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Tuesday 04th, February 2003
Dj Astrid Interview

In the big family of excellent Dutch trance DJ's a young woman is steadily rising to fame. Her name? DJ Astrid! Next to her residency at the Amsterdam based club XL and the big Qontact parties, she also performed at several big festivals last summer and also she is slowly gaining international fame. Recently her new track The Spell is released and also a new compilation of Qontact has been mixed (find the review in the archive at trance.nu) We decided it was time to interview this DJ about her thoughts, plans and opinions about the trance scene nowadays....

Trance.nu: Hello Astrid, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for us. First off all, how was your Qontact set at NYE, tell us how you experienced it?
Astrid: It was a bit tough, Iíd been running around town with a very intense flue, so I wasnít all that comfortable with myself. In the end the night really turned out great, I played from 22:00 til 0:00 in XL and then drove through the fireworks towards the ArenA boulevard for the HMH. During the gig we were shooting footage for the video to my new single The Spell, and the crowd was excellent. I really loved it, although I had a huge headeacheÖ

Trance.nu: First off all could you tell us how your dj-ing career started? And why did you get so succesfull?
Astrid: I used to go out dancing long before I even considered a DJ career. I started to collect records that I felt were special and while my collection was growing, I started to spend more and more time around it. At a certain point I decided to play for friends untill I was asked by Maz Weston to spin on a Friday at Paradiso. I was dead nerveous, but the crowd liked it so much that I was asked to play there more often. Also Mazzo became interested, I played a gig at AMP Studioís, Red, Trance Buddha, later even Time Machine, Mystery Land and New Fronteer. Iíve been given a lot of chances, but only because I put a lot of effort in demoís, calling people, sending out news and updates and later compilations and singles. You have to work hard to be noticed. Most people donít even realise how many productions I have to my name. Projects such as RBA, Shade On Grey, Walter Solo, Lazy Jones and Medicine Men were doing really well in the trend before I decided to release a follow up to Future Is Now. I wanted to build myself a large and solid foundation first. When we came up with the hit release Twinkle and the residency at Kremlin, I started to draw the attention of promoters of events like Trance Energy, Dance Valley, Impulz and Qontact. Since the release of Starfever, the first Qontact theme, Iím getting bookings in the UK for clubs like Godskitchen, Turnmills and Room at the Top, it just keeps growing while I keep putting effort.

Trance.nu: Who or what was your inspiration to expand your music activities further then just being a hobby?
Astrid: I love the music so much. I found myself playing in front of my friends and realised that there is no greater feeling then to entertain people with something that comes from the heart.

Trance.nu: How would you describe the music you play and produce?
Astrid: Uplifting Positive Energy in a blend between Dutch, Uk, Usa and German style Trance, Progressive and Techno.

Trance.nu: You have been producing & composing music since 1999 under various nicknames. And recently you eventually released 2 solo productions under your own name, Starfever and The Spell. Any news on future projects?
Astrid: Well, the Spell is yet to be released, or by the time this gets published probably just released. Untill now, I wanted to show every aspect of the music that I like, without being nailed to one style in particular. Therefore I chose to release under many aliases. This year I want to unite elements of every style aspect that Iíve been producing in, in one production style. Although I feel that every DJ Astrid release has to be different from the other, I sense that my production style will head to a sort of blend between technotrance and progressive. Thatís really what I love to produce most. Meanwhile Q-Dance has asked me to do a third Qontact theme, they have a fat line up, so Iím mainly focussing on coming up with a strong follow up to The Spell. Itís going to be more in the direction of Starfever though, away from The Spellís style. Only I will use a technotrance groove instead of a club beat and less acid = ).

Trance.nu: In Holland Lady Dana is often referred to as the queen of hardstyle. Do you see yourself as the Trance Queen of Holland at the moment happy?
Astrid: On Qontact I was announced as ďthe queen of QontactĒÖ Things like that are really cool, as they come as a surprise. In Israel they like to refer to me as the female TiestoÖ It shows a certain amount of appreciation and thatís really cool. Yet I have to be realistic, I donít want to compare myself to others really, I realise where I stand and I am well aware of the opportunities I have right now. I need to keep the pace in order to make it happen.

Trance.nu: You are one of the few big female trance dj's. Do you think it helped or worked against you being a female in the mostly men-ruled dance industry? Or do you think it didnt matter at all?
Astrid: Quality talks. I never wanted to belong to a certain group or a certain scene. I always wanted to do my own thing. Itís my vision and my love for the music that I want to share with others. Thatís what got me started and thatís what keeps me going, although itís easy for a jealous person to say that female DJís fuck their way up. I consider that a disadvantage, but in the end the person saying that is really a wannabebutneverwillbe, so I just mind my own businessÖ

Trance.nu: 2002 has been a gorgeous year for you, with the name Astrid featured on numerous big events, what was your personal best performance of 2002?
Astrid: Dance Valley 2002 (Kremlin Tent) and Qontact in the HMH.

Trance.nu: Is there any international tour planned for 2003?
Astrid: Iím working on a compilation in Israel. Iíll be doing a minitour to promote the release, but Israel is a small country. That tour will consist of 4 to 7 gigs and a lot of interviews and radio appearances. Meanwhile I want to release two more singles this year, so that next year we will have a foundation for an international productiondeal.

