Dutch dance pioneer Marco V and his classic trance track ‘Simulated’ have been remixed by fellow countryman Bas Amro into a minimised arrangement.
The track, and artist, who has influenced a slew of Europe’s new wave producers, celebrates its 15th birthday with the remix and release coming by way of Wolfskuil Records Here, the Freerange Records, Bla Bla Records, and Wolfskuil Ltd artist pulls listeners deeper amongst the sounds of playful synths wavering throughout, driven by a crowd-pleaser of a kick.
Check out the exclusive premiere below and also catch Marco V and Bas Amro “In Conversation,” where the two got together to iscuss each other’s work, career, and opinions.
“WOLF039” is available 14 July on Wolfskuil Records
Bas: Hey Marco, how are you doing? I never got a chance to speak to you about the two release parties we did for the Simulated remix. Did you enjoy it?
Marco: I found it superb! Absolutely great!
Bas: That’s great to hear! Usually, I play for a house/techno crowd, and I could sense that this was a different audience. A lot of trance people came out, a lot came for you, and it really stood out to me how enthusiastic they were. Even when I played some tracks that had nothing to do with their genre, people went crazy! It seems like a very fun and grateful crowd.
Marco: Is that less in techno? Is that crowd more modest?
Bas: Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, but it certainly seems that way. I believe the techno crowd is a bit calmer than what I saw on those events.
Marco: I’m totally mad about techno myself, I love it. However, I can’t stand the criticism. I can’t fathom that people like that and that alone, nothing else. Isn’t it impossible to only like that particular piece of the whole spectrum of music? I’m not necessarily talking about the dj’s, but more about the people in the crowd who will just stand there like “meh, this isn’t techno, so I don’t like it”. I mean it’s sad, right? Why not broaden your horizon a bit?
Bas: I agree that we’re a picky bunch.
Marco: Well yeah, it seems frustrating to me to be a techno dj and having to consider all these “rules”, while all you want to do is create a good vibe on the dance floor with the tools that you have. When there’s this mixing-police looking over my shoulder and judging every track I play, it takes the fun out for me. You can’t really go “off-road” in techno.
Bas: Do you think the techno crowd is the most judgmental?
Marco: Yes, absolutely. I think techno definitely has the most purists.
Bas: And what about the Dutch crowd in general? I remember in those days you and your colleagues used to say that the Dutch are a tough crowd compared to crowds in other countries. How is that in 2017?
Marco: It’s definitely true that the Dutch crowd is really tough, and still to this day, no matter the genre. Perhaps the people are just spoiled with all the talented dj’s around? I can’t say. However, there seems to be some revival in trance lately. The curse on trance seems to be lifting, so you can see a growing enthusiastic trance crowd again. So obviously I’m really enjoying my gigs in NL now.
Bas: Do you know how trance was cursed?
Marco: I do. And it’s partially deserved, and the exact same thing is happening to EDM now. There’s a cool music style, and after a while it just gets more and more commercial. I mean, at a certain point even I couldn’t hear any more trance. Another cheesy “high in the sky” vocal with some dull chords, terrible. And that is just not how it started; trance used to be a really cool style. I won’t say that EDM was a really cool style at one point (laughter), but it just gets more and more commercial, and that’s how it happens. In 2002 people already started saying that it’s all about progressive music now, from artists like John Digweed and Sasha. The cool guys that made good records moved on, some stopped, and that’s when it started going downhill. Then people started losing interest and the press started writing bad about it. In those days Mixmag and all those leading magazines from the UK were very important, and they wrote that trance is dead. Of course, then you know its over.
What is trance to you?
Bas: I used to love trance as a kid. When I was about 12 or 13, I was really into trance. I listened to the Innercity cd’s, I listened to A State Of Trance, I listened to In Search Of Sunrise, you name it. I even collected some vinyls back then. So I’m actually quite familiar with trance, I just changed styles way before I started playing out. Trance had a major influence on me. However, I found out about techno artists like Josh Wink and Speedy J through trance dj’s. A lot of trance dj’s back then, including you, played a lot of techno.
