Bingo Players Fights Back
Maarten Hoogstraten was living a completely different life one year ago. He, alongside Bingo Players partner Paul Bäumer, was riding a massive wave of success with their single “Get Up (Rattle),” still somewhat fresh from their 2011 breakthrough hit “Cry (Just a Little).” In between that short two-year window, the Bingo Players’ trajectory mirrored that of a roller-coaster, with an apex composed of platinum-level sales and Top-10 statuses across numerous international markets.
Yet the ride came to a crashing halt at the end of 2013, when Paul died after losing his ongoing battle with cancer. The Bingo Players’ journey had officially hit the lowest of lows; but it was far from over.
After a short hiatus following Paul’s death, Maarten returned to the scene earlier this year, keeping the Bingo Players legacy alive as a solo act, and he has much to celebrate these days. Recently becoming a first-time father, Maarten has notched the first #1 placement on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Chart in Bingo Players’ history with the latest single, “Knock You Out.”
Much like the message in the track’s lyrics, written by Sia, Maarten is fighting on as hard as ever, and continues to bring the classic Bingo Players sound to the masses. We sat down with the still-plural Bingo Players to talk about life after Paul, the EDM craze, and what we can expect from his set at Nocturnal Wonderland this year.
The Bingo Players’ journey had officially hit the lowest of lows; but it was far from over.
You recently opened up to Billboard about continuing as Bingo Players following Paul's death. You said he was the more outgoing character, while you were the shy one. Do you now find yourself taking over Paul's duties as entertainer and crowd-pleaser?
I'm still the shy one. Of course, I have to give more attention to the crowd. Normally, I was always hiding behind the decks and doing all of the technical stuff. But now I'm there alone, and people expect me to go hard and maybe rage a bit more. I try to still entertain people like we did and carry on the legacy of Paul.
You have a huge hit on your hands with “Knock You Out.” The song's lyrics have a special message about overcoming adversity. Can you explain the song's meaning and how it relates to your life currently?
It reflects everything that happened last year. The weird thing is, we already had the song before Paul got sick. We produced it, and when it was finally finished half a year ago, the timing was kind of creepy. The song still has a special meaning to me because it was the last song we worked on together physically in the studio.
You've previously mentioned you have some archived tracks that you worked on together with Paul before his passing. When will we hear those?
We had some concepts lying around that were not finished yet, so I'm picking out the best ones and finishing them on my own. I hope to release some songs in the next couple of months. Right now they are all just concepts, like a melody or breakdown. But I'm going to incorporate them in upcoming songs.
Will they differ much from your past sounds, or will they remain loyal to the classic Bingo Players aesthetic?
I learned a lot from Paul in the studio. I'm always taking his knowledge into making new songs. There is definitely a lot of influence from him and what we did in the past. I don't think the sound will ever change into something really different.
We noticed on your Hysteria Radio podcast, and in many of your recent sets, you stray away from the popular mainstream EDM songs of the moment. How do you keep on top of new music?
Everybody plays the same songs, and it's really hard to pick different tracks. Every day there's a bunch of new tracks released, and to pick out the best ones to play out is hard. That's why I'm so happy that we have our own label. We can give new talent a chance. I get sent some awesome demos, and that's like a secret weapon. I can play out stuff that nobody has, and it sounds great. Otherwise, I wouldn't release it.
Speaking of Hysteria, what's currently in the works for your label?
We are releasing some heavy-hitters and also some slower stuff. I like to release a diversity of stuff, not just big-room EDM.
Everybody is talking about the electronic dance music bubble bursting. I don't believe it. Every time you think it can't get any bigger, it gets bigger.
In several interviews, you've highlighted Nocturnal Wonderland a few years back as a standout show. Why is that? What makes it special for you?
Nocturnal was probably the first big show we did in the US. I think it was in 2010. Before, we only played at live venues and smaller clubs. It was our first time playing for such a huge crowd. Our minds were blown by how huge the crowd was. We got a bit nervous, but in the end we had an amazing time. That was one of my most memorable moments in our career.
Insomniac always has great production. Like EDC, the production is out of this world. The production makes a big difference, and they always bring out the big guns. It's a treat to play at those events.
You're returning to Nocturnal Wonderland in September. What can we expect?
I always try to have new tracks. We will see what new stuff I have by that time. It's gonna be good regardless.
How do you think the EDM world has changed over the years, and where do you see it going?
I think stuff is a little bit faster now. Four years ago, songs were five to six minutes. Now songs are just three minutes. Everybody wants to have their music faster and quicker. It's insane to see how fast this scene has grown and is still growing.
Everybody is talking about the electronic dance music bubble bursting. I don't believe it. There are more people joining this scene every day. There's no ending, and I love it. It's great to see new people interested in electronic music, discovering new genres. Every time you think it can't get any bigger, it gets bigger.
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