Amsterdam-based DJ and producer Luuk van Dijk started producing electronic music in 2011. Raised by an opera singer and a music teacher, it was inevitable that he would become a musician himself. Known for his groovy sound and prominent basslines, Luuk remains ever-evolving. His tracks have been picked up by massive labels such as Hot Creations, Solid Grooves, VIVa Music and Circus Recordings. He’s been mentioned as “artist to watch” by Hot Since 82, Hector Couto, Eats Everything, Steve Lawler and Shadow Child.
Luuk started his own label Dark Side of the Sun in 2020, to explore a broader approach to his signature style. This has resulted in a series of superb releases by artists like Ben Sterling, Sidney Charles, Boris Werner and himself.
Luuk van Dijk has dropped his hotly-anticipated debut album ‘First Contact’ on his own Dark Side Of The Sun label. The Dutch DJ and producer’s maiden LP is the end result of a long and intense voyage of discovery. Years in the making, it’s a project that Luuk can fully stand behind and be proud of. Next to a search for his own identity and his own place in music, it has also become a passage through time.
Hotly tipped as one of Amsterdam’s most revered producers in minimal electronic music, we had the chance to speak with him.
WWD: You started making music quite young, have you always known you wanted to produce music?
My parents always pushed me to play the piano and I had lessons for a very long time. My teacher was very jazz influenced so improvisation was a very big part of playing the piano. Learning how to improvise really helped my creativity, which made me start coming up with short songs. When my dad showed me Cubase, I was 12 years old at the time, I started to put the songs into the computer and that’s basically when I really started to produce music. Especially when I started to use his synthesizers, that he had since he was young. It really just felt like having fun, just like playing with lego. It only started to become serious when I started listening to DJ Mixes on the radio and became obsessed with dance music. I noticed that DJ’ing and producing music went hand in hand with each other. Since then I’ve been always evolving and digging deeper into house music.
WWD: You’ve recently released your brand-new Single ‘Hot Stuff’, can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind it?
I’ve made this track when Miss Rona came around. While digging into presets in my synthesizers, I came across the sound of the main synth stabs used throughout the track. I remember making the riff and thinking ‘YES, this is it!’, haha. It reminded me a bit of the somewhat older UK & German Deep House tracks that I was into when I started playing house. Labels like Diynamic & Hot Creations. Tracks that are more synth hook driven and not where’s it’s about the vocal, the groove or the bassline. Anyways, it was one of those super creative studio sessions where everything just comes together.
WWD: How have you found your recent come up and being one of the most in demand DJs in holland?
Well, I’ve been working quite hard to be in the position where I’m now. It has only been since a couple of years that I got the better slots on a festival. I’ve been doing a lot of warm up sets and was out networking every weekend and that got me to a point where the bigger events started to give me good slots. When that happened I was so ready for it, digging for years, watching other DJ’s, releasing music and doing all those warm up sets. When I started to DJ I noticed that playing and making music wasn’t enough to make me stand out and make a name for myself. So I spent a lot of time trying to reach new fans on social media, making monthly mixes, (Trying to) make funny musical videos, making my own videoclips, contests, forums etc. When I started to grow followers I also spent a lot of time taking care of that “fanbase”. If I look at colleagues or DJ’s of the newer generation I noticed that they’re very good in doing 10 things at a time. DJ’ing isn’t (unfortunately) only about playing music anymore. Living in an environment where things change so fast, the younger generation is very good at keeping up with everything. But as I’m playing and traveling more and more I also notice that you can’t always keep up with everything that’s been going on. And in the end it does always come back to the music 🙂
WWD: We’ve heard you love your music production gear; can you tell us a bit about the process and equipment used when producing your new single ‘Hot Stuff’.
I just love to buy synthesizers because when you turn it on and start making sounds you instantly make a couple of tracks. I recently tried to stop buying new stuff though, because it became a serious (and expensive) addiction and now I have all this sick stuff just laying around, haha. Synths are cool but all the music is just in your head, that’s what I love about all these new kids that are making the sickest tracks in Ableton with stock plugins. I recently put out this EP on my label ‘Dark Side Of The Sun’ from this young guy called ‘FORC’ and when he showed me he made all these tracks in just Ableton and NI Massive. I was mindblown.
WWD: You’ve released many bangers over the years, do you have a favourite?
I’ve been releasing quite some music over the last few years because I make a lot of tracks and rather put a track out than keep it on my Macbook. But because you release so much, sometimes tracks don’t get the full attention they deserve. My remix for Nathan Alzon on No Art is such a track, maybe because it’s a more of an emotional track is why I like it so much. It does makes sense ofcourse, putting out a club track or a beat is easy but making a track that really comes out of the heart is something different. I recently released a track called ‘Many Moons’ on a great label from Utrecht, ‘Something Happening Somewhere’. This track isn’t a classic Luuk van Dijk track but that’s why I like it that much. I just like to make all kinds of music and I have the feeling that that can be confusing for your fans sometimes… I do really like to play ‘Da Revolution’ a lot as it’s just amazing seeing the crowd losing it on your track.
WWD: It’s amazing how much you’ve achieved over the years, including launching your own label ‘Dark Side Of The Sun’! Do you have any releases coming up that you’re excited about?
I just love what I’ve been releasing on DSOTS, it reflects a lot of what I like. It’s a place for young upcoming artists to release their first music, I just released an EP of this young guy from Holland called ‘FORC’ and his EP is just something else, something different. I rather release something that’s weird and doesn’t fit somewhere else, then putting out the same tracks that everybody else has. Of course it’s hard to reach the bigger audience if you don’t have big artists or top 10 tracks, but that was never the plan anyway. I started this label to release my own tracks, stuff that couldn’t find a home on other labels. For the future I have another vinyl release coming up, from UK’s ’N-GYNN’, an EP I’m very excited about. I also have a track coming up by ‘Dave Turk’ , from the US, that has been getting some sick support from really big DJ’s. But most importantly, the next release my own album is something I’m suuuuuuper excited for.
WWD: Where can we find you as summer comes to a close?
I had an amazing year so far, doing my first USA tour, playing Circoloco, some amazing summer shows. For the end of summer and the end of the year I have some bigger tours scheduled. I’ll be back in Australia in September and then in November a two week tour in the USA. Just keep an eye on my socials 😉
WWD: In three words could you describe your current sound and style?
Oldskool, various, underground.