INTERVIEW: Bingo Players (2013)

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Bingo Players, the Dutch production/DJ duo of Paul Baumer and Maarten Hoogstraten, have ascended to the pinnacle of thr club scene by combining energetic big room electro tracks with catchy hooks and touring relentlessly.  Their tracks “Rattle” and “Cry” have become massive commercial hits, while edgier ones like “Buzzcut” and “Out of My Mind” continue to bang the big rooms.  I spoke to Maarten when he spun in Nashville to a sold-out room on a Thursday night, a testament to just how massive the international duo have become.

RS: Where did name Bingo Players come from?
Bingo Players: A friend of ours in the UK had it as his nickname on MSN messenger, and we asked if we could use it and he said we could. We just needed a name and decided that it would work.

RS: How did the two of you meet up?
Bingo Players: We were best friends for 15 years before we even started making music.

RS: What about Brenda Russell’s “Piano In The Dark” inspired you to make “Cry (Just a Little)”?
Bingo Players: One day I was watching VH1 Classic and I saw the Brenda Russell video. At the time I was really into the filter house type of stuff and I wondered how it would sound if I turned the speakers up and made it into a French filter house song. I tried it, made the song, and for fun I called it “Eve Stangello,” because Steve Angello was doing French house at the time, and then uploaded it to Laidback Luke’s forum.  A few years later, Paul said “hey, look at this,” and my bootleg on YouTube had 1 million views!  We decided to recreate it and do something new, and from there we released it.

RS: When you made “Rattle,” did you have any idea that it would become as big as it did?
Bingo Player: No, when we first played it out, people hated it, and when we released the preview on YouTube, only a third of the people thought it was cool and two thirds of the people hated it. We doubted if we should release it or not, but when we did it became a big song, it is really weird how things work.

RS: You have different tracks in different territories, how do you manage that?
Bingo Players: We don’t actually do it ourselves; we have a our label, Hysteria Records, and a good label manager, so we license it out to the different partners. We aren’t too involved in the strategic side of things and the tracks that are being played across the world.

RS: With Hysteria, how do you find the talent and the releases that you pick up?
Bingo Players: It was very hard at first, because we would get 200-300 demos a day, but now we have a label manager who listens to all of them. It is really nice because we make sure that all of the songs get listened to and pre-selected.

RS: How involved are you with the videos for your tracks?
Bingo Players: Not really, we always let the company do a storyboard and a moodboard and we see if we like it or not. We aren’t too clever with videos and concepts, so we just let other people do it.

RS: With your insane touring and festival schedule how do you manage your production work load?
Bingo Players: This last summer was crazy and we didn’t have any time for production. We really have to make time and block dates off on the calendar in order to make sure that we have time to produce. It is so important to keep the music going but this summer was so crazy that we couldn’t. Many producers can produce on the plane but we can’t.  I hate making music with my headphones on, I have to be in the studio to feel the vibe. I have to be in the studio for 4 consecutive days at minimum, so it’s been hard, but we promise that we are going to release more music next year for sure.

RS: That’s refreshing to hear that. Why do you think that the Netherlands are such a hotbed for EDM talent?
Bingo Players: I think it’s because dance music has been around Holland for 20+ years and it has been on the mainstream radio since the early ’90s. All of the big producers that are coming from Holland are people that have grown up with dance music. I think that is one of the main reasons, we also have big parties in Holland and they weren’t illegal in the ’90s.

RS: Congratulations on being number 66 on the DJ list, how important do you think that list is?
Bingo Players: Thank you. It is an indication of how popular you are and it is fun to see, but it is not the most important thing, ticket sales are the most important. There is a lot of bullshit around it with people buying votes and and politics. We didn’t do a lot of marketing, just one message and asked that people vote for us. Some people really go crazy for the DJ Mag list and the position but the most important thing is that you make music and sell out shows.

RS: You are so real, I love this. How do you think that the Amsterdam dance event has helped the Dutch EDM scene?
Bingo Players: It was one of the first worldwide conventions that brought industry people, producers, and DJs together. The difference with Miami is that it is nice weather during Ultra week and people are partying, but in Holland the weather is shitty, business gets done during ADE, not at Ultra week.

RS: Aside from yourself, who do you see as the net big Dutch talent?
Bingo Players: Oh wow, there are so many young guys that are coming up right now. Martin Garrix, the guy who did “Animals,” is huge right now and he is only 16 or 17 years old, it’s crazy. I don’t know who will be the next big guy, it is hard to tell, but I’d place my chips on the young guys who are crazy about making music.

RS: How do you choose which tracks get a topline, for example with “Mode,” how did you choose to work with Heather Bright on that?
Bingo Players: We felt that it was missing something, so while we were in LA we met her for a studio session. She said that she wanted to try something and ended up doing an amazing job. The only thing that we think about is if we want a male or a female to be on it and what vibe we want the topline to be, like more rocky or more soul. We select a few singers and then see where it takes us.
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RS: Are you working on anything in the studio right now or are you on a hiatus while you are touring?
Bingo Players: Yes and we plan on releasing new music by the end of the year!

RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Bingo Players: Thanks for all of the support, I hope to see you all soon!

Interview conducted August 2013. Special thanks to Blake Atchison at Full Circle Presents and Joseph Pepin at Complete Control Management for arranging and coordinating this interview.

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