Behind the Beat: Yellow Claw
We sat down for an exclusive interview with Yellow Claw’s Leo Roelandschap (Bizzey) and Nils Rondhuis (Nizzle) ahead of their Blood for Mercy tour stop at Echostage in Washington, DC. The third member of the group, Jim Taihuttu (Jim Aasgier), was in the studio in L.A. working on new music. The show that featured other artists including Moksi, Wiwek, and DJ Mustard was sold out and all of the performers were high-energy artists that continually dropped big beats. Yellow Claw gave the packed house a heavy dose of their signature mix of Trap, Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Hardstyle and Moombahton with a collection of tracks from their Blood For Mercy album. Yellow Claw mixtapes are always fire, but their live show was definitely an inferno.
Only The Beat: So you are on the Blood for Mercy tour, how is the tour going so far? What cities are you excited to visit?
Bizzey: We are excited to visit every city. Some of the cities we know and are excited to come back and see a bigger crowd and a few of the cities we have never been their before, which is also great. The tour has been great so far and we get enough love wherever we go. Every show is basically sold out. So we can’t really pick out one particular place.
Nizzle: It’s kinda cool because since December, on the Blood for Mercy tour, we have been able to bring our own support. Moski is touring with us for the past two months and will continue to do so until the end of March.
OTB: Take us back to 2010 when Yellow Claw was formed. How did you guys meet and what were you doing before forming Yellow Claw?
Bizzey: We all knew each other through the industry and we were already friends. Jim and Nizzle were already working together and Jim who already knew me from videos and other stuff just texted me. They needed an MC and asked if I wanted to do it. Basically, that is how we got started.
Nizzle: We were all doing solo stuff and just brought it all together.
OTB: Just from a general observation the Barong Family seems to be the most close knit record label where the artists are really proud to be part of such an organization. What are you guys doing that is so special?
Nizzle: We maintain a certain level and we are very involved in making music. It could be a new artist or an established Barong Family artist and sometimes they will send us music and will respond by telling them to put a little bit more into it or it isn’t good enough yet. But, we also ask where can we help?
Bizzey: We are all artists ourselves and we know what it is like to be signed for the first time to a label and no one looks after you. We try to be special and keep in contact with all the guys.
Nizzle: It is more than just a label. We go four times a year to dinner with everyone and just have fun. We will have studio session together and write music with guys on the label.
Bizzey: Flexibly is also there. If an artist like Moksi says that want to do something really innovative we will support it. We are not like the big labels that will say ‘’that worked before so do the same thing again.’’
OTB: So who would you say is the Godfather of the label? We heard from Moksi that this is the wrong question and that there is really an Aunt of the Barong Family.
Bizzey: Vivian (Barong Family Manager) does a great job. She is the Aunt of all the guys.
Nizzle: She is the female boss.
Bizzey+Nizzle: It is our label and we pick out all of the artists. We do all the scouting and checking out new artists. We get a lot of demos and people should still be sending us all the demos they have. Vivian does a great job at managing all the guys and is our right hand.
OTB: Who would you say are you mentors and who do you hope to collaborate with in the future?
Nizzle: I think we tracked down a lot of cool artists for Blood for Mercy I and Blood for Mercy II, Jim is in LA writing new music and who knows who we will collaborate with on this project. It comes as we go. I could state the obvious and say that I wish I had written music with artists like Michael Jackson.
OTB: What do you like to do outside of music?
Nizzle: For like the past two years, we have only had a month a year to kick back and relax. In January we will go on holiday. For the rest of the time we tour 80% of the time and then we are in the studio. We touched down in Amsterdam and it is right to the studio.
Bizzey: We all like to work out and stay healthy.
OTB: When can we expect to see Mixtape #10 dropping?
Bizzey: Good question. We really didn’t think about it. We can’t really answer the question of when, but it will be special.
Nizzle: Not one thought crossed my mind about Mixtape #10. We finished the album and just started making new music.
Yellow Claw – #9
OTB: What are your plans for this year? Any big projects or collaborations?
Bizzey: The Blood For Mercy Tour is going really well and we will continue on the tour. We are going to put together some more videos for the tracks, some new EPs, some new collaborations. A lot.
OTB: Who are the artists that we should watch out for this year? On the label and off?
Bizzey: I think the artists here tonight, Wiwek and Moksi, were great last year and will continue to get bigger.
Nizzle: 2016 is going to be the year of CESQEAUX for sure. He is on tour in Australia now and planning a couple of USA dates. Flosstradamus watch out!