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We caught up with Laurent Veronnez and Jurgen Leyers the one time duo of Fire & Ice and now on the verge of their new release as Airwave & DJ Fire with “Kabalash”. Two hard working guys with studio and gigging taking up their time but we get a chance to get them settled and ask a few questions about their schedules and lifestyles.
Hi guys thanks so much for taking the time to have a quick chat with us, how are you both?
L: Fine here thanks. I’m having a very hectic schedule nowadays. I have no single second to breathe.
J: Hi Brian, I’m fine thanks. Actually at this moment I’m not doing a lot of DJing or producing, since I’m getting a room in our house ready for our second boy which will be born in a couple of weeks!
Congratulations Jurgen and Mrs Fire!
Outside of music what are your interests, what do you like to do in your downtime?
L: Back in the old years I would have had a ton of hobbies and things outside music. Today I’d say I keep watching movies, I still play games a tiny bit (10 mins a week? LOL), and most of the time gets spent with the kids as they’re what matters most after all! Teaching my daughters a lot of things about life is the most enjoyable experience in life.
J: I’ve always been into movies, usually the new stuff but a nice classic from time to time is nice too. Besides that I love playing tennis and travelling to foreign countries.
You have both been connected with Bonzai for a long time now, what is it about Bonzai do you think has allowed that relationship to last so long?
L: We’ve been connected thanks to Bonzai because the people running the labels, the management, are themselves devoted to only one thing, Good Music, which results into a sense of self-commitment. Many people inside the Music industry think about two matters, themselves and money. While it’s very important not to forget yourself in life and while there’s no acceptable alternative to money for the outside world yet, self-commitment and passion bring people together. I think you’ve got your answer. This thin and fragile line, almost imperceptible in a world where you’re blinded by money and fame, makes a relationship last forever.
J: Indeed, I was a customer in the Bonzai recordstore since the end of ’92, when I started buying my first vinyls. I met up with Fly and all the other DJ’s-producers that were around at the time. That way I got my first contacts in the business and started working in the record store a few years later. Bonzai is really like a family, I think that’s why I’m still working with them as a DJ and a producer. They’re weren’t only my employer, but also personal friends (which they still are).
Let’s take a moment to talk about your most popular project together, Fire & Ice. How did you guys got together for F&I and how did the working set up go, were you both in studio together or was there some remote working?
L: Back in 96-97, NO Internet, NO Digital Audio, NO virtual effects and instruments. I was fortunate enough to have a computer with a soundcard that could import Samples into RAM. Each piece of hardware would cost you an arm, but that was amazing. I remember Jurgen and I sharing some mutual ideas about music at the 97 Love Parade in Berlin, and get in the studio in September of the same year. In 3 hours, Lost emotions was born. The die-hard fans know the rest of the story I guess.
J: Fire & Ice started up by accident. Me and Laurent both were on the Bonzai Truck at the 1997 Love Parade in Berlin. During the long journey on the bus from Antwerp to Berlin, we started talking about music. I already had a project called Energy Source and Laurent had started up several successful projects which I liked a lot. So one thing led to another and a few months later we were in his home studio producing “Lost Emotions”. Still one of our biggest tracks to date!
The latest single Airwave & DJ Fire – “Kabalash” (which is awesome by the way) will be out soon, how did you get working together on this particular track?
L: You know, everything has changed today, there’s much more importance brought to sound and tech stuff. As we had this very tribal idea working for both our styles, we had to put ideas together very quickly, which we did in April of last year. Then it took us weeks after that to figure out how to mix it down correctly until the very last details, but it paid off. By far one of my favourite tracks on Parallel Lines and currently getting a well deserved bunch of outstanding remixes now.
J: Laurent contacted me since we hadn’t produced a track together in some time. He was working on his latest album and asked me if I was interested in doing a collab, since he wanted to do some collabs with different DJ’s-producers. Of course I immediately said yes, and because it wasn’t Fire & Ice he wanted to do something special, we ended up doing a tribalish track with some oriental influences. Wait till you hear the remixes, they’re amazing too!
Clearly you guys have a great understanding of each other’s style, what do you think the other guy does so well and why?
L: Jurgen in a good shape is like a train that never stops when DJing. That and his very good memory make it very easy to work with him into a studio environment. He has the “feel” that so many DJ’s lack today.
J: I think we’ve always tried to meet each other in the middle. Laurent is a bit more underground-prog-oriented than I am, so I think there’s a good mix between commercial-dancefloor music and high quality progressive. Since I used to play in clubs every week, I was able to communicate with Laurent what really worked on the dance floors. We blended ideas and came up with some good stuff that did well on the floors all over the world and was also on a lot of compilations and on track lists of the top jocks.
