Netherlands-based DJ/production duo Maarten Hoogstraten (aka Break Mechanic, Marchand) and Paul Christian (real last name Bäumer) started releasing commercial house singles and remixes as Bingo Players in 2006, when they debuted on the German Techtone label with the Sonic Stomp EP. Over time, their pared-down sound became increasingly layered, more rush-inducing, and reliant upon clever vocal samples. Some of their more notable releases across 2010 and 2011 included “Tom’s Diner” (where they sampled the hit DNA version of the Suzanne Vega song), “When I Dip” (Freak Nasty’s “Da’ Dip”), and “Cry (Just a Little)” (Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark”).
In 2013, they scored one of their biggest coups. An updated version of their 2011 track, “Rattle,” titled, “Get Up” (Rattle),” with LA-based act, Far East Movement, rapping over a bouncy, catchy beat, became a instant hit. When they first played the tune back in 2011, Maarten and Paul didn’t know if audiences liked it, but then, the single started to pick up steam around the world and slowly continued to grow.
It eventually charted in the Top Ten around the world including; Germany, Austria, France, and Australia (where it ended up going double Platinum), Gold in Canada, reaching the coveted #1 spot in the UK charts, and selling over 200,000 records in the U.S., reaching #5 on the dance charts. The success of the single, and the quirky, humorous video featuring ducks squaring off against hoodlums (which now has over 40 million views) helped propel Bingo Players high into the DJ Mag Top 100 list last year.
The producer behind the hit EDM act, Bingo Players, got hooked on electronic music when he was a kid, listening to The Prodigy’s “Out of Space,” and wishing he could make the kind of tunes that were being played on Dutch radio. But, at the time, to make dance music, you needed physical equipment—synthesizers and drum machines—far out of his reach at his age.
When he was a teenager, two events would change his life. An early music software program called ProTracker was released, and he would meet Paul Baümer, who would become his musical partner for the better part of the next 15 years until he suddenly passed away from cancer in 2013.
Maarten met Paul through his younger brother in Enschede, Holland, a two-hour drive from Amsterdam. One day, he went over to hang out with Paul’s younger brother, and found that Paul was also making music using ProTracker software. “It was only four channels and was really basic, but it was a start and really fun to do.”
“When we discovered we were both making similar sounding music with the same program we started spending all our time together and became friends right away’” said Maarten.
Over the next decade they began recording; and in 2006 they began recording under the moniker, Bingo Players. Their tracks started to resonate with the EDM crowds in America and abroad. Their songs— featuring buzzing, bouncing synthesizers, crunchy, guitar-like riffs reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers, and powerful, driving beats— are shaped by a memorable lyrical hook or a melody. 2009’s “Devotion” utilizes the catchy vocal hook, and sets it against a funky infectious saxophone riff and syncopated backbeat.
Their breakout hit “Cry (Just a Little),” featured a re-recording of the hook from a 1988 Brenda Russell song, “Piano in the Dark.” With the memorable lyric looping around an ebullient melody, it became an instant crossover anthem.
in June 2013, at the height of their success, Paul suddenly fell ill. He was diagnosed with cancer. Everyone was shocked. Despite the prognosis, Paul remained optimistic.
In October, Paul took a turn for the worse and he passed away in December 2013. There was an outpouring of support from the EDM community with peers like Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, Skrillex and Armin Van Buuren paying tribute on social media, at shows and in the press.
Maarten was stunned and didn’t know what to do. But Paul’s last wishes were for his best friend and his musical partner to keep making music.
“He always said to me, ‘If you can find solace and continue what we started, please do so. Please continue the music. Carry on the Bingo Players flag,’” said Maarten.
He wasn’t sure if he could carry on. But, he said, “I took a holiday, took some time off to clear my head and think about things. I thought, “Yeah Paul’s right. I should continue, and continue the name and continue his legacy.”
After all, they have a library of finished tracks and ideas they worked on together that have yet to be released and Maarten can continue his and Paul’s dream of making the music that they heard on the radio as kids. The scene might have gotten bigger, and the production might be made on something more sophisticated than ProTracker, but, says Maarten, “The vibe is still the same. People want to have a good time, come together, and experience the music.” And Bingo Players live on.