Sub-Cult have had the pleasure chatting with Amsterdam based DJs Full Crate x Mar while they were in town a few while back. We only had ten minutes to talk to them, but it was a fun and good ten minutes full of great stories and conversation.
What inspires your sound/music?
Mar: Other artists, our past. . I’m inspired by what I hear; my father’s a musician so I hear a lot of old stuff.
Full Crate: I’m inspired by people of the past, legends, combinations of musicians. Daily things like love, sex, or whatever. I’m also big movie fan of something that could be mind-blowing.
What’s the story or experience behind Surreal Moments?
Mar: Back then when we were working on that record, the process was, I would start to sketch the beat part and then he (Crate) would come into the studio and start writing, and he has this amazing story that he could tell you about. .
Full Crate: Yeah, about my first girlfriend actually *chuckles*. We were too young to spend the time together at night, cause she lived at her mom’s house and I was 16 and her mom was protecting her – and I understood that. So that’s what the song was about; me creating worlds on the telephone when we were both in bed, just trying to be together in a. . .surreal world. Surreal moments.
Mar: And I think eventually me and him tried, when we finished the records after writing the lyrics, we tried to accompany the lyrics into the production of his sound.
How often do you collaborate with MCs or producers outside of Holland?
Full Crate: There’s not a lot but there are a few people we work with outside of Holland. Not a lot, cause if you really looked back, me and Mar, we stick kinda to working with each other but there is times when we work with some people for collaboration in Japan, London, LA. Not a lot, but it happens.
Name a band, DJ, or producer that gives you guys the biggest influence.
Full Crate: It’s really hard to say but Pharrell Williams have been a great influence on me as a producer but also J. Dilla has been an influence for me as a producer also. . . Oh wow, yeah, literally everyone that worked with Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson was a big influence. I see it now, I didn’t see that before, I started seeing now how much. I wanted to say D’Angelo cause we used to listen to a lot of D’Angelo, we’re both very big fans of J. Dilla as well. So that’s also connected to D’Angelo but he was a very big fan of Prince, so I think I am a big fan of Prince as well. (Growing) as a vocalist I just know that I’m capable of what he’s doing. I love that sound, a very very sensual sound and very raw as well.
Mar: My father was a musician and he used to love Jimi Hendrix and rock as well. That’s coming out right now with me, I used to be such a soul-head but now I listen to Nirvana and Jeff Buckley. Jeff Buckley right now is a very big influence.
Full Crate: What are the three for you?
Mar: So Prince, Jeff Buckley and Stevie Wonder. *both laughs* Lets just keep it at those three; we could talk about this forever!
Photo courtesy of Joshua Stearns
How big does deep house influence you guys, cause there’s a pretty thick deep house ambiance in one of your songs, Nobody Else (Club Edit)
Mar: Can I tell the story?
Full Crate: I know you can finish it *Mar laughs*. The funny thing is I started producing a lot of Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, RnB influenced records. Throughout the years I DJ a lot of RnB and Hip Hop and stuff, but I’ve always had love, like a parallel love for up-tempo music whether it was broken beat or UK stuff. And I remember Mar sending me a mixtape done by Jazzy Jeff, which is one of my favorite DJ, and it was a house mixtape done by a Hip Hop DJ producer and it was really weird for me but I listened to it. I think it was the first time that I felt “wow, what is this” cause it’s House, but it’s not annoying House, it’s beautiful soulful House and I really loved it.
I think it was mainly Mar he was the one who interest me to a lot of Deep House and then from there as a DJ I grew to play more House and me and him just always love House Music. If it has that low bass-tone and a little bit soul, it could be just very clean, so for me it’s been an influence for years. It’s a lot of fun to produce Deep House music.
Do you usually create music from the lyrics or beat first? Can you tell us a bit about the process?
Mar: Definitely at the beginning it was more of the production and then lyric, it’s still in most, production and then lyric but sometimes one of us comes with an idea. We love movies so we’re inspired by movies or feelings and that comes out *snaps finger* with music as well, so most of the time it starts with the music and then the lyrics.
Full Crate: I think if you could put it in one sentence it would be; we start with the atmosphere. Like if something inspires you, you start with a certain feeling and that feeling right now would be translated to either lyrics or production.
Mar: I do sometimes just have like a text or a sentence in my head that I just keep repeating and I thought ‘what if I add melodies’ so it goes both ways.
Full Crate: Good questions, good questions. .
Mar: Yeah we really like your questions
Well, you’re welcome guys. It’s been a fun chat and we certainly hope to see you two soon too wherever it is you’re playing.
Listen to Full Crate’s Soundcloud
Interview by Vita Aviandhono