Dreamstate Artist – Sied Van Riel
Is the Riel Deal as real as he seems? The answer is yes!
You see people online and you wonder if that is a persona they are trying to be. Are they really that candid in real life? With Sied Van Riel, it definitely is. Not afraid to speak his mind, his candid, unapologetic approach has helped pave his way through the scene. Being “Riel” is not being a pretentious ass, but speaking your mind in a way that is palpable. Being able to translate your opinion and be yourself is what makes Sied real. But that does not overshadow his talent. Sied knows what he likes, knows what he wants, and he knows when to take a step back. Appreciating a work life balance, he continues to dominate the trance world and in his own words, “Shit just got Riel.”
Welcome to Dreamstate Sied! Before we get started, is Sied Van Riel your real name?
Yes it is. Well Sied short for Majeed. So ever since I was 4, people would just call me Sied. It is a Dutch name, and I only listen to Sied. People who would call me Majeed, have known me all my life. Everybody else doesn’t even know that is my real name. I introduce myself as Sied, or my Dutch side calls me Franciscus (middle name). But I don’t look like a Franciscus.
This year Sniejder and you are teaming up for what I believe will be an epic vs. set. What do you do to prepare for a set like this? Is this a different method then you would for a solo set?
It is a different method because you now have to consider each other. And the only thing we basically did was what keys are we going to play, and we are not holding back. That is what we discussed. Not holding back, in for the kill from start to finish that it. I told him that the tracks I am going to play are in “G” and “C” mainly and that is it. It is a legit show-off on stage. We haven’t discussed any music. I know what he plays, he knows what I am playing, and it is going to be like a legit battle. But it is going to be a good one.
Any chance for any hip-hop?
I wish man. We both epic Hip-Hop fans. Like Andrew is old school like NWA, Warren G. Me as well. But it won’t end up in the set. But if we could have, we probably would. I like that shit. I listen to it all the time.
Have you ever DJ Hip-hop?
Yeah I did. I use to be a resident DJ in one of the biggest clubs in my hometown. I was the manager and resident DJ 3 days a week. And I use to play everything from dub-step (2-step back then), hip-hop, regular dance music, very commercial, Dutch music. Like I would play everything in one night. I use to play hip-hop a lot. It was in the time that Eminem came through. So I use to play a lot of Eminem, Dre and Snoop. I like Wu Tang Clan as well. Like I am a big Method Man and RZA and Old Dirty Bastard. But West Coast hip-hop is my favorite.
We in LA approve. You have had a very busy year, with touring, producing, and running your own label and brand. How do you manage your time so you don’t feel overwhelmed?
I was overwhelmed. I was like burned out and depressed and shit. So I took a long time off so I can maintain. So I went back to basics. I couldn’t handle it. There is no handling that. Like at some point you have to think about yourself. So one year I just spent with my dog. That is it. In my living room, watching all sorts of series that I missed out on. Cooking every day, walking in the park, making music, and not communicating with anybody in the dance industry. I completely secluded myself from all the BS. I call it BS because it is all fake shit. I couldn’t deal with it, but now I am more proficient when it comes to spending my time. Like I excluded a lot of things out of my life that were absorbing too much energy. So I can’t handle it, but I have learned from it.
The play of your name Riel in your brand and merchandise seems very fitting for your personality and effective in a competitive market. How has the brand developed over the years? What is next for the Riel brand?
There is not necessarily a plan behind it. So it kind of progressed by itself. I mean it is funny to have a last name like Van Riel and be able to do all sorts of shit with it. Like you can turn it into anything, like shit just got Riel. Like I am walking around and people will tell me shit and that is where I pick it up from. “I have to remember that and put it on a t-shirt” I was in Australia, and the guy from Choon wear, Sam, met up through Gabie, she does “Try to Be Love” and she hooked me up with him. And he was like I really want to do your brand. And I was like fuck it let’s go. There is no plan behind it. I literally hate business. So I am like let’s do whatever I need to do. We came up with a few slogans and that is all I want to do with it. I don’t care about the money, you just make sure it is affordable and people get the shit. So there is no plan behind it. It is just fun. With my last name you can do anything with it. And my PR manager came up with it. Like he started using the Riel Deal. I asked him to do a bio for me I think in 2008. And it was just before I became a professional DJ. And he started the Bio with “The Riel Deal”. I was like Holy shit, that is pretty cool. He came up with “The Riel Deal” and from there on out we just been throwing words to each other.
