With his newest single 'F!lth' just released to the public, we thought now would be a good time to have a chat with this DJ and producer from the Netherlands. If you fancy an interesting read, definitely check this out!
On the phone we have mister Ronald van Gelderen, a Dutch DJ and well-known producer. A few of his tracks like 'Proceed', 'Sustain' and 'Cold Storage' have caused devastation all around the globe, and he does DJ sets just about everywhere. No more introduction is needed, you'll find out all about him below!
i:Vibes: What were a few of the main things you did before you got in touch with the whole dance thing?
Well, I had been busy with music long before that time, but a few of my main interests were hiphop and swingbeat. I was part of a hiphop band, mainly doing some spinning, scratching etcetera. Gradually, my attention directed itself more and more towards swingbeat, with a few of the main artists being Tony Scott and King B. House became more and more popular during that period as well, so that’s kind of how I got into it!
i:Vibes: And have you studied / worked before you entered the music business, or did you enter it directly?
Yes definitely, it was kind of necessary because everyone needs a bit of a step-up before settling with music fulltime if you know what I mean. First of all, I tried some technical education, but that was all just too ‘dry’ for me. I ended up studying for sound technician, and I also did some part-time work in a few recordshops after which I became a technical engineer in a studio. This gained me a lot of experience, and eventually I just rolled into the whole music thing automatically.
i:Vibes: Concerning the hiphop band you just spoke about, ‘Dutch Mob’ according to your biography, do you still listen to hiphop or similar styles?
No, not really to be honest. I do listen to some older CD’s by artists like The Guru and Jazzmatazz from time to time, but today’s hiphop just isn’t what it used to be, I don’t like it. It’s all so commercial and simple, all the artists try to compete with each other in any way possible, even wanting to shoot each other in a few extreme cases. It’s all about bling-bling nowadays, with guys like Eminem, 50 Cent and The Game. Doesn’t suit me at all!
i:Vibes: Your biography also tells us that you owned an (illegal) radio station for a while, as well as a drive-in show. Did these projects just involve hiphop too, or did you already concentrate on dance as well?
On the radio, I spun mostly stuff from the charts, I always had the ambition to become a commercial radio DJ. This faded away a bit, and the drive in show was orientated a lot towards the commercial charts as well, with me playing on schools in the neighbourhood.
i:Vibes: What kind of music do you listen to in your spare time?
Well first of all, I don’t listen to dance at all in my free time! I really like bands like Coldplay, Duran Duran and lots of stuff from the eighties. I also dig more relaxing stuff like Norah Jones.
i:Vibes: I indeed noticed that you made a bootleg for Coldplay’s ‘Speed of Sound’. Have you made more bootlegs in the past, and are you planning to make more in the future?
I’m not really that a big fan of bootlegs, they have to really be something special in some way. I made the one for Coldplay because they’re just one of the best bands I know of, plus the track itself is very ‘bootleggable’. So I thought, why not? There are more coming up by the way, it’s always nice to create a small hype around them. For instance, I spun the Speed of Sound one on one of my most recent gigs in Belgium, and everyone went completely nuts. That’s the cool thing about them!
i:Vibes: Your productions, remixes and DJ sets all contain your own distinctive sound. How would you describe your own sound?
Well I recently initiated a brand new project with Rank 1’s Benno de Goeij, which isn’t really aimed at dance music, more like something really new combining a lot of styles. Concerning my work as a producer, I can say that my work is rather diverse, but if you compare it with the DJ sets that I do you could describe my style as, as I always like to call it, raw and dirty. I want it to sound very rough and powerful, just to give the crowd that extra push.
i:Vibes: Talking about the project with Benno: does this include breakbeats as well, looking at the B-sides on your most recent singles ‘Cold Storage’ and ‘F!lth’, which both included a hefty breaks interpretation? And will anything be released soon?
Yes, we did do some of that. But as I said, the overall style is very varied, we do totally different things as well! I myself am I fan of some good breakbeats, so I decided to create the two mixes for the singles you just mentioned and put them on the flip of the vinyl. For these mixes, I made up a lot of it myself, but I also got some inspiration from acts like The Prodigy, mainly because Liam Howlett (their main man) is just one of the most brilliant producers out there in my opinion. I play them in my sets, but it kind of depends on the country I’m spinning in if the crowd likes it or not; for instance, I was doing a gig in Kuala Lumpur just last week, and they totally digged it! On the other hand, people in the Netherlands aren’t too used to it and just want to hear a normal, steady beat. Seems like breaks are still a bit too complicated for them.
About the releases of the tracks with Benno, that won’t be happening any time soon. We’re still busy creating lots of tracks now. But I think a lot of people will be really surprised! It’s not really dancefloor material, more just music to listen to and relax. Perhaps we will release some sort of album, but I can’t say much about that yet because it’s all still so ‘young’ now.
i:Vibes: On the Internet, you see that in many cases people tend to associate you with Ferry Corsten and even call you his protégé. How do you think about this, would you have come as far as this without knowing Ferry?
