[Interview] Bingo Players Says It’s ‘Narrow-Minded’ to Disregard Underground Electronic Music

It’s been almost a full year since we last interviewed Maarten of the Bingo Players. Last June, we wanted to know if the Bingo Players would stay “Permanently Plural“, having only recently returned to work following Paul’s passing, and what would be different about Maarten’s newly launched solo career. This month, we caught up with Maarten at Hakkasan, Las Vegas.

Every producer has his or her own process of creating new music. For the Bingo Players, that process is refined, tedious, and meticulous. Having only released 3 tracks since 2013, I anxiously wanted to know what was on the horizon for new Bingo Players music. What direction is the Bingo Players going in 2015?

“I’m collecting a lot of songs right now. I’ve got a couple of songs almost finished. I’m not sure what to do with them. Maybe it’s EPs, maybe it’s an album. It depends how the songs work out. I have 10-20 ideas, so it’s enough to fill an album, for sure, but I’m just first focusing on finishing them all to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s only Bingo Players. I’m not collabing with any other big artists. I try to keep the quality and not rush being finished. It’s going to be totally different. They are all pretty much completely different. One is more progressive, one is more deep, one more banging.”

While we all impatiently wait for his next release, I wondered where Bingo Players gets his music ideas from. Lately, the world of EDM has been littered with controversy between the ‘main stream’ and ‘underground’. Maarten calls the stance some mainstream artists take against underground music as…

“…really narrow-minded. For me, listening to artists that aren’t as well known keep stuff fresh. Most of the things you hear were started in the underground. All of house music started in the underground. If you ignore the whole underground then you’re also cutting out on yourself; you’ve get tunnel vision. It’s important to listen to stuff that’s more left field, or different. I love to listen to some deep house stuff, like The Magician. I think his mixtapes are really interesting to listen to. Sometimes there’s a song that has a certain element in it that’s really cool. Most of the time the guys who are thinking outside the box have better ideas than the ones using the same formula that’s being tested and proven.”

Maarten was forced to think outside of the box for his own performance. Reminiscing on a time when Paul’s extroverted personality worked in perfect harmony with his own, Maarten was left with a hole in his live show. Not wanting to compromise his own refined talent behind the decks, he turned to a long-lost art in electronic music: the M.C.

“When I still played with Paul, he was the guy that entertained the crowd. I was more the guy always behind the decks, making sure the mix goes well. He was the one who connected with the crowd. I’m not good at that. I’ve always been a bit shyer; a bit more withdrawn. So, when I started to play alone, I realized that I was missing that element in the show, having more interaction with the crowd. Using an MC, I can focus on the music; on the mix, and he can hype the crowds. I think it works really well. DJs have to decide for themselves. I’d never say you have to do it, or this is better. If you’re a person who’s more introverted and more focused on the music, it could be a good addition to the show.”

Looking back on 2015-to-date, Maarten notes Bingo Beach as one of the year’s highlights. Bingo Players and Hysteria Records took their Miami Music Week event to a new level this year, and the result was exactly what they hoped for.

“…it was completely full. The crowd was great to see and gave us really good vibes. We try to keep within the Hysteria Crew – MAKJ, Bassjackers, Henry Fong – but also new talents and people who we work closely with Hysteria. We try not to book the same names every year, we want to switch it up a little bit, but keep the core the same. It was a fresh lineup. It’s amazing. When it works out, and it’s full, and people are enjoying it, it’s really satisfying. For us it’s always important that we give new talent a chance and expose people to new talent. It would be great if we could find someone who makes it really big. It’s really satisfying as a label when you see a career evolving. It’s important to stay unique. It’s good to have our own vision and our own ideas about how to run a label. We look at what we can add to the whole genre – to do differently.”

Throwing a party, like Bingo Beach, or a show at Hakkasan, is a small, intimate venture. Next month, Bingo Players will return to Las Vegas for the biggest American event of the year: Electric Daisy Carnival. Being consciously aware of where and when a performance is happening is a vital part to a successful DJ set.

“Maybe people who aren’t into dance music, or aren’t into underground want to go to the festival because everyone’s talking about it. Most of the time people start listening to the big names, and from there you expand your vision. A club has a more intimate vibe than a festival. For a festival you play a different set. In a club you can keep it small, you can play more underground. If you play a big festival it has to be more party. You also have to be aware of what slot you’re playing. At a festival, if I was playing at 2:00pm, I would never play banging, hard stuff. I think you have to build it up. It’s really hard because most DJs just want to take their moment and just fucking rage. But you can see if people come in early and hear the big songs, and big bangers, they’ll be done by 11:00 or 12:00. They can’t possibly stay up for 10 hours listening to the hard stuff. I try to think about that, and when I’m in the evening it’s important to have an energetic set. In a club, when I play some lesser-known tunes, and I see people enjoying it, it’s great. It’s a whole different experience.”

Buy tickets to Bingo Players’ next Hakkasan show on Sunday, June 14

There’s so much to look forward to in the world of Bingo Players. A year of re-exploring, re-learning, re-establishing the brand has positioned Maarten to solidify himself as a significant player in the future of electronic dance music. It takes time and patience to develop a unique sound. Expect 2015 to be another landmark year for Bingo Players.