Chatting Video Games with Bingo Players
Bingo Players is a household name in Holland and, thanks to the country’s love for electronic music, this Dutch DJ has a worldwide following. We sat down with Maarten Hoogstraten to get to know his view on the culture of electronic music today. Then, he played a memorable set at Chicago’s Prysm Nightclub that still resonates with us to this day.
Sensible Reason: You’re heading out on tour. What are you most excited for festival season?
BP: Tomorrow! I’m heading to Miami for Miami Music Week. It’s the kickoff of the year, always hearing the new and exciting music. I don’t know, there’s always something special about this time of year so I’m looking forward to tomorrow for sure.
What do you love most about festival season?
BP: Well, festivals are different than clubs. Festivals are special, you can play in the daytime or early evening, there’s something about them.
Would you rather play in a basement, club, or festival?
BP: It’s different. Both, but festivals are different than the club. The energy in the club is contained inside the club itself and a festival is more spread out and you see lots of people. It’s just different, but I like both.
What about a dirty basement somewhere?
BP: I love that as well.
What would be your favorite out of the three?
BP: I can’t choose. It’s Sophie’s choice, I can’t do it.
What’s your favorite part of working in the music industry?
BP: I think meeting different people and different cultures. Traveling is difficult, you get jet-lagged and things (I’m really tired right now, actually) but being in different cities and meeting different cultures I think is the best part of this life we have.
What’s the most difficult aspect?
BP: The traveling itself [Laughs]. Adjusting your body to the time zones and getting up early, no sleep. That’s the hardest, but we can’t complain, there are tougher jobs out there.
If you were to choose between playing in the US or another place, where would you prefer to play?
BP: Well, the US has been really good to me. I have been playing in the US for about 60-70% of my shows, Chicago especially because this is where house music was born, it’s something special. I love playing other places as well, Asia is totally different so I love being there…I can’t choose.
When you’re creating music, what aspect of music do you focus on when you’re creating something? Where do you start?
BP: Most of the time I’m trying to vision how it will sound when I’m playing it live. So, when I’m making a drop, for instance, I’m always how this will go down in a club or a festival. I’m trying to imagine I’m playing that track and thinking how it will go down. Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re totally wrong. So, that’s the great thing about just putting the new music on a USB stick and try it out. If it works out, great if it doesn’t then you go back to the studio and tweak it a little bit.
If you weren’t making music, what would you do as a career?
BP: Oh, I don’t know. Previously I worked in the entertainment industry doing video and graphic design so, I would probably still be doing that. Something creative.
Do you still do any art?
BP: No, I wish. I just don’t have the time. It takes a lot of time to edit videos and things but I wish I had the time. It is something I would do if I had all the time in the world, but I don’t.
What keeps you motivated?
BP: Playing the shows and seeing people having a great time. And it sounds cliche, but it’s true. When I see people having a great time and Tweeting that they had an awesome night or a really great set, it brings me motivation.
What was your most favorite thing to do as a child?
BP: Play video games. I actually still do.
What games? Which ones did you play when you were younger?
BP: Nothing’s changed really. When I was 10 years old I played Zelda, and I’m still playing Zelda.
BP: Now it’s the Switch, but it was Nintendo then.
BP: The first one back then, Legend of Zelda.
Did you play Ocarina of Time?
I thought that was the best game ever made!
BP: That was the best Zelda, up until now. The new Zelda is one of the best.
Wow. What makes it so good?
BP: The new open world, it’s amazing. It’s such a huge game, you can do so much.
What draws you to video games?
BP: I don’t know, I think it’s the escape from reality, getting sucked into a new reality and different worlds and just zone out to it.
What else did you play besides Zelda growing up? Do you have any other classic games like Super Smash Brothers or anything?
BP: Yeah, I have a huge collection of classic games like that one.
Besides Zelda are you playing anything else right now?
BP: No, just that one. But, man you should see my game room, I have so much and whenever I have time I do that.
Have you ever taken the sounds from video games you play to sample or get sound cards from them?
BP: Not really, but I was really inspired by a video game called Street Racer 2 on the Sega Genesis and that was the first game that had techno music in it. The composer of the video game lived in Japan and he heard techno in the clubs there and he put that music in the video game, and I was like 10 or 11 years old and heard techno music in the video game and thought ‘What is this?’ So that was mindblowing and a big inspiration for me to make electronic music. You should check it out. That has classic Chicago house music in it because the guy heard all these American DJs coming to Japan and playing techno and house and that’s what he put in the video game.
The soundtrack to a video game is really important because that’s how we make connections and things when we’re young.
BP: When we’re young we play a lot of video games. When I was young, I heard more video game music than actual music back in the day so it was really influential.
Are video games what got you making music? How did you get started?
BP: Not video games. When I was around that same age, 10 or 11 years old, I became interested in electronic music because of Dutch radio. We have a lot of dance music on the mainstream radio. It’s happening now in the US, but even then it has been around us all the time. We hear big rave songs on the Top 40 charts, it’s amazing.
There is such a big difference in the music charts over there.
BP: Especially Holland.
It’s such a tiny country, but so many DJs from Holland get huge because they love it so much. Do you feel as though you’ve been privileged in that way? Hailing from a country that loves dance music so much.
BP: Yes, absolutely. I’m grateful for it. It’s something that everyone in Holland grew up with. The big DJs from there now grew up with dance music, and we’re very fortunate.
What’s the best part of dance music?
BP: It’s an art form and you can be creative, pushing the boundaries and inventing new sounds. You don’t need to conform or hold to a structure like pop or rock music. Dance music can be whatever, it’s broad and free-form.
Following the interview, Maarten jumped right on stage for his set. Prysm was warmed up and ready for the tired superstar to begin entertaining the crowded club. His bass-heavy set had a big room house feel with a small atmosphere. Each boom of the bass shook the room, bringing his recipe of Dutch dance to the birthplace of house. As Bingo Players his job is to entertain, and he did a flawless job of bringing a bit of the Dutch dancefloor to the US.