Dutch artist Estella Boersma is ready to drop her side of the latest installment of Club Glow’s cassette series, namely volume 4. With nine tracks of musical fulfillment, put together to form a coherent and homogenous unit the passionate artist delivered an approach to electronic music sub-genres likes Breakbeat with a dose of pads dipped in ambient. The release is musically build on Estella’s previous outings on Dance Trax, not necessarily genre-wise, but Estella incorporate’s her preference for music from the 90s, which has always been a source and of relevance of her musical- or artistic-being. Shortly before the release we caught up with Estella to speak about her steps into the scene, ravey moments at De School, the influence of her experiences in the modeling business for her career in music as well as her productive and creatives sites.
Torture the Artist: Hello Estella, tell us something about your day. Where do we find you and what are you doing?
Estella Boersma: Hi There! Waking up with a coffee and a croissant, taking a morning stroll and then I’m ready to hit the studio. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: Originally from the Netherlands you are now based in Berlin, why did you come to the city in the first place and what’s made you stay there up to now?
Estella Boersma: Before I came to Berlin, I was living in New York for a while, where I really embraced my love for music. Berlin seemed like the right place to go to next, and boom, I decided it was now or never! Berlin is such a wonderful place; the city evolves around creativity and nightlife, and being surrounded by likeminded people and an inspiring environment is such an amazing feeling. It’s one of the places that makes me most excited to create, and now it feels like home.
Torture the Artist: Assuming you did not have your first encounter with electronic music in Berlin, when was your first date with the music and what made you decide to go on a second one?
Estella Boersma: My very first encounter with electronic music, where I was able to go to myself, was when my best friend took me to De School in Amsterdam. At the time I was modeling full time, and I hadn’t gone to a proper underground club before. The moment I stepped into the space, I felt immediately at home. It was a space where I felt no judgement, and it was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. We danced ‘till sunrise and that’s when I realized music is what I wanted to do.
Torture the Artist: How did you become involved with DJing and producing and what was first?
Estella Boersma: I actually started producing first! One day I went over to a good friend’s place, and spotted a modular system in the corner of the room. When asking what it was, he explained to me how it worked and I was immediately hooked. The same day, we went to the music store where I bought very first synthesizer! From there on out I started playing around with Ableton, learning the basics of sound design and simply having so much fun on the journey. It felt like I finally found an outlet which felt natural and connected directly with my creative flow. Then, about a year after, I moved to New York. That was the place where I learned how to DJ. It’s a crazy city which pushes a person to the limit, and because of that I picked up how to DJ. It has been a crazy trip, and I feel like it’s all coming to life.
Torture the Artist: Musically the sets you play are not only energetic and diverse but cover the range of 130+ beats per minute. Where does this preference come from and, pardon for the question, is a side-note to the Dutch scene where faster electronic sub-genres always have played a role?
Estella Boersma: Growing up, my parents listened to all types of music, old school dance music being one of them. They would go to festivals once or twice a year and we’d listen to old school rave and dance music at home, they gave me a piece of their music taste and experience through the years, and I can hear the influences in my own ‘till this day. When I rediscovered electronic music again, it felt like the circle came back ‘round.
Torture the Artist: Where does your fascination for the 90s come from and would you have liked to have lived during that period of time (being born in 99 does not count) or do you enjoy re-living it musically and also a bit fashion-wise these days?
Estella Boersma: Even though I’m from 99, which doesn’t exactly count, I always felt a connection with the 90’s. If it was music, tv shows or the movies I watched growing up, I will never know for sure. But one thing is certain, it is a big source of my inspiration for creating, as well sound- and visual wise. I absolutely love it.
Torture the Artist: Let’s speak about your productions. You debuted with two releases on Unknown To The Unknown’s sub-label Dance Trax, in 2021. For your newest release, the latest installment of Club Glow, you delivered ten tracks, which come out digitally and on cassette focusing on your more Breakbeat-ish side compared to your other releases, which are way more Techno. How and when do you decide which way your productions should go and do they depend on external or internal circumstances?
