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In depth Interview with Tech House producer BURNR

We asked BURNR about his journey as producer & DJ, tips & tricks and his latest release: Grand Tech Auto

December 16 | 2022

Millean. Walking

Dutch DJ BURNR has taken the world by surprise. The 25- year-old producer is one of the

newest additions to the fine list of prominent Dutch DJs. His style is marked by the

combination of pure tones with firm underground influences. His tracks are full of energy,

with a solid sound and positive vibes. From festivals to clubs, the BURNR sound will take

you on an unforgettable musical journey, an experience like no other.

Even though he is only 25 years of age: producing is a second home for him. The passion

for music started when he was only 10 years old. The foundation of his unique sound was

built from his room. Here young BURNR would spend hours creating music. Captivated by

the sound of Animals, by Martin Garrix, house music became his inspiration. Driven by

passion and unable to get music out of his mind BURNR attended the Dutch Pop Academy


Read the Interview.

When and why did you start producing?

I think I started when I was around 10 years old. I had seen someone using a DAW and they helped me install the DAW on my computer as well. However, it was only a demo version, so I couldn’t even save the tracks I made. I did really enjoy making music already at that point and wanted to do it more in the future. School got in the way though and I ended up forgetting about producing for a while.

When I was about 15 or 16 years old I heard Martin Garrix’s song “Animals” which was a worldwide hit at the time. Martin Garrix was 17 years old at that time and I remember being very impressed with the fact that he achieved such great success already at that age. Because of that, I decided to download a DAW again. At that moment, I started producing again and haven’t stopped since.

After two years I got to know some Urban DJs and because of that I kind of ended up in the Urban scene as a producer. Because of that, I kind of forgot about the Dance music that I produced. When the pandemic hit, I realized I kind of missed House music. I decided to leave Urban behind and went on to produce Tech House.

How did you learn your craft?

When I was just getting started I would get most of my information from online sources like YouTube. I would also just study the DAW at times and try to figure out how things worked for myself. I started in FLStudio, but have been working in Ableton now for three years. I would also just attempt to replicate songs a lot. As I said before, I really enjoyed “Animals” by Martin Garrix at that time and I would spend countless hours trying to replicate his sound and I learned a lot from that. 

In 2015 I enrolled at the Dutch Pop Academy to study producing. I learned a lot about the technical parts of producing here, things like compression and dynamics. I also learned quite about music theory, this helped me understand sheet music and things like the theory behind chords. The studio-sessions I had there with many different artists were also very helpful and I learned a lot from that. 

That’s great. I can also really recommend replicating your favorite songs as a way to get better at producing. You get more insight into things like arranging, flow of tension in music and sound design. I also learned that way. 

Exactly, it’s a great way to learn producing. If you get an understanding of how other producers create their sound, you can apply that to your own work.

You mentioned you spent some time making Urban music before you started making Tech House, could you tell us a bit more about that time of your career?

Of course. In 2015, Urban music rapidly gained popularity in the Netherlands. It was a bit of a mix between Hip-Hop and House. Lil’ Kleine was one of the driving forces in that with New Wave music. I was watching that type of music closely at the time and then got in touch with some big artists from that scene. I can’t share their names here sadly but they were big DJs in the Urban genre at the time.

As I said before, because I was producing in the Urban genre at the time, I forgot about dance. I also started producing the Urban style music for Dutch Pop and Hip-Hop artists. I got multiple Platinum and Gold awards for those productions at the time.

I would often also join these Dutch artists that I produced for to play shows. When the pandemic started, all of the shows dropped away and I was really left longing to play live. This made me realize that I actually enjoyed producing House music much more and from there on out I just started producing House music.

In 2021, you started producing with BURNR right?

Yes, you’re right!

With BURNR you produce underground Tech House, why did you decide on that style?

When I started with BURNR in 2021, it was manily because I also needed a different name. My old name was too tied up in the Urban scene. Before the pandemic hit I would go to parties where artists like Fisher would play and I remember really enjoying that. My friends would also be really excited about music like that. Tech House was something that really spoke to me.
Tech House is a real raw House sound and I really like that. It is the music that I enjoy listening to now, I think because of that I also enjoy producing it.

Yeah, it seems that nowadays Urban and Tech House have quite a lot in common in terms of sound. Both are very groovy and bass-oriented. There are even quite a lot of Urban remixes of Tech House songs out there now.

Yeah that’s true. When I decided to make the switch from Urban to Tech House there were a lot of people that said that they understood the decision but thought it might not be the best decision. Funnily enough, a lot of those people who said that are now House producers as well. It’s cool to see because it confirms that I made the right decision. 

What are your goals with music now?

I want to be part of the top 10 House artists and tour the world with my music. It sounds a bit cliché maybe, but that’s my dream. It’s hard to make a living from my own music alone at the moment. I still regularly do some ghost producing for some extra cash-flow. Things keep getting better though, I can see that my music is gaining popularity.

Do you prefer playing shows over producing?

In the end, producing will always be number one for me. In reality, I really do love both. Playing my own tracks live really is one of the greatest feelings in life.

If you could choose anyone, which artist would you like to collaborate with?

