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Music in the street #1: NEWK

From the Buurtbrief (neighbourhood newsletter) July 2023, by Gerwin


Newk is the stage name of Beorn Lebensstedt, composer and producer, living and working in the Wolphaertstraat and a member of residents' association W1555.

Newk started experimenting on his Commodore Amiga at age 14. Today he makes electronic music using samples, field recordings and both analogue and digital synthesisers. The computer is still his most important tool.

"Ik really like dance music!"

Beorn responds with conviction to my question; “where exactly does he get his inspiration?”

He is mainly interested in electronic music of the 90s, but his interest also goes further back to the 80s, 70s, and 60s, and he even has some records from the 50s.

"But still, especially the second half of the 90s is the most important for me. That period had such a huge explosion of different electronic styles!"

Besides dance music, Beorn also really enjoys what he calls "listening music", a more quiet musical form, and he finds it exciting to combine the two.

His songs are often dynamic and atmospheric, creating a certain ambience by alternating between danceable rhythms and contrasting, quiet listening moments.

As a musician and composer, he does not see himself as a purist, but more as a cross-pollinator; bringing together different styles and elements of various types of music.

"I am not a purist musician either. I can play the keyboard, but I am not a virtuoso."

He plays live, performing for audiences, but does not consider himself a performer.

"I like to combine elements like visuals with music. In that sense, I enjoy experimentation, but mostly I prefer to perform as a deejay with my music. In doing so, I don't really put up an act, because the music should speak for itself."

Film is a big source of inspiration. For instance, Beorn frequently uses samples from films. These can be dialogues, but also a specific sound. The whinnying of a horse, for example, can act as a melody—the trick is to find the right way to use such a sound.

"Sometimes, when I hear a particular sound that I would like to use, I try to analyse this sound. How could I recreate that sound with a synthesiser and turn it into music? In that sense, actually anything can be an inspiration. For example, I also use field recordings to create music."

Beorn regularly performs as a deejay at dance events in Amsterdam, but also in Rotterdam, for example at venues such as Worm. You can consider his music as setting the tone for the evening, or sometimes accompanying guests as background or lounge music.

If your curiosity has been piqued, you can listen to his music via:

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