For the very first time, Ran-D got appointed to create the Qlimax anthem. The creative mind behind delivered with ‘The Reawakening’ a strong and emotional anthem. Time for HardstyleMag to talk him
What do tracks ‘Living for the moment ‘, ‘Zombie’ or ‘No Guts no Glory’ have in common? Yes, they are all evergreens and all created by Ran-D. Whenever a track is coming out of this creative mastermind, it will be surely become a real smasher. With the appointment as this year’s anthem creator for Qlimax, a logical step has finally taken place.
About this special moment, we met Ran-D for an interview to find out, how this special moment felt for him.
When you got notified that you will be responsible for the Anthem – what were your feelings?
Wow that’s already a while ago since it was before this whole Corona period started, so probably somewhere around Jan/Febr 2020. Ofcourse I was really excited to make the anthem for Qllimax, it’s a big opportunity and I have a special connection with the event. Even before I performed at Qlimax for the first time I went to a lot of editions as a visitor, and I just love the show and the vibe around Qlimax, it’s one of my favorite events so ofcourse I was hyped to make the anthem.
And what were you doing that moment?
Well we had a dinner together with someone from Q-Dance so I already had the idea they were going to ask me something. When they asked me if I wanted to make the anthem I said “YES!” immediately. I’ve worked on a lot of anthems, but this one was definitely on my bucketlist.
How did you start to develop the anthem? Did you start with a concept on paper? Or seeking a voice?
Immediately after this dinner I went home and started working on a melody on my piano. I actually made the melody that same night. The whole concept around I worked on later. I also had a type of voice in mind that I would love to have on the anthem, and Q-dance connected me with Charlotte Wessels. She’s such a talented vocalist, and it’s been amazing to work with her. She’s a really great writer and really down to earth. We’ve worked in the studio together on the anthem, and she started writing, and we really hit it off. After a couple of days the anthem really started taking shape.
How long did it take to create the anthem from the first scratch to the final master?
That took quite a while, since I wanted to make something really special, and I knew immediately I wanted a slightly different approach than the usual cinematic break and vocal and still preserve that special Qlimax vibe. Besides this I wanted to incorporate everything that I stand for as a producer, and that includes working with vocals, a lot of kicks and sound design. If I have to guess, I think the track probably took me more than six weeks to perfect, but I’m super happy of what I created togheter with Charlotte. I’ve read one compliment from a fan that really stuck with me because it’s exactly what I tried to achieve, he said: “It’s like experiencing 10 hours of Qlimax in one track”.
Can you still remember your first Qlimax? If yes, which was it?
Oh yes I can very well. It was in 2001 in the Heineken Music Hall at the time. I was still a beginning DJ and I was playing vinyls from my favorite artist back than like Scot Project, Zatox, Techoboy and many more. To see some of them live for the first time was amazing, I’ll never forget that night since it fueled my love for Hardstyle even more.
When a Ran-D decides to create a new track – is there a certain ritual you follow – or do you just start and see where the flow goes?
I always record a ton of melodies, write down themes for a track that I’d like to work with, and create sounds that I like to use in a track. When I start with a track I go through these melodies and themes, and see what inspires me at that moment, and start working. But sometimes it can also be a feeling, something I’ve experienced in my life, or a movie that inspires me for a track. It’s different every time.
You have been part of the Hardstyle scene for many years now and for many, you belong to the biggest names of the scene – but does a Ran-D still have dreams or goals he wants to achieve?
I just want to keep on developing myself as a producer (and as a person), and keep on evolving my sound. This is a never ending process. So that’s a goal by itself I think.
What does a Ran-D do in his spare time?
I love to watch movies and series, play games, and go out for dinner and chill with friends. And travelling and seeing new places is also something I really love.
Currently there are a lot of young producers out there – what would you recommend to them, they should never forget if they really want to become big in the future?
Envision where you want to be in 5 years, be passionate about what you do and work really hard for it!
If you would describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why?
I’m gonna go with a Pandabear. I’ve visited a reserve in China and fed one, and man they’re awesome animals. They look really relaxed and cuddly, but make no mistake, they can be really feisty as well!