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Thursday 04th, September 2008
Leon Bolier
Leon Bolier interview
Updated: Thursday 28th, May 2009

: Leon Bolier was born in 1980 somewhere in the middle of Holland, and allways was in love with moody music. When he heard 'Energy 52 - Café Del Mar', he fell in love with this track and after that, he started producing trance music. In 2002 and 2003 he got his first record deals, together with his brother Bart. They released some tracks on Bonzai/Banshee and FTM sublabels. Back then the first contacts with Armada frontman Maykel Piron were established via Armin van Buuren, and this resulted in Leon remixing the first ever Armada release. Leon recently finished his very first artist album 'Pictures', which will see a release this month. Trance.nu caught up with Leon Bolier in his studio for an in depth interview!

Trance.nu: Leon, your debut artist album ‘Pictures’ will see a release on September 29 2008. What can we expect from this album?
Leon Bolier: People that know my sound a bit, might know what to expect. I have tried to produce a bit diverse, so there are, apart from many melodic trance tracks on the album, more minimalistic tracks and also some more techy things. Furthermore some classical compositions and even a track that?s a bit singer / songwriter-ish. So it’s a pretty diverse album I think! And on the second disc of the album you can find some collaborations between me and some colleagues such as Joop, Daniel Wanrooy, who you might know from ‘Progression’. Also with Freek Geuze, who’s also behind the ‘Fine Taste’ and ‘Global Illumination’ alias. Furthermore Galen Behr, Sied van Riel, Jonas Steur and Cliff Coenraad and Thomas Hagenbeek. And you can also find a track with DJ Astrid on the album, though this is a track that’s a bit older (2007), but I still really like this one, so I’ve decided to include this one on the album as well.

Trance.nu: You just said it yourself already, ‘Pictures’ is going to be a double CD. Not bad for a debut album! Did you have the idea for a double album already from the start or was the idea for a double album born later?
Leon Bolier: No, I had this idea already from the beginning on. The idea behind this is, because the whole CD market went downhill due to the illegal downloading, I wanted to make a double album with loads of new material, so people making the effort to buy the album, really get value for their money. So the CD will not be more expensive, because it’s a double album. I just wanted to give the people who buy the CD, some extra material.

Trance.nu: You mentioned the collaborations on the album already, but can you tell us how you work when you do a collaboration? Do people come to your studio, or do you work via internet only?
Leon Bolier: No, nearly all collaborations that you can find on this album are done together in the studio. A few of them have been done in my studio, but other ones are done in other people’s studio. So I went to Galen, to Joop, Cliff and Sied for example. It all depended on time and stuff like that. Sometimes it’s nice to work in a different studio, just to give you a break when you have been in your own studio for a long time. The track with Jonas Steur was done over the internet though.

Trance.nu: Are there other producers that you would like to work with for future projects?
Leon Bolier: That’s a good question! I would like to work with somebody from a totally different genre: Timbaland for example. I think he’s a great producer and I think that if you would work in the studio together with somebody like him, you would get a very interesting result! Look, if you’re going to work together with another trance producer, then you’ll get something in a style that people will expect from you. But if you would work with somebody from a whole different genre, you get something something very different. Plus I think you can learn a lot from a producer who’s making music of another genre.

Trance.nu: How long have you been busy to finish the entire album?
Leon Bolier: I think 8 months in total.

Trance.nu: That’s pretty fast!
Leon Bolier: Yeah, at the end of 2007 I started with it and I really wanted to go for it! I discussed all of it with the Spinnin’ record guys, who are going to release the album. And from that moment on every track that I did, really went well, you know? I was really satisfied when I had a track finished and I can tell you that I’m not satisfied that easy! I think I’m very picky, especially towards my own work. So when a track was done, sometimes I played it for 2 hours non-stop and if I still liked it a lot after that, I knew it was right. Then I did send them to the record company and track after track they also said they really liked it. After that I just started working on the next track.

Trance.nu: On the album we can find some tracks that have been released already. For example ‘Summernight Confessions’ and of course your track ‘Ocean Drive Boulevard’. Also your new single ‘I Finally Found’ with Simon Binkenborn can be found on the album. ‘I Finally Found’ has support already by Tiësto, Ferry Corsten and Armin van Buuren. When will this one be released?
Leon Bolier: I believe it will be out at September 8!

