BLR is the alias of renowned producer Leon Bolier, adopted to showcase a deep, dark yet melodically-focused club sound. Signing the first ever BLR release ‘NUNGWI’ to Tiësto’s Aftr:Hrs Records (the track that launched the label) he continued to push a more experimental yet dancefloor-friendly sound. While ‘NUNGWI’ quickly became a DJ favorite, crossing genre borders and racking up over 10 million Spotify streams, Leon kept on pushing new music, becoming a rising star amongst fans and the industry.
We caught up with BLR to talk about his new LP entitled ‘Odysee’.
Electronic Groove: Hello Leon. Congratulation on your album ‘Odyssee’. Where was the album produced?
BLR: Mainly in my home studio in the Netherlands. The collab with Mark Otten was initially started in his studio and finished in mine too. All vocals have been recorded in the UK, by the songwriter I mainly write with.
EG: What was the inspiration behind it?
BLR: Just the feel and need to produce a lot of music I think is good, without having any limitations when it comes to the music being suitable for DJ sets – not saying there are no tracks in there that are great for live play, as there certainly are!
EG: If you can describe it, what emotions were you looking to generate on the listener?
BLR: The whole album touches deep and dark places but also more uplifting and sunny ones, for me as a listener I would associate certain songs with certain seasons, is the best and easiest way for me to describe it. ‘Vida Futura’ for example connects to summer, ‘Bark’ is an end autumn/winter track.
EG: Do your surroundings affect in any way the outcome of your productions?
BLR: Not at all. It all comes from the mind, not from what’s happening outside, really. Having said that – listening to what some other producers / amazing musicians do sometimes inspires me to push my own limits as well.
“Just the feel and need to produce a lot of music I think is good”
EG: The 15 track album has some amazing tracks. Do you have a favorite one? And why?
BLR: The dreaded question! (laughs). I have no firm favorite, to be honest – I can point to ‘Méduse’ for its, let’s say, dark bunker club appeal, or ‘Bark’ for it’s forward thinking production, ‘Odyssee’ setting the mood with, in my opinion, an atmospheric intro that will suck you right in. ‘I Like The Way You Move’ with it’s simple, nearly eerie vocal backed with thorough synth work. I could say something about every track, to be honest.
EG: You have a few collaborations in the album. What can you tell us about them and how did you select them?
BLR: I didn’t really select those tracks – the collabs happen when I hear an idea and I really like it. The track with Mark Otten for example. I visited his studio back in summer 2018, and he showed me this neat idea he had done using a guitar he recorded as well – since Mark and I had been talking about doing a collab once, I instantly told him to send me those stems to work on, as the idea got me excited.
EG: Who did the cover design and how does it tie to the name and overall concept?
BLR: My sister did – let’s say I come from a creative family and I often hire her to do the artworks for my music (also for my Bolier project). The cover art for ‘Odyssee’ was a result of the music itself first and foremost but also the videographer who had done some amazing work on the single and album teasers. In the end, after naming the album ‘Odyssee’ I had kind of imagined most tracks and titles being elements any imaginary protagonist would encounter during his or her own odyssee. Those elements are incorporated in both, the single artworks and video teasers, and come together in the overall album artwork.
EG: Is the album tied with a tour?
BLR: That’s the next step – recently joined Koolwaters Agency with BLR so we are looking into that now.
“The collabs happen when I hear an idea and I really like it”
EG: Personally what is more enjoyable. Producing, playing or listening?
BLR: You can’t compare it. I can only honestly say I love all three elements (given the fact that, if I am listening something, it’s music I thoroughly enjoy).
EG: Can you give some advice to new producers out there who are venturing into the music world?
BLR: Be persistent. If you’re really good, don’t give up too easily. There are no guarantees, but by keeping going you at least increase your own chances of getting heard.
BLR’s ‘Odysee’ is now available via AFTR:HRS. Stream and buy here.