Arctic Quest is the Dutch master mind producer behind many big dance floor burners and produces for the creme de la creme in international music.
How it all started
Arctic Quest was born and raised in Dutch city Amersfoort in 1976. Playing piano since the age of 9, his musical interest and talents were already there during his childhood. In the early 90′s, his interests changed. In his younster years he was captured by the beginning of an electronic era and with that the arrival of the personal computer. He started using software like Scream Tracker and Impulse tracker to start producing. One of the first tracks he reproduced to a level that was identical to the original was Masoko Solo – Pessa Pessa
Masoko Solo – Pessa Pessa
“I sampled it to pieces and recreated if. I realised: I can do this. My addiction to producing EDM was born. Ask my mom, she’ll happily tell you about all those late nights with hardcore coming from my room. My parents must have scratched their heads a lot those years haha. But never a word to me!”.
Still, unlike some other producers he wasn’t confident to make it as a professional producer. “Confidence? The confidence wasn’t there at all! It has been a process, a quest you might say. The guys running the record store where I bought my records, DanceGrooves, offered me a job. Over there I could produce more music, learn which music was most popular with the DJ’s and at the same time meet the DJ’s. It’s the placed that has formed me and I have epic memories of that period. It’s been my foundation.
Within short time I was sending out my productions, also to the Dutch big three: Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and Tiësto. They all gave feedback and played my tracks! That was the real confidence builder. It was a great opportunity to start working at DanceGrooves, for which I’m still grateful.”
First official release
Arctic Quest’s first release was a different story. In 1999 the first release, Relic vs. E-Craig – Feels Like Runnin’ was a fact.
Relic vs. E-Craig – Feels like running
No one less than DJ Jean himself signed the track to his iT Records label after a memorable visit at his home.
“I have some special memories concerning that record. Obviously, it was the first. When we (E-Craig and me) finished the track, we went to DJ Jean’s house. DJ Jean’s “The Launch” was number 1 in the Dutch charts right that moment. We hardly spoke a word since he was eating, I think Bapao, so we were just sitting and listening to “Feels like Runnin”. At the end of the track, he knodded “ok” which meant he wanted to release it on his iT Records label.
We knodded “ok” too, trying to stay very, very cool in front of him. Once outside, we jumped and cheered like madmen! People were looking at us and probably wondering “What the hell are those guys doing?!”.”Feels like Running” turned out to be a massive hit, hitting the Dutch Charts and within short notice, also being picked up by Dutch Radio station 538, turning it into their Dance Smash.
“After sending the radio edit, I told my friends full of confidence I was certain the track would be Dance Smash on Radio 538, which means being played on the radio every 2 hours. Since I had no proof or reason to believe this, they were laughing at me and telling me to dream on. Guess what, one week later the record really was Dance Smash!”
Euphoric feelings were about to be stirred up, when Arctic Quest visited the legendary edition of Innercity, with Tiësto and Ferry Corsten playing in a row. He discovered trance music. “Innercity was the first big party I went to. That night had the combination of incredible atmosphere combined with fascinating music, which was totally new to me: trance. Ferry Corsten and Tiësto were playing after each other. The night was simply emotionally overloading, “mayhem” as I call it.
The party even ended up at Sunday’s 8 o’clock news, not for drugs or fights but for the positive feeling. Actually, Innercity gave me trance and it gives me a very special feeling time after time to be playing at such parties myself now.”
A new love and passion was born, and Emiel set foot onto a new path: trance. But before this big change, he used to produce under several other guises, from Relic to Gabriel Crockett.
And team ups like Phantom Phorce, with M.I.D.O.R.. With the last one, he produced a cheeky track called “Do You Watch The Toilet Paper After You Wash Your Ass”. Besides it being a very long track title, one might also wonder what’s the story behind it?
“Our longest title ever! I read a scientific article somewhere, really, about toilet paper. The conclusion of the article was that people who looked at the toilet paper after wiping their ass are insecure. Sounds pretty funny, right? So after reading it I asked everybody if they looked at the toilet paper, and ever since I always look at it myself! Midor couldn’t stop laughing when I asked him and the title for the EP was born.” As you can see, inspiration can really come from the toilet.
“I believe a track works for the fans or it does not, regardless wether it’s EDM, trance, progressive, tech house or techno. Combining styles to create the best possible athmosphere is what counts. I’m also a strong believer now you can only achieve the best by doing what you like most and for me it’s playing and producing”.
Off The Radar. On The Radar.
“In 2005 I left DanceGrooves and started my own online record shop and label Expedition Music. The idea was to have the online record shop processes as automated as possible. Orders came in at my fullfilment partner and they would ship the records out. This way I would have sea’s of time to produce and dj. However, in reality it did not work like this. The shop sucked up all my time, stock management sucked big time. Early 2008 I had to close the doors of Expedition Music. It felt like a big failure and it caused a lot of acid in my system. Looking back, it took me so many years to get the acid out. But hey, here I am. And for that, most credit goes to my hardcore fans. They kept on asking for me to come back. So it’s time to bring it on! And to give you all a big thank you! Love. You.”
Arctic Quest definitely made the right choice. His sound is loved by thousands of fans. A sound that is based upon the same euphoric feelings he experienced while visiting Innercity in Amsterdam, one of the first true EDM festivals, back in 1999. “What I always strive for in my productions and sets is to take people to the next level.”
And he’s a perfectionist: “In general, perfectionists can never live up to their targets, resulting in insecurity. So perfectionism and insecurity go hand in hand, at least with me. I could keep on working on tracks for ages. And there’s always a part in my sets of which I feel I could have done better. Wanting to improve “Renaissance”, Armin’s opening track on Trance Energy in 2005 or “Strings & Guitars” which Tiësto put on his list of favorite tunes of 2007, doesn’t that sound crazy? It’s all about finding a mode in which perfectionism and reason match. I recently found out my fans are that mode. If they like the music and sets I do, that’s really all that counts.”
With that said, it’s obvious this guy is trying to keep his quality high. And boy, did he succeed. Track after track has been supported by the big names, has caused major damage to the dance floors or has been sending the dance lovers straight to a euphorically few meters above the ground.
“There’s no trick involved. When a track is finished I ask family, friends, collegue’s and my fans to check it out. It’s easier than ever to involve my fans in the process. They help me find direction and keep quality high. Their opinion is the only thing that counts and it automatically results in quality over quantity.”
Be sure to keep an eye out for more releases of this flying Dutchman.