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GO HARD OR GO HOME

Rising Dutch star Quintino provides a master class in humility, giving back to his fans and explaining why you should never go soft..

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to say that they love what they do. Quintino doesn’t have to. With a broad and gleaming smile across his face and an infectious laugh in his voice, the excitement and love that he possesses as an artist is radiant, making his love for what he does obvious without him having to even speak. Demonstrating his skill set from an early age, Dutch native Quinten van den Berg, otherwise known as Quintino, has effortlessly inserted himself into the stratospheric heights of dance music stardom and labeled himself as one to watch.

Affectionately referred to by friends and family as Q, what sets Quintino apart is perhaps more than just his music. Born with an innate sense of musicality and production, and with an inherent passion for the arts, Quintino’s enthusiasm and drive is instilled into his creative projects from start to finish. Ask him to describe himself, and his larger than life energy and close relationship with his fans are what stands as his most important priority. “[Quintino] is energetic with a big smile, and always bringing a big surprise,” van den Berg tells us. “I’ve heard a lot from people that when they come to my shows, they really appreciate my affection with the crowd. I really, really enjoy my sets. I try to bring that to the crowd, to give them the same energy and get that back from them.”

Stemming from a musical family, van den Berg’s talent is a combination of both nature and nurture. With his father the owner of a nightclub in their native town of Den Helden, van Berg found was immersed in a variety of different musical genres and cultures from a young age. As he grew up, his love of dance music became fully realized, and at the age of fifteen he found several outlets in which he was able to experiment and further develop his musical interests. “I really wanted to play dance music, so I started organizing my own parties just so I could play. I started to play parties just to be able to play all the records that I loved. That was when my love for dance music became big,” he tells DJ Mag USA. “For me, it was amazing. I had always dreamed about it. It was only the first steps forward, but I knew when I was young I was always thinking about how I wanted to do something. When you accomplish your first steps, it makes you really happy.” Those first steps would soon grow to be the stepping stones towards a mentor/mentee relationship with fellow Dutch artist Laidback Luke, who would play an integral part in Quintino’s development as an artist and help to lay down the foundation for several hits to come.

GOING DUTCH

Beyond being an important aid in Quintino’s production process, Laidback Luke would also provide the then 18-year-old van den Berg with advice that would last a lifetime - to always connect with your fans. “From day one that I met him, he came off as a really humble person. He’s a really big artist, but as a person he’s really humble and I really appreciate that. He gave me a lot of tips. He told me to always be gentle, to take care of your people and take care of the fans that you’re going to get in the future, because they make sure you get a good crowd and they will make your career.” Lessons such as these have allowed Quintino to go far, giving him a sense of humility and a grounded nature that continue to resonate today, not only as a musician but also as a person.

Quintino’s relationship with Laidback Luke would also teach him the importance of community. While their native town of Den Helden is only home to about 50,000 people, the Netherlands as a whole has produced countless musicians and has continued to heavily dominate the electronic dance music scene over the past few years. “To me, it’s crazy. We always ask each other the same question. For example, we were at EDC Las Vegas - I was with Laidback Luke, Martin Garrix, Tiësto - everybody was there. We were like, ‘This is crazy, we’re in Las Vegas at one of the world’s biggest festivals and the whole line-up is Dutch.’ We were laughing about it and making fun of it, maybe there’s something in the food? I don’t know,” says Quintino. Home to Armin van Buuren, Tiësto and Hardwell - all of whom have reached the No.1 spot on DJ Mag’s Top 100 - and many others, Quintino finds himself among welcome company. “It is a healthy competition, of course. Everybody wants to be the best, of course. I think because it’s a small country and we’re so connected with each other, we bring each other to the next level.”

With his country in his corner, Quintino has released a string of continuous hits over the past few years. The most notable was 2011’s “Epic,” a heart pounding and pulsating festival anthem which quickly rose in the charts, reaching the top five of Beatport’s Top 100 and hitting No.1 on the Dutch charts. Having a bevy of hits to his name and a desire to bring them to his fans any way he can, van den Berg made his Sirius XM debut in August 2013 with SupersoniQ Radio, named after his record label of the same name. Now, well over 50 shows in, SupersoniQ Radio allows Quintino to reach his fans in the format he knows best. “I want to focus on my fans and everyone who is following me. I want to bring them new music every week, especially the music I’m playing in my sets. There’s so much good music out there and I try to bring it out in one hour.”

RESIDENCIES

Like many of his musical counterparts from the Netherlands, Quintino is able to seamlessly handle an increasingly busy schedule. Currently playing an average of 250 shows worldwide a year, it seems that there is little van den Berg can’t do. Holding not one, but three club residencies - one at Drai’s Las Vegas, one in Miami at LIV and an Ibiza residency at Space – van den Berg takes these opportunities to fine tune his productions and read how the crowd hang on every note. “The good thing is, if you get a residency, you know what to expect so you can build up your night, you can experiment more and more, and it gets better every time. You really control the night, so you learn how to bring the energy up. Because I’m doing so many shows, I can see what kind of music is working for me and that’s a really good thing. I’ve got a new record and I’ve played it all week, and now I can change it, shake it up and make it the perfect record.”

When we speak to him he's back at his home in the Netherlands, but Quintino has also taken some well-deserved time for vacation in Los Angeles, dedicating himself to more time in the studio for future tracks. “Normally I’d come home, work in the studio, then leave again and come back. You’re not in a steady routine. The studio time I had in LA was so good for me creatively, I fell into a flow for two weeks and I’m gonna do that more often.”

GO HARD

Having signed to one of dance music’s premiere record labels, Spinnin’, in 2013, Quintino has been able to solidify his place in the electronic music elite. This year saw the release of his biggest single, “Go Hard,” a mentality he has incorporated into his daily life. With its big room sound and its crashing drops, “Go Hard” is every bit as heavy as the title teases. Having stacked up over four million views on YouTube, the track is a major contributor to Quintino’s current success.

This year, he has made it his goal to reach the DJ Mag Top 100, a title that has eluded him several times in the past. Encouraging his fans to “Go Hard Vote Hard,” van den Berg has taken a different approach to the campaign process. Rather than a straightforward approach, van den Berg has tilted the idea of the campaign video on its head. Selling the idea of “Go Hard” as a parody of erectile dysfunction commercials, Quintino serves as a the cure to making sure all his fans “don’t go soft.” Says van den Berg, “The idea about that is that we also want to do fun stuff, I like to make people laugh. It doesn’t have to be that serious all the time. You can listen to my music, you can party at a festival I’m playing at, but a good laugh is really important. We came up with the idea, and we really, really like it. It’s a parody, of course, but I think people will undenstand that about it. It puts it in a different perspective.” Letting his sense of humor to shine through, Quintino’s video campaign is one that doesn’t feel forced or contrite, and furthers his warm sense of comfortable familiarity with his fans.

A man with so many accomplishments unden his belt, Quintino still continues to seek one more. With all that this past year has brought, he stands closer than ever than to breaking through to the top. While entering the DJ Mag Top 100 is an accolade all its own, for Quintino, however, it stands as more than just a number. “It’s a recognition and - more importantly - it’s for my fans who have supported me for so long. We can say that we’ve reached a goal together. It’s not about me, because the people have to vote. Last year I almost made it. If I accomplish this I can tell my fans, ‘Hey, we did this. You’ve supported me for so long, I’m happy to bring out more music, to show more love at the festivals, to bring everyone my records and bring a smile to your face, this is an accomplishment we did together.’ That would mean the world to me.”

Words: ALEX JOHN

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