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Monday 28th, April 2003
VJ Team Vision Impossible Interview

There are many different aspects that make a club night to a succes. We all know that the DJ is the main element, but there are more people behind the screens that make your night an unforgettbale experience. Trance.nu went to the heart of Amsterdam, to take a look into the studio of Vision Impossible, one of the best and most respected VJ teams from Holland. They have performed on big festivals and the best clubs. Trance.nu interviewed Ruben, Berry & Martijn, the guys behind Vision Impossible, to get to know more about the art, life and secrets in the VJ scene.

Trance.nu: So tell us, who are the guys behind Vision Impossible?
Ruben: I am Ruben Langendijk, I did a study for graphical designer here in Amsterdam and through Martijn Adema, a friend of mine, I came into this business..
Martijn: I am Martijn, and Vision Impossible has evolved out of an earlier combination of me, a former friend and with Berry. We were together in a schoolclass at that time. I used to live together with that friend of mine called Joshua. And on a certain moment he asked me if i would like to VJ in Escapce venue in Amsterdam. We did that together for a while, but after some time i decided to continue alone. Then i started to work together with Ruben with the VJ'ing. When we finished our studies on the Art Academy, Berry and I started for ourselves. Three years ago all three of us, decided to start up one company to VJ every week and to focus on the designs all around parties. We really love it.

Trance.nu: What kind of work are u doing? Which activities do you all have?
Berry: Our main business is VJ'ing. Mostly we are on clubs and festivals, but we also do video productions and some graphical art, but VJ'ing is our main business.

Trance.nu: Can you tell us something about the way you handle your productions? U get an assignment and then...?
Ruben: its different every time. For example, a club, the Matrixx, where we are VJ'ing now for a long time. We try to create the typical Matrixx atmosphere on such a night. U start off with the logo and do some creative things with it. U check out the style, the color scheme they use, and u try to express this in a creative way during such a clubnight. Thats like the main focus during the whole evening and we mix that with our own "free work". But it sometimes also happens that we are booked for a single event. Then it works like the same way tough, but you've got less time for it. When u go to clubs where u regularly play (MatriXX, Kremlin), then your graphical library extends with matrixx visuals and kremlin visuals. On a certain moment u can do total Matrixx or Kremlin show.
Martijn: For single bookings, we use a booking agency, 1 Management, they handle most of the requests. But if someone wants to book us, then they contact us and then we decide together with club owner what he wants. We have a very extended graphical library where we select the graphics for the party and then during the night we make a long video show for about 6 or 8 hours or 11 *laughs*.

Trance.nu: Wow quite a long show!
Martijn: yeah 5 till 10 hours..

Trance.nu: So tell us, what kind of equipment do you guys use during a party?
Ruben: That has evolved during the years. We started with Commodore Amiga computers. Then we started to work with PC's so we could use VHS tapes for our work. Then we had 2 big bags with videotapes that we walked around with every weekend. Then we switched to working more digitally. On this moment we have 2 laptops that both can mix 2 to 3 layers of video. Next to that we also have a MIDI-keyboard that can run the program so we dont need a video mixer anymore, but u do everything with the program itself on the computer. So after all, it is a computer mix.

Trance.nu: Your other activities besides VJ'ing are designing flyers. Who is responsible for that?
Ruben: I have a graphical background, so I am the one responsible. Ofcourse we decide together and brainstorm together about it. But lately its been a little difficult, because we are having so many VJ performances. My day/night rhythm is different then normal persons. Its hard to combine with the graphical world that works from 9 to 5. By daylight you have to arrange all kinds of stuff with companies and its hard to arrange sometimes...

Trance.nu: If you want to become a VJ, where do you have to start?
Berry: Yeah, difficult question. U need to be creative and have loads of ambition. When u have made some animations, you are not directly a VJ. U can show it in a club but.. thats not all. U need a big graphical library so u can make a varying show, thats important. Next to that, u need some contacts in the scene, so u can show yourself. Eventually you want to become a VJ to show yourself, not just mixing some images at home. So you just have to contact some clubs and hope a promotor thinks you are good. And hopefully u can do your thing. U also have to invest alot of time (something thats rare) and when you are a beginning VJ its difficult to make enough money with it. To perform for a few hundred euro's.. thats hard to make a living for. We have been busy for so long, we now have an established name. Also you have to be aware that u make long nights and days of working. For example sometimes we work on saturday from 4 o'clock till 7 o'clock in the morning after a party. Thats more then 12 hours of working, sometimes 2 days in a row.
Ruben: Its hard to switch back to normal life after such a weekend on monday.
Berry: So basically, the most important thing is ambition and enthousiasm

