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Friday 21st, September 2007
Sied van Riel

Trance.nu caught up with new Dutch progressive star Sied van Riel to chat about his amazing year, his producing, DJing, his Wii, how his Grandmother kick-started his career, why Tiesto rocks ass, his Wii, climate change, the Top 100 and his plans for the future. Oh and his Wii... the man really likes his Wii. Displaying a typical Dutch sense of humour, check out this slightly bonkers interview...

Hey Sied, how are things with you right now?

Weeeell... things here are pretty cool! Despite the messed up summer here in NL I am not complaining!

For those of us not familiar with the name Sied van Riel, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I am Sied van Riel, 29 year old DJ/Producer from The Lowlands, a.k.a. Holland... I like to play Wii, eat a lot of pizza and Chinese food and you can find me in my studio probably 90% of the time when I’m awake... if you catch me sleeping in the studio it’s probably because I forgot to walk to my bedroom!!! I once woke up standing up straight in my bed... I forgot to lay down...

Riiight... how did you make the transition from hardcore to progressive trance? It’s quite a jump.

Well, when my grandmother gave me my first turntables and a mixer, house music was just like getting real big over here. Acid/House etc... I basically followed the stream into the harder side of house and from there on out went into hardcore. This was when I was 12/13/14 years old... up until I was 18 I think somewhere. At one point I just needed something else... as I was more sticking onto the older side of hardcore, better known as “oldschool” here, I realized I was more or less sick of it and then decided to stop playing and really explore my horizons music wise.

How did you get into DJing and producing?

Music runs in my veins!! I mean like as in if the doctor would listen to my pulse he’ll be hearing a track going 135 BPM at least! My grandmother saw I was so into music, I was play backing in front of my class on school every Friday when I was 8 or 9, I forced them to watch me and I am sure they are still in shock till this day! I was always playing around with a double tape deck. Trying to mix it up whilst hitting “pause/play/pause/play”. She knew what I wanted, so she got me the gear, and Fo Riel was born! Well, it probably took me a while to figure out the BPM matching and stuff and actually do a good mix but you know at that point I didn’t leave my bedroom at all. Yeah, to buy records! I travelled over two hours, a few times a week, to buy one record at a time. The producing didn’t come till three years ago or so. I just bought the gear, locked myself up in my studio and started to listen and learn. Which I am still doing by the way. You never stop learning... especially when it comes to producing and software. You can do so much that it’s almost frustrating to decide sometimes!

What artists and DJs inspired you to start producing the style you do now?

This is a good one... I get inspired by my life, how I live it, what I experience and what I have experienced in the past. This is fuel for me. Of course I get inspired by other producers and DJs to make music, but when it comes to actually making the tracks, it’s my state of mind which leads to the outcome of the track.

How has having the support of Spinnin’ Records helped your career?

Well a lot, I mean I met Jorn (the A&R) at an event in Amsterdam. We talked a bit and after a few months I send him this one track, which was “Changing Places”. I made this track after I moved to my new house, hence the name. They signed it right away so I was like... ok! I’ve had only one release on Spinnin’ so far and a remix I did for Leon Bolier’s “Summernight Confessions”, but the feedback, support etc. I got from that is almost ridiculous. Being signed to a label such as Spinnin’ is something you can only think of when you are still in your first year of actually putting tracks out there... cause it was my third release ever and the first on a big one.

You have a new release out on Spinnin’ “Sigh”. Tell us about that – how have reactions been so far?

The reactions have been massive... and it is getting massive support. This track is kind of special to me... I had a rough year when it comes to my private life. A lot of negative things happened starting at the end of 2006 and went on till June of 2007. Most of them family related. So I took all the stuff I felt at that time and slammed it into my sequencer and “Sigh” was born! It’s totally different from “Changing Places”, “My Dreams” and “Fearless”. Leon Bolier’s remix of “Sigh” is massive too. He did an awesome job on that! This remix is also getting massive support too by the way!

Good stuff, so what’s the next step on the production front for Sied van Riel?

I have finished my follow up on Spinnin’ it’s sort of an EP. “Sinner in Heaven’ with a remix by Italian Stallion Amex and “What You Want” are up next. I’m working on a collab with my good friend Daniel Wanrooy, he’s one of the guys behind Progression/Odyssee. Massive stuff! Got another track wrapped up which is currently being remixed “Riel People Know” (not sure when this one is coming out though!) Uhhhmm... still got Altanhan & Van Riel on hold, as we both are not sure of the outcome yet we will probably adjust some stuff before this is being actually signed anywhere.

