Ram Boon, the man behind RAM & Grotesque
Written by pepo on August 7, 2016
Grotesque stage at Electronic Family
On 23rd July took place one of the major trance events in Amsterdam, Electronic Family. I arrived late to EF, my main stage was Grotesque, so I was right on time for RAM’s set and stayed later for Pure NRG (G. Ottaviani + Solarstone) and the closing with Neelix, was really expecting some nice psytrance to end the day.
I was supposed to interview Dutch DJ RAM, but destiny wanted that my mobile phone stayed in London, where I was the week before visiting my sister. All my contacts and important stuff which I use daily to communicate with the world were only possible with my mobile phone. The interview was temporarily out of question.
It was nice to catch up with the trance family and the weather was good, even some sunny rays pouring down on us. It was really warm. RAM was cheerful and playful, although he looked a bit tired. He took a water-gun and splashed some water on the crowd. His set was great, with some beautiful tracks like ‘Anahera’ from Gouryella and lots of uplifting and dancing ones.
Pure NRG was indeed pure energy, I danced like crazy and then this moment came they dropped ‘Otherside’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers, I was amazingly surprised. The whole set was really good. I was happy I arrived still on time to meet my friends, dance my heart out and enjoy that precise moment in that precise place. Destiny can be perfect in such creative ways!
I really enjoyed the closing with Neelix, even when it was time for him to stop the crowd went a bit crazy, asking for more! One more track, people amazed. I must say I was expecting more psytrance, but he showed skills in taking the crowd with him, something rare for being someone so young, I was quite impressed. Time was up, it was time to go back home. Then it was time to walk, while meeting my friends back, seeing the happy faces of the people, together in the middle of the forest. Love was taking some serious uplifting in my heart.
After Lumi, the month before EF, I was really looking forward to be here and enjoy to the max. With the loss of my phone and after a whole day feeling really sick, it was obvious for me that all I needed was quality music and the warmth of my friends. For this reason I sort of missed the half of the day and didn’t meet many other trance lovers, because I’ve stayed always in the same place. But oh, well, I guess I was at the right place because I had a great time.
Meeting the man behind RAM & Grotesque
After EF and later on that week I recovered my phone and was able to communicate with the world again. We arranged an interview in Amsterdam. It was a grey, rainy day and we were supposed to meet at Vondelpark, emblematic from the 60’s love and flower power generation, a piece of green paradise within the Dutch capital city. The weather was not really suitable for a walk in the park or even to walk down the streets. The sky was getting darker and we finally arranged to meet at his home.
I was somehow nervous about meeting him personally in his own territorium. After EF and researching about the man behind RAM and Grotesque, I was quite impressed about who Ram Boon really was. I’ve read some really interesting interviews online about him and also checked out his FB page (for the links check at the bottom of this article).
And there I was, sitting next to him on the couch at his apartment. He appeared to me as a down-to-earth guy, typical Dutch non-nonsense style, open-hearted and calm. He poured some tea for me in his little kitchen, and I couldn’t help thinking how unique this moment was; in the intimate atmosphere sitting next to this amazing and professional DJ and producer; so kind, humble and easy-going. There was no star-allure or fake pose in him. I felt welcomed and comfortable. His house decorated with simplicity and minimalism, with a huge Buddha statue in the middle of the living-room as a main object. From a wall across my eyes, hanged a big photo of his beloved wife Amelia, which I couldn’t stop staring at. I felt this sudden feeling of emptiness within the walls; sensing the spores of the life of a widower living with his son.
We had a long talk, about different topics, not all related to trance music. I was so caught up in the conversation that didn’t record it. He was really kind to give me a listening preview of a future track and I even had a first glimpse of something psytrance-ish brewing up!
He has also been featured in the book Dutch DJ’s by Anthony Donner.
RAM, owning his unique sound
Ram Boon is a Dutch Trance DJ, better known as RAM; with an extended career in the music business, first major hit, ‘RAMsterdam’, which brought him huge success. After five other successful ‘Ram-tracks’, ‘RAMelia’ (tribute to his beloved wife, who passed away in October 2013) brought him to Trance heaven, with major support of fellow DJ’s. It reached the #1 of top 100 ASOT; the timing was perfect.
He started back in 1995, as one of main trance pioneers, mostly known from playing at Amsterdam’s legendary club Trance Buddha. Together with his friend Bas Abels they formed the DJ’s duo Bas & Ram, playing in huge festivals such as Defqon, Dance Valley, Mysteryland, Trance Energy, Sensation, Qlimax, etc.
In 2009 he took the challenge of going solo, after 14 years of successful career. He created his brand ‘Grotesque’, together with Patrick Pijnenburg (PT Events) spreading some necessary winds of change to the established trance industry at that moment. The whole idea behind it was to become a focus for quality trance music, young talent and innovation.
Grotesque became a trade mark for big parties and festivals, hosting its own events and participating with its own stage and resident DJ’s in all major electronic music festivals in the Netherlands. PT events is the organisation behind Grotesque, which twice a year organises a major indoors festival, next one will be at glorious Maassilo in Rotterdam on 10th December 2016. For further information and tickets, check out here.
