Rachel Rixham Interviews Eller van Buuren


Rachel Rixham catches up with Eller to find out where the inspiration for a musical career really comes from and whether we can expect any further collaborations with his brother  Armin.

Eller van Buuren (alias “XLR”) is the guitarist of Bagga Bownz, a band from The Hague (The Netherlands) that combines rock and hip-hop.


BACKGROUND

  • Rachel Rixham:
    You and your brother Armin are both heavily involved within the music scene, can you tell me how your love for music began, was this passion encouraged by musical parents?
  • Eller van Buuren:
    Yes, it was very much encouraged. Armin and I grew up in a pretty big, but very noisy house. My father likes to play his music quite loud, and as little kids, although we both had to go to school next day, we weren’t very much bothered with the music he played downstairs. That went from Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to ambient to classical music and everything in between. We always say that this was the first impulse of music we got.

    My parents have always stimulated my music career. They’ve encouraged me when I went for auditions to the Rockacademy in Tilburg and Conservatory of Rotterdam. While some parents want their children to become doctors or lawyers, my parents always stood right behind me in my choices.  As long as I was happy and knew what I was doing.

  • Rachel Rixham:
    In your youth was there any particular artist you looked up too, and wished you could be?
  • Eller:
    As a guitarist it’s pretty much obvious that you’ll get to listen to guitar virtuosos like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Van Halen, but nowadays my taste of music is more spread to different styles and goes from heavy rock-music to light jazz music, and everything in between. There’s no specific artist I look up to today, but if I’d had to name one, I’d say John Mayer, Matthew Bellamy (Muse)
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Do you think your sound today has been influenced by that artist in anyway?

  • Eller:
    Yes, the music I listen to, although being quite diverse in style, I always try to bring into my music, too. But isn’t that what all artists do?
  • Rachel Rixham:
    When did your passion for the guitar begin, and how long was it before you had bought or received your very first guitar?
  • Eller:
    I started playing when I was 8. It was my dad’s guitar hanging up on the wall and I just asked my mom: “I’d like to learn how to play that”. I played that one first, but after about two years I had saved up all my pocket money and bought a steel string one. –Not to mention my parents financed three quarters of it– It’s was a Yamaha, I still have it. Until I was about 14 years old I haven’t seen a electric guitar in my life. Just on television. So for me having an electric guitar was only meant for famous people. And then I bought my first one. I felt this was the beginning of me being a rock-star. Now I have 22 guitars and still don’t feel like that rock-star, haha!
  • Rachel Rixham:
    We all have to start somewhere can you remember the first melody you learnt to play on your guitar?
  • Eller:
    I have no clue. I started to learn how to read and play from sheet music, so you just start with the first string, then the second and so on. When I learnt my first chords, I played stuff from Nirvana, like most people do when they just start playing.
  • Rachel Rixham:
    You also model and have your own clothing range can you tell us more about this and how you became involved in modelling?
  • Eller:
    It started when I did a band photo shoot with my band Bagga Bownz. The girlfriend of the bass guitarist helped us out a lot and she happens to be a model herself http://www.gabrielariedi.com. She said I looked good on photos and she introduced me to agencies. At first it felt a bit awkward doing it, but after a while you start getting used to it and it’s actually great fun! A good distraction from the music sometimes as well. Sometimes you need that.

    The clothing sponsoring with Gio-Goi has nothing to do with the modelling. It’s just clothing that suits me very much -it’s not my clothing range by the way- Gio-Goi approached me, after I played at Armin Only. They gave me a shirt saying “play from your fucking heart”, because they said that was what it looked like. I got more in contact with them and now I wear it all the time, even though I don’t have to. But like I said, it really suits me and it is made of very high quality –and I’m not saying this because I want to please the guys at Gio-Goi or anything!-

  • Rachel Rixham:
    If we asked you to choose 3 of your favourite items of clothing from your wardrobe, which 3 items would they be and why?
  • Eller :
    I have a cool shirt from Gio-Goi with Jimi Hendrix on it. I’d put my green Gio-Goi jacket over it and wear my Levi’s pants. Secondly I’d go for my Hugo Boss suit, which I bought especially for the wedding of my brother. Then probably my “Rock ‘n Roll models” T-shirt from Gio-Goi again, with a white “Everything else is noise” jacket and my Kyuitsi pants. I love my Adidas or my Vans shoes. I always wear sneakers.

PRODUCTION & METHODS

  • Rachel Rixham:
    Can you tell us a little more about Bagga Bownz?
  • Eller:
    Bagga Bownz is a Dutch band, that combines rock/metal and hip hop. The cool thing is that we bring several musical ‘religions’ into one. That’s what I like. The energy of the music is amazing, as well as the melodic vibes and then again the grooves that we tend to bring. It’s only 5 people in the band, but we are that kind of band your neighbours would hate. I like that, too. We are a international minded band. People in the US, Asia and Central America like our music very much thus we have travelled to some countries, as well as we are being played on the radio there.. Indonesia must have been one of our greatest experiences so far.

