Cas van Iersel, recently appointed as Growth Lead and also known as DJ Cazler. Cas has been working at Rapid Circle since 2019 and is seen as the bridge between account management and delivery. On the other hand, DJ Cazler is known as the energizer of the evening. A combined passion for music and IT. Today, we take a glimpse into Cas’ life. Are you ready?
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you discover your musical talents?
“I believe that music is a very important aspect of my life. I listen to music every day, and I enjoy many different genres. And how did it all begin? When I was about nine years old, I started taking guitar lessons. That’s where I began playing instruments and making music. I stopped during my early teenage years, but I still enjoyed music a lot. Around the age of fifteen, I decided to become a DJ. I had a few friends who had some equipment, and I started practicing with that. A friend from school had a real turntable and record players for mixing. That’s when I realized I had a certain sense of rhythm and a musicality in me. I wanted to pursue it further, so I kept DJing. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I even studied audio engineering at the School of Audio Engineering to deepen my knowledge.”
How did you get your first DJ gig?
“Many of my friends worked in the hospitality industry or in bars, and some of them worked at one of the biggest nightclubs in Tilburg. It was called ‘The Talk of the Town’ back then. I think it’s one of the first nightclubs in the Netherlands. It has had many names since then, but the venue still exists. It can hold about 800 to 1000 people. So, you can imagine, when it’s packed, it’s pretty cool. And at that time, it was the club scene of the time.
One of my buddies who frequented the club struck up a conversation with the owners. He mentioned that he knew someone who could DJ well. So, I offered to perform for them for free for six months, and if it went well, we would start invoicing. That’s how it came about, and it turned out to be quite successful. I had some great nights there. When the place was packed, and everyone was going wild, that’s the best feeling. It became one of the regular spots for DJ Cazler.”
Do you have a creative process you follow before starting a DJ set?
“Yes, definitely. I’m someone who likes structure. I have a foundation, and I might make some adjustments as needed. I do the same thing when preparing for presentations or giving a speech. I’m someone who rehearses several times because I like the sentences and what I want to say to be ingrained in my mind. I usually need that process, and it’s the same with DJing. I create a complete setlist of the tracks I want to play and put them in a specific order that I want to hear and play them. This doesn’t mean it’s a fixed tracklist because I can also deviate from it. But especially when I want to play in a specific style like techno or house, I structure it to my liking.
Of course, you also partly consider the audience. I’m a fan of a progressive set. Nowadays, you see that less. People are constantly going up, up, up on the dance floor, and everything is always high-energy. I’m not a big fan of that. I would never see myself as a headlining DJ, but more someone who warms up or starts the night. I’ve also been the closing act before, and then you must completely bring the house down. I enjoy doing that too. But given the choice, I would always go for a progressive set at the beginning of the evening. I’m the energizer, so to speak.”
How did you stay updated on music and technology trends back then?
“I started about 20 years ago, and things weren’t moving as fast as they are now. So, that’s an advantage. I witnessed the evolution of CD players. When I first started, you had to lug around a suitcase full of records. Those records quickly weigh around 20 kilograms, and that’s not cool. Then, CDs and CD players came along. Of course, I didn’t have the money to buy every evolving CD player, so if I saw a new button during a set, I would try it out. Especially at the beginning of the evening when not everyone was inside yet, I could practice with that. Eventually, you know what everything does. You can also read a lot about it. I did a lot of reading, and I enjoyed that.”
What does DJing give you that you don’t get from your role as a Growth Lead?
“I was going to say interaction with a large group, but that’s not entirely true because you can also have that with presenting. However, I don’t like to hear myself talk, but I do enjoy DJing. I find my own sets really cool. So, what’s the difference? I think I bring something to be heard that isn’t necessarily about myself but creates a certain atmosphere. When I give a presentation, all eyes are on me. It’s really about me. Whereas when I’m DJing, it’s about the music, and that’s what I want.”
Is it that you can express yourself more through music?
“Yes, I think so. Being involved with music is a different kind of passion than being involved with technology and IT. I’ve always said that I wanted to do something with computers and work in the IT sector. But on the other hand, I also find the analog aspect of my life very important for balance. And music falls under that, in my opinion. You can bring the digital aspect forward, but listening to music is as analog as it can be. And that’s a bit of a contrast with what I do in my role as a Growth Lead. It provides more relaxation, so to speak. The work at Rapid Circle is the demanding side, which is also enjoyable, but it’s a different kind of fulfillment. Just listening to music stimulates my brain, and I find that really cool.”
I don’t like to hear myself talk, but I do enjoy DJing. –Cas van Iersel, Growth Lead at Rapid Circle
Do you have a favorite song or album that you always play, and why is it special to you?
“I don’t think there’s just one, and it also depends on the time. However, the label ‘Defected’ is one of the absolute top labels when it comes to house music. And ‘Shakedown At Night,’ especially the Kid Creme remix, is one of the Defected classics that I played from the early days of my DJ career. I have it on vinyl at home, and it’s still a track I can always play.”
What role does music play in your life?
“When I really need to relax or concentrate, I put on music. I have specific playlists for every mood. I stopped DJing when I had a daughter, but after her birth, I invested in a guitar. I also have synthesizers and drum computers at home. I can also play some tunes on the piano, but the focus is primarily on the guitar. My daughter turned out to enjoy it as well. We used to play pop songs together because children’s songs are often the same. Now she’s three years old and prefers to dance and listen to the radio. So, music is truly the thread running through many aspects of my life. I’m practically involved with music all day long. It keeps me sharp and calm, I think.”
What is the most important thing you have learned from both of your jobs?
“The social aspect and the connection with people. And you might not expect that from IT, but in my role as a Growth Lead, I work a lot with clients, and I enjoy that. When I was still a developer, I was more focused on the backend, the work that no one sees. But I find the frontend really beautiful. Making something user-friendly and the interaction with the user. Designing and building it well. This also applies to music. People come to listen and have a good time, and as a DJ, it’s your job to make that happen. I also enjoyed the contact with other DJs. You could learn a lot from each other and get inspired.”
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to follow your path, whether as a DJ or an IT professional?
“I pursued music because I enjoyed it, and I entered the IT field because I found it interesting. If I hadn’t enjoyed IT, I would have quit a long time ago. I also think I have the characteristic of taking on challenges. I like to first see what something is about instead of immediately saying no to an opportunity. So, be open to things. Be open to opportunities that come your way and see if they suit you instead of immediately saying no. That’s how I’ve walked my career path. It may sound cliché, but I think you should always do what you enjoy. That’s truly the most important thing. If you enjoy what you do, you can only get better at it and radiate that to your surroundings.”