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Tiffany Chung

19 May 2021

Text by Tiffany Chung

Citizens: TROBI

19 May 2021

They say the first step to getting what you want in life is knowing what you want, Bryan du Chatenier AKA Trobi has known since the age of 9. He started his music career DJ-ing at birthday parties and quickly moved on to producing and performing around the world. In this edition of Citizens, the Dutch DJ and multi-platinum producer shares his journey, passion, and vision for his future.

 

Hey Bryan, where did the name Trobi come from?

“When I was 12, I started making tropical house music. I took the ‘tropi’ from the beginning of tropical and replaced the ‘P’ with a ‘B’ because my real name is Bryan. But I don’t make tropical house anymore."

 

Why don't you make tropical house anymore?

“I'm a little bit older now. When I was 15, I was signed to Spinnin’ Records (one of the biggest EDM labels in the world) and started to make more house and EDM music. Now, for maybe three years, I’ve been making more pop music and hip hop with very big rappers and artists from a lot of different countries: Germany, France, Holland, the UK, Columbia. I like that I have more freedom to make different music. When you are a house DJ you can only release house music because your fans expect it. But now I can just make and release whatever I like."

 

I work hard everyday to make sure I achieve all my goals.

 

How did you start DJ-ing at 9 years old?

“A friend of my dad had a son who was much older than me who was a DJ. I think he was 18 at the time and I was 9. He had a DJ set in his bedroom, and I started playing with it. I told my dad I really liked it and wanted one too, so he got me a very small DJ set to test out. Then I told him it wasn’t good enough and he got me one of the best DJ sets, a CD 2000. It's a very good and very expensive set, like €4000 or something, and I was like maybe 12 so that's expensive but I paid him back fully though. He got me the nice DJ set so I could do shows, like weddings and private parties. If I got paid like maybe €100 or something, €50 was for me and €50 was for him to pay for the DJ set. With all the private shows that I did, I paid the whole thing back in 3-4 years. So, it was more like an investment for him, and it helped me get into an entrepreneurial mindset."

 

How did you get your first gig?

“Other than the weddings and house parties, I think the very first real gig in a club was when I was 14 and it was a teenager party for kids in a club. I was a resident DJ there and every two or three weeks they would throw a party."

 

Would you say that you're self-taught or did you have lessons or mentors?

“YouTube tutorials were my biggest teacher."

 

 

When did you know that this was going to be your career?

“At 16, when I was with Spinnin’ Records and started doing more shows. I knew this was going to be my career. But I was young and still working at the supermarket. It wasn’t until I was around 18 that I could quit the supermarket and fully focus on music."

 

What's the most exciting thing that you've experienced in your career so far?

“One of my China tours. I did a few. That was very dope. Also, playing Tomorrowland was a very big goal of mine."

 

Last show for tour in China.

Creamfields Shanghai.

 

 

Why was the China tour so exciting?

“It was crazy. It's not normal for someone at such a young age to tour for a few weeks in a country I have never been, playing in clubs. It was very exciting but that was more in my house music days. Now, I'm more in a different kind of music genre and I started working with Chinese rappers. That's something that I'm working on right now, connecting with Asian rappers."

 

Traveling must be inspiring for your music.

“Yeah, it’s like a new energy. New experiences of places, like Singapore, really gave me a lot of inspiration. It's such a beautiful country, really clean and beautiful buildings, beautiful nature. Same with China, it's so big, every city is different. One day I’d be in a city that was freezing and snowing and the day after I’d be in another city that was 27 degrees and sunny."

 

Trophies.

 

Right now, touring isn’t really possible so many producers are releasing music online. How do you stand out and cut through the noise?

“I just do my thing to be honest. I just make music that I like. I think the music that I like, a lot of people also like. When I release music, I also think as a DJ, so I'm like ‘why would I play this as a DJ?’ If a lot of DJs play the track, it will become more popular. I think things like this are very important and I try not to make music that is too weird. I like weird stuff but not too weird so a lot of people will listen to it."

 

 

Where do you envision your career going next?

“For now, I'm focusing on countries like France, Germany, and the UK. Next week I'm going to France to make music with very big rappers and singers. I work with every big artist in the Netherlands, and I want to work in new territories with big rappers from other countries. I also finished my Dutch album and it releases this year. It's one of the biggest projects of the year because there's no project with this many big rappers on one album in Holland. That’s the next thing I think that's going to really give my career a boost. Then hopefully I can go to the two other countries and make music there as well."

 

With @Vegedream.

With @Anas & @Mula B.

 

 

Tell me about ICEQOLD.

“It’s a new platform that I made six months ago. We sell sample packs for producers to help their beats get to the next level. Producers can also download free samples and free melodies too. A lot of upcoming artists or vocalists don't have the right tools to make their voices sound good and now you can just use your laptop and your voice sounds great. So, your demo will sound way better. For me, it's very important that all people have the same tools to grow and develop their beats. It's crazy because when you give a lot of people the same tools, you see a lot of different kinds of work. I really like it and I like it to give them the best. All the samples we create ourselves from scratch and before we release it, I will check all the samples myself. If it's not good enough, I tell the sound designers and they make it better because people deserve the best samples. I think people deserve good sources and when you buy something on ICEQOLD, you know it's quality. I use the platform for myself too."

