Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CJ Bolland Interview

CJ Bolland is a name everyone knows, but from where their introduction came could be a whole bunch of different places. Back when underground classics like ‘Horsepower’ were leading the charge on MTV ad breaks, through to chart hits like ‘Sugar Is Sweeter’ and club anthems like ‘The Prophet’ raising his profile even further, CJ's run throughout the nineties was a rollercoaster of success. These days CJ is as busy as ever, involving himself in other projects outside of dance music, but still finding time to make it out and rock clubs like he always has. Ahead of his gig in Dublin this Friday, he took some time to answer a few questions for us...

So, how are things CJ? What's your routine nowadays, still spending most of your days in the studio?  

Spending all days in the studio at the moment. I'm currently working with Belgian band dEUS on their new album "Keep you close". We're in the final stages of production which is exciting. I'm also collaborating with UK drum & bass duo 'Total Science'. Interesting to see how that will pan out. Then I'm gonna write some more techno (yeah really) and finish my new 'Magnus' album (my electropop collab with Tom Barman). 

Can you trace a particular point in your career, where you felt a greater desire to work more outside of dance music?   

There was no specific point in time, I just like broadening the spectrum whenever and however I can. I met some interesting people over the years from all genres and that mélange of flavours has kept me from stagnating.

A recent Slices documentary filmed you working in the studio with Jade 4 U. Will this be an ongoing working relationship?

It was fun to bump into Jade again and we certainly had a laugh in the studio. There aren't any immediate plans due to both our schedules but you never know.
It could be argued that there is (other than in trance) a distinct lack of lead female vocals in dance music today. Why is this in your opinion?

Most song based dance stuff is too cheesy to even discuss but there are always exceptions of course. Techno (as opposed to pop and rock) is about getting the most out of as few ingredients possible. One big cleverly engineered noise used to its full potential can release all the emotion a poetic lyric or a beautiful melody can. That's why most great techno is instrumental or at most has a little parlando hook.

How do you feel about R&S's relaunch and current stream of releases?

I haven't been paying that much attention to them at the moment as I'm full on in production but one thing that caught my eye was the new Model 500 release featuring Mike Banks, that was awesome. 

R&S was well known for the quality of its in-house engineers and it is often unclear how much creative involvement some may have had in some of the records that went through the label’s studio. Can you give some insight into this?

R&S had an elaborate studio that you couldn't just walk in to and start tweaking. Marcos Salon, Cisco Fereirra, Robert Leiner, Per Martinsen and myself all spent a lot of time there so we knew the gear well. Nearly all other projects that were recorded in-house were engineered by one of us and our personal tastes and influences are very present.

How do you feel yours and others’ achievements have been recognised in Belgium itself? Have the media given you your full props over the years?

Ironically, at the time I felt my career was happening abroad and I got very little attention back home. Now, most Belgian media refer to my techno years in the superlative form without really knowing what it was all about. 

When you finally got away from FFRR, you set up Mole Records. Which was the bigger challenge for you: working for a major label that had specific requirements, or running your own self-funded/directed label?

I like working with labels, majors and independents alike because they get things moving and give me the freedom to concentrate on the music. However when a label exerts creative control they become more of a burden than a help. So was the case with FFRR so I left and decided to run my own label. That wasn't the solution for me either though as I spent most of my time doing paperwork and answering emails and telephone calls and found there was no time left to write.

You always stood out in the techno scene for your willingness to embrace other emerging genres. Are there any more recently created genres or musical developments that excite you?

I'm open to anything that's got intent and character. There are way too many amateurs trying to make a quick buck milking the same elements over and over as a result any big tune soon becomes a so called new style and then overkill ruins it rapidly, but I still get an overwhelming sense of elation when I find that 1 big classy tune.

Doing more old skool sets these days, have you found yourself rediscovering many tunes that you had maybe left behind in the nineties?

Not rediscovering as I've always kept all my favourite music close by but getting to play them again and seeing crowds enjoy them is certainly fun.
When was the last time you played with Frank De Wulf?
That I quite honestly can't remember. Think it was back in the fifties :)
You've been coming to Ireland for many years. Do you remember your first gig here, and what one (s) stands out the most?

I can never remember the names of venues, I just remember all the fun people I've met in Ireland over the years and euhm, Guinness.

CJ Bolland Website
CJ Bolland on Discogs.com
CJ Bolland on Wikipedia

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