These days big-name DJs typically play Australian festivals, not clubs – and they tour in summer. But Dutch tech-trance superstar Richard Durand (real name Richard van Schooneveld) has a treat in store for Aussie fans this winter. The DJ/producer, last here for Godskitchen 2011: A Trance Odyssey, will be heating up venues around the country. Yet why brave our off-season when he might be soaking up Europe's warmth? "It's just when I have time and I can do it," Richard laughs. "It depends on my tour schedule, actually." It helps that he enjoyed Godskitchen. "It was really good." It's early morning in Richard's Amsterdam hometown and he admits to just awaking – and consuming a Red Bull.
Richard, DJing at 21, emerged on the scene in the mid-2000s. He issued early singles, including Make Me Scream, on Terminal 4. Tiësto championed him. And so Richard remixed Tiësto's tracks, among them Break My Fall (featuring BT on vocals!). He reached out to '90s identity Skin (from the alt-rock band Skunk Anansie) to record vocals for 2008's Weep, subsequently picked up by Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto.
Along the way, Richard showed himself to be an adept remixer. He's recast Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars, the original a huge hit in Australia, as well as The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, not to mention Fragma's '90s classic Toca's Miracle. In 2009 Richard upped the ante with his debut 'artist' album, Always The Sun, on Black Hole Recordings. He'd also take over Tiësto's Black Hole series In Search Of Sunrise, starting with 2010's South Africa edition. Richard offered two major projects in 2011: his second album, Wide Awake, and In Search Of Sunrise 9: India. There's more this year. He has just aired the "really special" In Search Of Sunrise 10: Australia. Another studio album, Richard Durand Versus The World, the culmination of successive EPs, will come later in the year.
Richard was voted the world's No. 59 DJ in DJ Mag's poll of 2011. In the accompanying profile, he describes his style as "techy, trance, trouse". 'Trouse' is, of course, a term coined by Tiësto, meaning trance plus house. But, as it happens, Richard isn't feeling, let alone playing, it. "Not trouse!," he laughs. "That was a mistake – and I didn't say that, actually. DJ Mag made it up." Made it up? "Sometimes they write extra things. I'm really dedicated to trance – and even more now because house is growing as hell. I don't like it that all the [trance] DJs are chasing the music now because house is the big hype at the moment. Everybody's scared to not be booked anymore because they don't play house – and I didn't want that. So the last year I played more trance, and played a little bit harder than I usually do, so now I'm feeling Okay with what I do!" Richard jokes that DJ may as well have 'quoted' him as playing "jazz and blues, a little bit of R&B..." The irony is that much urban music now sounds trancey – and Tiësto has worked with Three 6 Mafia. In the meantime, R&B producers (that's you Dr Luke!) are emulating the Euro-trancers. Richard proclaims this to be "good", even if it's not for him. Still, he wonders if many DJs aren't just following a trend.
In downtime Richard loves watching films – but the last one he saw in a cinema was (possibly) a Chronicles Of Narnia instalment with a pal. "It was a little bit cheesy," he rues. Richard didn't realise he'd bought a ticket for a kids' flick. He's more likely to watch movies on the plane. "There's too many to remember – are they really good or what? – because the screens are not that good... I'm not sure what the last one was, actually."
Richard, his technical prowess much praised, promises to preview material on tour. "I will play loads of new songs," he says. Then there will be music for longtime fans. "I always like to play some old stuff." And he's prepared for Australia's chilly climes. "I'm really looking forward to play there."