It might be hard to believe, but a DJ whose name you might not know is responsible for a massive shift in dance music that’s helped make the careers of a number of household names. Despite having been performing and producing music for half of his life, he’s in a place where DJs know his name, but fans might just be learning it. Hailing from The Netherlands and going by the name Quintino, things are starting to turn around for the DJ as he gains international attention and acclaim. Billboard Radio China sat down with the Dutch DJ backstage at Jungle Electronic Music Festival in Shenzhen in December of 2017 to get his viewpoint on everything from his early days DJing at the turn of the century to being credited as developing a new sound in House music.

2014 saw Quintino make his mark on the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for the first time, entering the list at number 86, and he’s been steadily rising since then. Currently ranked at number 30, the DJ started his career with very different goals in mind. He explains that, as a teenager, he began throwing parties in his small city just to have a place to DJ publicly. Creating the demand for his own services seems to have worked out though. At 18 years old, he was introduced to Laidback Luke, then a nearly 10-year veteran of the dance music scene, and the pair hit it off. Luke took the young DJ under his wing and helped him start the beginnings of a new career.

While it’s been a long road for Quintino, it hasn’t been without its successes. In 2011, the DJ partnered up with fellow Dutchman Sandro Silva to create Epic, the track that’s credited as being the first true big room house song. It’s not hard to see how Epic changed the game for dance music, the development of the new sound it produced helped develop a number of careers and Hardwell ranks the track in his top ten of Electro House songs. Talking about the success of the track, Quintino said, “It was one of the first records that got played on the radio, it was really hard. It was really new for radio and the clubs and all the festivals, the moment it dropped, everybody was cheering. It was like we were winning the world cup. Maybe not for dance music, but for me it was life changing.”

Quintino’s boundless energy and youthful drive is apparent when he starts talking about his own musical style. He uses three terms to describe what he’s producing; unexpected, energetic, and with a smile. Talking about his liver performances, he says “I want to create memories for people and not give them the same sounds every time. If you come to a show with me, you don’t know what to expect; you’ll hear my own records of course, but you’ll never know which one where, never the same set so people are always surprised and I hope to make them smile at the same time.”

It’s clear that the 32-year-old DJ is happy with where things are going for him. In fact, that’s exactly how he describes where he is these days, “I’m blessed, I’m happy.” That said, he isn’t resting on his laurels either. He has high hopes for 2018, explaining that he believes this will be his best year. “My new visuals are finally finished, I’ve got collaborations in march with Steve Aoki, in January with Hardwell, my new EP on Spinnin’, I got 3 records with Dimitri [Vegas] and [Like] Mike, and that’s only the beginning. … Music-wise, we have a lot finished, so I’m happy with that. A lot of shows, I’m doing sensation in Jakarta, I’m coming back to China, I can’t wait.”

Quintino rocked out Shenzhen’s Jungle Electronic Music Festival for what he called the sunset performance, coming on stage in broad daylight and ending his hour long set in the darkness that had fallen. That could well be a metaphor for where he is in his career, having gone from daytime opening sets to working his way towards the late-night headlining slots currently taken up by friends and colleagues from The Netherlands and around the world. As the sun sets on his performances, it’s clear the sun is just rising on his career and Quintino is nothing short of lit up by it.

You can check out the full interview at Billboard Radio China.