Dutch DJ, producer and label owner Steve Void is a remix master having reworked tunes for the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Ava Max. Void’s talents and ambitions started from a young age. At just 10 years old he got his first piece of production software, and by 14 he’d thrown himself into dance music, having […]
Dutch DJ, producer and label owner Steve Void is a remix master having reworked tunes for the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Ava Max. Void’s talents and ambitions started from a young age. At just 10 years old he got his first piece of production software, and by 14 he’d thrown himself into dance music, having picked up a job in the coat room of a local nightclub. Read on as we chat to Steve about mental health in dance music.
You were born in the Netherlands but often work in London. How did you find it? What do you like and dislike about England?
I try to get to London once every two months and thankfully the new Eurostar connection means I can hop on the train in the Netherlands and end up right in the heart of London in less than 3 hours!
I love London particularly for the people and creative energy I get from each visit. So far (touch wood) for some miraculous reason the weather every time I come over is pretty amazing. If I had to pinpoint one thing I dislike, it’s the rush people get in on the streets seemingly 24/7 haha, it doesn’t feel as peaceful as my hometown in the Netherlands but I guess that’s what feeds the buzz.
What are your favourite three albums of all time?
Post Malone – Beerbongs & Bentleys
Avicii – True
Justice – Justice
Wellbeing in dance music is getting increasing attention. I wondered if you had seen the Avicii documentary and if it made you reflect on your own career at all?
Co-incidentally, I actually went to the premier of the documentary when he was still with us during Amsterdam dance event, 2-3 years ago.
Back then I was quite shocked about how it all went down but from the outside it seemed like he had found balance with the release of new music and his return which as a huge fan I was so happy to see. Unfortunately later on we heard the terrible news and in the same instance the world lost another legend.
2/3 years ago I did 3 quite intense tours in the USA & Europe and in reflection there were definitely moments that resonated with my experience.
Not every artist fits 100% into that narrative of always being on the road, something that at that time I don’t think I was ready for, but thankfully there is more to that in the music industry as shown in the documentary and something that I’ve been practicing since trying to focus on my music first and foremost.
Do you think there is enough support for musicians, producers and DJ’s around mental wellbeing?
I think it’s tough for the younger artists coming up in scene but also the veterans. Its getting harder by the day for a lot of artists in dance to get to a sustainable level as the world’s taste constantly moves even if things were booming 5-10 years ago. You see a lot of artists thrive when they are between 14 and 21 (school period) but as you enter the adult world there are more and more challenges outside of making music that force artists to give up and I don’t think anything can prepare you for this mentally. That said, I know the issue is being discussed more and more at conferences like IMS and ADE and we’re seeing the industry begin to take notice, which is a key step, but there’s definitely a way to go.
What do you think the industry can do better in regards to mental wellbeing?
I think looking after artists’ physical health in a wider sense is a key first step. When you’re in the studio or on the road, you’re not always working out or eating well so it’s difficult to be mentally healthy for the wider challenges of being artist particularly in a digital age and all the sentiment both positive and negative that brings. I think it’s really important for those in the positions of trust to help support artists health first and foremost putting business second in some instances when they have concerns that their friends or artists aren’t stable.
We all have to call on those around us from time to time. So you need to make sure they are people you trust, are supportive and can give you advise particularly when you can’t always see the problem first hand. Education is everything too so I think the more older artists or managers can help out the youth out the healthier it’ll be for everyone.
There is a lot of talk about how streaming has made it more difficult for artists to make money – do you think the digitisation of music has any benefits? What advice would you give to a young musician trying to make a living from music?
I think streaming has made it possible for anyone in the world to be able to reach an audience irrespective of the genre that they’re making. It’s like google, amazon and many other new digital inventions that met resistance early on, in my eyes. Whilst on one hand the sales margins were probably larger on cd’s before google or amazon, spotify the channels into shops were limited and these platforms have created a gate way for millions of smaller writers, artists and producers to be discovered and heard. Do you need to sell more to make money? Yes, but is it easier with all the tools today to reach the people that are likely to listen and become fans, I think it is yes. In my own experience my label Strange Fruits has been able to thrive in the digital age helping showcase a lot of great talent. My advice for young musicians would be to work hard, be yourself and innovate, try to avoid replicating others in the market doing the same thing as it can get saturated. Be the outcast.
You tour extensively. What five things would you recommend a young musician do on tour to aid their mental wellbeing?
Workout (workout with your body weight, just need yourself)
Eat healthy (buy a 1kg bucket of small tomatoes)
Stay in contact with friends at home and family who have nothing to do with what you’re doing to have a conversation about something different.
Sleep (6/7 hours at least)
Keep learning (read a book, listen to a podcast)
Your first hit was your adaptation of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”. For the non-musically minded amongst us can you explain how remixes work? Do you approach the artist and they send you their files to splice up? And do they have to sign off the track?
It can work in many ways, often as you described above but if you’re young and like a song you have room to innovate and sample songs putting out bootlegs. It’s great that artists can express themselves and interpret music in different ways.
Finally – who is your favourite Dutch footballer and why?
Arjan Robben, was my favourite when I was a child and played soccer myself but if I had to pick one now it’d be Virgil Van Dyk, I fancy my chances getting past him!
Listen to new single ‘Without You Ft AUSTN” – https://stevevoidxaustn.lnk.to/WithoutYou
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