Recent posts: Bonzai Progressive
Pierre returns to BP after his “Light Refractions EP”, which performed very well on charts and playlists, with his latest offering “Lightning EP”.
The title track starts us off in a deep progressive vibe with a chunky kick and cool percussions leading us up to a monster of a bassline that dominates throughout. An injection of tech invades the track through some of the synths while very smooth chords keep us on the prog house track. As the track progresses many other elements manifest particularly the amazing pads that cause a big surprise on this track.
“This Aint Detroit” intros with a classic bass sound with a filtering teasing us into the track. This is another deeper vibe with a huge tech influence, the myriad of sounds combine extremely well and the automation on the sounds is top notch. A cool robotic vocoded voice sample is a big focus here while later on a melancholic string comes through as another surprising twist.
“You Got It” is a wonderfully laid out track full of amazing sound that blend so well together. Tight arrangement with a whole host of percussions on offer and a bassline that transforms the sound brilliantly. Big drones synths pads add depth and a vocal sample that adds a lot of character to the track, brilliant stuff.
Popular Bulgarian producer Thomas Genchev is becoming a regular fixture at Bonzai with this his third full release on the label. “Cough Drops” serves up a brilliant two tracker which is a testament to the quality coming out of this guys studio.
The title track intros with a dark progressive tech flavour as a myriad of percussion builds up a solid rhythm, a thunderous kick powers the vibe accompanied with some cool FX work. A very tribalistic groove makes up the main track while on the break a few vocal sample eases in, bug tune for those darker rooms.
“Bent Reality” unleashes a monstrous groove with a tight thumping kick and tight arrangement on the percs, again we see Thomas get to work on some top quality FX that tie the track up nicely. The break sees a wall of sound rise up with huge pads and synths, big big sound here and a must for any playlist.
Based in Athens, Greece, DJ and producer Steve Sai debuts on BP with this stunning two track EP entitled “The Cube”. Steve made his first DJ appearance in 1996 and has been supply hypnotising beats to clubbers around the world ever since. He played at Love Parade 2006 and has graced the decks with many top DJ’s from all over. He also runs A&R at a few labels and his first release came in 2012 on Micro Digital Records.
The title track “The Cube” sets us off on a well crafted journey through deep progressive house sounds. Big deep bass on the intro with a chunky kick and percussion section keeping the rhythm flowing. Quality FX keep the ear trained while on the break an almost tribal feel comes through before getting back to a huge progressive groove, brilliant stuff here and one to watch!
“Nightfall” retains the deep vibes but with a melodic twist. On the intro keep your ears pinned as a classic vocal sample lurks in the background behind some sinister sounding pads and a subtle yet very powerful bassline. The percussions here are top drawer and you get that tribal rhythm feel to it, a very intense track that seems to create a huge amount of energy, brilliant.
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Second volume of this year Ibiza compilation on Bonzai Progressive comes with original tracks and remixes by Mindgamers, Florian Meindl, R.O.N.N., James Hopkins, Oz Romita, Lyle Quach, AngelLopez, Filth & Splendour, Beckers, Alex Satry, Ecco, James Harcourt, Time Sneath, Agrande, Chris Domingo, Yanysh, Poison Pro, Mylan, Joal, Chrono, Ascaloon, Crystal Symphony, MC Johnny Def, Kini Rao, Re Dupre, Rod B. & Angelo Fracalanza, Gabriel Ben, Ed Whitty, Redraft Memories, Danny Murphy, Samoratev, Audio Noir, Sonsez and Pierre Zamyatin.
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!
Long time friends and studio partners Airwave & DJ Fire aka Laurent Veronnez and Jurgen Leyers have come together once again to bring us what can only be described as a “pure trance experience” with their new single “Kabalash”. The guys have a long standing history as collaborators and brought us many magical moments as Fire & Ice, here they bring the true force of trance back from the ashes which is sure to get the floors bouncing. “Kabalash” is taken from Airwave’s superb double album “Parallel Lines”.
The original mix lives up to our expectations when we hear this duo together. The intro is sublime as a reverbed kick drum fills the spectrum with a classy little bongo roll taking us up the levels. The track builds beautifully with quality melodic sequences coming together and subtle teasers of what’s to come. The break is something to behold as we are taken on an ethnic themed journey with some fantastic Eastern flavours, and the track thunders back to a solid trance groove in style that will have any floor pumping. Something very special here and a track that is sure to be on a lot of playlists.
Producer Van Bellen aka Yoogie takes us on a trip down prog memory lane with an eclectic take on the original. Cool, steady, solid rhythms are evident through a tight drum arrangement. The bassline gives off a retro vibe and brings back a time when trance was so powerful in its simplicity. Stunning melodies are built with sweeping pads and beautiful soundscapes that fit the sound so perfectly while the break brings out the main hook in all its glory. Hypnotic, euphoric deep progressive grooves that will force you to listen again and again!
Next up for remix duties is Kintar aka Jonatan Tesei. Kintar is synonymous with progressive house-trance and his own particular blend of ethically charged mystic vibes. He is a hugely acclaimed artist and DJ worldwide and he is in great demand for remixes and gigs alike. He founded the label Sudam and runs a monthly radioshow on Frisky called Sudam World. Here we see Kintar deliver his distinct sound on the remix with a deep progressive, hypnotic groove. Very subtle intro with a little percussion as the layers begin to take shape, an ethic flute brings the melody with tight kicks fading in and exploding into a full on prog fest with a stunning bassline. The arrangement spits out lots of quality percs and FX as the melody eases through, an acid type loop sits well on top of this track and on the break an understated build up has a huge effect as we kick back to the main track, superb stuff.
Fresh off the back of his last release on BP “Flying Fortress” LoQuai aka Konstantin Alt is on the remix next with his Tribal Shout Remix. Classic kick intro soon progresses into a full on tribal experience, stunning tabla and bongo combinations sit on a very effective deep bassline. The ethnic theme still runs here and the melodies are very much a huge part of this. Tension builds with huge risers taking us through to an awesome break and then right back to a tribal groove.
Australian based producer and recent signing to BP, Audio Noir, returns with another prog stomper “Sidewinder”. His last release “Abgeklart” gained support from all over and was featured on the main pages of top download portals.
The title track intros with a subtle kick and percussion combi and a whole host of FX making their way into the sound. The track begins its progressive journey when the superb bassline thunders through transforming it into the prog monster it is. Smooth and simple synth work adds texture while on the break the track takes a twist with a tough, gritty, raw hook taking over the sound. Something different here and unique, which will draw attention from all quarters.
Next up is “Don’t Stop” Climatic Mix, a cool ride through progressive house vibes. The track kicks off with a springy melody and a tight drum arrangement. Hypnotic vocals add lots of character and the track builds and builds up to the break where big synths lie in wait and they are filtered through taking this sound to new heights. After the break the track gets very clubby with an upbeat vibe that will get those hands in the air!