Interview with Michael Banel aka Behind Blue Eyes

Author: pr0fane
Date: Dec 10, 2009
Views: 1432

A talk with Michael Abel-Larsen - also known as DJ Banel, Behind Blue Eyes and co-founder of Iboga Records. About his new album with Krusseldorf, the direction of the scene and Iboga Records.


Hi Banel , could you introduce yourself in few words, for those who might not yet know you?
Hi there, Im Michael Banel, I´ve been into Djing since 1988, so more than 20 years of experience. In the mid nineties i started producing and opened a label (Iboga Records, with Emok). Later i started writing music under the name “Behind Blue Eyes”.

Why the name Behind Blue Eyes?
As i was searching for a project name i came across “Behind Blue Eyes” and found meaning and depth in using that name. Since the color of my eyes is blue and the music i write is expressed via my personality.

This is your third album as BBE, “Kisses from the Clouds”,..how did this come about? And what can your fans expect?
People can expect a very personal & Unique sound, a very varied album. I have on the album joined forces with mainly Simon Heath (Krusseldorf), but also a number of other artists like Beat Bizarre, Sun Control Species & Joyce Mercedes. During the recent times i have slowed down my BPM pace and in my DJ sets i have been playing a more cross over techno / progressive trance sound, this has clearly also affected my productions. Together with Simon i have been very determined to develop something new in this direction and i think we've reached a very good result.

You made the first two albums with Rene, the old Beat bizarre geezer,.. how come Rene isn’t part of this album?
Rene stopped his involvement in Behind Blue Eyes in summer of 2007 because he was very tired of the whole thing, he was worn out. And then he got a chance to become part of his older brother´s business and accepted. But he will probably be back writing again at some point, he has been with me in the studio on some occasions and he talks about making tracks more and more these days.

Tell us about you collaboration with Krusseldorf?
I learned about him during the work with our sub-label “Sofa Beats”. I got a demo with the most awesome chill-out music and was hooked on it instantly. We released an album with him called “Smokers Lounge” and he kept sending me demos. One track inspired me a lot and based on those files i created “The world is our Oyster”, and we decided to make a continuing collaboration. We have found that combining our styles has lead to a very unique sound that truly reflects us both. We can never go out playing live sets together though, since he has a very bad tinnitus ear damage. So I'll still be on the road alone.

What gear did you use to make this album? and if you have one, what is your favorite Synth?
We have made the album in three different studios + one track was made in Beat Bizarre´s studio and one track was partly made in Australia. So it has been a difficult process but also one i learned a lot from. A piece of gear i used quite much was the Virus TI polar. I have used that in most tracks for anything from basses to FX.

What is your function at Iboga and In which directions do you see the label heading?
Emok and I started the label some 12-13 years ago and we have tried various constellations along the way. But the last many years we have split the various tasks among him and I. We make all important decisions together, like for instance what we release. Some of my main areas in the office is taking care of daily routines, release preparations, publishing, licensing and economics / book keeping.
The label has become an integrated part of our everyday life, it is who we are, we have put so much of ourselves into it. It is hard to predict exactly where we are heading but i am pretty sure we will remain in the position we have build and go further as well. We have a solid label name that equals quality music from some of the best producers in the field. For me theres no doubt that this kind of music will be available for a larger crowd in the future. For me its about spreading something that people can enjoy, something that people can gather for and they can share experiences, learn from each other, have nice times together. Its mainly a positive story, its about getting inspired. The music is not only for a small underground crowd, its meant for anybody with an open mind to discover and enjoy.

Everyone seems to be doing something Techno/Minimal these days. How about yourself, are you thinking of starting a new project to explore new territories?
I have decided to keep working as Behind Blue Eyes for now. But i have always been interested in many styles / combinations and can easily see myself exploring genres. Krusseldorf and I have strived to make mixture of techno, trance, chill-out and progressive on our “kisses from the clouds” album and i like collaborating in general. I have many new projects / ideas with other artists in the planning but i cant see that ill be using other names for it, well, maybe if its really far from what i do now. Its a very hard work promoting a new name. For me good music is good music, i usually don't mind too much if its this or that genre.

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