Still discussing a date with Miika Kuisma to finish what we started in Helsinki a year ago, but it seems when we are together we never end up in the studio. He slept at my place when he was here for the Intuition Summer Event and we were supposed to do four days of hard studio work. We ended up watching DVDs, going out and relaxing on the couch having a shitload of fun. When we finally sat in the studio we ended up chatting and watching YouTube movies... as usual! So now we are planning a week so I’ll fly out to Helsinki and we actually get the job done. I think we will probably end up in one of Helsinki’s clubs drinking “Fisherman’s Friend Vodka”. Finnish are creative when it comes to music and alcohol!

On the remix note, check out the length of this first name and imagine the “Sied van Riel remix” behind it... you’ll need a fold out 12” for this one! B.E.N. vs. Digital Nature feat. Brandon A. Godfrey “Save me God”, Jose Amnesia & Jennifer Rene’s “Invincible”, Jonas Steur’s new single “Level Up” Robert Gitelman & Micheal Tsukerman “Memories of the Future”, Misja vs. Jazper – “Project : Project” are things I’ve recently done! And a remix for Fektive, Glenn Frantz – “Melbourne” massive original track!

Besides this, I‘m working on a vocal remix for an American label, a remix for a Belgium producer, and working on a remix together with DJ Dazzle for Kimito Lopez... busy times man! I’ll tell you... sometimes I do not even have time to play my Wii or my fuseball... I bought a fuseball table recently for Monique (Monique is my girl, who also does PR for all Y-catch artists), we used to play this all the time when we were like not dating... so when it was her birthday this is what she got! Selfish? No way!

Haha the thought never crossed my mind! What is your studio set-up like?

I use Cubase SX3 on a Core 2 PC running on a Creamware Scope FX soundcard. So far all the tracks released are made with mostly Software plugins. I used to have a lot of hardware but I am still loosing hair till this day of the decision I made to sell a lot of it. I taught I was at a spot where I didn’t need it anymore due to the easy use of software and the quality of it, but my feeling afterwards I was wrong. So I decided to buy some hardware again. I cannot live without an Access Virus, Lexicon FX and a good tube compressor. It’s probably in my head... but that’s cool, I can live with it! Ohh Ohh Ohh and I’m thinking of buying the Alesis Andromeda. It’s sick!

Indeed. How is your DJ career going and what have been the highlights so far?

It’s going Riel good! Been to places as Ukraine which was crazy, massive TV interviews etc. Totally unexpected! Cyprus a few times which went down the same as Urkaine... crazy stuff... Tampere in Finland, did Intuition winter and Summer event here in Holland, been to Istanbul and Marmaris a few times and Kemer in Turkey as well. Did a small tour there with Joop, a week in the sun and playing, don’t you just hate that?! I also lost my Love Parade virginity this year. I played on the Dutch Trance Alliance Float which was massive! The amount of people in that city that day was just crazy and we had a lot of fun on our float and this was definitely the highlight of 2007 so far when it comes to DJing.

Where can we see you playing over the next few months?

Well in Holland, also on our own events called Create, it’s a club night which Misja Helsloot, Jazper (Misja’s production partner), Marcel (our PR dude) and myself started out last year and now picking up again. Our first event on October 26th in Delft. Aly & Fila are headlining this event. Going to play a b2b set with Miika Kuisma on his Album Release party in Helsinki in November and a lot of new countries/continents in the loop Fo Riel but I can’t tell much about that whole thing at this moment. It’ll pop up on my MySpace and website soon enough!

What can we expect from a Sied van Riel set?

I like to build up... I like to try and take people away with me... sort of a roller coaster ride, but then without an actual “Space Mountain” in the venue. Also pending on the set time of course... recently that set in the Ukraine, the local warm up was already playing 139/140bpm and then I had to go on. The guy was doing a really good job and the people loved it, but I don’t know if you ever listened to my sets, but I never get as high as 140... so I took it back to 132. Had a long silence before they announced me, had a long intro track... I think it was a remix of “Home” done by Natlife & ADS... and took it from there. The crowd went nuts and I took it up to 136.

The party started at 6pm and I had to go on at 10pm, but it lasted till 6 in the morning, so you know you have to think about the next DJs in line. Well that’s what I do, and as Paul Kershaw, Adam White, AJ Gibson and Nat Monday had to play after me they could adapt easily and finished what was started.

