Meet The Producer
Before Arjan Rietvink started as a professional mixer in 1993, he had a great passion for listening to the radio stations that played modern R&B and dance music. In the 1980’s it was the only way for a teenager living in the Netherlands to discover new music. Arjan listened on Friday nights to Ben Liebrand’s radio show “In The Mix” and also his annual mixes called “The Grand Mix”. Every Thursday night there was a radio show presented by Dutch radio DJ Ferry Maat called “The Soul Show”. In his show Ferry had an item called “The Bond Van Doorstarters”. In this item he always played a homemade megamix from one of his listeners – and occasionally a DMC mix was broadcasted as well…which was how Arjan got familiar with the DMC mixes. One of his favorite DMC mixes is the Earth Wind And Fire Megamix mixed by Alan Coulthard. Also the James Brown – I Feel Good mix from Sanny X in March 1986. In the late 80’s Ferry stopped his radio show and Arjan was studying electronics in school.
A few years went by until in 1993 the legendary Soulshow returned on the radio. Now that the Soulshow was back and Arjan had built a small bedroom studio, this was a big opportunity for Arjan to start making his own mixes and hopefully to get his mixing skills played out on the radio. The very first mix that Arjan produced himself in 1993 was sent to Radio 538 and was immediately broadcasted on Ferry Maat’s Soulshow!
In that period of 1993-1996, he made quite a lot of mixes and was on the broadcast almost every month. In the beginning he made the mixes on a Hifi video recorder. While playing it could switch to recording and make a seamless edit of something that was in sync with the VCR. Sometime in 1994, Arjan switched to mixing using a PC. Digital sound cards for the PC did not exist in 1994. An acquaintance of Arjan was very handy with electronics and adapted the Soundblaster AWE32 so that it had digital inputs and outputs. This allowed him to exchange music lossless with the computer. Something very special at the time!
In 1995, Veronica (the Netherlands’ most popular radio station at the time) was looking for someone to make the annual mix. Ben Liebrand had stopped and they were looking for someone to take over. The mix was made with the equipment as it was set up in the bedroom studio at his parents’ house.
In 1995 he made the annual mix for both Radio Veronica and Radio 538 (Soulshow). In addition, the mix of the Soulshow was also broadcast on 3FM (Danceteria) and on City FM, where the latter was the leading Amsterdam R&B radio station at that time. Since his mixes were broadcasted more and more on Dutch radio stations, he was noticed by the A&R managers of various record companies. It turned out they liked his work and asked him if he was interested to produce mixes for them. That was the start of more than 15 years producing mixes for record companies. He made many hundreds and maybe even more than a thousand mix CDs for the Dutch CD market between 1996 and 2015.
When it comes to his work for record companies, he is most proud of the compilation CD Mix of the Century that was released in the year 2000 and contained music from the last 30 years of the 20th century.
And of course he is also very proud that some of his mixes were released on DMC!
It was around 1995 that Arjan was contacted by Peter Roberts from DMC. Arjan had send him some CD recordables of his work for the various radio stations. This lead to several releases of his mixes on the DMC label.
Apart from mixing the CD’s himself, he also built a DJ booth in the studio so he could record mixes from other DJs that wanted to release a mix on CD. Many famous DJs came along to mix their CD live from record or CD – such as DJ Jean, Armin Van Buuren and Johan Gielen, to name but a few.
Often, these mix CDs sold over 40,000 units which was considered a lot for the Dutch market at the time. When this dropped to a few thousand, or even less, it was no longer profitable for record companies and mixing also faded into the background. Nowadays Arjan is mainly involved in the online mastering of music from DJs and producers. Via the website ar-onlinemastering.com, customers supply their tracks and CDs that they want us to master. In addition, Arjan also mixes a lot of sound for live streams of major Dutch events and festival organizations such as ID&T, Q-dance and Tomorrowland.
This year Arjan celebrates his 25 yeas anniversary as the owner of his professional mixing and mastering studio.