Recent posts: Bonzai Progressive
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
Zas & Sanze are back with their latest works “Caprioska” which is backed up with two stomping remixes. The Tallinn based dynamic duo continue to churn out quality vibes and they now have a very impressive back catalogue consisting of original material and a ton of remixes.
The Original Mix sets us off with a superbly worked prog groove with tech influences. Beefy kicks and sharp hats provide a steady rhythm accompanied by cool house stabs. The bassline throbs through the track and adds extra weight to the rhythm while a fantastic vocal sample adds a strong texture, another top notch effort!
The first remix comes from Tribal Warriors aka M.I.K.E./Push. As we all know Mike is a very busy guy with DJing and a heavy studio workload but thankfully he has had time to revamp Tribal Warriors as it was one of his popular monikers. Keep an eye out for more TW material in the future. The remix intros with some very cool synth and FX sounds that lead up to a nice rounded kick and crispy hat combo. Lots of tech elements creep through here with the bass taking a dominant role, great use of the vocal here and some fantastic synth work gives this track a huge punch!
Yuriy From Russia provides the next remix, Yuriy has been well received since his first couple of tracks on Bonzai Progressive and Progrez. Here he delivers more of that quality with a well rounded progressive house groove. Nice and steady rhythms are built with minimal percussions and chunky kicks. The big contributor here is that bassline as it meanders through the sound with a warm lush vibe, stabby synths make their mark while on the break a short melodic pad gives way to this thumping prog groove.
Napalm aka Hungarian producer Nanai PalIt and d-phrag aka Bulgarian DJ Ivan Filipov debut on Bonzai Progressive with this two tracker “Boiling Point” which is backed up with a top notch remix. The guys first got together in 2012 and have been creating some outstanding works since then with releases through Balkan Connection, Balkan Connection Tech and OLD SQL Recordings. A very talented duo with a lot to offer, these guys will for sure be ones to watch in the future.
The Original Mix of “Boiling Point” intros with classic hat and clap structure before rising up to a raw sounding synth line, the background effects create a gritty texture to the sound. When the bass drops the track gets into full on progressive flow and its depth will draw you in ever closer. Big sweeping synths are a big focus point with very subtle melodies lurking in the background, superb stuff.
Greek producer Simos Tagias steps up to remix “Boiling Point”. Simos has seen his music appear on Lynx Records, Modu Records and Baroque Records. His album “Shadows From The Past” along with his other releases have gained support from top jocks all over. The remix takes us deep into the progressive vibe with huge soundscapes filled with lush pads and swirling FX. A strong and steady groove with massive appeal that will be a feature among many playlists for sure.
The Redub of the original is a very powerful progressive track which will sit well in any set and will for sure be a firm favourite.
Finally we have “Summanus” which is another fine example of the deeper side of progressive. Very subtle intro builds up to a pulsating bassline with some quality synth work bringing up the rear. Big pads are matched perfectly with expertly crafted FX. The intensity continues to build after the break as the groove drives on through, top stuff.
French veteran producer Quadran aka Philippe Van Mullem delivers us his latest progressive stomper entitled “Rumour” which is backed up with three top quality remixes. Philippe’s longstanding music career spans from the eighties right through until now, he also has a lasting relationship with Bonzai who were both responsible for defining the sound of the nineties. As you will hear Philippe continues to belt out quality productions and we are delighted to see him keep on doing this. Look out for an exclusive interview with this guy where he gives us an insight into his technique, his past and much more.
The Original Mix gets off the mark in classic chunky kick style with an ever expanding percussion arrangement. We get straight into action soon after with a brilliant offset driving bass and superb synth hook. Progressive vibes ooze out of the sound and that bass begins to hypnotise as it drives through your senses. On the break some stunning melodies take over against the backdrop of a sweeping pad before the track smashes back into full on mode, top stuff here and a track that is destined for a lot playlists.
Matan Caspi works his progressive wielding magic on his remix. Subtle percussive intros get us moving with a rising pad coming through right before the chunky kicks take over. An epic deep progressive journey filled with superb basses and delicate melodies are what’s in store here and this will not disappoint.
