The originally Picture got together in 1977 and started jamming with various musicians. It wasn’t until 1979 that the classic lineup of Rinus, Laurens, Jan Bechtum, and Ronald van Prooijen came together. Jan came first and as they auditioned singers, Ronald, who they all knew, decided to step in and audition. After one session, Jan, Rinus, and Laurens decided Ronald was the man, so the classic Picture was born. Henk van Antwerpen discoverd Picture at that time. Henk signed them to the label WEA. However after six months , Picture felt this label were trying to steer them in a pop direction and quit the label to sign with Backdoor Records, a low budget label of Phonogram with the labelmanager Ton v/d Bremer..They started gigging and throughout the Netherlands. Later they acted as support act of AC/DC, Saxon, April Wine and Rose Tattoo.
The original line-up recorded their debut album Picture 1 and their second effort, Heavy Metal Ears and after that Daimond Dreamer.in 1980 and 1981 respectively. As a bunch of young kids, they didn’t know much about the realities of recording. When the album came out, none of them liked the sound quality, they found the demo better. As they grew in popularity, they went in to record Heavy Metal Ears and it was much the same. It wasn’t until they were a little older and wiser that they really got their sound in the studio (thanks to Jan Bechtum) with Diamond Dreamer. However, after touring trough Italy and Germany again, Ronald had left for personal reasons and they found Israeli singer, Shmoulik Avigal. Not only was the recording much better done, but Shmoulik had a different and some say, more powerful voice. Many say Diamond Dreamer was the band’s best album. At that time Picture went to Israel to gig in one venue for one week.
Touring was a hit or miss prospect. The record company did not want to put up enough money to really get behind the band and some great opportunities like touring in England with Twisted Sister were missed. This was the moment for their manager Henk van Antwerpen to q1uit the Picture business, to concentrate on a other hardrock band Vengeance (CBS records) and Emergency (BMG/Ariola). Despite all, Picture developed a large fan base covering much of Europe and South America Mexico, Venezuela etc. Its a shame that royalties from those countries were never paid by the Backdoor Label.
Band consensus confirms their best gigs were touring with Saxon while the worst was when they played with Rose Tattoo, during the Heavy Metal Ears period. They were not happy with the road crew, plus they were more popular in Germany than Rose Tattoo and some of the band felt they were sabotaged.
After recording and touring with Shmoluik for the Diamond Dreamer album, he suggested they add a second guitarist to fatten their live sound and Chris van Jaarsveld was brought in. Though he was a technically proficient guitarist, he just didn’t gel with Jan and things went downhill. Then Shmoulik got in a petty argument with their manager Henk van Antwerpen and was fired from the band. About this time, Jan had enough and quit for personal reasons. To fill in the gaps, a new singer, Pete Lovell was recruited along with a second guitarist, Henry van Manen. This album was slicker than Diamond Dreamer and the two guitarists significantly altered the heavy sound of Jan Bechtum for a more technical groove that sort of worked, but started the trend for the final albums that veered away from the Picture sound. Around this time, Laurens could not take the rigors of touring or the stress of all their management troubles while supporting a wife and twins, so he called it a day.
From that point on, the only remaining original member was Rinus. He soldiered on for three more albums, Traitor, Marathon, and Every Story Needs Another Picture. Many described them as going into hair metal, very commercial and with anonymous songs. Rinus is particularly disgusted with Every Story Needs Another Picture, as it was an album forced by the record contract and it is rumored the whole album was recorded by studio musicians and minimal participation from him.
As of mid 2008, a permanent lineup was established with Jan Bechtum, Rinus Vreugdenhil, Laurens Bakker, Rob vanEnkhuizen, and Pete Lovell. They are currently playing throughout Europe to very enthusiastic crowds. A limited edition live album was recorded at various venues and was released by the band. Plans are to go into the studio in early 2009 to record a new CD with new songs, two of which appeared on the limited edition CD.
Apr 11 de Peppel Holland (Zeist)
Apr 25 Keep it true XII (KIT) Festival SOLD OUT!! Germany (Lauda near Würzburg)
Aug 15 Green Mile Almere Festival Holland (Almere)
Oct 23 Heavy Metal Maniacs (Manifesto) Festival Holland (Hoorn)
Germany doesn’t only have one of the best dance events on the planet, the Loveparade, but also floods over from musical talent living there. It’s not just Roger Shah’s relaxing Balearic stuff that spreads worldwide, but also the banging tech trancers made by Vengeance that take the world by storm. But Manuel Schleis and Dennis Gertner are more than just producers. They’re sound providers. And trust us, they’re not exactly providing noise.
