This may be the first time you've heard the name of the up-and-coming DJ and producer, Pel A.K.A Del Pello, but this surely won't be the last. Originally from The Hague in the Netherlands, 20 year old Del Pello has traveled across Europe spinning, playing with the likes of Avicii, Dirty South, Benny Benassi, Thomas Gold and many other top artists. In addition to his successful summer playing at Marbella's top club, Olivia Valere among other places, the Dutch DJ has been given the nod from many of the top DJs for his music. With support from Laidback Luke, Kaskade, Dirty South and so many more artists, this rising DJ has only hit the tip of the iceberg of his blossoming career. So read on to get insight on Del Pello's past, present and future in this exclusive interview from how it all began too where he hopes to be in the future, and tips for any aspiring DJs out there.
So we finally get to do this interview! When did occur to you that you wanted to become a DJ?
Yes, thanks for the interview! I have always had a huge passion for music. When I was 10 years old I sometimes listened to music on my discman when my dad was driving me around to hockey practice or so. These were all commercial songs since I didn't really get to deep into house music yet. One of the tracks which got me into electronic music was "Satisfaction" by Benny Benassi. It was something I’ve never heard before. Another song that really got me into DJing is "My Friend" by Groove Armada.
Although I was still quite young when this song got released and I probably didn’t understand any of the lyrics, I just loved the vibe in this song.
In addition to loving those songs, my older brother (Wes Montello) was a DJ already for quite some years. When I was 14 years old he moved to London, and luckily for me he didn't bring his DJ equipment with him. One day I got really bored and I just wanted to figure it out. After practicing quite some time and receiving some advice from my brother, I finally knew the basic stuff of mixing. For me this was the time that I knew I wanted to become a DJ.
Can you delve into your style of music you like to play and produce, as well as your major influences?
Throughout the years I have changed my style quite a lot. I started off with mostly house actually. I just wanted to play tracks which I loved. However, to get some bookings in The Netherlands you sometimes have to adapt your style to that. Nowadays, I prefer Progressive House.
Avicii, Alesso, Axwell, Dirty South, Fedde Le Grand, Thomas Gold and Steve Angello are huge inspirations for me. Especially the productions of Avicii, Alesso and Axwell are in my opinion all amazing! Nowadays, you have to create something special to be exclusive and to breakthrough. Production wise, these 3 are my idols and I would say that I would like to make productions like that with a twist of my own. Hopefully one day I could have the same influence for the other upcoming kids!
What was it like spinning in Spain this summer?! Who did you get to warm-up for and did you learn anything from your experiences?
For me this summer has been amazing! I have always dreamed about playing in Spain, and since I was 14 I have been going to Marbella. As a small kid I was always standing on my toes to check what DJ’s such as Axwell, Tiësto, Sebastian Ingrosso and many more what they were actually doing.
I was actually supposed to be in Ibiza all summer long and do some promotional work and DJ at a beach club, but that didn't work out as I planned. It may sound surprising but I didn’t really enjoy working in Ibiza. Then I got the offer to work in Marbella, Spain for a Swedish company called Bigstage where I played at one of the biggest clubs called Olivia Valere. I got opportunities that I thought might never be possible. The company I was working with offered me to do some amazing warm-ups which I've always dreamed of. I got the offer to warm-up for artists such as Avicii, Benny Benassi, Thomas Gold, Dirty South and AN21. Plus my brother, Wes Montello, did warm-ups for Eric Prydz and Fedde Le Grand at Olivia Valere as well.
Warming up for Avicii was a dream come true for me. I have been looking up to this guy now for atleast 4 or 5 years now. He is the best producer there is in my style. I will never forget that moment when I played my last track "Pong" by Wippenberg. I wanted to play a track which wasn’t to hard and that the people knew that Avicii was coming on. I think I have never had such a great feeling as soon as Avicii came on and people were screaming. I literally got shivers to see that I actually was a small part of it and that I was actually able to experience how it is to be a DJ that big. It was amazing, even after my gig a lot of people came up to me to take a picture and I actually think some people thought I might have been Avicii since some people say I look a little bit similar to him haha. But in the end it's just amazing to see myself and my brother do what we are passionate about and to somehow succeed doing it.
I have learned a lot in the last few months and have adapted my style this summer a lot. While I enjoy to play Progressive House, in my opinion, you shouldn’t play too hard in a warm-up set -- this is a common mistake which some warm-up DJ’s make. Therefore, I have played a lot deep house, tech house and house. Before the summer I knew that deep house was quite upcoming but it didn’t take too much of my interest. Since I had to play it in the warm-ups, I have found so many cool tracks! Therefore, I don’t want to be depending from one style. After learning this, I am now starting to produce some deep and tech house tracks too!
What was the funniest thing you saw happen while DJing this summer?
Something which I though was quite funny was that while I was doing a warm-up for Dirty South a friend of mine came up to me and told me that the dancer next to me was a pornstar. I had no clue, but by the fact that he recognized her made me laugh really hard and every warm-up she was dancing there. It was funny to see, but I felt quite uncomfortable as well since she was standing like 2 meters away from me.
What are your favorite spots to visit in Ibiza? Has staying their inspired any of your music?
