Ben Liebrand (NL)

Liebrand has produced artists such as Forrest and MC Miker G & DJ Sven and remixed tracks by artists such as Michael Jackson, Salt N Pepa, Sting, TLC, Fun Fun, Tavares, Bill Withers, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, George Aaron, Rick Astley, SWV and Phil Collins. He has also charted under his own name, an example of which was Ben Liebrand's version of "Eve of the War." His radio show "In The Mix" was the first non-stop mixed show that aired on Dutch National Radio in 1983. Early listeners were Armin van Buuren and Tiësto, who have cited Liebrand as their main reason for entering the music business. "In The Mix" also spawned an annual yearmix with 100+ tracks called "The Grandmix." The first series of Grandmixes aired from 1983 to 1992 and later versions from 1999 on are also released on CD. Liebrand began his DJ-ing career in 1976 at the age of 16 with his mobile set-up, "The B. Liebrand Audio Studio", playing parties around his hometown of Nijmegen. Two years later, when he became old enough to frequent nightclubs, he moved from mobile discos to a nightclub residency, playing in "Juicy Lucy" nightclub (1978–1979). At this point, he was still letting one record play into another without beatmixing; however in 1979, he began a residency at "The Kwien" (pronounced 'The Queen') nightclub (1979–1980). During this time, Liebrand learned the art of mixing from Kwien resident Huib Luiten. At his longest residency to date at "The Keizer Karel" (1980–1988) played a five-hour set each night after the club first opened. He continued DJ-ing with his sister Rita Liebrand, at "The Hippodrome" Hennef, Germany (1990–1995). His last residency was in the club "Disco Inferno" (2000–2004). Ben is still active as a DJ having specialized in doing key-mixing on 4 Pioneer CD players simultaneously. On 1 April 1983, Liebrand was hired by the Dutch radio station Radio Veronica, producing a weekly individual mix show called "In The Mix." This one-hour show played at 2am weekly, and ran from early 1983 to November 1985. From that radio show, regular features such as the "Grandmix", a yearly mix of all important dance tracks of the year, was developed. Taking a full month to organise, mix and record, the first Grandmix was broadcast at the end of 1983, but technical complications almost ended this event before it started. Arriving at the Veronica Studio, Liebrand discovered that he had forgotten the second of the two tapes on which the Grandmix '83 was recorded. But he happened to have a tape of a just finished "High Fashion Dance Mix" with him, and it was with that tape that the second part of the Grandmix '83 began. In January 1984, the 'Grandmix '83' was broadcast in its entirety."Grandmix" developed into a trademark event for both Radio Veronica and Liebrand, running until 1992. In 1984, Liebrand also started making shorter remixes for the Friday evening 'Curry & Van Inkel show', later the 'Stenders & Van Inkel show' (both on that station). His "In the Minimix" was always played at "two records past nine" (twee platen over negen) and formed an important part of the popular radioshow. These minimixes were either three/four track mixes (never exceeding fifteen minutes in total) or remixes of popular chart records at the time. Many of Liebrand's remixes, released as singles, including Bill Withers "Lovely Day" and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" were premiered as 'minimixes' on this radio show. In the case of Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight," however, the mix was completed and then taken by Liebrand to be part of a mix showcase at the DMC Mixing Championship Finals in London. Liebrand explained "Then I put on my remix of Phil Collins, in front of those two and a half thousand DJ’s. And I told them: "If you want to see this released? Call Virgin first thing tomorrow!" That resulted in Virgin being called by two and a half thousand DJ’s, and this got the track signed and released by 1pm the day after." After producing the final "Grandmix" in 1992, Liebrand felt frustrated with lack of feedback that his mixes were gaining. "You didn’t know what people thought of it. 30 days fulltime working on the Grandmix in December, ten to twelve hours a day mixing. On 31 December it was finished, and the last years when I entered the broadcast studios, everybody was busy doing something else, not really interested, and only the technician who was on duty, sat with me in the broadcast room. I plugged in my gear, pressed play around six o’clock, and after an hour I disconnected it again, and took off. Having sat there for one hour, solely with the technician, it was the biggest anti-climax ever. This could be compared to making a piece of art, walking up to a bridge and throwing it in the river, without knowing the people’s opinions about it."
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Previous editions –
    2019, 2018, 2015 & 2013

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