Joris Voorn (fabric 83)
I was born in Tilburg, The Netherlands into a musical family. My father is a contemporary classical music composer, and my mum was a music teacher.
My parents wanted all of their children to play an instrument. I chose to play the violin for many years until I exchanged it for guitar in my teens. In retrospect I wish I’d chosen the piano so I could use that in my music today.
Even though music was a very important part of my parents’ life, they rarely listened to music at home and if so, it was only classical music. They had some pop records from the ‘60s lying around though, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother were LPs that fascinated me as an early teenager, I didn’t quite understand what it was all about, but there was something there. My best friend’s parents had the The Wall on LP so I taped it and got lost in the music as an 11 year old. My older brother Jesse was an important influence as well, he came home with all sorts of music and I automatically listened to it and picked what I liked most. This is how I was introduced to The Pixies Bossanova album, it was a musical revelation for me. That’s when I started to listen to music seriously. Indie rock was my thing, Smashing Pumpkins, Monster Magnet, Throwing Muses and Magnapop were some of my favourite bands. I went to their concerts in small venues almost once a week.
Electronic music was something I knew from the radio, boring repetitive plastic sounding music from commercial radio - stuff my 'not so musically educated’ friends listened to. But late night radio from Dutch VPRO and the Belgian Studio Brussels changed that. Around 1994 electronic music started to invade my favourite channels and I got infected. The first electronic music I started to like was from bands like Orbital, Chemical Brothers, Underworld and so on. From there I developed a broader taste into almost every genre of electronic music. There was a lot to discover, it was my second musical revelation.
Listening to all this new music, I wanted to follow my older brother’s example, which was to become a DJ. He mainly played school events and bars; it was a mix of rock and dance music. When I started studying in 1996 there was a DJ competition in the town of Enschede, where I lived at the time. I joined in and took my favourite CDs with jungle, house, techno, goa trance, chemical beats and trip-hop to the club. It was the all-round sound that made me win the competition together with someone who later became one of my best friends and partner in music, Edwin Oosterwal. The prize was a bi-weekly residency at the club. The name of the club was Atak, and this is where learned to really play. I immediately switched from CDs to vinyl and the rest is history. At the same time I got interested in music production and bought the notorious MC-303 groovebox, an all-round drum computer/synthesizer with a crappy sound, but it taught me all about the basics. Later in 2000, just before finishing my studies as an architectural designer, I bought my first computer which was the gateway to a better sound. Next was my first synthesizer, the lovely Juno-106, which was the basis for all my first tracks.
"The fabric CD was mixed in my studio in Amsterdam, and like my previous CDs in 2005 it was created in Ableton. The creative freedom I have when working in Ableton is an interesting approach, especially at times where there’s so many live mixes available to the public through live streaming events or on SoundCloud. It allows me to edit, mix and remix tracks in ways you can’t do with turntables or CD players. Tracks are often used as building blocks in the form of loops and samples in order to create something completely new." - Joris Voorn
LABELS & PRODUCTION:
My first tracks caught the attention of a small Rotterdam label called Keynote and this is where I released my first EP Muted Tracks Pt.1 which was picked up by quite a number of techno DJs. When I got to know Technasia, they offered me a few EPs and a full album on their Sino label. So 2004 was the year of my debut album titled Future History and it meant I was able to start travelling the world as a DJ and live performer. Club Fuse in Brussels invited me to create my first mix CD in 2005, which I made in Ableton instead of recording it live.
2005 was also the year I started my own Green label and there I released my second album From A Deep Place. Where Green was focusing on a deeper and more melodic sound, Rejected Records, founded with my friend Edwin Oosterwal in 2006, is a more dancefloor oriented label releasing anything in-between house and techno.
2007 was the first year I played fabric. Playing more techno in my early days, I ended up in Room Two. I had heard plenty of stories about the club and was honoured and excited to play. The energy was raw and intense. It was clear that everybody in the room knew what they came for, relentless techno. I played here many times afterwards, but it took a few years before I played in Room One. That first time, around 2011 or 2012, was intense, a little more intense than playing Room Two as you’re closer to the people and the sound is massive. As my sound also changed a bit over the years, I felt I could play a bit deeper and less strong, which I loved.
The fabric CD was mixed in my studio in Amsterdam, and like my previous CDs in 2005 it was created in Ableton. The creative freedom I have when working in Ableton is an interesting approach, especially at times where there’s so many live mixes available to the public through live streaming events or on SoundCloud. It allows me to edit, mix and remix tracks in ways you can’t do with turntables or CD players. Tracks are often used as building blocks in the form of loops and samples in order to create something completely new. It results in a track list where you sometimes just can’t separate one track from another or even hear a loop of a credited track. Different tracks are selected this way, they are usually stripped down or minimal sounding to allow for layering and mixing with other tracks. There’s not many standout tracks, and (hopefully) the result of the mix is more than the sum of its parts. Another thing about Ableton is that it allows me to use tracks very short here and there; sometimes they are like a transition of one part to another. In that sense it’s a mixing technique used by DJs such as Jeff Mills since the early nineties.
There are a few classics in the mix that I really love. Speedy J’s 'Fill 17' is from his G Spot album on Warp from 1995 - classic melodic trancey techno that still stands to this day. Robert Hood has a few tracks in the mix, he’s one of the few artists who takes up the most space in my record collection since 1996. Sebastian Mullaert and Marcus Hendriksson (Nobody Home) have written music history and are represented here with some of their best tracks since they split up from Minilogue.
Some tracks were impossible to license for various reasons which I only heard after I had almost finished the mix, so I was left with some gaps. I filled them with two of my own tracks. ‘Where Have You Been Part 1’ was an intro I made for an Awakenings techno set in 2012. ‘Looks Fake Obviously’ was created in 2 hours in an attempt to fill a gap left by missing out on a LFO track.
A little less than a year ago I released my third artist album and have been quite busy doing remixes since then. This summer has been very busy and having not spent too much time in the studio lately, I feel I’m ready to make new music. I can’t wait to get back creating some dancefloor tracks, but with a deeper and melodic sound. I have an idea for a new EP series around these, of which the first one should be released after summer. I am also contemplating working on another live setup to perform my own music on stage, but I’m not sure where to take it at the moment. There’s also a few great gigs lined up, like at the Amsterdam Concert Building, Amsterdam’s best classical music venue which for one night will be turned into a dark club.
fabric 83: Joris Voorn is out on now.
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Photography: Jimmy Mould