If you’re looking for solid sounds and beats for days and two talented artists making big waves in the world of EDM, Firebeatz is who you’ve been waiting for. The dynamic duo of Tim Smulders and Jurre van Doeselaar, have been making musical waves together since 2008, and have made their mark by ranking among the Top 100 DJs by DJ Mag, racking up several Beatport #1’s and crossing over genres with remixes for Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Pink just to name a few.
Story By: Jasmine Sabagquit
Media By: Carin Verbrugge, Firebeatz
Firebeatz has drawn raves from some of the biggest names in the EDM scene, including Tiësto, Avicii, David Guetta and Nicky Romero. The DJ Duo has also made its way into the festival circuits with performances at ULTRA Music Festival in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Tomorrowland, Mysteryland and Creamfields, and also have a residency at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub in Las Vegas.
Ferrvor linked up for an exclusive interview with the Holland-based duo and got to know a little more about what sparks their musical genius, fashion favorites and more.
Ferrvor: How’s it going guys? So tell us, how long have you guys known each other?
Firebeatz: For about 8 years now. Ever since the day we decided to start working together in school.
Ferrvor: Speaking of, you both met at music school in Tilburg, Netherlands. Did you know right away that you connected with music?
Firebeatz: Yes, at that moment we basically had the same producers and DJs we liked and we started vibing off of the music they made. I think they were like Fedde Le Grand & Funkerman, Gregor Salto, Chocolate Puma, Axwell and Tiesto. That inspired us a lot to start making music together. Funny thing is that we now have worked together with a lot of them, which is amazing!
Ferrvor: Had you both taken traditional music lessons. I.E. Piano or Drums?
Firebeatz: (Tim) I never had traditional lessons as a kid, but when I attended the music school in Tilburg, where i met Jurre, I started to learn to play the piano.
(Jurre) I started playing the drums when I was about 4 years old. I think I played the drums till my 18th. I played some piano occasionally as well, but nothing serious, and you don’t want to hear me on a stage with a piano.
Ferrvor: How long have you both been writing music?
Firebeatz: (Tim) I think I have been making music since I was like 16 or 17, so say 13 years in total. (Jurre) I think I started making music since high school, so about 15 years now.
Ferrvor: How long have you both been DJing?
Firebeatz: (Tim) I have been DJing for about 11 years.
(Jurre) I started DJing 12 years ago.
Ferrvor: Have to ask, did you both start on Vinyl or software/USB sticks?
Firebeatz: (Tim) VINYL!
(Jurre) Yeah, vinyl as well!
Ferrvor: Cool. Do you guys have a favorite Keyboard, or live DJ gear, or are you strictly digital only?
Firebeatz: Actually we don’t work with any hardware anymore (laughs), but we use UAD a lot which is the closest thing to it.
Ferrvor: So what’s your must have Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) when you’re in the studio?
Firebeatz: Logic X for mixing mastering and Ableton Live for editing songs!
Ferrvor: Who does what in the studio? Who writes, who focuses more on production, or is it even?
Firebeatz: It’s pretty even. We basically have the same knowledge and know the same things about production. We own two studios, so we work separately a lot too. We combine the stuff we write into a Firebeatz track.
Ferrvor: How does working together as a team enhance your creativity, as far as bringing a different flavor to the table when you’re both writing a track?
Firebeatz: We both have totally different backgrounds musically. I (Tim Smulders) started out playing and listening to Drum n Bass, Hip Hop, Funk and Dubstep. Where Jurre played funkier House music. In the studio you hear a lot of these things and influences come to life in our tracks. It’s great to have two totally different views on music. It keeps it fresh. Also, when you get stuck you can just let the other person take over for a while, which is really helpful at times.
Ferrvor: Assuming it’s a must to have some musical knowledge to be successful in today’s music world?
Firebeatz: It definitely does. Understanding how music works technically, next to feeling it, is so helpful when writing songs and communicating with traditional musicians.
Ferrvor: There are a lot of DJ’s that don’t make music. How relevant is it today to make music if you’re a DJ, and want to play big gigs in Vegas and elsewhere?
Firebeatz: We think you need to make music nowadays as a DJ. It will give you your own personality, style and sound. That’s what people are eventually coming for when you play a show. They don’t want to see a DJ playing stuff everybody has or is playing already. Back in the day, it was easier to be unique as a DJ because not every track was available for everyone. Now in the digital era, you can just Shazam the track you like or go on a website and buy the tracks the DJ the night before was playing.
Ferrvor: There’s a lot of wanna be DJs out there now. Do you find that it would be harder to succeed as a newbie DJ these days, or easier because of the presence of social media and the visibility to create your own brand?
