Isaac Vissers from The Netherlands is an individual that has and always will have dance music on the mind. What started out as an interest quickly became a passion, a relentless hunger for all things dance music. Organizing events (in which he has also participated in as a DJ) as well as producing his own material have all been stepping stones towards the path he was wisely chosen for. In 2011 he joined forces with good friend and fellow Dutchman, Rob Koopmans thus forming the uncanny duo of “Fisherman & Hawkins”. An absolute highlight was the release of their track “Apache” on “Coldharbour Recordings” which drove the dance music world wild as it was blasted out in clubs all over the world by the who’s who of clubland. As they say the rest is history as the two unleashed anthem after anthem into the world with tracks and remixes like “Gotham Serenade” (with “Markus Schulz”) and “Off The Hook (Fisherman & Hawkins Remix)”-”Armin Van Buuren” and “Hardwell” becoming ultimate favorites among the populous. Issac has also performed at grand events and festivals around the world some of which have been: “ASOT 650” in Ultrecht (The Netherlands), “Avalon” in Los Angeles (U.S.A), “New City Gas” in Montreal (Canada) and “Colosseum” in Jakarta (Indonesia). The duo parted ways last year which left the remaining “Fisherman” harnessing his thoughts and ideas gathering up all of his gear and began casting his new and enforced aural nets into the restless sea of dance music, braving the storm and hazards with utter determination. Now he is back with a brand spanking new track entitled “X” under his “Fisherman” moniker which is out on the mighty “A State Of Trance” label by “Armin Van Buuren” and the sought out “Fisherman Festival Remix” of “Favorite Nightmare”- “Markus Schulz feat. Delacey”.
I had the unique pleasure of interviewing the man himself exclusively for Trancefix.nl!
Question 1: What was the key factor let’s say that drew you towards dance music?
Well, when I was 16 years old I attended (by accident) a, so called, hardtrance/hardhouse party at “Perron55“, called “Technosis“, in my hometown “Venlo”, organized by “Erick van Rijswick“. Ever since that event I was knee deep into that sound and I started to buy vinyl and cd’s at our local record store. I started DJ’ing and played at a lot of home-parties, you know. Everyone wanted my shit to happen at their place haha. It took only a few years to discover producing music as well, first hardstyle, then hardcore and even industrial, yes, I’m serious haha. I was coming straight from hell, at least that must be what my neighbors must been thinking! It only took me till 2005 to land back on my trance feet after I got to experience the “Coldharbour” sound.
Question 2: You spent years working behind the scenes and planning large scale events as well as smaller and more intimate ones. What was that like and do you have any fun tales to share with us?
I’m doing my own event “Airwalk” since 2007 indeed. From that year til 2015 at “Perron55” and since then at “Grenswerk“, with the same team. We did over 25 events since then, having welcomed names like: “16Bit Lolitas“, the first Dutch performance of “Moonbeam“, “Mat Zo“, “Marcus Schossow“, “Cosmic Gate“, etc. We did it all! And now even a big indoor festival on November 10th at the massive venue “De Maaspoort“, right next to “Grenswerk“. With “Markus Schulz“, “Ferry Corsten“, “Scot Project“, “Orjan Nilsen“, “David Gravell“, “Ruben de Ronde“, “RAM” and I’m going b2b with “Nifra” on this night too! We even have a psy stage, with names like “Rinkadink” and “Animato“, hosted by my friends from “Trippedelic“, I can already feel it’s going to be a legendary night!
Question 3: As many know you were part of the well established and successful DJ/Producer duo “Fisherman and Hawkins” along with Rob Koopmans. It must been truly amazing and you both must had lots of fun and great experiences all these years. Do you have any treasured memory that stands out amongst all others and could you please share it with us?
Yes, the “Fisherman & Hawkins” times will always have a special place in my heart. Especially because we had quite some amazing shows right after “Apache” got big, for example our Australia tour in the end of 2013. We did 3 cities in a week and it was just fantastic! It was during Christmas time, and..well, Christmas in Australia is kinda different compared to the European one, weather-wise haha. But we had an amazing time there, like always when touring together. We are good friends and have the same type of humor, so it was one great crazy ride.
Question 4: I am sure you get this one all the time but could you explain what is the significance and origin behind you artist name “Fisherman”?
Well, before becoming a DJ, I was a fisherman and sold fish at the harbour. Eurrhmm not really of course lol. OK, all jokes aside, my last name is “Vissers“, which is fisherman translated to English. That’s all haha. Yeaaaah kinda boring, right? Well, just think of me as a bad ass fisherman then, ok?
Question 5: You and Rob recently parted ways and closed the chapter of the “Fisherman and Hawkins” story in a glorious way. One mega event at “Grenswerk” at “Venlo” in “The Netherlands”, that was described by the fortunate ones to attend as colossal and emotional. What did it feel like for you and was it hard to close down such an important part of your career?
The ‘One Last Show’ night was definitely an emotional one for both of us. Especially as we decided to play a lot of the tunes we had been dropping in our live sets throughout the years, as well as almost all of our own tracks of course. Every track had a story to it, whether it was an unexpected weapon at the “Crown” in Melbourne or a dance floor destroyer in a small but packed bar in “Ottawa“. We made so many new friends during that time and lots of memories which made it a heavy night, but we had a lot of close friends with us that have supported us since the start and that made it a show to remember.
