But Lemon8 really made a name for himself in 1993 with his track Model8, and continued this with the huge success of The Bells of Revolution in 1995. For the last number of years Lemon8 has grown in leaps and bounds and is now held in very high regard by producers and DJ's alike.
Firstly where did the name Lemon8 originate?
Well, my surname is Lemon so all I did was adding the number of 8 behind it. There's no particular reason why I did that other than that it sounds well and looked good. Before that I called myself DJ Funkateer as I used to play hiphop and funk. Lemon is my true name though. I do have a slight preference for the figure of 8. It's everlasting. Like the circle there's no end to it.
You're well acclaimed for your work on remixes, but your original productions are also of a highly distinguishing quality. Which do you prefer to do?
I'm very critical of myself. It's still the name Lemon8 whether it's a remix or a production of my own. I like doing both but the difference is in the head. There's a lot more pressure when it's about an original track. You have to come up with an idea, while remixing already starts out with an idea, wich makes it easier in that respect.
What are your thoughts on of the final product of your remix of Nugen - Braaj?
I'm very pleased with it. The guys at Release Records were very patient with me and that helped a lot. The final version must have been my 7th try.
I think the remix is a good example of what I try to capture in terms of layered energy. I'd also like to say that I really liked the idea of remixing for a Canadian label. I've always been a fan of Canadian dance icons like Dennis LaPage, Lime and Trance-X, as that was my main influence for making dance music. Perhaps it has nothing to do with my remix or Release Records for that matter, but it played in my head all the same.
Which producers would you like to collaborate with in the future and who have you recently been working with?
I'm a bit of a loner when it comes to music making. My studio really is an extension of my heart, my head and my arms. The way I make music is very personal and very focussed with all kinds of little habits and methods that makes up the Lemon8 sound. I never share my music with anyone, and no one else hears it until it's on vinyl. That's what probably makes it difficult for me to work with someone else. Another reason why I'm not to charmed about collaborating with others has to do with my fear of making compromises, wich is inevitable. On the other hand that could be the good thing as well. I have mixed feelings about it all. When I should do it, it will be with someone I really like and trust. Not just anybody. On a personal basis I'd like to work with Ivan Gough, Gwill Morris and James Holden, to name a few. I have to relate to them on a personal basis. I also think that it should make an interesting combination and I'm thinking in terms of music here, not the marketing aspect of it. I think you already know what James Holden and Harry lemon will sound like. But Lemon8 & Tiesto, or Lemon8 and Prince, to name a few, should be far more interesting.
With the huge numbers of people attempting production work at homes around the world using various programs and tools do you find that it pushes you as a producer to do more to keep your production work ahead of the rest?
That's an interesting question. I think production in the technical sense is not very interesting. To me, producing is just the means to get to another more important goal and that's the tune, track, song or any other name you wanna call it. I'm not saying that producing isn't important. It is. But the track has got to have some substance to make it really matter. A well produced track is just the packaging, but if the track is shite it won't matter. The idea is more important than the overall production.
To me producing well is important, but only if it serves the track. Sometimes you need a certain roughness to get the song across, and sometimes you want it to be clean and polished for that very same reason. Creativity combined with production skills is what makes a track stand out from the rest.
Where are you set to DJ over the next few months (and on NYE) and are you planning on heading out to Australia anytime soon?
For the rest of this year I will stay in Holland except for a gig in Hungary. So on NYE I will play two or three gigs in Holland. My agency is working on some tourdates in the States and Canada as well as the UK early next year. Hopefully I'll be visiting Australia soon. I love Oz and can't wait to get back.
The internet and forums are becoming increasingly more popular for music enthusiasts. Do you visit forums on a regular basis? And how do you respond to peoples comments, both good and bad?
Forums have their good and bad things. The good thing is that people can really communicate on a global scale about music. It's also a good way to keep up with what's really going on in the music bizz and the people who are actually buying the music. We now don't solely have to rely on what the magazines or the papers say as it's totally independant.
The down side of it all, is that people can misuse it for other or personal goals. People sometimes use their anonimity to get their frustrations out and that's never a good reason to post on a forum. I'm not saying it should be regulated though. It regulates itself as people are not stupid and correct eachother.
When I post myself it'll always be informative, like adding or completing tracklists. Stuff like that. I have my own column on a Dutch website called love2party.nl, so any other statement that I should want to make goes on there. It's interactive, so people can respond. It's in Dutch by the way and it's the most ferocious messageboard that I've yet come across.
Now that it seems to be picking up from its recent slump, what are your thoughts on the current state of the global music industry and where it is currently heading?
The music industry on the whole got what it deserved. For years all they did was to concentrate on the marketing and a fast buck and totally forgot about what really matters: the music and their artists. That's the reason why we see tv-shows like Idols. They ran out of it. And now they try to artificially recreate those icons they had in the '80's. It shows that the music industry didn't learn the first time 'round. If they had invested in the talent that's always been there in the first place, they wouldn't have to do that.
If the music bizz won't return to investing of true talent there's no future for them. Nowadays there's no time given to artists to really develop themselves. I think David Bowie took six albums before he got noticed. There may have probably been 200 potential Bowies in the past 25 years. Who's to say?
Let's all hope and pray that the independents won't fall into the same trap. Investing in talent, not just for the returns of money, but also artistically and personally involved, is the only way to get out of the slump. This is what small independant labels should focus on. If they do, they will be the big players of tomorrow including their self generated superstars. It's a long term plan so it's not very attractive for those who like to make a quick buck, but I think it's the only way.
What is the last non-dance or electronic oriented album you purchased?
I have to think hard about that one. I hardly ever buy dance CD's. What I hear is what I got sent up. I tend to listen to music that's totally different from dance or electronica. Recently I bought a 5 CD box called Mambo. It's got original Tito Puente recordings from the '50's. Usually I stick with the collection I've built myself. Lot's of classical music, jazz and disco. I totally love the soundtrack of 'O Brother Where Art Thou'. All songs about death and hardship but honest music. You really can't get further away from electronica than that. I really can't remember the last electronic oriented album that I've bought.
What are you currently working on in the studio at the moment?
I'm working on some new tracks actually. Just writing down some rough ideas and get some inspiration. It's been a while since I produced an original and one thing that I've learnt over the past years, is not to force creativity. It can't be done. All you can do is to stimulate it. For me that involves listening to music, play some good DJ-sets or find some new sounds and new producing techniques. My studio equipement has not been off for 2 years and all that time I wasn't really able to experiment a lot, so that's what I'm doing now. I have only just learnt how to automate my mixer so that's at least another three records worth of inspiration!
Lemon 8 recently recorded a solid progressive/tribal number in the form of a 'Braaj' remix - Nugen's latest track on Release Records. This release will soon be hitting stores, click below to read the review...
Review : Braaj - Nugen.