UK based Anthony Yarranton is back on the remix roster after his track “Cotton Candy” received a warm reception. Here he takes a serious progressive direction with the sound, steady rhythms are built up with multi layered percussions and a strong kick while the bassline sits very subtly on the low end and rises when called for. Wonderfully atmospheric pads come through on the break as the track goes deeper into the vibe, a very strong track and one that will see a lot of air time for sure.
Dutch producer Thorin enters the remix line-up with a stunning tougher edged prog rework. Thorin is a busy guy at the moment with new material his top priority which we can’t wait to see, so watch this space. The remix has that true progressive vibe with the chunky kicks dominating, tight hats compliment the sound with a surging bassline bringing up the rear. An array of wonderful FX do a great job on the sound while on the break a melodic arp sweeps through. Superb stuff from Thorin and sure to draw a lot of attention.
Portuguese producer Diego Alvez is back once again to BP with another fine slice of house for our pleasure. Diego has been remixing tunes as of late with Yaroslav Lenzyak’s “Panorama” being his latest. Here he gets down to business with “Sleepless Nights” which comes backed up with 3 superb remixes.
The Original Mix gets us on the house train with a full on funked up vibe, the track fades in from nothing with a classic arrangement of high hats which are soon followed by a brilliant chunky kick and a deep throbbing bass. Rich one shot vocals add great texture to the sound and they fit so well with tight synth riffs that dominate the track throughout. One to watch here, a lot of asses will have no choice but to shake with this!
That ever impressive duo, Mindgamers, are up to their usual tricks again as they step up to remix duties. The guys work their magic as they transform the original into a tougher edged groove with sharp stabs and a wicked bassline. The vocal is used well with a few added extras while an amazing percussion section keeps the rhythm flowing. On the break we get a taste of melody before slamming back into a relentless groove!
Another great duo with another great remix, Electric Bastards step up to induce a much more tech orientated feeling. Clipped kicks are married expertly with a full flowing rhythmic percussion arrangement. The vocals have been knocked down an octave or two giving a darker twist to the sound. Dark and hypnotic vibes perfect for those late night endeavours.
Popular remixer Thomas Genchev is here with a truly sublime take on the original, going deeper into the sound Thomas comes up with a wonderful array of almost distorted sounds. The kicks pound away while multiple FX go to work alongside some unexpected synth chords. A wall of sound ensues with a rhythmic posture that would sit well in any deeper set, stunning work!
Notable Bonzai artist Manu Riga is back once again with a quite stunning piece of work. “Cimmerian” is an ethnically charged dark prog house stomper and comes backed up with top notch remixes. Manu is a busy guys at the moment as he works hard in the studio on his own material, remixes and collaborations which makes for a very exciting future.
We open with the Album Mix, the intro alone will have you intrigued as a watery effect rises from the depths accompanied by hair raising ethnic vocals. It’s not long before the kicks ramp up the energy on an epic journey that lies ahead. Brilliantly crafted percussion arrangements build up layer upon layer to create a strong progressive groove while the bass drones away in the background drawing you in. The ever changing vocals are prominent throughout and are a very strong feature of the track with some beautiful synth work matching up perfectly. Just at the midway point the intensity of this track increases tenfold as a myriad of sounds clash in total harmony and a big surprise pops up in the shape of some classic piano, awesome! This is an experience not to be missed and a testament to the stunning talent shown in Manu’s work.
Veteran of the progressive sound Van Bellen is up first on the remix. Yoogie is responsible for some absolute stunning remixes and releases on Bonzai over the years and here he continues with the same forthright creativity that always inspires. To say we are in for an epic journey is an understatement, the track opens with a superb punchy kick with percussions supplying a cool underlay. The bassline creeps up out of nowhere and before you know it your locked into a full on progressive ride. Brilliant synth and pad work keep the ears trained with anticipation as the dynamics of the track flow effortlessly. The break reveals beautiful melodic sequences which leads us straight back into the pulsating rhythm, superb stuff!
The impressive LoQuai takes to the mixing desk next with a progressive masterclass. The ethnic vocal opens the track and then powers straight into a head on collision with chunky kicks, crisp hats a brilliant rolling bassline. LoQuai certainly takes the track deeper with dark grooves and minimal use of the vocal, when the vocal is used it creates full effect and this creates a wonderful dynamic within the sound. Intense strings rise and fall as this non-stop relentless groove weaves its magic across the spectrums, top notch indeed.
