No better way to introduce yourself to the scene than winning DJ-Mania - a contest that scouts for the best young DJ-talent out of 32 participants in Limburg. This has been a proven trend, as the previous winners Kijumba, Gewelt and Faisal might definitely ring a bell. At this year's edition, Timmerman came out on top! Time to take a closer look at his short, yet already memorable career.
Hi Toon! Congratulations! Let's start with telling us something more about yourself.
"Well, my name is Toon Timmerman, and I started DJ-ing recreatively when my brother got a little mixing panel from JB Systems for his birthday. You've probably seen them, you know, with the little jog wheel. We just fooled around with a couple of Boysnoize Records’ tracks, without even knowing what beatmatching was. We performed at a couple of small local parties but that was about it. My brother eventually quit when he went to college, but I enjoyed mixing and knew for sure that I wanted to get better at it."
So when did the 'real' bookings start to roll in?
"Basically, when I started studying in Gent. I spent a lot of nights in Decadance and realized I should play there one day as well. So, I kept hitting them up and they let me do the opening set on one of their resident nights. I played there a few more times, and later on in Charlatan as well. After that, I also got to spend some time behind the decks at Bar Helder, Club Vaag and a cool gig in Hasselt."
You play vinyl, but also use Rekordbox. Is it a conscious decision to combine both?
"Yeah, it’s a bit double. After nearly every set I get complimented on my choice of records, but I don’t consider myself a ‘vinyl DJ’. I just want to distinguish myself through my selection. Playing vinyl records is fun, but it’s not a crucial part of DJ-ing for me. Everything around us evolves so fast, so why wouldn’t we be taking advantage of the available technology?"
What defines a signature 'Timmerman DJ-set'?
"I play everything between house and techno, so you could catch me going from beatless ambient vibes, to more uptempo techno music. When I played the first slot in Charlatan, I mixed a house track into a Solange song, back to some disco, topping it all off with some Pusha T and Abba. However, when I’m up for the closing slot you can expect some proper techno."
We saw your name on this year's Tomorrowland bill. How did your set go?
"Playing the ‘Rave Cave’ was a fantastic experience. It was small but had very decent sound. I played a vinyl-only set, but underestimated it, really. For one, because I was nervous, but also because it was very windy and my needles literally flew away. In the end I played quite a good set, and that booking opened a lot of doors for me."
Who are the most inspiring people you've met along the way?
"I definitely look up to people like Pete Howl, Seba Lecompte and Lebawski because they just look so confident when they are behind the decks in Decadance. The Dutchman Nuno Dos Santos inspires me too, partly because he also studied graphic design. He now runs his own label and does everything: from A&R to the artwork. For me, it would be an absolute dream to be able to do something like that."
Looking back, how did 2017 treat you?
"I never thought I would end up as one of the last eight in DJ-Mania. Not only did I learn a lot from the coaches and workshops, but from the other contestants as well. It’s a great personal accomplishment to be booked for a set in Club Vaag on New Year’s Eve too. I guess this was the year transitioning from local parties to more prestigious venues. For next year, I still have some clubs and festivals on my wishlist. Let’s see what happens!"