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22tracks interview & playlist

22tracks is the one of the most unique ways to discover new music. The online jukebox, which features playlists curated by Amsterdam, London, Paris and Brussels’ best DJs, describes itself as “the perfect guide in a crowded musical landscape”. Ahead of them hosting Friday VIP at #Lovebox15, we spoke to co-founder Vincent and Somethinksounds’ Kazim – who curates London’s playlists – about the brand and what to expect when they host VIP. Check out their special Lovebox VIP playlist at the end of the interview.

How would you describe 22tracks in one sentence?

KAZIM: The coolest place to discover new music in the world, from all over the world.

How did the idea for 22tracks come about?

VINCENT: Working at the Dutch equivalent of BBC 1xtra I worked with amazing niche DJs who struggled to find a bigger audience and myself struggling to keep up with their radio shows (duration: two hours per show). I proposed to join forces with much more genres on one platform on a much more easy to consume way: highlight their 22 latest top picks, in 22 genres. I built the first version myself.

What was 22tracks’ first breakthrough moment?

VINCENT: The Dutch breakthrough moment was when 3voor12, the country’s biggest music blog, properly introduced 22tracks to their audience and the Dutch music industry. Around a year later Pitchfork linked us for people to stream a brand new LCD Soundsystem tune and our stats went through the roof. I started receiving tons of emails from the US that night, all very much loving the concept.

What has been your biggest moment as a company?

VINCENT: Hmm. Launching in Brussels, London and Paris. Our recent SXSW Awards nomination, Wired Top European startup nomination and our branded content deals with Microsoft, Grolsch and Sonos.

What favourite DJ of yours would you like to curate a guest playlist?

KAZIM: Well, for me personally it’s not just about DJs. I love to find out what my favourite people from all creatives spaces are getting down to. I’d love to hear what Prince or Andre 3000 would select for their current 22 fave tracks. Easy.

Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Paris – why are these cities such important musical hubs?

KAZIM: It’s totally subjective, and more importantly the list isn’t complete. We want to open offices and curate music in Loads of cities, and the next few years we’re planning major growth in places such as NY, LA, Joburg, Berlin, Moscow and Sau Paulo. What makes all of these cities exciting for us underground street culture and how that manifests in each city. We find the underground music scenes is what brings all of the street/culture kids together in cities, so it’s fascinating to hear whats hot in each cities, curated by the kids pushing the cities forward.

Where do you want 22tracks to be in 5 years?

VINCENT: To become the global leading music discovery platform. Running a succesful streaming service, online magazine, events and festivals and a record label.

KAZIM: I want it to be the first thing every kid on the street does in the morning before he or she even gets out of bed, put on their favourite playlist and it be the soundtrack to their day. In ever city in the world!

What can Lovebox-VIPers expect from 22tracks on the Friday?

KAZIM: VIBE. VIBES. VIBES. We’ve got some firm London 22 family together plus some special guests. Expect the best music on the street from the best cities in the world.