While they’ve been releasing music for nearly a decade, in the last year Tinlicker has seen its star rise to supernova status in the progressive dance realm. The Dutch duo’s excellent sophomore album, This Is Not Our Universe, was released by Anjunabeats in late September, and today (Nov. 6) they follow up with a pair of extended mixes of recent singles, “The Walk” and “Bird Feeder.”
These releases come in the midst of a packed touring schedule that in the last six months has seen Micha Heyboer and Jordi van Achthoven play some of the world’s biggest electronic music festivals, including Tomorrowland, Creamfields and CRSSD, along with an album tour and sets for ADE, Anjunabeats and in support of Above & Beyond. Indeed, the guys are having a moment powered by their expansive, sophisticated and deeply hypnotic productions. Here, they talk about their love for The Prodigy, staying healthy on the road and why the scene is populated by oh so many Dutch DJs.
1. Where are you in the world right now, and what’s the setting like?
Jordi: In our temporary studio. It’s in the middle of the woods. Feels quiet. It’s raining outside, and I’m having tea.
2. What is the first album or piece of music you bought for yourselves, and what was the medium?
Micha: That’s a hard question. Either Leila K’s “Open Sesame” as a single or Pearl Jam with Ten, both on CD.
3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid, and what do they think of what you do for a living now?
Jordi: My dad designed machines for factories. For example, he designed a machine to automate the making of an apple pie in a French factory. My mom studied and worked in a flower shop. They were a little bit frightened about if I was going to make it be a full-time music producer, but they love it now. They even come to parties sometimes to see us play.
4. What was the first song you ever made?
Micha: The first attempt can’t be called a song. [laughs]
5. If you had to recommend one album for someone looking to get into dance music, what would you give them?
Jordi: All volumes of the Turn Up the Bass [series]. It’s the best way to start with early dance music. All volumes give you a full spectrum of all the different genres in dance music from back then, and you will be able to understand new dance music better [because of them].
6. What’s the first thing you bought for yourself when you started making money as a DJ?
Micha: Better speakers and a new body.
7. What’s the last song you listened to?
Jordi: RY X’s “Yayaya.”
8. What’s one song you wish you had produced?
Micha: The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up.”
9. Why the heck are there so many Dutch DJs? In the wide world of dance music, what niche do Dutch producers occupy?
Jordi: Well, that is a good question. It probably has something to do with the wealth of the country, and there are a lot of studies you can do in music nowadays in the Netherlands. The government also supports musicians in certain ways, so there is a lot of time and space for young kids to develop their own music or DJ career.
10. What’s distinctive about the place you grew up, and how did it shape you?
Micha: It’s a student city, so the streets are filled with young, ambitious and open-minded people. I think it’s that feeling that everything is possible, that new generations can change the world is something that helped us [to pursue] our dreams in music.
11. What’s the first dance music show that blew your mind?
Jordi: Daft Punk at the 02 Wireless festival in Hyde Park. I have seen some shows, but none of them were like that. All Daft Punk tracks mashed up, the outfits they had and that big pyramid. Pretty insane.
12. You guys are on tour through the end of the year. How do you stay healthy on the road? Or do you?
Micha: We try to eat healthily, try to avoid fast food. The hotel gym can be a nice extra. Besides that, we cycle a lot back home. It’s a 45-minute ride to the studio and back, which gives you quite a nice daily workout.
13. What is the first thing you do when you get back to your hotel room after a show?
Jordi: Packing my bag and suitcase before I fall into sleep. Mostly I feel the jetlag and make sure I won’t be late for my next flight. Pretty rock and roll.
14. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happening in the crowd during one of your sets?
Micha: A marriage proposal is one of them, but I guess body suspension was the strangest.
15. It seems like most producers don’t like their music categorized, but if you had to give your sound a genre, what would it be?
Jordi: I’ve found out that most producers like to produce “categorized.” [laughs] But, I think the best way to describe our sound, is electronic music.
16. Remixing “Breezeblocks” was a surprising and excellent move. Are there other dream remixes you’d like to do?
Micha: It would be great to do a Radiohead remix or collab.
17. You released your LP This Is Not Our Universe at the end of September. List all the places where you worked on it.
Jordi: In our old studio at the Oudegracht Utrecht, at home on the dinner table, in a small house called Aeolus on Terschelling, in the train and on the airplane.
18. But whose universe is it, actually?
Micha: Everyone’s or no one’s, so not just ours.
19. Name three activities that are ideal to do while listening to the album.
Jordi: Walking, driving and ironing.
20. What’s the last flight you took, and how did you pass the time while on it?
Micha: Prague to Amsterdam. I cracked jokes with the stewardess.