Trance.nu: And can we expect some remixes from ‘I Finally Found’ as well?
Leon Bolier: Yes, I made a remix myself and this one is a bit more in a balearic style. A nice mellow remix. Nic Chagall is remixing the track at the moment, let’s see what he comes up with! This remix will be up for a future release if everything goes as planned.

Trance.nu: What is your favourite track on the album and why?
Tough question! I really don’t think I can answer that, it was fun working on all tracks, the collabs, the fun with my friends/colleagues producing those tracks, writing my own lyrics for some of the tracks, actually the lyrics for ‘Longing For’ I wrote in my head when I had a couple of hours to kill in Singapore before going to the airport, producing ‘Ocean Drive Boulevard’ since I just bought a new Acces Virus TI synth then, it was a great feeling. Every track for me is unique in it’s own way. Having said that, I really like the tracks ‘XD’ and ‘YE’ on the album. ‘XD’ because it has this badass drive, and ‘YE’ because it’s kind of a back to my roots track with a ‘Surpresa’ like melody. But I’m only naming these tracks because you asked this question, haha!

Trance.nu: In the past you already did remixes for Mike Shiver, JPL, Carlos, Libra Presents Taylor, Questia and recently you remixed ‘Embrace - Embrace’. Can we expect some new remixes done by you any time soon?
Leon Bolier: Yes, at the moment I’m busy with a remix for Arnej for a new track by him, which will be most likely signed to Armind. Plus recently I finished a remix for Jamaster A for Spinnin’. I’m also busy with a remix for Raz Nitzan, but I don’t know under what project name that will be, but it’s a vocal track.

Trance.nu: In the past you have produced under project names such as ‘Subsphere’ (together with your brother Bart), ‘Inner Stories’, ‘LWB’, ‘Precursor’, ‘Solar Express’, ‘Mindsensation’ and ‘Surpresa’. Will there be new releases under those project names as well, or are you going to focus more on the releases under your own name?
Leon Bolier: In the past, with all those different project names, I was searching for what kind of sound I really liked. Plus I released music on various labels, so for each alias I was working with a different label. I did various styles as well, so for example ‘Precursor’ releases are bit more experimental. The tracks on the ‘Pictures’ album will all be released under my own name, though they are also in various styles, which you can categorize for example under the ‘Surpresa’ or ‘Subsphere’ aliases. So lots of various styles on the album!

Trance.nu: But for now there is nothing scheduled for any of the old aliases?
Leon Bolier: No, not now, but I would love to do another ‘Surpresa’ track in the future. Also because of the fact that that’s a bit more “clear” for some people. So if they see a certain project name by me, they know what kind of style they can expect. Plus I get many requests to do another ‘Subsphere’ track as well. Furthermore there are plans to do another ‘Solar Express’ together with Menno de Jong. Later this year or early 2009 we’re going to sit in the studio to work on a follow up!

Trance.nu: And what about a follow up for ‘Mighty Ducks’ together with Cliff Coenraad?
Leon Bolier: Yeah, ‘Mighty Ducks’ was a bit of a different story. We finished the whole track in one afternoon or something like that. Everything went really easy, so in no time the whole production was done. We tried to make a follow up, but that wasn’t that easy. ‘Mighty Ducks’ is a different track, you love it or you hate it, but it’s an original track for sure. But it’s really hard to make a follow up. I mean, you can go sit together in the studio with the idea that you have to make a follow up for ‘Mighty Ducks’, hence it has to sound original... but just sit there and wait for an original idea kicking in from a direction you don’t expect it from didn’t work for us. I guess a follow up just has to “happen” by accident.

Trance.nu: Besides making productions and remixes, you’re a DJ as well. You will DJ-ing on your own album release party as well. Can you tell us something more about that?
Leon Bolier: Yes of course! The party will be held in club ‘Poema’ in Utrecht, The Netherlands at Friday September 26th. DJ’s that night will be Fine Taste, Joop, Sied van Riel and from Norway we have Ørjan Nilsen. Of course I will play as well, I will do a longer set myself and I think it’s going to be a great party for sure! And of course the album will be available to purchase there as well then!

