RAM – Exclusive Interview With The Dutch Boss of Grotesque Music
ram is known as one of Hollands finest trance artists and the driving force behind Grotesque Music label and events. Having produced “RAMelia”, one of the most heartbreaking Trance ballads ever composed to honour his wife's tragic loss, Mr. Grotesque aka Ram Boon is recognized without a hint of hesitation as a pioneer musician. Over the course of years, RAM‘s productions became some of the most played tracks, queued into the sets of many Trance icons including Armin Van Buuren, Aly & Fila, Bryan Kearney, while he collaborated with famous vocalists, such as Christina Novelli, Clare Stagg, Natalie Gioia and Stine Grove. Just a few days away from Grotesque Indoor Festival, held on December 9th at the iconic Maassilo venue in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, RAM sat down with Viralbpm to summarize the year that ends, discuss about new singles and reveal plans for 2018!
V1. Glad to have you here RAM! Where are you currently at and on what are you currently working on? Any intriguing project you can already reveal to us?
RAM: Home sweet home RAMsterdam! Do you have a hour? 🙂 I have just released my collab with ReOrder on FSOE, my new cd Compilation: Grotesque Reworked & Remixed and the Grotesque 300 anthem, which is a collab with Darren Porter. After that, few weeks later we will be launching the Grotesque 300 Compilation. And then after that my fusion styled track, which is a combination of tech & psy trance together with hardstyle just to do something different, which is dedicated to Australia and is called Melbourne. Then lots new stuff in 2018 New collab with Susana & Christina Novelli amongst many other singles & collabs that are still in progress and I can not yet mention.
V2. How was 2017 for you until now? What should we expect from you in 2018?
RAM: 2017 was a great year: got 2 nr. 1 tracks and many top 5 ones so music-wise it was amazing! Tour-wise I visited a lot of new countries The 3 Grotesque Labels did really well kicking off with some new projects. And 2018 will be even better as everything is going as planned so far! Going to do Grotesque nights world wide and got some amazing gigs lined up so cant wait for 2018. Also I am starting a new album
V3. How did you decide to follow a career as a Dj and producer?
RAM: Well I came from the time where you only needed to be a good dj not a producer, label owner, social media wizard or a bonafide ass kisser. My first passion has always been djing, and I've been doing it since 1989 when I went on my first rave. I fell in love with djing and then started practicing myself in 1991. When it comes to DJing – thats where I can express myself the best, I can put all my frustrations in a set or any other emotion.
So I got lucky being very young playing in what was the first big trance club in NL and played there for 4 years till it closed down. So in 1995 I started doing this professionally and been active ever since. The producing bit came later on, I really like it now, but I'm still learning, as I am difficult to satisfy myself with what I make.
V3. You have been active in the DJ scene since 1995, what would you say is the major difference between the 90s and nowadays?
RAM: Like I mentioned before big difference is that then you had to be a good dj first and foremost, not being a good producer, social media wizard and then a good dj. Nowdays, I see lot of producers who DJ, but for me they are not coming even close to a proper dj set. You have djs that produce (like me) or producers that dj, there is a big difference between them.
From the late 90s until around 2003 for me that was the best era, trance was so diverse! Now all tracks need to be around 7 min. 1 break fast intro & outro, no creativity or story in the music like the old days. Everyone is scared to be different it seems. Of course music evolves and the sound quality is now much better than the 90's, but I think producers should try to think more outside the box. At least I am trying, you will hear what I am talking about in my upcoming track “The Calling & Serengeti”
V4. What tools and programs are you using for your records? How did your sound evolve over the last 10 years?
RAM: Use mostly Nuendo in the studio where I work. Well I always try to do different things, not keeping a “certain” template of sounds like some guys do for many years. For me that's boring. I am a DJ first and I like to be diverse, so I need diversity in my tracks. But my main red line trough 95% of all my music is emotion. I just need emotion, the more the better, because that's for me the essence of trance. And that, for me, makes the record stand out or not. That feeling that you can cry from happiness or beauty or sadness that's whats music is for me all about. To FEEL !!
V5. What should we expect from the Grotesque brand in the near future?
RAM: Packing our bags and going abroad for Grotesque Nights! I am hosting the Grotesque Indoor festival 300 on the 9th of December in Maassilo in Rotterdam – that is Holland's coolest venue which will be the biggest edition so far. After that we are going to Asia and USA for G300 shows! Of course lots of great music coming from respected & upcoming artists in the scene. Grotesque is growing rapidly so sky is the limit!
V6. Aside from recording and Djing, are there other things that keep your interest during the day? Any side-activities or hobbies?
RAM: Well that's taking 90% of my time touring – label – brand. RAM: But besides that my son is my biggest friend so spending time with him is what I love the most. And my second hobby is food, so anything with food I am up for it and makes me smile can eat & cook all day long!