Northern Ireland's Sneijder has certainly left his mark in recent years with high energy productions on leading imprints such as Subculture, Armada & Black Hole to name just a few! We caught up with this week in our guest reviewer spot ahead of his forthcoming appearance for Rong in Middlesborough this weekend!
Thanks very much for taking the time out to speak to us! Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
Hi guys, thanks for the interview. At present I am sitting in my studio in Ireland putting the final touches to a remix for Solarstone, due for release on Black Hole Recordings very soon. Last weekend I was in New York, playing at Esscala with Rank 1, home on Monday, caught up on some sleep and have been in the studio the rest of the week working on projects.
We understand you started out as a DJ and then made a crossover into production but how did you first get into the realm of dance music?
Yes that’s correct, I was a DJ for some time before I decided to take the plunge into production. It all started really when I was 12-13yrs old, I would walk home from school each day past a guys house that lived close to me, he had a massive garage with the door open, loads of equipment and records, blasting out music everyday. I finally plucked up the courage to walk over and see what all the noise was about. I was fascinated from that moment. I then saved for my own gear and it progressed from there.
John O’Callaghan has been a big supporter of your productions since day one and you’ve worked alongside him a lot in the past, how did you first grab his attention and more importantly keep it?
John has more or less been a mentor to me I would say from day one. I sent him a track back in 2009, he liked it and asked if I had anymore material. The track I sent was more progressive trance. I then started to make more uplifting stuff after. It took me a while to really get the sound that I liked. John helped me with this lots, as I would send him tunes I was working on and he would be really honest with me and tell me which areas I should work on to improve my all round sound, so that’s what I did. It’s been really hard work, long studio hours and lots of trial and error. As far as keeping his attention, I’m not sure why lol. John plays a lot of my tunes in his sets etc, I think we have a similar taste and style in music, so I think my style and general sound appeals to him as well. I owe a lot to John, he is one of the real genuine people within this scene and I can’t thank him enough for the time he has given me!
I'm sure our readers are dying to know how you build you tracks and what your essential tools are? Can you let us into any studio secrets?
My studio is in a small room in my flat, it consists of a Dual Core Apple Mac Pro, Running Logic 8 and loads of plugins. My personal favs are ES2, Sylenth, Albino and Nexus2. I also have some Hardware, a Virus TI and a Clavia Nord Lead 3. I use the Virus a lot, The Nord Lead, not so much now, I use it mainly as a hands on approach to learn sound design. It's far more fun to physically see what each button does on a synth rather than using a soft synth on a computer screen. As far as secrets goes, the only thing is hard work and trying to nail your own sound, there is no template or preset for that, just long hours and hard work really!
If we were to walk into your studio right now what would we see? Do you guys keep it pretty stripped back or is it a hive of outboard and cables!?
My studio is pretty organised actually, unlike my desktop lol. I have all my equipment linked and accessible and the space is pretty tidy. There is a mass of cables, but they are hidden from view. Like I mentioned above, I have some hardware, I use some but I collect the rest, I love old synths, It's just a music geek thing I guess.
What have you been working on in the studio, anything we should be looking out for? An album maybe?
The last few months have been hectic in my studio, this year I want to really push myself. I have remixes coming for John O’Callaghan, Solarstone and another massive artist, which I have to keep tight lipped for now. I also have a few collabs coming up, tracks with John O’Callaghan, Bryan Kearney, and a new one with up and coming Irish talent Mark Leanings. A few vocal projects also written and I’m awaiting the vocals to complete those. I also have a new Sneijder E.P. nearly complete, I have been very busy. I def want to do an album at some stage, but it has to be something that feels natural and the time needs to be right, maybe someday yes, it's definitely a goal of mine.
You recently highlighted that the standard of dance music is currently at it’s strongest in years, why do you think this is and how can we help to maintain this standard?
