Behind the Beat: Checking In with Cesqeaux
Cesqeaux is reinventing and redefining the Amsterdam trap music game and bringing his unique style all over the world. Having interviewed Cesqeaux now twice in 2016, I without any hesitation think that he is one of the most down to earth DJs/producers and one of the hardest working in the business. His focus and maturity are strong qualities in a producer. His continual work with main stage artists like Yellow Claw, Afrojack and David Guetta are a recipe for a breakout year in 2017.
As any member of the Barong Family, he loyal to his fans and was a part of the release of an entirely free album earlier this year with his brothers. To describe Ceqeaux’s music, I would give you the scenario of, “being in the gym getting ready to lift a weight”. But, that is too heavy. You listen to one of his tracks and the powerful beats motivate you to go beyond your own expectations or limits.
Only The Beat: Do you have any mentors in the industry? If so, how have they helped you in your career?
Cesqeaux: I have learned one way to look at people. You can’t look up to people too much because it creates a distance where people can look down at you. I am trying to level with people. I am trying to appreciate them, but not bow down to them. It isn’t that I don’t respect them, but I want to bring myself up even if someone is better at something. I have had people help me along like Jim from Yellow Claw. We share the same roots in Indonesia. I was actually back there a few weeks ago washing myself with a bucket and eating coconuts from the garden and swimming with dolphins with my family. You know, no access to Internet or drinking water or anything. To have someone in the industry that understands shit like that is really cool. With Jim having the same roots and same history, he understands that. People like DJ Snake, he runs like the same business as Barong Family with Pardon My French and Tchami, Mercer and Malaa, and I really appreciate that.
OTB: My personal favorite track of 2016 is “Smack”. Can you tell me about the production of this track?
CSQ: Thank you. First of all shoutout, Mike Cervello one of my best friends. Long story short, Mike and I were really good friends for a long time. We were in the same class at The Academy of Pop Culture, which is in Holland. We were apart for a bit, he went to Amsterdam and I was staying in the town where we used to be at. He came over to my house one day and was like I am working on this song. At the time, I was working with Yellow Claw a bit, but was still working at Subway making sandwiches. He showed me the song and I liked it a lot. I took it to Yellow Claw, but they were busy working on their own stuff at the time.
But, I was like this is really good and after about five to six times they finally listened to it. We wanted to send it to Mad Decent, but they didn’t pick it up so we released it ourselves. After a week it exploded. Everyone played it from Hardwell, GTA to Tiesto. DJ Khaled even put it on his recap of Miami. It is the best sold song on the Barong Family label. It’s funny because there is a free download button on the SoundCloud page, but it is still the best sold record, because everyone went to Beatport when it got all the support.
Cesqeaux & Mike Cervell0 – “Smack”
OTB: What is one of your favorite tracks right now?
CSQ: I’ve been listening to one track a lot right now called “Lullaby” by Nomak. He’s one of my friends in France and he made a choir progression all by himself. It is really good and he only has like 17K followers on SoundCloud, but in the first few days it got over 100k listens. One of my good friends San Holo even cried the first time he heard it.
OTB: So if you had to pick another career, what would it be?
CSQ: I don’t really know. I would just want something that I enjoy doing. Anything that is genuine. If I had to do volunteer work for the rest of my life, I would want to do the best volunteer work. If I had to work in grocery store, I would want to be the best clerk there is. I just want to be my best self.
OTB: What advice do you have for an aspiring DJ trying to get a shot in the industry?
CSQ: I almost think that it is hard for DJs to get a shot in the industry. It is a lot of lobbying, marketing, leverage and goodwill. It is more about presentation. As a producer, it’s more about finding yourself. Finding a new style or sound. Don’t care too much about people’s opinions or feedback. The problem with DJing is it’s hard to see through people because they act differently. I am pretty much myself. A lot of DJs will do certain things to distance themselves from their fans and they become more of brand than a person. It is hard to be a real person, but you have to try.
OTB: Where do you see the dance music industry going in the next five years? New technology? Any changes?
CSQ: I think it is going to get a lot easier for people to make music. I already see website advertising for instant mixing and mastering services. That means you can send your bad production record and they can instantly make it better. On one hand that is good for people that want that, but it is scary for people like me because everyone has the ability to do this and it is harder for me separate myself.
OTB: What can we expect from you for the rest of this year? Any new tracks or collaborations?
CSQ: I am not stopping. I am finishing up my U.S. tour. I have one day back home and then I am off to Germany and Budapest. After that I go to Ibiza to work with David Guetta then off to Madrid and then to Amsterdam and off to Australia for a tour. I am still going to release an EP, not really sure when. I also recently released a lot of new merchandise including a rave mask.