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Friday 23rd, July 2004
DJ Vincenzo (Yamakasi, Kompressor) Interview

Vincent Kriek is one of those producers that has been producing for ages, but still is quite a mystery for loads of people. Starting producing in 1994, ten years ago, he has released stuff on a lot of big labels, from the early underground to massive labels like Blackhole and Banshee/Bonzai. Most people will know him under his DJ Vincenzo guise, under which he made a mix-cd and also a couple of releases on the Avanti sublabel of Black Hole Recordings. And together with Jamez he released several tracks under the P.I.M.P. guise, with massive successes. More recently he is very busy working for the Banshee label, with releases like Yamakasi – In My Mind together with Airwave and of course Kompressor – Back! that is being caned by The Judge right now in the UK. Still little was known about this man and Trance.nu decided to travel southwards to the studio of Vincent Kriek. It’s quite a sunny day with a little rain now and then as I am waiting in front of the train station to get picked up by Vincent and we are driving to his studio. His studio is located at the back in his garage. We enter and Vincent shows the vinyls/productions he has made this far. Until this time he has released just over 65 vinyls, so we can surely say a man with a producing background. The studio is a small isolated piece of the garage, stuffed with quite some cool equipment. Before we are starting the interview we first listen to some new stuff of Vincent. He has just made a Kompressor Remix of the upcoming Green Martian track Electronic Fantastic. A massive harder remake that is destined to destroy dancefloors. Also we listen to a new gimmick track he just finished last weekend and has called The Magic Island. A very nice summertrack which future is still unknown… In everything you can notice that Vincent is a true music lover. CD’s are everywhere, and also the way he carefully keeps his records/own productions safe in plastic. The first hour we listen non-stop to his new stuff and also some older stuff. A fantastic super progressive trance record by P.I.M.P. titled Why? is followed by another massive P.I.M.P. track called Ekkovibe. Also older club tracks and even groovy records made together with Laidback Luke are played and the diversity of the productions is impressive. We start the interview…

DJ Vincenzo – Personal Details:
Real name: Vincent Kriek
Age: 36
Aliases: DJ Vincenzo, P.I.M.P., H.P. Vince, Yamakasi, Moontribe, Collage, Loudhouse, Vincent K. , Kimodo Dragons, Lab2, Dubbing Double, Red Hot Ryders, a.o.
In the industry since: 1994
Genres: Trance, progressive, hard-trance, techno, club.
Website: http://www.djvincenzo.com & http://www.loints.com
Trance.nu nickname: kriek

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Trance.nu: Hi Vincent, how’s life at the moment?
Vincent: Yeah, very busy with producing new stuff for Banshee. It’s going very well.

Trance.nu: How did you start in the music industry?
Vincent: I started experimenting in 1994, because I loved House since the early start and I thought it was time to give it a try myself. I started with an Amiga 2000 computer and I experimented with a tracker program and later with the sequencer Music-X. I send some tracks to Vernoth-Music (now United Recordings) and they showed interest. They were a starting small company with The Goodmen (René & Gaston) just released. Jamez was their third producer and I was number 4. We got introduced and we started in my studio. The first P.I.M.P. track was made on the Amiga.

Vincent tells me how he originally became interested in house music. He got his first house records from Spain through his sister in 1986, Housenation by The House Master Boyz on 12” and an EP The House Sound of Chicago. Before that time he listened to the Belgium New Beat going out in Antwerpen in the eighties. Since then he got hooked to the music we call dance and wanted to produce it himself. His first release was P.I.M.P.: The Light, made together with Jamez. Before Vincent became the vinyl himself he had to go to the USA, San Francisco, for his shoe-business, and when he entered a small recordstore in San Francisco, he found his first release: Quite a special moment!

Trance.nu: You also came in contact with Black Hole. How did that happen?
Vincent: When Black Hole was just in it’s early months I met Arny and I already knew him from the recordstore he used to work for. He told me they just started and also the new trance era had started with System F – Out Of The Blue. I really loved that track so I decided to hand over some new tracks to Black Hole recordings.

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The publisher of Vincent has played an important role in getting him released on the different labels. Having a good publisher is very important. During his Black Hole period he produced Moontribe – Dance of The Seventh Hill, that got a remix by DJ Tiesto in a Powerdub. Vincent: “I remember that Tijs worked night and day, he told me he does not need a lot of sleep, I think he made that powerdub in the middle of the night”.

