Interview with genre-defining trance legend: Mike Koglin
Reported by Macavity
Submitted 05-07-06 16:19
Have you ever been asked to name your top dance tunes of all time? If you have, then it’s good chance ‘The Silence’ featured in your top five. Even if it didn’t you’ve probably have heard it hundreds of times and it’s no doubt hiding in at least one of your compilations. Its creator Mike Koglin came up with it after he was transfixed by Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’ at the end of 1998. The result was a genre defining track which not only entered the UK charts at number 20, but is still played today all over the world; and often does feature as one of the best ever dance tracks in the polls.
The haunting riff put German born Mike on the map, enabling him to carve out a career as an international dj and become one the world’s most highly respected dance music makers, even pointing him in the direction of a Grammy nomination. Nearly ten years on and he’s still regarded as one of the scene’s most important trance producers, constantly creating tunes which are played by the very best in the world.
In fact over the last ten years he’s produced over 100 tracks. Now finally he’s decided to create his first ever artist album; but like a plot in Big Brother there is a twist. He wanted the album to appeal both to his fans and listeners who like the multi-artist compilation; so he’s spent the last two years working on a series of collaborations with some of the world’s best artists. Huge names such as Sasha, Above and Beyond and James Zabiela appear together with burgeoning fresh young talent like HarderFaster’s very own Alan Seventh Heaven. The result is ‘VS’ which is released at the end of the month and will feature 13 tracks from his own label, Noys. I had the pleasure of meeting Mike to find out more.
’The Silence’ was an incredible anthem and it still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up today. When you were making the tune at the time and did you think it was special?
Yes, this was all the way back in 1998, around the time when the first wave of trance hit the UK. I remember watching MTV one night when I saw the original video of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’ and it struck me that the main melody would make a great trance tune. I went to the studio the next day and had a go at it, and it worked like a treat. It took a while to get in touch with the Depeche Mode guys but when they heard my version they loved it. It was released on Multiply Records in November 1998, and it entered the UK top 20! Since then ‘The Silence’ has made it onto many many many compilations, even this month it re-appeared again on the new Ministry Euphoria Classics.
Your new album called ‘VS’ is packed full of tracks which are collaborations with artists such as Sasha, Above and Beyond, Darren Tate etc. Why did you decide to choose tracks that were joint works rather than just your own?
My concept for ‘VS’ was to invite many producers and djs whose sound I admire to collaborate with me on this album. This was not only to make it different from other artist albums but also to make it more interesting for the listener. I am very pleased with the results, and I’m sure that there’s something in there for all tastes. The album starts quite deep and proggy at around 128 bpm and peaks with banging trancers at 139bpm, before the extra bonus track, James Zabiela’s infamous bootleg of Sasha’s ‘Wavy Gravy’ and my ‘The Silence’ ends the album.
In your time as a producer you’ve produced hundreds of successful tracks and remixes. Why have you waited till now to release an album?
I think the dance scene is primarily a singles oriented market but I felt that after all these releases over the years on labels such as Anjunabeats, 5am, Mondo and my own label Noys, it was about time to release a proper artist album.
As well as your album you’ve got plenty of singles on the go including: Mike Koglin vs Seventh Heaven — ‘Sanctuary’; Mike Koglin and Mark Pledger’s ‘UltraViolet’; and Mike Koglin vs P.O.S. — ‘Untitled Audio’, and there are quite a few more too. This is quite an impressive amount. Are you in the studio everyday?
Unfortunately yes. Either in the studio or out there djing at the weekends.
Your new album also contains the Bootleg of ‘The Silence’ with ‘Wavy Gravy’ which is a monster tune. Will this be the first time it’s been released?
Yes! Although this one has been going round for a while on the internet and on file-sharing networks after Sasha had played it extensively on his Airdrawndagger tour. We’ve finally managed to get clearance from Sasha’s manager and from BMG, so this will be the first time that this great mash-up will be officially released.
You have fans all over the world, but where would you say you’re strongest fan base is? Which countries are really enjoying their trance at the moment?
