We had the good fortune of connecting with Bastiaan de Nooijer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bastiaan, why did you pursue a creative career?
Music started for me as a hobby, a way to express myself. I started making music when I was 15 years old and still living in Africa. I lived in countries such as Cameroon, Senegal, Mozambique & Mali. My musical journey started in Mali. At this point in time, I started listening to Electronic Dance Music, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. This was when I also realized how fun it would be to make my own songs. I didn’t know where to start, so I just spent months looking up tutorials on Fl Studio, which is the DAW I currently use and have always used.
In the beginning, it was hard for me to put my ideas into Fl Studio since I didn’t know how to use the program. I invested years researching and watching tutorials, which really helped me advance within music production. I started releasing some of my music with Soundcloud labels, which was a really big deal for me. The fact that people were listening to my music was mind-blowing.
In 2018, I came across the track Only One by Arcando, VMK & James Delaney, which was released on Strange Fruits. I loved this song, and couldn’t get enough of it. Luckily for me, I was already in contact with these artists. I made a Future Bass remix of the song with my good friend ANGUS, and had my first label deal, this official remix out on all streaming platforms. I got so much good feedback on this, and so many messages, that it triggered me, and I wanted to expand my reach & release more music. At a certain point, the remix hit over 100,000+ streams on Spotify alone, and I was in shock. I never actually thought that my music could be heard by so many people, and at such an international level, 64 countries to be precise! I wasn’t quite settled within a specific genre at the time, so I made Future Bass, Melodic Dubstep, Tropical House, Big Room House, and a few more genres.
I realized however that I was slowly starting to make music for labels, rather than music I actually enjoyed producing. Countless of my tracks got rejected, and I sat back and reflected upon myself, my sound (which I didn’t really have yet), and which direction I wanted to go towards with my music. At that moment, I decided to work on Chillout/Electronic music, the genre which I really enjoyed producing, although I never actually tried releasing a song in that genre. I then started thinking about my music differently. I wanted to produce music which I actually really enjoyed working on, and not only what I assumed labels were looking for. This was probably one of the most important decisions I made.
My first Chillout track was called Voyage. A really special song that I worked on, without caring about what others would think of it. It was my special project, a song that made me happy, feel euphoria, and I was proud of it. That was all that mattered to me. At that time, I had a big goal of releasing my music with one of Sweden’s leading Indie record labels, Loudkult. I got in touch with the owner, and Voyage got approved. This was the start of something new, the first actual chapter of Piece Wise. After the release of Voyage, I started focussing a lot more on the Chill/Electronic genre and landed a lot more releases with Loudkult. I realized that making music that I wanted to make, was such a blessing. I was able to actually express my emotions within my music rather than just making music & hoping labels would want to release it.
At this point in time, my vision was graduating from University, and working for a record label, which was the closes & most realistic way for me to work within the music industry. Music was still just a passion for me, a hobby, nothing more. I remember that one day, I woke up to 200,000 streams on my release Voyage. This was the day I changed my way of thinking, my goals, everything I wanted to accomplish within my life. I never really imagined that I would ever have one of my songs reach such a wide audience. To be honest, I never even thought I would be able to accomplish this goal. This was the day that a dream was slowly becoming reality. After releasing several successful tracks with Loudkult, I also had a goal of releasing with German record label We Are Diamond. We made it happen. Everything was falling into place for me. All the pieces of the puzzle were slowly starting to fall into place. I became much more focused on my music production, in a more professional way. I started planning releases, working ahead of time, making sure that my artist career would become successful. At this point in time, I was in my 3rd year of uni, with only one year left. My music was performing so well, that I decided to focus on music full-time. I took a gap year right before I was able to start my graduation phase, and decided to fully dedicate myself to my music, and think more towards the bigger picture.
Something I also really enjoyed doing was discovering new music & sharing my musical preferences with others. I remember having a few private Spotify playlists, and at some point, I said to myself, why not share my musical taste with the world, just like I did with my own music. Shortly after, I dedicated all the time I had left next to music production to curating my own Spotify playlists. Next to my own music, my playlists really precious to me. I started working on actually marketing my playlists non-budget since I didn’t have the financial support to do so. My playlists are well-themed, contain nice artworks, and are uniquely curated to my personal taste of music. I would spend hours every day looking for new music and finding new ways to share my playlists with the world.
When I just started making music, I also had a dream of starting my own record label, although this I never believed would work out for me. I didn’t even have music out yet at that time, so I focused on my artist project. Next to that, I also always wanted to work for a record label I was passionate about. These are all different tasks I wanted to achieve, slowly turning my day-to-day lifestyle towards the music industry, and being able to live music. All-day, every day.
At the moment, my artist project is doing really well, having amassed over 23,000.000+ streams on Spotify alone. I am working closely with some of the most influential record labels to share my music with the world. I am now slowly shifting from Chill/Electronic to more Deep House & Melodic Dance music. At the moment, I am working for one of France’s leading indie record labels Get The Sound in their marketing department & as an A&R. I still need to graduate, which is what I now will be crossing off my list. The gap year I took was way more than worth it. If I hadn’t taken it, I would be in such a different part of my life, still trying to figure out what I wanted to do after graduating from university. The gap year allowed me to realize & transform my vision into reality.
The one final goal I want to achieve in my life now that my artist project is successful & that I am working for a record label I am passionate about is starting my own record label. I can’t say much about this quite yet. The only thing I can share with you is that it will be launching in early 2022. This is one of the biggest projects I have been working on, secretly. Not many people know about this yet, this article might be a sneaky little teaser for what is yet to come.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
— I have already shared most of my story in the first question.
Something I would however like to add is that this journey is definitely not easy. Even though making music is fun, it also demands a lot of time & focus, meaning also have to sacrifice a lot of my social life. For example, not being able to attend parties or any other social activity. This was something hard for me at first, but now I found peace with it, and I don’t regret any of the choices I made.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them out to my favorite bars, show them around my studio. Preferably, I would love to take them back to Africa, and show them all the amazing countries I lived in, and re-live some of the best times I had. Africa formed me into the person I am today, and Africa will always have a special place in my heart. I hope to visit again soon.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shout-out to everyone that has stood by my side for the last few hectic years of my life. So many life-changing events happened, and I wouldn’t have been able to manage this all if I didn’t have all my friends & family there to support me throughout this process.
I also want to give a major shout-out to everyone listening to my music. I couldn’t have done it without you, and you motivate me to keep working harder than I did the day before. Waking up with a smile every day knowing I can live my dream, is thanks to you. Being able to share my music with you, and put a smile on your face is what I do it for.