Artists of the Week: Rex Mundi
Boy Hagemann couldn't have chosen a more contradictive title to his new track, cause there's so much more going on in his musical world than 'Nothing At All'. This Dutch producer, often residing under the Rex Mundi moniker and providing us the right progressive, trancy beats ever since 'Perspective', has crash-landed himself into the scene. And, lucky for us, he's there to stay.
Boy:"My first cd single was Felix with 'Don't you want me'. Before that I listened to a lot of synthesizer music already, like Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and Synthesizer Greatest. But this track from Felix was different, and had so much energy. I never heard something like this before."
And there it was, the beginning of the beginning. The inescapable beat of dance music had run into the heart of Boy. From then on, a simulated heartbeat would provide his body the necessary life-functions. The interest in dance music grew with every track, and it didn't take long before a young Mundi in the making would explore his own abilities on this. Boy:" That must have been around '95, I think around the age of 15. I made my first tracks on a pc with a program called ScreamTracker. The possibilities were quite limited on that program, but it also forced you to be creative with the things you had back then. Later I bought a monochrome Atari 1040 with Cubase software and a S2000 sampler. I kept using Cubase to this day, but not the Atari."
The first few sketches never really made it to the outside world. But with a little courage, plenty of talent and the right track, Boy snatched up a record deal in no time. Boy: "There was a local radio show that I visited regularly, which featured all the new dance tracks. It was hosted by Gerard Rasschenberg. Once a year they organized a dance party and invited some big dj's. One of them was Robin 'Jaydee' Albers. I just finished a new track that day. I braced myself and stepped up to him with this new track. He was kind enough to listen to it and after a minute or so he offered me a record deal!" No time indeed.
In 2001 and 2002 Boy had his first 2 releases, under the Rex Mundi moniker. They remained safely underground though, and the big success wasn't there until he released 'Perspective' and 'Desillusion' in 2007. In fact, not a single Rex Mundi or Boy Hagemann track made it to a release. So, what happened in those 6 years? Boy:" I didn't stop making music, but I did some commercial projects, mostly with Robin Albers. It wasn't a very successful period, but I learned a lot. I also went to college that period and discovered another hobby, webdesign. So I kind of divided the time and energy to both hobbies."
But as soon as 'Perspective' was there, one of the hobbies got a bit out of hand. The track was hammered by Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz and numerous other members of the DJ elite, either played out in a mash-up with Ronski Speed's 'The Space We Are' or flying solo with its dark progressive feel. Rex Mundi's reputation as a dancefloor destroying tune producer was a fact. Boy:"Before 'Perspective' I was in doubt of the whole music thing actually. I was not sure if anything I did was good enough. When I made 'Perspective', it was like a confirmation that I can make something special and I was back on track. From there I just did my own thing and everything went very well. "
The Mundi sound became a known and loved one. With 'Desillusion' and the latter 'Sunrise In Ibiza', 'Ravage', 'Leaving Paradise' and 'Passage In Time', he had the foundation for a successful career in music up and ready to build on. Thanks to his diverse, yet characteristic sound, Boy found a gap to fit into the top producers in trance and progressive land. Boy:"There is always a melodic and dark edge on the Rex Mundi sound. Every track is different in its own way, yet I tend towards a melodramatic sound, but not in a way that makes it too obvious or predictable. And of course there is the deep hover sound which I really love. It can bring so much energy to a track and balance it."
Since his discovery by Robin Albers, Boy hasn't only been feeding his own back catalogue, but also collaborated with other producers to feed theirs. And though Boy's Rex Mundi discography claims this alias is a joint venture of him, Robin and Johan Cyber, non of that is true. Boy:"Rex Mundi is just Boy Hagemann and no one else. I have collaborated with Robin Albers and Johan Cyber a lot, but never under the Rex Mundi alias. The tracks I did with Robin are mostly for Jaydee and for The Sunclub. With Johan I usually work under the Ohmna alias. The three of us have also been collaborating under Split Second. When we work together I usually control the sequence software and the keyboard. We then all crave for that special sound and we search for this until we are all satisfied with the end result. Robin and Johan both have unique abilities to add a really nice emotion or atmosphere to the music. And they have tons of experience with making things work for the dance floor."
Luckily, making things work for the dancefloor is a shared passion and Boy knows perfectly well how to handle this himself. With a fulltime job and music as his extensive hobby, Boy has a busy schedule. Busy enough to be too busy for a DJ career right now. Boy:" I think for now I'm more of a producer than a DJ. It is definitely something I aim for, but I think I spend just too little time on dj'ing and listening to other records to really go for it. I still have a fulltime job besides my producing career and I just haven't got the time to do it all. But who knows what the future brings!"
The great glass ball of the future could also possibly show the incorporation of real instruments into his EDM, digital-driven tracks. Boy:"Personally I like both real and digital instruments and music. For me it is the most simple way of making music, because all you need is a pc or mac and a keyboard really. And I also like dance music as much as every other style, but I think I grew into the dance thing when I started to make music. So in a way I'm always getting back into it indeed. I have some projects aside that are not dance, but it is always a digital form of music. And I don't have to be afraid of getting tired of this electronic music, because there is so many cool music out there and it's an endless source of inspiration. Maybe in future projects I will dive into recording real instruments, but for now I have not yet seen the end of my capabilities."
Nothing At All
But for now, it's the present time that counts. Boy's first vocal Rex Mundi track, in collaboration with vocal guru Raz Nitzan, is finally seeing its release on the Coldharbour label. With powerful vocals by Susana and a bass-driven, emotional instrumental outwork , 'Nothing At All' has been haunting the dancefloors for weeks and weeks in a row already. The track was a major hit on Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance radioshow, and was featured on 'A State of Trance 2009'. Boy:" I recorded quite some vocals in the past, but not for Rex Mundi. I recorded this track with Raz Nitzan. We kind of made the melody of the track together, so the credits should also go to Raz for his hard work. I'm very happy with the end result. The vocals perfectly fits the track. It was really great working with such a talented singer like Susana. I hope I can do more recordings with her in the near future."
Speaking of the near future, there's plenty of new, exciting stuff coming up for Boy. Boy:"I have just finished a remix for Armin van Buuren and I think it will be released soon. I also did a remix for Mat Zo and this one also will soon be available. And you can expect more Rex Mundi tracks coming up this year so just keep an eye out for Rex Mundi!" And that's exactly what we plan to do.