A little while ago you’ve met Leniz for a bit when he delivered an awesome guest mix for this platform. Or actually, chances are, you already know who he is, as he’s making big waves in our beloved scene lately.
I thought it was high time to get to know Leniz even a little better, so I’ve put together a Q&A the other day and asked him about his love for music, his work in the studio and his ambitions for the next few years. So let’s dive in!
So Leniz, what a nice alias, it sounds pretty well. Where does your alias come from?
Well, it’s a bit silly to be fair. Before I started with Leniz I made drum and bass with a mate, as a duo, with the name Newcaise. If you Google it, you go straight to the Soundcloud profile, because there’s no-one with that name. Unfortunately, the project stopped though, due to the fact I was really driven, I still am, with making music. I decided to go solo and went for a name that’s not very common and easy to Google.
After a while, I came up with the idea to pronounce and write names in a ridiculous way. So I came up with Nice which I wrote as Niz. That name, in particular, wasn’t really good, so I searched for something to add to it. After randomly choosing some letters I came up with Leniz. I really liked the sound of that and I Googled it straight away to see if someone within the drum and bass scene uses it. That wasn’t the case so I decided to stick with it. Later on, I realised that it sounds a lot like Lenzman hahaha.
You’ve started writing music with the age of 12 already, that’s quite admirable. How did you develop this love for music?
The love for music was always there actually. My mum used to tell me that when I was 3 years old, I was already making up songs in my own language and I jammed on a toy guitar. So the love for music has already been present and from the age of 7, I went down the rabbit hole. It started with rock, mostly Linkin Park. Around 10 years old Monstercat and I became a proper dubstep fanboy.
Thereafter I discovered all sorts of music but still had Monstercat as my main source until one day when I found a Hardstyle track. If I recall correctly that was Neilio with Outside This World. I really fancied those vibes and it pulled me straight in. When I was in the last class of primary school I had a mate who also listened to Hardstyle and one day we were thinking: “how awesome would it be if we could make music and perform”. So we started making Hardstyle together.
The dream started early and I managed to push through. In the end, the collaboration went dead, mainly because I was way more serious about making music as my mate. After producing solo for a little while I grew some lack of motivation. Mostly because it was really hard to make progress, there was almost no support and I didn’t like a lot of the new Hardstyle tunes that came out. Eventually, I dove into the world of drum and bass and after two years of working within the scene, I’m here haha.
Because of your age, you’re studying I reckon?
Absolutely! I’m graduating from HAVO this year and afterwards, I’m planning to get a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. Because I think HRM suits me really well. But first graduating and enjoying an extra long holiday!
Nowadays you’ve released your tunes on labels as Fokuz, Celsius, Differential and Soul Deep, that’s really wicked! What else do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
For the next few years, I’ve laid out some goals. The biggest goal is to release a tune on vinyl. That seems pretty dope to me and I’m working towards that. Also, I’d like to release another solo EP on Fokuz, and I’d like to release my music on Liquicity and on Hospital as well. Gig wise, I’d love to play Hospitality On The Beach or Sun And Bass. It seems like achieving that is miles away, but I’m going for it in the coming years. I didn’t expect to play for Liquicity Festival this year and that’s happening, so who knows?!
Where do you get inspiration for producing your music?
That’s a tough question, to be honest. There’s nothing specific that gets me inspiration, at least I’m not aware of it. I think listening to other genres of music and all kinds of drum and bass inspire me to make music. I listen to a lot of different genres outside drum and bass, Trap, House, Hip-hop, Garage, Ambient to name a few! As long as it is dirty and greasy or chill and vibey!
Who would you like to collab with someday?
Pff there’s so many. The ultimate dream would be a collab with Seba, Paradox, Total Science, Break, Calibre or DLR. Simply, because I just really value their work and I think of them as heroes. But I would also like to work with artists like Edlan, SiLi, Askel, Nexus & Tight, The Outsiders or Telomic. And it can be quite interesting to work with artists outside of drum and bass. Making some sort of crossover tune between different genres. Although it depends on what the other party does, I’m always open to experimenting with different styles and sounds.
Are you working on some new tracks right now?
Yes, I’m working on some collabs and some solo tracks as well. Hopefully, there’s a new solo release coming in the near future. At the moment I’m working on some collabs with Dustkey, 2 tracks with Painted Skies, a collab with Critical Events and some more solo things. The only one forthcoming is a tune for Atmomatix called Memories, that one is going to be featured on their Charity LP, Not Enough memories. All proceeds from the LP go to ISPCAN, The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
Samples or VST’s?
I’d go for samples. Although I’ve started making music at a young age, I’ve never really worked with musical theory. I’ve never had any music lessons and I can’t write melodies, so that’s not my strongest quality. That’s why I almost never use VST’s, because for instance if you write piano chords (something that Dustkey does) it’s turning out shit if you can’t write melodies properly.
But I’ve used VST’s before, for example for the melody in the track Sunset that I made with Alexvnder. I did write the melody of that track and it worked. Most of the time I try to use them the result is useless though. I use VST’s for bass only.
Name 3 of your favourites tunes of this moment
That’s so hard when you listen to so music as I do, so an overall top 3 is impossible. At this moment I’d go for:
What does drum and bass mean to you?
Drum and bass means the world to me. Because of it, I’ve met so many new people whom I might have never met. Thanks to drum and bass I made a few genuinely good friends, in particular, the Differential squad! Generally speaking, the drum and bass scene is super chill and I feel at home within the scene. The vibes of the genre are the best and it’s without a doubt my favourite genre. Partly because it’s a really diverse genre, there’s something for everyone. Drum and bass took me to a lot of different spots where I would otherwise never go or at least not at this age. It basically gave me a “life” because I really would have no idea what I would have done outside of music.
Can we see you play somewhere soon?
Oh yes! I’m playing the Liquicity Festival in July, I’m really looking forward to that. And there’s also King-S Kingsday Festival in April and Liquicity Antwerp and State of Unrest in May.
Where can we follow you online?
The best way to follow me is on Soundcloud, Facebook and Instagram. Soundcloud for new tunes, Facebook for announcement and Instagrams for WIPS and clips, annoucement and all that. I’m also on Mixcloud, but I’m not very active on that platform, there are quite some mixes there though. Check it out, you might find something nice.
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