Lenzman Open Page interview

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In 2010, one commonly spoken name in drum & bass is that of the mighty Lenzman. This statesman from The Netherlands has gained momentum as a producer in the past few years with this year looking to be even larger. With his forthcoming and highly anticipated release on Metalheadz due to drop this spring, along with a full music video, Lenzman is setting himself apart from the rest of the pack.

Making music since 2003 and steadily building a name for himself over the past three years, Lenzman continues to release quality drum & bass on some of the top labels in the industry. It all didn’t start with DnB for him though, with strong hip hop influences, and even a background as an MC, this young man knew making music was what he wanted to do.

“Even before my drum & bass days I just knew I wanted to do something with music. I mean, when I first got into drum & bass in the early 90s I was actually already making music: as an emcee in a hip hop collective! Back then, I was always checking out our producers techinques picking up bits and pieces whenever I could. I gradually lost interest in hip hop and got more excited about drum & bass in the mid to late 90s and just wanted to get involved.

“Now at that time you didn’t have the same possibilities with software-only production and I just couldn’t afford to get a proper setup. So I was limited to messing on other people’s set ups, again picking up what knowledge I could along the way. Not until something like 2003 did I get my own set up sorted out. That’s where things really started, but I think that I also learnt things from my earlier experiences with music. I got more serious with things in 2007 – 2008 when my things slowly started to get picked up by a couple of labels.”

With a unique sound and a constantly evolving production quality, it’s no wonder the inspiration to his music comes from within. Lenzman proves that sometimes trusting your gut is the way to go when writing a tune.

“Well, there’s a whole list of artists past and present that I could run through that have inspired me musically throughout my life. These days I make a lot of my music on ‘gut feeling’. I don’t know how to read notes etc, but I know what feels right to me. Which is really what guides me when I write music. Call it my inner emotions or a collection of my musical influences throughout my life. But whatever it is, it works for me!”

The forthcoming release due out on Metalheadz, Open Page b/w Coincidence, is featuring two highly sought after vocalists Riya and Jo-S. These three have worked together before putting out major tunes such as “Emeralds” ft. Jo-S, on Calibre’s Signature imprint, and “Bittersweet” ft. Riya out on Shogun Audio earlier this year. With the base of the tunes created by Lenzman, and these stunning original vocals added into the mix, it’s clear why this release will be another winner.

“It’s great to work with vocalists instead of having to use samples for vocals. For one, you get the feeling you’re actually writing a REAL song! Also it’s inspiring to work with other people on a piece of music, just because they might look at things from a different angle. I have no talent at all for writing vocal melodies so it’s great to hear what they come up with, somethings it can be totally unexpected. Which makes me vibe off of them and vice versa.

“For instance with Open Page, Laura and I had been working on it a bit, but it wasn’t that great yet. Then she sent me what would become the draft for the current vocal and it really inspired me. I totally changed the song and turned it into what it is now. That wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t sent me the vocal.”

Both tunes featured on the forthcoming release also have very different vibes to them. Open Page ft. Riya is a deep, soulful sound, and dare I say “baby-making” feel to it, whereas Coincidence ft. Jo-S has more of a rumbling, dancefloor friendly, darker undertone. This is common for a Lenzman release as he bases a lot of his production around his current mood at the time and appreciation for variety of music.

“It all depends on my mood, generally I’d say I prefer what you call ‘baby-making music’. For me, I just like music that speaks to the soul. But I love any sort of tune as long as it’s got a vibe I can get into. And I’ve always liked making a bit of everything and not sticking solely to one particular style or even genre. It keeps me sane!”

In typical Metalheadz fashion, and the need to really stand out among the crowd of great dnb tunes coming out these days, there was a professional music video shot for “Open Page”. It features the vocalist Riya singing the melody of the tune with some slick edits and an overall clean job on the production. It was a big deal for Lenzman to have a proper video based around his tune, and the experience could only be described as surreal.

“It was pretty unreal to do a video, didn’t think it was actually going to happen until I turned up at the set! There was a few months preparation etc. Then we did a proper two-day shoot, had quite a big crew of professionals and friends working hard on it. It was just an amazing experience. Adding a visual layer to what you’ve already done musically is a bit of head trip! But I’m pleased with the end result.

“The main thing for me was to do something that is of a certain level that you don’t see very often in drum & bass, and hopefully we have succeeded! I want to give a massive shout to Goldie, Chris and Paul at Headz. And of course Charlie, Simon, Parveen, Jack, Tania, Matt, Gemma, and the rest of the crew for all the hard work on the video. Massively appreciated.”

With 2010 already kicking off with a major bang for him, Lenzman has a heavy production schedule slated for the next few months, with no slowing down in sight. Big labels, big collaborations and even a cheeky off tempo tune due out, this Dutch producer has been busy lately:

“Haha, always. A few things I have coming up in the near future: First off there’s Open Page / Coincidence of course. Also coming up is a 12″ on a new sister label to Critical called Modulations. After that a 12″ on TeeBee’s Subtitles. I’ve done a track with Dutch homeboy Switch for a compilation album project on CIA, Tuned In Part 2. I’m doing another 12″ for Headz, Platinum this time, with Masquerade and an untitled different tempo thing. Also doing a few bits with DRS, including one for his album. And also doing a few remixes. So basically I’m keeping myself busy.”

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About Author

Colin Steven co-founded Knowledge Magazine in 1994. He also runs a book publishing company called Velocity Press specialising in electronic music and club culture.

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