Ben Buitendijk is a DJ and producer from Rotterdam. He first came on to the scene in 2013 with a release on the Fear of Flying label with a track he made with Ivano Telepta. In 2014 his Mosaic release track “Promised Land” became a dub techno classic. Buitendijk’s discography has continued to grow on his own Rotterdam label, Oblique Music where he’s also released records from Emmanuel Top and Deniro. Buitendijk’s music is always on the deeper side of techno but his mixes vary and so does his production and label’s taste. You hear and feel a consistent line throughout all of Buitendijk’s work but that doesn’t mean it’s one-dimensional. If you’re curious about his diversity keep an eye for his forthcoming RE:VIVE track on an upcoming compilation we’ve made. But in the meantime, we wanted to find out how deep Ben’s organizational and structuring practices go or are they as free flowing as his dubbed out techno? So we asked, Ben Buitendijk, do you ever archive?
How do you organize your whole collection both digitally and physically?
Just like a lot of other creative people, I’m pretty chaotic and disorganised. On my desk are multiple piles of letters and papers, but somehow I manage to remember where I left what and can always find something when I need it. But, when I clean it, I can’t find anything anymore.
My music collection (especially records) is the same ‘organised mess’, I have three kallax cabinets and the records are somewhat organized by style. But this is a very rough categorization (techno / house / old techno / ambient) and it becomes especially messy with certain records that I can play in almost any set, since they could fit anywhere.
Maybe part of it is that I’m quite lazy, so after some gigs I literally empty my bag into the cabinet. On the other hand, that can be a good reference point for finding something again.
I’ve been thinking about organizing my records in a more structured way, but I realized that maybe this is my way and it could also influence me in a positive way. For example, if I have a certain direction for a set in mind (or am looking for a specific record), I have to go through almost everything and re-discover a lot of other stuff that I forgot about. This keeps it fresh and keeps the inspiration high, which is the foundation for playing a good set.
The downside is that now it can be quite time consuming and frustrating if I can’t find something. But sets are more than 1 record, so I think that doesn’t carry weight against the positive side.
Digitally it’s not really organised, but it doesn’t really need to be with the search function on computers. I do add ID3 tags to every track and lately have updated a lot of tracks with the corresponding artwork, because it makes them easier to recognize while scrolling through a list.
Temperature, moisture and even positioning can all have a negative effect on vinyl. Do you take any measures to preserve yours?
I store my records vertically, but that’s about it, haha. They are inside a room in my house so I don’t have to worry as much about temperature or moisture as much as when they would be in a basement.
Do you digitize all your vinyl?
No, I’m too lazy for this and prefer playing records. I did digitize some records I really wanted to play when I played in the US since I couldn’t bring them physically.
Can you speak a in a little more detail about how you structure stuff in Rekordbox?
In Rekordbox, I made some playlists based on style, but they became too big and scrolling on a screen is a very unnatural way to look for music for me. So currently, I’m simply making a playlist for each gig with some tracks that I think will fit there. If I have enough time (aka: managed to remember where all the records I want to play are), I try to go through those style-based playlist and add them to the gig-playlist. As I prefer to play vinyl, it makes sense to spend more time on that part of my preparation.
Are archives ever on your mind as a place to source new material?
Not really, but I’ve just finished a track for an upcoming compilation, where the artists were challenged to base a track on samples/field recordings from Rotterdam. It was quite refreshing, because it is a totally different workflow, so I would definitely like to explore this more. (Editor’s note: more on this soon!)
Are there things you’ve lost throughout the years that you really miss?
Luckily no, not that I’m aware off… But I have bought some records twice (or thrice) because I forgot I had already bought them… But then I just give the spare copy to friends 🙂