Interview with Paul Hazendonk

We caught up with Paul Hazendonk to talk about a bit about the future and especially his new compilation, Sound Shifting: Versatility, which is out now on Paul's own label, Manual Music.

Interview with Paul Hazendonk Photo by Tim Janssen Photography

Thanks for taking your time! You’ve just released your album “Sound Shifting: Versatility", we have listened and it makes us curious where you get your inspiration from and what was your goal to create a compilation album like this?
There are actually no deep thoughts behind creating this compilation album. It’s basically a collection of tracks and sounds that shows what you can expect when you see me perform as a DJ. So if you’ve never see me perform before, you will know how it sounds after listening to this double CD.

As the subtitle "Versatility" says your album is versatile. This is also clearly seen in the different styles of music per CD. You called CD 1 Body and CD 2 Mind, why did you choose for this? Does it have a special meaning for you?
I’ve always been a little bit schizophrenic when it comes to music haha. A lot of people seem to enjoy categorizing music into boxes and put a label on it, I‘m not like that. For me there are only two kinds of music: the music I like and the music I dislike. For this compilation I could narrow it down to the music I’m playing during my DJ sets only, however it would still be a big problem to jam all the tracks on one CD without letting it sound messy. So I’ve decided to make it a double CD with ‘Body’ stands for as more easy going funk fuelled stuff, and ‘Mind’ stands for the more intelligent melodic stuff.

You have your own multi-faceted music company "Manual Music" with a few sublabels. Can you tell us more about it?
I used to work at the Basic Beat record company (and record store) in Rotterdam, where I’ve run a techno label called ‘Technique’. At some point I’ve got some very interesting demos which I desperately wanted to release, but simply didn’t fit in the sound for Technique. So I decided to start a sublabel called Manual Music, this was back in 2005. The first release ‘Robotfood’ by Petter became an instant classic and soon after that Manual Music became the main label I’ve started to work on. After many years at Basic Beat I’ve left the company in 2009, taking Manual Music with me and next to that I adopted the name for my company, simply calling it ‘Manual Music’. Nowadays my company has six in-house labels, takes care of the distribution for dozens of other labels, we have our own publishing fund, managing some artists and we are hosting events (beach parties, areas). We also used to run our own bookings agency ‘Manual Bookings’ but decided to stop that part of the company, due to time pressure issues (you can’t do it all!)

In 2009 you also started to produce and perform together with Raymond "Qbical" van Baal under the name Furrr & Hazendonk. How did you two come to the idea to work together? And where are you guys working on right now?
We know each other for quite some years now, Raymond is also recording under the name ‘Qbical’ and is a regular artist for the Manual Music label. The sound of us both Qbical and my solo stuff stands on itself, but we both have big interest in other music too. So we decided to start a project together a little bit less serious, 100% focussed on the dancefloor and fully focussed on having fun. Getting a break from all the purists whining and moaning that’s going on. We’re having great fun playing together and our productions seems to find their way to the right labels and deejays too, as we are working with labels such as Diynamic, Neurotraxx, Einmusika, Little Mountain / This Is, SK Supreme, Witty Tunes etc.

You have been producing music for over 10 years now, what were the high and lowlights of your career so far?
I’ve been DJ-ing for over 10 years, but didn’t start producing until approx 7 years ago. I’m still mainly a DJ who started producing music because at a certain point you had to get your name out there to get more exposure and keep the number of gigs on a solid level. In the early years I’ve got gigs because people liked me as a DJ, nowadays you get them because they know your label and your productions. I do understand it from a marketing point of view, but still think that a good producer is not necessarily a good DJ and vice versa. I’ve had many gigs I consider highlights. Playing for infamous venues and organisations such as Awakenings, Dance Valley, Paradiso, Melkweg, Nighttown, Las Palmas, Studio 80 and Doornroosje in The Netherlands are things you can only dream about when you’re just starting out. I feel blessed to have been able to visit and play in many different countries and get the experience in the scenes and cultures there. Lowlights? Yeah of course there are always those gigs where there are hardly any people, or people that come and ask for R&B music... Then you know you are in the wrong place.

Can you tell us where you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope I’m still actively working in the music industry in some kind of form, maybe as a DJ/producer, but maybe behind the scenes. I’m not the kinda person who has a year-to-year planning to be honest. I used to plan ahead a lot, but when my father died one day without warning I realised that it’s better to capture the moment and don’t worry too much about what the future will bring...

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a solo remix for a new Giorgos Gatzigristos release which will be released on Eelke Kleijn’s Outside The Box label. Just finished up on a new release I’m doing together with Luke Mandala on my Stolen Moments label + there are two releases coming up on big (German and Dutch) labels, but I can’t mention it yet (aaarrgggh!). On one of these releases I work together with Tundra. With Furrr & Hazendonk we are currently wrapping up remixes for Strom Recordings (James Nidecker’s label) and Jeroenski (for our own Melomane label). Our new single on Melomane is coming up too, which will include remixes by Love Girls and Leonardo Gonnelli. I’m doing a monthly solo show on Proton Radio called ‘Hazendonk FM’ + together with Robin (Cinematique) and Qbical/Furrr I’m hosting the monthly Manual Movement radio show on XT3 Radio. Next to that I’m running my Manual Music company on a day-to-day basis and looking forward to playing at numerous clubs, beach parties and festivals this summer, including my debut in Canada which I’m very much looking forward to!

Finally, is there anything else you want to share with us?
It might sound corny, but I want to thank everyone who’ve gave me the chance to make a living out of my hobby. I feel blessed to be able to do the things I love to do and hope I can keep on doing this for a long time!

On a less corny note: be sure to follow me on the mighty Twitter and hook me up on Facebook and Soundcloud too. And of course, if you like my sound, be sure to buy my brand new mix compilation ‘Sound Shifting: Versatility’ (limited editions also available on 2-CD!)

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.