We did this DJ Mag campaign in 2009, that was the year I went into the top 100, and we use the Riel slogan for that. A lot of self-mockery. I was Holland’s other big cheese and shit like that.
You are very active on social media and interacting with fans. Although some artist do not like to do this, they say it is a necessary evil. What are your thoughts of social media in the industry today? If you could change anything what would it be?
It is a necessary evil, but it is a positive evil. Like it is really cool to be directly in touch with people. Like these are the people. Like anybody who insults the intelligence of the followers is an idiot in my opinion because they make you. Because of them you have a career. I like being in touch with people, and it goes really far with me. Like I saw a person on social media, who threaten with suicide and no one was responding. Like everyone was telling this guy like jump off the building, “and why are you making your problem our problem”, and I was like how fuckin’ selfish. So I reached out to him in the end, and started talking to him. Like you are not alone. I didn’t know the guy, but I know it helped. And that is one thing you can do with social media. And I love it.
If there is one thing I can change, I wish I could switch off for a week every now and again. Because it is something you have to do on a daily basis and it is so much. You have Twitter and Instagram stories, then Facebook page, YouTube, SoundCloud, it gets a bit annoying, but it is necessary. I enjoy Facebook and Instagram. I use to be all over Twitter.
I have to ask, you did one of the most memorable soundbites for ASOT 350 or any ASOT for that matter. I believe you said something around the lines of “I don’t know why you didn’t book me to Armin”. Please elaborate on this, was it planned or off the cuff? Did it help you get booked for future ASOTs? Would you do it again?
I told him so much shit on the radio or whatever. Like always, I wanted to play there and I just told him, “It is a shame you didn’t book me”. And the next year for 400, I was booked for all 3. It was a vote, and everyone voted me as #1, so he couldn’t go around me anymore. Then at that event, I called it the ‘A Sied of Trance’. I was doing an interview, and we had to do a video shout out. So I had like 4 papers with ASOT, A Sied of Trance. So I kind of branded the whole event. Everything around me again. And he enjoyed it. Armin can laugh about it right. And I called him out like last year, I was on ASOT radio and he asked me “What did you play” and I was like “music” It is too easy with those questions. And it is always fun and I always like not to make fun about it, but I have always had that with Armin. With other people I don’t, but with him it is always joking around.
And I say what I think. So I wanted to play A State of Trance, so I was like “This is Sied Van Riel, and it is a shame you didn’t book me”. I was literally a nobody back then, just starting out, so maybe it did help.
I had a phone in question from a friend for this next one, and he asks “what does #VN stand for”?
That is from Sneijder; he and I have legendary Vodka Nights. VN stands for Vodka Nights because when we are together, we met up in Australia and we knew each other but had no connections. So we just hit the bar together on a Monday night and we started drinking and were completely out of it. And we ended up drunk as fuck somewhere in a 16-year-old club. Like it was all 16-year-old students there. And we were in the middle of the dance floor dancing to 50 Cent. And we always have those Vodka Nights. Like it is just him and me and we just go all out. Like I literally mean no holding back. Like he will send me pictures when I get back to the hotel I am the type who will pass out, but he has more energy and will start taking selfies and sending them to me. It is hilarious that first night, we never knew each other, never had a connection.
But since that day in Sydney, we have become best friends. Like literally overnight. This was in 2012 I think. We were doing the Subculture tour with John. We were just bored on a Monday night. We had a week off in Sydney. We just started drinking. In Miami, we had a Villa, he was sleeping in the closet with ice. We rented out a house with the entire crew. We ran out of beds, so he had to sleep in the closet for a week. And we went out every night, and I swear to God, that we survived that week, was just ridiculous. Like I woke up with anxiety at the end of the week. Like that is how hard we were drinking.
Finally if you could only live by one motto what would it be?
I am trying not to make it Cliché. It’s gonna be Cliché. Live every fucking day as if it were your last. Accept the love you are getting and return the love. Treat people how you want to be treated.