Given that you do work very well together can we expect to see some more projects from you both as a duo?
L: Of course! When Things Go Well (sigh!!), and get made out of passion, why question these facts?
J: Who knows? If we both find the time to do some work in the studio, I’m sure we’ll be back as a duo!
Laurent, rumour has it that you are revamping another of your past projects, can you tell us anything about that?
L: Oh yeah? Which one are you talking about? LOL. If I had to resurrect another side-project besides Planisphere and Velvet Girl, that’d be a big surprise in terms of sounds. For example, I think the Green Martian project would get the same 140 BPM beat, but going a lot more hypnotic. Oh, yeah, I am still open for collabs with past collaborators, but time will tell if they can happen or not!
Jurgen, you have many other guises you have worked under, do you have any plans for more studio work and do you think you will consider bringing back some of your past projects?
J: I’ve had some guises in the past, let’s think, Energy Source, Power Station, E.N.E.R.G.Y., Captain Kirk, Fire & Ice, Freebase, Intimo (with Mike-Push) and of course DJ Fire. I guess that’s it. Not nearly as many as Laurent! I’ve already started on some new studio projects, together with different producers. I think some completely different styles as well. I’ve already been in the studio with Manu Riga (big up and coming producer in the Bonzai Team) and DJ Bountyhunter. Normally these projects should see a release this year. I might consider doing a final but huge Fire & Ice with Laurent or a new Intimo with Mike. But that’s only possible if they’re up for it…
Recently gigging has been something you guys are doing more of, do you prefer DJing or producing?
L: I prefer simply making and performing music. The way I see things evolve is that DJing will remain a matter for Music Lovers and respect to that, while True creation will happen much more often on the fly. The Technology is here with us, only a question of months. The superstar DJ days are completely gone, although you still have a few exceptions, meanwhile EDM Musicians still make it on every level.
J: I do prefer producing lately since I’m getting more offers for classic retroparties, while I normally prefer playing new music. So I play on parties, but lately only play the classics… Producing is something I’ve started doing solo lately, so I might come up with some more stuff later on.
Last year you guys were the opener for Bonzai’s 20 Year party, how was that for you both?
L: Such a kick. That’s when playing all this music from 15 – 20 years ago that you realize how disposable and forgettable the mainstream music is today, just as it was back then, but now including the mainstream electronic stuff.
J: It was a cool experience, we already played together on some other festivals the past years. It always works out, although we didn’t really put together a track list.
Overall what do you guys have in the pipeline for the future, are there anymore gigs planned either as individuals or as a team?
L: I for sure have a few plans into my head, although Jurgen doesn’t know about them yet LOL. I’m now throwing parties in Belgium, starting from zero again, what a blessing and a relief it is! Jurgen doesn’t know but he’s part of those plans .
J: As a production team, there are no concrete plans just yet, I might make a new DJ Fire with Laurent if we can find the time to get into the studio. As a DJ-team I don’t think we’ve been booked this year, I have some gigs coming up in Belgium. In June there’s the Sunrise Festival and in September I’ve also got a booking for a new festival in Belgium. And in November there’s the big annual Bonzai anniversary!
And finally for now, you have both worked with some brilliant artists over the years, is there anyone you would really like to get studio time with (apart from each other of course)?
L: I have a ton of good names on a list, and you know what? Half of those already have confirmed they’re in! You see. My next few months will see me collaborate with great guys, Manu Riga to begin with, but also surprising collabs will see the light of day in the next few days already. Keep an eye on my blog-facebook and you’ll see!
J: I’d love to work with guys like Eric Prydz or EDX, I like their productions a lot. Also Jeremy Olander is on fire lately.
Well it’s been a real pleasure to talk with you guys, thanks again for sitting with us, take care.
J: Thanks for the interview!
Filth & Splendour duo bring us another excellent hour of music on Bonzai Basik Beats!
Tracklisting – Episode 148 – mixed by Filth & Splendour:
1º Fenech Soler – Magnetic (Friend Within Remix)
2º Alex Metric – Ilium ft. Mark Yardley (Original Mix)
3º Plump Djs – Hammerhouse (Original)
4º Michael Woods & Chris Lake – Domino’s – Original Mix
5º Filth & Splendour – Sunshine
6º CJ Costigan – Rycka
7º Filth & Splendour – Smash & Grab (Solid Snake Remix)
8º EIMute – Atmostrange (Perfect Stranger Remix)
9º Jeremy Olander – Rorschach
10º Gabi – Fader Guru (Original)
11º Weekend Heroes & (I)diot – Kosmos (Original Mix)
12º Luis – Meteor (Elmute Remix)
13º Remute – Gravity (Original Mix)
14º Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Matador Main Remix)
With a new release this week on Bonzai Progressive, Madee River also know as Audio Noir took some minutes off to answer some questions to us!
