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Hardsoul interview: Dutch House-

Author: Cyclone
Monday, January 30, 2006
With Holland best known for its trance output, house music duo Hardsoul have found it difficult to confound expectations - DJ's refused to take their demo at Miami's Winter Music Conference.

Holland is identified with trance, and the superstar DJ Tiesto, but Hardsoul aim to change that perception. The house champions envisage Amsterdam as the next New York, Paris or Berlin. Hardsoul is the production duo of Roog van Bueren and his younger brother Greg. Roog, a law graduate, is Hardsoul's DJ and will play Melbourne for the first time this week. In fact, he's touted as Holland's top house DJ. Greg is the studio rat. "He never leaves the studio," Roog affirms. Roog was already experimenting with production techniques at the age of 12 and eventually permitted his pesky younger sibling to participate.

Hardsoul sounds like the name of some bangin' hard house project with pretensions of being 'funky', yet the prolific pair have been responsible for soulful platters like Back Together with the Chi-towner Ron Carroll. They've started a label, Hardsoul Pressings, in conjunction with the US Soulfuric and will be issuing a backlog of material in 2006. At the same time, Hardsoul dig electro-house and, to this end, they've launched a second imprint, R&G Electronics.

Indeed, Roog loves house in all its guises, as those catching him at Defected will discover. "I love the whole spectrum. I love my vocal thing, I love the electro thing, I love the tribal thing - I love to play across the board when I play out. I don't like to do only one thing. I really wanna be diverse and versatile, so you're probably gonna hear that I'm going in every direction."
Roog has DJed at many a Defected party globally, citing the UK concern as "the number one house label at the moment."

Amsterdam has long been a favourite destination for US house and techno players, which a laughing Roog attributes to its liberal marijuana laws. Nevertheless, when it comes to the electronic scene, Holland is traditionally dominated by trance. A mortified Roog recalls how when a then unknown Hardsoul attended their first Miami Winter Music Conference in the mid-'90s they were automatically fobbed off by their international counterparts. "We went to our big heroes and we said, 'Can we please give you our demo-' and they said, 'No, no, no, we don't do trance!,'" he recalls. "We had to fight for a long time to establish a house sound from Holland."

But, to Roog's delight, Dutch punters are sick of trance, which has reached the point of "overkill". They're converting to house in droves. "Now people are just fed up with the trance sound and they're looking for something new, so the last three years the sound that I've been doing for 15 years is getting big - finally. It took forever, it took ages to become popular, and now it's really big, so it's exciting to finally experience that."
Roog predicts that Holland's house will explode internationally. "In the next one or two years people are gonna know Holland for house music, not for trance music."

Roog isn't shy about expressing his own ambitions. The otherwise affable DJ has bided his time and, with Dutch house coming to the surface, he's about to strike. "This may sound a little arrogant but I would like to become one of the big DJs of the world," he says with a hint of apology for his directness. "This has been my ambition for a long time. I think in the coming years I'm really gonna work on that profile. So I hope in the next couple of years I'm gonna be on the same level as Roger Sanchez or Erick Morillo - that's my goal."