Artist Spotlight – Johan Gielen
Alias: Johan Gielen
Real Name: Johan Gielen
Hometown: Tiel, Netherlands
Profession: DJ, Producer
Hobbies: Music, cooking, my dog, traveling
Affiliations: ASOT, High Contract Records, Geniusbookings, Schulz Music Group
I feel at this point in my writing career I do not get star struck when meeting an artist
However, when I met Johan Gielen, I was completely dumbfounded and in awe of this living trance legend and founding father. Mr. Trance Energy is everything I expected a man who possess so much passion for what he does and is steadfast to his mission. As a fan, I am glad he never deviated from his sound and stayed true. For almost three decades, Johan has been bringing blissful melodies to the world and shaping memories that only music can create. His energy is infectious as he can still electrify a dance floor with track after track of trance magic. After finally seeing him live, and getting to know him better, living legend is not adequate to describe him, Demigod might be more fitting. Either noun, the trance world would not be without him.
As a huge trance fan, I am completely humbled to meet you. You are considered a trance legend and a founding father, what are your feelings toward those titles?
Well you know , I am honored that people respect me in this scene. And it pays off what I have done all those years. I started off as one of the first who created trance and played trance. Sometimes it was easy and sometimes it was difficult. Like a couple of years ago when EDM came up, everyone was turning their backs to trance. And I said no way, I am going to stick to my thing and what I have started. Finally it paid off, trance is coming back, I think stronger than ever, and I am really pleased to see the gates are opening again.
You have been in the trance scene going on 26 years. In that time many artists/producers have come and gone, what would you contribute to your staying power?
I think it is my passion for what I am doing. When I do something I always do it with not 100% but 1000% and being on stage and entertaining the people, actually it is a communication between me and the crowd without talking. I speak with my music. That is the reason why I am still around I guess. I never became a DJ; I was natural-born with it I think, and that is one of the reasons I am still around. As long as I feel good, and I can give the people what they expect from me. And I get nervous for a gig, I will keep continuing.
Courtesy of Johan Gielen
Do those nerves just never go away?
I think it is very positive when you are nervous for a gig because you feel for yourself there is interest. And I get myself ready in my mind, seeing the people going around with my music and stuff, so this is one of the reasons why I am still around. I love my job and every time I go out, everywhere I play, rather it is in the US or Asia or where ever. Every time the connection between me and the crowd is such a wonderful thing. I cannot describe it in words. It is a feeling, like something magic.
“Classic” trance music has always held a special place in many fans hearts, and many prefer that sound to the current trance sound. In recent years, we have seen many producers remix classics including some of your own. What are your thoughts when you hear one of your tracks being reborn almost 2 decades later?
That is another honor to see back in the days the original versions were something that was created that last forever. Like you said yourself, recently people start asking me to do remixes of my classics. I am not always saying yes, it depends on what they are doing with it. Because I think, they are like my babies. I have to take care of them. But recently there has been a few remixes from young talent which I really like, and I think for me, as one of the founders of trance, I think I need to give the new generation producers an opportunity to do something with my music I created back in the days. Surprisingly some of the guys like Ferry Tayle did a remix of Sosei from Airspace, and he did an amazing job. He kept it the original alive and built his own thing around it, the same thing I did with end of time, from the Trance Energy. I think when you remix a classic you need to get this original feeling in it. You can add a few things, but don’t change the magic of the original.
Last year “Trance Energy” was a hosted stage at Tomorrowland. It was a huge success and is invited back this year. Any chance to bring back the full show to an arena in the future?
Actually, I cannot answer that. Last year I did a set a trance energy. But this year, I cannot do it because I have my own stage going on, for the trance classic stage. But I am sure the guys are working on a comeback. And I really hope they succeed because Trance Energy is like one of the biggest things that have ever happened in trance. I think it is coming back as a global thing.
Monthly you release your trance favorite’s playlist on Spotify. How long does it take you to compile the monthly playlist? Why do you use Spotify platform over other music sharing platforms?
Spotify is coming out more and more popular for trance music as well. It is still growing, but I like to share my thoughts about what I feel is good music and what is not good. All the tracks are already in my playlist. I recommend to be like future classics and stuff. So this is what I am doing monthly and I have gotten good reactions. I am still building the playlist. So everyone who reads this, check out the monthly plays and Spotify.
You have produced some of the biggest tracks to ever play, which one would you consider your favorite. Anything new fans should be on the lookout for this year.
Well back in the days I did a lot of productions with Svenson. I must say one of the tracks that we created together was Twisted. That is a magic one. And Esperanza from Airscape. And one of the biggest remixes we ever did was Delirium Silence. Right now, we have a new track out by Airspace called Inner Love released on ASOT. I don’t produce 10 years now with Sven anymore, but we are good friends. I am doing a lot of stuff with Peetu S. And some other guys I am working with. The new Airscape that is something you have to look out for; I can’t tell when it comes out, but you will find out soon, because it is one of the biggest things.
If you could live by only one motto, what would it be?
Enjoy every day, because tomorrow it can be over.