One of the biggest obstacles for music has always been generation gaps in the fanbase. The case is usually that the foundation of an artist's support is either teenagers and young adults or parents and grandparents. You rarely get a crossover that represents both. The youthful DJ and producer, De Hofnar may be the answer to the issue at hand. His style of Deep House combines real instruments with familiar House synths and rhythms to produce a blend of music that appeals to all walks of life. He may not have the same number of years under his belt like Christopher Lawrence or DJay Jung, but he creates and performs with the best of them with a motto like "YOU ARE THE KINGS, I'M JUST HERE TO ENTERTAIN YOU."
The man behind the De Hofnar name is Jeroen Maas. He was born in Tilburg, Netherlands in 1991. Music was always a part of his life, whether it was listening to it at home or taking piano lessons against his will. By the age of 15, he downloaded his first DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) since he thought "it was way cooler to make music on a computer."
He started producing as a hobby, taking lessons from one of the greatest teachers of all time--Youtube. But he later quit after becoming jaded with the whole genre. All the while, he describes his childhood as "very stable" and "normal," hanging out with friends, playing soccer, and generally being a "geek" on his computer.
Jeroen didn't make a run through the circuit of clubs and bars in his area as a young DJ. He did go online to to find some contacts since the DJ scene was small when he was starting out. He's since noticed growth. In 2013, he attended a Deep House party and fell in love with House music all over again. Jeroen felt a certain connection and realized that he wanted to get back into production, creating his hit "Zonnestraal" the next day under the name De Hofnar.
He came up with the name from his view of seeing fans as kings and queens and his desire to entertain them, since De Hofnar translates to court jester in Dutch. The house he was also living in at the time with his friends was called the Castle. As a result of becoming dedicated to his new project as De Hofnar, he put his studies in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) & Media design on hold. De Hofnar describes that moment of hearing Deep House in a new way as so:
"[The experience of a] perfect combination of acoustic and electronic music was at a Dutch Deep House festival called Pleinvrees. I heard those violins, piano, some saxophone and the day after I made my first De Hofnar track called: 'Zonnestraal.'"
To help get his DJing chops up to speed, he bought his first DJ controller and asked fellow DJs to come over and give him some instructions. Afterwards, he practiced for hours upon hours, pretending that there was a huge crowd in his room. Because of his basic familiarity with the piano and his interest in mixing analog instruments with digital ones, he's carved out his own niche in the ever growing landscape of Dance music. Since purchasing a digital piano to help with production, he regrets not listening to his mom and following through with those lessons as a child. Even without those lessons, he manages to come out with a sound that is best compared to the warmth you feel from the sun on your skin and a cool breeze flowing through your hair. It's the kind of music you can jump up and down to out of pure joy or rock back and forth in a hammock. You'll often hear a saxophone singing through a track or a guitar playfully strumming. De Hofnar explained his tendency to include the sax with this:
"I was inspired by other tracks with a saxophone included and in the beginning I couldn't work with vocals. I think the sound of a good sax can simply replace a vocal. It's just a smooth sound and really gets the crowd crazy."
Jeroen also produces music that would be classified under genres like Pop, Techno, or Hip-Hop but you won't find it with his De Hofnar name attached to it. He likes to keep that separate with its own identity. Whichever way he decides to take it, this brilliant musical mind will surely continue to induce joy and dance from wide audiences around the world.
And with a constantly evolving sound, we look forward to what compositions De Hofnar comes up with in 2016.
1. What is your favorite movie of all time?Inception
2. As a young DJ, who was the one DJ you looked up to?Avicii
3. As a DJ, what's your biggest pet peeve?I hate it when promoters can't build the right timetable on festivals. A good build up is so important for the right experience of the music.
4. What is your current set up at home?DJ setup: 2x CDJ 2000, DJM 900, Traktor S4
Production setup: Yamaha digital piano, Oxygen 49 MIDI controller, Native Instruments Maschine, 2x KRK RP6 GW, Rode NT1-A, Sennheiser HD25, Ableton, FL Studio
5. What's your favorite record of all time?Ludovico Einaudi - "Divenire." Master on the piano.