Richard Durand Interview (ADE 2013)
When prepping for an interview with a trance guy, you have to have all your facts straight as they are often so very precise and serious. Dutch DJ/producer Richard Durand breaks that mold. Originally supported by Tiesto and gaining big attention for his massive remix of “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, Richard went on to continue the ‘In Search of Sunrise’ compilation series after Tiesto left Black Hole. Evolving the series to embrace more genres, the sound definitely reflects his diverse style. Also, if you follow Richard on Twitter, you will quickly see that the jovial nature and light-hearted sense of humor that comes across in his posts. At some points in the interview it was hard to keep a straight face with all the side comments and jokes that he was throwing in. He is clearly not just a trance DJ.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: We all know that Tiesto started the In Search of Sunrise series, how did you become the next person to do it?
Richard Durand: Tiesto left Black Hole Recordings a few years ago, and they were left wondering what they should do with the brand because it was not only Tiesto’s brand but the brand of Black Hole Recordings. The owner, Arny Bink, asked me to do it, but at first I was nervous of what people would think of me taking Tiesto’s position. I figured why not and decided that it would be a big opportunity to grow a profile base and to build on my name and do something different. Now that I have done a few editions it has become very important to me, it’s great.
RS: Were you nervous doing it?
Richard Durand: No, not nervous, but I had to be really careful with what I did. I wasn’t going to play my own stuff; the first edition was about keeping the spirit of the sound alive and only adding a little bit of my own stuff. I added a little more to the second edition, and now that I know what the In Search of Sunrise sound is, I do it in my own way.
RS: How would you define your sound?
Richard Durand: The sound for the compilation has to be a bill of smooth and relaxed dance music. I don’t play techno or really big house tunes- I like the atmosphere of it to be one that you can listen to in home or in the car. The compilation is not always the sound that I play when I am performing live, but for the CD it is the perfect combination of me doing my shows with a lot of energy and also making the compilation around June with a slightly different sound.
RS: Talking about mixed CDs, you got the cover mount CD for the DJ Mag for ADE. How did it feel to get that opportunity?
Richard Durand: I was very happy. Black Hole Recordings asked me if I wanted to do the CD and we discussed how to do it. I didn’t know if I had to pick the songs and if we would have enough, but it turned out great and there are a lot of very well-known names on it – Andain, Tiesto, Solar Stone. It was great promotional opportunity and the results were great.
RS: This is a little bit of a controversial topic here in the US. You recently played the Black & Blue party; is there any difference between playing for a gay crowd vs. a straight crowd?
Richard Durand: No, I don’t discriminate between race, religion, sex or anything else. They book me for one reason and that is to play and perform the best that I can.
RS: That wasn’t really the angle that I was going. Do you change the sound of music that you play to fit the kind of crowd that you are playing for?
Richard Durand: No. There is a Richard Durand sound that plays at different times of the night and they are always the same. I look at the lineup and see who is before me and behind me and see what they play and what the BPM is and I usually know what people want to listen to. If there is a young audience, I play a little more commercial music, and if I am playing for die-hard underground fans I know that I can play a lot more experimental music. It’s always the Richard Durand sound, but I can change it a little bit.
RS: What do you use to DJ with these days?
Richard Durand: I use a memory stick, the smallest thing there is to use. I hope that a time will come when I can put a chip in my mind and all I have to do is think about the record and it plays. A memory stick is perfect for the moment though, it is so easy to put records on and test the new ones that I am working on in the studio. I always have few back-up sticks when I play though because people are paying me to do my performance and I have to do it as well as I can. Sometimes if you work with vinyl or CD, it doesn’t always work, but I have never had a problem with a USB stick.
RS: The next step is a laptop.
Richard Durand: No, no that step was a few years ago.
RS: Have you already done that and you don’t like it?
Richard Durand: No, that is not DJing and it has nothing to do with DJing. All you do is make your list at home, put the CD in and play it. DJs are not supposed to play something that is already prepared on a laptop before the show. I just don’t get it; you have to work for it. With a laptop, everything is already in key and BPM. I will never do it.
RS: In the studio what software do you use?
Richard Durand: Logic.
RS: Your podcast is called Richard Durand vs. The World, where did the title come from and how is it going?
Richard Durand: It is more of a funny thing. We had the idea to release the album and wanted to do something different. Normally you have a promotion before the release and then you have another promotion when you actually release the album and then 2 weeks after that another promotion and another one after 6 weeks. There is a lot to do for an album if you release it in the way that people normally do. When I release a record, I do one together with another international DJ from either Asia, North America, or the Middle East and I label it as EP-Asia from the Richard Durand Vs. the World album. It gives me a whole year of promotion for the album and I think that promotion-wise it’s a nice thing to try. It’s good to have a a lot of attention. We had a competition on Facebook where I put some basic parts of a track on the internet and had people do remixes of it, and I chose the best one and finished it in my way. It became a very diverse album because it was produced over a whole year and had a year of promotion for one CD. It was a smart thing, and we may do a follow-up next year. The “Vs. the World,” I thought that it was catchy and it would make people wonder what it meant.
RS: How is your podcast different or the same to your live sets?
Richard Durand: The In Search of Sunrise podcast is based on the sound of the CD and a little more relaxed. When I started, the first 20 minutes were usually records that I would never play in my set but were good for my radio show. Now 80-90% of what I play on my radio show I can play in my sets as well.
RS: Your track “Super Dad” is a bit hard on the tech-trance tip, is that where you see your music going?
Richard Durand: No, I think I have the perfect balance where I do tech-trance and hard rough floorfiller music for one track and the next thing may be a little more trance with a nice smooth melody or vocal in it. After that I will do a “Tiger’s Apology” again, I love to combine those things together. Sometimes I play a record and you can’t tell what genre it is but it doesn’t matter, I just play. I am not a DJ that is only doing 135 BPM trance trance trance, I can do everything.
RS: A little bit of a serious question, I was a little bit concerned about the choice of a panda as your perfect road manager. What animal do you think would be better for you?
Richard Durand: A very intellectual, sharp, smooth, and fast animal, definitely a predator. Not a snake, that’s too much. An eagle – they see everything when they are flying above – when there is prey, they can catch it!
RS: Great answer. What is the best way for your fans to follow you?
Richard Durand: Twitter is the best for right now. Tomorrow there will be something new. Facebook is a bit more useful for polls and videos though. Twitter is faster and lighter and we can post in the moment, doing that on Facebook is pretty exhausting.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Richard Durand: There are so many DJs and so much talent out there, it is so unbelievable and sometimes hard to comprehend how I am at the point that I am right now. My profile is growing and the fans are as well. The fans give me the motivation to find new ways to trigger them and myself. I just want to thank my fans for everything.
Interview conducted during Amsterdam Dance Event 2013.
Richard Durand Interview (ADE 2013)