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