Yes, probably, but in a different way. I have a lot to thank to Ferry because he taught me lots of things, especially when it comes to producing. I think protégé is kind of a big word, because there’s just such a huge gap between what the two of us produce and spin nowadays. People always link us together because we did Tsunami (the recordlabel) together, and I was always there during a lot of tours that he has done. I do get what people are thinking of course, and it’s not really unpleasant to me either because he’s still one of my best mates and one of the pioneers in today’s trance in my opinion. In one way, it’s kind of a compliment, but looking at it from the other side, he does know that I wanted to ‘disconnect’ from him a bit because I just wanted to create my own distinct style.
i:Vibes: You just talked about Tsunami, the label on which you released tunes like ‘Proceed’, ‘Sustain’ and ‘Crying Out’. Just last year, you switched to Dick de Groot’s Be Yourself Music to release your tracks on. What were the exact reasons for going from Tsunami to BYM?
Well I wanted something new! I kind of got stuck in the whole Tsunami thing, I didn’t get the feedback that I was searching for anymore. I’ve known Dick de Groot since the start of my career, and I think he’s just the best A&R manager out there! The choice was made quite fast and enabled me to do some new, more exciting things.
i:Vibes: The first record you released with Dick de Groot was ‘Cold Storage’, a record just a tad harder than your productions before that. Why did you choose to go on in that particular style?
It went somewhat automatically! As a producer, you’re continuously searching for a specific sound, and I feel right producing the style I’m doing right now. I want it to be nice and raw, I don’t like hardstyle and hardhouse, but I still want it to bang if you know what I mean. It has to be exciting for the crowd and ‘in your face’ as much as possible. People have to think ‘whoah!’ when they hear it!
i:Vibes: More and more people tend to leave vinyl for what it is and completely change to spinning CD’s and even MP3 in some cases. Do you feel these changes as well?
To be honest, vinyl starts to become the underdog in my sets compared to the amount of CD’s I play. First it was like 20% CD and 80% vinyl, then it became 50/50, and now it’s more like 90% CD! I do always bring my recordcases though, but looking at my most recent gig in Belgium for instance, all I do is spin CD’s! There are a lot of different opinions about this matter because of a certain type of ‘feel’ that vinyl comes with, but the Pioneer CD players are just so handy! No skipping records, no tracks singing around like on turntables and it all works so smooth! As you can see, I’m very happy with the whole CD thing.
i:Vibes: And computersystems like Final Scratch and Ableton Live, will you ever start using these?
Ableton: yes, Final Scratch: no. I don’t like the latter one, tried it a few times but it just did not work out for me. Ableton on the other hand is an amazing piece of software, you can do loads of wicked stuff with it! I will definitely start using it some time, I’m still practicing.
i:Vibes: What about buying music, do you still do that a lot?
As a DJ, you have the privileged position to get sent a lot from colleagues. But if there are records that I really want, I just go and buy them on the internet on shops like Juno or Decks. I don’t go to recordstores anymore, that just doesn’t work for me.
i:Vibes: About a few of your productions. As we all know, you co-produced one of Tiësto’s tracks, ‘(Sub)Urban Train’. Your own name wasn’t included in the full artist though, all that was done was putting your name in the Credits on the sleeve. Why was this done, didn’t you find it a shame that yours wasn’t included?
That was part of the agreement, they just wanted it to be the new Tiesto release. It would have been nice, but I just thought, let it go. The whole idea behind the track originally came from one of my tracks, Kid Vicious – ‘ReForm’. Tiesto called me and told me he was producing something that sounded a lot like ReForm, so then we decided to finish it together.
i:Vibes: Are there any other artists you’d like to make a record with in the future?
Well I’m working with Benno now of course, and I think he’s a genius, no doubt! Producing together with him just works out for me, but for the rest I just like to stick to myself and produce individually.
i:Vibes: It recently got known that you remixed a famous Asian popstar called Wu Bai. How was this set up, how did they get to mister R. van Gelderen from the Netherlands?
Quite a while ago, I did a remix for a Japanese project on the Avex label under my late Kid Vicious guise. So they were searching for new remixes for Wu Bai, and they ended up with me! About the remix itself, I don’t think it would fit the European market because of the complete vocal lines by Wu Bai in it. It was kind of hard to do, but a lot of fun! It’s a bit in the style of F!lth and Cold Storage, and I’m really happy with it.
i:Vibes: Until a while ago, you also produced under your Kid Vicious alias. ‘Proceed’ was the last record that included this moniker on the vinyl label, and since then you have been using your own name. Why did you stop using Kid Vicious?
I stopped using it for three reasons. First of all, I didn’t want to be seen as a Kid anymore, I grow older as well (laughs). Secondly, the Sex Pistols’ management contacted me that it looked to much like Sid Vicious. And the third reason is that David Guetta started doing weird Madonna, Depeche Mode and other bootlegs under that guise and even release them on vinyl! After that, a full album containing these bootlegs was brought out, again using my alias. We tried to contact David’s management in every possible way, but they just didn’t respond. So I ultimately decided to just get rid of the alias and start using my own name. And it seems to be working, ‘cause people like it!
i:Vibes: In the past, you have done multiple productions using various other guises like Electrobics. What about the future, will there be other aliases?
