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Wednesday 31st, August 2005
Bart Claessen

Dutchman Bart Claessen was born in 1980 and he started playing music already at a young age. At the end of the 90’s he had a little studio and with this equipment he produced his first track. That track, ‘Barthezz - On The Move’, was released in 2001 with great remixes from Dumonde, Riva, Tommy Pulse and Bart himself. It became 2001's summer-anthem around the globe and was played by top DJ’s like Ferry Corsten, Marco V, Blank & Jones, Judge Jules and so on. The follow up, ‘Infected’, saw it’s release in 2002. Next to his production work, Bart also made some stunning Barthezz remixes for acts like System F, Mark ‘Oh and DJ Jean. For the DJ duo Blank & Jones Bart made his first ‘Bart Claessen’ remix for their track ‘Desire’. This one did very well in their home country Germany. In 2003 Bart started a new project called ‘StereoShaker’. The track ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ was released on Mo’Bizz (NL) and Kontor (D) and it was remixed by Dumonde and there was a Bart Claessen remix from the track aswell. Around the same time Bart did two ‘StereoShaker’ remixes. One for ‘Believin’, a track produced by Ron van den Beuken and John van Dongen for their ‘Nightvision’ project. And Bart also made a pumping remix of the DJ Jean track ‘Supersounds’. After the ‘Barthezz’ and the ‘StereoShaker’ projects, Bart released his first track under his own name ‘Bart Claessen’. Bart changed his style of producing, so people can now hear tracks that are simular to the music that he’s playing in his DJ sets. Bart’s track ‘Persona Non Grata’ was the first release at the United Recordings sublabel ‘Yakuza’ in September 2004 (with a ‘StereoShaker’ remix) on the B-side. The track was supported by DJ’s like Guy Ornadel (Ministry Of Sound Radio), Johan Gielen (Lift Off, ID&T Radio), Blank & Jones (Eins Live / N-Joy Radio), Dave202 and Ron van den Beuken for example. Bart’s DJ-career has really taken off: In New Zealand he played at Innercity and in 2002 he played at big parties like Trance Energy (ID&T) and Impulz Outdoor (UDC). And last year Bart played gigs in Tokyo, Osaka, Beiruth, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Barcelona, Madrid, Warschau, Vancouver, Auckland and many more places all around the globe. In New Zealand he played at Innercity and in 2002 he played at big parties like Trance Energy (ID&T) and Impulz Outdoor (UDC) Bart’s most recent release is the track ‘Playmo’ which is his second release under his own name ‘Bart Claessen’. ‘Playmo’ is available in stores now and it’s already been hammered by top DJ’s like Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Marco V, Blank & Jones, Marcel Woods, Matt Darey, Graham Gold, Mark Norman and lots of others. Time for Trance.nu to make a visit to Bart Claessen’s own studio in Weert to have a detailed interview with him.

Trance.nu: Your first release was in 2001: ‘Barthezz – On The Move’. This track became very succesful in the clubs and in the dancecharts. It was released worldwide in countries like The Netherlands, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Scandinavia, Japan, the USA etc. ‘On The Move’ entered the single charts in almost 20 different countries, were it was a Top 10 hit in over 10 countries! How did you expierence the succes of this track?
Bart Claessen: It came totally out of the blue. It was the first track that I have ever made that was totally finished and that saw a release. It all went very fast after the release. On a sudden moment the track was listed in so many charts around the world, that was just awesome! It all went so fast back then, that now I actually realise more how great it all was than I did a few years ago. I didn’t really had the time to sit back and think what was happening!

Trance.nu: Did you expect the succes of ‘On The Move’?
Bart Claessen: No, not at all! I had something like “It would be cool if the track would reach the dance charts”, haha! But when it came in the dance charts, it even became a number one and it stayed at that position for 7 weeks! ‘On The Move’ also entered the single charts later and after that, it was released worldwide. So it all went very fast and I didn’t expect the whole success at all!

Trance.nu: Did a lot of things change for you after the release of the track?
Bart Claessen: Hmmm… Just a few things. When the track was released I still studied music technology in Hilversum at the ‘Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht’ (Utrecht School Of The Arts). Because of the success of ‘On The Move’, the record company asked me to make a follow up as soon as possible. Furthermore I got some remix requests at the same time, so I had to stop with school to work fulltime on new stuff in my studio. But when I was still doing school, I was also busy making music, so it wasn’t really a big change. It only became more professional after I quit school.