I think it would be really cool to work with someone like J Balvin or Drake. Drake has been making more House style music lately and making an original Latin Tech House track with J Balvin would just be an absolute blast.

And if you would pick a Tech House artist?

I’ve always looked up to Fisher, especially when it comes to stage presence and performing. I saw him live a couple of times three or four years ago and I remember thinking he was really delivering an amazing show. 

Ultimately, I’d love to collab with any of the top Tech House DJs.

Apart from collaborating with artists and making music, I assume you also listen to some music in your spare time. Which artists do you draw inspiration from at the moment?

I really listen to a lot of Tech House when I’m not working. When I was producing Urban I didn’t have that, I would also just listen to House in my spare time when I was producing Urban. Clooney, Joshua and Chris Lake are some artists that I really enjoy listening to at the moment. I also like to listen to a lot of older music though. I did that “GTA” song and lately I’ve been delving deeper into that West Coast sound. I’m currently trying to develop my own sound within that genre. Some kind of crossover between West Coast and Tech House would be really cool, I think. Older music actually inspires me more than the most recent music. Things like Disco, Old-School Hip Hop and Soul are things I play on the regular and they give me a lot of inspiration.

You just mentioned “Grand Tech Auto” which is a track you recently released. What was the idea behind that track?

When I was younger, I played a lot of “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” and the theme song just stuck with me. I remember hearing the theme song somewhere lately and the melody really intrigued me. It’s a real West Coast melody. Hearing it also brought back a lot of old memories. 

Yeah it’s so nostalgic right?

Exactly. So then I thought: What if I turn this into a Tech House track? I tried a couple of things but it kept sounding cheap. So I kept studying the groove of the beat and tried to make it unique. Ultimately, this is what I ended up with. I actually already finished it in the summer. I played it live a couple of times over the summer and it was so fun because people immediately recognize the tune. After that, I decided to send the song to my label, and they arranged that I could release it.

To be honest, your marketing was great as well. The videos were great, I watched all of them. Great work on that.

Thanks! Honestly, I didn’t put too much thought into it. I was in the studio and just decided to make some reels. The label provided an editor which really helped with the process. The marketing really opened up a lot of opportunities for me.

I imagine the GTA: San Andreas theme song is copyrighted, how were you able to use it in your track anyways?

My label arranged all of that for me. I was quite surprised as well. My original plan was to release it as free bootleg on SoundCloud. Instead, I got a message from my label saying that I could release it with cover rights somehow. Instead of sampling, I replicated the melody myself so I was in a bit of a better position that I would’ve been had I sampled the track.

I always love the sound of your low-end, it sounds very clean. Do you have any tips when it comes to mixing low-end?

Thanks! It’s just really important to find a bass and kick sound that work well together. It’s a real yin and yang effect. If you have a great kick but you pair it with a mediocre bass, it’s just not going to work. I usually make my bass-lines with Ableton’s built-in synthesizer: [Old operator?]. It sounds very thick and deep, almost analog. If you just pair that with a great kick, you’re well on your way to making a solid low-end. I also like to put the “kick tweak” from [Single Makers?] on almost all of my kicks. The plugin has a bunch of presets and really helps to make a kick sound good by adding drive, distortion and some compression.

Cool. So “kick tweak” is some kind of all-in-one processing plugin if I understand correctly?

Yeah it is, and it’s made specifically for kicks. I can definitely recommend it. In general, mixing low-end just tends to take a while. Having a good master for your track is also very important. I usually let [Marcolees?] master my tracks. He’s a quite well-known Tech House DJ. He also masters tracks digitally as opposed to analog. He also mastered my recent “Grand Tech Auto” track. Usually during mixing my low-end already sounds solid, but his mastering gives it that extra edge.

Yeah it’s important to have a solid low-end.

Indeed, it’s what gets people dancing. If you don’t have a solid low-end as a foundation, your track is never going to work live. I was playing a show not too long ago where I was playing a track and the low-end just sounded awful in the room. That’s what a bad mix and master does. It’s interesting to see that even with bigger DJs sometimes the mix just isn’t right. 

Do you have any other tips and tricks for producers?

Don’t let reference tracks guide you too much. I find that listening to a reference track too much just leads to replicating tracks. If you keep listening to the reference track, your music will blend with it. Try making fresh and new things. Of course, using a reference track for arrangements can be quite a good thing, but try not to copy things too much. Stay true to yourself and try to think out of the box.

Yeah I get that. When I do producing I like to use a reference track for arranging sometimes, but when you start copying things like the lead from a reference track it goes downhill quickly. It harms the creative process.

Exactly. Try to be creative. Look to yourself rather than to others. Try something fresh and new even if it’s not the most logical thing. 

I’ve got one last question for you: What can we expect from you in the near future?

We are currently working on a second West Coast style track, which will be released under a big label. We are now in the process of finalizing the track so no official release date yet. Apart from that, I’ve got a couple of shows planned, including some international gigs.

Sounds amazing, can't wait to hear it. Thanks again for being here.

Thanks for having me!


©Be Yourself Music

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BURNR's latest release Grand Tech Auto

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