His sound is unique; With RAMelia he showed the world how music can relate to the most pure feelings within one person’s sadness and pain. With heart-breaking, ‘goose bumps’ voice from Dutch vocalist Susana, he did what he felt closer to his heart and soul. It was time for uplifting, baby! RAMelia will always be a unique jewel in trance uplifting world.
While the trance music industry was plagued by the commercial virus of EDM, people were already saying that trance was dead, especially uplifting was ranking in unpopularity. RAM, loyal to his feelings and emotions, with the knowledge of a strong background and experience, was absolutely convinced this was temporarily. He continued doing what it was closed to his heart; he remained loyal to his sound. His fans were grateful. Trance was more than alive.
2015 was a big year, his first solo album ‘Forever Love’ came out and it was released by Black Hole Recordings. A whole year touring and with many parallel projects, such as his radio show ‘Grotesque’, broadcasted in different online stations, also here by TER (Friday evening, 9 pm); remixes, new releases but most of all the whole concept of building up a platform for DJ’s with his Grotesque brand.
At the moment he is quite busy with new gigs, next stop it will be Quest4Trance – the Beach Edition on 13th August, then later Connect Ibiza with an Open-To-Close-Set and Summerlake in September, In Trance WeTrust (during ADE) in October and many others to come, and of course amazing Dreamstate in California in November, something really to look forward to!
With more participation in big festivals with his Grotesque stage, such as the 100% Trance Classics Weekender Trance Nation Festival on 23th and 24th September, with his old successful duo with Bas Abels, Bas & Ram. It’s clear that DJ RAM is ready to take over the summer as first. Quite busy with his label, Grotesque Music, we have already been tempted with some new releases such as the remix of his Forever Love track ‘Elijah’ by Sean Tyas and also a remix of Human Resource’s ‘Dominator’. He also recently released a summer compilation of breezing hits, ‘Grotesque Essentials – Summer 2016 Edition’, mixed by RAM and James Dymond.
Grotesque Music as label is a prolific base for talented DJ’s, with just appeared new track ‘Eadaoin (U Know)’ by Ciaran McAuley, all releases and the compilation are available at Beatport.
Trance Beatsch, a perfect formula
Last weekend, Saturday 30th July, Beach Fuel was again the main dancefloor to hit on a dry sunny afternoon. With Grotesque Events, Trance Beatsch, a trance on the beach concept which has already left its mark some months ago, back in May. With this new edition, in a summer sphere, in always cosy and familiar Beach Fuel, I was invited to assist and, oh yeah, I did have a blast.
We previously arranged with my lovely trance family friends, most of them coming all the way from Germany to be here. Was amazing to meet some people I haven’t seen for a while, especially after my short stay at EF the week before.
A great trance party, in my opinion, relies on different pillars, starting from a good vibe sphere, great quality music played with passion and emotion – especially those DJ’s who know how to feel the crowd – and of course, a good organisation behind, always ready to make people feel safe and in an intimate environment. The family feeling, let’s say.
All these ingredients were present this day. I didn’t make it to the B2B between Dutch DJ’s Rhun and Marc den Heijer but I was on time to support DJ Allen Watts. He lifted up the vibe with a perfectly good combined warming-up set, which brought us massive to the dancefloor. With the members of Trance Family Germany, party was full mode on.
Scott from Allen & Envy (UK) was on his own this time; he showed us great talent while putting all his heart in his great set. I think at this point of the afternoon/night, the high vibes were so intense that we all knew this was going to be an amazing party.
The main dish was Dutch DJ Sied van Riel, a really warm guy with great sense of humour, whom served us an awesome set full with beautiful tracks. For me cherry of the pie was ‘Born Slippy’ from mythical Underworld, which reminded me long times gone of my youth, the so called Generation X times.
After Sied, the power tandem composed by DJ’s Ruben Verhagen and Carolin, with a successful teamwork, gave an amazing and powerful set. With highlights such as The Tribe by Vini Vici (one of my favourites), jumping back and forward until the end. Together they are dynamite.
Exhausted, happy and most of all, with this huge feeling of togetherness we left the venue. I left with the pure sensation of knowing that the power within Trance lies in hand of initiatives like this one, in which you experience a happy trance family feeling from start to end.
After all, that’s what it’s all about, sharing precious moments with the people you care and love.
Trance, the universal language of feelings translated into music, beating faster than the rhythm of your heart.
Links for interviews with RAM:
http://www.partyscene.nl/interviews/159619/trance-verlies-en-weer-doorgaan-gesprek-met-dj-ram (in Dutch)
https://tranceunitedblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/ram-opens-up-about-ramelia-and-the-impact-it-still-has-on-him/ (In English)
http://www.fashion-concert.org/sobytiya/intervyu/dj-ram-ram-boon-music-and-my-son-take-all-my-time.html (In English)