And now for something completely different. Following Sofa’s no-nonsense jungle adventure, we now have something so utterly nonsensical and ridiculous it will either enrage or delight you.
Please welcome gladde paling.
The smoothest eel this side of the Scheldt, part merrymaker/part mad scientist, gladde paling has been tickling fans silly with his intense two minute hype bullets for exactly a year. Launching last July, his signature is based in finding daft, surreal and plain stupid samples and flipping them into meme-ified missives that flex between jump-up, hardcore and hard dance.
Literally anything is fair game to this young talent. From the announcement sound on a Dutch Intercity Sprinter to sounds of chickens, sirens, strange spoken vocals, his own Instagram followers and cult theme tunes anyone who grew up outside of The Netherlands will have no clue about.
Sitting on the fence is impossible with this one. You will either love or hate it. But no one can deny the freshness gladde paling offers amid a sea of very similar sounds. As he says himself in this interview, people don’t go to a rave, so why be serious?
1 More Thing caught up with him just days ahead of him tearing Rampage Open Air a new one. Check the mix and find out more about this slippery enigma below…
Thank you. Quite a lot of these tunes aren’t out yet. I’m working on an album which should be out in a few months. So there’s a lot of exclusives and edits which I only use in live shows.
This is all very new isn’t it? Big Paling Sound seems to be where things really took off…
Yeah that was the second tune I released. I just thought it was funny, you know? I made the first three tunes of this project on the first day and released them all as a little test. They worked, so I kept on going – making a tune a day and putting out things, seeing how it was going.
There’s a lot going on in very short spaces of time. The tunes are two minutes tops. Run me through your process…
I get a lot of audio from old CD Roms in thrift shops. I go around, look at the discs and if I find something that might have some great audio files, I’ll put it in my disk drive and see what I can find and use. It’s funny and works really well.
Does the sample start the track?
Yeah I’d say so. I just look for samples. It doesn’t have to be a meme, I could just think it’s funny personally. It might become a meme later. I actually did an Instagram special called Fiesta Modus. I thought it would be fun to make a tune with my followers. I asked them to give me voice memos or things they wanted to say. I used nearly all of them in one way or another and it was really funny. The bass sounds are made out of vocals too.
You’re a serial recycler! I love the Sprinter / Intercity tune. Taking things that everyone recognises brings people together in a weird way doesn’t it?
I think so. And with that Intercity tune, everyone has travelled on the train and the announcement sound has been the same since I was born. Everyone knows it but they don’t expect to hear it in a set. A lot of people are like, ‘What the hell is this?’
What’s really interesting is the production level. It’s all very silly but you take the technical aspects seriously don’t you?
I do. I’ve produced for a long time now and I’ve experimented with many genres but now I’m having some fun with this. I know a lot of stuff, but I don’t use a lot of it, so I was thinking of finding ways of getting the most amounts of sounds into the shortest amount of time just to transfer hype.
You’re reflecting the short attention span times. That must be a very interesting challenge. Squeezing it all in and making it make sense?
Yeah I think so. The hardest work isn’t making the sections, it’s making the transitions so they sound smooth. It’s difficult to make something coherent when you’re working in such short space of time and when the sections are so different from each other.
Oh right yeah. It’s got to be smooth, no matter how hyper or manic the track is. Otherwise it’s just a mess.
Definitely. That’s exactly how it is.
Do you have any previous aliases?
I did a few releases under another name but I’m not proud of them. The tunes are okay but I haven’t released much. The covid thing was also an influence – I had a lot of spare time suddenly so I put a lot of time and energy into this.
And a lot of humour, too! This seems to be a bit of a trend. I’ve noticed a few other Dutch artists like Natte Vistick. More on a hard dance tip. Is this a Dutch thing?
Yeah lately I’ve found especially in the last few months a lot of new people are releasing things like this. We have Vieze Asbak, which translates to Filthy Ashtray. He’s been doing meme techno for a while now.
I love the ridiculousness of this all! It’s very disruptive!
I’ve heard that actually. A lot of people have said it’s really different to what’s out there – especially within drum & bass. The combination of really short songs and funny samples; it’s not been done much before. I think that’s why people are into it now, because it’s new. I’d say a lot of drum & bass, with new releases, it’s all very talented but a lot is just different versions of the same songs over and over. I think people need something new right now.
100%! There’s a lot of copying going on. The best stuff comes from originality!
You have more fun that way, too. I think especially in drum & bass everyone tried to be so serious and try to look cool. You don’t go to a party to be serious, you know? Having a bit of silliness to it, people actually enjoy the silliness. People relate to that.
They do. Do you think we’ll have a lot of people copying you soon? Are you already thinking of where you’ll go next when people do that?
It’s already happening, I’ve had a few people doing familiar things. I’m working on the album right now and after that I’ll have to see what happens. The last few months it’s been growing like crazy but maybe it’ll stop? I can’t tell. Music is very unpredictable. My most popular tracks are the ones that have the least production value. The tunes I put more effort into aren’t the ones that are listened to the most. It’s interesting.
I look forward to your album. Your tracks are very short so I wonder if the album will have lots of songs or will be quite short?
Well the tracks – like all of mine – will be between one and two minutes and I think it will have 16 unreleased tunes. It won’t be the longest album ever but it’s still substantial. We’ll think about how we’re going to release the album and what comes next. It’s blown up very quickly for something so fun. When the hype is over we’ll see what happens.
So where does the name come from? Smooth eel, right?
I was actually playing a mod’ed version of Roller Coaster Tycoon. It was a childhood favourite of mine and would always be a bit of a zen moment. So the mod’d version came out and we were playing it and I made this cool roller coaster that went up and down and zig-zagged a lot. I looked on the settings and I realised you could change your roller coaster to an eel, which I thought would be fun. I clicked it and called it gladde paling. That was four years ago. When I came up with the sample and thought about starting this project I remembered this moment and went with it. It seems to be working.
Definitely. And it’s taught me some Dutch. My favourite word is jemig.
That’s a good word.
Can you teach me one please? Something expressive. Maybe something I can say when I stub my toe
Kutzooi is a good one. It means ‘fucking mess’ but we use it quite casually. We have some crazy swears here. They’re quite unusual to translate but we use this often.
Big in the swearing game! So what’s up next?
It’s all about finishing the album now but I’ve just released a remix of a Dutch version of happy birthday to celebrate one year of gladde paling so please check that out and remember to have some fun.
1 More Mix 002: gladde paling
gladde paling – wilhelmus 2022 intro gladde paling – een vliegtuig gladde paling & vieze vaatdoek – jetzt geht’s los gladde paling – brutale aap gladde paling & brokko piloot – fissa x 13 gladde paling – eekhoorn gladde paling – een vis gladde paling – bluetooth baslijn gladde paling – intermezzo gladde paling – hap slik weg gladde paling & UH! – lalala gladde paling – mijn superheld gladde paling – innerlijke kracht gladde paling & brokko piloot – wastedd gladde paling – overstroming gladde paling – oei gladde paling & vieze asbak – draaiorgel gladde paling – big paling sound ame bibabi – chin up high (gladde paling dnb mix) vieze asbak & dikke baap – WHATEVER (gladde paling remix) gladde paling – supermarkt baslijn gladde paling – dodelijke 5G paling gladde paling & vieze vaatdoek – nieuwe tune gladde paling – fiësta-modus (insta special) gladde paling – sprinter/intercity gladde paling & hYn – broccoli beat gladde paling – miel monteur (150 mix) gladde paling – lekker dansen gladde paling – 2 violen (1 jaar gp)
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