It's about time this node had a decent write-up about Junkie XL.
Junkie XL's music style is "dance music with a Rock feel. Unlike some Electronic acts who add little scraps of guitar or Rock bands who incorporate simple samples, Amsterdam's Junkie XL, with their phat beats, Hip Hop flow and monster riffage, not only blur the lines of live music and samples -- they've literally set the standard for all to follow." (Bio, www.junkiexl.com).
The two members, Tom Holkenborg, best known for his remix work with Roadrunner bands like Fear Factory (Remanufacture) and Soulfly, and Rudeboy from the hiphop group The Urban Dance Squad blend seamlessly together for the music they love to create, but there has been talk, and it has now been confirmed that Rudeboy has left Junkie XL to pursue his own career again, sans Holkenborg.
Junkie XL's first album (Saturday Teenage Kick, 1997) was a great hit, and was my favorite by far, but they really didn't hit the 'mainstream' scene until they released their second album Big Sounds of the Drags in 1999, which took more than a year to create. I found Saturday Teenage Kick to be much more hard, then their second album, what was probably designed to appeal to the mainstream audience. Big Sounds of the Drags is described by the band as "a deep cerebral fantasia of '70s Guitar Rock, physical breakbeats, classic orchestration, and of course, Tom's dense, complex studio production." One of the best known tracks for the album is Zerotonine, which I've heard played many places, though I don't think those people really know who Junkie XL is.
When asked about his life and upbringing, Holkenborg responded with a little story about himself:
I started making music when I was about 10 years old. Back then I got a drumset from my parents and started playing drums. Later I took some piano lessons as well. At High-school friends of my got me really interested in electronics. So I started building a guitar-amp without having a guitar! Not much later I sold my drumset to buy a electric guitar. At my 16th birthday I moved to Leeuwarden, a town in the north of Holland. There I started working in a musicshop where instruments were being sold. The shop was called Music-Store. This was the moment I got in touch with electronic instruments. From that moment on I realized that for me, the ideal way of making music would be the integration of acoustic en electronic instruments together! At that time a Dutch band Weekend at Waikiki asked me to join forces. This band also combined the two different instruments together. The band recorded as one of the first a whole album with a 'Fairlight' computer. Back then, 1987 that was pretty happening! In 1992 I left the band for personal reasons and started NERVE. This band combined old electronic dance music like front 242, DAF, with heavy guitars. It ended up sounding a bit like Ministry and N.I.N. We released two albums 'Cancer of choice' 1992 and 'Blood and Gold '1994 . My Partner in crime in NERVE was Phil Mills, a multi instrumentalist and very good guitarist. When Nerve spit up I started JUNKIE XL and Phil started Entropy.
1995 was the year when I first made Junkie Demo's. Later to try these tracks live I did some gigs under the name, MULU, Lords of MULU and A Forrest Called MULU. It's funny that some of those tracks back then lead there own life. With a 12 inch 'Lords of MULU' I won the 'Great price of Holland' which is a band contest. Some tracks were released under the name 'A Forrest Called MULU' - the search for the unexplored. This album got an EDISON, which is something like a dutch Grammy. Under the name MULU some gigs were done in e.g. the ROXY, the famous dance-club in Amsterdam which unfortunately burnt down. A big credit for the MULU-projects need to go to Andre Ettema and Chris Hinze. Andre is a very close friend of me and helped me to structure the tracks and learned me how to think as a D.J. Chris is also a very good friend of me and released the forest called MULU album on his label: 'Keytone'. Andre is nowadays the lighting engineer of JUNKIE XL. The new MULU album will released somewhere in June. It will contain mellow club/progressive dancestuff.
I started Junkie XL in 1996. It was meant to be a solo project, so I started making instrumental tracks. Some of those tracks where put on the first album like Fight, Dealing with the roster and No remorse. What was funny is that a lot of the tracks Rude Boy rapped on were meant to be instrumental, EG Billyclub, Metrolike. One of the problems was that those tracks contained back then samples who couldn't be cleared. Imagine that for some samples you have to pay over 10.000 US Dollars. A quick calculation makes out what happens if you use let's say 39 samples. OEF!
After I had finished about 25 tracks I got into trouble with my health, due to way too hard working! I had to take a break of 5 months. The good thing about it was that I suddenly realized what the best way would be to put everything together. That was the moment I approached Rude Boy. Basically for one or two tracks. He was so enthusiastic, he wanted to do more tracks . And he already had the titles: Underachievers, Billyclub, Metrolike, Melange, XP Limits and of coarse Saturday Teenage Kick! We thought that title was strong enough to make it the album title, so we did!
(As you can see, his english isn't that great. I spell-checked the story for your reading pleasure)
Junkie XL's fame extends farther than those two albums though. Here's a list of tracks that Junkie XL has produced, engineered or remixed:
- Dandruff - 4.15E
- Ernst Langhout- Eye of the cyclone
- Weekend at Waikiki - Casa
- Weekend at Waikiki - 1993 album
- Nerve - Cancer of choice
- Nerve - Blood & Gold
- the Gathering - Almost a dance
- Cooper - Do you know not
- Cooper - no 2
- Fear Factory - Cars
- Fear Factory - New Breed
- Dog Eat Dog - Step right in
- Soulfly - Umbabaraumba
- Kong - when push comes to shove
- Kong - Earmined
- Kong - Freakcontrol
- Pale moon
- Emma Peel - Coming out
- Mimezine - Lucky number
- Way out West - UB Devoid - Shanks and Bigfoot - Sing-a-long
- Moloko - Indigo
- DJ Sandy vs. Housetrap - overdrive
- 3 Colours Red - single 1999
- Chris Hinze - Mellow Mantras
- Chris Hinze - Zen
- Chris Hinze - Tibet II
- Chris Hinze - Tai CHi
- Chris Hinze - Senang
- Forrest called Mulu - search for the unexplored
- Dance Valley featuring Junkie XL - DanceValley 2000
Well, that's a little look into the world of Junkie XL. Now go buy both their albums, sit back, and enjoy them.