Taking the over-the-top attitude of stadium techno acts like Scooter, mixing it with the profanity-laced party style of Dada Life, then filtering it all through the cutting-edge dance styles of trap and neo-electro, Amsterdam trio Yellow Claw don’t consider themselves a band or project but a “partyconcept.” Formed in 2010 by DJs Jim Aasgier, MC Bizzey, and Nils, Yellow Claw made their name by hosting parties at the Jimmy Woo club in Amsterdam. Their vibrant, campy style spread in 2011 with weekly Yellow Claw parties launched in the cities of Leeuwarden and Breda, while downloads of productions and remixes spread the word online. In 2013, they released their single “Shotgun” on the Spinnin’ label, while two EPs, Amsterdam Trap Music and Amsterdam Twerk Music, launched their relationship with the Mad Decent imprint Jeffree’s. Featuring a guest appearance from Waka Flocka Flame, Amsterdam Trap Music, Vol. 2 followed on the label in 2014 and coincided with the launch of the group’s streetwear clothing line, Blood for Mercy. A year later, the brand’s name became the title of their next LP as Blood for Mercy — released by Mad Decent proper — climbed into the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album featured guest appearances from Pusha T, DJ Mustard, and Flux Pavilion. In March 2017, Yellow Claw released Los Amsterdam (another full-length release for Mad Decent), which included the singles “Open,” “Good Day,” and “Love & War.” A collaborative single with STORi, “Both of Us” was released later that year.
I’ve read you guys were pretty tired of some of the dance music coming out a few years ago – was there anything in particular about it getting you down and what initially drew you to the realms of trap and working within those BPMs?
Well it was the whole EDM overload, every release felt the same and most important, it didn’t really worked out in the clubs anymore. We were already playing a lot of 75bpm instrumentals and we started to make that trap sound our own and produced lots of club shit.
I’ve read Flosstradamus was a big influence early, who else do you guys digging at the moment – be it in trap or other genres?
We totally dig what Skrillex is doing, his new album is insane. Besides that we love all the weird shit Spooky Black is doing. And of course Juicy J keeps popping up with straight club bangers.
How does it work for you guys when it comes to recording/writing new material as a three-piece, is it wholly collaborative or does everyone bring something different to the table?
We have three studios next to each other, sometimes we work together, sometimes separate, a lot via internet. We also plan recording/writing weeks in LA from time to time, lots of extremely talented artists over there.
Video clips are clearly something you put a lot of emphasis on with some great ones over the past couple of years, is it really important as an artist now to have a firm grip on all parts of the project, from the music, to the visual aesthetic, to video clips, and does having Jim on board make that an easier process?
It’s great to have people on our team who are really good at all of this so we don’t need to put external people on these projects. We know exactly who we are and what we stand for. We love the process of creating a new video, lots of fun. Of course we’re lucky to have a filmmaker on our team.
You’ve already collaborated with some great artists in the past – who’ve been some of the highlights you’ve worked with and why?
We did great stuff with Waka Flocka, Diplo, Lil’ Eddie and our dutch home girl Eyelar. All great people and super talented artists. Loved working with them.
And on the collaboration tip you’ve just released a four-tracker with a guy you’ve been hyping for some time in Cesqeaux – what was the initial impetus for working with him and is there some more collaboration stuff we can expect in the future?
He’s a really good friend of ours. We’ve worked with him for quite a time now, resulting in this collection of our best stuff we produced together. Stay tuned for his solo EP he will release in the near future.
You have such a huge fan base all around the world. Have any fans done anything crazy to meet you or get your attention?
“Its going down in the DM”
The Electronic Music scene has exploded and we see a lot of festivals happening with major headliners. Do you prefer a club show or a Festival? If you were to curate any one, who will be the headliners? (Apart from you guys of course)
Hmm that’s hard to choose, they are both super fun to do, playing in a club in Paris can be super hyped and intimate, but playing at EDC Las Vegas is almost unbeatable. We are doing lots of events and hostings already, our favorite line up would be: Cesqeaux, Wiwek, Moksi, Mike Cervello, Mightyfools, Yung Felix, LNY TNZ, Dirtcaps, The Galaxy, Snavs and some live acts like our own boys Fountain Of Youth.
What kind of vibe do you like to see within your audience?
Some real hype.
What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming DJs making? What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Don’t limit yourself, don’t think in genres. Experiment a lot and stay loyal to your fam.
If you could eternally be stuck in one year’s music scene, which year would it be & why?
In the early nineties Bad Boy records scene, 1995 the year Biggie AND Tupac were still alive and poppin.
Last, do you have any cool Valentine’s Day stories to share?
Not really to be honest. In Amsterdam when I was growing up it wasn’t such a big deal. Now it’s getting bigger. For some reason it blows over from the United States to Holland. Like growing up we never had Halloween and then eight years ago Halloween came. Black Friday has only been around for 5 or 6 years. It’s very Western.