For the past few years, Nicholas Been, has created a name for himself within ISKL for his knack of mixing tracks. He is recognized by his pseudonym, “DJ Been”, which initially started out as a joke with his peers, but soon became a name that stuck. Gradually, more and more people started hiring him at events, where he usually plays alongside his friend, Thibaud L.
Nick’s interest in electronic music only started 4 years ago, but it soon evolved into a hobby in the 10th grade. He was introduced to the art form by his friends, and was taught the basics by Thibaud, such as to transition songs and use the controller. From then on, he got inspiration from his favorite artists, such as Hardwell and Martin Garrix – both world renowned DJs that hail from the same motherland as Nick. Their influences are prevalent in his style, as he prefers upbeat music around 128 BPM.
He says, “I watched live streams, like Ultra Music Festival, and was amazed how this one guy can transform a crowd of like, 40,000-50,000 people. I wanted to know more about the type of music I listen to, and this is how I got in touch with it … when I watch their sets on live stream, I’m always inspired and eager to get behind the booth, and practice it.”
Although this particular music scene is still a growing industry, it has been received positively in ISKL. In August 2015, Nick was finally able to get a taste of what it felt like to transform a crowd. Starting off humbly on an ironing board at a friend’s birthday party, he was able to see the effects of his music, as people danced to his tracks. After that exposure, his gigs have become a monthly occurrence, where he can share his craft.
Granted, people still tend to have misconceptions about DJing and electronic music, as it is a relatively young genre. Nick adds, “People here think that you just press a button, and you pretend to twist some knobs.” In reality, there is much more preparation required in order to mix. Before gigs, both Nick and Thibaud create a playlist of around 500 songs that fits their style, the host’s preference, and the target audience they are playing for. From then on, they have to analyse the atmosphere of the crowd, and fit the music appropriately as they go. For example, for when there aren’t that many people on the floor, they play slower songs, but as more people gather, they bring in songs with more beats per minute. Nick describes the movement of the crowd as “waves”, and so he uses this method to engage people for as long as possible. Another difficulty that both he and Thibaud face is when people come up with song requests. Although they try to cater to different music tastes when creating their playlists, there have been a few complaints about the music choice. An instance would be when a certain Spice Girls fan requested the track “Wannabe” at a party back in October. Both Nick and Thibaud have had to say “no” to several people, as there is a misconception that they can pull off and play any song off of YouTube. Also, as both Nick and Thibaud have different music preferences – with Nick preferring electro-house, and Thibaud’s inclination for rap or deep-house – choosing songs can be difficult. However, they rarely have conflicts, so mixing together is beneficial, so they can be more involved at the party, and socialize.
As of now, DJing remains a hobby in Nick’s life. Currently, he has no original tracks, but would consider working on one in the late future. After graduation, he hopes to continue to mix at parties in the Netherlands.