Trance.nu: The story goes that you made ‘On The Move’ with some very limited equipment in your bedroom-attic. Is that true?
Bart Claessen: Yes, I made it in my bedroom indeed. The equipment that I used for it was 1 Atari computer, Cubase, 1 Akai sampler, some hi-fi speakers and a little mixer. It’s not a lot, but it was enough, haha! With some very limited equipment you can really do a lot!

Trance.nu: When did you start producing music?
Bart Claessen: ‘On The Move’ was the first track that was totally finished. It was released in 2001, so I finished it in 2000. Before that one was released, I did some other things for school. But that was music for commercials, movies and stuff like that. None of those things were ever released, because it was for my study only.

Trance.nu: After the release of ‘On The Move’, the second Barthezz track ‘Infected’ came out. This one also did very well in the various single- and dancecharts. After 2 succesfull Barthezz releases, you stopped with releasing tracks under this project name. What was the reason for that?
Bart Claessen: Well, first there were some issues with the record company and later on there were some problems with the French goalkeeper Fabian Barthez. For some strange reason he claimed that I couldn’t use the name ‘Barthezz’ anymore, because it would ‘damage’ his name or something like that. So from that moment I couldn’t do anything anymore with the ‘Barthezz’ name. Because of the issues with my record company and Fabian Barthez, I wasn’t really in the mood anymore to produce music… When I just started with making music, it was all just for fun and I didn’t expect those problems at all. I just wanted to make music!
During that time I also moved to another city and I build a brand new studio. In the meantime I still released a few other tracks and remixes, but now I am finally back on the track again since a year or so and ‘Playmo’ is my first release after this period!

Trance.nu: After the 2 Barthezz releases on the Tremolo label, you released a track on the Mo’Bizz label called ‘StereoShaker - Rock ‘n Roll’. Then you started releasing at United Recordings. Under your own name ‘Bart Claessen’ the track ‘Persona Non Grata’ came out on their label Yakuza. Why did you choose to release this track under your own name, instead of a projectname like ‘Barthezz’ or ‘StereoShaker’?
Bart Claessen: For my first released I made up the name ‘Barthezz’, which sounded cool in my opinion. Because of the issues with the ‘Barthezz’ name, I couldn’t use that one anymore, so for ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ I made up the projectname ‘StereoShaker’. After this release I made a new track for United Recordings, so I was thinking which name to use and thought “why not use my own name?”. I thought that most people knew the ‘Barthezz’ name, but also Bart Claessen does ring a bell for a lot of people, since I also DJ under my own name. Plus last but not least, the tracks that I release nowdays are similar to the style that I play in my sets, so another good reason to release it under my own name.

Trance.nu: The new ‘Bart Claessen’ track ‘Playmo’ is going to be released soon on the Yakuza label. When can we expect the release of this one?
Bart Claessen: The track was released last Monday, so it’s in stores now!

Trance.nu: Wellknown DJ’s like Tiësto and Armin van Buuren are playing ‘Playmo’ a lot in their recent sets. Tiësto even played it as last track in his Essential Mix from Ibiza on BBC Radio 1 and it was also a few times in Armin’s ‘A State Of Trance’ radioshow. Which other DJ’s play it and how are their reactions?
Bart Claessen: It’s really going great now. When we started with the promotion of the track, we still didn’t get any replies after a few weeks, so I didn’t expected a lot of it anymore. And then suddenly everybody started to play it in only 1 week time, very strange, haha! Tiësto does play it in almost every of his recent sets. And I’ve just heard that he even played it during his ‘Tiësto In Concert’ in Los Angeles in the USA! So that’s nice to hear! Armin van Buuren played it several times in his ‘A State Of Trance’ radioshow now and also at festivals like Dance Valley and Tomorrowland. And for the rest it’s playlisted by DJ’s like Blank & Jones, Marco V, Cosmic Gate, Mark Norman, Graham Gold (Kiss FM, UK), Marcel Woods, Matt Darey, Johan Gielen, Les Hemstock, Jochen Miller, Menno de Jong and many more! I’m very happy that the reactions are so good! ‘Playmo’ even was reviewed in the DJ Mag and there it got 5 out of the 5 stars, so that’s nice to hear and read!

Trance.nu: So it took a little while before everybody picked up the track finally?
Bart Claessen: Yes, to be honest I did expect something from the track, but I was a bit surprised that it took so long before we got positive replies from the DJ’s. I was really satisfied when I finished ‘Playmo’ and I had a feeling that this would do very well on the dancefloors. The recordcompany and myself were pretty happy with the result!