Firebeatz: It is way harder I think. There’s an overkill of artists and material that look and sound the same, so you really have to be unique in what you do and you should definitely make your own music. It’s so important to start out with good tracks and build a solid musical story around you as an artist.
Ferrvor: If you hadn’t made it as musicians and DJ’s thus far, what other careers choices would you guys have envisioned for yourselves? Karate instructors? Professional Scrabble players? Porn stars?
Firebeatz: (Tim) I was into skateboarding when I was a kid. Probably would have tried to become a Pro.
(Jurre) I’m still playing soccer when possible, so probably I would have tried to become a professional soccer player.
Ferrvor: Athletic types. Very cool. It’s always good to know great DJs and artists worth sharing. Who are you giant fans of this month, any favorites that we may not know?
Firebeatz: Really into Dubvision’s new stuff lately. These guys have been putting out very good tracks.
Ferrvor: How do you both stay on top of all the freaking music that’s out there?
Firebeatz: Next to listening to other people’s sets, we hear a lot of music that’s coming out and we get all the music from other artists in our genre through promo. Also, we like to find new music for instance through Spotify, that’s not dance related, sometimes visit concerts of people that aren’t necessarily famous, but still great musicians. That’s fun! You buy a ticket of an act you don’t really know and just go watch them.
Ferrvor: Let’s switch the gears, as you know Ferrvor is a mens fashion magazine and you both appear to appreciate dressing well. Are you guys at all into fashion and if so, what are your go-to fashion choices for tours?
Firebeatz: (Tim) I would say a pair of ripped skinny jeans, tall tee, zipped sweatshirt and hightop sneakers.
(Jurre) We’re becoming more interested in fashion every day. In every city, we try to go to the best sneaker stores and get some new stuff. For tours, I like to wear jeans, tall tee, a (leather) jacket and some dope sneakers.
Ferrvor: What are your go-to fashion choices when you’re just hanging out?
Firebeatz: (Tim) Tall t-shirts (no prints), hoodies, dropcrotch pants or sweatpants, sneakers and a snapback hat.
(Jurre) Sweatpants, hoodies or sweaters and sneakers.
Ferrvor: Dig the street style. Do you both have a favorite designer?
Firebeatz: (Tim) For me, at the moment, it’s Boris Bidjan Saberi and Rick Owens.
(Jurre) Not really a favorite one, but I like the designs from Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana and Susudio.
Ferrvor: Help us understand. Where do you see music headed as far as style over next few years?
Firebeatz: Music is always combined with a certain style as well. In the States, there are a lot of rave festivals where most of the people dress like ‘ravers’ with a lot of colorful clothes. It would be cool to combine style with music even more, for instance a DJ with their own clothing line.
Ferrvor: I think I hear a Firebeatz fashion line coming soon! 🙂 What’s your favorite car at the moment?
Firebeatz: (Jurre) Aston Martin DB9
Ferrvor: Favorite cocktails/mixed drinks?
Firebeatz: (Tim) A White Russian.
(Jurre) Vodka Coconut
Ferrvor: Tasty choices. Getting back to the music, you guys have had a lot of success working with a ton of artists in Contemporary hit radio and the electronic dance space, including Martin Garrix, Sander van Doorn, Tiesto, Calvin Harris and Chocolate Puma. Who were some of your favorite Producer DJ’s to work with?
Firebeatz: We had fun with everyone while we were producing. That’s what we try to bring to the collaborations, a lot of fun and to not be too serious, that way you feel like everything goes.
Ferrvor: What was it like working with Martin Garrix?
Firebeatz: We had a lot of fun working on our collab with Martin in Cyprus (that’s where it started). After the gig at this amazing place called “Guaba,” we weren’t tired at all, so we decided to make a track in the hotel and thus, “Helicopter” was born.
Ferrvor: What artists do you guys plan on remixing in the future that may or may not be known at this time?
Firebeatz: Currently there are no remixes planned. We have been so busy with new material and finishing up current projects that we decided to focus on that more. There are also a lot of cool collaborations coming with Jay Hardway, W&W and a new one with Schella.
Ferrvor: Nice. The music industry has been in a giant state of flux the last year and sort of finally finding its way to stability. What do you think about the current state of the music industry?
Firebeatz: It’s really diverse which is good. A lot of genres are blending in and collaborations that where unthinkable a couple of years ago are being done. Definitely a positive direction at least so far.
Ferrvor: You’ve done a ton of collaborations. Anyone special you’d like to work with that you haven’t?
Firebeatz: Yes, we would love to work with The Prodigy one day. Their stuff is so raw and energetic. That would be awesome!
Ferrvor: Good choice. Thanks for taking the time guys.