Interview with Michiel van der Kuy

1999-05-22

 

Back in March 1999 it was announced on the net, that there was to be a live performance by Laserdance/Koto/Trilithon at a Euro Energy Party in The Hague, Holland. This event was to take place Saturday, May 22nd 1999. The other performing artists were italian groups from the 80s and then Michiel van der Kuy and Huib Schippers!
At that time there was very little information about Laserdance, Koto, Syntech, Trilithon on the web, and Hypersound was still in its early stages. All the new Spacesynth artists and websites were not there yet.

It was dark times for Spacesynth. The identity of the original composers were still shrouded in mystery, and limited to the additional texts that were on the CDs. There was no photos of Michiel, Rob, Erik, Huib, Anfrando or Humphrey anywhere and no-one could have guessed that this music years later was to be revieved by a new generation of artists, a whole community of dedicated fans would be born and the original artists would return and once more make music.

I was a gigafan of both Laserdance and Koto, and got an interview arranged with the grande Guru himself, Michiel van der Kuy. So I went there together with a friend, Mazzo, and we met Michiel and Huib on the spot, and did the interview with a taperecorder. Oh horror!! Unfortunately we had forgot to turn the recorder on, so the first 3-4 minutes were lost. Well, back home a week later, I emailed Michiel with additional questions, to make up for the missing minutes.

Did the interview ever get published...? No, it did not. I blush with shame when I write these words, because the tape stayed in my desk drawers, hidden from my sight and conciousness for years. But now, with technical aid from Staffan Öhman, I've transcribed the interview.



Discography and Biography: Area51 Laserdance Koto Proxyon Rygar Kozmoz Power Machine Perestroika Power

 

Let's start with a formal introduction of Michiel.

Michiel van der Kuy

Can you tell me about your age, your musical background and education?

My birthday is july 10, 1962. Classical education (piano).

How about your working-relationship with Erik van Vliet? When did you first meet, and how/when did Laserdance start ?

Erik and I meet for the first time in january 1983. He'd already released Laserdance - "Laserdance" produced by Fonny the wulf (a belgium producer who I know very well). After playing some demos to Erik he decided that I could do the second single "Goody's Return", which was my first song released ever.

What is your favorite Laserdance album? I assume that it was Future Generation. Is that right?

That's right. For me it's the album 'straight from the heart'.

What's your favorite track? It is Humanoid Invasion?

That's also true.

About your work for AVEX Records in Japan. What style of music is that? Is it possible to get here in Europe?

For AVEX/Japan I produced a lot of hyper-techno songs. No, but maybe I will release a compilation with these tracks. I'll keep you posted.

I've been searching on the net for those groups that you're making music for today. During the interview (Live Concert, 22. may, 1999) you mentioned 'Bliss', 'Prototype' and 'Future State'. I've found a meditation-cd under the name Bliss called 'Music For Relaxation And Dreaming' and a group called 'Prototype 909' - 'Joined at the head' is the album title. Are these the correct albums?

No, they are not. In the near future I will let you know where you can order my latest and upcoming songs. 'Bliss' = 'Blitz'.

 
michiel_interview.mp3

(Michiel is talking about the sales of the old Laserdance-albums.)

... they was selling all the records, but I think it was 60.000 or something - I don't know exactly.

What about the {???#1}

It ment a lot. Because {???#2} was very popular in those days. In Germany, Scandinavia, Spain...

Especially on the dancescene.

Yes, exactly.

How are this music (today) in terms of sales?

Very low... a few months ago Erik called me to do the 10th album, but we were talking about money and he said "Ohh, I don't want to pay you a lot of money, because I can not sell enough records, you know, so ...", he said.

About this music, he was only like the manager, Erik...?

Yeah, he was actually the person who was selling the records. He wasn't playing at all. He was not playing.

Oh, there's another thing on the records. It says "composed by Erik van Vliet". I mean, on a lot of the Laserdance-albums your name was not even mentioned at all.

Yeah, he sold the rights. I was playing the songs, and he sold, sorry, bought the rights. That's why his name was on the songs.

Ok. How about Koto. Did you know of the original members of Koto? Zanni, Cundari?

Yeah, Cundari died.

He died?

Yeah, in a car accident. That's why Koto stopped - six records. {???#3}, the rights of the name Koto, called me and asked me if I wanted to do new Koto-songs. My first single was "Time".

"Time", yeah. The one on "Masterpieces"?

Yeah. Exactly.

So, the other members of Koto, do you know what they ... what he is doing nowadays?

No, maybe it's possible for you to ask those questions to the other italian guys, because often they're related to people like that, and other composers. They know exactly what's going on in Italy. I'm living here in Holland, so I do not know exactly what's happening over there.

James Brown Is Dead. Yeah, I heard from a friend of mine, that you are the composer of that track?

Yeah.

That was a major hit in 1992.

Exactly. A major, major hit.

I heard some people called it "LA Style".

LA Style "James Brown Is Dead."

Yeah. The groove was very nice.

Exactly. It was number one in eight - nine countries. It won Gold Record in America. Sold millions.

So, that's a very different style from Laserdance.

Yeah, but you could hear the Koto-bassline 'ka-ka-ka-ka'. Hehe.

Haha. Did you anything more in that style, or was it just a one-time?

Uhm, yeah.

Ok. So, that's your biggest hit today?

Yes.

Michiel van der Kuy

Recently I found out, that you've done vocal productions. The reason I didn't know of it , in Denmark it's not easy to get that kind of things. Can you tell us something about it?

{???#4}

Yeah, {???#5} Claudia T

Claudia T and Gina.

