Interview: Cinnaman

You might be heading over to Indigo on Nov 28 to hear Tom Trago, but we also recommend paying close attention to Cinnaman’s performance. We caught up with him ahead of his Istanbul show.
By Time Out Istanbul editors |

You’re regarded as a member of the new generation of Dutch talent. How did you get your start in electronic music?
“I started DJing when I was 12, and eight years later I played my first really big show at Paradiso in Amsterdam. This was not long after I began working at Rush Hour Records, first selling records and doing mail orders, then doing some A&R for the label. I put together compilation albums and brought fresh talent to the Rush Hour and Kindred Spirits labels. After five years of working at Rush Hour, I learned to much that I went on to start my own club night at Trouw called Colors.”

I heard your father was a DJ as well. Did he take you to clubs when you were young?
“He used to play six times a week in the same club and had to clean the floors after the club was closed. It was so different back then. He always had a big collection of records that I still play. When I was around 13, I found a Mobb Deep album and a lot of jungle in his collection. I would play this stuff on my decks while practicing, so yes, he had such a big influence on me. He taught me so much about music and the variety of it. He would also take me to dub reggae concerts. Just the other day I was at his 60th birthday and we were talking about minimal music (not minimal house) and he gave me this amazing Terry Riley record. He continues to influence me.”

Your sets are generally eclectic. When you play on the radio or at the club, do you give a lot of thought to what you are going to play beforehand, or is it more spontaneous than that?
“I just love so many different sorts of music, and I think it’s a bit boring to play only one style. I do a lot of digging and still play a lot at home to get to know my records. I think every DJ should practice at home or in the studio to get better. But I always try to freestyle and feel the vibe of the moment. For each gig, I will make a folder of music with 100-200 tracks and just play from that folder. It’s like taking a bag of records with you.”

You’ll be playing with Tom Trago in Istanbul. You two also have a joint project called Yuro & Trago. What’s your relationship like?
“I met Tom while I was working at Rush Hour. He was buying records, and there were not a lot of kids who bought records at the time ’cause they were expensive. We had to spend like 100 euros a week on records. When I saw that Tom and I had similar taste in music, I went to see him at the club where he played. I really liked what he did and asked him if he wanted to play a gig together. That worked out really well, and after playing music we started to produce together, which is how Yuro & Trago got started.”

You’ve said that Jeff Mills is your hero. What makes him so special for you?
“His raw mixing style and variety of music. I saw him playing when I was about 17 and I really wanted to have that kind of technique, with such fast and great selections. Amazing!”

What are you listening to these days?
“Classical and ambient music. I also like to listen to Brazilian music while driving.”

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