Finnish DJ and producer Cid Inc. aka Henri Hurtig debuts on Bonzai with a huge progressive monster. Henri is responsible for a massive amount of releases and remixes across many many labels and his talents don’t stop there as he also runs his own label Replug. Here he kicks off the remix with a nice chunky kick drum alongside a rhythmic shaker while the bassline rises up to form the basis of a true hypnotic experience. The bassline also forms subtle melodies from deep within and as the track progresses the intensity builds to that of merciless heights. The break reveals stunning sequences that provide respite before getting launched right back into this upfront progressive groove.
Belgian DJ and producer garners legendary status wherever he performs. Eric has been at the forefront of the EDM scene for a long time and has held residency in some of Belgium’s top clubs. He has also produced many tracks under various guises and across many labels. In 2013 Eric’s status continues bare truth as he churns out tracks like this latest offering on BP entitled “Sunshine”, this release features four top quality remixes alongside dub and instrumental mixes.
The Original sets up a scene of true deep techy progressive house, perfect for those late night terraces. Nice beefy kicks against cool, crisp hats are set beside a throbbing, deep rising and falling modulated bassline. The big hitter on this will be the vocals which come from a very popular and legendary artist. The vocal sits beautifully within this sound and the extra FX added give it a robust feel, great stuff!
Hailing from Texas, USA, John Rivera steps up on the mix with his Sexy Summer Remix. John is well travelled on the DJ scene and has a multitude of productions under his belt across many labels including the might Slip n Slide. John has also performed at many top fashion events including the likes of Armani and Calvin Klein and his ability to play guitar is the driving force behind his productions. The track is a much more upbeat affair with that scorching summer beach party in mind as the name remix title suggests. From the off the sound makes you move as the kicks are combined with a cool piano riff and rhythmic percussions. The vocal makes an early appearance and sets the scene for the remainder of an excellent house vibe.
Mindgamers, who really need no introduction, are up next with their sublime remix. The guys are busy as always and here they deliver the goods yet again in their own unique style. A higher tempo pulls this track towards the progressive end of the scale while retaining the ever present house roots. Tight drum arrangements are married brilliantly to a rolling groovy bassline while house styled strings ebb and flow throughout the track. Subtle melodies creep in while the minimal use of the vocal create an urge for more, another stunner from Zas and Sanze!
Belgian DJ and producer Ecco makes a welcome return to remix duties with his own brand of tripped out progressive tech influenced vibes. From the get go the beats are locked into a strong steady groove with a deep pulsating bassline which dominates the track. Fantastic percussion arrangements keeps the rhythm flowing while the synths lie in wait in the background. Ecco has used the vocal here superbly, he adds multiple FX and creates an ethereal sound that captivates, great remix and one for the darker rooms!
deepAlexander returns to the Bonzai stable after his track “Timeloop” went out on Green Martian and was well received. Here his attention turns to hypnotically driven progressive beats as a brilliantly crafted drum arrangement carves out a mesmerizing groove. A nice chunky bassline delivers a punch while arpeggiated synths provide a contrasting melodic sequence. Again we see the vocal applied perfectly over the sound which will put this one on many playlists all over.
Thomas Genchev has become a firm favourite in a very short time as he is in big demand for remix duty. His latest outing “Noise & Silence” is a testament to the quality on offer from this talented producer. The remix takes things deeper with a sublime progressive workout, big focus is placed on a throbbing bassline and a subtle yet infectious and stealthy synth that gets right into the sound. The vocals come through very well indeed fitting into the groove without hesitation, another fine slice from Thomas!
Also included is a Dub Mix for the Dub heads and an instrumental version for those who want to lose the vocal.
[soundcloud id=’10604255′ format=’set’]
7th installment in the My House Is Your House series, this time with original tracks and remixes from Shades Of Gray, Rogerio Martins, In2Deep & Fultone, Accatone, Dimitry Liss, Ed Lee, Oushanmete, DJ Mishakov, Fauvrelle, Project KF, Oliver Maier, Rick Wade, Sebastien Desay, Sensoreal, JR From Dallas, Lurob, Daniel Ray, Victor Maximiliano, Luis Bravo, Michael Berklin and Chanelle Pearl.