Maarten Hoogstratengot became hooked on electronic music when he was a kid and over the next decade began recording, in 2006, with his co-producer Paul Baümer under the moniker, Bingo Players. A few short years later with chart-topping hits such as ‘Get Up (Rattle)’ and ‘Cry (Just a Little)’ Bingo Players were propelled high into the DJ Mag Top 100 list in 2013 and 2014.
“If you can find solace and continue what we started, please do so. Please continue the music. Carry on the Bingo Players flag” – Paul Baümer, RIP 2013
Interview and photography by Mike Greene
Mike: What inspires you?
Marten: I find inspiration from all over the place… It really can be anything. Most of my inspiration comes from other music though, and I’ve always found that listening to different types of music pushes me to create, and also allows me to borrow elements from different music styles into my own productions. Documentaries, books or even walking around outside can suddenly give me inspiration. I’m sure that sounds cheesy but it’s true! I find quite a lot of the time when I switch my mind off from producing and trying hard to come up with ideas, they just flow into my mind. I tend to note them down on my iPhone so I don’t lose the ideas – I am sure you can imagine what my Notes section looks like!
Mike: Do you think your style for creating has changed at all, whether with music or videos, over the course of your career?
Marten: Yes definitely! You have to keep things fresh and keep being inspired. Quite often I will even look back at our early releases and work in order to spark a new production using classic Bingo Players elements, which was exactly what happened with one of my recent originals, ‘Curiosity’. Things change fast in the music industry and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Saying that, I try not to focus too much on what other DJs are doing, because I want keep my music personal. I just do whatever I feel at that time so I’m not limiting myself on the creative process. I think a lot of the time, producers pay too much attention to what others are doing, and the results are releases that all sound pretty similar.
Mike: What’s the process when creating a music video? Is the concept created based on the specific song, or have you previously come up with video concepts and then associate songs as they’re created?
Marten: It’s always the song first and then the video. It’s amazing to see how other people interpret a song and think of the visuals that can compliment it. When we start building ideas there’s always someone who brings a crazy idea to the table, and then we work off of that. These days, it has become very difficult to hold people’s attention when it comes to music videos, as people have become so used to short and condensed videos (Vines, or 15 second Instagram videos)… so when you’re creating a music video, you’ve got to try hard to captivate the viewer!
Mike: What’s been the role you’ve taken in previously created music videos? Are you hands on, or do you bring someone in to take over.
Marten: I help develop the concept and go over the storyboards with the team, then they start shooting. I like to be involved because at the end of the day, it’s Bingo Players’ name an reputation on the line, and I would not like to have a music video out there that I am not 100% proud of! Up until now all the videos have come out really well and I am looking forward to creating more in the future.
Mike: Do you feel that the passing of Paul, your partner in music, has affected the way you create music and are inspired?
Marten: Of course. Paul was always my instant feedback in the studio. He had a clear vision of how the songs should sound, and which direction we should take it. He was great with arranging songs too. Now i’m alone and have to send out my ideas to other people, which could take a while to get their opinion on. I always try to think about what Paul would say when I need to make a decision that I’m not sure of.
Mike: We’ve previously read that the song for “knock you out” was written as a tribute to Paul. What are your feelings on that? How does the dominant female lead, in the music video, play into that juxtaposition?
Marten: Well the song is the last one we worked on together in the studio. And the lyrics are very close to his battle with his illness. The female in the video is struggling with another battle, so the lyrics are open to interpretation, but the underlying message is universal.