LAURENS: “IT IS ALL ABOUT ENERGY”
In BOP faces we talk to local legends: the people of Punta Cana that make this place so special. In this edition: Laurens Mannaert also known as DJ Fishtank. This young Dutch musical prodigy DJ’s around the world and he just launched his first song Energy. BOP was curious to find out how this DJ/ Producer ended up in Punta Cana.
“I love habichuelas too!” Laurent Mannaert (14) laughs as he describes his love for beans made in a traditional Dominican way. He brings his head closer to the microphone as he answers more questions in the Hola Punta Cana radio show of Oscar Cerda G. It is the first time his song Energy is played on the radio. “I make Electronic Dance Music, but I like Reggaeton as well,” Laurens explains when asked about his style of music. Laurens Mannaert is inspired by DJs like Martin Garrix and Yellow Claw, but this was not always the case when he was living in Holland.
The piano was Laurens’ first love at a young age. He loved playing it even though he was 6 years old. While looking for another challenge he added the game Garage Band to his musical venture. An App where he was able to construct songs, using the different instruments from a virtual band. Unfortunately, he had to stop playing music for a while when he got into an accident at school. “I can’t exactly remember everything how it happened. All I know my finger got stuck between an emergency exit door. The door locked itself when it closed. Firemen had to be called to open it. I remember that I was happy when the door opened, but when I looked at my finger and saw that the upper part was totally crushed I was shocked. I was 7 years old at the time. After getting an operation to reconstruct my finger, playing the piano became harder and harder since that finger did not function well.”
Laurens did not give up and kept on playing the piano until his parents announced that they were moving to Punta Cana. “My parents told my 2 brothers and I that we were going to move. I thought we were moving to Panama, but we ended up going to the Dominican Republic because they started a business here. The island was unknown for me. We were supposed to move for 6 months, but we are still here after 4 years.”
DJ Fishtank is born
“Over a year ago, I saw this music video from Dutch DJ and producing duo Yellow Claw. It was the song Light years. In this video you see them performing on stage with a female singer in front of an ecstatic crowd.” Laurens smiles and he sits up straight as he visualizes the video. “It was so exciting to watch this! The crowd was dancing and bouncing to the song. All I thought was: ‘I want to do this too!’
So, I got a small DJ set and started watching Youtube videos of people that had the same equipment as I had. I started teaching myself how to DJ. All I did was listen to a lot of different musical styles. Trap, Reggaeton, Hip Hop and more. At first, I started making mixtapes. You can still listen to them on my SoundCloud. After that I began making my own songs. Honestly, when I listen back to the first song I made, I really feel it is not that good. It had no structure. Luckily, I improved!
Besides making music, I had to come up with a name too. I became DJ Fishtank. This is because I love fishing. I used to do it almost every day. Hold up, I just realized that if we did not move to Punta Cana chances are I probably would not have started DJing and producing!”
“The first time I DJ’d was on API beach in Cap Cana. It is weird because I was not nervous. It was just like DJ’ing in my room but then in front of a crowd. It was really exciting! I always observe the crowd and adjust my DJ set accordingly. When I play in Punta Cana, I play lots of Reggaeton and Dembow. In Holland it would be more Electronic House.”
“My song energy gives you energy. It is big room house. House music that you can play at a festival. I find inspiration for my songs in Electronic Dance music, but also a lot of Trap and other musical genres. When I was making this song, I was so inspired by the big room house style. I imagined people dancing to this song at a big event or festival. It came from that idea. In the end it is all about energy that you get from the crowd.”
Life in Punta Cana
“I like living in Punta Cana. Also, because here DJ Fishtank was born. The weather is good, and I have the chance to wake board, surf and fish! Yes, I like being active!” Laurens says laughing. My favorite spot is Aqua Park, where I wakeboard a lot.”
What does the future hold for DJ Fishtank? “My ultimate dream is to play at the mainstage at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. This is one of the biggest festivals. The best DJ’s play there!
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