There is little in the way of introduction required here. Voorn is no less than a guru within the electronic music scene, a title he’s carried for quite some time. No less, as his inspirational career continues to eternally skyrocket, the passing year has continued to be relentlessly busy. “There is always a lot happening with a lot of touring. There are a lot of big festivals happening in the summer and then I’m also working on releasing a lot of remixes. I did The Secret, which was really big which was great. There are a few other things happening as well.” Indeed, his hectic touring schedule doesn’t always give him the time he wants to spend in the studio, but he finds the time when he has to. “It is hard sometimes, with all the touring to spend time in the studio. But I did get a chance to spend some time in January recharging and having a bit of rest and then back into the studio - it’s a DJs life!”
Yet that isn't the only thing keeping him busy. "Besides all the remixes I've been doing, I'm also slowing down a bit because it does take a lot of time to get productions right; I'm trying to work on another album and trying to step away from the standard techno and tech house music I've been doing over the last few years. It's about focusing on the music and doing something different and keeping myself inspired, that's always that hard part."
And there has been a massive point of conjecture in recent times around Voorn's direction. "That's one of the dynamics that you have; when you're a DJ and producer as well, especially when you start out with banging commercial hits. If you start underground then more and more people start to like your music - and maybe your style becomes more accessible, as more people get to know you."
"Those people might include some of those who've followed you from the beginning but then you also take on new fans. It's a balance that happens naturally. As an artist you push yourself and you have to change. If you stay the same you become irrelevant and become bored as in my case; I never think about being the same; for some it's essential and it's a way of staying relevant."
It's not an easy reconciliation - ensuring that the sound that made you famous is the sound that takes you into the future. "The people who liked my music ten years ago - they might not be in the clubs right now. They might be those who loved techno and thought house was commercial. Even if they go to a party they might stand at the back of room and be bored. There is no easy way to make everyone happy I guess. All I can do is make the music I enjoy and hope that the people at the club appreciate it."
I digress. I remember the first time I really copped a decent dose of Joris - it might have been a little bit late, but it was worth it and I remember it vividly. It was around the time he mixed the Balance 014 compilation. Back then it featured a considerable number of tracks mixed in the most fluent way possible. It was a revelation. Even Joris reminisces about the experience: "Ha! I was working on that mix CD which I invested quite a large chunk of my time into; it was around the time I moved from Rotterdam to Amsterdam with my girlfriend. That was a big change so it was a fairly busy time too, if I remember!"
And as for the CD - much like now - the mix was a compilation of music that ranged between easy listening and dance floor heavy - a bit of a hybrid as it were. And his reasoning even after all this time is still simple. "To me, techno isn't the most interesting music to be listening to at home so I wanted to make it pleasant on the ear. I tried to combine a lot of different genres into the music - that's why we did it over a double CD. I think the two discs are different enough - the first is a bit more tech house and has a nice flow; the second I tried something a bit more experimental with a lot more down breaks and having a bit more time to really tell kind of a story. I would say the first CD is the easy one the second is the more challenging to the ear."
Back then as now, fans of Joris' music found it an evolution but not a huge departure from his usual style. When we spoke prior to this, back in 2008, he explained. "In future, I'm going to take things in a bit of a different direction to explore things musically. My feeling is that I enjoy the opportunity to experiment a little. I've always enjoyed working with new instruments and trying things outside the boundaries of electronic music; even bringing some acoustic elements in there as well. The tempo may go down as well but I also want to keep working on the dance floor elements that I do for the tracks. They will not necessarily be meant for the dance floor but it will take things in a different direction and that's partly so I can keep myself entertained as well."
Which begs the question, why change from a formula that has worked so well for so long? "It's a difficult question to answer I admit. As I'm getting a bit older and have been in the music business for longer, I realise more and more what's important. In the beginning you're going wherever; things are going well and you just do what you do. At some point - and in order to keep ideas fresh, at least for me - it's how I push myself in a musical way. I try to combine the musical elements of music that are used in an entertaining way in dance floors and clubs, so I still want to bring a really artistic melodic element in there without being cheesy."
Regardless, a Voorn party is an opportunity to bop and let your hair down. And of course, the great man is looking forward to getting back here again. “As always, I’m really looking forward to doing the Australia tour. I did the Creamfields tour last year which was a bit more mainstream; as an artist you take people to a different place compared to a club and a festival so you have the real attention of the people as well. I want to push the boundaries a little more this time - that’s what I’m looking forward to - bit more melodic and deeper.”
Joris Voorn [NED] plays with Edwin Oosterwal [NED] on Friday May 20 at Roxanne Parlour.