Hey Rich! Before moving on to business, let’s bring your worried fans an update on your health first. How are the ankles doing? Are you ready for jumping duties behind the decks at ADE?
Rich: “It was certainly a taxing summer, but I’m finally getting back to some semblance of normality, I did a 3 hour set in Sofia, Bulgaria at the weekend and didn’t have any problems, although I did have to get a wheelchair through the airport at Frankfurt the following day! Should be fine for ADE.”
After months of preparation, a quest to find the perfect tunes and co-mixers, Pure Trance V5 is set for release on October 28th. What can you tell us about the process of creating your own mix?
Rich: “It’s always a long & quite in-depth process, finding the tracks is a balance between working with established names who I know and trust to deliver quality and finding new names who might need a bit of coaxing and coaching to deliver their best. The mixing itself takes a fair amount of time as I work a lot with stems – which gives me the freedom to make a more collage-type of mix as opposed to end-to-end overlaying. But of course due to all the health issues I had over the summer it all took a lot longer than anticipated. Still I only missed the deadline by a week in the end. I started collecting material for the mix around April this year, I signed 35 tracks in total personally in the process, so even though they didn’t all make it onto the album they will still be released a singles, so the schedule on the labels is packed for the next 6 months.”
When did you know it was time to let it go and say ‘it’s done!’?
Rich: “I kind of know instinctively when that point arrives.. it might sound strange but that point is actually before I’ve finished the mixing – if I can explain… it’s the gathering together of the material which is the tough part, once I know I have everything that I need then the rest happens relatively easily, I know that when mixing a comp I can do 3 mixes in a day – sounds like not a lot but the technical side of blending the tracks with stems, FX and processing takes a lot of time. So 2 weeks before it was wrapped, I knew the ultimate time frame. The mixing though is only part of it, once that’s done then there is everything else to consider; the artwork, the PR, there’s a huge amount that happens next!”
You’ve invited Forerunners and Sneijder to create a Pure Trance V5 mix – two very different names that both stand out in the Pure Trance field. Why did you pick these two artists? How do they differ and how do you three complement each other?
Rich: “Both are producers who I respect and have worked with a lot over the years, and with V5 I wanted the album to represent a ‘Pure Trance Event’ – so everything from the deeper more progressive side to uplifting to chaotic end-of-night material needed to be included – there was no option other than to make it a 3 disc album, and Forerunners was the logical choice for Disc 1. Brenden has enjoyed something of a renaissance over the past year, I pressured him to get back into production after he’d pretty much stopped a couple of years ago – his ‘Foundation Mix’ of ‘Lifecycle’ was what did it, I found he has fallen in love with a new sound – previously he was producing uplifting 135 – 138bpm trance, but his new sound is very deep and moody, but still beautiful. I wanted to showcase his talents on Disc 1 – it’s a very immersive disc, very deep. Sneijder on the other hand has played a whole bunch of our Pure Trance events over the past few years, he knows exactly how to rock a crowd in the latter part of the night, he’s also on our Pure Trance Artist roster. He was a shoo-in for Disc 3. Then I do my ‘usual’ thing on Disc 2 which links it all together.”
What’s the process like when there are three different mixes to be completed? Do you agree on the use of certain tracks? Do you have the final word on what a mix should be like?
Rich: “I briefed both artists on what I was looking for, they both ‘got it’ right away, and I created a drop box folder to which all submissions would be uploaded, so I could check them out. We worked together throughout the process, contacting producers for material, discussing tracks etc. and what changes need to be made – if any. It’s more of an ‘executive producer’ role for me with Forerunners & Sneijder’s discs – they know what they are doing, but I just oversaw the final result.”
Which tracks or remixes, in your mix, definitely needed to make it onto V5? And which ones are the exclusives, made or remixed for the album?
Rich: “There are 46 exclusives on the album in total, which is a huge amount of something like this, as for which ones ‘needed to make it on’ – that would be all of them! Remember that when licensing in and signing tracks for a compilation there’s no guarantee that all the tracks will be used, so you go through the process of refining and making decisions on what works best. Sometimes there is an absolutely brilliant track that you really want to use, but it just doesn’t fit with the rest of the tracks, and it’s all about the bigger picture. There was something fabulous from Airwave which I really wanted to use, but the mood and sound of the track just didn’t fit, and other than making my own remix which I simply didn’t have the time for, it couldn’t make it on. Every track on there is there for a reason, there are zero fillers, it’s 100% killers. I produced the single ‘Lifeline’ with Ferry Tayle exclusively for PT5, that was on the planner from pretty early on.”
What are you hoping the listeners of Pure Trance V5 will experience when playing the album?
