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Tuesday 23rd, October 2007
Johan Gielen Interview

Johan Gielen has recently visited Bratislava, Slovakia to play at the well known Beautiful Things in Club Dopler. We have spoken to Johan before his gig at a dinner about his music, life and koi fish. :)

Below is a compilation of a number of his answers, thoughts and reflections, both from the dinner and from a conversation done with him via email in no particular order. Enjoy.

Johan, how was your flight to Bratislava?
The flight was good, even though I didn’t fly directly. I first flew to Prague, from where I came to Bratislava. Although there are low cost airlines flying directly to Bratislava, I choose to fly the safer airlines. I’ve heard a lot about how the low cost airlines are managed, so just as many of my fellow DJ friends, I rather choose safety.

You’re looking forward to your gig in Club Dopler?
Yes, absolutely. Some of you guys have already told me big stuff about the club and the people, so I can’t wait. I’m surely going to check it out before I even play. I tend to take a peek at the crowd and the atmosphere usually beforehand, so I can then prepare. Many DJs tend to ignore this habit and often when they step out, they end up being surprised or shocked.

In fact, Johan has done just right that. After a few minutes of his arrival to backstage of Club Dopler, Johan asked me if he can take a peek at the crowd as the noise was penetrating a few walls. I led him out there, and from well out of the crowd's sight, Johan scanned the place. He only needed a few seconds, then turned and gave me a „wow“ look. He certainly didn’t expect that and all the way until his play time he had that little adrenalin rise in his blood.

Any words on the new DJ Mag voting?

DJ Mag in my opinion is not what it used to be. There are many DJs that don’t even really play in front of crowds, but just vote for themselves (cheating), so they end up high in the chart. I don’t need this, I have my fans, my friends, my people who know me, promoters, and I don’t need these obscure ways to jump in the DJ Mag chart. DJ Mag, however, can really help new and young DJs that want to be visible.

Just a note, this interview was done only two weeks before the news of cheating in the DJ Mag by a number of DJs.

Where are you going to play on the New Year’s eve?
I already have about six offers where to play at. I have no idea which one to choose, though I don’t want to travel too far away from home. We’ll see.

You’ve lived some time in Japan. How was that?
I lived for 2 years in Tokio and played as a resident at one of the clubs in there. It was an amazing experience, because Japan has a totally different culture. I learned Japanese as well, since I also did and still do my Koi fish business with Japan.
Johan has told us something in a perfect Japanese accent. Respect!
In Tokio, I had a garden where I often relaxed and just though about things. This may have been the place where I got lots of my inspirations from for my latest album. Tokio is a wonderful hi-tech city with things to see that can hardly be found anywhere else. Imagine a pedestrian crosswalk, the lights show green, and 150K people from all directrions start crossing. When I saw this for the first time, I thought a football game has just ended somewhere. But then, this happened every five minutes!
Oh and back to the Koi fish which I import. I have my own business and shop back home, where I sell these fish. There are some celebrities out there that do just the same. Sometimes they buy full grown Koi fish from Japan, but I tend to buy them young and grow them back home. When you sell them, the price depends on the size. Small and young ones cost some dozen euros, the large ones can cost hundreds or thousands of euros.

Any funny memories from your travels?

Yes, once after I played in Vancouver and went to check in for my flight away. When the lady at check in saw me she had a shocked look, „Oh my god, you are Jean Paul Gaultier!“ I found this very funny, so I responded „No, I’m only his brother.“ She remained totally shocked – „Oh god, really.“ Well I gave her my business card to calm her down anyway. There are also many people that say that I look like Nicolas Cage from the side. I mean, just look at me. (laughing)

What memorable events did you take part and played at recently?
Sunrise Festival in Poland.

