In a career spanning well over a decade, Rydel has experience with almost every style of electronic dance music. His outstanding mixing skills impress even the most demanding audience ad has seen him play as far and wide as Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Poland, the Netherlands and Norway.
We caught up with to get his thoughts on the current state of the scene, production, DJing and what he's got lined up for the rest of the year.
Hey Rydel, for those of not already familiar with you can you briefly introduce yourself and the style of music you are best known for?
My name and artist-name is Rydel, probably best known for playing and making techno although I also doing some house on the side. Some of my highest-ranking tracks are “Very Disco” which was first in the techno charts for a couple of weeks and the “All You B*tches” remix I did for Bryan Cox which made it to third. Most successful was my more house/trance-orientated remake of “I Feel Love” which made it to sixth in the overall sales chart from all genres.
What was your first exposure to electronic music and what initially inspired you to become a DJ and producer?
I first discovered electronic music through artists like Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre, the theme-song from Beverly Hills Cop (Axel F.) and Miami Vice, and via Giorgio Moroder I came to the early mixture of “house” which then still was everything electronic. I started listening to harder and harder styles until finally I ended up on my first hardcore-party at the age of 16, where 3 Steps Ahead (RIP) performed and afterward threw some records into the crowd. I caught one and then decided that I could be a DJ, because I had a record. Without any skills or equipment I started spending all my money on vinyl and have been DJing ever since. First Hardcore, later House and Trance, now mostly Techno and House.
What labels / projects are you currently working on?
I’m mostly situated at New World Order Records at the moment, which I run with two friends of mine, I do the design and marketing text as well and it’s a lot of fun to explore other areas of the industry besides just production. But otherwise I have been doing quite a lot of remixes recently and have projects to be released on a variety of labels, out of which my personal favorite remains Sub Cult.
What are your views on music piracy and file sharing and how can it be controlled?
Tough one. I don’t really bother with it. I think a lot of artists are quite hypocritical, downloading movies, software and samples all the time, but then complaining when their tracks are shared online. Everybody is sharing everything online and I guess it will always be that way. Why pay for something you can get for free? Luckily some people still support artists they like and buy the releases, but there aren’t many.
What are your views on the current state of techno and how do you see the genre progressing?
Techno the way I like it (around 135 to 138bpm and funky) is on a rapid decline unfortunately. On one hand there is minimal and “new techno” as I call it, steadily on the rise for years now and on the other hand you have lots of “artists” that are just combining the same loops over and over again, flooding the market with pre-packaged low quality tracks. Very few artists try to create something original.
So I must say that the lower BPM range is becoming more and more appealing to me, since there is quality, diversity and originality there, and it’s playable for a bigger crowd. I’ve noticed that a lot of house, trance and techno is between the 129 and 133 bpm, and the styles are blending so it’s possible to combine various genres into one set again, which I’ve always been a fan of.
Which artists currently inspire you?
There are quite a few, but at the top of the list is definitely Umek. I’ve been a fan since the first time I saw him play and then I started to understand how to mix techno, since before I was into hardcore, house and trance over the years and those styles require a different style of mixing. As a DJ back then still on vinyl, he was technically so accurate and fast that it really amazed me, but even now that he has two Mac Laptops with controllers and a much lower BPM his sets are always energetic and powerful. Production-wise the same, lots of people here diss him for slowing down, but you must respect classic tracks he did like “Gatex” and “Lanicor” and you can’t deny that his current productions like “Hablando” and “OMGWTF” are top notch.
Any up and coming / rising talents we should keep an eye out for?
The term “rising talents” is a bit subjective for me since it depends on the view of the person, for some I am an established artist, but compared to Umek and Ben Sims I am only a rising talent. So from the viewpoint of world-famous artists, I consider people like Fer BR, Raul Mezcolanza and Thermo some of the best “new” producers. They have a great sound, diverse BPM-range, quality productions and I couldn’t imagine a techno-set without their tracks.
Please tell us about your current studio set up? Hardware / Software?
Studio. Hehe, I wish. I’m on my every day computer with some reasonably cheap M-Audio speakers. I would love to be able to invest more into making music, but at the moment it is the way it is. My software of choice is Fruity Loops, which I started using because my computer at the time couldn’t handle Logic. FL is a relatively easy to use software but has a lot of options so you can use it as a beginner as well as an advanced producer. VSTi’s I like to use are Nexus and z3ta+, they are older but have plenty of variety and don’t take lots of space/memory.
Aside from the computer have you got a special bit of kit or plugin that you would highly recommend?
No. I usually switch around to try and not have the same sounds for a long period of time, since it’s very easy to keep repeating yourself because you like a particular kit or soundbank.
What is your preferred method of DJing? CDs / Vinyl / Laptop? Where do you see the future DJing?
Favorite: Vinyl, because it feels great and it is from a time when releases meant something. But last few years I switched completely to CD’s, because you can’t ignore the amount of great music that never makes it to vinyl. Other artists send you promos or you create a new loop before heading to a gig and you can fit them in your sets.
Laptops and controllers, not a fan, but it is the future. I play on CD’s because you can DJ, as in mixing tracks, scratching, backspins. You still look like a DJ when you use CD’s. With laptop: not so much. Sometimes a DJ looks like he’s checking his facebook or something. But yeah, the possibilities are limitless. Adding loops, sampling, FX, using four decks or more… Hitting that evil sync button allows you to spend much more time on creating something unique, at the cost of looking like a geek clicking a mouse. Carrying huge libraries of music around has never been easier as well. My back doesn’t miss carrying around 50kg of vinyl for a 3hour set.
Where is your favourite country to DJ?
Can’t say, there’s too many places in the world I still have to DJ in to give you an informed opinion about that, hehe. I have had great times in many countries, Czech Republic has always been fun, giving away half-eaten hamburgers and family-sized rolls of toilet-paper on the radio after a gig in Norway and getting the car smashed by angry prostitutes in Colombia, because a fellow-DJ just had to take a picture… It all makes for great memories.
Can you tell us about a particular crazy / or embarrassing moment behind the decks?
Crazy, I always act like a fool behind the decks, so… hmmm. Oh, in Czech Republic a deck stopped working after I sampled and looped “Smack My Bitch Up” just before it was supposed to kick in. The player completely froze, kept looping the sample and even after pulling the cable and reconnecting it stayed the same, completely ruined the moment. I was so pissed off I smashed the player.
Embarrassing, being horribly drunk on my birthday-party at Club K4, getting another tequila, coming back at the decks and pressing the wrong cue-button. Club all quiet “oopsy”.. happened to a lot of DJ’s I’m sure.
How do you like to relax when not making music or DJing? Any favourite hobbies or interests?
I’m pretty boring, my life is all about music. Most the time I’m making, playing or checking music, but I train ninjutsu which is a great way to pass time both physically and mentally. Otherwise friends, movies and alcohol.
What does the rest of 2011 have in store for Rydel?
I’m aiming to do a lot of own music this year, gather remixes from people I respect and on labels I want to be on. Other goals include releasing more vinyls with my name on it, even though I don’t play vinyl anymore, and finally adding the twelfth country to my biography, or more.
Finally, anyone you would like to thank?
That’d be a long list, so I’ll just say all my loved ones and friends who have put up with me during the years, gave feedback, support and believed in me. All the people I’ve worked with and all the artists who make the music I play and love, and of course all the people who were dancing, cheering and screaming in front of me when I played somewhere, because they are the reason why I am doing what I am doing. P.L.U.R.
Many thanks to Rydel for taking the time to answer a few questions. Below you can check out his Top 10 featuring a selection of tracks and styles as mentioned in the interview.