Rich: “Well I’m hoping that they will get a taste of what our Pure Trance club events are all about – the journey, the whole night. I’m a strong believer that the programming of a night should be about the musical flower, the build; the journey. It should not be about particular Djs demanding an earlier, later or ‘peak time’ slot based on their profile – which then messes up the flow of the night. That happens a lot in the club scene, egos and attitudes from Djs & managers can break a night – ruin it for the audience. At my events there is none of that bullshit, also there are no ‘artist logos’ or ‘special guests’ or arguments about billing – we try to do it in alphabetical order. Amusingly we had a situation one time where an artists manager was arguing about this artists place on the bill, he was billed ‘under’ another Dj whom the manager felt was not as big as his own Dj, so we offered to do it alphabetically instead. The result was that artist being bottom of the list rather than second from the top! It’s just nonsense really, but it pervades the scene like a bad smell to this day. I have ‘Solarstone presents’ in very small letters on the logo so that people know it’s my night, but I never place myself top of the bill intentionally. I wish the same could be said for other ‘brands’. I’m sure some artists use the whole ‘branded night’ simply to put their name in enormous letters about all the others, and it’s disrespectful to the other guys playing on the night in my opinion.”
Now, on October 22nd, at the Pure Trance ADE 2016 Special, the album will already be exclusively available for the Pure Trance fans. Sounds like the perfect place to get the album signed, right?
Rich: “Absolutely! This will be the first time that the latest CD will be available to buy at the event, and of course I’ll sign anything that people bring me to sign. We are also having a little ‘soiree’ before the main event, in the bar / restaurant of Jaz Hotel, where a selection of Djs who released on my labels (Robert Nickson, Driftmoon, Ciaran McAuley, Liam Wilson & Alex Ryan) will be playing in an informal setting. I would have loved to have put those guys in the main event obviously, but there’s only room for so many Djs on line up without compromising on set lengths (I’d rather have fewer Djs playing longer sets that cramming them in with 45 minutes each). The Soiree is free too, so anyone can come, say Hi, hang out with me and the other Djs, get a bite to eat, whatever – it will be really nice to do something informal and relaxed before the chaos ensues!”
Will you be spending some days in Amsterdam before the event on Saturday as well? Any parties, network drinks and meetings planned?
Rich: “Definitely, I’m flying over on the Wednesday so I can spend a few days meeting my friends and colleagues in coffee shops & cafes, talking about business and just catching up. I’ll be going to Ferry’s night and a couple of others, but am planning to have Friday night off to chill before Saturday’s main event.”
Next to those of many other Pure Trance heroes, we’re all very much looking forward to your set at the Jaz Hotel that night. What can we expect? Will you be taking us on a V5 trip?
Rich: “You bet, Forerunners, Sneijder & I will all be premiering tracks from PT5 on the night, along with loads of other great music, and I’m really looking forward to additional sets from Orkidea, Gai Barone and Factor B who is flying in from Australia to close for us! Giuseppe will of course be there too, he’s an essential part of our ADE programme and will be treating us to some of his Live 2.0 sounds. I know we announced our event quite late (for various reasons!) but I’m hoping that people will add our event to their already packed plans & take the time to come over on Saturday night and check out what we have going on – it will be a special night to remember.”
In the meantime, you’re also trying to finish up a new artist album. How’s that coming along?
Rich: “Getting there slowly It’s coming together nicely, I realised back in 2014 that it was not going to be a fast process with everything else that was going on, so I didn’t rush it and have just been concentrating on making it something special. I didn’t want it to be ‘Pure 2’, I want it to be something fresh and immersive, so I’m working with some new names and singers who bring something new and inventive to it. Bear in mind that I will have released 6 compilation albums and countless new tracks by the time the new album comes out, so I’ve not been slacking! The album will be 100% new material & I promise it will be out next year!”
ADE is a yearly highlight to thousands of electronic dance music fans. It’s also a time to make up the balance and look back on the past 12 months. How has Pure Trance developed over the past year? And how has the brand developed when we check back with you at ADE 2017?
Rich: “I think it has grown and developed, we’ve added some great names to our roster of artists including Bjorn Akesson, Dan Stone, Thrillseekers, Ferry Tayle, Ciaran McAuley so the events are more varied, but the main thing is that the trance scene in general is way more healthy now too, due in part to what I’ve been doing with Pure Trance. I launched the Radio Show and Pure Trance Progressive and the label’s releases are coming out weekly now, there’s so much great music about which fits in with the Pure Trance ethos. The future looks great!”
Cheers to that, Rich! Pre-order your copy of Pure Trance Volume 5 here!