If MySpace is anything to go by I seem to have the most fans in North America. But I’ve been on tour in Asia quite a bit and there’s definitely a big scene happening over there. And the whole trance thing is only just about to explode in the Eastern European countries — I played at the Gaudi Arena in Moscow recently, and there is a huge trance community there.
You’d played all over the world. Do you have a favourite place to play?
I always enjoy playing in California; for example L.A. Last year’s Love Parade in San Francisco was wicked too. Other clubs that I would never forget are Zouk in Malaysia and Velfarre in Tokyo.
You were also nominated for a Grammy. Who were you up against, and did you go to the awards ceremony?
Yep, a few years ago one of the tracks that I wrote and produced for Boy George got nominated for Grammy, to my surprise. But at the end William Orbit snapped it away for one of his Madonna productions. I wasn’t actually able to make it to the ceremony so I hope to be nominated again soon! (laughs)
You’ve been in the scene since about 1998. How did you get into it; and who was your biggest inspiration?
Before 1998 I was actually quite into house and electro, but I really got into trance when I heard the early Jam & Spoon productions and the stuff coming from Holland that was kicking around in the late 90s.
Who or what inspires you today?
I feel generally inspired by guys who consistently produce great music over the years, first and foremost Kraftwerk. After all, they’ve started the whole electronic music thing in the first place and they are still going strong today. But there are some great new talents around too, such as Sander Van Doorn who really reinvent the sound of Trance.
You’re a big fan of My Space (www.myspace.com/mikekoglin). Do you feel it enables you to connect with your fans and industry mates on a world-wide level, and has it influenced your music in any way?
I wouldn’t say it has influenced my music yet, but My Space is definitely a great invention. I’ve met loads of producers and djs who I wouldn’t have made contact with otherwise so easily, and it’s a great tool to communicate with fans from all over the world.
Can you remember the first time you dj’d, were you nervous?
My first proper dj gig was in a club called Code in Japan, which holds around 1500 people . . . . And I can honestly say I was a nervous wreck! But it all went fine and I got very drunk afterwards celebrating my first gig.
You’re been creating trance for ten years now. Are you still passionate about the sound and do you still get that ‘hairs on the back your neck standing up’ feeling when you hear a great trance tune?
Of course! But the sound of trance has continually developed since its beginnings, and I’m really excited about the current fusion of trance with techno elements. Those kind of tracks really do it for me at the moment.
It appears that you’ll be playing quite regularly for Love in Ibiza this season. What is this party and where is it in Ibiza?
It’s a new club in Playa den Bossa, not that far from Space. You can catch me there every other Wednesday at the Mondo night throughout the summer!
And finally, if you ever wrote an autobiography, what would you call it?
Mike Koglin: How a German can grow to like English Breakfast
Images supplied by Mike Koglin himself. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.
| From: theviceroy on 5th Jul 2006 16:58.03|
A wicked dj and producer, very underrated and one of the nicest guys youll ever meet, good work fella!!
From: Jurrane on 5th Jul 2006 17:46.35
Definitely one of the best producers in the history of trance music. It's rare to find someone whose every release is pure quality but this guy comes very very close. A true legend in the scene.
From: Mike Harris on 6th Jul 2006 12:03.49
I love Mike Koglin, his productions are wicked, they tend to be slighty different aswell, definately not a bog standard trance producer but someone that has helped to mould the shape of trance!
Long may his quality productions continue! :grin:
I cant wait till i get to see him play, as unfortunately ive never had the pleasure!
From: Becka on 6th Jul 2006 17:37.33
I introduced my best friend to the wonders of this guy a few years ago, he is now her fav DJ! Was nice meeting you a few weeks back @ Gallery, keep up the good work!
From: Lisa B on 7th Jul 2006 14:38.20
Wicked Guy! Great Fun And fantastic Producer xx
From: Simon Patterson on 12th Jul 2006 16:26.59
From: Ian Edwards on 13th Jul 2006 22:51.16
luv this guy's sounds..