Julian Anthony is a Dutchman who has been receiving a lot of love from the London scene over the last year. During our short time together on a sunny day in February, I got an insight into his uniquely efficacious mindset and learnt about his exciting plans for the rest of 2022.
Julian absolutely radiates positivity – to such a degree that it was actually difficult to get him to frown during our photoshoot! This is testament to his mantra: “being positive always.” It’s something he attributes much of his success to.
“Law of attraction is a huge thing for me. I think if you’re manifesting and thinking things into existence then it works out for you. There are a lot of people that don’t see themselves doing things, but you can do whatever you want. If you really want something then you have to put in the work of course, but with work comes opportunity. It’s been a defining feature of my career. The Raspberry Flurry track, which came out on Beeyou, comes to mind. It’s a funny story actually: I met Reece [Laidlaw] like six years ago in Ibiza and we clicked straight away. We didn’t see each other for like four years after that, but while he was playing in the Netherlands I suggested we invite him on to a radio show that I host with a collective called Tripmode. From there our friendship really took off. I sent him ‘Raspberry Flurry’ and he immediately wanted to sign it, but I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to release it! For some reason he heard something in it that I hadn’t. I’d heard it so many times, and I didn’t think the track was worth releasing. I left it for a year actually, but that track opened a lot of doors for me and it all happened organically.”
As well as his tight bromance with Laidlaw, Julian also shares a powerful bond with fellow Dutchmen Samuel Deep and Julian Alexander.
“When I started to go to parties it was Slapfunk that really introduced me to that sound. I was really getting into it. I always went on my own to these parties. They would always see me at their parties and I must have caught their eye for some reason. I was just there enjoying myself in the front, smiling, with my afro. They’re the reason I started making music. They really took me under their wing. The Slapfunk boys actually taught me how to mix.”
Julian bears his signature wide smile as he recounts his relationship with the Slapfunk founders. Another close friend Julian was keen to discuss was rising Dutch star Locklead, who actually originates in the same city as Julian – Utrecht.
“I met Locklead at a party in Utrecht. He introduced me to the scene. That’s where it took off from. I’ve known him from way back. I’m really happy to see him doing his thing. He’s an amazing producer. He took his time to find his own sound and identity, but now he’s doing really well. He’s really funny too – he never fails to make me laugh! He can do impressions too – he can do a perfect imitation of Cleveland Brown!”
I ask Julian about the underground dance scene that exists in Utrecht, the party town that he frequented when he first started attending parties.
“Utrecht is really good for parties. It used to be better for illegal ones but they are cracking down harder on them these days. Slapfunk started out doing illegal parties there 10 years ago. There was this one illegal party from Slapfunk in this huge old bakery in Utrecht Overvecht. It was actually really huge. You could easily fit one thousand people inside if you’d use the whole space. You had to open the wall to get inside of the bakery and the Slapfunk boys threw a sick party in there. It was a really hot summer day as well. I think it was in August and it was a total mess since there were so many different people. I remember that the police were patrolling around the venue but they didn’t come in until like the next day around 3. The Police eventually told us that if we cleaned this space in a few hours before they came back again, then it’s alright. And that’s exactly what we did. Till this day i don’t think there’s been a case that a Slapfunk party got rolled up.”
Julian is tied to most of the big labels (PIV, Slapfunk, VBX) within the Netherlands in some form or another, but he also is part of his own outfit, known as Tripmode, “Tripmode is a collective of guys who were in the scene but didn’t fit with this or that, so we started our own crew. We’ve thrown some illegal parties – never done a legal party actually, maybe that will come this year. We’re gonna release a VA this year as well, just got the masters back. It’s gonna be just us on this release – so that’s myself, Raw Equipment, William Caycedo, Daniele Temperili and Borren – then solo EPs following that.”
The track that undeniably catapulted Julian into the London underground consciousness is the dangerously hypnotic Raspberry Flurry, released under Laidlaw’s Beeyou Records. I ask about its origin, which Julian recalls with an affectionate grin.
“There’s a funny thing about the name of this track. I always remember my dad taking me to the McDonald’s drive thru. He would always go for a raspberry McFlurry but he always called it a ‘raspberry flurry’. I would always try and correct him but he was sure his name was right.”
There’s an unreleased Julian Anthony track within Lawlaw’s Hide & Seek festival mix that has caught the ear of many listeners. I ask about a potential release.
“So that track was actually taken from an EP I made with Joren Edwards. It was meant to be coming out on Beeyou records but we lost the files! Joren had the pre-masters on a stick that was lost when he moved house. We made the tracks together in the studio, so only he had the files. It happens, man. It might be our motivation to make even better music now. You never know, Joren might find the tracks when he’s cleaning up his house in the coming months! It’s like when you lose your ID card, get a new one and then three months later you find the old one. It’s a sick feeling! If we find these tracks we’ll be getting it out immediately.”
His reaction to losing an entire EP worth of music perfectly embodies Julian’s relaxed happy-go-lucky attitude towards life. Nothing seems to phase this man. He exudes the very essence of the law of attraction: taking a spot of bad luck and flipping it into a driver for him to make something better.
You’d be hard pressed to deny the influence older music is having over the current generation of dance music, whether that’s emulating the style, structure or sound of the previous decade’s material or just sampling their records. I invite Julian to share his thoughts on the phenomenon. If you listen back to 90s house and break it down, it’s just a drum machine, a synthesiser and a mixer with ten channels – that’s it. Now with Ableton you can put in 40 channels and you can do crazy shit. Back in the day they didn’t have all this, and it still sounds amazing. If you listen back to old Todd Terry stuff, it’s like 30 years old and still sounds so good. I went to a seminar of his with Locklead and we were asking him how he mastered the tracks back then. He told us, “We didn’t. If it sounded good in the club, it sounded good. I don’t give a shit if the kick is clipping, if it sounds good, it sounds good.”