Be part of the Pure Trance ADE 2016 Special, grab your ticket here!
Hey Andrew! Thanks for taking the time to reply to our interview! How are you doing? And what’s going on in the world of Sneijder?
Andrew:” Hi, I am currently in the studio getting music ready for 2 weeks touring in Malaysia and Australia. Busy sorting release schedules for Afterdark. I always leave everything too the last moment before heading on tour, so I’m rushing around.”
We’ve got two major landmarks coming up: your set at the Pure Trance ADE Special in Amsterdam + the release of the Pure Trance Vol.5 album which includes your mix! What was the first thing on your mind when Rich asked you to mix one of its 3 CD’s?
Andrew:”I feel really privileged and proud to be asked by Rich to feature on the compilation. I have been friends with Rich for some time now and respect him a lot as a person and share his views on Trance and how it should sound. We both feel very strongly about the genre and are often outspoken about the direction it takes, but always with good intentions. So to be asked by Rich is a great opportunity for me to showcase my sound to his huge Pure Trance following who I feel are very passionate and know their music.”
It’s not your first time mixing a compilation, but still…what are some of the things you’ve struggled with?
Andrew:”It’s always leaving out tracks that you wish you could include, either because of licensing issues or just because they generally don’t suit the flow of the mix. I was lucky to have an abundance of amazing music at my disposal for this compilation, which made it even more difficult, haha.”
What was the process of mixing like? Did it take you a few times to create the perfect one – and when did you know it was time to let it go?
Andrew:”I am actually pretty fast at making mixes. My mix took me around 3 days to finish. I was gathering tracks and building my mix mentally for months before that though, selecting tracks which I felt would suit the flow I was trying to create.”
Were there any tracks that definitely needed to be on there?
Andrew:”Yes, Some amazing new remixes from my album, by Shugz and Ucast. Also a new single from myself ‘Without You Here’ which I made specifically for the CD.”
Now that it’s almost time for the album to be released, what are you hoping that listeners will experience?
Andrew:”A true reflection of my sound I hope. I love all types of trance and I think my disc showcases this. I am very fussy also about creating a nice flow and journey and not just adding 20 bangers in there. So I hope this shines through.”
How did you make sure to capture that ‘Pure Trance’ feeling?
Andrew:”Just by staying true to my sound and instincts. I feel Rich selected me as he likes my sound and feels it suits the Pure Trance vibe, as do I. I always focus on melodies and well produced cutting edge music.”
You’re sharing Volume 5 with Forerunners and Solarstone – how do you look up to these guys?
Andrew:”I haven’t heard much from Forerunners if I’m honest to date, but after listening to some of his material recently I’m very impressed. As for Rich, he has been a massive influence on me for years, he is a true trance legend. So to be featured alongside these guys is a real honor.”
Now, on to our night in Amsterdam! Will you be joining in on some of the ADE events and conference?
Andrew:”Not this year. I’m currently doing lots of work to my home and under pressure to get the outside work done before winter sets in. This year I will just be there for Pure Trance.”
We’re honored to have you part of our ADE Special line-up. Got anything special planned for your set? Any exclusives?
Andrew:”I actually have 3 new exclusives which I will be playing for sure. Excited to see how they go down in the club as always.”
Last but not least – which Sneijder originals or remixes can we expect to be hearing in the remaining months of 2016?
Andrew:”I have ‘Without You Here’ which is featured on my disc, as well as 3 more new tracks coming soon. I also have a new vocal track which is in the final stages of production. Please keep an eye on my socials for release updates.”
You can pre-order Pure Trance Volume 5 here!
Hey Brenden! Thanks for taking the time to reply to our interview! How are you doing? And what’s going on in the world of Forerunners?
Brenden:”Thank you for the opportunity to provide a little update on where the Forerunners project is at right now! As for what is going on, in one word, TONS! It’s getting to be a bit much to keep track of these days. Without getting into all the day to day stuff I’m doing, I can say generally this project has really started to pick up steam. People from all along the spectrum of trance and progressive house music are starting to get in touch because of what I have been doing with Forerunners, so there’s going to be lots of new and exciting developments to come.”
We’ve got two major landmarks coming up: your Dutch debut at the Pure Trance ADE Special in Amsterdam + the release of the Pure Trance Vol.5 album which includes your mix! Exciting times, aren’t they?
Brenden:”Yes, these are probably the two biggest pieces of the puzzle coming together for me. A lot of the work I put into music over the past 6-9 months is coming to fruition as we inch closer to the end of the year, I can’t imagine a better way to top it all off than a live set at ADE and a compilation CD! My wife and I often catch ourselves thinking that my debut Lost in Translation EP for Pure Trance Progressive came out well over a year ago, but it’s only been 9 months…it goes to show you how quickly this all expanded to where we are now.”