Hi Madee, thanks a lot for talking with us, how are you today?
AN: Fantastic, thanks for asking!
In your opinion, what’s the EDM scene like in Australia at the moment?
AN: 10 years ago, the scene in Australia is where the American EDM scene is today. Whilst today there are plenty of festivals and dance parties here, it’s become very commercialised so most of the great venues, concepts and underground parties have all but disappeared. To be bluntly honest, I don’t pay much attention to nor do I participate in today’s scene in any way. I will say however, that the progressive scene in Perth, Western Australia is a rare shining light for the EDM scene here in general. Hey, that’s my honest opinion. Music and its many cultures are circular. I don’t doubt that we’ll have a thriving underground scene again in the not too distant future.
How did you first get into music production?
AN: In 2008 I was talking to a friend in the US who owned a record label (Next Dimension) I heard a particular track that I really liked and I simply asked him if I could do a non-conditional remix of it. At the time I had a crappy old Dell PC and a basic version of Ableton. I did the mix, my friend liked it and it was released. Though the sound quality was very average. Before that moment I hadn’t written anything more than a few bars. Things just seemed to click at that moment and the fire in the belly kicked in from the moment my remix was signed.
What kind of things do you like to do when you’re not producing?
AN: I’m an avid reader, huge fan of Daniel Silva, Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum, amongst a pile of autobiographies Jimmy Connor’s bio was a fun read. I enjoy a good chess game and also enjoy travelling to parts unknown.
Who or what would be your biggest inspirations for making music and in life generally?
AN: I can still remember the moment when I was converted to electronica thanks to William Orbit. Hearing “Hinterland” for the first time opened my eyes and mind to a fantastic new world of music, like a parallel musical dimension. Sometimes music has this effect on people. I’ve not once looked back since. I would also have to mention the Renaissance Mix Collection Volume 1, that’s an education in itself.
How did you get signed to Bonzai?
AN: Well it might or might not surprise you to know that Abgeklart was my first attempt at writing progressive house. I’d produced a couple of tech house EP’s the year before, so when I wrote the first EP for Bonzai, I didn’t sit down and say “Hey I’m going to write a progressive house track!” It simply flew out of me in a few hours!!! The first EP took me no time at all (hopefully that doesn’t show!) so to be honest I didn’t know what to do with it. I sat on this EP for months, then one day I did some research on the “Best” progressive house labels in the world and came across Bonzai Progressive. I sent the track off on a whim, I truly didn’t expect to hear anything back from them, especially as I’ve been producing for 5 minutes compared to a lot of other fantastic Artists like Airwave and Gai Barone. So needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I received a reply asking for more music and that Bonzai wanted to sign me. It was a very exciting day for me, now I have written enough material to keep me going for a while and my goal is to build on some momentum from here and improve as a producer overall.
“Abgeklart” was your first Bonzai release which was closely followed by “Sidewinder”, two classy progressive tracks, how would you describe your sound?
AN: Thanks! I enjoy creating atmosphere in my productions. I’m a fan of twists and surprises in music that at least initially, may catch some listeners off guard. At the moment my influence is very 90s inspired so I use a lot of retro synths in all my productions, sometimes even layering 2 or 3 sounds on top of each other. I have a track coming out later in the year, on Bonzai (of course) that I wrote based on one of my favourite tracks of all time – “Age Of Love”. Again I tried to catch the atmosphere of that era and tried to add a current twist on the production. I can’t wait to see how this particular track is received. I spent a week on its production and focused more on the subtleties, nuances of the track.
Describe a typical day in the life of Audio Noir?
AN: Morning: Breakfast & Gym, go to work! (I work as a marketing, branding consultant!) Rarely have lunch, big dinner then relax with my partner. As a rule, I never, ever write music before 8pm at night, I find I’m at my most creative in the nocturnal hours (hence the name of my other first track) So just a few nights a week I will sit in my home office and spend a couple of hours laying down thoughts and feelings. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter writing music, perhaps Chess has taught me to be patient and disciplined when it comes to producing. Maybe one day this could become my full time vocation!
Musically, what do you have planned for the future?