Estella Boersma: Working on the tracks for Club Glow Tapes was such a pleasure. I had been wanting to do a more personal project for some time, and this was the perfect fit. Each track feels like it belongs in a different universe, and when writing them I was fully following my intuition, which was so much fun and resulted into something way more ambient and breakbeat focussed than I had imagined. When going into the studio I like to let the creation flow, it always brings lots of surprises that way. Yet every day is different; Some days you wake up with a specific idea, a melody, riff or new take on the general approach, which is super refreshing. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: The ten tracks on Club Glow Vol. 4 form a whole or a unit. Was this your approach in the first place or did you have to adjust some of the tracks so this before mentioned unit comes to existence? Also, when where those tracks produced?
Estella Boersma: When I started the tracks, I wanted to think of them together as a whole. Mostly before everything is finished, I already am starting to get a grasp of where which track should be and how they balance each other out. This collection consists of some longer tracks, and some more ambient works that connect the dots. When producing them it was a calm time, during covid. It was strange being home so much, but writing these tunes created a moment to escape into the world of creating.
Torture the Artist: How did working with Denham Audio come about and was the production of the tape something rather spontaneous or something long-planned? Generally speaking, are you more of a supporter of the imperfect perfection of tracks, meaning raw and kind of unfinished sounding music, or are you more of the perfectionist when it comes to music?
Estella Boersma: Denham Audio’s productions are one of my favorites coming out since the first moment I heard them; like ‘Make Me’ and ‘Who Started Jungle’. It left such an impression on me, and I was so happy when we got in touch via social media. After chatting for a bit, they invited me for their radio show and next thing we knew, we were working on the Tape! It was such a good time working together and I’m very excited this is finally coming out 🙂
Torture the Artist: Which one of the tracks from Club Glow is a personal favorite or do you feel tied to the most, and why?
Estella Boersma: Uff! Tough question. I could never choose my favorite, I have a different connection with each and ever one of them, and I think they belong together 🙂
Torture the Artist: What would an impressive rave for you look like and what’s your role in it?
Estella Boersma: The perfect rave for me is a fun, raw and free safe space, where everyone can feel at ease!
Torture the Artist: Coming back once more to Club Glow Vol. 4, it’s said that you designed the double-sided comic panel. It’s said that drawing was your first love. How often do you still have time for your first love and what was your inspiration for the cover?
Estella Boersma: Drawing has been an outlet for me since I was a kid. I always loved animation and comic books, and before doing what I do now, I actually wanted to become a comic book artists haha. I am so happy to still be drawing, and to be able to use this artwork for releases, mixes and more. The double-sided comic panel, consisting of a full page work and a comic on the backside, was so refreshing to make. Taking inspiration from old sci-fi movies, space age, and the likes of Sorayama Hajime, I felt the vibe would fit perfectly to Club Glow, and their previous artworks. I was up for the challenge to do something new, and I am very happy with how it turned out. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: How would you draw yourself, can you make a sketch for us?
Torture the Artist: You are also involved with fashion, meaning you model. Does this have an impact on how you are perceived as an artist, as we know there are always a lot of prejudices? So do you have to deal with that too and if so, how do you overcome those?
Estella Boersma: After almost nine years of modeling, I am so happy to say I found my way to express myself through the power of music. Those years were absolutely wonderful, but also tough. But I am so grateful for the experiences I gained from modeling since such a young age. When you find something you love, you have to go for it!
Torture the Artist: To what extent is fashion and a consisting outfit a useful addition for you and your music or do you not care about this when it comes to your gigs and performances?
Estella Boersma: Fashion is a form of self expression for me. Every piece of clothing can make you feel different, and can feel empowering. All though I do prefer sneakers for comfort sometimes haha! What’s most important is to feel good!
Torture the Artist: You’ve done a show for Marc Jacobs, been in several campaigns including Prada, MiuMiu and Louis Vuitton, on front covers of Interview Germany or Vogue Italia. Quite some big achievements. Would you like to achieve similar things, especially in the mainstream, when it comes to your music or do you rather keep an underground-vibe when it comes to your second big love?
Estella Boersma: Love my passion, see where it takes me, want to go as far as I can, excited to show something new. All my energy goes into doing what I love most, music is my passion and I want to take it as far as I can. I am at the start of my journey, and I am just very excited to see where this path takes me. I follow my intuition and wherever this takes me, is where I want to go.
Torture the Artist: What’s something you’ve learnt in the model business that helps you as an artist and vice versa?
Estella Boersma: Don’t wait, take action!
Words by Holger Breuer