Artist of the Week: Orjan NilsenMay 14th, 2009
The breed of young Scandinavian talents seems to be spreading quickly. The endless wave of quality trance just keeps coming, whether it’s from Sweden, Finland, Denmark or the lovely Norway. Representing this trance movement since 2004, Orjan Nilsen has been flowing along with his own proggy, techy and trancy soundwaves, right onto a successful career in dance. The summer of 2009 belonged to him, with ‘La Guitarra’ as the ultimate beach, festival, and club track to celebrate the good life. But there’s more than just a one-hit-wonder to this boy. While the tracks keep coming, so is the inspiration. Orjan:”I’m gonna hit the second half of ’09 with a bang!” Let’s go and find out what he’s up to.
“This genre just tickled my fancy!”
Born in June 1982 in a little place called Kirkenes in Norway, saw Orjan developing a strong love for music. Believe it or not, but as a little kid of only one years old, he started playing the drums. Nine years later, it was the keyboard that became his new object of affection, and stole away his time for many teenage years to come. But there was more, for Orjan also discovered that the melodies he played on his keyboard had a lot in common with dance music. And so, a new chapter in Orjan’s life began. Orjan: “I think it was around the time I became a teenager. I had always been interested in music and this genre just tickled my fancy as it made me feel good and, cheesy enough, got me into a state of trance.” And trance was exactly the genre that did it for him. Orjan:” The fact that it was both rhythmical and melodic and that you were able to be the boss of everything! Bass, drums, synths, pads, strings main lead… In other words: everything. It just had that special something some genres have.” Taking the experience he has already gained from the drum and keyboard lessons, saw Orjan experimenting with producing. The lifelong practice of these instrument eventually turned out to be more than welcome to turn his ideas into actual sounds. Orjan: “! I probably wouldn’t have been able to make the melodies in my productions half as good if I didn’t know my way around a piano. And for drums, just listen to my productions, I probably have more fill-ins than most of the producers out there, trying to vary beats a bit. Whether that’s a good thing, you’d have to ask the people.”
“Magical, more or less…”
Aged 16, Orjan bought his first synthesizer, quickly leading to the acquisition of more technical matters in the producing game. More than 6 years later, thing were finally put in motion as several unofficial remixes and a first few productions caught the attention of the trance.nu community. Orjan: “I think it was around 2003 when I were confident enough about my productions, when I started trying my tracks out in clubs, this is pre-signing though. I got really good feedback on a couple of my tracks and people really seemed to enjoy them, and request them to the DJ’s. Then I started thinking: ‘maybe I’m on to something’.”
Thought played in several radioshows and by DJ’s across the globe, nothing got signed. But Orjan was keeping his hopes up high, and got rewarded for his determined mind less than a year later. His track ‘Red Woods’, released in the ‘Forest E.P.’ on Captivating Sounds with a versus version ‘Blue Woods’ of Danjo & Styles, was the official start of Orjan’s career. The trance scene was dumbstruck by the sound of this young talent. But probably the one most hit by this success, was Orjan himself. He still looks back upon that time in amazement. Orjan: ” Magical, more or less… Everything was new, just hearing a track played by Armin, Tiësto etcetera. It gave a sort of a fulfillment after many years of hard work. I started to get fans, getting recognized and getting gigs, the things I’d dreamed about for years. And getting to know those things for the first time is an absolute immense feeling, I can tell you that… So I kind of envy new signed upcoming producer, for having that feeling .” No need to envy them Orjan, you’ve already been there!
“This melody has both a piece of me and him in it.”
A few track releases followed. ‘Beat Design’, ‘Spawns’ and ‘Amytal’ were only just a few of them. But the biggest one was yet to come. Bittersweet though, that Orjan’s summer tune ‘La Guitarra’ wasn’t just a ‘lucky shot’. In fact, it had nothing to do with luck, as it was dedicated to Orjan’s deceased brother Ernst, who died of cancer in December 2007. ‘La Guitarra’ grew out to one of the major summer tracks of the summer after, as if destined to be the consolation for losing his big brother and friend. Orjan: “At that time I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to sign the track, but it would have been stupid not to. This way it was broadcasted and could give my brother a place which I think he deserved, backing me up and supporting me for all those years. That it became a summer-hit and became as big as it did, just got me up as a producer and an artist. I had a lot of messages from people who told me how much that track meant to them, given the story behind the track, and just one or two messages like that, would have been enough for me to feel that I’ve accomplished something with a track that emotional. ‘La Guitarra’ will always mean a lot to me, even if it was ‘just another summer tune’ for some.” A mixed feeling is what ‘La Guitarra’ gave to Orjan. When we ask him if he thinks he’ll ever top the success of the tune, he contemplates the effect of a hit. Orjan: ” Honestly? I hope not.. not in that way. But if I can make tracks that people really enjoy and can be seen as a ‘hit’? I have a lot of music and emotions still in me, and I feel I still have a lot to give.
So I guess in some way, the answer is YES!”
“there might be a couple of surprises in store for 2009!”
Plenty of inspiration inside, plenty of determination to get it out. Plenty of talent to come up with ideas for a good tune, and plenty of skills to actually produce it. Orjan Nilsen’s got plenty of good stuff ahead. With tunes such as ‘La Guitarra’, ‘Vivida’ and ‘Woodchunk’ behind him, he’s prepared to spread more of his characteristic sound. A sound that ranges from banging tech-trance to guitar-kissed progressive, yet still marks Orjan’s style of producing. Orjan: “I would say it’s ‘melodic with a big beat’. Or trance with an attitude if you like.”
Even though in the past few years he’s been pouring it all out under his own name, 2009 might just see a revival of his ‘DJ Governor’ alias. Orjan:”The main difference I think is that DJ Governor is more ‘pure’ trance. It’s not too complicated and I really wanted to keep a sort of old-school feeling to that moniker. You can say that I ‘feel’ when it’s a DJ Governor track. Haven’t felt a track to be DJ Governor for a while, but… there might be a couple of surprises in store for 2009!”
When it comes to gigs, 2009 is looking bright as well. Orjan:” Well, there’s a lot going on at the moment. I just got back from Moscow and a place called Miass in Russia. It was absolutely amazing and the crowd was immense! I’m playing at Global Gathering in Poland, Creamfields in Ukraine and hopefully a tour in Asia and Australia this year, so I would say it’s going great!”
“People better be on the lookout..”
Yes, the title says it all. Orjan is brewing some delicious productions. The first two to be served to you, are ‘Moving Mojave’ and ‘Bloodtrain’, two heavyweights out on the Soundpiercing imprint. Orjan: “Those two are made because I had been on tour in many places around Europe at that time, and I really got the clubbers-bug after that! I wanted to make tracks that made it impossible for people to just stand still and listen, I wanted people to bounce and go wild. I hope I somewhat succeeded in doing that with this E.P.” We think you did, Orjan.
Besides these two releases, there’s much more to look forward to. Orjan: “Without giving away too much: reviving some old monikers for one, and of course I’m working hard to have my own artist album out this year. So people better be on the lookout, cause I think I’m gonna hit the second half of ’09 with a bang!”
For more info, check Orjan Nilsen’s website.
Listen to Orjan’s exclusive 1 hour mix here!
Check out this video of Orjan playing ‘La Guitarra’ in Moscow last weekend!