Ibiza is a beautiful island, but since I was working I didn't had too much time to explore as much as I wanted. Still, I made time to explore a little when one of my best friends visited me. We have great beaches! My favorite spot to go to shows though is Ushuaia. This place is just amazing! For everyone who will go to Ibiza, Ushuaia is a must. They create parties as nowhere else. The vibe and music is always amazing and I love the concept and show of Ushuaia. Besides that they also book almost all of my favorite DJ’s. So I have to go there when I am in Ibiza.
Of course I get a lot of inspiration Ibiza. After all, it is a beautiful place and is the number 1 spot to be as a DJ. As you know every night there are well known DJ’s playing in all the clubs. You see flyers and promoters everywhere, and this motivates me a lot since I want them to stand with flyer with my name on it one day as a headliner. I have many songs that I made while in Spain, but one of my favorites I made while in Spain with that summer vibe is called "Mojito."
I've noticed you have A LOT of previews on your tracks. Is there anything you are waiting for? Can you tell us a little about your relationship with Digital Empire Records?
I get this question more often. Last year I have been producing a lot and I have made a lot of previews. I post these previews to see what people think of it and I get a lot of positive reactions to it, but somehow it takes me a while to finish my tracks. I want to keep on working on tracks of which I am sure of that they will be good. I hope that I have got a couple of those now and in September I will finish most of these. So I will keep you guys updated!
In April I signed two tracks to Digital Empire Records, the guy who runs it is called Erwin Oliveira and he is from Peru. I got in touch with Erwin thanks to Brian Becerra which is also known as Awst Rush. They signed my two tracks called Swordfight and Black & Decker. At the moment, they are interested in signing some more tracks of mine, so who knows.
Any upcoming collaborations or originals we should know about?
I have a lot of material coming out very soon. At the moment, I am working on almost 40 tracks which include originals, collaborations, as well as remixes. I have collaborations coming up with my brother, Wes Montello, as well as with a young English talent James Monteros and also a young Belgium producer, ALEKSI, which for his age has some really good productions.
The last couple of months I have made some tracks of which I am quite satisfied. These are for example called Stockholm, Tears, Sommar, Belvedair, Energy, Mojito and some ID’s with my brother, Wes Montello.
The titles are still working titles and probably will be changed later on when I will release them. I always update my soundcloud with previews. So if everyone if you are anyone else is interested in hearing some of my upcoming tracks, please don’t hesitate to go to my Soundcloud page:
How does it feel to have your mash-ups played out by the likes of Laidback Luke, Kaskade, Dirty South, Thomas Gold, and many other big name DJs?!
It's crazy! It wasn't until I purchased Logic Pro a few years ago that I started making mash-ups. I did this because I had no clue how Logic worked, and wanted to learn as much as possible about production. I really learned a lot of basic techniques and skills by making mash-ups and reboots. The funny thing is that I actually made my most successful mash-up, Marsch Marsch Wonderwall Tung, one week after I purchased Logic.
During the time I was receiving quite good reactions on the mash-ups I was making. Because of this, I e-mailed them to some DJ’s. Unexpectedly, just 3 months after I e-mailed it to Laidback Luke, a friend of mine told me he heard my mash-up I just told you about while at a club in Los Angeles where LBL was playing. For me this was so unrealistic. I couldn’t believe it, and it gives me shivers to see that almost 2 years after Laidback Luke still plays it for example at Tomorrowland 2013. I have always made mash-ups for fun but the support from these DJ’s made me realize that perhaps I am actually possible to share my passion for music with the entire world one day.
It seems that a little hard work and dedication can go a long way. Besides emailing an artists promo account what would you recommend other aspiring producers do?
Something which has really motivated me through the last couple of years is that I was always trying to get in touch with upcoming DJ’s to get feedback. It was about 3 or 4 years ago I got in touch with Otto Knows by Facebook. By then he already showed me some of his tracks such as "Million Voices," but also an ID which is called Visa on Youtube.
A piece of advice he has given me, to which I really stick is: If you think you are working hard, work even harder and as long you work really hard nothing will be impossible. You have to do what you love and follow your dreams. Otto also gave me a lot of advice how I could get my name out a bit. He worked for Refune from Sebastian Ingrosso by then and gave me quite some contact details of well known DJ’s. The biggest advice I could give is sent your music to DJ’s which you think they could pick up. These DJ’s get so many e-mails a day so make sure you are 100% sure about what you are sending can get noticed.
In addition to your collaborations and original tracks you're going to release, what are your plans for the next few months?
In September I will be going back to The Netherlands where I will be continuing my study but I will also head back to the studio to finish a lot of tracks. I am planning to head in to a real studio with my brother, Wes Montello, every Saturday, so I can say you can expect a lot of tracks from me and my brother. Also I am planning to go to Sweden a couple of times to head into the studio with some really cool producers , which I am sure of you heard. This hasn’t been confirmed yet but there is a big chance it will happen. Further I will probably sign at an agency in Amsterdam but also one in Sweden, to which I am really looking forward!
Where do you see yourself in 1 year as a producer and DJ? Would you want to be in America ever?
This upcoming year is going to be very important for me. Since I have done the warm-ups for the big DJ’s, I want to get my name out as much as possible. I want to do more warm-ups for the big DJ’s, but I also want some international bookings. I have gotten quite some requests out of several countries and I can actually tell that a couple of them are in the United States. The EDM scene is getting so big in the United States and for me that is really special. I love the United States and I truly hope that one day I will be able to do an America tour. I have been there a couple of times and the atmosphere is just amazing. So hopefully you guys will see me very soon!