AN: Now that I have about 6 months of releases sewn up with Bonzai I want to focus on remixing. I don’t yet have a definitive sound, nor do I want to be “type cast” into one, so I would also like to take on projects that are slightly more avante garde whilst still being viable commercially. Like practically everyone these days, I’d like to DJ at certain events and clubs, perhaps someday this could happen, maybe through a Bonzai tour! Australia is one hell of a long way away and our kangaroos aren’t able to jump that far yet. Also, I have just started my monthly music selection on my sound cloud channel. At the end of each month I will present some of my favourite tracks. It will be a broad selection of music given my own tastes and I aim to try and keep it sounding fresh. I think I have my first ever Bonzai radio-mix coming up later in the year, so that should be cool.
Finally if you could be anywhere else in the world right now, where would it be and why?
AN: Amsterdam! I love that place! I’ve been there only 3 times and I’m going there again later this year. And it’s NOT because of the red light district!!!! Great city, great music scene and of course ADE!
Well Madee, thanks so much for chatting with us, it’s been a pleasure, take care.
AN: Likewise, thank you.
Audio Noir in the command of the decks and mixer this week for Bonzai Basik Beats!
Tracklisting – Episode 147 – mixed by Audio Noir:
1º Marco Polo – A Prayer To The Music (John Digweed’s Northern Exposure Mix)
2º Evoke – Runaway – (Biff & Memphis Mix)
3º Desert – Moods (Club Mix)
4º Slam – Positive Education (Original Mix)
5º Leftfield – Not Forgotten (Remix)
6º Havana – Ethnic Prayer (Euro Mix)
7º Lionrock – Packet Of Piece (Prankster Sound System Mix)
8º Rhythm Invention – Ad Infinitum (Original Mix)
9º VFR – TranceIllusion (Original Mix)
10º Blue Amazon – The Blessing (Original Mix)
11º Blue Amazon – No Other Love (Original Mix)
After their last release on Bonzai Progressive we got together with Manu Riga & Nico Parisi for a short interview about their collaboration past, present and future plans
Hi guys, thanks for speaking with us, how are you both?
M: Well I have had some medical issues, but in general I am doing fine, thanks
N: Hello everything is fine, thank you. I’m still waiting for the summer and the upcoming festivals, the winter was far too long!
Manu & Nico, could you describe your individual sound and what inspires you?
M: As a producer coming from a Chill out background I must say that my inspiration is coming from the likes of Enigma, Solar fields and other great chill out producers. Since I started producing progressive I get my inspiration from producers like Moshic, Gai Barone and also oldskool progressive, Polefolder, Sasha etc. Inspiration is something that can be triggered by playing synths and messing around with sounds.
N: I am now almost 20 years as a DJ-producer and I started with trance, house and progressive in club Atmoz. If you listen to my last productions like “Romeo & Juliet” and my track with Manu Riga, they are very different from all the other things I have produced over the years. My passion for progressive and deep house has never been denied and at this moment I am following a different path with my recent signing to Bonzai Progressive where I can take my next step in EDM. I find my inspiration in the music that I play during my sets and at home.
Nico, you’ve been around the scene for quite some time, how have you seen EDM evolve?
N: The EDM scene has certainly changed, there are so many styles added and the digital uprising has been a good and a bad thing, record sales are down 70% because of illegal downloads. The good thing, is that social networks allow us to promote releases along with streaming platforms and new technology for DJ’s and Producers. It’s amazing how EDM has evolved these last years.
Manu, as a relative newcomer to Bonzai, how did you get involved with producing EDM?
M: In dance I am indeed new since 2005, but of course I’ve been producing electronic music for 21 years now. I started when I was about 12 years old with synthesizers and evolved with the technology to where we are now. Dance was always something I didn’t like or probably I didn’t understand it. In 2004 a guy challenged me to make a dance track and I took the challenge, the track got me signed to Okina Music in 2005. A DR Kucho remix of my track “Good Feeling” hit the national dance charts and that is how it all started. Sadly the label wasn’t into the style I really wanted to make and soon after they went bankrupt. I took a break for a few years and in the meantime started a modest career as a soundtrack composer for some smaller movies. When I met Laurent (Veronnez) online he convinced me to send a track to Bonzai Progressive and that is what I did, I sent them my old track “Tai Chi Girl” and the rest is history
Nico, you worked with Laurent Veronnez aka Airwave on “Romeo & Juliet”, how did that partnership begin?
N: I have known Laurent a long time and a few months ago we approached each other to talk about the distribution of my label Danza Records on Bonzai Digital. Afterwards I asked Laurent if he wanted to make a collab track and Romeo & Juliet was born.
You guys are both signed to Bonzai, can you tell us how this started and how it feels working with a legendary crew?
M & N: “It feels like coming home”
Nico, it was recently announced that you will be on the Bonzai stage at Tomorrowland 2013, how excited are you about this?
