COLORS: beyond the hype in three years

COLORS: beyond the hype in three years

05-06-2013 | 20.40

The men behind the successful club night in Trouw jam-packed with house, UK Bass, hip-hop and R&B look back whilst looking forward: As long as we’re still getting tremendous amounts of energy form our nights, we’ll definitely continue.”
“COLORS is a team effort”, says Lukas Nieuwenhuijsen in the smoking area of Trouw, just several hours before the start of their successful night. “Everyone has their own responsibility: Yuri Cinnaman is of course the face and the resident deejay, Volcmar Lammers does the bookings and I do PR. But coming up with the nights themselves, that’s really a collaborative effort.”
Thinking up cool dance nights: the trio seems gifted in that department. Through the three years, a wonderful list of names have graced the bills of COLORS. Just to name a few: Roska, Untold, Jackmaster, Joy Orbison, Bok Bok, L-Vis1990, Girl Unit, Deadboy, Kode9. And the list goes on and on. In three years, COLORS presented almost seventy (!) different acts, national as well as international. And reaching out a young, diverse and excited public in the beginning, led to a series of fun parties, a rock solid reputation and a big hype, especially in the first two years.

Lukas: “When we first sat down with the three of us, we immediately had a clear vision of a energetic, sexy, maybe even female dance night. There were plenty of dark, experimental or hard dubstep nights in town.
Yuri: "The funky UK sound was relatively unknown at the time. We were building on a new genre together with the artists we booked. A new style, one you’re hearing a lot at parties nowadays. Because we asked the best deejays to come back, they were also becoming a part of COLORS: Jackmaster and Oneman for example. We’ll still be offering them a spot at COLORS in the future. The focus is not on delivering a bunch of new artists. Booking quality artists: that’s what it’s all about."
Lukas: “We want deejays that aren’t afraid to be diverse, not scared to take risks and just drop a cool R&B or hip-hop hit every once in a while. At the end of the day, people just wanna have a good night. It doesn’t have to be so ‘correct’ all the time. As long as it’s cool. We don’t really draw a puristic crowd, or people that want a night with a clear start and an ending. COLORS is more diverse, more energetic. The first two nights were right in our line of thought: the night with Jackmaster and Joy Orbison, who were both playing in the Netherlands for the first time and where Girl Unit dropped by as a surprise act. He was performing at a different party, but he also wanted to drop by at our place. It became a legendary night. And the first time Yuri went solo, we sold out really early in the evening! There were probably a hundred good-looking girls at the booth by 12 o’clock. We looked at each other and thought: the female and sexy aspect definitely worked out!”

COLORS and Trouw belong together. The party started out in De Verdieping, but it moved up to the main hall on the second night. The gentlemen aren’t planning on looking for a new location for their night. Lukas and Yuri aren’t shy of professing their love for “the best club in Amsterdam or the whole Netherlands”.
Lukas: “Olaf Boswijk is a man with a long term vision. We weren’t forced to ‘score’ immediately, but we got the time to grow. And I all worked out quite fast. Sometimes you’ll have a night where it just doesn’t feel 100% right music-wise, atmosphere-wise or simply that the turnout of people is too low. The hype around COLORS has simmered down, but that’s not a bad thing. We continue to draw a good crowd with parties the way we like to see them. And we’re still getting tremendous amounts of energy from our nights. If the energy is still there, we’ll definitely continue.”
Yuri: “COLORS is a Amsterdam party. We tried it at De Helling in Utrecht, but it’s hard to find you own audience in another city. We did have a bunch of fun nights there, but the energy in the room wasn’t the same. I guess we were just missing the atmosphere of the Trouw building.”
Lukas: "It was fun, but a bit too much all at once. First we all wanted to grow, take on different projects with COLORS. But I have a regular job, Volcmar is busy doing the bookings and Yuri was branching out further and further as an artist. This caused friction between us. But we’ve cut back on that. Two summer festivals, Appelsap and Lockdown, and our club nights in Trouw. The setting here is perfect: we don’t have to arrange security or stall lockers. Our only focus is the music.”

When all the big names have played your night, you would say there’s not much left. “We had just about everyone here”, Yuri and Lukas chuckle. But the UK Bass sound is becoming more diffuse and is slightly leaning towards straightforward house or techno. Where do you guys want to do/achieve in the next year?
Lukas: “I would like to bring Joy Orbison back to COLORS. He played our first two nights, but is much harder to book these days. A growing number of people are getting involved with the whole process: managers, booking agents, big Dutch agencies. This makes it hard for us. Joy Orbison doesn’t really want to be associated with UK Bass as much, so his management rather don't want him to play COLORS again. You could say that our reputation as a UK Bass night hurts us here in a way. Whereas the two nights we did with him were great.”
Yuri: “I want to expand the focus of COLORS. Not just focus on the UK-scene, but on the music we think is good. I also like playing with my DJ friends. This always creates a special vibe and energy behind the turntables. For example, Steffi’s coming over in September. I’ve known her for a long time, we’ve made music together and I wanted to do a night with her for so long. Why couldn’t that night be COLORS?
Lukas: “That’s right, it is fun to sometimes view things for a different angle. But we also want to open up the stage for our prominent figures. Jackmaster, Oneman, Benji-D: let them do a whole night. And it feels like it’s about time for a grimey Night Slugs night. That was the label everyone was talking about three years ago. They’re not in the spotlights as much right now, but they stayed true to their sound and continue to bring out cool records. A good reason to put L-Vis1990 and Bok Bok behind the turntables for a night.”
Yuri: “I would also love to book a R&B-act like Jeremih or The-Dream for COLORS. We’re all huge fans of those type of artists.”
Lukas: “Or a night with Malvin Wix. He was one of the Amsterdam based instigators that started playing a broad and open-minded selection of house, hip hop, pop hits and club bangers. Just like you would hear at COLORS.” 

COLORS will be celebrating their 3 year anniversary on Friday June 7th. Dubstep-founder Skream will be playing a house/disco set beside Cinnaman and the up-and-comer 751 from The Hague. On Appelsap August 10th in the Oosterpark, COLORS will present amongst others DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, Canadian house talent Iron Galaxy and the British über-deejay Benji B. They’ll close the summer on Sunday September 1st with the second edition of the Lockdown Festival on the NDSM-dock. Colors will host their own tent with the 2-step legend DJ EZ, house veteran Gerd and a special 808-liveset by Addison Groove amongst others. All the more reason to go and congratulate them on June 7th in Trouw. They definitely deserve it after three beautiful years.

Text: Joost de Kleine