Trance.nu: Now we see you producing for Banshee-Bonzai. What’s the history about that?
Vincent: That started two years ago. I always loved the music from Push and Airwave and so I decided to contact them. This was after a period when I was too busy with my daily job to produce music. But at the moment I have a lot of unreleased stuff ready for Banshee, so times have changed!

We listen to some more unreleased tracks. The new Yamakasi track is ready and we listen to it. It’s a song with a little history. Already some years ago Vincent had a plan to take a certain classical piece and make a track inspired on it. His publisher advised him to do it with Geert Huinink because of his classical training. Unfortunately Geert already was too busy with other projects for Black Hole, so the idea was kept aside untill he met L-Vee, also a perfect partner for this kind of projects!

Trance.nu: Are you working fulltime in the musicbiz? Do you think it’s possible?
Vincent: No, I work fulltime as the manager and co-owner of a shoe-brand/factory, so I am very busy with that. It’s more difficult nowadays to earn enough money in the music industry. Back in the days a commercial mix-CD in Holland sold 35.000 copies or more. At the moment it’s like 10% of that, so that’s really, really bad. I think it’s necesarry to have a second job next to producing for the money, otherwise its almost impossible to survive. The best option of course is to DJ. But sadly the music market really went down the drain..

Trance.nu You co-operated with quite a lot of people in the music industry. Which names can you mention?
Vincent: Together with Jamez I am P.I.M.P., at the moment we are also Alex&Vince and Kimodo Dragons on Bonzai. With Laidback Luke I did the Dubbing Double projects. With Jean-Paul Vis I did Collage-Whatcha Like and Loudhouse, a discohouse project. Currently I am working with L-Vee for the Yamakasi project and I co-produce together with Yves DeRuyter. We already finished 4 tracks that might feature on his new album. Back in the past I also worked with DJ Dazzle. With Geert Huinink I made a very nice, relaxed trancy remix of Chris Rea – Josephine, but it was never released. And I just started a project with Edwin Keur under the name Lab2, but I have worked with him before.

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DJ Vincenzo's studio

Trance.nu: You are on a roll with producing lately? What equipment do you use?
Vincent: Well, especially since last winter I have changed a lot and now I work more with software and audio plug-ins. For years I have produced with hardware and analogue stuff. Nowadays I mainly use my computer with Cubase, Wavelab and a computer with 2 big harddisks, TC Powercore, 1 GIG internal, 50 gig samples and a lot of plug-ins and softsynths.

Trance.nu: You also co-produce a lot, is that more difficult then solo?
Vincent: No, not really. Co-producing is cool, because you can have fun in the studio together and learn from each other. It´s a synergy effect, 1+1=3, but it should always stay fun and there must be a certain “click” if you know what I mean. Solo producing is also great, just to relax after a hard day of work. Producing music is a hobby for me, I don´t need the money, so it should be relaxed.

Trance.nu: With who do you like most to co-operate?
Vincent: With all the guys I have mentioned before. But I have learned new tricks from working with Airwave. He uses way different stuff for producing, like ProTools, MacIntosh, Logic. We work really quick together so that goes very well. With Yves DeRuyter is also nice, because we always have good fun.

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Left Yves DeRuyter and at the right Vincenzo

About producing, Vince tells that he has experimented a lot, because it´s a hobby and there was no need to have releases to put food on the table. Twisting existing samples and using strange sounds and samples. Nowadays the producing is a lot “cleaner”, because too strange tracks will not be released anymore.

Trance.nu: What do you think is really important nowadays to get attention in the music industry?
Vincent: Well, the quality the record label ask is getting higher and higher and getting a record contract is way more difficult nowadays. Always try a new sound and keep experimenting. Be very critical and also let others listen to your tracks very critical, before sending it to a real label. You can listen to s good release of others you like a lot, not to copy, but to listen to the effects, mix, arrangement, learn from it. Don’t be satisfied too quickly, because the recordcompanies still get a lot of demo´s each day.

Trance.nu: What is the thing that you are most proud of in your career?
Vincent: That besides running a company fulltime, I still could release music/tracks that have been played all over the world and also by topjocks like Deep Dish, Armin, Slam, Judge Jules, Darren Emerson, Paul van Dijk, Johan Gielen, Ronald Molendijk, Junior Vasquez, and a lot of others. I have a CD here of Tall Paul – Live in Miami, and during the break of a track of mine (P.I.M.P. – Why?) you can hear the audience shout: TALL PAUL!!, TALL PAUL!!. That gives me shivers.

Trance.nu: And your biggest disappointment?
Vincent: Well, I am a businessman and I have studied Marketing, so sometimes it´s sad to see how much amateurism there is in the music business. Several times a release was cancelled or came out way too late, like a year or more, and also I earned nothing from a few tracks due to bankrupt companies.

