Showtek's Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen on working together as siblings, their EDM influences and Skrillex's skills
Showtek's brother-duo Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen talk about their love for Kendrick Lamar's 'Humble' and the stupidest thing they did in 2017 — fly to a venue despite a typhoon warning | #FirstCulture
Editor's note: In a new series called 'Brain Freeze', our contributor R Prashanth Vidyasagar puts musicians in the spotlight, seeking quick answers to an eclectic set of questions.
In our quest to find some of the best and most unique acts, we came across an electronic dance music duo who are brothers. This act, which is almost two decades old, is followed by over five million fans on social media. Brothers Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen started off when they were teens and worked towards being the best in the business. Today, this Dutch DJ duo has collaborated with world-renowned DJs and music producers such as Tiesto, Hardwell, David Guetta and more. If you still haven’t guessed, we’re talking about the ‘brothers massive’ — Showtek. We caught up with them, and boy did we hear some awesome stories.
What was the first EDM track you heard to?
We grew up in the Netherlands, where dance music has been on the radio since the 90s. At the time, EDM wasn’t a term yet, but the music that was created back then was the beginning of what is now the genre. CeCe Pennington, Ace of Bass and Crystal Waters were the names that have made dance music what it is today.
Can there be love without money?
With dogs… yes!
If you could auction off one of your body parts, what would it be, why and how much would you auction it for?
Belly fat, for free! Just come and get it.
What do I have to do to be featured in one of your music videos?
Be a cartoon!
What is the best and worst thing about being a sibling act?
Being brothers is both the best and the worst aspect (laughs). In our group of friends, we have some brothers too. They hang out, but can’t work with each other. We know each other so well, we can rely on each other and we could not imagine doing this with somebody else. We give each other space, but still bully each other.
Sjoerd: Especially Wouter, he will always be the older brother, that will never change.
How much time do you spend on grooming your beard?
About as much time as it takes to read this sentence. No time for a baby face anymore.
What is your comfort food?
Sjoerd: Licorice. Salty licorice preferred!
Wouter: Dark Chocolate.
What was your favorite track from 2017?
Kendrick Lamar’s 'Humble', without a doubt. That song was and still is fire!
Can you tell us one secret about each other?
It may not count as a secret, but we try to be really healthy. We work out a lot and we try to watch what we eat, not only for ourselves but also for a better world. Wouter is basically a pescatarian, which means he eats fish (and dairy) but no meat. Sjoerd tries to be vegan as much as he can, and does not eat fish or meat at all. It’s not always easy, especially when you travel a lot. Some countries are still attached to their meat culture, but it’s for a good cause.
What was your favourite subject in school, and why?
Physical education, to get rid of belly fat (laughs) and French. Our parents were French teachers, so it was easy to study at home. For some reason, everybody in our family (including our two sisters) loved to study languages, so we all speak Dutch, English, German and French.
What is the most interesting but useless fact you know?
Flies are secretly plotting schemes when they rub their hands together.
What was the last thing you searched for on Google?
A recipe for vegan pancakes.
Have you ever been stopped at an airport and checked? If yes, when and what was it for?
Sjoerd got pulled out of the line once. He had a lot of cables in his bag, and they took him away for questioning and searched him. Yes, that means all your clothes off and a full pat down!
Wouter looks too nice to ever get questioned.
What is weirdest question you were asked while applying for a visa?
If we ever got involved in international terrorism.
What is the stupidest thing you did in 2017?
Flying to Taipei despite a typhoon warning. Not only was it very dangerous and the flight was horrible, but the show was canceled as well, and we spent 45 hours in the plane that weekend.
Sjoerd: My girlfriend calls me a 'tyfool' because she thinks that was the stupidest thing I could do.
What did you two study?
We both studied marketing and communication. To be honest, a lot of our friends went to the same schools, and it seemed like a decent and pretty useful course. We didn’t really know what to do back then, which is an issue every teenager goes through. It’s hard to find a direction or to follow your heart when you’re young. Luckily, we both spent all our time after school involved on music, which resulted in pursuing another career. But we would advise people to finish school; it’s always good to have some qualifications, even if you’re not sure about what to do.
What is your favorite reptile, and why?
A skink. It’s a reptile that’s been around for almost 200 million years. Skinks can survive in various climates by adopting different lifestyles. Just like most lizards, skinks can detach their tail in times of danger and are able to regrow them. This is the reason why we called our record label 'Skink', since this species can adjust and survive, no matter what. We think it is reflective of our career, of how we went through different phases and changes by reinventing our sound and style.
When was the last time you visited a doctor, and what was it for?
Sjoerd: I was in the hospital several times in 2017. I tore the ligaments in my ankle, and it took me 12 months to recover. I also tore a muscle in my ribs while practising Jujitsu, and I had to get another MRI done to make sure that only a muscle was affected. As if the radiation from planes wasn’t enough.
Wouter: I am the older brother, my build is stronger! (laughs)
What was the first thing you bought for your mother after your first paid gig?
Our first show paid us 300 euros, so it wasn’t much. We don’t really remember to be honest, but we do take good care of our mum.
If you could rent/sub-let one room with a DJ, who would it be and why?
We would rent out our mixing room in the studio to Skrillex. This dude’s mixdowns sound so fat, it would be a pleasure to watch him in action.
What is the one thing you two must have in your hotel rooms while on tour?
A shower without a shower curtain. Those things are always nasty, and if the hotel has these curtains, you kind of know it’s not the best hotel. Also, a hard bed; we hate soft beds.
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