Artist of the Week: OhmnaNovember 6th, 2008
To some Dutchies, the name Johan Cyber might ring a loud bell. To others, Ohmna is the only word that connects them with Producer/DJ Johan Groenewegen. Johan entered the music industry by organizing some of the first house parties in Holland. Besides that, Johan also started his own label: Cyber Records, that released tracks from several new talents and grown out big names nowadays . In 2007, Johan decided it was time to fully focus on producing and Armada Music took over the Cyber Records label. With success: the Cyber Records imprint has released several quality releases and Johan has been taking the scene by storm with his progressive, dreamy ‘Ohmna’ productions. With his new duo pack ‘Satori Waterfalls/Faith’ coming up, it’s time to get to know Johan a little better.
Made for music
An undeniable passion for music is what made Johan fit the scene like a custom made jacket. With the first house movement in the early 90′s, Johan picked up a trend and made sure the Dutch party lovers could enjoy this new sound as much as possible. He organized the widely-known ‘Gaultier Junior Modern Dance Parties’. Johan: ‘I think if you ask around in Holland, a lot of people still remember these parties as being very special. We were very fortunate to have massive success by bringing DJ’s Laurent Garnier, Carl Cox, Sven Vath, and other big names to Holland in the early days when the scene was still very young and experimental.’
Besides bringing the people party pleasure, he also felt the need to give new talent a chance to spread their sounds and started Cyber Records. Johan: ‘I started ‘Cyber Records’ in 1994 with the goal of finding great new talent in the dance music scene. Again, I was lucky enough to build a very successful team of artists, who were creating some of the best progressive and trance tracks of the moment. For example: Cyber had releases from artists like Armin van Buuren, Chab, Yahel , Split Second, and Jaydee.’ One of the biggest successes on the label was Armin’s breakthrough hit ‘Blue Fear’. Of course, all of Johan’s own productions, under his ‘DJ Cyber’ or ‘Johan Cyber’ guise were released there as well. After more than a decade of successful releasing and management for Cyber Records, Johan thought it was time to do what he loved doing most: producing. Johan: ‘In 2007 I made the decision that I really wanted to focus on my own productions, so the label was sold to Armada Music. The sale of my label has given me the time to fully focus on producing my own dance music.’
Sharing the sound of Buddha
This change quickly proved to have been a good decision of Johan, as he was well up for the start of something new: Ohmna. He created a whole new sound. A deep, progressive and trancy sound. ‘Ohmna’ literally means ‘sound of Buddha’ and therefore also links to the spiritual touch in their sound. Johan: ‘I believe that everyone’s music reflects his or her personality and spirit. There is no question that my goal with Ohmna is to take people to a higher place. During the past few years I have spent a lot of time in the Far East, especially Bali and Thailand. The cultures in those countries are very powerful and full of so much positive energy. So as I have become filled with that positive energy, I seek to put that energy into my music through Ohmna and convey this feeling to the listener. It is really about sharing an experience of the highest level. My music is of course about having fun and dancing, but it is also about inspiration and appreciating every minute of our precious life.’
Ohmna’s success came in the form of ‘I’m Lost’, ‘People get lost’ and ‘The Sun’ll Shine’, all in the characteristic style we know from Johan. One hard to describe. Johan:’ I find it difficult to categorize my productions in one particular style. Of course a lot of them are progressive or progressive trance. But I have a number of productions in the pipeline right now that cross over into different categories.’ One thing’s for sure: they fit in any big dj’s set, as his productions have been hammered by anyone from Armin to Tiësto, Markus Schulz, Sander Kleinenberg and Nick Warren.
The near future
Even though Ohmna has played at numerous gigs worldwide, from Ibiza’s Space, Rotterdam’s Ahoy venue alongside Carl Cox to Berlin’s Love Parade and Israel’s super club Hoaman 17, he still has some wishes and dreams left. Johan: ‘At this moment I am working on a new Ohmna artist’s album, scheduled to be released in 2009. I also hope to make music for the film and video games industry.’
If we have a closer look in the future, we find out that Johan is currently busy working on several tracks. Johan: ‘At this moment we are finishing the ‘Ohmna vs. Matt Adams feat. Nurlaila – It’s Your Life’ track which is going to be launched soon. This is a very soulful, uplifting house track that is sure to move the dance floor and bring a smile to people’s faces. I am also planning the release of ‘Ohmna feat. Nurlaila-Key of life’ in the near future. Currently, I am also in the studio with the guys from 16 Bit Lolitas to produce some amazing tracks!’
November 24th out on Armada’s Cyber Records imprint is Ohmna’s ‘Satori Waterfalls/Faith’, a duo pack of beauties that have the deep progressive sound, lush vocal effects and laidback beats. Armin van Buuren already featured ‘Satori Waterfalls’ on his ‘A State of Trance 2008′ album, where it proved to have definite impact. Johan: ‘I produced the ‘Satori Waterfalls/Faith’ pack together with Boy Hagemann aka Rex Mundi. We are really excited about this release and hope that people love it as much as we do.’ Speaking of love, it’s love that matters most to Ohmna. Johan:’In the end the most important thing is that people feel the love that we are trying to convey.’ We’re surely feeling the love, Johan.
Exclusive Mix (November 2008)