Let’s start with the Pure Trance V5 mix first. What was the first thing on your mind when Rich asked you to mix one of its 3 CD’s?
Brenden:”I’ve been working with Rich for just about 10 years now, and he’s always managed to throw me a surprise curveball (in a good way) seemingly at all the right points in my career, whether it was a remix, an EP, etc. Each time, his ideas get bigger and bolder for me. So it was a combination of excitement and deep down appreciation for what Rich was handing me when he offered up the idea of mixing the progressive disc on the compilation. He’s both trusted my judgement and stood by my music from the very beginning. With all the different labels, concepts, and projects he’s created over the years, he’s always kept a spot open for Forerunners, so there’s a lot of emotion and passion packed up in this compilation mix I put together for him. I think people will know it and feel it when they hear it.”
What was the process of mixing like? Did it take you a few times to create the perfect one – and when did you know it was time to let it go?
Brenden:”I am very very detail oriented when it comes to recording studio-type DJ mixes. Whether it is for a guest slot on a radio show or a podcast, I think people who are familiar with my mixing style are aware of this. So when I was handed this opportunity, I knew it meant I would have to push myself further than I’ve ever pushed before to really create something lasting and meaningful.
Most of the time was spent really listening to each track, ensuring each one would fit the sound I was going for. These days I am really riding the line between the trance world and the deeper progressive house world, so it was important to get that balance right. Once I had a good feeling for which tracks I wanted, it was just down to mixing and matching, looking for sequences of tracks that matched up with others to create a real journey from beginning to end, where disc 1 would link up with the disc 2 in the set. I’ve got a notebook full of notes and scratched out tracklists as I worked through the process! The hardest part was the time limitation, because it meant having to cut tracks I would have wanted to include.
I think knowing when to call a track or a mix finished is down to artistic gut-instinct. You get a feeling and you know you’ve done the job, and it’s hitting all the right emotions the way you envisioned before you started the process, and you are ready to share it with the world. I can say this mix is truly a journey, and I can’t wait for people to hear it!”
Were there any tracks that definitely needed to be on there?
Brenden:”Yes and no. This was tough because at the beginning of the project, you immediately start forming ideas around tracks that by the end of the project have long since been discarded. I definitely had at least 3 tracks that come to mind that were absolute must-haves in the beginning, and I really worked hard to keep them in the mix all the way up to the end, but then had to be left off due to constraints. With that being said, there’s simply mind-blowing music in this mix, there was no holding back!”
Now that it’s almost time for the album to be released, what are you hoping that listeners will experience?
Brenden:”Let me start by saying I was heavily influenced early on by the Northern Exposure mix CDs, Nubreed, the Balance compilations, Renaissance, Transport, etc. The mixes were journeys. You go and grab your Electronic Architecture 3 CD out of your collection for the next road trip because you know what kind of special journey and experience that mix is going to create. It’s not just a mix of favorite tracks that haven’t been released yet, it’s a real artistic presentation that stands on it’s own.
I hope that when someone pops Disc 1 into their car CD player, or hits play on their phone, they’re going to feel like they’re embarking on a unique experience they can come back to, and dive into again and again. The excitement and anticipation from the first track, to the groove that builds up in the middle of the mix, and then the transition into the more uplifting trance that comes later in the 2nd and 3rd Discs, all high points in my mind through and through. Which leads me to also say, I wanted the mix to really serve as the launching pad for Discs 2 and 3…I think people will feel the energy expand and seamlessly lead them into the next part of the compilation, which is also pretty cool.”
You’re sharing Volume 5 with Sneijder and Solarstone – how do you look up to these guys?
Brenden:”Before I ever became involved in writing music, I was a huge fan of Solarstone’s work. I remember playing all his old tracks when I was just DJing and running a small radio show. To then get to the point where I could work with him in my own career…I can’t say enough about Rich! As I mentioned earlier, he’s been there for me since the beginning when Lifecycle needed someone to take a risk on it.
I’m really looking forward to meeting Sneijder in Amsterdam as we have not crossed paths before! He’s definitely been on my radar, how can he not be? While I have moved a little deeper with my trance music, I still appreciate the faster paced uplifting style he writes, and really enjoy tuning into the music he’s been putting out. I’ve got a soft spot for Pure Trance, and I definitely view him as one of the respected ambassadors for the sound.”
Now, on to our little adventure in Amsterdam! Will you be extending the trip to explore Amsterdam and its ADE experience a bit more?
