Binkbeats Pushes The Limits Of What Is Possible In Dance Music
While fans and music producers alike attempt to define, as well as destroy, the stigma of dance music genres, some artists are just interested in making music and letting that sound rest where it falls. A prime example of such an artist is the Dutch producer and percussionist Binkbeats, who cleverly blurs the lines between the preconceived sounds of what constitutes digital and acoustic music. His career path has steered him through many avenues and alleyways of the musical landscape that have eventually landed him in an open valley of unforeseen potential in chilled-out dance music. “I suddenly had an idea: why not make my own samples. I am very into how you can manipulate or prolong acoustic sounds through electronics and this all came together in this thing I am doing right now,” explains Binkbeats.
Although stemming from a diverse musical background, the Binkbeats project first started to crawl when hip-hop was introduced to the producer as a youth. “I started to get to know how that world lives with sampling. At first I thought they just made the beats on their own, but later I found out they just sample stuff,” states the producer on dissecting hip-hop tracks. His sound also carries a distinct industrial nature that stems from a background in drumming for heavy metal bands while listening to, “Sepultura, Rage Against the Machine, and Korn.” Although Binkbeat’s sound is no where near as aggressive as his hard rock influences’, he maintains a gothic allure and raw grittiness that breathes through the ambient quality of his music.
As his production style continues to evolve, he has pushed himself to revisit incorporating live instruments into his productions. “I went to this old school boom-bap hip-hop and slowly I got back to implementing real instruments into it again. Now, the hip-hop is a bit behind me for what I do with Binkbeats. I focus more on electronic music because I love the investigation of how you can alter sounds. It’s more spacy and digital,” says Binkbeats. “I guess it could be EDM. I’m looking for this hybrid thing between electronical music and acoustic music. Like it sounds like an electronic DJ set, but it looks like a band. It could be EDM, But I don’t really think in these kind of terms.”
His Youtube series, Beats Unraveled, has characterized the start of his career by covering popular tracks from the hip-hop, and electronic dance worlds using only the sounds he has been able to recreate. The series has given Binkbeats the opportunity to display his one-man-band performance style in a controlled environment, where each video has required different instruments depending on the sounds need for the track. This provided a unique challenge in adapting to a live set, as it is not feasible to travel with every instrument required for the various tracks.
The live performance has forced the artist to get creative and find alternative routes for making similar sounds. “On one track, I work with a friend of mine. He has a Korg MS-20 synthesizer, and for me, it was too much of a synthesizer to put in my set because I’m a percussionist and I wanted to keep it as analogue as possible.” He continues, “I had to search for another solution to imitate what he was doing on the MS-20 and I’m doing it through a mini-megaphone that I was using in the Caribou "Bowls" video. It forces you to look for other solutions instead of just using the synthesizer to get close to that sound.”
The entire project is not easy to replicate live, but after sacrifices are made and new techniques are developed, the show becomes a spectacle unlike anything else. The set up comes from the mind of a lone individual and his pursuit to find interesting sounds, but it does not end there. When starting the project, Binkbeats “wanted to see how far [he] could take it,” although at some point it will come time for another artist to push the project beyond its current state. “What I would really love to see in the future is for people to take this as the first step and take it even further. I don’t even know how, but one guy will take it further. It makes me really curious.”
Photo Credit: ©Gabriel_Eisenmeier