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This time we sat down with legendary Bonzai artist Quadran aka Philippe Van Mullem for a nice chat about the past, present and future projects!
Hi Philippe, thanks for talking with us, how are you feeling today?
PVM: Hi Brian, I’m really happy to meet you, I’m feeling great in this beautiful hot weather.
What sort of things do you like to do outside of music?
PVM: I like. sailing, motocross, reading & gaming….
You’ve been around the music scene for quite a while now (but still young ), how did you first get into music production and who or what were your main influences?
PVM: Thank you, I think it’s the music that keeps me, it keeps me in a sort of bubble outside of space and time…I started out in the 80’s with Philippe Toutlemonde, we played at various clubs including Carerra and Bocaccio. I was captivated by the new diverse sounds coming through in dance music, the kicks and the snares arrangements were something new and created new ways of dancing. With new technologies becoming available I got into real polyphonic synthesizers and from there I began producing. My first recording was Dobel You – “Mammy” which was recorded using some of the first bar sequencers. I found it amazing that such things could be created with a little imagination and some hardware and I have been producing ever since. I was influenced back then by Jean Michele Jarre, Pink Floyd, Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, I really liked the diversity and colour from these performers.
How did Quadran come into creation?
PVM: I wanted to create a sound that went in between the underground and the commercial EDM spectrum. I wanted to use voice (vocals) as a tool and to be a part of my music, to stimulate emotions much like a solo violinist would do. Quadran was the perfect outlet for this concept.
Quadran’s early tracks “Free Your Mind” and “Eternally” are widely considered as tracks that gave rise to the now popular ‘vocal trance’ scene. How were these tracks conceived and what do you think of how these tracks are regarded?
PVM: “Eternally” and “Free Your Mind” were created at the same time, they were designed to invoke a rivalry between them during the creation process. It was a very exciting time and I loved the challenge it brought. The exceptional vocals of Catherine Mees were very intense and moving and they married so well the electronic sound, a big studio moment! I also received many testimonials from fans who have experienced unforgettable moments from these two titles, nothing has ever made me happier and I thank all of you for that!
Your releases have done pretty well over the years, especially “Eternally”. What was your reaction to the huge following this track generated?
PVM: I reacted with great happiness of course, but to be honest, I suspected as much, because the emotion I felt when creating this title was such that it seemed impossible for me not to share it.
Of course, these releases were in conjunction with the birth of one of trance’s biggest labels, Bonzai Trance Progressive. How did you get signed up with this label?
PVM: When we completed tracks we used to take them to Extreme on a Monday night to test them. There we met Marnik and Fly, we immediately merged because this “new” sound would settle into the scene at the time very easily. But the tracks needed a label and Bonzai Trance Progressive became our home.
Your first album in 1996 was well received also, what was the concept behind this project?
PVM: With the album “Voyages” I wanted to give a much more accurate picture of my personality and my mood as a composer, like the excellent “Oxygen”. I wanted honesty and freedom and not to have to conform to the “mega-mix” money making schemes.
Many releases have followed since then with the sound firmly rooted in trance/progressive trance and clearly you are very comfortable with this sound. Do you ever see yourself producing other genres?
PVM: It is true that I really love trance, I like that I have the freedom to love trance. I also pay attention to all forms of music as inspiration can come from anywhere at any time.
A new single “Rumour” is in the works with a release soon (hopefully) with some top notch remixes included, can you tell us a bit about this track and the remixers?
PVM: Yes, I love listening to this new track, especially in the sun with a cool drink in my hand. I have just found out (I love surprises) that the remixers up to now are Matan Caspi, Anthony Yarranton and Thorin.
Over the years you’ve worked with some fantastic artists on tracks and remixes, which of the artists you’ve worked with would be the most memorable and out of all the remixes of your tracks which one would be your favourite?
PVM: All of the people I have worked with over the years have been fantastic. You’re asking me a very difficult question. I would say that some of the most memorable would be Catherine Mees, Leignel Vincent, Paolo Damanti, Phi Phi, Airwave and Sunscreem. These people have also had a major influence on my musical perception.
