INTERVIEW: SYNTH.NL

By: Jorge Sergio

Michel Van Osenbruggen is synth.nl. He is very interested in Electronic Music and synthesizers as well. With AeroDynamics, his first album, he mixes the speed of racing cars and aero-jets with the giddy sounds of his keyboards.

Hello Michel… Thanks for your time... ? How did you start your interest in electronic music?

A very good friend of mine introduced me to electronic music. He had some Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis albums. I loved the sounds I heard. I studied electronics back then and got fascinated with the fact that you could produce such nice sounds with electronics. I bought my first synthesizer in 1990 or so and started collecting them eventually.

I played around with my synthesizers to understand how they worked, but never made any music. I just had a very busy job and even started my own company later, so there was not much time left for hobbies. End 2005 I suffered a burn-out and was home for a long time. Only then I started recording music and in 2006 I decided to start producing the AeroDynamics album, but it is still hobby for me.

Let’s talk about your music. The Electronic Style is evident... How is your electronic music... Do you classify your music in a specific style or School?

Well I try not to stick to a certain style. To be honest I actually don’t know much about music styles anyway. I have no musical background whatsoever. I only had one year of organ lessons when I was 10 years old and actually didn’t like it back then. So I just do what I think sounds nice. You will definitely hear influenced from the 80’s synthesizer music in my productions, but mixed with more modern elements. I make my music primarily to relax by, and I hope it will have the same result on people that listen to it.

AeroDynamics is your first album, published by Dutch label Groove Unlimited. Did you spent a lot of years to compose and record all the pieces?

I worked about one year on my AeroDynamics album. Mostly during 2006. But is was not released until October 2007. I also started some new projects in the mean time. You will hear more about them in the future I hope.

How did you contact Ron Boots and Kees Aerts fron Groove Unlimited?

Actually that was all quite relaxed. I wasn’t really looking for a label at that time. A friend of mine pointed me out to Groove Unlimited, but I’m a bit shy so I didn’t contact them at all. Later I coincidentally met Ron at a synthesizer meeting that I co-organized and there we talked a bit about my musical adventure. Ron was interested and I though Ron was a nice person, but I still didn’t do anything with it.

Later I went to visit his studio, I think to buy a synthesizer from Ron actually. Again we talked a bit more. And then he asked me if I brought my music with me on CD, but I didn’t. Luckily I have everything on my server, so we downloaded some tracks. He listened and he said right away that he wanted to publish it. I was really surprised, but also honoured about that and we had an agreement to release the album very quickly.

This record was influenced and inspired by airplanes, cars and aerodynamics theories... Isn’t that?

Yes you are right. I have been a car fanatic and Formula 1 fan for as long as I can remember. But during my involuntary military duty I served in the Dutch air force, where I was a mechanic on F-16 fighter planes. I got education on aerodynamics there and since then I have always been fascinated with the aerodynamic aspect of both race cars and airplanes. I like to stick to a them on an album and tell a story. You will see this in the future on my other albums as well. Much more to come ?

But, as far as I know, you have participated in other musical project before AeroDynamics...

No there was nothing else before AeroDynamics. That is actually my first project. After AeroDynamics I did a track called Synthology for the Analogy 3 project. A compilation album that Groove Unlimited released on the same day as my own album. The concept of Analogy 3 is that you make a track with only analog synthesizers. And that concept appealed to me a lot. So that was my second release.

Taking a look to the synths in your studio... Your collecion is really fantastic. It’s evident that you have a big passion for all kind of keyboards!!!!

Yes. I’m quite a collector. I just love the fact that every synthesizer has it’s own character and unique abilities. A lot of people ask me if I really need all those synthesizers to make my music and off course I don’t. But I have more hobbies. One is producing synthesizer music and the another one is collecting synthesizers. And I just started a new hobby related to this as well. I just started to build my own modular synthesizers from building plans I found on the internet. Back to my electronic roots.

And, do you prefer analogic or digital synthesizers?

I like them both. Analog synthesizers sound very warm and alive, but some sounds you just cannot produce with them. Digital synthesizer have their own strong abilities as well. So I have no preference.

Do you use virtual synthesizers?

Yes. Especially for things that are very timing critical. The great thing about software synthesizers is that they are synced to the millisecond in my sequencer. My drums and percussion for example are mostly software based. Here also I like to combine them. On my tracks you will always here a combination of software, analog and digital synthesizers. I this way I try to create a unique own sound anyway.

What about the electronic music in the Netherlands?

Well there is a lot of electronic music off course, like trance for example. I think that is very popular in the Netherlands. But the kind of music we tend to call Electronic Musicis a very small portion of it. But I think it is also because the bigger labels are not promoting it. I’m sure there is more people out there that would like it when they hear it, but that is the problem. They don’t get to hear it on the radio or TV. I think that is one of the reasons I decided to make my own music, because I couldn’t find what I was looking for any more. After I joined Groove Unlimited I did discover some nice artists I didn’t know of before. So I’m catching up now. And trying to do better promotion to get my own music out there. But that is very hard.

Do you have some favourites electronic musicians of bands?

Yes. I especially like Jean-Michel Jarre. He has always been my biggest inspiration and he is a person I would love to meet some day. I love his older work up till Oxygene 7-13. I also like Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Art of Noise, Jan Hammer and some more.

Are you a fan of the Ferrari F1 team?

How did you guess? Yes, I have always been a Ferrari fan. Not only the F1 team but the brand as a whole. I love the design of the cars, but even more the engine sounds they produce. That is also why I decided to use that sounds in my music. In my office at work I have a big collection of Ferrari modelcars (1:18) and I go a lot to Ferrari related track days. There I also recorded the sounds I used on my album. And I just have to visit a F1 race once a year. Some day I hope to own a Ferrari myself as well. A boys dream.