Author: Bridget Benevides
One of my favorite things about music is its ability to make time stand still, to make ordinary moments sparkle and to bring people together. The beauty of live music is you get all of this and then some. Everything about the music you love is enhanced. For me, having the opportunity to meet an artist brings the whole thing full circle. I think it is easy to see an artist up on stage and feel worlds away, but I have had the unique opportunity to sit down and talk with DROELOE (pronounced “Droo- Loo”) about what makes them them. To attach faces to the name, to laugh and connect. Below is the transcription of my conversation with Vincent Rooijers and Hein Hamers of DROELOE.
Bridget Benevides: “Chocolate or vanilla?”
Vincent Rooijers: “Chocolate for me.”
Hein Hamers: “Yeah, chocolate.”
BB: “Mountains or oceans?”
HH: “Why not both?”
BB: “Cats or dogs?”
VR: “Dogs too, I think.”
BB: “What is a small thing that makes your day better?”
VR: “Definitely. That and bass music.”
BB: “What do you do to get rid of stress?”
VR: “Stretch and just jumping, getting more in your body… it’s not easy sometimes, to get rid of stress.”
HH: “Yeah, I’m trying to think of what I do to get rid of stress. I notice that I have been getting immune to stress, I don’t know if that’s from dealing with stressful situations a lot.. You learn to cope with them I guess. I always think that stuff is not permanent, and it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”
VR: “There is always another way to look at things.”
HH: “Yeah, I think that’s the thing. Just try and look at things from a different perspective and try to not stress out.”
BB: “What do you think it is about your music that fans respond so well to?”
VR: “I’d like to think, and I don’t know if this is true, but I’d like to think that… I feel that the music is us, we’re not trying to copy something else, hopefully that authenticity turns into some sort of relatability.”
HH: “I mean, we hope that authenticity shines through. We make stuff that we really really like and then it’s amazing that people connect with it.’
VR: “Yeah, and in the end that’s more up to them.”
BB: “How do you get ready for a show?”
VR: “Again, stretching.” (laughs)
HH: “My answer is the same, stretching.”
VR: “Stretching is underrated”
HH: “Our manager introduced us to it, it’s basically just holding up your arms and trying to spread your arms as wide as possible is very alleviating for some reason”
BB: “What do you hope fans remember or take away from your shows?”
VR: “Maybe this is corny, but a feeling of connectedness with the people they were with or the people they met during the show.”
HH: “Also super corny, but we try to transport people into a little capsule of time for that hour and 15 minutes.”
BB: “What inspires you to make music?”
VR: “Things that we go through. For me, making music is…”
HH: “Cathartic, kind of like therapy”
VR: “Yeah, it’s definitely cathartic to make music and that’s where a lot of the inspiration and the themes come from, it’s very much based on our own experiences.”
HH: “Yeah, that’s it. A little thing called life.”
BB: “How did you get your name?”
VR: “It started as a joke, it was a joke, well it literally means “sh*t”, but people use it to mean “sh*tfaced” so we were like “Heyyy we’re gonna make some trap music, what should we call ourselves? Droeloe boys! We thought it was hilarious at the time. Then we came to America and everyone was like ‘Drow- low?’”
After that, they joked about their name some more and I wrapped up the interview. In the hall where we conducted the interview, we talked to a man named Zach, who is doing photography for the band while they’re on the west coast. Zach introduced me to a local nonprofit that he works with called Youth in Focus. He works with adolescents and teaches them about concert photography, how to apply for a press pass, and how to present yourself/ your work to employers. Now I’m thinking why didn’t I know about this sooner and where is the adult version? It was really fun to talk to Zach about something he is passionate about (and then see him working his passion taking photos later in the night), and I hope to connect with him later to learn more about Youth in Focus.
Sophie, who takes pictures for these reviews, and I headed out from the green room to find The Showbox humming with light activity. Doors had opened and a few people milled around at the bars and a few fans had already taken their place in front of the stage.
Before long, we were met with the first opener of the night: Quiet Bison. When I learned he was only 18 years old, he instantly earned my respect. I thought about how long and hard people work to make a name for themselves, and to have done it and be on tour at such a young age speaks to his talent and fearlessness. His name is Quinn Brown, and he is from Portland, Oregon. He wore a yellow long sleeve shirt and his dark brown hair framed his face. Members of the audience were incredibly enthusiastic, they jumped and whooped and hollered. I was happy to see people getting hyped for the openers because they’re the future of music; all of our favorite artists started somewhere and deserve that support.His music took me on a ride; I went from “I’m not quite sure what is going on.” to “Hey wait, I dig this, I’m dancing, I like it.” pretty quickly.
