Behind the Beat: Cesqeaux
The Barong Family continues to build their roster with innovative artists that produce dynamic sounds and receive industry
recognition time and time again. In addition to Yellow Claw and Moksi, the Barong Family has another artist by the name of Cesqeaux (Pronounced ‘Sesko’) a young musician from Groningen, Netherlands. At the young age of 22, he has dabbled with drums and rap before hitting it big as a DJ and producer. His past experiences have clearly given him an appreciation for his current success and have strongly influenced his diverse style, which blends with a variety of artists including Afrojack, Yellow Claw and Kayzo. OTB had the opportunity to interview one of the Barong Family’s dopest DJs and producers before his set at Soundcheck in Washington, D.C.
Only The Beat: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved in DJing and producing? What was your first breakout show?
Cesqeaux: I started playing the drums when I was seven years old. My dad was also a musician, who played the guitar, and my mom was a music enthusiast who showed me records and taught me how to dance and enjoy music. I was curious about how music was made going all the way back to when I was a kid. After I kept playing drums, I wanted to learn more so I starting rapping because it was a part of the urban community that had a strong influence in that genre. I was a rapper for a little while, but I figured out that people’s opinions were really harsh, if you said the sky was green and the grass was blue, people would say ”no, you’re wrong”, but if you called a record ”blue grass” they didn’t mind, if the record was hot it didn’t matter. So I stopped rapping and starting making instrumentals and put everything up on SoundCloud. This was when social media sharing started getting really popular and I remember putting up a few records.
At the time, I didn’t know that the whole U.S. community was so into bass music, but I remember waking up one day and my phone was scorching hot. I remember getting a ton of notifications from this one record for a DJ contest that I put up for free and people enjoyed it more because they were able to download it. That is when I saw that I have the ability to write something and touch people all over the world and that is when I started producing consistently. I also got connected with people that motivated me and knew a lot about the music industry. I attended the Academy for Pop Culture studying for my bachelor’s degree in Holland and this one girl in my class told me about Yellow Claw. She
took me to one of their shows and that was the first time that I saw a group play 30 minutes of hip-hop and R&B, 50 minutes of House music, and 50 minutes of a weird cross-over of Trap/Hardstyle. I was flabbergasted and I wanted to get in touch with them, not to support my music, but I knew if I was going to relate to someone in the music industry it would be them. I walked up to them and talked for a bit and then they asked me to send over some records.
I played at a bar for a while where I taught myself to become a better DJ because I started
as a producer. There is a big difference between producing and DJing and a whole different profession. I started looking at the similarities instead of focusing on the differences including the love of music. The good DJs taught me how to work a crowd and build a climax and I studied this for a couple of years before pushing myself into this brand on my own. I started doing shows at first playing records that just worked the crowd, but I knew deep down that I was a producer . I started playing my own records starting about two years ago. Long answer, but that’s my story.
OTB: Now, this is your first time performing in D.C., are you excited about the show?
Cesqeaux: Yes, I am really excited to be here. This is a whole cultural journey. I haven’t been to the U.S. extensively and much of it is unknown to me. I have been to Miami for Ultra a few weeks ago, but prior to that I have only been to Texas. I am overwhelmed with the cultural differences and just love being here able to bring music to people. It is amazing that
there are fans that will bring totem poles, pictures, flags, and kandi to shows. I love it.
OTB: Last month you played five shows in less than 24 hours in Miami and you also teased collaborations with Afrojack on Instagram. Can you tell us anything about the upcoming new music?
Cesqeaux: I have my EP, #EAUXMYGOD2. I have done two installments of this and I am working on a third one now. I want to raise the bar instead of settling for the status quo. I got to work with a lot of different artists, but on the EP so far I have Kayzo and San Holo. It’s funny because Kayzo is more into hard music and San Holo is the more melodic down to earth music, which I am trying to combine. I am also working with NGHTMRE and trying to get him on the EP.
