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Interview: Getting To Know Emerging Dutch Underground Talent Rooléh


Germany’s Cécille continues to put the spotlight on the rising Dutch underground this February, welcoming Amsterdam’s Rooléh onto the roster with his ‘Distant Phase’ EP. Download/Stream it here:

Across the past few years the Nick Curly and Marc Scholl helmed Mannheim, Germany based Cécille Records has moved from strength to strength with releases and material from the likes of Leon, Sidney Charles and Reboot, while also building a strong connection to the powerhouse Amsterdam scene with material from the likes of Dennis Quin, Prunk and newcomer D STONE. Here the imprint welcomes yet another rising star from the Dutch capital, namely Rooléh who’s been making his mark via releases on the likes of Darius Syrossian’s MOXY MUZIK, Archie Hamilton’s Microhertz and Too Many Rules among others.

To mark the release of his latest work, we invited Rooléh to join us for an inside look into his world:

Thanks for joining us today, Rooléh. We’ve been enjoying your new EP on Cécille of late, for those unfamiliar with you and your music could tell us where you’re from and who you are. 

I’m a 24-year-old DJ & producer based in Amsterdam. I grew up in a village near the beach called Castricum, where I still host events called VOID. I’m also a part-time PE teacher at a school in Amsterdam.

Can you share a little about your roots in electronic music when you first began discovering the genre, which is heavily popular in your country and hugely popular in your city? 

When I was a little kid, my parents would always listen to Faithless, and I guess that’s where my fascination for electronic music started. When I was 16, my older friends took me to my first proper rave in Amsterdam, and that’s when I really got hooked. The music, the energy, everyone being so nice, it was just something I had never experienced before. I tried to record all the tracks I liked as much as possible so I could search for the tracks at home to add to my collection. After a few years of clubbing and attending festivals, a friend of mine asked me to play at his event, to which I replied, “You know I’ve never touched any decks before, right?” and he replied back with “Well, you have three months to learn so why not start now?”. I don’t think I’ve ever been as ill-prepared and nervous for a gig as that one, but I loved every minute of it. After that, I knew this was my path. 

We’ve seen you releasing on Archie Hamilton’s Microhertz and Darius Syrossian’s MOXY Muzik, now Cécille, your path seems to be on the upward trajectory. Could you tell us a little about the more recent forays with your productions and how they’ve landed on the imprints of such widely respected DJs? 

I’ve been working a lot on my sound for the past years and trying to steer my music in a clear direction. It’s nice to see that it’s been paying off, and getting signed on these major labels is something I’ve been wanting all my life. 

How would you describe the sound of your new EP, ‘Distant Phase’, for those yet to check it out?

I think the best way to describe it is a sample-based loop house made for the dance floor, with Funk, Disco, and Soul influences. 

What has the feedback been like from those who’ve been lucky, like ourselves, to get the jump on this new EP?

I’ve had nothing but positive feedback with some comments saying how ‘mature’ it sounded. I wanted to steer my productions in a new direction with this EP, so getting this kind of feedback is very rewarding. 

How do you balance things in your life between long late nights in the club and daily happenings? 

As I’ve said before, I’m a PE teacher, which really helps me to retain a steady routine. It helps me get back to normal after a weekend of gigs, partying and travelling. 

Talk us through your creative process in the studio and what gear you’re using. Are you mostly in the box, or do you utilize any other outboard gear? 

So, I always start with sample hunting. After I’ve found the right sample to work with, I build a nice drum loop and start chopping up the sample to see what ideas I come up with. I work inside the box, and I use my Push and Midi keyboard to play with the samples or to come up with melodies. I get bored with sounds quite easily, so I try to come up with something new every time while keeping some elements the same throughout my tracks. 

What advice do you have for other artists who are at the beginning of their journey? 

Learn from the people who you’re inspired by the most, but try to collaborate with other starting producers as well. I’ve learned the most from being in the studio with other artists and seeing their workflow. I know this is going to sound very cliche, but being your own biggest critic is key when it comes to music production. I might go as far as V20 before I’m satisfied with the way my pre-master is sounding. In my opinion, this will eventually make you stand out from others.

Are there any major plans for 2024? What does the future hold for Rooléh, both production and tour-wise? Are any key shows on the horizon or releases pencilled for the year?

I can’t say too much, but this year, I’ll be releasing music on labels I’ve been a fan of for a long time. I’ve got some nice shows coming up, but the one I’m most excited about is my closing set at Shelter. 

Can you leave with your current favourite track to get things going at the peak of your sets? 

Rooléh's ‘Distant Phase’ EP is available to download/stream via Cécille Records:


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