No, I’ll just stick to my own name. The project with Benno is of course still there and will get a new project name, but that will be all I guess.
i:Vibes: Looking at the studio section of your site, you use a lot of software synthesizers. Do you think that the quality of these VST’s is equal to hardware synths nowadays, or…?
That’s definitely true. If I had to make a choice, I’d go for software! A lot of people say that hardware sounds (way) better, but if you know how to use a good softsynth you’ll certainly be able to produce a sound as raw and meaty as the sound of an expensive piece of hardware equipment.
i:Vibes: What about ‘F!lth’, how much hardware / software did you use in that one?
Eh, let me think. Funny enough, that one included a surprisingly big amount of hardware. In percentages, I think about 60% accounts for hardware and 40 for software. My guess is that soon enough, loads of producers will switch to software. Why buy a 3000 euro hardsynth when you can get the same soundquality with a 400 euro software plugin?
i:Vibes: Your last single on Tsunami, ‘Crying Out’, included your own vocals. How did people respond to this? Did you get many good reactions?
Well, not directly. Kind of 50/50. People had to get used to it. It’s something I wanted to do for a while, I’ve also done the vocals for a few things that are still in the pipeline, some more poppy stuff. If you want to get better at something, you just have to practice! I wasn’t completely satisfied with ‘Crying Out’, but you can always try other stuff, can’t you? Looking back at it, I’m glad I did it, but I could have perhaps done it in a somewhat different way.
i:Vibes: A lot of forums on the Internet contain topics about today’s trance records etcetera. Some of the comments in these message boards are rather harsh, sometimes even insulting. Do you read them, and do you take negative things ‘personally’?
I don’t have that much time to read all that, but sometimes people send me an e-mail with a link to show me what people have written about me or my productions. Some beginning or even established producers get completely slaughtered on these forums. If they have a well-founded reason, it’s no problem, but if it’s just plain bullshit I always ask myself what amount of added value that particular person has to the dance-scene? As a DJ and producer you’re always searching, and that includes having bad days and things like that you know.
i:Vibes: Your website has this short loop playing at the background called ‘Any Day’. Are you going to do something with it, or was it just made for the site?
You must be the 100th person who asks me that, haha! Originally it was made just for the website, but now I think I’m going to do something with it, a trance remix or something, maybe something like Enigma or Café Del Mar, who knows?
i:Vibes: Your most recent remixes for artists like Rapid Eye and Birgit Schuurman are both from 2003 and we haven’t seen any remix work from you last year. How so?
Remixing is nice, but I think you gave away a lot of your own creativity to another record. But I am remixing again now, doing an interpretation for Dogzilla’s ‘Without You’ at the moment!
i:Vibes: The trance scene has always been a bit unpredictable looking at sales, productions etcetera. How do you experience this?
A few years ago, lots of records were signed to labels, which isn’t really the case now anymore. It’s noticeable that the market has to endure quite a hard time these days, but that does show that people who are really committed to it will stand up and stay. Some of today’s tracks are so good that it becomes hard for a ‘generic’ trancer to sell well. You have to come with a worthy product if you want to sell a lot, it’s not like the early days where everyone sold thousands of copies anyway! Some labels release like 8 releases a month, all of them being pretty mediocre in my opinion, it’s all the same pling-ploing trance. Why not just release one amazing corker of a tune every month, or perhaps even every three months? There’s a bit of an overkill going on at the moment.
i:Vibes: How do you think trance will evolve in the coming year? Will the ‘techtrance’ as people like to call it make place for something else?
Well I hope something else will appear, always nice! Keeps things exciting. I’ve always liked all the different styles like house, trance, techno and all that. I think they will somehow start to merge a bit. Let’s just see what happens!
i:Vibes: You’ve spun at the world’s biggest festivals and most renown clubs. What was the best moment you ever had during a gig?
That’s very hard to say. For me, the best thing is to see people go completely wild when you spin your records. If everyone’s smiling and having a good time, you know you’re doing things right as a DJ! The most important thing is just to enable people to have a good time during your set.
i:Vibes: What’s your favorite record at the moment?
Dogzilla – ‘Without You’. I could say ‘my own record’, but that’s kind of weak isn’t it, haha.
i:Vibes: And your fave producer?
As I said, The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett. He’s just amazing. Talking about dance, I think BT is definitely one of my faves.
i:Vibes: Best track ever?
Coldplay – The Scientist
i:Vibes: Is there anything you want to say to the i:Vibes visitors?
Well I always love the support. Thanks guys. I like it’s overall vibe, and visit the site more than once a week!
We would hereby like to thank Ronald for his precious time. A big thank you is also going out to Melanie @ Famous Agency for setting things up.