Trance.nu: Are there any remixes schedueled from ‘Playmo’?
Bart Claessen: The remix on the B-side I did myself. For the rest there are no remixes schedueled so far. Maybe if it will get signed to another label, they might let some people do remixes, but for now it’s only the original and my own remix on the B-side.

Trance.nu: Are there people who you would like to remix the track?
Bart Claessen: That’s very difficult… there are a lot of people who make wicked stuff. For example Mac Zimms, since I really dig his remix for the Scott Mac track ‘Damager 02’. But if I’d think about it for a while, I could give you 4 or 5 other names aswell I think…

Trance.nu: Are you busy already with other new tracks?
Bart Claessen: Yes, a few tracks are almost finished and I’m also busy with some bootleg things to play in my own sets. But I’m also busy with the ‘Playmo’ follow up…

Trance.nu: Will follow up tracks see a release under your own name, or can we expect other side projects too?
Bart Claessen: ‘Playmo’ does very well know, so I’m trying to keep everyone’s attention, so I think the next tracks will see a release under my own name Bart Claessen too. The plan is too bring out new tracks a few times a year, so I hope to release some things later on this year and early 2006.

Trance.nu: Are there any plans yet to release an album or an E.P. or something like that soon?
Bart Claessen: No, not really… Maybe if I’d have some tracks that are not really singles, it’s nice to release them all as an E.P. But for now I don’t have that many tracks that I want to release on an E.P. Same goes for an album. There’s not really a reason to do already an album right now. Maybe there will be an album if I will have some success with this and some future releases and then it would be very cool to produce one. But not for now I guess.

Trance.nu: Besides your production work, you made several remixes for artists and acts like System F (‘Soul On Soul’), Blank & Jones (‘Desire’), Mark ‘Oh (‘Never Stop That Feeling’), DJ Jean (‘Lift Me Up’ + ‘Supersounds’) and Nightvision (‘Believin’). Are there any new Bart Claessen remixes schedueled?
Bart Claessen: No, but maybe there might be some remix requests in the near future. At the moment I’m really busy producing new tracks for my own projects. I think that that’s more important for myself, so there are no new remixes in the pipeline yet.

Trance.nu: Are there any tracks that you would like to remix? Or for a special artist?
Bart Claessen: No, there are so many good tracks and artists, but I never was fan from a band or an artist, so I can’t name something now. Everybody can do remix requests and if the track is cool, or if I think I can do something nice with it, it’s okay for me, but I don’t have a special artist, band or track in mind to be honest.

Trance.nu: Do you still produce your music in your attic?
Bart Claessen: No, I have a brand new studio in Weert where I make my music. It’s a very nice one with all the stuff that I need and good sound, so a lot better then when I still produced in my bedroom studio, haha!

Trance.nu: What kind of equipment do you use in your studio?
Bart Claessen: In the past I did everything with hardware, but ‘Playmo’ is the first track that I did with software only. This was just coincidence by the way, so it wasn’t planned or so. In my studio I have equipment like the Roland JP8080, a Lexicon MPX1, an Akai S3000XL sampler (that I hardly use anymore since I have my PC to be honest), a Yamaha CS2X as master keyboard, a Novation Supernova, the Access Virus C and then thesoftware: I work with Cubase SX 2.0 as sequencer and for the rest I have some soft synths like the Vanguard and V-Station.

Trance.nu: What do you prefer? Working with software or hardware?
Bart Claessen: I think a combination of both. The new track that I’m busy with at the moment is almost hardware only. Normally when I’m trying to produce using software only, it sounds a little tóó tight for me and too static, so for me a combination of both would be perfect!

Trance.nu: Are there producers who you would like to work with on a track?
Bart Claessen: No, not really… I’m not really into making music with other persons. I already had that feeling when I did my studio music technology. You make an appointment to work something out together and then you are with 2 persons in a studio and the one person is behind the computer and the other one is just sitting and doing nothing, while you both want to do the same things in fact!
The only person that I’m working with sometimes is René Martens (Twynn), a good friend of mine. I mostly like to work on my own to be honest.

Trance.nu: You are busy as a DJ for a few years now. In which countries have you already been yet?
Bart Claessen: I’ve been to almost every country in Europe. Outside Europe I’ve been to countries like Lebanon, which was a very cool party! I played at Innercity in New Zealand, Japan a few times, Canada, Russia and I played in Poland for about 25 times know. The parties over there are always great!