Brenden:”Definitely will be in town for more than just the Pure Trance event! This is not only my first time playing in Amsterdam, but my first time visiting, so the trip will be extra interesting. Planning on landing earlier in the week and staying through to the end, so there will be opportunities to meet some friends from across the pond and engage in some good conversations I hope!”
Our Pure Trance ADE Special will be your Dutch DJ debut! Got anything special planned for your set there?
Brenden:”Of course! Naturally I’ll have the whole progressive tracklist from PT5 at my disposal which is going to be exciting, but anyone who has been paying attention to my social media stuff will know that I’ve been very active in the studio on all sorts of new Forerunners material as well. Plus I like to think I can do a pretty decent job of crate digging for the odd gem to surprise people. I can promise it will be atmospheric, full of grooving basslines, and plenty of melody swirling around…can’t wait!”
Last but not least – which Forerunners beauties can we expect to be hearing in the remaining months of 2016?
Brenden:”There’s going to be a brand new exclusive Forerunners track included on the PT5 disc I mixed to watch out for, plus a new remix, plus a collaboration that I think people will not be expecting! I urge people to check out my recent release on Luke Porter’s label Temporum titled ‘See You Last Year’, it’s been getting some really good play from the heavy weights in the industry. There’s a remix I made for Massive Harmony Records out soon, another yet-to-be-announced remix for a progressive label, and then another exclusive Forerunners original on the recently released Saturate Audio Immersed compilation to check out. To top it all off I’ve got a handful of new tracks inching their way to completion in the studio that will may find their way into my ADE set…as I said in the beginning of our little chat, TONS of stuff going on!”
Thanks for the interview Brenden! You can pre-order Pure Trance Volume 5 here!
Life. There are few guarantees. A Pure Trance event however is one of them. Indeed one you can bet your night on. Zero genre hybridizations, no clunky stylistically convulsions and an outright ban on artistic vanity – all fitted as standard. And, as ever, maintaining the highest vigilance over this virtuosity is P.T.’s mastermind and arch arbiter of trance purity, Solarstone.
Year on year for the last five, his movement has shifted tectonically from the trance fringes to the epicentre of the scene. Once the sole preserve of its disenfranchised, it’s now the place that the trance centreground calls home.
To mark 5 years of helping put the music back on the righteousness path, through its ‘V5’ release, Pure Trance is raising its game, upping its ante and – again – kicking things up a notch!
Pure Trance V is available for pre-order here: https://pure.choons.at/ptv
While stylistically Pure will forever mean Pure, its latitude for mood, tone, feel and tempo has few limits. In 2016, Pure Trance the album has been recast in the image of Pure Trance the night. It‘s moved from a twin to a three-disc/mix, giving it the ability to comprehensively reflect the beginning-to end experience. From the slopes of trance progressive to the peakier ridges of melodic & uplifting, through to its hard-rocking pinnacle, ‘PTV5’ illustrates it in – near enough – real time.
By virtue of this development, it also finds itself able to reflect the numerical rise in DJs spinning inside Pure’s precinct. To-date, Solarstone’s co-mix cohorts have included Giuseppe Ottaviani, Bryan Kearney, Orkidea and Gai Barone. Heeding the call of the Pure and joining the honour role in 2016 are frontliner Sneijder, as well as cult trance figure Forerunners. Add Solarstone’s mix-input and that means 33% more trance-bang for you buck!
These DJs of course would be power-less, were it not for the producers and the ‘PTV’ has been able to draw from a studio pool fair swimming with talent. Regular P.T. contributors like Giuseppe Ottaviani, John 00 Fleming, The Space Brothers and Solarstone himself are joined by a host of first-time Puritans, peakXperience, Insert Name, Ocean State, Marcin Przybylski and Tom Bro to name but a few.
Starting the arc of the night is Brenden ‘Forerunners’ LaBonte. His opening mix lays the ‘V5’ groundwork in coolly galactic fashion. It’s packed with the cream of the current moodier, spacier, more ether-steeped crop, including much from Pure Trance’s own Progressive label wing. Among its 16 cuts is track & remix work from Gai Barone, Nick Stoynoff, Namatjira, Leo G, Horizons and others. It also the dais for Brenden’s latest cut ‘Prism’ and the first Forerunners x Solarstone collaboration, ‘Dying Star’.
On delivering his mix, Forerunners says: “I am excited for fans to experience the full spectrum of Pure Trance in ‘V5’. Laying the foundation properly in disc 1 for Solarstone & Sneijder to build upon was key. A lot of passion and preparation went into these discs to ensure we created a lasting piece of audio art that encapsulated the essence of Pure Trance.”
