TF Archives

CJ Bolland

Author: Andrez
Sunday, January 1, 1995
If you're going to start citing old-skool techno and rave innovators then one individual who has to fall into such a list is Belgian DJ/producer Christian J Bolland. Since the turn of this decade he's been making electronic-based dance music under monikers such as Pulse, Sonic Solution, Schism and Space Opera (alongside Cisco Ferreira of The Advent notoriety); more likely you'd recognise the music he's produced of late under the rather innocuous alias of just plain CJ Bolland.

Truth to tell, CJ Bolland is one international who should require little introduction to Melbourne audiences - he came and played here at the Eternity rave in May 1994, while last year he released the critically-lauded album 'The Analogue Theatre' then promptly opted out of his appearance at Hardware 9 due to a reported fear of flying. This time, however, he promises that things will be different. "I'm definitely coming down!" he declares. "I heard quite a lot from Australia because I didn't show up last year, so it's about time to mend those accidentally burned bridges . . ."

So what's he expecting when he comes down- "Oh dear," he murmurs. "I hope not to get assassinated! But seriously the fact that I didn't come last year wasn't a ploy on my part to hype things up in anyway. I just want people to come along and see me for what I am - to get down and boogie!"

This time around Cristian will be bringing along his own entourage in order to perform live - and he keeps this aspect very much in the family. "What we normally perform over here is about an hour in length, although given that we'll be playing live in Australia for the first time we'll be throwing in quite a bit of the back-catalogue of old stuff. I'm bringing along a vocalist, who is my sister - she did 'Sugar Is Sweeter' - and a male vocalist who's half MC and half rapper, and who basically ties things together and makes it a little more funk; then there's my cousin who also acts as an MC." He pauses to reassess the original question. "I like energy in the performance, man - I'm not going to put anybody to sleep, that's for sure. It's going to be slamming. There will be lots of things happening and I'm not really fussed; I'll just put it all together on the spot and see what the audience gets into."

A couple of years ago the presence of a vocalist in a CJ Bolland set was unheard of, so why the transition- "It wasn't an intentional step," he infers. "But I've noticed a lot, especially over the past year since I started using vocalists, that they're in contact with the crowd and communicating in another way entirely; that in turn can really fire the people up and stir up feeling and feedback - it's more of an interactive thing."

Responsible for anthemic tracks such as the 'Ravesignal' series, 'Camargue', 'Starship Universe' and more recently this year's 'Sugar Is Sweeter', Bolland has also taken time out to remix Orbital, Sven Vath, Frank De Wulf, Prodigy and Tori Amos. It's a sideline exercise that he's still preoccupied with. "Over the past year I've been doing way too many remixes," he laughs. "I've just finished a remix of the new James Bond theme and the new Depeche Mode, Eat Static and UB40 singles - I just love the challenge, man, to take somebody else's music and see how I'm going to ruin it!"

Since parting ways with R&S two years ago and promptly signing with major label Internal Records, Bolland's star has been on a continual rise as he's been asked to play at clubs and festivals around the globe. "I've been DJing and performing live practically every weekend from Friday through to Sunday, and we did pretty much all of the summer festivals around Europe - so there's certainly enough gigs around. In between I've been trying to find time to work on my own material and my new album, which is going to be called 'Gemini World'. Now I've got the name for it, all I have to do is finish the tracks . . ."

Over the past couple of years I've had cau