Trance.nu: Which producer would you like to collaborate with?
Astrid: Thomas Schumacher

Trance.nu: U always smile and look very happy behind the turntables. U think that's a part of your succes as well?
Astrid: Itís definitely what Iím known for... I canít help it though, when I feel the nightís energy, I just have to move and smile. Like I said, uplifting positive energy. I live my style = ) I want to party with the crowd, not only play for themÖ

Trance.nu: Ever had a bad experience while performing?
Astrid: NoÖ not that I can think ofÖ although one time I returned from a gig abroad. Just landed I called my mother to ask her for a ride, when she told me that my grandmother had past away the night beforeÖ

Trance.nu: Trance seems to be taking over the rest of the world as well, how do you see it's future?
Astrid: The music industry is under a lot of pressure right now. Trance is growing indeed, but also overexposed. I think in the end the definition of style will disappear, and artist profiles will become more and more important. Recording artists if you will, that promote their releases by touring.

Trance.nu: What style is gonna be leading and what will be THE trend of 2003?
Astrid: I see many styles evolving within different scenes. Like I said, Iím going to focus on what I like to do, and time will tell how popular that will be.

Trance.nu: Resident in XL! Good job, what do you think of the clubnights over there?
Astrid: Well, Iíve been playing there during the time that Kremlin was still the weekly business there. That venue is just great. I have no other words for it.

Trance.nu: What are your goals to reach for 2003?
Astrid: Next on my wishlist is a residency in London. Iím ready for it, so bring it on!

Trance.nu: A Dj Astrid artist album planned?
Astrid: Iím giving that a lot of thought lately, but I think that Iíll be starting my own label rather than doing an album at this time.

Trance.nu: Some people in IsraŽl are calling you the "female TiŽsto". U think this is realistic? How do you feel when they say it?
Astrid: I donít know if this is realistic. I consider it a complimentÖ

Trance.nu: Could you tell us something more about RBA, was it inspired by the tune Zombie Nation?
Astrid: The Kernkraft 400 riff is awesome. Itís originated from a C64 game called Lazy Jones. The riff we used in No Alternative is original, we composed and produced every note ourselves. I didnít understand all the commotion around it, 90% of all releases are the same arrangement and the same sound, I hear nobody complain about thatÖ We wanted to combine Elektro, Trance and Techno. The way we played the riff is very old skool Elektro. Nothing to do with Zombie NationÖ

Trance.nu: What are your feelings about the mp3 format?
Astrid: I can understand itÖ but itís not cool that one week after the mailout of promotional copies, Kazaa has my new tracks listed. Itís hard enough to get by in this business. Now that 60% of all income from royalties is gone, itís going to be even harderÖ People donít realise, but itís killing musicÖPeople say forget about it, the big stars are filthy rich and fuck the record companies, but they are not the ones who are really affected by MP3, I mean 10 or 20 million, whatís the difference. Itís the small artists that really sufferÖ In my opinion, this will slow down progress within musical devellopment.

Trance.nu: Do you have any other hobbies, besides the music industry?
Astrid: I love to cook and I love aquariums.

Trance.nu: What tools do you use for producing?
Astrid: A complete list will be available on my website soon, along with pictures of the set up. I use the following pieces:
Emu E4xt Ultra sampler
Emu E6400 sampler
TB303 (the real deal)
Waldorf Pulse
Roland JD990
Roland JV1080
Roland JV880
Roland Mks50
Yamaha Tx81z
Emagic Amt8
Behringer Magician (tubewarmth 8 channels)
Yamaha Cs1x
Yamaha An1x
Roland Juno 106
Alesis Midiverb 4
Alesis AE3630
2x Roland SE50
Dynacord monodelay
TC Electronics M-One
Soundcraft Ghost 32x8 + meterbridge
Audiowerks Spectrum analiser 32 bands
SPL Vitaliser
Behringer Edison
Tascam Da20
Tascam CDr 720
Pentium 4 2,1Ghz
Events/Echo Gina
Tip: donít buy them all at once, youíll get totally lost = )Ö

Trance.nu: Any tips for the boys & girls out there that wanna be a big DJ just like you?
Astrid: Work hard and believe in yourself. No compromise, do your own thing. The urge to be a big DJ alone is not enough. It should come from the heart, otherwise youíll not have the strength to keep going. Itís a long road, and itís never easy. Although some may just explode into fame due to a hitrecord. For them the Ďnot easyí part is to have a long careerÖ

Trance.nu: Are you very active at the web? Have you ever visited trance.nu?
Astrid: Iíve been around, I surf my shareÖ

Trance.nu: Do you have a message for our visitors?
Astrid: Kremlin will be back!

Short questions:
Favourite Tune Ever
: hard to say, there are so many
Favourite Own Production: Walter Solo project (on Captivating Sounds), including
Walter & Gelder
Favourite Producer: Dan Brinslee
Favourite Club: Kremlin

Trance.nu: We would like to thank Dj Astrid very much for this interview and wish her a succesfull 2003!!
Thanx for having me, big kiss,

Note: Trance.nu would like to thank Robert Verkerk for his help on arranging this interview

For more info on Dj Astrid: http://www.djastrid.com

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