You’ve got a special event coming up in November this year as you are performing a special set with Airwave at Bonzai Retro 2013. How excited are you about this and can you give us any hints as to what we can expect?
PVM: I am feeling a mixture of 90% stress and 10% excitation or maybe vice versa I really don’t know, like I said earlier I love surprises and no doubt it will be a great experience no matter what.
Apart from the new single what other plans do you have for the future that you can talk about?
PVM: I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I act on instinct so we will wait and see.
If you could change one thing about the world we live in, what would it be and why?
PVM: Hmmm… if I had the power I would replace our new God “MONEY” with a less evil God!
Well, thanks so much for chatting with us Philippe, take care.
PVM: Thanks a lot, it was a pleasure. PVM
After a couple of remixes and a EP out this last September, Thomas Genchev provides once more a great 60 minutes mix for our show!
Tracklisting – Episode 161 – mixed by Thomas Genchev:
1º Cuartero – Grili Grila
2º Sunju Hargun – Little Helper 76-4
3º Oliver Moldan – Hustle Harder
4º Mylan – Time
5º Ecco – Fresh
6º Matthias Korr – This Is Africa (M.In Remix)
7º Cuartero – Txirimiri
8º Alvaro Maretti & Michael Sanchez – Arcadia (Dkowalski Remix)
9º Simone Girau – Gioele (Flavio Folco Remix)
10º Tom Flynn – Loose Your Mind
Following last weeks show, here is part two of Victor Maximiliano’s set!
Tracklisting – Episode 160 – mixed by Victor Maximiliano:
1º Francesco Zani – Yellow Bar
2º Soulmelt – Friday Love
3º Protoxic – Try Again (Rishi K. Remix)
4º Just Kiddin – Ocean Motion
5º Corrado Bucci – Always Turned On (PFB Remix)
6º Paul Anthonee – Thru The Daee (Rishi K. Remix)
7º Lee Brinx – Cede
8º Zoo Look – Holdin’ On
9º Josel Permanent Damage (Max Mason Remix)
10º Stuffa – Keep On
11º Avicci featuring Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up! (Hi-Def’s Deep House Bootleg)
12º Popnoname – Change (Matt Karmil Remix)
13º Kristoffer Ljungberg – Chance (Chris Domingo Remix)
With a new release out on Green Martian in the beginning of this month, we took a couple of minutes to chat with David Hearn aka Blufeld!
Hi David, great to speak with you. How are you today?
B: Hello yes I’m great thanks
What sort of things do you like to do in your downtime?
B: Well I’m always looking really to work on the next loop or chord idea for my next production under one of my aliases, to which there are quite a few, just maybe lesser known than my main Blufeld project. I also enjoy various sporting activities.
How did you get into music production and who or what would be your biggest influences?
B: This could be a long answer but I’ll keep this one as simple as I can, 80’s electronic new romantic tunes, 90’s euro dance, which then led to my absolute love for trance which I really started to listen to closely from when I first heard System F “Out Of The Blue” on Judge Jules’ Radio One show back in 1999. Influences? there are many, but I would say the main few at the time which inspired me the most to produce were, M.I.K.E, Airwave, Plastic Angel and Quadran. Just a real combination of trance acts that were around at that time.
Your music is emotive and designed to provoke deep and thoughtful insight, how would you describe your own sound?
B: I would call it Deep & Emotive, with an ethereal lift. I think a lot of producers are pigeon-holed into a certain type of sound a lot, and I like to think I just create the music that I feel from deep inside on each and every production. It just so happens that I have a leaning to express myself in a progressive trance style of sound quite a lot.
We understand you have a new track out now which is a follow up to a track from your very first album, can you tell us more about that?
B: Yes this is a sequel track to my original single which came out on Bonzai Trance Progressive in 2009, it was well received and I felt it could do with a sequel. “Metrobot” is singular about a name I gave to my own imaginary robot. When I was a kid I used to be fascinated with them, so originally I wanted to bring this childhood fascination to life. The sequel single is entitled “Metrobot City”, basically it’s my finalising of my mind that “Metrobot” has to come from somewhere. I wanted to choose a completely new name for this, but at the same time I wanted people to totally recognise the fact that this is a sequel, so hence the title.
