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Monday 05th, September 2005
Geert Huinink Interview

It’s a cloudy, stormy Thursday evening when Trance.nu visits the studio of Geert Huinink in Amsterdam. Lightning in the sky, rain and wind make it a moody evening. We arrive separately at the studio, because me (Tim) took the train and Twan came by car. We are welcomed by Geert in a house with many floors, get offered a beer and we have some small talk about the current state of music. We are invited upstairs to the attic, where the studio of Geert is located. The studio is not very big and pretty much breathes the "feel" of an amateur lover whose hobby in music expanded a bit too much. Two flatscreen monitors, a dozen of different equipment and two banging speakers are faced against us when we take a seat. But Geert Huinink is anything but an amateur in music. He created some of the best classical influenced trancetracks together with Tiesto and also his collaborations with Alco Lammers under various guises are amongst favourites for many trancelovers. Geert Huinink is always been a bit of a mystic name with not much info surrounding him. It was a great opportunity to check out what drives this producer and his ideas regarding music in general. Twan fixes his equipment and we take off…

Trance.nu: How did roll into the music industry?
Geert: Most producers will have the same story, but still this is a bit of story. Till my 18th year I was never into music. I listened to some Italo Disco, but that's all. Untill my parents bought a new stereoplayer including a CD player. They got hold of one of the first CD's ever which was a recording of Bach's Four Suites for Orchestra. When I put this CD on, something happened like what I had to call the biggest earthquake in my life. I suddenly had a goal in life! I wanted to be a composer. But there you are without any form of education. I studied very hard since that time and read everything possible about music as well as analyzing it. I was very much into classical music, but slowly the house music was coming out of the underground scene, but i was very prejudiced and it did not interest me at all. Somewhere in 1999 I made a bet with my brother who was certain that I could not make this "simple" house music. I thought I could and dived into it. Quickly I found out about the first Magik CD's and Freedom mixalbums by DJ Dazzle. Those albums I really did like. Through the internet I met Alco Lammers who already made some cool demo's and shared them online. We made some tracks and sent them to Black Hole Recordings. We were very surprised: they wanted to release our track!!! And so we got our first deal.

Trance.nu: Have you done some studies about music in the past?
Geert: Nope, I was accepted to the conservatorium (most important music university in The Netherlands –Tnu), but I choose not to go, because I didnt want to end up being a modern schooled composer, sinking away in "difficult" concepts. Instead I chose my own way, learned everything myself and expanded just by trying, reading and learning.

Trance.nu: So we can see you learned alot, cause we are looking at a big amount of studio equipment. What kind of producing equipment do you use alot?
Geert: Within Nuendo I use alot of soft synths, but most of the time I use the Vienna Symphonic Library, which is a 250 Gig Orchestral sample library. This "orchestra" runs on 4 dedicated Gigastudio PC's which are connected to a 72 channel digital mixer called Mackie DXB.

Trance.nu: So u use alot of software, no analog production equipment?
Geert: No I sold almost every piece of hardware, except for stuff I use for end compression and limiting. But it’s not really that essential anymore.

Trance.nu: Why did you specifically choose to be a producer?
Geert: Well it sort of found me when I decided to be a composer. When I heard Bach I was in love with music and wanting to be a composer myself. Nowadays you should be both a producer as well as a composer. And so you slowly, but steadily roll into "producing". If you got the "urge" to produce music, then eventually you will be drawn into it. And so it happened…

Trance.nu: Which producers and musicians are your inspirators?
Geert: Bach, Handel, Bruch, Rachmaninov, Richard Strauss, Hans Zimmer, plus a zillion others... I enjoy every bit of true craftmanship, no matter what style or species happy

Trance.nu: Do you think nowadays that people call themselves "producers" too soon, without diving deeper into the theory and background of the music they make?
Geert: Well everybody can call himself artist, everyone can call himself producer… everyone can call himself God if he wants to. But hey, if you call yourself a producer, go out there and try to distinguish yourself and make a living out of it. Ain't easy !! But, on the other hand a lot of TRUE artists do face that problem because they are to far ahead of their game to get recognotion from the general public

Trance.nu: Under which aliases have you been producing this far?
Geert: Photon Project, Magik Muzik, Twenty Something, Dawnseekers and ofcourse Modus Operandi, my first record.

Trance.nu: What is the keymark of your productions?
Geert: I think that most of the time my tracks have a classical touch. But I'm also very focussed on sound quality.

