The Riel Deal: He is being tipped by Tiësto as “the hottest producer around” and by DJ Magazine as “the next big thing to hit trance”. One of Armin van Buuren’s favourite producers of 2008 and according to Ferry Corsten one of THE new Trance Guys. He won the “best new face” Award at the Trance Awards 2008 in London and has spun across the globe on events such as Trance Energy and Gatecrasher, Godskitchen and many many more. A few years ago he didn’t own a single piece of studio equipment... Now he’s odds-on favourite to become EDM’s next big breakout and the latest graduate to join trance music’s elite ‘Van Clan’.
He is Sied van Riel...
Out of bed only 45 minutes by the time ClubAntix got the chance to chat with Sied, he was already on his fourth coffee, "I'm not awake until coffee #4, I drink 5 or 6 just to get up early," he said. Whether this was the underlying secret to his success laughing, "hopefully this is what it is!"
His coffee habits have changed over the years, now it's black with just a little bit of sugar and milk, "just for the idea." He's currently "cutting back from a ‘really wrong’ latte," but to get to a solid black coffee may still take a few years....
Apart from weening himself off creamy milk filled coffee dreaminess, the past 4 years the life of Sied van Riel has been nothing short of insane. He has gone from full time work to stopping it altogether 2 years ago to concentrate fully on music. It's this past and the chances he has taken that keep him grounded. If it didn't go this way, he'd still love to be making tunes, although just as "something on the side, would just be for fun. Although the way I am, it would be everything - or nothing."
Playing in Australia a few times now, he's looking forward to the vibe of a club tour. During his last club appearance at the MET in Brisbane, he hopes to again bring back that same "through the roof" energy. Here for the AIRPORT national tour, the thought of appearing in full a Pilot's outfit is a maybe, although he'd be more than happy to arrive via private Chopper. "The would be wicked! Arrive in private jet and then chopper, land on the roof," he laughed. "I'm not complaining, I actually have my first private jet next week." His constant travelling is "pretty crazy" but if someone wants him to play that badly they are prepared to fly him direct, he must be "doing something right."
He humbly explained that has more to do with not being able to get a connecting flight in time. "(I) don't like to fly early. It must be costing them shitloads, but you won't hear me complaining, I'm just up for the experience!" Helicopter or not, he is "always excited about Australia, the vibe, the feeling you get here is different than anywhere in the world. Even in winter, cause it's not minus 10." Feeling the love down under is a part of his job Sied holds dearly. After Trance Energy last year a few friends from Melbourne arranged a BBQ in a park, just to hang out, "I love it." Explaining, "see outside of Holland in Australia, the social life is much better. I live in a studio, you can go to a bar, but it's different, Australia is really cool."
Looking forward to being right with the crowd for AIRPORT, the biggest difference for him will be his ability to connect with the crowd. "You're not 10 metres away or 4 metres up, so I love club events and shake peoples hands." He's heard good stories about the clubs he's soon to be tearing apart, thinking of Billboards in Melbourne; "I have heard that Digweed and Sasha have played there, these guys don't play in crap clubs!" but "I'd still like my Chopper."
Maybe lucky for management and just to be clear, if a mechanical Chopper isn't available, he doesn't want the real one either. "Get that impersonator guy in," he joked "I don't want (Chopper Reed) walking into the club while I'm playing!"
Outside of music, his free time is spent walking his two dogs in the park and occasionally seeing the outside world. Every now and then, he's off to a local bar or fly out to an event and see mates playing. If "one of my colleagues are playing, I just book a ticket and I'm off." Having time away from the tunes however isn't a preferred day. "I hate free time, I just want to be playing. I did the hard work for 28 years, now I just want to play."
"When I play music, I'm a Pitbull! When I play, I love it." Although compared to real life, Sied is a really laid back character, maybe even a little bit shy, "maybe I'm more of a lap dog," he laughed, "a sheep in wolves clothing." If you thought otherwise to look at him (that he was more the wolf in sheeps
clothing), you would not be the first. "I get this often," he said, "with the tats." A little while back, "I met a friends parents, really well educated self employed and they seemed a little scared. They weren’t used to a guy covered in tats! So in the first day there was not a lot of talk." During day two, "I had a conversation with the mother, a psychiatrist, she was profiling me!!"
Sied is testament to the clique: don't judge a book by it's cover. He defines the idea that first impressions should not last, "by the third time," he had showed that "we are not the person we can appear to be," with all the tattoos, you could be lead to believe he's "a gangster or something", although what you might not know, is that every tattoo has extreme "meaning to me."
Remembering an ID&T event recently, if people showed up with the logo tattooed on them to get into the event for free. "It's personal," he laughed, these people now "are married with kids and they're stuck with this tat on them! Think twice!"
His collection started at the age of 14 and stopped at 21 (he's 32 now). "The last one was ages ago," he said, "my Grandmother raised me so I am thinking about a big one in honour of her, I will get that soon." All of his tattoos are of the people and things he holds dear. "If it means a lot to me, I will have a tattoo on my body." Currently on Sied there are 25 or 26 tattoos, all of which "related to my life". His arm holds the memory of one of his best friends who passed away as well as his grandfather and grandmother. On one wrist has the word 'Rolex'. Where as well as owning the watch, it's actually the name of his first dog. There are dream catchers, Chinese symbols that "symbolise me", initials of family members and on his fingers his name, "in case I'm too drunk and forget who I am!"
His deep passions and cheeky sense of humour translates directly into his music. For Sied, it "works like therapy," his music is from the heart, the mind and his person. He turns "thoughts or moments into music, I cannot produce without it." Once put under the pump to make a track he never though worthy, he knew he could not "just pump it out". His music comes from him just sitting "down and try to get the feelings of that moment, or that vibe in the past few weeks. Sometimes dark or deep, weird, minimal, just the way I think at that moment." The sounds he produces "can be aggressive or negative but in a positive way; like sad feelings." It's his ability to "understand them and start to play around with the synths and record. Then make beats, bass lines and meet them up to build around it," can be felt through every beat of tracks like 'Fearless','Minimal Symhony', 'Rush' and 'Sunrise'.
"I'm not a musician!" He admits, "sometimes its a melody in my head it’s hard to get it out as music, so I look for the notes. I can play, but I’m no pianist that has studied for 35 years."
Sied van Riel is an open, honest and down to earth guy. Wondering what else you could ask him, there are always the personal questions that you know are just 'too' personal, except for his passion for certain underpants. They are "boxers," he declares and they "have to be a certain brand!" Quick to attempt to defend himself as a fashion snob, he's also the same with shoes. "If you find the right brand, stick with it!" Working his wardrobe like his music, he likes to have a lot of options, "girls have shitloads of clothes, for every occasion. I'm a bit of the same; buy a lot of clothes, new shirts and pants for every gig. I have shitloads of shoes." There "has to be variety in life." Like the Rolex only being one of his many pairs of watches...
It is this variety, style and humour, the sheep in wolves clothing that makes Sied van Riel as amazing to chat to as the stories that unfold during his sets. He will be back in Australia for the AIRPORT tour spanning Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth during July 2010.
DATES & TICKETS:
Friday July 2nd. Billboards. Melbourne
Saturday 3 July. Secret Warehouse Location - Brisbane DAY PARTY
Saturday 3 July. Gaelic Theatre. Sydney
Saturday 10 July. Rise. Perth
Tickets on the door.
For more info: rise.net.au
Sunday 11 July. HQ. Adelaide