 

Which do you prefer? A nice car or nice house?

“I'm 21, I’m at the age where I would choose a nice car but when I'm a little bit older I will choose a nice house."

 

Do you listen to your heart or listen to your head?

“Listen to my heart.">

 

New car.

 

Do you live to work or work to live?

“Live to work. I don't work because I must, I'm just doing it because I really like it. I love to go to the studio every day. Just not on the weekend because I have a girlfriend and I need to spend some time with her too of course. But when I’m not in the studio it doesn’t feel right, like I’m missing something."

 

Are you a thinker or doer?

“Both."

 

To finish our interview, can you name a person, a place, and a thing that inspires you?

“The person that inspires me is Michael Jackson. I have liked his music since I was young. The place is my studio. I really get a lot of inspiration from it. It's a building with maybe 6 studios in one place, so there are a lot of people making music and you can just walk in and listen to what they're making. The thing that inspires me is nature. I really like nature or animal sounds. I like to use a lot of those natural sounds in my music. "

Tiffany Chung

08 Aug 2021

Text by Tiffany Chung

CITIZENS: REGINALD SYLVESTER II

08 Aug 2021

Reflecting the world we live in today, Reginald Sylvester II is an abstract artist that captures moments in time on canvas. In this edition of Citizens, the New York-based painter tells us about his foray into the art world, his creative process, and the characteristic an artist needs to push the work further.

 

How did you become an artist?

“I worked corporate for a while as a graphic designer for Gap. Corp, specifically Old Navy. Got some really great advice from my Senior Designer that I should pursue my creative endeavors outside of work. That working corporate could become a bit stale for someone as young and creatively driven as I was at the time."

 

So, did you go through a starving artist phase?

“I wouldn’t call it a ‘starving artist’ phase but I definitely struggled."

 

These Songs Of Freedom II & III, 2020. Acrylic on canvas.

 

Is the business side of being an artist something you had to learn as you go?

“Most definitely. You learn as you go. The unique relationship I have with my Dealer and good friend Max has been fruitful in the sense that I’ve been able to learn as he grows. Having full transparency with your business and business partners is key."

 

When you're creating a piece where do you start?

“It all depends on the day and circumstance. I’ve noticed since I'm right handed it’s usually the upper right hand area of the surface that is confronted first."

 

How do you know when you're done a piece?

“Hard to say. Paintings are like time stamps. I suppose when I’ve lived with a work long enough, when that time is finished the work itself is finished. Then again you could say it’s never finished until it’s realized in front of the viewers beyond my studio walls."

 

When you're in the studio what do you need to help you work?

“Music, then sometimes silence. Focus."

 

What music are you listening to?

“A lot of different things. From Hendricks to Miles to Jay Z. I’ll transition into Hans Zimmerman then to Lupe Fiasco to Mary J. Blidge. Depends on the feeling, time and day."

Last Laugh, 2021.

Last Laugh, 2021. Late 1800’s early 1900’s bronze slave transport, discarded car parts, rope, and black oxidized bricks..

 

 

What do you wear in the studio?

“Painters pants, tee, and Rick Owens Birkenstocks."

 

Do you ever feel insecure about your work?

“Without a sense of insecurity there’s really no need to feel as if you need to push your work forward. No room for what ifs."

 

Shoot for @plastermagazine.

These Songs of Freedom II, 2020.

 

 

Complete this sentence. ‘An artist should always…’

“Create with humility."

 

True or false. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“Possibly true to a certain extent."

 

Here's a difficult question, do you have a favorite color?

“Navy blue, brown, and black."

 

Which artists do you pay attention to or think other people should be paying attention to?

“Artists that excite me are Janis Kounellis, Frank Bowling, Julian Schnabel, and David Hammonds to name a few. Artists to pay attention to today: Tschabalala Self, Spencer Lewis, Somaya Critchlow, and Coco Capitan.">

 

Heel chair, 2019.

 

As the art world becomes more digital, what are your thoughts on NFTs?

“No real thoughts on NFT’s pertaining to the world of art. I feel there’s other areas of focus that are more important to me at the moment."

 

To wrap things up on an inspirational note, name a person, place, and thing that inspires you.

“I think my dad is super inspirational in the sense that he just wants to build. That's all I want to do. So, the conversations that we have had as of late, or as I've been becoming my own man, they've really been based off of building belief systems, family, generational wealth, heritage."

 

“A place that inspires me is tough. It’s between Mexico City and Tokyo. They actually remind me a bit of each other. Tokyo is more of a grander place and definitely more industrial, but I think the things that I like about Japan are the little nooks and crannies. I like how things are kind of crammed together. I think with Mexico City, you find little essences of that. But the biggest reason why I like Mexico City is just the balance I feel between nature and city."

 

“The thing that inspires me is the act of making. The fact that you can think of something and use objects that already exist in the world in order to create something new. I just think it's like the closest thing we can get it to God, aside from women being able to give birth to children. Making something that didn’t exist at one point and then does for a minute, day, year, is just inspiring."

 

Article image by: Jesse David Harris