Behind the strange moniker, Roul and Doors are two artists united by a love for house music. From ambitious dreams in the face of a life of desk jobs, the leap of faith has served the Dutch duo considerably well. Their rhythmically refined house music has graced Defected and Flamingo, and their recent remix of national legends Hardsoul has made for a satisfying diversion from their nation’s more stereotypical sounds. During a brief pit stop at London’s Ministry of Sound, the duo sat down with Beatport News to talk alternative rock influences, remixing their idols, and why one size doesn’t fit all.
Talk us through how 2012 treated you, and how you are feeling now that we are a quarter of the way into 2013.
Roul: 2012 has been the best year so far for us. Our DJ schedule has gone from two to 15 gigs a month, not to mention we had some decent success with our releases such as “Blackout” and “Elements.”
Doors: At the moment we’re feeling absolutely great because things only seem to get better and better. We just released our second production on Flamingo Recordings, called “Melody in Harmony,” and we couldn’t have had a better start of 2013 than playing with Fedde Le Grand here in London. That was such a crazy experience. Also, our agenda is filling up until the end of June already, so we’re excited about the remainder of 2013.
Word is that Holland is a tough nut to crack. Do you agree?
D: Looking at the responses we’ve had abroad so far, we are tempted to agree with the common idea that the Dutch are much harder to win over. Although at times this can be difficult when playing out, it’s also an advantage for the Dutch DJs playing abroad, since they’re used to working very hard for a reaction.
R: On some level this is not so strange either, since Holland has the most DJs per square meter. The competition is fierce and they’re used to a very high standard. Therefore, cutting your teeth on the Dutch circuit is definitely not an easy job—you need to work really hard and get your face known to a lot of people. Productions really make a difference.
Talk us through how your sound has developed over the years. What has continued to inspire you both to make music for so long?
R: There are many great musicians and DJs that inspire us. We always try to experiment and get our music to the next level. At the moment, we are really into music that contains a warm emotive feeling, bringing people together to forget their day-to-day problems. We think that, for example, bands like Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Pearl Jam, and Kings Of Leon reflect this feeling in their music perfectly. In the future, we want to try to evolve our music by combining this emotive feeling with our own energetic house sound.
How important do you think that genre boundaries are, and do you see them as a template to follow, or simply rules to be broken?
D: I think people need to loosen up on the genre-boundaries thing. Some crossover influences of other genres are really enriching house music and making it more accessible to a bigger audience. There is no “one size fits all” scheme, but we personally try not to think in terms of genres, but more in feelings and experiences.
Straight off the mark from your latest single for Flamingo, we have a new remix for Hardsoul. What has the guys’ music meant to you over the years, and how did you approach this emotive track?
D: When we both finished education, we faced a choice: go for a career in our field of studies or follow our dream to become DJ/producers. In the same period, Roog of Hardsoul called and said that they wanted to release our earlier track “Revelation.” This was a sure sign as to which was the right decision for us.
R: As a result, it was an honor to remix “Song For Unity,” but because of that connection we really took our time to perfect this track. Our main goal was to let the chords [flow] and utilize Berget [Lewis]’s powerful vocals in a new way while giving it a strong twist for the dancefloor.
What do you consider to have been the biggest challenge within your careers to date, and why?
D: The biggest challenge for me was to not lose hope when things got a little tough. Of course, we always wanted to do this full-time, but this career doesn’t take off instantly, so we had to make some tough decisions to get here. So far, however, we have loved every step of the journey and I have personally learned that fighting your way up can be as motivating as finally getting to where you want to be.
R: For me, the most important thing is to share our love for music with people all over the world. The tricky part is to reach more and more people by developing our music into something that speaks to people.
What can we expect from you for the remainder of 2013 in terms of studio work and live shows?
D: At the moment our schedule for the coming months looks crazy already! We’ll be playing Morocco, Kosovo, Hong Kong, France, Croatia, and quite a couple more. Also our festival agenda looks awesome, and we’ll be hosting our own evening called Elements throughout Holland, so we can’t wait to get things going in full effect.
R: Production-wise, we’re busy with finalizing several productions, which will hopefully see the light in the months to come and provide some great new stuff to be unleashed across the globe.