With Afrojack it is really crazy, one day during Amsterdam Dance Event, David Guetta summoned me through my publishing company because he had heard about me and wanted to get me to the studio. We were supposed to meet, shake hands and that was supposed to be it. When I got to the studio my laptop screen was broken
and the studio clerk brought me a spare one and an iMac monitor and put them into the studio where Afrojack was sitting. We weren’t talking at first and I was just doing my business getting ready to shake hands and leave, but they gave me chance to show my music to everyone that was there. In the room was a sick mix of people including Afrojack, David Guetta, and Martin Garrix. I felt like this B league DJ/producer and then I sat down and after a couple of minutes, Afrojack told me that he heard a lot about me from Jim (Yellow Claw) who must have filled him in about my music. That is when I got to show him a lot of music and I remember showing him the first record and he kept turning up the volume button and then it dropped, and he went to get David right away. At the end of that day Afrojack, David Guetta, and I sat down from 11 PM – 3 AM working on music.
It was silent for a while and I didn’t want to push them because I respect them a lot,
I am 22 and don’t need to rush things. Then Afrojack e-mailed me and invited me over to his place. I was driving a very regular car and I got to his place, which is a mansion that took me 15 minutes from the gate to get to his door, and I got there and had to park my car between a Lambo and a Ferrari. My car was covered in bird shit, but it was a great time in the studio and we both had fun. He had his Grammy in the studio and I was sitting there next to him just trying to turn up to some music. Then we got to Ultra and he was already happy with what we produced, but he actually shouted me out on the Ultra livestream. He got on camera and said that we had a collaboration coming up and I am very thankful for his support. Support like this also led me to be the most booked DJ at Miami Music Week, which no one mentioned because no one expected a 22-year-old from Holland to have that opportunity. I played at Afrojack’s party, Laidback Luke’s party, Slander and NGHTMRE, and the Yellow Claw/Barong Family label night. The reach, genres and audience were really different, but I truly love music and can play both EDM and Trap.
OTB: Tell us a little bit about being on the Barong Family.
Cesqeaux: It is exactly how it sounds. It is family. I think that is
very important because right now a lot of people are trying to be self-made, entrepreneurs and on their own island. People don’t support each other anymore. When I was in Texas, everyone was scared to support one another because they were worried that they would help out someone and that person would become more popular. In Holland, we already have everyone, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, Hardwell…everyone is already there and we don’t mind hanging out with one another trying to build each other up instead of breaking each other down. I was already tight with Yellow Claw. Jim is a mastermind and is my manager right now. We share the same roots and he is like a brother to me. He told me one day about a group of people that consistently think about one another and work on projects that all come together through remixes, collaborations, etc. It is great to know that no matter what tracks you put up you will always have people that are there for you to provide feedback, criticism and support.
OTB: What is your favorite track that you produced and one that you did not produce, but admire?
Cesqeaux: I like ”The Dopest” because I made this remix just for fun. I was at the studio late at night and I wanted to go home, but I couldn’t get a cab so I decided to sleep at the studio. I tried something new because I was stuck at the studio and I didn’t really think about what it was going to do
for my future. I am working on a song with San Holo right now that I like a lot because he taught me about chord progressions and music in general while we were working on it. It is really hard to say what my favorite track is at the moment, but I really like a lot of music coming out from San Holo and the label Monstercat outside of the music that I produce and the Barong Family.
Moksi – The Dopest (Cesquex Remix)
OTB: What are your hobbies or what do you like to do outside of DJing/producing?
Cesqeaux: I have a girlfriend who I have been together with for five years and we both support each other a lot. We have two pet rabbits at home and I love my family a lot.
Cesqeaux is an artist to watch during festival season with new music and major collaborations that have already hit the mainstage. Pick up a copy of Eauxmygod EP, Vol. 2 on iTunes now!
May 15th – 7th Sunday Festival
May 28th – Emporium Brasil
June 3rd-5th – Intents Festival