TranZfusion's Welcome 2003 Special - CJ Bolland
Author: Nigel Tan
Saturday, 21 December 2002
European God-father of techno, CJ Bolland is set to stun us again with his signature style of electro, techno and breaks. Born in Yorkshire and brought up in Belgium, he has spent 23 years working with electronic music in some form. That is if you count the fact that his mum DJed in a club his family owned and from the age of 8 he was absorbing '80s synch bleeps as his mum played mostly electro.
If we were to look at CJ Bolland's oeuvre, we would see a pattern of emotional harmonies and manipulative building climaxes that wouldn't be out of place if they were heard in a movie music score. Perhaps that's why he has done work for the James Bond franchise, recently 'It Aint Gonna Be Me' for 'Human Traffic' and is working on a track for our very own 'One Perfect Day.' Bolland is itching to expand on that and create a whole score.
We know him best for the anthemic 'The Prophet' and the US number 1 'Sugar Is Sweeter' (I'm always reminded of this when I walk past the dummies in a shop in Chapel Street for some reason). With such big hits and 3 top ten singles in the UK people became blinded by this success - notably his record company -- and sometimes didn't take the time to fully appreciate tracks that had equal amounts of care and talent poured into them. Although he has never fought the 'underground' tag, it hasn't done him any favours either. For Bolland, this became a motivating factor especially when his record company put the pressure on to repeat these successes.
"It blackens out everything else. Just because 'The Prophet' was one of my bigger tunes, it doesn't mean that it's my favorite one. It doesn't mean that I dislike it, I love everything about 'The Prophet', its just there's a lot of other stuff that I did that looses attention."
This sudden fame became a double-edged sword. His record company demanded more after 'Sugar Is Sweeter' went number 1. But the formula doesn't come instantly when you have spent no less amount of time and energy on any other track. In an insulting and immensely frustrating move the record company didn't release his next 2 albums due to a "lack of any top ten material."
Fortunately, Bolland didn't choose Prince's route and change his name to an unpronounceable symbol in protest. Instead, after 2 years of contract wrangling he gave them a 'V' sign of his own and started his label 'Mole Records.'
We were lucky to see him in 2000 blow the roof off at midnight and I'm sure he's not going to disappoint in 2003.