Starting of his solo career in 2009, RAM immediately hit the jackpot with the most talked about track of that year “RAMsterdam”. Supported by all the major trance DJ’s it became the Tune of the Year on ASOT and it was pronounced “best track of the year” by Armin van Buuren. The biggest track of RAM since “RAMsterdam” however saw the light in October 2013, but the reason for it to be written was a very sad one. The loss of his beloved wife Amelia was the reason for this track, “RAMelia”, to be in collaboration with vocalist Susana. That won lots of awards world wide and with 8 consecutive plays on A State of Trance, voted Future Favorite with a staggering 61, 9% of the votes (Most votes ever @ ASOT and Armin already calling “RAMelia” an all-time favorite.
How did you get in touch with electronic dance music – and especially Trance music – in the first place and how did you get into DJing and music production?
Well I became a dance lover from the first moment in 1989 in a underground rave at a warehouse. I fell In love straight away. And after 3 years I wanted to dj. I got some little gigs until I went professional in 1995 in Holland’s first full on trance club. But then I was still in a duo then, I’m a solo artist for 6 years now.
At that time you didn’t need to produce, just being good dj was enough. So after 5 years in 2000 we had our first record and started to bring out slowly some tracks. I was into Trance from the first moment on. It was love at first sight and that will last forever!
How would you describe your own music, what is distinct about it?
I would say melodic energetic and sometimes emotional. Especially the last 2 years were very emotional because of the sudden death of my wife. So I put all my emotions into the music. Now I’ve started making also the more tougher and techy/psy/uplifting stuff. I like to make different styles to keep diversity from 132 bpm till 140 bpm. And I think my melodies are a bit different than others. I was producing also more with Orchestra’s and long complex melodies instead of a 8 bar ones.
You emerged into the Trance scene with your track “RAMsterdam” – pronounced “Best Track of the year” by Armin van Buuren and ranked #8 in the Tune of the Year Top 20 on ASOT in 2009. Your track “RAMelia” was ranked #2 in the Tune of the Year Top 20 on ASOT in 2013 – it took the #1 spot on the Beatport Trance charts and even reached the #15 spot on the Beatport main charts. What other tracks, remixes or mix-sets would you recommend to someone that is not yet familiar with your music?
Yes 2009 I went solo and hit it straight away with the big track ‘RAMsterdam’. It was crazy, I never expected that. And RAMelia is of course a story on its own. That would be the number track in my life.. For the rest I had 16 top tracks now so there is a lot to recommend. My RAM series tracks are of course pretty famous RAMore, RAMnesia, RAMplify, RAMazing, RAMbition my remix with Signum of JOC – Big Sky my rework of Gareth Emery – Concrete Angel, the Grotesque track with Alex M.O.R.P.H, my album singles with Susana, Christina Novelli and many more and the album Forever Love. And you can check my SoundCloud for some mixes from ASOT, EDC, FSOE and other special mixes https://soundcloud.com/djram-nl too much to choose
What is on your agenda for the near future and what are you currently working and focusing on?
Currently focusing on my brand Grotesque, that we’re doing shows with in NL & Ibiza and host stages at some of the biggest festivals. We also have our label Grotesque Music & the weekly Grotesque radio show. On December 12 we organize the Grotesque Indoor Festival with the celebration of the 200th Grotesque radio show. Then the album singles will be released on the label and just getting all remixes for the album done. I’m also working on the new album as well with again some exciting new collabs, so there is plenty on the way and coming up next year.
Looking back on 6 highly eventful and equally successful years since the release of “RAMsterdam”, what were the best and the worst gigs you ever played and what were the funniest things that occurred during any of your performances?
For me anything is great as long as the vibe from the crowd is there. I played for 80 till 80,000 people… it’s just all about the vibe small or big doesn’t matter. You need the chemistry with the people to have a great night together. Worst gigs are the ones with shit sound system and no vibe… but I’m glad that I didn’t experience that a lot ☺
As far as the crazy funny things are concerned; some things are better left unmentioned lol but I’m always pretty excited if the crowd is enthusiastic, so one time I was standing on the booth but it was very small so I kicked out the cdj from the booth and all went quiet..
You live in Amsterdam, the capital city and most populous city of the Netherlands. What can you tell us about clubbing and nightlife there? Do you have any nightlife related suggestions for first-time visitors?
I’m actually not very enthusiastic about the nightlife here. It’s all house & techno so for me pretty boring and also I don’t have the time for it to go out, because I’m always away or enjoying a weekend at home with my son..
But Club Air & Escape and Trouw are probably the best to go if you want to do something. For trance you have the one off parties in different locations that are good ones ☺