Trance.nu: You have been to Miami for the WMC. How as it over there?
Martijn: It was great fun. The WMC is a big conference, where people meet that are busy in a professional way in the party scene world wide. I didnt see any conference centre tough *laughs*. Miami is a jetset place, very cool, all DJ's and party organizers go there. There are tons of parties with bizarre good line-ups. Festivals with Tisto, JXL and all big names. And thats just going on for a week. And everybody jumps from one party to another, shake hands and big organizations have there own club night. This year we went together with UDC (Dancevalley Crew, Impulz) and they gave a Dance Valley showcase. It's quite funny that in the USA, where house more or less started, the big parties are still quite unknown. So especially Dutch party organizors present themselves to do some business over there and to gain fame over there. Dancevalley did a big show over there in an amazing club called Opium Garden. We performed outside with 3 big screens, and that was an amazing thing to do. Just before us tough, was a Masters At Work party. But the police was threatening the organization that they would give a 15.000 dollar fine, if the music kept playing too loud. So they put the volume down, which was a pity. For the rest it was a great party. It's also amazing to just walk around there, doing a bit of guestlist hopping. *laughs*

Trance.nu: I have read that you guys were going to perform in Malaysia??
Martijn: Unfortunately.. We really wanted to go and perform there. And it had been cancelled once already. We would go there 10 till 17 may for a big outdoor festival. We have been in Thailand once already but do a really big show in Malaysia, that would have been amazing for us. But, now its cancelled due to SARS. We have not been very fortunate lately. When we went to USA the war just started and now in Malaysia the whole festival is cancelled due to that evil virus! Next time more luck.

Trance.nu: Lets go back to the VJ'ing. How important is a VJ on a clubnight? Can he make the difference?
Berry: I think a VJ is very important for creating an atmosphere. Show heavy images at heavy moments and relaxed images at relaxed moments, so it enhances the atmosphere. It also has a decorative function, a club without a VJ is a cold club. If u put a VJ there, even if u are not really aware of it, it gives some extra, when it's done in a right way. So I do think VJ'ing is important, but I also think that we have to be realistic and not say that without the VJ the party is not a party anymore. So I think it is important, but not the most important thing at a party.
Martijn: A good example is Kremlin, the club night. We have helped designing that clubnight for more then 2 years. Because it had such an typical atmosphere, it returned in every aspect of the party, the flyers, the website, the graphics. All things had a typical Russian atmosphere, due to using the same color scheme etc. The two years we performed over there, people really loved it, also because our graphics were very clearly present; the moment people entered the club and they saw the visuals with stars and Lenin-statues. On a certain moment when the clubnight ended, people came to us and say they really missed it, because it was so typical for the atmosphere then. And thats nice to hear.

Trance.nu: That appreciation also led to winning the prize for #1 Vj Team in Holland. Tell us something about it?
Ruben: Last year whe have won 2 prizes. The "Gouden Kabouter Award". Its a famous price to receive. It exists now for seven years. We have won it twice now. It represents the votes by the public and the latest years it has become more and more important. And we a very happy to have won them. People could vote on the internet and out of that came the Lucky Strike Dance Award, awarded by Basic Grooves magazine.
Berry: First u were nominated by the partyscene, u could be nominated amongst others. The public could vote for best VJ and eventually it seems that we were the best. So that was a nice feather in our.. black hole *laughs*
Ruben: This year, the prize has gone to our colleagues from Rotterdam, "Nog Harder".

Trance.nu: Why are you so succesfull in the VJ scene?
Martijn: I think its a combination of some things. We make our own work, which are always images made on the computer. Because we are already busy for such a long time in the business, we gained lots of experience of how images work best in a club. Its totally different then for example something u should make for television. If u would a televison on in a club it would just be a square with special effects, while we make more like icons on a wall. Its the image that counts. Its strong and tickles your imagination. Also lightning wise the image has to be as clear as possible. U can make loads of subtile images, but thats not important during such a night, because the audience won't notice it anyway. We always use black as a base color for the screen and over that we put images on it. For example you project images on a wall, with different projectors, it doesnt look like its projected on a wall, but looks like a icon itself. What's also important is that we also take care very much of the total atmosphere of such a clubnight. Most of the time we perform at dance events that we like. Trance/techno/progressive music... The way we mix images is also in the right beat and tempo of the music. During a break we wont make heavy visuals or something. The best way to explain is to take a look at VJ's who are not doing it right. Like people that have lots of flashing images at a break, thats not the right way according to us.
Berry: Our style is a unique combination between graphical elements and 3d images. Abstract and figures. All three of us have our own specialty in creating images. One is more a 3d images man, the other one is a graphical mastermind. The other can make the good combinations between that. I think that's why we are one of the more succesfull VJ teams around.