Marco: For sure. Trance dj’s used to play techno all the time. Techno dj’s wouldn’t play trance though. I was labeled as a trance artist, but to this day I don’t feel that that’s accurate. Anyway, simply because my breakthrough was in a time when it was all about trance, I’m labeled a trance artist. Look at Deadmau5, that’s trance to me. But because his breakthrough was in times where house was very popular, he’s considered to be a progressive house artist. Had it happened five years before, he would’ve been a trance guy. Same goes for Eric Prydz or Pryda.
Bas: Very true, I’ve never thought of it that way. Yet I feel like most people may know you from Simulated, which is generally considered trance. My entire family knew who you are upon hearing the melody. How do you feel about this track?
Marco: Of course when you get to make a track with that impact, you benefit from it for a long time. Still, it’s also slightly frustrating that after so many years, so many released tracks, people still mainly talk about Simulated and Godd. It’s a bit sad, because I’ve done so much more. However, I’m starting to feel more comfortable about this and just be proud. I’m happy that I made a track like that, and I still enjoy listening to it.
Bas: As for my remix, I see it as nothing more than a trance track in different packaging to make it more suitable for a techno audience. To me, the original melody sounds like techno already.
Marco: Well, you know what’s funny? That melody WAS actually originally a techno track. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work in those days. You could not have a melody like that in a techno production back then. So it didn’t pass as trance, and it didn’t work for techno. Then, Dick de Groot, A&R manager of ID&T, suggested to simply take that melody and make a trance track with it. I thought, “isn’t that melody way too short for a trance track? It’s a techno melody, how am I supposed to make a trance production with that?” So, how bizarre is this?! Written one day as a techno melody, turned into a trance hit, and eventually ended up in a techno version. Priceless!
How did you get to making that remix?
Bas: I was thinking of that melody for quite a while, and I guess now we know why (laughter). Last year before a gig, I was in my studio and I thought I could use something special in my set. I decided to play around with that melody and see what happens. It was nothing serious at the time, so I thought it would be funny to put a big fat resounding techno kick underneath it, then just press record and play around a bit. That’s all really. The track did really well that night, Tripeo heard it and asked me about it. He started playing it out, got very good response to it and wanted to try to get it released. I was skeptic, I couldn’t imagine it would be allowed. Fast forward a year and now I’m personally telling you about it!
Marco: I came across some videos of dj’s playing your remix out. Is it doing well?
Bas: Most definitely! Naturally I expected the remix to do quite well on a dance floor because of the melody that everyone seems to know. And still I was surprised to see how well it works. The crowd really seems to love it! Last week I found out that Blawan and Dasha Rush played it at Awakenings. Obviously this was amazing news, but it also came as a surprise as their styles are quite obscure.
Marco: Wow, cool! Yeah that’s great to hear that those kind of dj’s are also picking it up! It’s nice to see that the techno scene is “accepting” trance again. Perhaps it has something to do with the new generation that simply wasn’t around when trance got really big?
Bas: Absolutely. The techno crowd is generally young right now, and most people between 18 and 24 were too young to pick up the whole rise of trance music. It was about two years ago when I heard a dj playing Universal Nation at a techno party, and I was really surprised to see that the people loved it. I admit that I had to get used to that, but just shortly before, trance was still a dirty word. This new generation is hearing these tracks for the first time. They can listen to it with an open mind and realize that it’s actually pretty cool music. I think I can hear slight trance influences in a lot of techno sets lately. A bit more emotion in techno, I guess. But there’s also many techno dj’s that aren’t shy to play some full on trance tracks that used to be quite big hits, and the techno crowd is eating it up! Last Saturday I played one or two really extravagant trance tracks at a festival, and the people just went crazy. The Simulated remix was the icing on the cake, really.
Marco: Amazing. I love it. This whole thing, your remix, it just boosts me. It inspired me in the studio as well. Lately I enjoy producing so much more than in the past five years maybe! I just feel like something new is going on. That makes me really happy.
Bas: Wow, that means a lot, great to hear that! This has all been very fascinating for me, thank you for the nice chat.
Marco: Thank you too, and hopefully we’ll meet each other somewhere again.