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Interview - Martijn Ten Velden

Author: Aaron Roach
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The world can't get enough of the Dutch dudes right now. Everywhere you look, there they are, either producing your stadium band sounds, or pushing out those little underground numbers the world has fallen in love with over the past year (you know what I'm on about). While the Orange limelight has been mainly reserved for the likes of Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and Sander Kleinenberg, there's a couple who fly under the radar, work just as hard and sometimes even enjoy themselves while they're flouting their wares.

One of those just happens to be Martijn Ten Velden, part-time anti-trance music extraordinaire.

"I can't stand that music," he says laughing down the line, adding, "I see trance as a different scene. Then again, psy-trance is a different scene and so is breakbeat. I can't speak as a whole, though. I rate Armin Van Buuren. He's technically a very good DJ.

"For me, though, it's just so old. They just keep using the same horrible chords and sounds. I don't want to be negative, but it's just not my thing and I'd never, ever resort to making the trance sound."

Helping Ten Velden avoid the trap of writing music just to pay the bills is the fact he does well for himself, making a living from something over a long period of time. He's also been remixing some of the biggest names in dance music and pop sounds, which is why he's been able to remain at the helm of innovative sounds for quite some time. Ten Velden puts it down to love: "I can't get enough of it. I'm always thinking about new stuff, you know, the edge of music, where it's going, how I can make it sound fresh all the time, instead of getting stuck in a trend."

As electronic trends currently lean towards the sounds of Electro and the like, it can become somewhat stale, which is something the dance scene doesn't allow (moreover, shouldn't allow). Ten Velden, however, sees a change on the horizon, something to get the music back to basics. "So many people make generic Electro these days," he says, "I am not quite sure what the next big thing is, but it feels as though we are in this new state of innovation. A lot of people are looking to latch on to a new style.

"Personally, I just love to play what I really love."

With influences covering everything from Hip Hop through to Stevie Wonder, Ten Velden finds comfort in the fact that a good song can come from anywhere. It doesn't necessarily have to be based in dance. "It can be a pop song, rock song, or it can be an old funk song.

"Influence can from anything, though, even a nice day in the sun."

As Ten Velden counts down the days to his Australian tour, one thing that it's essential throughout his gigs is that he's on the same level as the audience, whether it be at Stereosonic, or just down the road to 300 people. "It's a group effort," says Ten Velden, "It's about the people who go to party. I try to join in and get in the vibe, instead of standing there like a robot.

"I love DJing and I love to get on the same level as the crowd. I'm not one of those DJs that plays the same set everywhere I go. I like the variation - that way, you don't get bored with the sets.

"I love the big gigs and small gigs. At the small gigs, you feel the energy, but at the big gigs - while it's a great buzz - you are far removed from the crowd.

"I love them both in a different way."

Martijn Ten Velden will be in Australia to spin some records at the inaugural Stereosonic, with some little ones here and there as well.