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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

29 Nov 2021

Text by Tiffany Chung

ØLÅF CITIZENS: Emmanuel Lawal

29 Nov 2021

Emmanuel Lawal is a man of many talents: model, DJ, music producer, brand consultant, but first and foremost, creative entrepreneur. In this edition of Citizens, the born and raised Londoner tells us about his city, career, and latest project – The ACS Show.

 

Hey Emmanuel, how’d you get your start in music?

“In terms of knowing what I wanted to pursue in my career, it was from being at fashion events and afterparties. I wanted to do more than just be a guest. I knew I’d love to be part of it, do nights, program nights, DJ, and everything else. But my actual start in music was just from being around musicians in general and having a community of musicians that gave us the opportunity to DJ for them, produce for them, and get immersed in their own careers."

 

How did you and your business partner, Ashton, meet?

“We were signed to the same agency when we first started modeling. I was 19 and Ashton was 16. Going to Milan, Paris, all these shows in Europe and America, we just created this bromance from traveling, living, eating, and working out together. Being like-minded individuals, we decided to join forces to create something."

Photography by Travis Gumbs.

With Ashton.

 

How would you describe your partnership?

“Whether it’s business, creative, or financial, we both do the same stuff. In terms of role and character, I’d say Ashton is the good cop and I’m the bad cop."

 

Tell us about The ACS Show.

“We were doing a lot of radio shows in London, both commercial and underground, NTS, Rinse FM, Capital XTRA and BBC Radio 1Xtra. We had these small residency series off the back of DJs that were already on those shows and what we wanted to do is to create a show within those spaces but realized very quickly that we had no creative freedom. So, we decided to just make it ourselves and do something that feels a bit more us. Be in a position to pick the guests and tailor it to our own interests. We just wanted to give people inspiring, insightful conversations from people that kind of look like us and speak like us."

 

 

Is there anything that you want to try next?

“Not really. I just want to keep carrying on with the broadcast and keep creating spaces for me to breathe in when it comes to fashion, music, and lifestyle. Everything else is just up to destiny. I'm just happy with where I'm at now."

 

Music, fashion, travel, sport. If you had to give up one for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Easily sport. Music is something I listen to every single day. Fashion is something that I have to think about in order to get ready. Sport is something that I do when I have the off time, it's a bit of a hobby, and I'm definitely not making any money from sport haha."

Fashion is something that I have to think about in order to get ready.

Self care.

 

 

What is the best and worst advice you've ever been given?

“Worst advice is probably somebody telling me somewhere along the line of ‘this is impossible, and you can't do this’. The best advice was ‘move towards it’. It wasn't even advice; I was speaking to one of my mentors at the beginning of the year and saying how much juice and energy I have at the moment and how much I wanted to create. His response was actually just ‘move towards it’ and it made me realize that even a step forward is better than a step back, even if it's a tiny step forward. "

 

What has been your favorite brand to work with?

“Prada. I loved Prada since I was a child. From the age of 12 to 15, I wore Prada to school. I didn’t go to an affluent school where people had unlimited pools of money, I saved up so much money to buy it. So, it was one of those full circle moments working with them. It wasn't something I did for the paycheck, I'm proud to wear the stuff because of the child in me that just loved to wear them in school."

 

Working with Prada.

 

 

 

What's your staple fashion item?

“My staple item would probably be jewelry because we change clothes. So, I would say somewhere between my Cartier bracelet and my Rolex."

 

Three songs that best represent you.

“At the moment:"

 

Name your favorite part of London.

“Greenwich, probably. I grew up there and it’s so different anywhere else in London. It’s not super fancy and it's not super hood, it's just normal. It’s so diverse, it’s got both historic and new monuments, and the O2 arena. It’s a good balance."

 

If you were to live in another city, what would it be?

“Berlin. We love Germany. We haven't been able to go back for a while, but we’ve been fortunate to play a few things in Berlin. It's not like there is a massive hip hop presence but the kind of people there just love the music and are there to have a good time."

 

Emmanuel with the ØLÅF Puffer Jacket.

 

Best music venue ever?

“The Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. I’ve never been there but I’m dying to go. It's incredible, from the layout of it, to the chairs, the light, acoustics, the whole thing. The design and architecture make it the best venue in my opinion."

 

 

Name a person, place, and thing that inspires you.

“Person. That’s a hard one. Can I say God? I’ll say God."

 

“A place that inspires me is London. Naturally. London has so many success stories whether it's football, music, fashion, community lifestyle, culture, business. So many people have made it here."

 

“In terms of a thing that inspires me, I would probably say, it’s an idea. The idea of achieving everything. Knowing that you could possibly achieve what you put your mind to. Even if you haven’t achieved everything that you want to achieve or know how to exactly, it keeps you going, getting to one hurdle, conquering it, then another. Then you realize everything can be done. I think that is so inspiring."