From Illegal Raves to AI Integration: Reinier Zonneveld Becomes a Pioneer for the Future of Electronic Music

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Dreams can start in many ways, for example, attending rave parties at a very young age and discovering a passion for techno music there. This is what happened to Reinier Zonneveld, the Dutch DJ who has brought not only the public to his feet with his sets but also skillfully incorporated Artificial Intelligence as part of his presentations.

Reinier is a man of big dreams. He never stops, on the contrary, his energy is focused on pushing the limits and offering more and better music to his fans around the world. He likes to change and reinvent himself to stay fully present in the music scene.

With a Guinness Record under his belt, a pioneer project developed with AI for his shows, his music label, a presentation at Framework in the Desert on Friday, April 12, his Sound Nightclub debut on Friday, April 19 as part of 7 Days of Framework at Sound, and Coachella on the list, the only thing we could ask for was time for him to make room for us in his agenda, and he did. Here is the full interview that will leave you hooked on his music and personal energy.


How do you define yourself in artistic terms?

I’m all about authenticity and exploration. I don’t like being put into any specific category or genre. I always try to push boundaries and defy expectations. I’m constantly experimenting with sounds, equipment, and techniques to create something that feels fresh and genuine. 

How did your musical career begin, for those who don’t have the full context?

It all started during my student days when I found myself immersed in the electronic music scene, attending parties and illegal raves. It was then that I realized I wanted to play and make electronic music. I began by experimenting with music production while also playing at underground raves. I was sending my demos to a lot of labels and artists, and in 2016, I got this phone call from Oliver Koletzki, the head of the Stil Vor Talent label. He had liked one out of the six demos I sent him and had some bookings lined up for me around Germany and Austria as a supporting act. In the same year, Stil Vor Talent released my second LP, ‘Megacity Servant’, which was a significant milestone in my career. Then in 2017, I founded my own label, Filth on Acid, as a platform to further explore my musical vision. Meanwhile, touring really took off, and it hasn’t stopped ever since.

Do you remember your first live show as a professional?

My first “official” gig was in 2015; I remember there was a flyer and everything. I pulled up with tons of equipment and spent hours preparing for my set, having the samples on an external drive. As soon as I dropped the first kick, the entire thing crashed. Most of my set was gone, so I had to really improvise on the spot as much as I could. In the end, given the circumstances, it all worked out, and I must say, it was not that bad of a set!

It’s going to be a pretty busy month of April for you, right? You will be part of this year’s ‘Framework In The Desert’ lineup. Let’s start there. When will that be? What do you envision for that set?

April is a big month; it’s the beginning of the season, and I have some shows I’ve been really looking forward to. I’m playing Framework in the Desert on Friday, April 12, and I have a lot of new music that I can’t wait to play live and see the crowd’s reaction. I always prepare for my sets, but I also like leaving some room for improvisation, as I like modifying my set based on the crowd’s vibe at the moment. I’m also really excited to play Coachella for the very first time on the Yuma stage. After that, I’m going back to the Netherlands to play Free Your Mind Festival on King’s Day on April 27. It’s a Dutch holiday to celebrate the king’s birthday, and everyone is off partying, so every year is always a lot of fun to play.

You’ll also be at ‘7 Days of Framework at Sound’, which has become a destination for lovers of underground music in between the Coachella weekends. What are your expectations for that event? How do you prepare to impress an audience that will be spoiled with art, visual effects, and talent throughout the whole week? 

I’m honestly really excited, and I feel like the crowd in the US is always very enthusiastic and fun to play to. I cannot wait to see it all come together at Sound. The venue looks sick from what I’ve seen, and I’m headlining… So I’m preparing a special set!

You’ve become a pioneer in integrating the world of electronics with Artificial Intelligence in a project that you have called R². Can you talk about this a bit? What specifically will this merger do? 

I have always been fascinated by AI and the latest advancements in technology. I was brainstorming with a friend who works with AI. My idea was to have him develop a model crafted to autonomously compose tracks during my live shows, using loops, samples, and other live elements to play b2b with me, just like it would be if I were to be playing b2b with another human. That’s how R² was born.

What secrets can you share about your groundbreaking project, R², that combines electronics with Artificial Intelligence? Tell us more about the specifics of this merger and how it will elevate your live performances as the world’s first artist to go back 2 back live with a computer.

I won’t reveal all the secrets behind this technology, but it has been trained on my music catalog so it can play live b2b with me and improvise on the spot, creating new compositions as we go, just like I do in my sets. I’ll debut it during my own R² Festival on August 17th, so that’ll be the first time the world will be able to see it in action. 

This will be the first time that a b2b set is carried out between a human and a computer. What challenges did you encounter in preparing for this unique collaboration, and how do you think you’ll handle the dynamic between you and R² on stage?

Fine-tuning the AI and getting it to work as I’d like was the most challenging part, but I’m also looking forward to seeing the improvisational aspect of it all once we’re playing b2b live on stage. 

With R² as a partner in your live performances, how do you see the role of technology evolving in the electronic music space? Do you think AI has the potential to fundamentally change the way we experience and create music?

With R², I want it to show how we can incorporate technology into music and live performances in a positive way, rather than having computers completely replace humans. We can do so much with AI and technology, and this is only the beginning!

Last year, you broke the Guinness World Record for the longest live electronic music set. What drives you to continually push the boundaries of what can be achieved in your live performances?

I like constantly challenging myself and exploring new and unique ways to play my music. I really enjoy playing long-spanning sets, so then I thought, why not try and break a Guinness World Record doing something I love?! It was a challenging experience, but worth every minute. It inspired me to think more out of the box and get out of my comfort zone.

Looking ahead, what can fans expect from Reinier Zonneveld and R² in the future?

They can expect a mind-blowing experience at the R² on August 17, where I will play b2b with R² for the first time ever, in front of thousands of people. I’ve been playing around with R² at the studio, making a lot of new music. So people should also stay tuned for that, as I have lots in store to release in the coming months.

After all these years and with all the success you have achieved, what would you say to the young Reinier who went to illegal raves to enjoy music or to the boy who studied piano at 3 years old?

Stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid to go for what you want in life.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Playing my music around the world and make more music with artists I admire, new technologies, and new inspirations.

Share with us your life mantra, if you have one.

Karren Maar!




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