Maarten Hoogstraten has been through tumultuous times the last couple of years. In late 2013, Paul Bäumer, his fellow member of electro-house duo Bingo Players, passed away after a short battle with cancer, which was a devastating experience to say the least.
Hoogstraten carried on, however, at the behest of his late friend and collaborator and continued to both perform and produce under the Bingo Players banner despite the tragic loss. According to the EDM artist and DJ, he had mixed emotions about doing so, but hasn't regretted it in the slightest.
It's why Hoogstraten is still touring clubs around the world as Bingo Players, including his appearance this weekend at Maya Day and Nightclub in Scottsdale, and releasing new works, including last year's hit track and collaboration with singer-songwriter Sia, "Knock You Out."
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Creativity has provided a certain catharsis, Hoogstraten told New Times via e-mail, including finishing "Knock You Out," which the duo began crafting before Bäumer was diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
"It's one of the last songs I've worked on with Paul," he says. "When I play it, it gives me mixed feelings, but it's great to see the track got embraced by the fans."
That's a bit of an understatement, since "Knock You Out" has become one of Bingo Players' biggest tracks to date. It also provided him the chance to work with Sia, an experience that Hoogstraten described during our interview.
What was it like working with Sia on "Knock You Out" last year? Were you both in the studio together during the creation of the track? No, we actually never met. It was all done by email. She wrote the guide for the vocals and we immediately loved it. After that, we start producing the track around it. So it was a bit of an unconventional way to work, a sort of reversed process.
Did you happen to have any input into the lyrical side of things or did you each do your thing? No, we've always let the artist do their own writing. I'm not good at lyrics, so I'll leave that up to the talents.
Have Sia's lyrics of "Knock You Out" been inspiring in any way, seeing as the song focuses on overcoming adversity? Yes, it somehow fits what happened [in 2013], it's a bit weird because we already started working on the song before Paul got diagnosed with cancer. But these lyrics can be interpreted in many ways.
Was creating and releasing "Knock You Out" a cathartic experience? Of course. It's one of the last songs I've worked on with Paul. When I play it, it gives me mixed feelings, but it's great to see the track got embraced by the fans. [It] always gives me a good feeling when people sing along with the song.
You've been through a lot in your personal life in the last several years, including losing Paul and becoming a father. Does that put everything in perspective? Definitely. It made me realize not to worry about stupid things, which I did a lot (and sometimes still do), but to focus on things that are more important in life.
How have Bingo Players fans and EDM fans in general helped you deal with everything? Yeah, it was absolutely great to see people empathize and show their support during the shows. Seeing the big flags, t-shirts, banners regarding Paul really lifted me up. Also, on social media it was heartwarming to read all the messages.
Do you consider Bingo Players' music to be uplifting as well as high energy? That's what we've always been trying to achieve. Maybe in the future I'll release some more slower or deeper tracks, a bit different, just to mix it up.
When I saw Bingo Players perform in Scottsdale in 2013, it was a great show and you seemed to go all out during your gig with energy. Are you always that intense behind the decks? For me, it's important to enjoy yourself behind the decks. Of course sometimes you're tired from traveling and you need some time to get into the vibe, but the crowd gives you a lot of energy.
Will Bingo Players sound continue to evolve in 2015? Certainly! I think it's very important to keep on evolving the music. This industry is so fast, something that sounded fresh a half year ago can sound outdated now. We always tried creating something unique.
Bingo Players will perform at Maya Day and Nightclub in Scottsdale on Sunday, March 29.
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