Quickening the tempo, upping the beauty and embracing the harmonics, Solarstone comparably brings much new material from Pure Trance’s mainline label to his mix. Throughout its runtime you’ll find music from Giuseppe Ottaviani, Simon Bostock, Suncatcher, Peter Steele, Russel G and others. He also uses his 2016 mix to debut his ‘Lifeline’ team-up with Ferry Tayle and the Amir Hussain and UDM mixes of – respectively – ‘Release’ and ‘Lost Hearts’.
Commenting on the Pure Trance’s album’s development, Solarstone says: “Volume 5 is a wonderful three disc journey which encapsulates the #KeepItPure club experience. From the deeper progressive side of the Pure Trance sound to my uplifting selection & finally Sneijder’s tougher, end-of-the-night tailored madness!”
Bringing this night of purity to a suitably thumping conclusion, Sneijder pushes Pure Trance’s needle into the red. Over 19 tracks, he brings together the sonics of Will Atkinson, Chris Metcalfe, Nick Callaghan, Will Rees, Sam Jones and others into 80 thrill-filled minutes. Through the Darren Porter remix of The Space Brothers & Mark Sherry ‘Let It Come’ and the Voolgarizm rework of ‘Thunderstruck’ by Mario Piu’s, it also sees him pay deck-service to some of the scene’s earliest leading lights.
On joining Pure Trance V5’s mixers, Sneijder says: “I’m a huge fan of the Pure Trance movement and all it stands for. It was a pleasure to compile a disc featuring my take of the Pure Trance sound: energetic, melodic & dancefloor orientated“.
So Puritans, ‘V5’ time is close at hand (October 28th to be exact!). The Pure Trance compilation has gone open-till-close! Will anything be quite the same again?
Out October 28th – Order Pure Trance V here: https://pure.choons.at/ptv
Exclusively available at the Solarstone presents Pure Trance ADE 2016 Special, October 22nd at Jaz Hotel, Amsterdam.
Pure Trance V Tracklist:
Disc 1 – Mixed by Forerunners
01. Foxhill – Supermassive (Forerunners Digital Shamans Edit)
02. Biologik – Grey Skies
03. Solarstone & Forerunners – Dying Star
04. Nick Stoynoff – Omni
05. Phil Martyn – Phosphorous
06. Evgeny Lebedev – Deep Thoughts
07. Namatjira – Illuminar
08. Insert Name – Apo
09. John 00 Fleming – Chemical Equilibrium (Subandrio’s ‘Global Mission’ Remix)
10. Leo G – Supersonic (Gai Barone Remix)
11. Soulfinder & Shane Robinson – Dopamine (Forerunners Remix)
12. Forerunners – Prism
13. Jelly For The Babies & Odison – Utopia
14. Marcin Przybylski – Werther Effect
15. Tom Bro – Morning Light
16. Horizons – Last Stop Bloemendaal
Disc 2 – Mixed by Solarstone
01. Simon Bostock – Marrakech (Intro Reconstruction)
02. Suncatcher & Exolight – Nothing Like You
03. Peter Steele – Gull (Reconstruction)
04. Tony Anderson – Eyes Wide Open (Robert Nickson Remix)
05. Matt Smith – Trance Nation vs. Saint-Saëns – Aquarium (Solarstone Reconstruction)
06. Solarstone – Release (Amir Hussain Extended Remix)
07. peakXperience – Nostalgia
08. Ocean State – Gods
09. Westlake & Jennifer Rene – Where You Are (Chris Metcalfe Remix)
10. Solarstone & Ferry Tayle – Lifeline
11. Mea Culpa – The Child (Alan Banks Remix Reconstruction)
12. Russell G – Driven
13. Paul Denton – The Way Back
14. Giuseppe Ottaviani & Christian Burns – Brightheart (OnAir Mix)
15. Alan Morris – Digital Eye
16. Eco with Driftmoon – Trust In The Wind
17. Solarstone – Lost Hearts (UDM Remix)
Disc 3 – Mixed by Sneijder
01. Lostly – By Morning You’ll Be Gone (Pure Trance Intro Mix)
02. Paul Webster & McAree & Clancy – Snake (Extended Mix)
03. Will Atkinson – Till Dawn (Original Mix)
04. Sneijder – Without You Here
05. Chris Metcalfe – Orbit
06. Mesh – Purple Haze (Mark Leanings Remix)
07. Paul Denton – Yellow Leaf
08. Sneijder & Katty Heath – The Only Place (UCast Remix)
09. Mike Sanders – Curfew
10. Allen Watts & Jak Aggas – Spitfire
11. Nick Callaghan – Fandango
12. Mike Sanders – Gine
13. Nick Callaghan – Live For Today (Extended Mix)
14. Audiofire (UK) – Charaka (Yeke Yeke Edit)
15. Will Rees – Weapon (Original Mix)
16. Sam Jones – Brainstorm
17. The Space Brothers & Mark Sherry – Let It Come (Darren Porter Remix)
18. Sneijder – Resolute (Shugz Remix)
19. Mario Piu – Thunderstruck (Voolgarizm Mix)
Solarstone// Hello chaps, I’ve been following your steady & impressive ascent through the ranks of the trance glitterati over the past 12 months, how has it been for you?
