Sometimes a press release comes through that just really grabs your attention… which is exactly what happened with the one I recently received for alt-pop/electronica group, Dutchkid. There was nothing hugely special that stood out, at first, but the more I read into the collective, their music, and their mission, the more intrigued I was about what made them tick and how it all worked.
So, without further ado, grab yourself a glass of “Lemonade,” and join us as we explore the fascinating world of Dutchkid!
Thanks for your time. How is life treating you today?
Chris Smyth: “You’re so welcome, it’s a pleasure. Life is good thanks, I thought I’d mix it up today and walk anti-clockwise around my local park for the first time since lockdown began. Turns out, it’s like a completely different park.”
I might try that myself! So, 2021 has started off quite well for you with Single of the Week for “Lemonade” and now the release of next single, “Sugar.” Are these tracks a good taste for the rest of the album?
Jordan McGregor: “Taste! I see what you did there… Well, we didn’t intend to create a recipe list with our track titles to-date, but it is what it is right? Yeah, these are a great sample of what you will hear coming up, we really believe we have found ‘our sound’ now and are diving into it on this album. It may sound a little different from our first two EPs, but we really believe that people will connect with it as much as we have enjoyed creating it.”
The album isn’t due out until later in the year. What can you tell us about it?
Jordi van Dyk: “Over the course of the three years we’ve been a band, we have really grown our sound and tried a bunch of different roads, musically. This album we feel is now a little step closer to what we want to be. This album has had a lot of work, love, and tears and it feels like we sort of stumbled onto our ‘own sound’ and we are so damn proud of this collection of songs we have been working on over the past two years. I think this album is really diverse with no song being the same and each song carrying a different experience. I can’t wait for the world to hear it.”
Let’s go back to the beginning though. Could you tell us a bit about who Dutchkid are?
Jack Kircher: “Dutchkid came together in London, UK in late 2017 as a collective, with our members being: Jordi van Dyk (vocals, bass, producer), Pete Coggan (vocals, keys, producer), Chris Smyth (samples & synth, graphic design), Jack Kircher (drums, mix engineer, & video director), Josh Hailes (live, tech, motion graphics, & video editor), and Jordan McGregor (management).
We wanted to create a new form of ‘band,’ focused on a collective sharing of professional and creative skills, centered around alternative electronic pop sounds with an emphasis on a killer live show. So, three years later, we think we have got the formula just right for us and hope people enjoy what they hear.”
You create, record and produce your own music. What kind of freedom does that give you?
Kircher: “I think creative freedom is extremely important. As we started by doing everything ourselves, it gave us the opportunity to make music that we love whilst being able to get help on certain songs from other producers when we need it. It also means we can work at our own pace, whether that be working on a song all hours, or giving ourselves the time to finish, again, at our own pace.”
You all have backgrounds in different areas. How did you all meet?
Kircher: “It all started when Jordi moved from Durban, South Africa in early 2017 and was soon introduced to Pete through Chris. Jordi quickly realized that we all shared a common love for the same artists and so Pete and Jordi started songwriting together. Originally, Dutchkid was actually just going to be a songwriting project, but eventually, we knew we needed to take it further. They knew we needed a live drummer in our show, so they invited me to join, and as a bonus, I’m a professional mix engineer. Around the same time that I joined, Josh came aboard as the member responsible for bringing everything together from a technical and live aspect. Lastly, Jordan joined as our manager to help form our strategic and commercial plan and help us make the best group decisions.”
How does the writing process work given your different backgrounds?
van Dyk: “Well, as we are a collective of creatives, each member contributes something crucial to what eventually becomes a Dutchkid release. The process starts off with Pete and I writing and producing a song, we’d then take it to the rest of the team where you’d see the music come to life. Jack would mix the record, Chris would dream up and develop the imagery and brand feel, Josh brings our live show to life as well as doing video and design, and Jordan, our manager, makes sure we aren’t delusional and helps achieve the dreams.
Pete Coggan: “We usually start with a beat or a chorus melody and then share on WhatsApp, ‘I’m stoked about this idea, would love to get your take on it.’ Dutchkid works like a living creative conveyor belt. No idea would be fully ‘Dutchkid’ until it has gone through everyone.”
On the subject of your background, it must give you a whole range of influences Could you talk us through some of those influences.
van Dyk: “For me, it’s artists and producers such as Jon Belion, Justin Vernon, Chris Martin, Ryan Tedder, Steve McKeller, Kanye, Everything Everything, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jai Paul, Jungle, Laura Mvula, Sylvan Esso… Pete has loved Sigur Ros for years now, they are the masters of tension and release! For Jack, it’s bands like Glass Animals, Michael Kiwanuka, and The Beatles. For Chris, it’s the world of samples and synths, bands like Sylvan Esso, Jungle, and Oh Wonder. And for Josh, it’s Jungle, indie pop artists, slightly more mainstream pop artists like Taylor Swift, and more underground pop artists like Muna or The 1975 (ok, they are not underground anymore).”
Given your different skillsets, if money was no object, what would your ultimate stage show set-up be like?
Josh Hailes: “I have no idea, there are so many options out there! I’m really excited by what a band called Red Hearse did a couple of years ago. They’re a trio of industry superstars, but they played a few tiny clubs, sat around a small white round table with a laptop and a couple of synths. They were backlit by a white semi-circular bit of projection material and all the lighting synced to the music. Whoever designed that show is on another level.
That and the 1975’s O2 show. That was crazy. Oh, and SOHN’s live show! The attention to detail with such a simple setup was incredible. SOHN was the first show I saw with tube lights way before everyone was using them. I want to be doing something that innovative, maybe a big, curved LED wall or something. I guess we’ll find out when we start playing arenas! Also, I can’t get away with being in an interview and not mentioning Brockhampton. They brought a literal helicopter onto stage, so at this point, nothing’s off the table for a Dutchkid show!”
Just to finish, as things look like starting to get back to normal, what are your plans for the rest of 2021?
Kircher: “Believe it or not, we actually have plans to play live this year! Feels so weird to say that as we’ve not been able to play live for what will be two years by the time we hit the stage again. After what will be the fourth rescheduled date for this gig due to the current situation, we will FINALLY be headlining our largest venue to-date, Oslo in Hackney (East London) at the end of 2021 and unveiling our new live show that we’ve been working on while in lockdown. If you have been to a Dutchkid gig before, you know that we bring a huge production with us everywhere we go, so we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for our upcoming headline. If you live around London and want to come hang out with us, please check out the gig listing here, pick up a ticket, and come say hello.”
Thanks again for your time, over to you for the final words…
“At the moment I don’t feel like we have many final words, except that this year has been tough for everyone, and I hope we can all be together in a venue experiencing music soon! Big love, DK.”