Trance.nu: What dou think is essential for a good production?
Geert: I think it needs to have a solid musical base, a good theme or just an inspiring sound. Something should be told and communicated through the music. In any case the track has to be a really well produced.

Trance.nu: What do specifically mean with wellproduced?
Geert: All elements within the mix must be in perfect balance with each other. What means that all frequencies which are not essential for the whole need to be eliminated in every individual sound by EQing and Filtering

Trance.nu: Which productions are you most proud of?
Geert: I am really proud on the Tiesto In Concert DVD 2. I worked very hard for that, composed alot of music. We showed some really nice things during that concert in my opinion.

Trance.nu: You co-produced quite alot of tracks with Tiesto. How does co-producing really work? What is to be expected from that?
Geert: Tijs usually comes to me with an idea or project. Then we go and talk about the possibilities and try find a mutual agreement to start making the track. We translate our feelings into the music. Sometimes the idea is from my side as well.

Trance.nu: Did you ever produce tunes you didn’t like yourself but were commercially very interesting?
Geert: Yeah, yeah.. I did *laughs. For somebody who doesn’t spin next to producing it’s almost necessary in these times to make some of that stuff. You gotta feed your family and sometimes you have to do projects that are not your personal preferred choice. But you can learn alot from those projects afterwards. In my opinion a producer should never think in exclusive styles and genres to produce for.

Trance.nu: Do you have any examples?
Geert: This year I made together with Don Diablo (Dutch DJ and producer) the TMF (Dutch MTV station) Awards Theme Song. It was a bumpy road and it took us months to get everyone satisfied. And then it still wasn’t chosen L . The theme of the Awards was Bling Bling. We already thought: "Can we make a Bling Bling hip hop tune?" So we already had some question marks from the start.. We had alot of fun though trying to be real hip hop producers. But when eventually nothing happened with the track, despite the big promises…

Geert then let’s us listen to the Awards tune which is indeed a hip hoppish track, but with some keymark dance production influences. Funny stuff..

Trance.nu: What do you think of the ethical "complaints" from producers to other producers that do commercial sideprojects?
Geert: It’s quite easy to comment from the sideline to those producers. Especially when you are a very succesfull artist it is easy to critize others who struggle to keep into the business. But...sometimes you can learn alot from criticism too and it manages to constantly think about yourself as a producer.. It’s an endless discussion mostly…

Trance.nu: But do you listen to it in general, and does it give you doubts about your "direction" in producing?
Geert: Well, there is a big difference between comments on and off the record. When producers talk to you straight in your face they are always very nice and welcoming. But sometimes you read stuff that is less positive. You can react in different ways, but usually I just ignore it.

Trance.nu: A hot item at the moment is the leadtrack of the Dutch sports programme on the new television station Talpa. Some fans are reacting heavily disappointed, because the tune has been released under the name "Tiesto". What do you think of that disappointment?
Geert: I can understand it if you don’t know the real story, but it’s pretty easy to start slashing the track before asking yourself: why and how did this happen? Usually there is a whole story behind a tune, especially this one.

Trance.nu: All the big guys (Dutch soccer organisation KNVB, the owner of the television station Talpa) have chosen for the currently aired version of the track. Do you think this was the best leader you made or do you prefer another version you made?
Geert: This leader is OK, but I hope I can put the original orchestral version online some time. There are some different versions, one is more suitable for a club, the other one more for TV. And the TV leader has been put online in a dramatic bad mp3 quality, so if you heard that tune and you don’t know the story behind the track then you might think: holy shit, what is this? But the version we originally made, the orchestral version which might be released, I am 100% proud of that. We might work it out in a bigger, bombastic version.

Geert then plays the different version and the original version is a bombastic orchestral version, very much having the same feel as the Champions League Hyme. Also a clubby version is there, combining the different elements perfectly. Would have been two fantastic leadtracks…

Trance.nu: Do you think that the strict "rules" within especially the trance genre make it difficult for producers to make something new?
Geert: Yeah, more difficult, but also more difficult to make something creative. But if you are very creative, you are bound to break those rules. You make music, because you like it and you should not be binded to any rules. If people are gonna critize you, be stubborn and think: I am doing well J

Trance.nu: On one hand alot of people are complaining about the fact that there is not much happening within the trance genre. On the other hand people are very eager to critize different stuff. What do you think of that?
Geert: It’s pretty easy. Listen carefully to a track, investigate the background of the tune and the producer. Try to know what the producer is telling with the track…then a whole new dimension opens up. Due to these strict "rules" alot of crap is being made. Therefore alot of records are released that should never have been released in my opinion. But on the other hand because of that mess, a lot of masterpieces are being ignored aswell....

