Everything developed very logically, I took one step after the other and reacted according the results. First of all was my strong will to make a living through music. This came to me after I learned to play the guitar and experienced that to make music is an ambivalent thing. You play something and the instrument responds with sound. This sound effects the environment you are situated in and this environment (depending on where you are) starts giving musical feedback. This meant more to me than just making music. And from the very beginning I was interested in a breed of music which is now called "Ambient." If you wanted to make music in the 70ies the first thing you had to learn was how to tune your instrument (especially when you were a guitar player like me with nothing but a tuning fork). The only way to do this was to use the musical directions of this time. So I started with "Beatles Complete" (cough!) to learn about playing chords and then moved over to classical music and after that remembered Cool Jazz music which was frequently played on the radio when I was a kid. From this time on my bible was "the Real Book" with all the Jazz Standards inside and I learned to play solos on the guitar with the "Kirchentonarten" (don't know what this is called in English... you know... Lydian, Phrygian etc...)["Kirchentonarten" literally translates to "church tone art", which by the examples of lydian and phrygian, probably refers to formal music modalities (as opposed to the ancient Indo-European languages of the same names)]. At about this time I started to compose and my first "song" was created by using the precious Revox tape recorder from my father to record some bird sounds and play first with guitar and alter with my friends sitar along the overdubbed and noisy tape.
Given the choice I would love to have been born 15 years later and would have started making music by recording natural sounds of the country side with a DAT recorder, sample them and play along these sounds with two fingers using Cubase Audio and some analog gear.
Don't get me wrong, but I could have lived very comfortable without having learned "Beatles Complete" (loosing a lot of friends because I sung along my "chord progressions" at that time) and going mad while trying to tune my guitar properly (this was the most useless 1/2 year of my life).
Then came first gigs with the first band and the first 10,--DM fee. Afterwards the first album "Romantic Warrior," the second, the third and then... "Techno": the first Maxi-Sequential-a collaboration with DJ Criss as an advisor (until today the best advisor for Techno-Dance I ever had). He convinced me to use one of my older tracks (from about 1986) which nobody wanted to have before I released it as a "Chill-Out" track on the B-side as "The Mission/Sonne." Then another Maxi followed and I started to produce music with Pascal (F.E.O.S) and so on. My "production possee" was growing but I was still not able to make ends meet through music and had to deal with A&R managers who tried to convince me what good and what boring music is. When I finished producing I went from one label to another and tried to sell the tracks. Suddenly my output was getting to immense and nobody wanted to release our music any longer. At this time I was producing together with Non Eric and Pascal for "True Colours" and the same thing happened again. No one wanted this track. Eric and me were toying with the idea of producing our own label, but we didn't have the money and we were not quite sure who would sell our records. But... after waiting for an answer from several labels for a long time we just started doing the pressings ourselves and managed to sell the 500(!!!) copies, This was our first limited edition of Maxis.
We did 500 only because we were still interested in getting a licensing deal with bigger labels. After that, Non Eric and me discontinued our collaboration. He was more on an Ego-Trip but I mainly wanted to keep the label to develop better possibilities for all the people I was working with. The breakthrough came with a telephone-call from DJ Criss who worked at Boy record shop in Frankfurt at that time: "Come down to Boy and meet Stefaan from Music Man... Oh no, I'm just producing... Come - he's important, perhaps we can sell True Colours, Deltraxx and Limelight to him... Alright, but if it is not important I'll kick your ass."
It was important - Stefaan listened to the tracks, complained that True Colours was too commercial (!) but liked the other tracks a lot and promised to get back to me. I waited and waited, finally after giving up I received an unexpected fax from a guy called Lieven from N.E.W.S. (Music Man distribution) and he suggested licensing without advance. I called and told him my most favourite story: No way without advance! He confirmed me to release the stuff on my own label and they would distribute it. that was the way it started... They supported all of my musical ideas and never complained or tried to discuss with me about my music. Now the time for my 'Ambient' music had come. Long term dreams waited to come true... the beginner: "Silence" together with genius Ambient advisor Dr. Atmo. At this time he was the only guy who was also very deep into 'Ambient" music like me. None of the other musicians, Djs and musical advisors really understood our way and philosophy. We produced Silence in the summer of '92 and since then tried to sell it to other record companies but again... nobody wanted it and nearly everybody had it on their desks. I was thinking a lot about doing the CD myself but I was scared because I didn't have enough money and finally asked how many copies NEWS would take. They took 320 copies and this helped me to just break even. Silence was gone within a very short period of time. We were the first label in Germany who released a full length ambient cd.
Our definition of Trance "Hardtrance" was a also very successful and culminated in the "4Voice" project. Other labels recognized that there was something new going on and that the people on the dancefloor liked it a lot so they copied our style and commercialized it. This was the sign for me to personally stop with this kind of music. My ambition was to discover something new and to lay new tracks in music. It was never my intention to do what everybody else does...
The "Sub Label" gives musicians who work together with me the possibility to release their own music without running from one label to another discussing their music and begging for advances. The "World Label" was necessary because I wanted to work on a worldwide "Ambient" idea and collaborate with people from many different countries to enhance the 'Ambient" music.
I'm sorry to put "Ambient" in quotation marks all the time, but for me in "Ambient" music, everything is possible and the word "Ambient" does not match all the musical possibilities we have within the music we do nowadays. It's important that you understand "Ambient" as more than one musical direction. It can be Dance ("The Fires of Ork"), Chill Out ("2350 Broadway"), Jazz ("Harmonize," "Air"), Classical ("Silence"), Ethnical ("Sad World") and Experimental ("Alien Community") or simply all kinds of music. I think that the main reason for the success of "Ambient" music is that you, the listener, are getting more and more open minded and that pure structured beat and form oriented music of other musical directions becomes boring after a while.
With Ambient we are able to make on the one hand more complex and intelligent music which is mainly dedicated to the environment we are living in and on the other hand express and transport deepest emotions from us to you, our listeners all over the world.