So what do you get when you have Fo Riel playing: Intensity, Warmth, Depth and Climaxing... all of this whilst building up towards it!

Sounds almost sexual... so what are your top tunes at the moment?

Sander van Doorn’s “ Riff ” is massive!
Hibernate’s “Home” (Ads vs. Natlife remix)
Anton Sonin & AMX ft Sari “Undone” (this is awesome!)
Joop “On Top of Things”
This remix Mat Zo made of Sting’s “Desert Rose” I don’t know if it’s old or not but I just got it and it rocks!
Leon Bolier’s “Further Instructions” is awesome too!

You supported Tiësto three times last year, what was that like and did you spend any time with the big man?

Well at first when I got confirmed I had to be put on oxygen! I had just released my debut release “Fearless” and the next thing I knew I was about to go touring with Tiësto on his In Search of Sunrise 5 tour... you gotta admit... that’s crazy right?!! Especially because I am a fan and I’ve followed him throughout his whole career.

The tour was massive. It was the best feeling ever! Playing in front of thousands and thousands of people, and after that you get to have your own ISOS concert up close... massive!

I travelled together with him and his management and my girl through out this tour, so I got to spend a lot of time with them. Most of the talks we had where non music related. We just had fun and enjoyed it all which you are supposed to do in the first place! I remember this one time we were on our way to an airport, we all had fun... next thing I knew I woke up with me head against the window and drooling on it... I think I just fell asleep... was a funny moment!

The best part was when he took over each night... I could see he was full with adrenaline, and ready to rock! We shook hands, said a few words and he rocked ass... period!

True, Tiësto sure does rock ass! Going from an unknown to one of Europe’s most in-demand new producers in the space of a year is pretty amazing, how have you achieved that and can you give any advice on other DJs/producers looking to make the breakthrough?

Well, to be honest I have no clue. I didn’t have a management at the time I started to release, so the thing I did was making music, making music, and hey... let’s make some music. In the meantime remix requests where like coming in and don’t ask me where that came from, it just happened. I think I was just very lucky getting a lot of those requests. Now it’s different though. Spinnin’ takes care of my music management and Y-Catch agency takes care of my bookings, which takes a lot of work of my shoulders which I, then on my turn, can put into my productions and Wii games!

My advice to those who are looking to breakthrough... don’t look at that. Just do the thing you do best, focus yourself 100% on it, pedal to the metal and don’t let go!

Nowadays connections are important too. So a bit of knowledge in marketing and networking is good too but never forgot what it is all about in the first place!

Does it surprise you how quick you have risen to the top?

Hell yeah I am surprised... I still gotta get used to stuff, on how fast things are going. People from the biz tell me all the time, you’re experiencing things others are waiting for 10 years. And you... just here are already doing it, getting it or reaching it... so you know I just consider myself a lucky guy. But don’t forget, I have no spare time. All the time I have goes straight into my music so you gotta work hard for it as well... I mean RIEL HARD!

No spare time? What about your Wii? wink It’s DJ Mag Top 100 time, do you pay much notice to it and have you done much campaigning?

To be honest... no! We have put up one banner on my MySpace website which says “Fo Riel For President” but that is it. I haven’t sent out any mass mailings or comments anywhere. Some people tell me I have to be more active... but I don’t know...

It’s important that everybody votes, I voted myself too.... the DJ Mag list is very important. I do think about the outcome a lot. You know... speculate and stuff with friends. It’s always cool to talk about the outcome and afterwards see who’s right and who’s wrong...

The Dutch have an amazing passion for trance – why do you think that is?

I don’t know... maybe because we are the LOWLANDS... below the sea level and we need good trance to keep us happy? Because in 50 years NL will be the world’s biggest outdoor swimming pool? No I really wouldn’t know... I just love we have those people, the DJs and producers here and then some!!! Something to be proud of.

Finally, after the success you have had in the last year, what are your aims for 2008?

Dance Vally – Creamfields – Godskitchen – Trance Energy – Sensation White -- Tomorrowland (all territories) MAIN STAGE !!! Dammit... listen to me!!!

Was I drifting off... a bit? Maybe? Yes..?!?

Now serious... do my gigs, make music and enjoy it all! And I hope to continue the story I’m in at the moment!

Many thanks for your time Sied... we’ll let you go have a lie down now sounds like you need it. Maybe have a go on that Wii.

No way, thanks for having me dudes and the best of luck with Trance.nu o/

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