“That’s what we’re losing right now because we’re so focused on the levels. Sometimes the happy accidents, things that break the rules, actually make the whole track. Raspberry Flurry is a happy accident. The loop in the background – ‘doo-du-doo-du-doo-du’ – it was an old track on arpeggio and I wanted to make a four-bar loop, but I accidentally slid it back to a three-bar loop and then it looped over the track . I was like: ‘hey, this works’. That’s how it happens man.”
Another throwback to the 90s many producers are tapping into these days is the use of aliases. I ask Julian if he’s ever thought about creating one himself. He smiles mischievously.
“So there’s this one track I put out on PIV that’s called The Only Way. It’s from JAE, which are my initials. The funny thing is I made this track just for fun and sent it to Prunk and Stussy, who I thought would play it. They played it at S.A.S.H. and Prunk was loving it and wanted to sign it straight away for the Five Years VA. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to release it under the Julian Anthony name, so he convinced me to use an alias. It’s weird because nobody ever found out it was me, even though it’s so obvious. I might even have some more vocally house to release under this name. I’m really open to new aliases – they’re fun.”
Julian’s social media is filled with shots and videos of him playing in various clubs across England. I ask if he has a special affinity for England.
“‘Raspberry Flurry’ did a lot for me when it blew up. I love London, I love England in general. The thing is, Amsterdam was closed due to COVID, and I basically got picked up here from that track. So I just went for it. I love London because, like Amsterdam, it’s a mix of different people from different cultures and you can feel it in the city. It’s in everything: the buildings, the food, the way people interact with each other. That’s what I love – when people from different generations and backgrounds come together. That’s what this city breathes. With a well received track on Before Records, released a week before our chat, and having already spoken about the Tripmode VA, I wanted to find out what else Julian was excited about for the coming year.”
“I sent a good friend of mine, DJ Tjizza, who runs Mood Waves, an EP from myself and Mathijs Smit, which he liked. It’ll be released as a VA called Orange Waves [just for Dutch artists orange being the Dutch native colour.] under Mood Waves. He’s [DJ Tjizza] a really talented producer and a great guy. I really liked his electro-y sound and the moods that he creates with his labels, so I gave him a follow. He followed me back and we started to chat on Instagram. He’s Dutch but actually lives in Berlin, and while I was there with my girlfriend for a few days last year I asked him to link up for a bite. He’s a cool guy. Very busy guy as well, he runs LOWMONEYMUSICLOVE and Mood Waves. He has a really cool collective of friends/DJ’s around him in Berlin including Velasco, Giammarco Orsini, Shaque and Jacopo Lantini. This is another crew and sound that I really appreciate.”
Whilst chatting I noticed Julian’s unique-looking jewellery and asked about its significance. He begins by pointing at his bracelet and sharing his personal connection to the piece.
“My ancestors were slaves. My last name is Everduim, which was a slave name back in the day. When a slave was released they were given a new surname to replace their slave number by the person that brought them over. This bracelet signifies the slave chains that were broken during the end of slavery. You see it’s open? I wear it because it’s important to remember that it happened and it’s good that it has stopped. But you have to remember, to know what really happened.”
“In Dutch culture, there are a lot of Black pages of history that don’t fit into the history taught in our schools. They don’t acknowledge what happened. But it’s important to talk about it: to remember it, to respect it – to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Racism is still such a big thing across the world. In the Netherlands for example, we have a tradition that ‘Sinterklaas’ [Santa] has a helper called ‘Black Pete’. The character would climb down people’s chimneys to deliver presents, getting covered with chimney tar in the process. Dutch people would dress up as ‘Black Pete’ by painting themselves black, with red lipstick and wear big hoop earrings. During the Black Lives Matter worldwide protests, the Government decided it makes no sense for Black Pete to be black so they changed it – a decision that led to an outcry from some Dutch who believe the tradition should not have been altered.”
“Growing up, racism wasn’t that tough for me. I think I have experienced my fair share of racism in my life, but I didn’t let it bother me too much. I think that if you don’t let it bother you, it doesn’t let them have the power. Why would you give someone like that the power? Sometimes, not reacting is better. It doesn’t give them ammunition to shoot. That’s what I always try to do. I try to focus on better things in the world.”
“This ring features the Native American headdress. I wear it because my ancestors were Native Americans. This thing around it is a mattenklopper which is a sign that your ancestors were hard workers. They worked hard to get you to where you are right now. You’re a free person now, so don’t forget it. Appreciate where you are today. You can only get a ring with a mattenklopper as a gift from someone else. Most of the time you get it from someone close to you so it could be your parents, girlfriend or a dear friend. It symbolises friendship and love and if you get it from someone, you are the only one who should ever wear it. The mattenklopper was used to sweep back in the day, so it also symbolises sweeping away all the bad things that will be in your path. In this way, there will only be space for the good things.”
“My close relatives come from Suriname, in South America. My ancestors come from Native America, Indonesia and Suriname. My father has always been listening to disco, reggae and classic Caribbean music, which feature a lot of drums and percussion. I think this variety definitely translates into my music as well. I’ve always been around drums and happy vibes. I think it’s harder for me to make darker music because of this.”
He smiles again with his infectious, full-faced grin. Nothing can ruin Julian’s good mood. I already know, no matter what transpires over the course of 2022, Julian will still be smiling, putting out great beats and remaining positive, always.