Trance.nu: On which big parties can we enjoy the Vision Impossible performances in the coming months?
Ruben: Next week 2 days of Kaos, if we make it to the deadline. And 4 elements in the Ahoy in Rotterdam. Its for the first time we will perform there and then we will perform on the Air stage and in the main hall. Besides that the Matrixx regularly and Impulz Outdoor. Also we will perform in Versuz in Belgium, on a Kremlin night with Darren Emerson. And also Extrema festival and probably we will go to Canada.

Trance.nu: What do you guys think of the VJ scene at the moment? Is it rising? Is it more difficult to stand out?
Martijn: Yeah well, its kinda hard to tell, because u hardly meet other VJ's during a clubnight. Because we perform all night long at one club and its not like DJ's that perform after each other. We always do one booking on one evening. So if you are working always on a saturday night, it's hard to see other VJ's working. But last friday we had a release party of a DVD presentation: Big Thing. It has been released by Universal, some sort of VJ label. We also contributed on this DVD called Visual Music. Its some sort of compilation cd, where all kinds of different VJ's have made 5 minute samples especially designed for the music. Its been very nice. U see alot of different VJ styles and ways of working. It was nice to meet all of them on a release party. Years ago there were VJ meetings in the Mazzo in Amsterdam, but now it seems to be over. But it's still obvious that at the moment loads of VJ's are performing and there is alot of diversity as well in the scene.
Berry: Especially during big festivals and big events where there are more styles, sometimes u can check out each others work and talk about the VJ scene.

Trance.nu: Do you know any VJ's that u really appreciate?
Ruben: As stated before, we really think "Nog Harder" is a good VJ team. They are the VJ's of Earth parties (progressive parties in Amsterdam). We once worked together for the Filmfestival in Utrecht. We prepared something for the same theme that evening and on 4 screens we changed between their visuals and our visuals and that was very nice to see. It worked very well. They use real video samples, while we only use computerimages. While we used a computeranimated USA flag, they used a real video sample of an USA flag. We used computer animated lips and then they used real samples of Marilyn Monroe's lips. Etc Etc. That kind of stuff. We did that for 1.5 hours and we hope to do it again in the future.
Berry: They have a nice combination of video and graphical images. And they are very good.

Trance.nu: And what about favourite music artists in the scene?
Martijn: There are some different artists we like, we have a good relationship with Lucien Foort for example. He made a new cd, Slice! and he is touring now for that compilation. We even created him digitally, in 3d. We made some fantasy stuff with that. For the rest his music switches from progressive to gimmick style, with loads of tracks with a good content.
Berry: The nice thing of working with Lucien Foort is, that we make appointments about what we will visualize at a certain track. U can interact with the track at that moment. And sometimes we walk to Lucien, "we now have a great idea for a visual, can u play track "x" at that time"? And then he will play that track that fits exactly at our visuals.

Trance.nu: What kind of software do you guys use here in studio, to create all these images?
Berry: We work alot with 3d software and graphical software. Like 3dstudiomax. We use different software to make one image or animation. We work with Resolume, thats VJ software, with 3 video layers, and where we can use lots of effects for. Perfect use for live mixing of digital work. A few guys from Den Haag programmed that stuff and its a great program. Check http://www.resolume.com Its an amazing program and fits perfectly to our needs.

Trance.nu: Would you like to add anything to this interview?
Martijn: One of our other activities is that we also make regularly commercials. We make some TV-commercials for UDC. We made 2 commercials for Impulz and soon there will be a third one for Impulz outdoor. We also made a virtual MC that did the announcements on the screens on Impulz.
Ruben: It works perfectly live..
Martijn: We have made a commercial for 4 elements, also for a Pulse party and lately we have made some commercials for television and also we make visuals for sponsors that can be used during a party.
Berry: We are also busy now to make visuals combined with a music set. Call it a DVJ-set if you like. So we will DJ & VJ together. So it will be combined and fit perfectly into each other. So u don't have to wait for what a DJ will do, but interact with your own music. We do however want to keep it live, so don't expect a long video clip. It will be more lie a live-act.

Trance.nu: Thanks alot for this interview and good luck in the future!

RELATED LINKS:
Vision Impossible Image Samples: http://www.pbase.com/afterhourpower/vision_impossible

Vision Impossible Web Site With Samples: http://www.vision-impossible.nl

Resolume website: http://www.resolume.com

Kremlin Site with Vision Impossible E-flyer: http://www.kremlin.nl


Written by:
afterhourpower

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