Producer DJ Tinus and rapper Def G started to work on their first album “Lame Jiggy”. After releasing their own solo albums “Cruise it or lose it” (Def G) and “Alien Records” (DJ Tinus), they decided to work as a team and combined their skills. As a rapper Def G does most of the vocals, whereas DJ Tinus does the instrumentals and remixing. Their first single is called “The Pepper Nut Song” which is based on a highly discussed dutch tradition and we got the inside scoop on their background and the work that went into the lead up of the recent single release.
Entertwine: Could you tell us about your individual backgrounds and the solo records you’ve released (“Cruise It or Lose it” and “Alien Records”)?
DJ Tinus: I’m from the Netherlands and been living here all my life. At the age of 8 I started to play the guitar, just like my dad and brother. Music has always been a very big passion in the family, so that definitely was a big influence on me. I played at local events and started to record some simple tracks at the age of 15. When I went to university I bought a piano and started to play in a band. My first single to actually call ‘serious’ was in 2004. It’s a song called “Casa da Wiegman” which was based on an annual trip to France. In february of 2014 I finished my first solo album called “Alien Records”. It’s an instrumental album that I gave away for free to download on the internet. It’s a great mix of swinging beats, guitar, synthesizer, sound effects and more.
Def G: I’m from Curacao. That’s a small island in the “dutch Caribbean”. When I turned 19 I moved to the Netherlands to study. Back in Curacao I played in two bands: “Paraplu Jumpers” and “Pappapia”. Good memories of that time. I’m a rapper and couldn’t find a band after I moved here. So I decided to record some solo tracks, which was fun, but didn’t pay the bills. In 2012 I released my first album “Cruise It Or Lose It”. It definitely worked out great. Most of the songs are a combination of percussion and piano. Me and my friends have been listening to each and every new song when we drove our car to the beach, hence the album title. I have been recording lots of different tracks after that as well, also for my next album.
How did the two of you meet and begin working as a team?
Def G: Well, after DJ Tinus released “Alien Records” he promoted it online and gave away the album for free. So I downloaded it and I thought ‘hey, this guy actually records some great beats’. Not exactly a match to what I like to sing to, but the piano parts were great and I thought maybe there’s more to this. We started to exchange some ideas on the internet and finally decided to work on a new project together. DJ Tinus has a fantastic home studio where we started to record some songs. He does the instrumentals, I do the vocals.
What is the significance of your pseudonyms?
DJ Tinus: My friends have been calling me Tinus my whole life. I think it’s quite a common nickname for people called Martin, so yeah why not use it as a pseudonym as a dj. And besides that, during university my housemates started to call me “DJ Tinus” as I was often wearing headphones. I think the name was already given to me a long time ago, I just never really bothered to change it.
Def G: Haha, nice question. Def has been used by lots of artist already so I knew it was kinda lame to use it as well. But the thing is, my surname starts with Def and my first name is Gustav. And just like DJ Tinus, I have been using Def G for years already. It’s too late to change it.
What encouraged you to record and release ‘The Pepper Nut Song’ as your upcoming album’s lead single?
DJ Tinus: Actually we weren’t planning to release anything this year at all. We were just too busy working on the album. What happened is that we had this folder with experimental music we made, not good enough for the album but still worth to save and maybe use in the future. Then a while ago there was this big discussion going on in our country. It’s about a celebration we have every year called “Sinterklaas”. And since the discussion was in the news over and over again we just thought we could try and write a song to it. Now is the time to use that beat we thought. It will be one of the bonus songs on our next album. And just as a short note, “pepper nuts” is a simple translation from Dutch to English about a well known treat we have here that’s part of the whole celebration. It really sounds stupid, but if you live here you’ll get it!
What can you tell us about your upcoming album? What life experiences and events led to the writing and recording of these original works?
Def G: Our next album is called “Lame Jiggy”. We came up with some names for this album before but we agreed that they weren’t catchy and definitely not something personal. I seem to use the word ‘lame’ a lot and some day Martin sent me a text message saying ‘how about something with jiggy or is that lame too?’. So I replied ‘How about Lame Jiggy?’ Inspiration for our songs usually comes from every day life. We like to use stuff that’s in the news or that people talk about a lot. Like the Pepper Nut Song, it’s something we all here can relate to one way or the other. Then we have a song about Curacao, where I come from. And a song about a mission to Mars that should take place in the near future. That kind of stuff.
How will you market your new album once it has been released digitally?
DJ Tinus: We are still talking about that. In the first place we’ll promote it online and see from there. We are currently building a website and still need to learn a lot about this topic. But in the end, for us the most important thing is that we do what we like.
What went into the making of the music video for ‘The Pepper Nut Song’?
Def G: We didn’t put a lot of effort in it at all. We wrote the song, took a camera and a green screen and just filmed the whole thing in a couple of hours. We do intend to make some high quality video clips for some of our other songs. But let’s first try to stay focused on the album.
If you could tour with any artist, who would you choose to perform alongside?
DJ Tinus: I’d definitely tour with David Bowie. And if I could speak Finnish I would choose Haloo Helsinki.
Def G: Yeah, he plays that Finnish stuff all the time. I’d go for either 50 Cent or Pharrell Williams.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
DJ Tinus: Daft Punk and Röyksopp.
Def G: Dr. Dre.
What does 2015 hold in store for Def G & DJ Tinus?
Def G: Well, besides releasing the album I will also be working on my own new songs. Not really sure if I’ll be able to finish my new solo album in 2015, it all depends on how much time our album “Lame Jiggy” will consume. I’m also going on a trip for 3 months so yeah. Let’s just hope the album will receive some great reviews.
DJ Tinus: I agree, let’s just experience how things will go with the album. Then I’ll be releasing my new solo track as well, probably beginning of 2015. Hopefully combined with a great music video if I can find a sponsor. But I have good hopes!