Surely one of the most high-energy artists on the scene, South African-born Spanish resident Werner van Jaarsveld aka Rinakink started DJing in his mid-teens and was playing at parties in Cape Town at the tender age of 15. However it wasn’t until he saw Hallucinogen and Etnica play in the late ’90s that he first got inspired to start making music of his own. At the time he’d been DJing drum ‘n’ bass and happy hardcore and didn’t even particularly like trance, but the energy of the crowd blew him away and he caught the psy trance bug.
Since then he’s gone on a global mission to seek out dancefloors to test his tunes on and fully embraced the digital age, releasing his own tracks and promoting them via his FaceBook and Soundcloud pages. At the same time, his production just keeps getting better and better – no doubt partly due to his ongoing dedication in the studio.
With the man himself making a rare London appearance at Shattered Barriers this Saturday 8th April at Boombox Lab alongside Burn in Noise, Vertical Mode, Michele Adamson and AGENDA (Shane Gobi’s new live act) and a plethora of local talent that includes Nikki S, Bahar Canca, Neill Moore b2b Lauren Lyon, FlibbertiGibbet b2b Mudstompin Munkee and many more, we managed to get him to take some time out from his hectic international gig schedule to answer a few questions for his HaFa fans...
Hi Werner, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions before you head over to London for the return of Shattered Barriers on 8th April.
First, for those few sad souls who don’t know you, could you please tell us a bit about your background and how you first got into making music. You’ve been DJing since your mid-teens; can you remember that moment when music first shattered your barriers and you knew it was your calling?
I’d always loved dance culture but I didn’t think of making tracks till I saw Etnica and Hallucinogen playing at an outdoor party in Cape Town in the late ’90s.
What inspired you to first make that leap from DJing into production? Was there any sound in particular that got you into the studio?
I used to DJ other kinds of dance music that weren’t trance. Even though I’d been attending dance events with other kinds of music, I’d had never seen such energy and crowd reaction before. It made me want to start learning.
Growing up in South Africa, it must have taken a lot of skill and hard work to shatter those barriers and break through to becoming the international jetsetter that you are today?
At that time the hurdles were technological. The main thing was there was no internet to download software or exchange ideas and learn new things, but apart from that we were motivated and full of energy. Also at that time you couldn’t make music with just a computer – you needed a lot of external equipment that made things complicated.
Since then you’ve released some awesome tracks and played at some of the best festivals and clubs all over the world. What would you say are the highlights of your musical career so far? And are there and goals you have left to achieve?
I just want a receptive dancefloor, the size of the party and location is of secondary importance to me. In the future I want custom graphics that I can interact with in real time during my set.
You’ve been DJing and producing for many years now, how would you say your sound has changed and evolved?
My sound mutates and evolves depending on the desires of the dancefloor. I am free to come up with my own ideas but they have to be packaged in a way what will be for the vibe of the party or else I don’t think they are successful tracks.
Having played in over 34 countries you must have some epic stories from life on the road. I know what goes on tour is supposed to stay on tour, but what’s the funniest story from your travels?
I think it’s closer to 40 countries by now. Stuff happens now and then; things fall over and catch fire, people go crazy and do weird stuff and say funny things.
Some artists are blatantly better at DJing or producing, yet you appear to be just as talented at both. Which do you enjoy the most and if you had to give up one of them, which would it be?
I feel the two are interconnected and as time goes on the line between them becomes more blurred. Being a dj is invaluable to me because I am able to test my music between other people’s and then go back to the studio and make changes based on my feelings at the gig. Comparative listening between your music and others is the cornerstone of good production.
Your most recent productions are collaborations with Element, how did this come about and are there still more to come?
We were drawn together by a mutual love of Traktor DJing. The software allowed us to start playing in a different way to how most DJs played psy trance before. It allowed us great flexibility. In the beginning some people were upset by this more techno approach, but now I play much more than I did in the past and many enjoy our sets.
Since you started out, technology has changed the way you play, produce, promote and distribute music. Do you reckon this has been a hindrance or a help over the years? You’ve got over 285,000 FaceBook fans and over 50,000 followers on Soundcloud, so it’s safe to say that you’ve got a good handle on social media!
Dance music is made with technology so the two are inherently linked. Nowadays I can make music directly on my phone and tablet: everything is synced perfectly and the data is available to all my devices. It’s amazing how much things have developed in a short space of time.
If you could only take 5 CDs and 5 DVDs to a desert island, what would they be?
I’ll be OK with the silence and bird song. If I feel the need for music I can bang rocks together and sing or something.
What do you like to get up to in those rare moments when you’re not travelling to a gig or in the studio? Surely you need some down time in order to sustain your creativity?
I work in the studio 9 to 5 weekdays, it’s my obsession. The evenings are spent with my family. I live in nature so I don’t feel like I have to go anywhere to relax and recharge.
This time around you’ll be playing at Shattered Barriers first indoor event of the year at Boombox on an all-star line-up that includes Burn In Noise, Vertical Mode, Michele Adamson and your old Alchemy mate Shane Gobi launching his live act AGENDA. What secrets do you have up your sleeve to shatter our barriers?
I have access to lots of music, so expect fresh tunes stripped back to kicks and bass with a lot of drops.
Are you going to be able to stick around London for some sight-seeing and partying, or is it all work and no play on this trip?
I’m just coming for the evening, I have so many gigs this month so I don't want to be away from home for longer than necessary.
What else do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
I’ve been working hard in the studio for a while lately and it’s starting to pay off: the production and arrangements are sounding better, so I feel it’s time to try and complete some of the half-finished ideas on my computer. Apart from music I want to make another run of t-shirts and create some storyboards for graphics I want made.
Finally, if a fan sees you at the bar at Boombox, what should they buy you to drink?
Nothing, I’ve got an early flight and I’ll miss it if I’m drunk.
Many thanks for your time Werner and looking forward to seeing you at Shattered Barriers on 8th April!