Steve – A&E// It’s been a real rollercoaster ride of emotions, we burst onto the scene back in 2013 with ‘Silhouette’ but I didn’t really feel that we were at a level as artists to really capitalise on the success. So we put together a plan to get to where we wanted to be. That started with me (Steve) quitting my full time day job for about 12 months and moving to music full time, with lots of hard work it seems to have worked out really well, despite a lot of ups and down! I have just moved to a new studio away from the house, and we have a great team around us to help us push on and really make a mark in the scene.
Scott – A&E// Like everything in life, it’s been full of ups and downs, tears of joy followed by sobbing in the corner while no one is looking. Despite all that I’ve enjoyed every second of it. We have always had a plan on where we wanted to take Allen & Envy and although situations have changed our individual paths slightly, Allen & Envy is stronger than ever :).
Solarstone// Working as a duo has its advantages & disadvantages, I know because I’ve been there! Care to elaborate on both? What is each of your roles in the Allen & Envy setup?
Steve – A&E // It is difficult being a duo, mainly the financial aspect is the hardest part of it, but I always said if we was going to do this we need to make it work for us. We did that by launching the weekly Together show, hosted on DI.FM. With the sheer demand this puts on an act, I always believed this would give us an edge over other acts at our level, but also lets us engage with our fans which is a massive part of why we do this!
In terms of the roles, they are quite straightforward… I do all the productions and remixes on my own and deal with the day to day “Allen & Envy” stuff. We choose the tracks for the show together, Scott records and publishes the show and more recently, Scott started hosting the show on Facebook with a live stream. Over our career we have tried to do as many gigs as we can together, however moving forward Scott will play the majority the events on his own whilst I move into other areas of the music industry.
Scott – A&E// The main disadvantage as Steve said is the financial side. Also with a duo you have different styles and thoughts and quite a few times styles have branched away a little, but always come round to the same in the end. Steve’s favourite saying is ‘Stevie is always right’ and to be honest, most of the time he is. But not always, can’t have him getting a big head or anything…lol.
We were best mates before Allen & Envy and worked on other projects together so we know each other better than we have known ourselves (mgmt concurs ;-)). People always joke that we are a married couple as we work well together.
My roll at present is a lot less than Steve due to still working full time Monday through Friday and some weekends in my day job. I look after all aspects of the weekly Together podcast and deal mostly with social media streams. I aim to cut down my hours next year to free up more time to take tasks off Steve so he can focus mainly on the production side and his own business ‘Steve Allen Music’.
Solarstone// How do you find touring affects your ‘normal’ life? Do you friends & family ‘get it’? Is it hard to strike a healthy balance between your on-stage persona and your private life?
Steve – A&E // Now that I’ve had an opportunity to tour, I’ve witnessed first-hand how hard it is to balance your life as an artist and a family man. Being on tour I realised how much I missed being in the studio and writing music, which is where I wanted to be… hence my recent decision to split more gigs with Scott and get back in the studio to maintain my inspiration
Scott- A&E // Steve has done most of the touring to date as I’ve been restricted because of work and managing to spend time with my kids. That being said, I will be taking on most of the gigs next year and drop down to part time hours at work. I find it hard to fit everything in as I work 12hrs most days, then spend a few hours at next working on music. Most nights I don’t even have time to eat! You find that you are constantly trying to balance everything.
Solarstone// About your approach to production; do you have a tried & tested system i.e start with a melody, groove? Without being too nerdy, any favourite VSTs or hardware?
Steve – A&E // For me the hook, whether that is a melody of vocal and the feeling that it gives us is the single most important part of a trance track, so this is what I always start with. I then build the track from the foundation upwards, so kick, bass, percussion and then leads and pads and FX last of all.
I tend to use the same software for all my tracks, Massive, Sylenth and Spire in that order are my go to VSTS’s and plugins like LFO Tool. Fabfilter, Camel Crusher and some of the Waves plugins are the ones I tend to always lean towards.
