Bingo Is Their Name

The Bingo Players’ Maarten Hoogstraten and Paul Bäumer cover the board with back-to-back gigs at Hakkasan and Wet Republic before returning for Electric Daisy Carnival

Maarten Hoogstraten and Paul Bäumer first caught our attention two years ago when they released “Cry,” but their no-holds-bar set at this year’s Ultra Music Festival cemented this Dutch duo known as the Bingo Players as an act to watch. Since Ultra, they’ve put out one major banger after the next—first “Buzzcut” and then “Fuck What You Heard.” We caught up with the pair to chat about their road to success, starting a label and what’s to come. They play Hakkasan on June 14, Wet Republic on June 15 and Electric Daisy Carnival.

When “Cry” was released in 2011, it got huge pick-up in the States. Any thoughts on why “Get Up (Rattle)” did a bit better in the U.K. than here?

Paul: In the clubs and at festivals “Rattle” is huge. Whenever we play that song it’s the highlight of our set, even though it was released in 2012. In Europe it became a mainstream song, No. 1 in the U.K. and Top 10 in several other European countries. I guess the main reason is that dance music has been played on the radio in Europe and not in the U.S. In the U.S., it is very difficult to get dance music on the radio. You have your exceptions like Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia, but it was only [Swedish House Mafia’s] last track that got on the radio; a lot of their earlier songs weren’t played. It’s still at the beginning point, so I really hope mainstream radio will embrace EDM a little bit more.

From Miami’s Ultra right into Coachella, then playing the second night of operation at Hakkasan Las Vegas—you guys have had a crazy spring. How do you keep up?

Maarten: [Paul’s] grabbing a beer right now!

Paul: I always say that you have to work hard for it. You can never get lazy or comfortable with the success. We try to put out great songs, do our best when we perform live and I think in the end that pays off. Our latest single came out May 20, and we have almost finished the song that’s coming out after that. That’s another really important part of the job as well: to keep putting good music out.

How do your club sets differ from what you’re doing at these festivals?

Maarten: When you play a festival, you always have to take into consideration which other DJs are playing. For instance, if the Swedes are playing, you can’t play any of their songs. We try to look at that first, but we also try to do something different than what we do in clubs. Festivals have a different vibe than a club. A club is more intimate, and festivals have larger crowds. So we play more mash-ups to get those bigger crowds moving.

And at EDC Vegas?

Paul: We are going to do a completely new set. It will be very different from our Ultra set, which was one of our best sets in regard to audience acceptance. It’s difficult to top that, but we love the challenge. We work hard, and we really prepare and will spend a month preparing for EDC Vegas. It’s not only the day itself, but you also have the podcast that we record and give away for free, so it lasts a long time. We do not want it to be a copy of the Ultra set.

You just pronounced your love for Daft Punk to Vibe Magazine.

Maarten: I think they are influencing everybody. When we first heard Homework it was mind blowing. They were groundbreaking [when they first came out],and everybody is still looking at what they are doing and being influenced by them.

Paul: I think if you talk to all the DJs that are big, I think they are all influenced by Daft Punk.

Any thoughts on your Hakkasan residency?

Paul: It’s really fun to play in Vegas. It’s a unique place and you just have to experience it. We play a way different set here than we play in all the other [markets]. We even play hip-hop over here, which we never play. That’s the fun thing about Vegas: You can play anything. This set is also unique in that the energy is so great! And there are beautiful girls, guys get drunk and it’s just a big party.

Tell me about Hysteria Records.

Maarten: Hysteria Records is our label, and we put out our own music through Hysteria.

Paul: We currently have a Top 10 on Beatport.

Maarten: We also release tracks from up and coming, talented DJs/producers, and we have our podcast which we do every month.
How did the label come to be?

Paul: It was more a creative thing. We were so sick of dealing with A&R managers and those guys telling us how songs should sound. We decided we didn’t want that anymore and that we just wanted to put out the songs we love and not the refabricated [tracks] the A&R managers wanted. That was our main issue, so now we have complete creative control and get to do fun things with up-and-coming talent.

I heard you at Westlake studios.

Maarten: That place is amazing! We are working on some songs and their [engineer] said that this was the studio where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller and Off The Wall. It’s heaven for a producer—sacred ground! They have speakers in the ceiling, because Michael loved to lie on the floor and listen to the music to get a certain vibe and the studio hasn’t been changed. You can see pictures with Michael and Quincy Jones at a desk and the same desk is still there.

Paul: It’s pretty weird walking in a floor where you know Michael Jackson has laid.

Any MJ influence on the new tracks?

Maarten: Maybe [laughing].

Paul: We love disco!

What’s with your fawning over Miami clubs LIV and Story over Las Vegas on social media?

Paul: We love Vegas [laughing]. I have to say I don’t think I could survive here for two weeks though! It’s so intense. If you do a weekend here you are completely out of energy when you go home. It’s all about fun. People go here to forget about their work or problems and just want to be entertained. You can tell just by playing for the crowds here from their energy. People just want to have a good time and we love to help give them that.

Maarten: It’s an adult playground; it’s crazy [laughing]!

Explain to me “Duckface.”

Paul: It was a song by Bassjackers that we released [on our label].

But what’s with all the pics of people with duck heads?

Paul: We love to fuck around with it, so we did a contest and had everybody send in their duck faces. It was cool.

So does this mean you have a thing for duck lips?

Paul: No no no!

Maarten: [Laughing]

Let’s talk about the Dada Life “Out of My Mind” remix.

Paul: We did a remix for them (“Boing Clash Boom”) that hasn’t come out yet, and they did one for us. It was a swap.

Their mix was definitely not progressive house.

Maarten: Yeah, it’s pretty rough. We never do remixes anymore, but we are big fans of the Dadas and thought it was really cool to do this swap to see what they would do with a song of ours and we’d get to fuck around with a song of theirs.

Paul: The original “Out of My Mind” was really melodic, and Dada Life is known for their really hard sound, and we were really curious how they would rework our track.

Maarten: When we did “Boing Clash Boom” we did a more groovy remix of their song. We already sent it out to some of our DJ friends who are supporting it and the preview we put out on our Hysteria Podcast is getting a lot of amazing feedback.

Was that what your cryptic, “More to Come” Instagram message was referring to?

Paul: We have another song coming out at the end of June. [We don’t have a title yet,] but there is a vocal on it and it’s a more melodic song.

Maarten: It’s a big name that everyone will know, but we can’t tell yet.

No hints?

Maarten: It’s a girl. We still have to work out some details so to name her now is a little bit premature.