Lucky 13 questions with The Bingo Players.
The Bingo Players originated as a duo made up by Dutch DJs Maarten Hoogstraten and Paul Bäumer, but after a short battle with cancer in 2013, Bäumer passed away. Hoogstraten has carried on the Bingo Players' name (borrowed from his old MSN Messenger screen name) with the blessing of Bäumer, who encouraged Hoogstraten to continue working.
"We've come too far to stop now," Hoogstraten said in a Facebook post at the time. "Paul's spirit will always be a part of anything I do as Bingo Players. Before he passed, Paul and I spoke and he made it clear he wanted me to continue Bingo Players. He and I have worked so hard to get to where we are, and it feels as though our journey had only really just begun."
Hoogstraten has lived up to his promise. He continues to create music and tour the world to share his passion. BreatheHeavy caught up with the world-renowned DJ ahead of his gig in the main room inside Hakkasan nightclub in MGM Grand in Las Vegas this month. The Bingo Players are scheduled for another night on Friday, Nov. 13 (tickets available here).
What are the affects your crazy schedule has on you?
Well, you're tired all the time. Sometimes it can take a real toll on your body. I go back and forth between Europe and the U.S. all the time in two, three weeks. Once you get back home, it takes a few days to adjust your body to the new timezone and then you have to go back. Then you go back and you have to perform at night as well. It can be pretty rough, but I can't complain.
How does it change your life?
Your social life is gone that's for sure, but you meet so many people on the road so that's great. When you get back home you have priorities. I have a girlfriend and a kid -- that's my first priority. Then my parents and my close family and then my friends.
What is it about Vegas that's different than other cities you play?
It's like a playground for adults. When you're here, it's like a whole different world. It's fun to play here because every night there's something to do and every night there's a new crowd... it's not the local crowd. That's cool.
How important is streaming for you?
Especially the last two years, it's become so big. At first I was a bit skeptical about streaming. Everyone wants to have a physical copy or at least have the song on the computer, but if you see how much streaming has gained versus downloading your songs or having a physical copy, it's insane. That's definitely the future, and I'm glad everybody is pointing towards streaming now.
Having a physical copy is important for you?
I find it important. For me, I grew up collecting CDs, vinyls, cassettes. Also, collecting an MP3 library -- converting all my CDs or buying online. I like to have a physical copy because I grew up with it. I can see it's redundant nowadays. They have their phone all day with them and they can stream the music. When we grew up we didn't even have a cell phone. You had to have a physical copy... now it's so developed that it's impossible to think without streaming music. But I still like to look at my CD collection and think, 'I paid so much money for this' [laughs].
Not everyone can be a musician, but everyone has the access to upload their music.
I think that's great, but the downside is there's a lot of shit music out there. At least they have chance to publish their music or to let people hear [it]. You don't have to go to a record label and deal with this bullshit. If somebody puts their song on YouTube and it goes viral... that's great.
The Bingo Players owns and operates Hysteria Records... how important are labels these days?
I think the purpose of a record label really changed in the last years. It's more curating, picking out the best songs and trying to push that instead of signing only big acts and forgetting about small acts. I think it's time to change, and they're already doing that. And for a label like we do, I love to sign new talent. That's great.
What do you look for when you sign someone?
It's a feeling. I think it has to be unique. I don't like to sign songs that sound like songs that's been out there or thrive on a successful formula like some labels do. They have these sounds and they only release those kind of songs that sound like that for 30 or 40 releases. That's a bit boring to me. I like to take a risk and sign something that's really weird or different and see what happens.
What do you consider being successful in music means?
This sounds really cliché, but it's true. Success in music doing something that you like and people are acknowledging that. That you could do something to make people happy, or sad or whatever. Doesn't matter, as long as you move people with music.
What's a way you connect with fans?
During shows, but also online. When you make a song and you put it out and people say, 'I like this,' or 'I don't like this.' When people are acknowledging that you're doing something and they feel motivated or they like it... that's great. Then you have a real connection with your fans.
Have you been able to create new music amidst your busy schedule?
I blocked out a lot of studio time over the next couple of months. There's a lot coming. I took the beginning of this year, two months off, to work in Stockholm on new music. I'm still working on those songs. It's a bit of back and forth between them. I have so many ideas, and I'm really excited for December, January, February. I have a lot of studio time and [will] release some more music next year.
What inspires you to make the music?
Could be anything. Could be other music. Could also be a feeling you have... That's the cool thing about it.
Is there a dream collaboration in mind?
Daft Punk. They inspired me so much especially when they did the Homework album... that would be awesome. [When that album came out], I was watching MTV... I was already into dance music but when I heard "Da Funk" and "Around The World," it was so fresh and so different. I was like, 'what is this kind of music?' To be honest, the first time I heard it, I was a bit like, 'this is weird - I'm not sure if I like it,' but then you listen to it and you think 'yea, there's something in there' and then you listen five [more] times, and then after 10 times you're hooked.