As the new generation of dance music heavy-hitters begin to make their indelible mark on the scene, seasoned veterans are taking notice; guiding incoming stars towards a bright future of unfettered musical exploration.
That is the relationship between Bart Skils, an Amsterdam legend who is a physical extension of the city’s influence on techno, and Layton Giordani, the Drumcode wunderkind who is taking the world by storm. Together they are a diad in dance music. Bart’s encyclopedic knowledge reciprocates Layton’s affinity for what’s hot that can only come from someone tapped into the youth.
Throughout 2019, Layton and Bart demonstrated this capable chemistry both in the studio and behind the decks. Along with Drumcode boss Adam Beyer, they produced a remix of Pete Lazonby’s ‘Sacred Cycles’ that features dulcet tones overlapping with the driving style that the three collaborators share. One can only hope that original productions from the two of them are planned for 2020.
Together Layton and Bart also played at some of the most impressive dance music events in the world. In May 2019 they shared the stage at the illustrious EDC Vegas, and a few months later performed at the Gashoulder in Amsterdam for the legendary Awakenings party at ADE; a set that has since become legend.
We could not be more thrilled they will display that chemistry during their first set together in the new decade at Minimal Effort NYE. Ahead of the event, they each had questions for the other about their musical upbringings, their connections to their hometowns and more.
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LG: What made you want to start producing/Djing?
BS: I’ve always been interested in music from a young age. When I was in my early teens I was recording cassette tapes for all my friends with the latest music I bought on vinyl. Vinyl collecting was the only way to get your hands on new music beginning of the 90’s. When I was 17 I started to work in a record store in Amsterdam and throwing my first small techno events. The next step was to learn how this techno was being made, so I bought my first gear and started learning the basics of producing. I’m still learning all the time and I love being around music.
LG: Over the years, where has been your favourite place to play in the world?
BS: First would be Amsterdam since it’s my hometown. I play in Amsterdam around 5-6 times a year and these places would be at Awakenings or Thuishaven for extended sets. I’ve been playing Awakenings since the end of the 90s and Thuishaven for the past four years. Both places are magic and it’s always good to see so many friends. Besides my hometown, I love Argentina a lot and other South American countries are also great. LA I’ve seen develop in a very good way as well with the techno scene. Every time I come back here it gets better so I can wait!
LG: If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
BS: Besides Amsterdam, I love to hang and visit places like Barcelona or Buenos Aires. I love travelling and spending time in different cultures. Also India is a special place for me since I’ve spent a lot of time there and I love Indian culture.
LG: What is your favourite newer club in Amsterdam?
BS: Amsterdam has three places where I love to play. First of all, Awakenings which has been my special event since the 90s. I’ve played there almost 50 times over the years. The infamous gashouder is the home for techno and playing there is always amazing. Second place as I mentioned before is Thuishaven. It’s a fantastic semi open-air venue that you can maybe compare a bit to the Burning Man vibe. I regularly play sets there that are 10 hours or longer and you can go from deep hypnotizing sounds to full on power techno. Just great! The last one is a cool new club called Shelter. It’s a classic dark club with a great soundsystem. If you ever come to Amsterdam again visit one of these places to experience techno the Amsterdam way!
LG: Congrats on the new baby! How do you find touring whilst having kids?
BS: For me, I love to live my life like this. During the week I can be home and spend time in my garden studio and with my family. Play sports with friends and see my children grow up. By the time it’s Friday I am on the other side. Happy to leave the busy house and dive fully into the weekend, spending my nights in the DJ booth doing what I love most which is working with music. Being around the clubs and festival culture is in my system and I can’t imagine living without it.
BS: How did you get in touch with electronic music and what were your first events you experienced techno within the scene?
LG: Growing up in New York it was easy to be apart of the scene. There were a lot of parties at a lot of different spots all over. I’d say Danny Tenaglia was the first DJ I saw at Pacha NYC. He played techno and it blew my mind. From there on I knew what I wanted to do.
BS: You are partly living in Amsterdam and New York at the moment, what are your favorite spots from both cities?
LG: Well, my two favorite things about the cities are the people and vibes they send off. They both have these distinct vibes that I really connect with. It helps inspire me and I love it. They’re both quite good for events too. Amsterdam is the capital of techno…and well New York is New York.
BS: What do you love most about traveling the world?
LG: I’m blessed to see the world and perform in front of what I could imagine over hundreds of thousands of people by now. Dream come true. Doesn’t get better than that honestly.
BS: What projects are you currently working on in the studio?
LG: A very big one. Nothing I can announce yet but I’m sure you and all the Layton and Drumcode fans will happy and surprised 🙂
BS: What your biggest challenge as a DJ & producer?
LG: To keep my rhythm of daily life. It’s a big challenge to turn the off and on switch when you tour and focus on music a lot. Sometimes it never goes off. But when I’m home it’s nice to flip that switch and come back to earth and escape that high for just a moment.