Wiwek was born in IJsselstein, a little town located in a picturesque part of the Netherlands that’s produced an inordinate number of world-dominating DJs, to parents of East Indian descent who emigrated from the South American former Dutch colony of Suriname. His dad sang and played Indian folk music, and between the traditional styles he heard at home and the Western pop he heard everywhere else, Wiwek already had a variety of sounds and rhythms in his system when he was first inspired to start making electronic music.
Inspired by hearing Tiësto spin on Dutch radio, he made his first beats on Music 2000 for the PlayStation One, before his older brother turned him onto Fruity Loops. Soon enough he was making beats for local rappers as the Dutch house boom was going on around him. Retreating into his bedroom studio to refine his skills, he learned to channel all of those disparate influences bouncing around his head into a distinctive style, where complex Indian-inspired rhythms collided with the adrenaline-rush dynamics of trap and tribal house (not to mention a library full of sampled animal sounds), that he named “jungle terror.”
Early Wiwek singles like “Angry Birdz” and his Gregor Salto collaboration “On Your Mark” didn’t sound like anything else being made at the time, but soon enough they began popping up in sets by A-list DJs. In short time he was playing the same stages as them, making his first festival appearance in 2015 at Ultra, and fulfilling a promise he’s made to himself not to attend a major electronic music festival before he was invited to play one.
A Twitter DM to Skrillex, who Wiwek knew was regularly playing his tracks, turned into a relationship that’s helped take the young artist to a new level. In 2016 OWSLA released his EP The Free and Rebellious, which not only included a collaboration between the two (“Killa”) but also served as the soundtrack to a short film called Still in the Cage that the pair co-produced, and premiered that August to a massive crowd at the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA.
Wiwek’s new EP for OWSLA, Drum Nation, represents the next stage of his evolution. Now living outside Amsterdam in the city of Haarlem, Wiwek took three months off of his hectic schedule in early 2017 to retreat into his new studio (one that’s not located in his bedroom) with a one of a kind library of drum sounds he’s been building for years, and a plan to shape them into a coherent stylistic statement unlike anything he’s made in the past. Blending ecstatic polyrhythms, exotic bird calls, and nods to everything from contemporary Dutch house to classic ragga jungle, Drum Nation offers the most fascinating and focused expression of Wiwek’s vision for jungle terror yet. Like its title suggests, it’s a state unto itself–cross over its border and you won’t want to leave again.