A producing game
Vengeance was formed by Manuel and Dennis around 2002. Manuel was producing for quite some years then, starting to flex his skills since the mid 90’s. But his fascination for electronic stuff was there long before he even grew beard. Manuel: “I was making electronic music since I was a little boy. I did the first steps on the well known C64 computer. I guess it all started there, I learned to play the piano at the age of 7, but the electronic sounds were always more appealing to me. Later I moved to Amiga and then to PC, Fasttracker, until 2001, when I finally took the next step to a ‘professional studio’ by buying hardware synths. It was a long journey, and I saved all my money for equipment in that time.” The money was well spend though. Manuel turned out to be an excellent remixer and sound designer. Under several guises and with teaming up with several producers, Manuel build up an impressive discography of tunes. Time for a solo release, one might think. But there never came one. Manuel: “The week does not have enough days. There are several projects, were I teamed up with somebody. Vengeance with Dennis, Spencer and Hill with Manian, Dabruck & Klein with Dabruck and Klein etc. The remaining 2 or 3 days, on which I am alone in studio during the week, I have so much other work to do, like sound design, Nexus, make sample CD’s and sound-sets. And well, it’s just much more fun to produce together!”
Dennis started dj’ing before testing his producing skills. Dennis: “As I grew up in the 80s I fell in love with the sounds of Pet Shops Boys, Depeche Mode and later Front 242. With the upcoming Rave and Techno Scene in the 90’s I started dj’ing and later producing tracks of my own. My first release is now 10 years ago. “ He released his first records in 1997, inspired by the trance and techno sounds of their home region Frankfurt.
Even though the guys live only 40 km from each other, their first meet-up is a virtual one: through internet. Manuel: “We met each other through internet on a producer mp3 platform. We found out that we didn’t not live that far away from each other, so we decide to cooperate on a track. A second and third track soon followed and so on…” Vengeance was born. Even though the name is an exact translation of ‘revenge’ it wasn’t that which made them choose it as their new alias. Dennis: “We are both big Star Wars fans and ‘The Vengeance’ is a ship in a computer game. We both liked the name, even though most Germans can’t spell it, haha!”
Dennis and Manuel found out that their producing styles fitted each other well and their time spend in the studio was definitely worth it. Dennis: “We have many different faces in our style, because we both favor a different kind of EDM. Manuel is more the Electronica guy and I am the trance addict.
I think ‘Temptation’ and the upcoming ‘Unexpection’ is a good example of our synergy”. ‘Temptation’, their second release on Armada’s A State of Trance imprint, was a huge bomb. It exploded right after Armin van Buuren played it at his Armin Only: Imagine concert in April 2008. It travelled the world in bags of numerous DJ’s, supporting it at the clubs, festivals and events.
Manuel: ”To be honest, we didn’t felt it was going to be this big at first. We knew it was a good track, but we did not expect that much feedback.” Dennis: “Well , after I saw the crowd cheering at Armin Only , and my MySpace messages filled up with people asking when it was going to be released , I knew this track would be something ‘different’. So I think this is the right time to thank all DJ’s for their support.” But there’s actually something that makes the DJ’s ough to thank Vengeance for. Namely, it’s more than just a producer duo. Vengeance-sound is worldwide known as an online sound portal for nearly every Synthesizer and the VST-Synth NEXUS. The Vengeance-Forum has become a famous online community for electronically producers, DJ’s and Fans. Manuel: “Sound design is 50 percent of my job. It has always been that way. I’ve built so many sounds in my career – way too many to use them all in a lifetime.” Dennis: “We are still the first to use them!” Manuel: “Yes, and I hate to use the same sound twice.” Well, if you’re not going to use you, you might as well help out some other producers with it. Clever guys, these Germans.
Inspiration and Unexpectation
As is the case with every producer, you need some inspiration to turn those sounds into a fitting whole. Dennis: “Our inspiration for the trance tracks mainly comes from the DJ’s I listen to. Also bigger parties like Mayday or Nature One are a real pool of ideas, as you can see what the people like or not. It’s also very important today to use the web, like MySpace and so on, to see what’s up all around the world. Especially trance music is a very international type of EDM.”
Just released on the ASOT label, is Vengeance’s new track ‘Explain’, another trancy jewel.
Dennis: “Believe it or not , but our track title tells a small story. Even though it’s messed up with the release times, haha. Just bring Lost Love – Explain – Temptation – Unexpection in a row and it makes sense ! ‘Explain’ was finished before ‘Temptation’, but we were not happy with it. So during summer we did this track from scratch and nothing of the old track survived. We think it’s a hot track with great remixes , it´s not a banger like ‘Temptation’ – it’s a bit cooler and more progressive.”
Dennis and Manuel will continue providing Armada some great tunes to release. Next up is ‘Unexpectation’. Dennis: “ Like Armin already said in the A State of Trance radioshow, it’s kind of different to a typically trance track. People who loved ‘Temptation’ will go mad here, too! Personal I already have some nice DJ Bookings in 2009 and some we also have some great ideas for new tracks!”