Music Editor: Reece Stewart
Nicknamed the President, the 31-year-old Amsterdam native Abstract is a versatile yet distinguished producer that continues to show his capability weather it is working on a track himself with pure beats or graced with a vocal.
Upon the release of his most recent project ABSTRACTPOWERSEASON. Vol 1 which landed late last year, he has continued to show his fluid style that possesses such a soothing sense of versatility that gives you comfort when listening to his productions.
One of the standout tracks on the project is ‘JHEEZE!’ which features Grime artist Dusty. The release follows on from ‘Reload’ which was tipped by Highsnobiety as one of their ‘10 Under the Radar Tracks’, and gives you a sample of the President’s grittier sound which represents his capability of going for both ends of the spectrum in terms of feeling.
Accompanied by Dusty’s vocals, the President creates an energy that you can only imagine tearing down the roof at a London venue, in contrast to a track like ‘Looking For You’, featuring Slim Kofi, which takes things to a completely different space with a more tropical afrobeat.
Then taking it to a different place for the project, he calls on talent from close to home enlisting the sweet & soulful vocals of Jalise Romy, as he continues to showcase his ever-evolving versatility and prowess as a producer on the track ‘Your Words’.
Is the difference between making Hip-Hop and making Grime extremely different for you being someone from outside of London where it originated? Or is it something that you caught on to quite easily?
“I always knew of grime but have never been too familiar, I remember I was at a party called Bassline in Amsterdam and there wasn’t really anyone listening to grime in Amsterdam back then, but Roll Deep were there. They were meant to perform in a smaller room in the venue but ended up on the mainstage and they smashed it. It was crazy so that night inspired me and acted as a proper introduction into the genre for me.
Grime is pretty dark and I always liked dark chords and melodies so all of my beats were pretty Grimey already.”
Abstract has played all over the world from London, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Munich, Ibiza, Zurich, New York, Berlin and has developed a sound that is easily consumed by all types of crowds yet consistent.
Abstract is also a part of the Patta SoundSystem, which is a worldwide platform for sharing music from all around the world – It’s rare that they host parties in The Netherlands. It’s an extension of the Patta brand which only deals with worldwide bookings. On their club nights, in the setting of Disco Dolly, they play all kinds of music like house, hip hop, disco and tech.
The platform was developed by the Amsterdam bred clothing store to push music around the world, and abstract actually gained the connection from working in the fashion store when he was younger, which saw him begin DJ’ing at events worldwide early on in his career, becoming part of the roster as in-house DJ which sees him perform in places like Shanghai, Bangkok and Munich on tour with Patta.
A young Abstract was raised by his mother and father, his Father was the musical influence as he was in a band when he was younger and was one of his early influencers musically.
He started from a young age as a DJ at 17 but began producing 3 or 4 years after. “it started as a joke, just having fun, and I saw my friends producing and thought let me go ahead and try that, then it began to get a bit more serious when I started producing for a rap group making beats, we were called Dirty Poets at the time, I used to DJ for them too”.
His exploration saw him influenced by artists like Wu-Tang, Busta Rhymes, Hudson Mohawk and Janett Jackson.
I asked Abstract how he manages to make his work so versatile despite all of the different artists he has worked with?
“It’s actually been quite a journey, I’ve always loved hip hop, listening to it and playing it but as you get older you become more open and start listening to different genres of music. I like different genres and I wanted to be able to make that. When I started listening to more music I indulged myself in like Hudson Mohawk, Cashmere Cat and Lido.
I saw how Hudson Mohawk was able to make an instrumental album, with all sorts of production but then go on to make a track like Mercy which made me think, it’s possible to make weird tech music that’s really dope but to then go and make a rap record.
Which helped me craft my sound and let people know that it isn’t only Hip-Hop. That my sound’s a little R&B or maybe a little bit more Grimey, but you could still hear that it’s Abstract.”
The President closed 2017 on his Asian tour which saw him DJ some of his most experimental shows of yet, I asked him which shows of 2017 were stand out?
“Seoul, South Korea was probably one on my favourite shows. They were just so open minded to the music they were given.
If they liked the mix, they would scream. If they liked the transition they’d scream. So, it really gave me the opportunity for me to dig deep into my USB and play some songs to a crowd that I wouldn’t usually play”.
Along with his recent success as a producer, Abstract also advanced as a DJ when he won the Red Bull 3style National competition, winning the right to represent Netherlands in 2016’s world championships.
To listen to his music click here