GEAR TALK: Insider


The veteran Bonzai producer gives us a tour of Belgium’s most impressive music studio.

From efficient minimalist studios to elaborate labs that could double as music history museums; in GEAR TALK, we visit some of Belgium's most exciting beatmakers in their natural habitat. How do these people make music? And which tools do they use to make their next anthem? In every video, we uncover the producer's go-to tools and most-priced piece of equipment. This time, we visit Insider, the most successful Belgian techno producer you’ve probably never heard of.

Finding a music studio in Belgium with more classic gear than this one is nearly impossible. Over the years, Kris Vanderheyden built a steady techno career as Insider, peaking in the 90s with tours across the globe and releasing massive hits on labels like Bonzai Records (Boots On The Run, anyone?) and even spending time on tour with Prince. Eventually, the producer settled at his current location at Walhain, Brabant Wallon, where he found a place for his impressive arsenal of production hardware that could well be a museum. Oh, and he has the TR-808 Marvin Gaye used to make Sexual Healing!

Impressive collection. How come you have all this gear? What kind of producer are you?

“I’m not the kind of producer who goes to the studio to mess about. When I’m here, I always have a plan. In the rare case I’m out of inspiration, I just play around with my gear and the ideas start flowing. I still compose around about two new productions every day. Most of them are techno, but they can also be pop or any other genre, especially when I get a request from another artist. Recent clients have been Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake among others”.

So you make music for your techno alias and huge pop artists?

“I think one of the reasons why I’m still inspired to make music every day is the fact I’m not tied to one sound. Yes, I have a solo career in the techno scene, but I always knew I could do so much more. It was always about making cutting-edge music, regardless of genres or who it was made for. Even at the beginning of my career as a techno producer, I knew I wanted to produce for big pop artists too”.

I’m not the kind of producer who goes to the studio to mess about.

“I’m not a DJ. I’m a musician, producer and composer and I’m proud of my career. Most of my clients are American, and they know what I can do for them, whether it’s building a track from scratch or adding the final mix on a production that someone else made. I’m still sharp and I still do what I love to do, making music”.