Yeah, Gina and ...

{???#6}

{???#7} ... Attack ...

Attack. I did a lot of dance, but I mentioned that before. I did a lot of it. Vocal productions. Besides this level of music; Laserdance.

So, what do you do nowadays?

I worked ten years for Japan, AVEX Records, and since a few months (ago) I stopped working for Japan, and right now I'm doing trance music.

You are doing trance music?

Trance and work for England. We are doing a lot of records for England.

Under which names?

Uhm... Future State, Prototype, Blitz, Uhm ... That's all. I can write it down.

Is there any elements of basslines. Can one hear it has your touch?

Uhm... no.

You camouflaged it. Hehe.

Yeah.

Ah - this is more my kind of line. What kind of studiogear do you use?

A lot... A lot... I still have a few old ones.

the analogue ones. Hehe.

I've got zip70 and ns50 {???#8}. Polysix. Korg. Stuff like that, and I bought a lot of new ones, new synthesizers JP8000, JP8080, and... yeah. ok.

Sequencers, Computer sequencers?

Computer. Cubase.

Cubase VST?

Yeah.

Rebirth?

Yeah.

Ok. A lot of your drumbeats have the 80s drumbeat even in the 90s. Have a kind of 80s sound in the drums. Do you use the old 80s drummachines? Do you ?

Yeah, I do - I use the Linndrum.

Linndrum?

Yeah. Very popular drummachine in those days.

Ok, so nowadays you use the 909 and 808?

Exactly.

Hehe. Ok. Uhmm ...What do you think about the dancescene today in trancemusic?

Uhm... I think right now it's very good. I do not like clubmusic very much with all the organs. But since a few months, trancemusic brought a new style of music - that's what I really like. Melodies... good sound... I'm very happy with what's going on now.

{???#9}. Have you heard of Robert Miles?

Yeah.

... and Chicane?

Yeah.

... and Astral Projection?

That's good. Yeah.

It is a kind of ambient sound. Robert Miles, more melodies. I really like that. What music do you listen to?

Classical music. That's because my education and the way I was brought up. Always classical music in the house, and that's very important.

Baroque music?

No no, I'm more into the romantics since the music in 1800. From 1800 to 1880. In that period. A medical phase, a medical period.

Chopin?

Chopin. That's correct. My number one composer.

These piano concerts (Piano Concerts 1 & 2). The quiet parts.

Exactly.

Are there any artists today you like, any contemporary artist or ... I mean, do you like todays music?

Yeah, I like Paul Van Dyk... I like Ferry Corsten. You know Ferry Corsten? and, yeah, a lot of tranceproducers from England, from Holland also, because Holland's producing a lot of tranceproducers right now. We're very popular in England and Germany. Like Huib.

Huib : Like me?

Yeah, yeah.

Huib : Oh

Hehe. So when you do this performance. It's like bringing some very old stuff back?

No. It's like ... It's music like how it was. We (Huib & Michiel) did not do all kind of new arrangements. So what we did; We had a tape, you know, with the basic structure of the songs, and on top of that we play melodies. That's how we do it. Budget matter. Money matter. So, it is not possible to replace my studio to this area, to here. It's not possible. We have a tape and play on top.

But is it weird to play this stuff now, when you're musically in a totally new direction. I mean, when you're playing trance, is it weird going back and play Laserdance or is it just fun, or ?

For me now ?

Yeah.

It's fun.

It's fun. Ok. Your heart is not with that kind of music any more, or ?

Yeah, I like to listen to it, and feel the atmosphere of those days. But not more.

Ok. I have heard on the internet that you were working on an album with Rygar?

Yeah. That's true. Yeah, because Laserdance stops, so I had the idea to start up Rygar, you know, in the same area as Laserdance was. It goes on. Laserdance stops, then Rygar starts. The music is in the same area.

From your own record company, Made Up?

Yeah.

Do you only make productions for Made Up? It's you (Michiel) who are Made Up Records, your firm.

Yeah

So all your new related albums are also Made Up Records?

No, we sell them (trance) direct to other labels.

Ok. Rune has a psychedelic question. Haha.

Haha.Yeah,Yeah. I thought your music is very visual and kind of dreamy; the Laserdance style, and I was wondering...ehmmm... Pink Floyd have created music history. They've experimented smoking hash and LSD as inspiration for their music. I just wondering if you have experimented with that too?

No, just because we are in Holland, so ...

Okay.

I'm not from Amsterdam.

Hahaha!! Hahaha!! Ok, that's only in Amsterdam that scene is. Ok. We saw it yesterday. HeHe. There's a lot of weird trancecomposers who explore a pair of mushrooms. Especially in India. We just want to ask you, because I'm sort of into studio with Cubase and VST synths. Do you also use only the computer and skip the all the synths and only buy software products and software synthesizers, or ?

What?

Do you only work with computer nowadays or do you still use synthesizers. I mean, nowadays you can get a lot software synthesizer so everything ...

Oh yeah. That's the future.

Ok.

I think that will be the future, computers - one big computer where everything is there. That's the future.

Do you run a Macintosh or PC ?

Just PC.

Uhm... I think that's all the questions.

Huib Schippers and Michiel van der Kuy

Yeah.

We see each other after the...

After the ...

Yeah.

When do you enter?

9:30 (21:30)

9:30 you go on?

Yeah. 35 minutes.

35 minutes only...? Ahhh, what a shame. What about afterwards...?

I'll come to you. I will be around.

Can we take some pictures...?

Oh yeah.

 

2006-04-11 22:57:46Interviewer(s): Rune Meikle and Mazzo