Trance.nu: Do you have any other hobby’s besides music?
Geert: Yeah, drawing! I used to make money with drawing before I did music. People, cities, places and such.. Nowadays I don’t have much time for it anymore.

Trance.nu: So how did you make money with it then?
Geert: I travelled through capital cities in Europe and I made drawings of everything and sold them to people. I did that for a few years and then the music went well so I started to focus on the music.

Trance.nu: It is difficult to survive with the current downfall of the music industry. What do you recommend to young producers to make a living?
Geert: Especially in Holland the cd-single market has crashed so much, you cant make much money with it anymore. It’s better nowadays to start making an album or a range of tracks that reflect you as a producer. Start a broad concept include graphical elements and a philosophy and show it to multiple company’s. Don’t present it as a demo, talk to people from the label directly and be confident. That’s the best way at the moment.

Trance.nu: Do you often check websites to see reactions on your music. We saw your reaction in the topic about the Tiesto Talpa track. Is it difficult not to react when you see so many "burn it down" replies?
Geert: Sometimes it’s difficult yes, because you know the background story. And the bashers don’t know much about it. Usually I don’t care, but sometimes it’s usefull to give some background info about what’s really happening behind the screens. If more people would do it, there would be less prejudices. Secrets and mysteries should be kept sometimes, but when alot of people seem to misunderstand it, it might be usefull to lift the veil.

Trance.nu: What can we expect from you in the near future?
Geert: I am going to score a Dutch movie. I am writing a Dance-Opera with Dutch pianist/composer Laurens van Rooyen. This will premiere the 27th of October in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam. I am producing an album with other people for Petra Berger, which is cross-over between opera/pop. A bit like Sarah Brightman.

We hear some tracks of the opera project that Geert is working on and we are blown away by the fantastic cross-over of dance and opera. It’s a bit like the Tiesto remix of Aria – Willow. Classical influences, banging beats and a true story is told throughout the music. Definately one of the most impressive moments of the night.

Trance.nu: And with Don Diablo?
Geert: Oh yeah with Don I had a hit under the alias Divided. We had a small hit with a remake of Phil Collins – Easy Lover. And we made a follow-up which will be called Wet Smoke. With Don i'm busy with a liveshow under the Divided alias, which we will present in clubs.

Trance.nu: And with Alco Lammers, Dawnseekers?
Geert: Yeah ofcourse we will continue. It’s a bit quiet at the moment, because I have alot of projects and Alco is busy working for a software company. But we made some new tunes and some stuff will be released.

Trance.nu: Any remixes?
Geert: Yeah me and Don made a remix of Vincent Vega – Groovejunky.

Trance.nu: You told us we can expect more new styles from Tiesto? Could you tell some more?
Geert: Well, new styles doesn't mean he's going to switch to Rockmusic or so. happy In the future we would like to make music for a big movie or big artist. But at the moment he is still very busy with spinning.

Trance.nu Quick Questions

Favourite Dancetracks ever: Early work of Matt Darey, Bailamos, his Sun Is Shining Remix.. And Ferry’s early stuff is mindblowing.

Favourite artist/group: He is dead, but defenately J.S.Bach.

Favourite album ever: My favourite dancealbum is Tiesto – Live At Innercity. Favourite movie soundtrack is Gladiator. I love the Duduk (Armenian flute) and Zimmer used it masterfully. And a true masterpiece is the musical Moulin Rouge. What I think is a fantastic "pop/world" album is Portals Of Grace by Azam Ali. btw... I think all trance lovers should listen to for example to "Ein Alpen Symphony" by Richard Strauss, That piece is so epic and magestic it's a trance-break which lasts an hour. happy

Favourite vocalist: Azam Ali.

We then end the interview with listening to some varied productions from Geert. Old unreleased Magik Muzik remixes, experimental unreleased tracks and tunes the rest of the world doens’t know fill the room and make it a most pleasant last thirty minutes of our interview. We leave, with the other 30 minutes of interview to be translated. We are impressed with the new views we have learned on producing music. Now go and download Photon Project - Enlightenment 2005! (legally!)

<A HREF="http://trance.nu/media/Photon_Project-Enlightenment_2005-www.trance.nu.mp3">Download Photon Project - Enlightenment 2005 for free</A>

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Thanks to Geert Huinink for his time and sharing this track with us.

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