Trouw if possible

Interview with Job Jobse

Trouw if possible

24-09-2014 | 14.57

After weeks of planning and a series of delays, Job Jobse’s voice finally cuts through the lo-fi Skype ringtone as his image blurs into view. “Good morning, Job and thank you for accommodating our early appointment.” We’re both looking a bit puffy around the eyes – 9AM is not the natural domain of the club enthusiast, after all – but whereas my weary disposition is merely the result of a lack of sleep, Job’s is seeded in something far more interesting and worthy of his character. He has just returned from the Burning Man festival and it seems that the desert is still on his mind. “I’m still recovering from the emotional exhaustion of not being in that place. The experiences I’ve had were something else. I went there to play originally, but as soon as I was there, it didn’t matter.“ 

His appearance at Burning Man stands as a great testament to a DJ that started his career handing out flyers as a scrawny 17 year old for 11, Trouw’s predecessor. “I looked more like sixteen at the time. Club 11 was really close to my house and through the Internet I got to know the music that played there." This work ensured he was on the guest list for most of the events at 11 during the last year of its opening. “I was only doing this to go to the nights. I hated this job. I wasn’t good at it either.” It was during this period he struck up a very important friendship. “There was this guy Olaf (Boswijk), who was always standing behind the DJ, talking to him/her and a lot of other people. I didn’t exactly know what he was doing, but I wanted to get to know him personally. He was also the reason 11 was so special.“ 

In February 2009 after the end of 11, Olaf, who had found an affinity with the plucky teenager took him on for a new venue, Trouw. “I was big-mouthed, always opinionative of the music and DJs he booked.” This idiosyncratic approach to music had a tremendous effect on Olaf. Job was given the opportunity to start his own night at the new venue and Drukpers was born. This was not to be the start to young Job’s DJ career however, but it at least offered him an opportunity to bring some very exciting acts to Amsterdam. “The cool thing was that this was the opening night of the club. He (Olaf) became the resident DJ and I came up with who was playing.” It led to nights featuring the likes of Todd Terje and Metro Area, while Job was still honing his own skills as a DJ at home, but not for long. “I wasn’t a good DJ at all.” Djing was to be a hobby for the most part of his teenage years as he experimented with hip-hop, but only finally bit him for good when he moved into Disco and electronic synth music from the eighties. “I liked that happy feel-good music. I really liked James Holden in the beginning. Kind of cheesy stuff really, closer to pop music.”

He eventually received his first real opportunity in the subterranean bowels of Trouw’s toilet as the alternative DJ to the night in the main room. “There was this gay night upstairs where they played only the hardest and meanest electro/techno and I hated it, because I thought this shouldn’t be played during a gay night, there should be some proper gay disco.” Olaf agreed and the soundsystem from De Verdieping found a new home in the toilets for Plee Rave. “I just played my disco and italo and synth pop records there and the older gay people really loved it.” It is not often a DJ can boast cutting his teeth in a renowned nightclub, but this is exactly how Job became skilled at his trade. “This is where I started playing out and after a few nights I gently started mixing. First it was just record after record and at one point I had the courage to start blending two records into each other.” No one could have asked for a better, more educational start to a DJ career and this definitely comes across in the Job’s sets today. There’s a sense of fun to everything he approaches and a very discernable knowledge of the music and the audience that could only have been the product of first hand experience. “All that comes from just playing the record that I want to hear in that moment.” And that record is usually one that can speak to a huge variety of people. “I guess because my tastes are quite wide and I always like it when a track has something in it that is recognizable or special, it is quite appealing to a lot of people.” He often plays on this element, not afraid to experiment with the kitschy side of electronic music re-appropriating it for a particular time and the place – similar to the way the Ed-banger guys did it in the early part of their careers. It lends a factor of fun to every Job Jobse set and his audience will often reciprocate as he becomes wrapped up in the euphoria of the moment.

This is also where the influence of Malawi is important to stress. Job Jobse perks up when I mention the collective. I’m not sure if it is the potassium in the banana he’s just consumed or the general gratification he gets in talking about his friends, but there is a discernable joy in his voice. “Malawi, they should be mentioned everywhere!” Malawi started out as a big group of friends listening to music. “We are kind of the same person. I was just the one that was playing the music out.” They would get together regularly to share music and when Friday night came along, Job would play the combined result to a busy dance floor. “We were in the same mindset where it didn’t matter who was playing the track, it just mattered it was there and we were able to dance to it.” It eventually led to a regular Sunday night spot at Bar Basis, a bring-your-own-food joint in Amsterdam, where the entire group could get involved and select records. “We were baking pizza’s, playing records and drinking beer.” 

Today, you might recognise the names of Arif Malawi and Luc Mastenbroek as other successful members of the Malawi group, but it was Job Jobse’s journey with Trouw that was to play the most significant role in his career. Where other DJ’s all try to get to the point of being a resident DJ at Trouw, Job’s career trajectory worked in the opposite manner. “I practised while playing in the fucking Toilets, playing disco records.” This surreal start made Job the DJ he is today and the bookings have now slowly started flooding in from the likes of Burning Man to Panorama bar. However, it is the Resident of the Month plaque and the all-nighter at Trouw that is to be the highest achievement for Job as a DJ to date and far removed from his humble beginnings. “How I began being attracted to this DJ stuff was being on the dance floor and listening to the music.” He would cultivate a set in his head while watching other DJs and when his time behind the decks eventually came he would have a set of records that comprised of the tracks or songs he most wanted to hear. “Instead of playing the latest 20 hits, I had the 20 records I have been waiting to play the most in the last four years. Because of that the set wasn’t boring at all.” And this attitude has now been transposed to the all-nighter he has been waiting to do since he first set foot in the cavernous halls of Trouw. “I’ve already been thinking about this for five years.” And if that statement is something to go by, we are in for a best-of moment, the likes of which Trouw has never seen.

Our interview slowly winds down. It’s been a long one and the fatigue in Job’s voice is evident as he struggles to vocalise his intentions for the all-night set and his musical future, but there’s one question that looms over us like the inevitable anvil waiting for the coyote, the end of Trouw. I didn’t really want to bring this old chestnut up again, but Job’s history is so intertwined in the venue that it was eventually impossible to ignore. “It’s gonna be quite difficult for me because I’m so emotionally attached to this place.” There’s a long pause... “For me to not be able to not go there anymore – not only not being able to play, but also not being able to attend a night there and to work with those people again – is going to be quite difficult to get used to. It’s where everything started happening for me.” As a DJ that is now booked in places like Panorama bar, Job’s career is definitely on the right path. He doesn’t only rely on his bi-monthly bookings here anymore, but it is still an incredibly unique relationship that the DJ shares with the venue and he would be hard pressed replicating it elsewhere. “It’s never going to be the same as Trouw.” He plans on being there on the last few nights in full force and it’s only natural that it should end as it began, on the dance floor, listening to the music, dancing with friends. “It has been the most important place in my life.”

Text: Mischa Mathys
Photo credit: Arif Malawi