N: Well I am really excited to play at the biggest festival in the world! Not only because of Tomorrowland but also because it’s the Bonzai Stage. Bonzai are the pioneers of the EDM scene in Belgium and has put our country on the map! There are a lot of young people who do not know about Bonzai and I think they need to do some research on Google to see how it all evolved, or they could come and check out the stage and get a lesson in where it all started. Bonzai is still working hard in the scene and is still the biggest progressive label in Belgium, maybe even in Europe. So for this I am happy to be part of the family and to play next to M.I.K.E, Yves De Ruyter and Bonzai Allstars at Tomorrowland 2013.
You guys have began working in the studio together, can you tell us more about that and do you have plans for any more studio time together?
M: We did a collaboration on a track for my upcoming Manu Riga album which will be released later this year on the Bonzai Progressive imprint, for further collaboration we don’t have any specific plans yet.
N: After a remix that Manu had made for me we stayed in touch. He invited me to his studio, one thing led to another and we finished our first track together called “Reborn” which is one of my best productions so far, the collab between us is really working well. On top of that Bonzai have sorted remixes by the likes of Gai Barone, Audio Noir and Anthony Yarraton… it’s gonna be massive!
Manu, apart from your work with Nico what are your plans for the future, do you have any other projects in the works, maybe give us a hint of new material?
M: Apart from my upcoming album “The Darkness Within”, I will also work on a live DJ set with my long time friend Nathan DC, it’s a must these days to bring a studio project on stage to the people. The album itself will have some interesting collaborations which I can’t tell too much about yet. Of course I will also start working on a second album under my moniker “Twins in Mind”, I can tell you that we have found a great new partner for that project, former Blue Stone singer Sheyenne Rivers, but no doubt I will also go deeper into exploring Manu Riga.
Nico, apart from your work with Manu what are your plans for the future, do you have any other projects in the works, maybe give us a hint of new material?
N: I am currently finishing my new studio, but I have made some new tracks in the meantime and they are almost ready to be released. I am working hard to get my label Danza Records back on the road with help from Bonzai Digital. And there are some more collab projects to come with Laurent and Anthony Yarraton from the UK.
Well guys, thanks so much for chatting with us and best of luck with whatever you get up to, thanks.
M & N: Thanks
Rough Cut Records label boss Jamez is on this weeks Bonzai Basik Beats Radioshow!
Tracklisting – Episode 146 – mixed by Jamez:
1º Michael Walken – Ill Gotton Gain (Rough Cut Records)
2º MRE – The Deep Edge Prt 3 (Promo Rough Cut Records)
3º Tribal Warriors – 08 (Jamez’s Peace and Love Remix) (Bonzai Basiks)
4º Bonemachine – Fall Out (Rough Cut Records)
5º Trancesetters – The Search (Jamez & Soulboy Remix) (Promo Kling Klong)
6º Jamez – Precize (Fortress Remix) ( Rough Cut Records)
7º Loophole – Fanatic (Rough Cut Records)
8º Astronivo – Vinortsa (Jamez and Boshell TPA Remix) (Omnis Recordings)
9º Underworld – Cowgirl (Jamez Remix) (Unreleased bootleg)
10º Jamez & Soulboy – Sexy Lady (Rosie Romero & Kyfu Remix) (Omnis Recordings)
11º Jamez – Feel (Rough Cut Records)
12º Kompressor – Touch My Saw (Rough Cut Records)
The one and only Matan Caspi is our guest this week for Bonzai Basik Beats!
Tracklisting – Episode 145 – mixed by Matan Caspi:
1º Kastis Torrau, Arnas D – Ride (Verve Remix – Matan Caspi Mashup Edit with MUUi – Rewind)
2º Mike Vale featuring Stella Mercury – Don’t Give A Damn (Wehbba Remix)
3º Unknown Track (MashUp with Endless Winter Ketaneo meets Paduraru Proghouse Remix)
4º Stan Kolev – Change The World (Original Mix)
5º Audio Noir – Nocturnalogic (Original Mix) Matan Caspi Mashup
6º Deep In Calm – Funny Monsters (Piotro Lonely Monster Mix)
7º Evave – Daylight (Anjey Olaf Remix = Matan Caspi Mashup)
8º Hokima Inorrdito (Bexwell Remix = Matan Caspi Mashup)
9º MiDiMAN – Dreams Come True (Original Mix = Matan Caspi Mashup)
10º Luiz B – Music Is Hypnotizing (Blood Groove & Kikis Remix) Matan Caspi Mashup
11º Matan Caspi – Raid The Bar (Original Mix)
12º Tech D – Space Arps (Khen Remix)
13º Mark Knight – Your Love (Original Club Mix)