Question 6: As a solo artist now, we have already seen the fruits of your labor: the explosive and mind turbulating “X” (your first solo release) and the megatonic remix, “Fisherman Festival Remix” of “Favorite Nightmare” by “Markus Schulz feat. Delacey”. Both huge productions in my opinion. What more can we expect in the near future?
Thanks for the kind words. Well, another banger single has just been finished and is coming up on “Coldharbour Recordings” somewhere in August or September. Of course there’s a lot more that I’m currently working on, like for example something special for a certain event that is coming up *hint* *hint* haha. Besides that, I’m also working on a remix of a classic from the mid-zeroes that shaped me as an artist and made me the person I am today. And…there’s tons of material and interesting ideas laying around that could be used for…let’s say, an album maybe? 😉
Question 7: It is no secret that you and Nikoleta (“Nifra”) have become quite the item and I can say that I am more than happy for the both of you. Are you two planning any special collaboration in the studio for us all? I for one would be delighted.
Haha yeah, Nikoleta and I are going way back already. Working with the same people and label made us come closer and closer to each other. We have the same passions, drive and interests for our lives AND careers. True soulmates I’d say. Music-wise we are working on some ideas for sure, but what exactly will stay a secret for a little longer.
Question 8: You are ultimately known for your massive instrumentals. Would you like to to work on a vocal release and if so who would be your singers of choice?
Yes! I love working with vocals and writing mysterious melodies and vibes for them. I had so much fun working with “Sir Adrian’s” vocal a few years back for ‘Never The Same’. It’s vocals like that that stand out in the mass because of it’s darkness. I’ve written and produced some sick melodies already for another massive vocal banger but first I need to find the right vocalist haha. It needs to feel right, the right person for the job, you know what I mean? And I’m sure I will find it again this time.
Question 9: When working in the studio, what software do you usually use in music production and do you have any “go to” “vsts” that absolutely do it for you?
I use “Logic X” to create all the ideas I have in mind for my tracks, like melodies, grooves, vibes, breakdowns, etc. All the elements that are important to make it stand out and be catchy. Then I sit down with my team to work out the arrangement which is usually done very fast as the pre-work is already done. My favorite vst to create and experiment has to be the “Spire“. Very powerful and clear sounds!
Question 10: Which artists have been a huge inspiration for you over the years, always fresh with ideas and massive sounds?
It all started for me in the period from 1999-2002. In that time I discovered hardtrance/hardhouse and I started to buy vinyl at our local record store. It was names like “A*S*Y*S“, “Kai Tracid“, “Technoboy“, “Dana” and my biggest hero “Scot Project“, who were absolutely ruling those genres. Back then all the tracks sounded different and it was very easy to recognize a German hardtrance track, or a Dutch one or even an Italian one as they all had their own techniques and sounds. It was so cool! Nobody tried to copy each other and everyone tried to be different and unique. After 2002 the sound got more banging and uptempo and I lost the interest in it as it became quite mainstream, so I decided to go all in haha. Hardcore and Industrial it was, for a couple of years. I guess it was a ‘fuck the society’ kinda period, but it damn sure shaped me to the artist I am today. The aggressive melodies from that time are still part of me and you could hear that in a lot of my productions in the past. Around 2004/2005 I discovered “Markus Schulz‘s” “Coldharbour Sessions” and “Miami ’05” compilations which made me fall in love with the “new” trance again. The rest is history…
Question 12: Touring has brought you to quite special places around the world, unique in beauty and culture. Do you like traveling and discovering new lands and if so which are your favorite places you have visited and where would you like to travel to next?
I definitely like to travel. If I wouldn’t like it it, I think I would have to change my career haha. But yes, traveling half the world, to make people happy and dance is something special. I always think about that when I’m sitting in a flight to somewhere and realize all these people bought a ticket to see me perform while they don’t even know me personally. That’s crazy cool!
Question 13: It is said that some of the greatest friendships have been forged on the dance floor. For an artist such as yourself and having met many in the industry, have you formed long term friendships with some of your peers and if so with who?
Oh for sure! Almost all of my friends I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t through music. Back in like 1999, “Samir” (one half of “Moksi“) and I used to hang out all the time, listening to all the “Trance Energy” and “Sensation” cd’s haha. Other good friends of mine, “Emiel” and “Linda“, I actually met already back in 2002 at “Qlimax“, that’s how long we go back. Crazy if you think about that! Even very close ones like “Nikoleta“, the whole “Coldharbour” crew and of course “Rob” I have met thanks to music. Music is a powerful thing!
Question 14: What are your plans for the remaining year? Any special surprises you may wish to share with us here at Trancefix.nl?
Coming up in August is a show I am seriously insanely hyped about. It’s the b2b performance with “Nifra” at “Avalon” in Hollywood. We both played that venue several times already on our own and know exactly what the crowd likes and we are so ready to murder that place together big time! Of course the big “Airwalk – Indoor Trance Festival” is going to be huge as well, later in the year. Music-wise lots of new cool material to come so don’t snooze on me!
Question 15: Name five tracks that you regard as all time classics and one that is always a sure hit in your performances.
5 tracks that I consider all time classics, for many reasons:
“Scot Project – O-Overdrive”
“Markus Schulz – Without You Near (Coldharbour Mix)“
“Nifra – Never Forget“
“Ava Mea – In The End“
“James Holden – A Break In The Clouds“
The track that ALWAYS works on the dance floor:
“Fisherman & Hawkins – Apache“.
Many thanks for your time and the honor Isaac! Much appreciated!