis are living the good life. Prior to their sold out show at Stereo Live tomorrow, Rondhuis spoke to Free Press Houston about their latest material, the new era of electronic dance music, and breakfast with primates.
Free Press Houston: So your last album, Los Amsterdam, has been a success. Does the name signify a new beginning, perhaps? I mean, you are from Amsterdam, but this record was worked on extensively in Los Angeles.
Nils Rondhuis: Definitely. Though we are not moving to LA, we did completely change the way we tour. We choose strategic/central places to live when we tour a certain part of the world. It gives us a lot of time to work on music, but also enjoy where we are and get some rest.
FPH: Was the LA lifestyle something that you saw necessary for your new material? As in, could you of made the same thing somewhere else?
Rondhuis: We don’t think that would have been possible. We are from Amsterdam — and we ain’t ever letting that go — but we needed to expand. LA is everything Amsterdam is but a million times bigger and more diverse. We just needed those influences. That creativity. And all those songwriters to connect with. To us, LA & AMS are two of the most important cities in the world when it comes to music.
FPH:The group has had over 400 million plays on YouTube alone, and an additional 400 million on Spotify. But to focus on YouTube, I was reading this article that was talking about the problem of random people putting up full albums for other listeners. How big of a problem do you think this is?
Rondhuis: To us it isn’t. As long as our music reaches our listeners, it’s okay. We’ll make our rent some other way!
FPH: Do you feel like you have an advantage of dealing with that, since you’re a DJ and the shows would be really different from the album to begin with?
Rondhuis: Definitely. Those are two different experiences.
FPH: I was watching some of your live sets from festivals and I was taken away with all of the spectacles on stage and massive crowd size. Obviously, that’s not as easy at venue shows. Do you like the pressure, if there’s any, of playing in front of thousands of people on a gigantic stage rather than on a more modest one for a few hundred people?
Rondhuis: It’s a different kind of pressure, but they both feel good and they are also what keeps us operating at our best. It gives us that little edge while performing. We love that feeling. It’s addictive, really.
FPH: It seems like older DJs, ones who consider themselves more dance than EDM, are conservative with giving credit to the newer, younger acts. Do you think that the whole genre is changing at a fast pace, and perhaps that’s why it’s so divided?
Rondhuis: “Older DJs” we can’t help but picture a sour, old man who lost the love of deejaying. Hahaha!
We think everybody should just do what they love – and if you happen to love what someone is doing, definitely go and tell that person. We try to do that, and why wouldn’t we? We are so lucky with where we are as artists right now. Everybody should take themselves a little less seriously. They’ll have more fun that way.
FPH: The group has “made it,” right? After all, you had breakfast with an orangutan!
Rondhuis: It wasn’t that different from eating breakfast with Jim, really!
FPH: Your upcoming show at Stereo Live is sold out - congrats! How quick did it take before that started becoming a common thing on your tours?
Rondhuis: Yeah. That happens 9 out of 10 times, but it doesn’t come easy. We put in a lot of hard work to keep all our fans interested. We feel obligated to give the fans a lot — I guess stuff like this the reward for that.
FPH: Is this going to be your first show/time in Houston?
Rondhuis: Nah. But we’ve stopped counting. We love Houston. And a lot of other places in Texas, too. It’s a true bass state.
FPH: So for those that are lucky enough and already have their tickets, what can they expect to see at the show, or others on this run, or even the festivals?
Rondhuis: Yellow Claw. Bigger and better.