Bad luck is something every producer has to cope with sometimes, like when he wanted to remix the classic record You Make Me Feel by Sylvester. After months of dubbing and talking with the recordcompany, some Italians already did it and scored big with it in Europe.

Trance.nu: How do you see the future combination music/internet?
Vincent: We should stay positive. The music industry has complained way too long instead of acting and looking for solutions. We should all work hard for it together and use the new possibilities well, like sales via Internet.

Trance.nu: What has influenced your sound the most the past years? Artists, or your personal heroes?
Vincent: Not really a person, but more the new technological advanced possibilities. It’s way easier to make music nowadays and the variations are endless. So that truly influences my sound. I never was a real fan of 1 style or band, I got influenced by a lot of music, like Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Level42, Rush, The Cure, Disco, but also classical music.

Vincent tells about the old times when he went to parties in Belgium where the house sound was totally new and people dressed freaky and extravagant during the parties. Also he went to Ibiza in the eighties, where he saw the most crazy parties and people going totally wild on the new house music. During this talk he spins some New Beat records and very old slow housetracks, that were pretty wild for that time. Funny to see how time and house music changes..

Trance.nu: Do you remember your first gig? How was that?
Vincent: Because of my daily job I have never had the time to really start to DJ, which I regret, but you can not do everything. But I always had in mind to spin later, therefore the name DJ Vincenzo. In May we had a Bonzai Night in God´s Kitchen Birmingham, and I went along to get to know the guys better and for fun of course. My hands started itching, for dj-ing but also maybe a (semi-) live act, because L-Vee did a Green Martian performance and it was fun. That night Airwave and Yves Deruyter played 8 of my tracks, which of course also was a very impressive experience! , so I hope to do something semi-live maybe in the next year or a DJ. Maybe make some mixes for internetradio. His very first alias by the way, H.P. Vince, stands for House Producer Vince, which is like an opposite of DJ.

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DJ Vincenzo's DJ Corner in his studio

Vincent has made a mix-cd in the past under the name of DJ Vincenzo – Trance In Progression, mixing progressive and trance in a mix back in 2000. Quite the same combination that is popular nowadays.

Trance.nu: What can we expect from your productions the coming months?
Vincent: I have just remixed the new Green Martian – Electronic Fantastic track under my Kompressor name. Green Martian will also remix the new Kompressor tune, so that was a remix swap. You can also expect a new Yamasaki track and a new track under a new guise, called Automode – The Battle For Saturnus. Together with Edwin Keur I made a new track called Lab2 – I Miss You. And a few other tracks are in the Banshee office waiting to be released. Also I produced several tracks Yves DeRuyter for his next album. Besides that I’m working on a vocal project!

Tance.nu: What do you think of the current state of the dancescene? Has it become too big or do you like the worldwide movement at the moment?
Vincent: Both small and big parties are nice I think. The atmosphere at some big parties can be amazing. I think we need that, the visitor can choose where he wants to go. I used to go parties a lot earlier and party all night long on 1 dj, no breaks, just keep dancing like 2 hours at a stretch, almost a sport! I think it´s sad that some magazines/media were always pretty negative about the dancescene. Like those English mags that pronounced the death of trance a few years ago...

Trance.nu: Do you have any other ambitions besides DJ’ing and producing in the music industry?
Vincent: Like a company or label? No, not really. I already have my shoe business. So I’m satisfied this far and love it as a professional hobby. I think you should enjoy the ride itself, not only the goals and/or ambitions you have.

Trance.nu: What are your favourite tracks of the moment?
Vincent: Kompressor-Back!, Green Martian-Electronic Fantastic, Heaven&Sky-Panorama, Marco V-Automanual, Mark Norman-Stream, Menno de Jong-Guanxi, Yamakasi-Guardian Angel, Automode-TheBattle for Saturnus, Yves Deruyter-Explorer.

Trance.nu: Best record you ever made?
Vincenzo: P.I.M.P. – The Light. My most succesfull record. Almost every good DJ had it in his recordcase at the time. First released on Touche, later Eastern Block with a LionRock remix, and 3 years ago on Future Groove/Mute with Robbie Rivera, DJ Vibe and ATT remixes.

Trance.nu: Any message to the Trance.nu visitors?
Vincent: Greetings from Holland to all people on trance.nu It’s a great way of communicating and getting information, I check it at least once per week and the more everybody contributes, the more value it will get.

Trance.nu: Thank you very much for this interview and good luck in your further career.


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