Have you really sang at the Sunrise Festival?
Oh yes, the wonderful Sunrise Festival. Yes, I sang Born Slippy, the atmosphere there was just amazing and this was just spontaneous. The crowd went mad, so I went mad. I consider Sunrise Festival to be one of the hugest festivals out there in Europe at the moment. They’ve made an amazing progress. The preparation, the huge stages, audio systems, special effects, transitional audio-visuals, fireworks, people, simply everything. The event is simply so huge with big names! The new stage they made this year was wonderful.

You‘ve worked under different aliases and you’ve also behind Airscape. Are there any other pseudonyms that you've worked behind over the years? You were also part of Svenson & Gielen, why did you decide to separate from Svenson?
Sometimes you have to go your own way and I chose to do so. I think it was time for me to take the next step in my career, but we are still good friends with Svenson.

Your Airscape remix of "Silence" by Delirium featuring Sarah McLachlan was a chooon everywhere. As a remixer, did that inspire you to do more production under your own name?
No, not really. At the time that we remixed Silence from Delirium, Airscape was doing really well in the charts as well and because of that we decided to do the remix. After this success we had a lot offers to do remixes, but we where very selective. We couldn‘t do all of them.

The Netherlands, especially Amsterdam scene has inspired many great DJs and producers. Why do you think that the Netherlands makes you, the DJs, do such a great music?
I think in the end of the 90’s a few DJ’s and producers from the Netherlands made the right and typical sound. DJs like Ferry Corsten with his „Out Of The Blue“, Tiësto, Marco V , and ofcourse our own project Airscape and that has then been going all over the world.

How do you your ordinary working days eventually weekends look like?

Waking up, having breakfast, doing some sports and then going to the studio or to meetings etc.... In the weekends I have to travel and play a lot, so when I have the chance, I just relax to be top-fit for the gigs later at night.

You started DJing at age seventeen, what inspired you to start DJing?
Nothing i just was born with it wink

You have finished your latest double CD album called Revelations. Do you now want to take a rest from producing for a some time or are you slowly preparing for your next album? Where do you derive your inspiration from? What producers influence you now or did in the past?
Im working already on the next album. My inspiration comes from a lot traveling. As I visit many countries, I always take a little piece of them with me when I go home. When I‘m in the studio I use the memories for inspiration.

Do you have any non-fulfilled dreams regarding your production? Where do you see yourself in the future?
No, not really I just do what I like to do and I‘m happy with what I’ve got.

How do you describe your music?
Uplifting just uplifting ........

Do you have any favorite tracks that you like to play these days?
So many good tunes out there at this moment. It’s hard to tell which one of them is my favorite.

Do you have any leaders among recent producers/DJs?
Deadmau5 is hot very hot.

Do you prepare your playlists in advance, or do you play spontaneously reacting to the crowd?
Spontaneously, because every night is different.

Do you prefer the intimate club atmosphere or do you more enjoy playing in front of big crowds like Trance Energy, Sensation or Mysteryland?
It’s very nice to play at clubs as well, you should never forget where it all started.

Is there any country, you haven´t played yet in and would you like to visit it?
Yes Iceland is on the wishlist.

You are well-known also for the IN SESSION radio show at FRESH FM. What has inspired you to create such a radio show?
At this moment there is no radio show, but I’m working on something to be back in the air soon. I love to do radio, because I think it’s good that people have the right warm up for the weekend.

How did you meet each other with Tiësto? I have noticed, your albums are covered by his publishing Black Hole Recordings.

I know him for a long time and Black Hole is the right partner for my music.

And what about your private life? Do you have a girlfriend or a wife?
Private stays private wink

We know you’re a diver, what is so inspiring about swimming with dolphins?
No words. It’s magic. You should try it out yourself and then you‘ll know what I mean.

We thank Johan for the nice talk, great dinner and an amazing gig!

And two videos from Johan's gig in Dopler. Far more found here.

Johan's Intro

It was a beautiful day!

Questions, interview and dinner was done in a cooperation with my friend IvoNinja from websound.eu.

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