Trance.nu: Which is you favourite country to spin and why?
Bart Claessen: Well, to be honest I like it everywhere, but especially when it’s outside The Netherlands… I think the Dutch people are a bit too spoiled, we have a lot of parties and every 2 days you can see a famous DJ in your neighbourhood for example… Don’t get me wrong, the Dutch audience is great too and we have wicked parties, but abroad the people are more party minded in my opinion and there it’s always fun! Especially Poland, were I played a lot, the audience is just wicked! Also Spain and then I don’t mean the places where you see the Dutch people during summer, but more inside the country for the Spanish clubbers. That’s just awesome! And ofcourse Japan is always amazing too!

Trance.nu: What is your best memory ever from one of your DJ gigs?
Bart Claessen: A few months ago I was in Tokyo, Japan in a big club called ‘Velfarre’. The club is owned by the people from the Japanese recordcompany ‘Avex’. The club itself just looks wonderful! There was a contest were people could vote for their favourite dance tracks ever. ‘On The Move’ was on a number 3 position and ‘Infected’ was voted as number one! So they asked me to come play there, which was just awesome! I played there before, but this night the audience and the atmosphere were absolutely wicked! And 2 or 3 years ago. I went for a 1 week tour to Poland during that summer. I think I had 5 gigs in one week and each night I had to play in a different city. So we had to travel a lot by plane and car. There was not a lot of time to sleep and eat, since we came home early from the gigs and a few hours later we had to go to the next city. It was really tuff, but the gigs and the atmosphere there were awesome! The audience and the clubs were so cool! It was really one of my best weeks ever!

Trance.nu: And your worst memory?
Bart Claessen: I can not think of one special memory, but I think that every DJ comes to a club or a party sometimes that are not the kind of party that you expected to play on. In the early days I’ve been to parties were the audience thought that I came to play the entire single chart of that moment… but that is not really what I play in my sets! Haha!

Trance.nu: What kind of music style can people expect when they want to go to one of your DJ gigs?
Bart Claessen: It’s always somewhere between trance and techno, but it’s not really tech-trance… I really love the melodic parts in trance music, but I also dig the rolling, pumping, energetic beats in techno. So it’s a combination of both. Pure trance is too boring for me and only techno is too boring for me too, so I always end up playing something that’s in the middle of both.

Trance.nu: What’s your personal Top 5 from this moment?
Bart Claessen: Since a long time I finally have my whole record bag filled with good records. Since this summer there are a lot of new and original tracks. So, my Top 5 (in random order) is:
- Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso – Together (Re-Mode Remix)
- Dogzilla – Without You (Original)
- Armin van Buuren – Shivers (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Dub)
- Scott Mac – Damager 02 (Mac Zimms Remix)
- Fischerspooner – Never Win (Benny Benassi Remix)

Trance.nu: What kind of music do you listen to in your free time?
Bart Claessen: I don’t listen a lot to music when I’m not busy producing. I do spend a lot of time in my studio, so when I finished producing I watch TV or something in the living room. Only when I’m in my car I put on CD’s, which can be stuff from Muse, Bløf, Keane, Michael Bublé or just a dance CD. I actually like a lot of music styles!

Trance.nu: What are you doing in your spare time? Any hobbies?
Bart Claessen: Music is my hobby, but when I’m not in the studio, I’m busy with stuff for my website or something else that’s music related!

Trance.nu: What is the URL of your website?
Bart Claessen: That is http://www.bartclaessen.com but http://www.barthezz.com is also still working!

Trance.nu: How do you see yourself in 10 years?
Bart Claessen: Not very different from what I do now. Ofcourse I’m 10 years older, so maybe I have a beard! (laughs) . But I hope to make music and be successful with what I’m doing. And maybe I’m doing some other styles of music besides it, like pop or something else. We will see what happens!

Trance.nu: What can we expect from Bart Claessen in the future?
Bart Claessen: First ‘Playmo’ ofcourse and something later the release of the follow up. And I hope to release every few months a good track. I still have a lot of ideas for tracks, so I have to work on that first!

Trance.nu: Thank you very much for your time and good luck in the future!
Bart Claessen: You’re welcome! Thank you too!


<a href="http://trance.nu/v3/review_show.php?id=1298" target="_blank">Trance.nu 'Playmo' review</a>.

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