One of my favorite parts of the opening set was looking towards the green room and seeing Taska Black, DROELOE and many members of the management team standing on the steps leading to the green room laughing, chatting and bopping to the music.. I am sure that bands listen to their openers when they are back stage, but to see them come out from backstage to see the performance warmed my heart. The support and connectedness that I witnessed from this team is something I will touch on more throughout the article.
The second opener was Taska Black. Here we have another young artist pushing the boundaries of electronic music and fostering a unique sound that is all his own. The 22 year old musician is from Antwerp, Belgium and has been slowly gaining speed since 2016 when he caught the ear of San Holo (similar to DROELOE). He does remixes and makes his own delicately crafted, multi- instrument EDM songs. He was very engaging with the audience, counting down to the drops and coming out from behind the table to dance with us.
A few members of the audience wore Taska Black jerseys and sang along to every word. And as his set went on, the excitement in the room increased. Looking around, I was surprised to see that the audience was majority male. I think it is interesting to note the demographic of an artist’s fan base, and one thing that stood out to me was the lack of women in the venue. I looked around me and wondered how each person in the audience connected to the music. When listening to music, especially songs with little to no lyrics, the experience can differ so greatly from person to person. We all joined together to see an artist we love, but the reason we chose to come varies greatly from person to person.
It was definitely interesting to have an EDM show at our little Showbox Market, because I usually associate Market with more tame shows. But the size of the venue did not stop the audience from bouncing, head banging and taking up space with their joy and excitement. Taska Black set a good tone for the rest of the night and I could not imagine a better opener.
After Taska Blak left, the lights on the stage dimmed and the team hurried onto the stage to prepare for DROELOE. I had a unique opportunity, standing in the front against the rail, to see all the moving parts of this big night. Of course, I know that there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to putting on a show, but seeing be done so seamlessly by this team really impressed me. Later in the night, amidst some technical difficulties, members of the team floated back on the stage, careful to stay in the background and worked quickly to resolve the issues. I stood there, smiling, as I realized how much music relies on teamwork. I think it is easy to have your favorite artists, go to their shows and leave happy but I often forget to recognize and be thankful for all the people behind the scene who work tirelessly to ensure we have a positive experience. DROELOE’s team was always on standby, laughing and smiling together, enjoying the show and being prepared to step in if need be. So, to the team, the management and everyone who is not on the stage: thank you.
Vincent Rooijers came to the stage wearing the most genuine and excited smile I have seen from an artist. Not once did I question if he wanted to be there, I didn’t question if he was tired or if it was an act. He radiated happiness and this happiness was apparent in his music, in his movements and it seeped into the audience.
He stood inside a large box, maybe 8’ x 8’, built from bright light rods. Tubes of light also snaked across the stage to two small platforms that Rooijers periodically came out to. This was one of the simplest light displays I have seen– no lasers, no strobes, but it was so sophisticated. I think we have Hein Hamers to thank for that, with his background in visual arts, he was able to masterfully create a dynamic light show that complimented the music perfectly. A fog machine was turned on high and white smoke spilled off the stage. The smoke seemed to hold the light so every corner of the set was illuminated.
Rooijers would regularly come out of his box of light to the front of the stage, stare out into the crowd and smile brightly. He jumped up and down when the music dropped and in those moments he and the audience were one. He played trumpet and the box drum, which brought more depth and dimension to the music and made the audience erupt in impressed cheering.
The technical difficulties were met with a laugh and a quick apology and in no way disrupted the flow of the show.
Sophie and I stood in awe at the beauty and talent we were experiencing. She later told me that when she was recounting the experience to her mom, she almost cried because she thought it was so incredible. Walking out of the venue my legs felt like they were full of lead because I had been dancing and jumping all night.
It was one of those concerts that I knew would be good, and then experiencing it, it met and exceeded all of my expectations.
Thank you Quiet Bison and Taska Black for introducing me to new music and for getting the night started perfectly. Thank you to the men passing out water to the people on drugs. Thank you to the Heroic management team for supporting college radio. Thank you DROELOE for sitting down and talking with me about yourselves and your music. Thank you for making time stand still.
Bridget Benevides | Perfect moments | KXSU Music Reporter