You have a very impressive back catalogue now with Bonzai, how did you first get signed to this label?
B: I had listened a lot to artists from Bonzai from way back in the late 90’s, as I used to buy white labels and vinyl from my local independent underground dance music shop. I still have those early vinyls from artists such as Airwave, Push, Blue Alphabet and Quadran to mention just a few. So when I had the right equipment and I had a track that I felt maybe good enough, I knew exactly where I wanted to send my first real demo. The very first tune that was signed to Bonzai was an EP called “Special” this featured two original tracks, “Special” and “Little Wonder” in early 2008.
There is a healthy demand for you to do remixes for other artists, what would be your favourite remix you have done?
B: Well I only ever agree to remix tunes that I feel I can add something to, I have had a fair few remix requests that’s true, but I always feel bad if I have to say no because it’s such a compliment to be asked in the first place. To be honest all the remixes I have done I have enjoyed, although remixing Quadran’s “Forgive Me” was a real delight and also the chance I had to remix Plastic Boy’s “Silver Bath” for a Bonzai remix competition in 2008 was also amazing. My remix went on to feature on a Cream compilation called “Cream Future Trance” in 2009, which was a great moment for me to see, this gave me a lot of encouragement to continue on my journey producing the best music I could.
Already you have three stunning studio albums in particular your latest “Thoughtscapes”, how do you get inspired to work on these and will there be a fourth anytime soon?
B: Thanks for the compliments. I only ever write music from the heart at that moment when I have an idea. Although I normally start with an overall theme or feel, I want to achieve from the album, as this helps me to focus on keeping it sounding like the tracks should be together as a final package. Although I think “Thoughtscapes” is the truest reflection of the journey of my life so far. This album was a concept album and was so easy for me to write as it was just a case of conveying my journey to sound and it felt so natural and fluid. I really haven’t given a fourth album much thought at this stage, although I never say never!!! I have a few projects forthcoming, and my albums have come out 2009, 2011,and 2013 respectively, so 2015? watch this space!!!?!!!?
Can you tell us a bit about what you are working on at the moment and maybe some upcoming projects?
B: Well I have actually had a little break lately from production, the “Thoughtscapes” album was a lot of work, and took a lot from me emotionally and was many countless evenings and nights of work to be honest. Although I have a few releases coming up including a couple of remixes, one for Philthy Chit and another for 06R, also a possible collab in the future with Manu Riga, working directly with him in his studio hopefully. And I have just started work on a new ‘Original’ so we will see how that goes.
Describe a day in the life of Blufeld?
B: I’ll keep this simple. Well I have a day job to earn my living, so I get up and start work for 9am and finish at 5.30pm so by the time I’m at home and showered etc, it’s gone 6 or 6.30pm. Then its food time, then a choice depending on the day, either see a friend or work in the studio. I keep a simple life.
If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
B: I would want to be climbing my favourite mountain called ‘Blencathra’ in glorious sunshine, with a sweeping and swirling breeze wrapping itself around me. It’s just so stunning and the beauty at the peak of the climb that surrounds you is just simply breathtaking, that it makes my heart flutter just digging back into my memories thinking about it.
Thanks so much for speaking with us David, take care.
B: Thanks very much for giving me this opportunity to have this interview with you, all the very best.
This week on Bonzai Basik Beats we have Victor Maximiliano!
Tracklisting – Episode 159 – mixed by Victor Maximiliano:
1º Marius – Can’t Get
2º Dutchican Soul, Mavis Acquah – Ecstacy (David Ortiz Dub Mix)
3º Flapjackers – Deep Down
4º Rishi K. – Galaxies
5º Anton Chernikov presents Nile – Sunlight
6º Tantsui – Beautiful Day (Dub Mix)
7º Boulevard – On My Own (Island Groove Remix)
8º David Durango – 1961
9º Dynamix Illusion, Daniel Cleav – Faithful
10º Tom Lown – Too Loose – (Santiago Santamaria Remix)
11º Francesco Zani – Yellow Bar