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Driven by emotions

“I get restless when I can’t work on my own melodies. It’s such a good outlet for my emotions”. There you have it in a nutshell. Dutch Estroe lives for her music. It’s electronic, it’s beat driven and it’s full of emotions.

Together with techno hotties like Anja Schneider, Mistress Barbara and Monika Kruse, Dutch. Estroe belongs to an elite club of female DJ’s that made it to the top. Born in Zutphen as Esther Roozendaal, raised near Amsterdam and currently living in Rotterdam, she has been dj-ing since 1998.

Whether it’s behind the turntables in the famous Fuse in Brussels, the Watergate in Berlin or an underground club in Rumania, Estroe knows how to tune in and drop the right beats. She likes to play versatile, techno infused sets with room for deep undercurrents as well as pure dancefloor work. Her style is warm, subtle but at the same time very energetic.

Things really took off when Estroe started producing her own tracks back in 2003. In hindsight it was an unconscious response to the skull breaking beats of those days. “I missed the soul in much techno back then and felt the need to make something myself.”She learned everything there was to know about hard- and software. Her spacious Rotterdam apartment fills with laughter when Estroe thinks back of those days. “For months I tried every piece of music software I could get my hands on. Till I finally got it right. It was important for me that I could produce tracks myself, without the help of an established producer.” Nowadays Estroe even gives workshops on Ableton.

In her first productions Estroe went back to the early days of Detroit techno. Back when people like Carl Craig, Kenny Larkin and the British group The Black Dog found the soul in their machines. With her sophisticated, warm and elegant style she soon appeared on the radar of dj’s like Laurent Garnier, Ripperton and John Digweed. The latter was blown away by Estroe’s minimalist masterpiece Driven and promptly asked her for a remix on his Bedrock label. Another strong supporter is techno don Dave Clarke who has booked her for his White Noise parties on more than one occasion.

On Estroe’s delicate productions it’s not about maximum compression, distorted hi-hats or full on bassdrums. No, it’s about atmosphere. “I try to target people’s emotional spot, being it comfort, peace or excitement”, she says about her music’s primary aim. But make no mistake, singles like Waiting For The Rollercoaster (Eevonext), The Futuroscope EP (Snejl) are clearly ment for adventurous dancefloors worldwide. In 2009 she releases her debut album Elemental Assets (Connaisseur) which features Miss Kittin on vocals. Recently Estroe has been rediscovering the darker sides of techno in her dj-sets, something which will no doubt translate in her future productions.

With her ability to mould sounds into beautiful shapes, Estroe has become an in demand remixer in recent years. Some of her best work was done for others, like Tim Wolff, Art Bleek and Rocco Caine, who’s Fathorn 50 made it to M.A.N.D.Y.’s Body Language-compilation. “It’s as much a compliment as it is a frustration”, she smiles. “Apparently I’m pretty good in picking the right ingredients from a track I like.”

Together with Stefan ‘Terrace’ Robbers Estroe runs a label. An institute almost. EevoNext is one of the oldest dance labels in the Netherlands, spanning over twenty years of Dutch techno. EevoNext releases classics from the Dutch techno vaults but also breaks new talent. That’s where Estroe comes in. “I like to scout and coach new talent”, she admits. “I’ve been in this business long enough to know the pitfalls.”

Exactly the reason why she’s involved in the Dutch Audio Platform, a clever way for small labels to share knowledge and resources. Estroe: “The dance scene is rejuvenating at an incredible speed. Much knowledge is lost and reinvented along the way, which is a real shame if you ask me.”

Another promising project is Estafête, a ‘girls only dj-team’ consisting of Monica Electronica, Lin and Estroe. “No I’m not a fanatic feminist but I do miss the femininity in the dj-world sometimes”, she states. It’s not only more fun with two other women behind the mixer, it’s also very inspiring.” With Estafête we constantly challenge each other, which translates in better dj-sets.”

With a filled agenda and an inbox full of remix requests, changes are high you’ll be dancing to an Estroe tune this weekend. Asked if she has any regrets she gave up her day job years ago, she fiercely shakes her head. “This is what I always wanted: to make good music and to play it out."