Hendrik Joerges: On Harambe And Dance Music

Hendrik Joerges should not be an unfamiliar name to anyone following the local dance scene as he has been making waves over in Durban for  a while now and it is about time that he started getting national love. I first encountered him when I was initially writing for internatioanl sites and decided to do an article on him despite not knowing his music at all. He was just another 18 year old making music while I was an 18 year old writing about music. I finally got a chance to interview him about how he started producing, the nature of dance music in South Africa, dance trends, his plans for the future and he shed some insight on why Rick and Morty season 3 is taking so long to be released.

Let’s cut to the origins, seeing as that is your favourite club to perform at, how did you get into making electronic music at such a young age? What inspired you to decide to start producing? (I do not apologise for that pun.)

I actually began making hip hop and RnB before I started making electronic music. When I was in my early teens, however, I saw that I could also DJ if I made ‘EDM’, so I started doing that. Now I’ve gone back to my roots a bit, making hip-hop influenced pop / electronic music rather than full on club music or as some like to call it: EDM.

You had quite a bit of luck in almost instantly landing on the Do Work Records Roster – how did that come about so quickly?

Well, basically Das Kapital found my music on Soundcloud and I think he really liked it! So he contacted me and I got into contact with his management (which is now my management as well), and from there on out, I became a member of the Do Work family.

If I recall, I stumbled upon your music when we were both in Matric and I was looking for new South African talent to feature on a British site for which I was writing. I remember that you had already been DJing for a while prior to that – was it difficult DJing prior to turning 18 seeing as most clubs probably wouldn’t let you DJ due to your age?

It was a struggle for me. I only started really doing club gigs after I turned 18 because I wasn’t actually allowed into the clubs. It was extremely frustrating for me, but all that matters now is that I’m able to perform regularly, which I’m very thankful for.

What I find impressive is that you’re also student while being this super successful producer. How difficult is it to juggle the two, or do you do it with relative ease?

I used to always struggle in high school because I used to focus either completely on the one or the other, but now that I’m in university it is a lot easier to manage my time. During exam time, for instance, I don’t work on any music, but prior to and after exams, I work (almost excessively) on music. That way I don’t have to stress about taking a break from music during exams because I prioritised prior to the exams.

Let’s actually expand on that idea of age South Africa is nurturing a lot of talent within the u18 bracket, but this talent is not receiving the kind of exposure and support that would really help them grow. Do you think clubs, promoters and other producers should be doing a lot more to help nurture and grow this talent?

I think it is a duty as a DJ / Producer to share good music with others. There are a select few who are very supportive of the rising talent (Das Kapital for instance, with his #InDasWeTrust radio show), but I feel like the real issue as to why there isn’t more support in South Africa is because the influential DJs and producers don’t really have a platform on which they can share music, other than their gigs perhaps. Just playing young producers’ music isn’t going to change much, because the people listening won’t know who made the song. The bottom line is that there needs to be a better platform in order for solid support to even be possible.

 The South African music scene is at an interesting point of convergence where much introspection on the nature of the scene is occurring, while it is also growing at an absolutely exponential rate. So much so that many people feel like that there is widespread saturation occurring. What are your thoughts on this and the music scene as a whole?

I feel that due to the 90/10 ratio, there is a massive increase in supply when in reality there isn’t that big of a demand. However, it is also allowing for many talents to rise up (especially commercially – singers, rappers, etc.), and in the long run, this might benefit the music scene, but for now – unless handled correctly – it might actually be mildly destructive. Only time can tell, though. I’m optimistic!

More specifically, what are your thoughts on the current nature of the electronic scene? Where do you see it going this year in terms of musical trends?

I feel the international market hugely influences the local market here – many of the producers from overseas that made EDM are now moving on to making more pop influenced tracks (look at DJ Snake for example), so my theory is that the gap between club music (techno, deep house, etc.) and the more commercially viable dance music will increase.

African-influenced genres are starting to become a lot more prevalent with the EDM scene and I think that is pretty great. Do you think you may start bringing some African influences into your music or would you rather leave that to people like Black Coffee and so forth?

The tracks I’m currently working on all have elements of different genres in them. I’m busy working on a track with a very talented musician who recorded himself playing the guitar to add an organic indie vibe to the track. I’m all for incorporating new elements into my music, so I’ll definitely be trying to bring some African influences into my new tracks.

Finally, and this is a serious question, do you think Harambe is punishing us by delaying season 3 of Rick and Morty?

Well, with the loss of our big brother Harambe the world stopped turning for a little while. If the developers of Rick and Morty were as devastated as I was or am, then I’m pretty sure that Harambe’s passing is the reason for the delay. (RIP homey)



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