There are some great tracks and new producers coming through, this in turns makes the already established names up their game to stay in touch with the high standard, making a healthy and strong scene quality wise. Gone are the days were 2-3 tracks got you noticed, you need to be making tracks and remixes regularly, but more importantly they need to stand out from the rest and not just blend in. Tracks have such a short shelf life these days with digital era. You need to make sure your stuff is solid to last longer than the average tune. Also the price of setting up a decent studio has dropped a great deal, making the music world more accessible to a wider range of people, this does not always mean quality though, that’s something that takes time and effort and the learning and practice still must be done.
You’re performing at Rong with John O’Callaghan amongst others on May 24th in Middleborough. What have you got in store for the crowd?
This will be my debut for Rong. I have heard nothing but good things about the event and I am looking forward to it. As always I try to play a blend of uplifting and tech trance, usually lots of my own tracks and remixes and reworks as well. I have a few exclusives to test out, so see you there ;)
You hail from Ireland where the Buckfast flows by the gallows. We are seeing more and more great producers coming out from Ireland, which is brilliant. What is the rave and dance culture like over there?
Ha ha .. Yes, I grew up drinking Buckfast, as did everyone I know. Now a days I don’t drink it, the head says, yes, but the stomach says, No! lol. The culture in the north of Ireland has taken quit a knock over the last few years. 10 years ago the dance since was a movement, everyone was into it, now its has faded off, and clubs nights are closing by the minute. I really hope it picks up again soon, If you had of asked any top DJ a few years back which was there fav crowd in the world, Ireland would def have been mentioned. Hopefully things improve, its up to us the new breed of artists to fuel a resurgence in the dance scene in Ireland.
What does the summer of 2013 hold for Sneijder?
The summer is shaping up to be very busy for me, with gigs lined up in Mexico, London, Coloursfest Scotland etc and also Aly & Fila’s FSOE300 celebration In Amsterdam followed the next day by Luminosity Beach Festival also in Amsterdam. I also have a host of Ibiza dates to announce as well. Apart from the gigs, I will have my head down in the studio focusing on new originals and remixes for everyone.
A big thank you to Sneijder for taking the time out to speak with us. You can catch Sneijder performing in Middlesbrough at The Arena Warehouse for Rong with John O'Callagham. He'll also be performing at Coloursfest in Scotland on June 1st.
This track is in my top 5 fav tracks of all time, I reworked it for my sets and was gob smacked when I heard it was getting an official release. Hammered all season in Ibiza by Armin and supported by loads more, you cant go wrong with a reworked classic.
This tune is by rising stars Photographer, doing some great tracks this year, This track reminds me of the old Sean Tyas sound, it destroys the place.
Tune from a few years back that still does the damage, Dropshot from new Irish talent, Mark Leanings. This track combined with a JOC rework equals game over.
Still one of the most requested songs in my sets, A great original and vocal made this easy to work on .. I teamed up with JOC and turned it into a 140bpm uplifter, massive on the dancefloors.
This remix has it all, great vocal, great melody and great production. This is my ‘’if all else fails track’. It always gets the crowd singing and the energy always delivers, great track, perfect remix.
A remix I done late last year. The response to this has been amazing, top 10 in all download charts and another of the most requested in my sets, This was the best tune in my set at ASOT600 Den Bosch, the vocal is second to none, A pleasure to work on it.
The moment I first heard this I knew it would be massive, everything Giuseppe touches turns to gold, great production and riff, works every time, Def in my top 3 tracks of last year.
I love this track, Its’ not so well known and is from a few years ago, slipped under most people’s radar. It’s such a really well produced progressive track, loads of great elements that come together to make a special piece of music. Arnej’s production quality is immense.
Another track, this time from myself that never fails. Mix of psy and hard trance with a massive build up that sends the dancefloor mad, big tune for me over the last few years, and a firm favorite with the fans of the faster edged music.
2 of my fav producers come together for John’s album, classic trance sound with new skool production, amazing track ! You don’t often here tracks like this anymore.