    We are currently working on our second album and I’m very excited about this one. Some songs are more rough, whilst others are sweeter than you would imagine from a band like us. We’ve done some cool supports for bands , like Papa Roach, Bloodhound Gang and so on. We’ve also done a collaboration with my brother Armin on his new album “Mirage”. In the middle of the title track it breaks down into a typical Bagga Bownz groove, which you can compare to “Ready or Not”, which is to be found on our first album “Done with the Pain”. I think it’s VERY cool of Armin to be open minded to other music, like ours.

  • Rachel Rixham:
    For all those people who haven’t yet heard your music, how would you best describe your sound and what tracks can people check out for a teaser of Eller’s work?
  • Eller:
    I’m what they call an all round musician and as you can see I’m very active in different levels of music. All styles borrow from each other, musically. You can find elements of classical music in trance, but also in metal. Good music to me is music that has the right energy, and I don’t want to be ‘a prisoner of my own style’, as quoted from my brother, haha! There’s a lot to be found at YouTube, or MySpace http://www.MySpace.com/ellervanbuuren.
  • Rachel Rixham:
    You listen to a wide array of music genres, from blues, country and metal. What style would you say is your biggest influence when you’re producing a song?
  • Eller:
    Depends on what kind of music I’m making. There’s no such thing as a ‘biggest influence’ for me. I use all styles in my music. For instance, in the new track I did with my brother, which is a typically trance song, you can hear influences from great guitarists as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, who are rock artists. So that’s trance, rock. But you can hear the bluesy feelings in my music as well. But let’s not get into the technical details, as most people would not have a clue what I am talking about…
  • Rachel Rixham:
    In addition, do you reserve a time of your day to compose or do you just wait for that inspiration to kick in?
  • Eller:
    I don’t have a lot of time, which bothers me. I don’t give myself enough time to really compose, although that is the best thing I like to do, apart from performing. I use to put ideas on my iPhone when I think of something, but I think there are more than 100 ideas on it now. Music and lyrics. It’s a shame that I never find the time to finish them.
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Tell us about your production routine, is there any special things you implement to encourage or muse you?
  • Eller :
    The production routine I have with Bagga Bownz is very simple. We have our own studio (http://www.nnl-online.com) and whenever me or the engineer Wong jr. find the time to work on a track, I go there and we just plug and play.
  • Rachel Rixham:
    You teach at the Herman Brood Academy in Utrecht, Holland, about how to stand out in the music industry. You’ve also won a national prize for your graduation thesis about ‘Music and Internet’ Can you tell us more about this?
  • Eller:
    As an artist you can’t get around the Internet today. The illegal downloading has good and bad sides. In my thesis I wrote about this and what you should do as an artist. I wrote that thesis about 5 years ago, so you can imagine how everything has changed since then. But nowadays I try to follow most of what is happening on the world wide web. I like talking about it with my students at the Herman Brood Academy. You can’t deny the Internet. I think the music industry made some big mistakes, but there are still enough opportunities for an artist to gain fans. Actually, in some ways artists and bands can earn more fans.


DOWNTIME

  • Rachel Rixham:
    Best thing to do when you are not modeling or playing/producing music/teaching?
  • Eller:
    Is there something else?
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Favourite music festival?
  • Eller:
    Java Rockin’ Land, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Most inspiring band at the moment?
  • Eller:
    Muse, John Mayer, Deftones, Dream Theater.
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Do you cook, if so what’s your speciality?
  • Eller:
    I always cook when I’m at home. When my friend Chris Jones comes by, I always make him his favourite dinner. There’s no English name, so we call it “Potato Different”. I always make my mums recipe, which is very healthy and tastes nice.
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Favourite location you’ve been to so far?
  • Eller:
    Difficult one. I’ve seen so many great places and venues. It depends on the crowd, the venue itself. I’d love to go back to Argentina. The crowds are amazing there. But Australia was also one of the best experiences. But then there’s Indonesian crowds. Real music loving people. Uhhhh… as you can see, I have no favourite. Every place has it’s own memory.


FUTURE & SPECIAL

  • Rachel Rixham:
    What does Eller have in store for his fans in 2010?
  • Eller:
    Gigging, gigging and gigging. Did I mention gigging?
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Can the Trance fans expect any further collaborations with your brother ‘Armin’ in the near future?
  • Eller:
    Yup! Check out the new album “Mirage”!
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Where can everyone back at home check out everything Eller van Buuren?
  • Rachel Rixham:
    A special message to all those fans, friends and close companions who have helped you within your career?
  • Eller:
    I heard loads of artists thank their crowds for all that they’ve done for them, so it is a kind of a cliche to do the same. But f*ck it, I’ll stick to that cliche. A big “THANK YOU”. I owe you guys more gigs…
  • Rachel Rixham:
    Awesome stuff, thanks for joining us today, we wish you all the very best in 2010 and beyond!
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