Trance.nu: For how long are you DJ-ing already now?
Leon Bolier: In the early days I was DJ-ing in a local pub 200 meters away from where I live now, but that was not the kind of music that I’m playing right now. I even played Britney Spears and that kinda stuff, since the people there didn’t liked electronic music, haha! But my first gig for a trance audience was the ‘Intuition Launch Party’ in April 2005 in club Asta in The Hague. I played there in the second area back to back with Galen Behr.

Trance.nu: Can you tell us 1 (or more) funny stories about something that happened during one of your gigs?
Leon Bolier: There’s too many stories, but let’s keep it clean! Haha! Once I was playing in a club in Ohrid in Macedonia and all of a sudden a guy came to me and he asked me “Can you play some folk music?” and I said “Huh, what?” and he said it again: “Yes, folk music! And I want to pay you for it!”, so he had some Macedonian money, which was not even 1 Dollar, haha! I don’t care if people pay me for it or not, so I was like “fuck it”. So the promoter came to me and he asked me what the guy did, so I said that he wanted to pay me to play some folk music, since I had the impression he wasn’t really into EDM haha! And the first thing I saw after that, was that like 10 security guys throw him out of the club, I was a bit flabbergasted by that I can say!

Trance.nu: Where can we expect you in the next few months?
Leon Bolier: England, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico again, Australia hopefully early 2009 and for the rest we’re busy with a lot of things. Like The Arches in Glasgow, Hungaria, Romenia, Turkye and much more!

Trance.nu: I know you’re a member from some internet forums such as Trance.nu, Partyflock and a few more. Sometimes I see that you’re replying on topics as well. What do you think of those forums?
Leon Bolier: I think the forums are a very good way to see what’s going on and to see what’s hot and not. But on the other hand, the people that can be found on those forums are not really representing the whole dance audience. I mean, there are many people going to dance gigs who aren’t registered to forums. But I think it’s a good way to see reactions on some tracks etc. But on the other hand, you always have people who don’t like a certain artist and no matter what that artist is doing, they will bash him or her. But I don’t take that very serious to be honest. Sometimes I react on topics and sometimes I don’t. It depends a bit on what the topic is about. Like sometimes it’s better if you don’t reply on certain threads.

Trance.nu: Like with the whole ‘Mighty Ducks’ discussion here a while ago? Haha!
Leon Bolier: Yeah, I did react in that topic, haha! I have met the guy a while ago in Russia. He took back his words in that discussion on Trance.nu already, so for me it was a finished story and we had a couple of drinks.

Trance.nu: Do you have tips for producers who just have started making music?
Leon Bolier: From the start I’ve found out almost everything myself. I got advice though about what kind of equipment is recommended to use, so for example Armin gave me advice. But I think it’s important when you’re starting with producing that you find out yourself how to do certain things and how you want it to sound. And not ask everything to anybody else, like how you make a phat bassline, the best way is to find it out yourself. And always be honest to yourself: can I really do it, is this good enough etc. And if that’s not the case, well then just keep it as a fun hobby.

Trance.nu: What is the highlight in your career so far?
Leon Bolier: I have a few things, like performing at the Trance Energy mainstage together with Joop, that was great! A few really cool gigs, like Beirut in Lebanon, a back to back gig in Ukraine with Sied van Riel, that was awesome! But also the fact that I can go visit various countries to play my music is a highlight for me as well! That I can do that, that is just cool. And other highlights were my first vinyl release, that one of my tracks was used on Tiësto’s ‘In Search Of Sunrise’ CD, that Joop and I made the theme song for Trance Energy, my first CD single release and Dutch radio stations who picked up the track, so the big audience also could hear my music. And last but not least, the fact that I finished my first artist album. That is something that I could only dream about a few years ago and now it happened!

Trance.nu: How do you see yourself in 10 years?
Leon Bolier: I hope that I’m still busy with DJ-ing and producing music. Right now it really goes well, so I hope it keeps going better and better in the future. I just hope I can keep continue doing things that I like so much, since I can’t live without it!

Trance.nu: Thank you very much for your time and good luck in the future!
Leon Bolier: Thank you too!

Written by:
Twan van Loon

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