Solarstone// Many producers feel that unless music is their full-time occupation, they are not ‘real’ artists – which is of course nonsense – it’s extremely hard to make a full-time living in this industry! What are your thoughts on that? Prior to turning professional, what was your day job, or do you still have one?
Steve – A&E // I went full time music 12 months ago, before that I had some fairly good jobs as a Senior Project Coordinator, Qualifications Coordinator etc… , with an horrendous sickness record. I didn’t really give a shit about my day jobs, I always put music first. I would often phone in sick when I had to get a track or remix done, or felt too tired after gigging. I always knew I wasn’t a 9-5 man, and always wanted to be working in music.
When I moved to music full time I knew I had to do something else other than DJing so I launched Steve Allen Music. The main aim of the venture is to help acts with their productions via tutorials in my studio or over skype and also offer the perceived dirty side of the business, engineering. I do have to say I really enjoy doing this, I hand select the artists I work with and the guys are really keen and have a great hunger about them, it has now got to the point that the tutorials and engineering make up about 75% of my annual income.
Solarstone// Any long-term plan or particular ambition in the A&E camp or are you just taking each day as it comes?
Steve – A&E // My long terms plans are away from A&E, but will benefit A&E in the long run. Ive just started taking Piano lessons, to learn the theory behind what I already know through making music. And I’ve started trying to break into music for Advertising, TV and Movies, which I’m really excited about.
Scott – A&E // For me, my goal is to quit my full time job and go full time music. This will give me the time to be in the studio with Steve more and start to learn the production side myself.
Solarstone// If it all ended tomorrow & you had to do something else, what would you do? Or would you throw yourselves off a bridge?
Steve – A&E // I have to admit I often find myself thinking is it all really worth it, I might as well just go back to work full time. I think if you’re an artist you will understand this, as we all go through these stages from time to time. But this was one reason why I launched Steve Allen Music, as a safety blanket if things didn’t work out I could still work in Music. I think our manager would be keener on the bridge jumping, so we’ll do our best to keep him on the ledge 😉
Scott A&E // There has been a few times when I’ve thought of stepping back from it all due to commitments outside of music and health problems. It’s very easy to let things get on top of you and the easy way is out. Not a great fan of heights so won’t be getting close to the edge to throw myself off….lol.
Allen & Envy’s collab with Miikka Leinonen, ‘Panorama’ is OUT NOW! Grab it here!
Hi Maria! Thanks for taking some time to reply to our questions! So, first of all: how are you doing?
Maria: ”I am great, thank you very much! No complaints. I am just back from playing at Cream in Amnesia, Ibiza, so I still have this permanent grin I can’t seem to wipe off my face!”
‘The Story’ was just released and it’s very well-received and loved by many. Now, we’d love to know the story behind ‘The Story’ – if there is any?
Maria: ”The name ‘The Story’ came from the pluck melody. I think the plucks are telling you a little story. That’s that! I wanted to make the track stand out with the dramatic kick drums on the break. It comes as a surprise in the tune and hopefully leaves the clubbers with something to remember!”
In fact, let’s take it back to where the complete Maria Healy story started. How did you get into music and what did you do to make sure it would grow out to be more than just a hobby?
Maria: ”I got into music when I was a teenager, maybe a little younger. I started off loving Progressive Trance, Trance and Hard-House. All my friends said if I don’t stop listening to it, I will get sick of it. How wrong were they?! I got my decks when I was 15 and I used to spend my wages on buying vinyl every week. At this point I was working in the local supermarket. A few years on, I practiced and practiced. I was addicted to trance, finding new music, and clubbing. I loved it! I went to Ibiza in 2008 for a season and at that point when I came back, I was like, ok next year I want to play over there. I got my first gig in May 2009 at a local club and I went back to Ibiza in 2009 for another season. From then, I tried to get more gigs pushing for my name etc. I don’t remember exactly what happened to turn it into a profession, as such. I just keep my head down, I try to get as much gigs, and tracks out as possible. I have my own radio show Magnetic + HeavensGate which is a great platform for me to promote my music. I am still building up a social media following which I think today is pretty essential. I love it, it’s my passion and it’s what I do!”
What was your first signing and how did it grow from there?
Maria: ”My first track was a tech trancer ‘Badush’, which was signed to Detox records which is a Dutch label. Mark Sherry supported me and really pushed for Detox to sign it. It got some really cool support. Next, was a track called ‘The Playroom’, which Bryan Kearney signed to his ‘Kearnage’ label, also followed by an EP on Nu-Depth Records. Fast forward to now, it’s great to be involved with labels such as Subculture, Blackhole, and of course Pure Trance!”
Have you’ve always had this thing for trance music, or do you occasionally also step away and explore other genres?
Maria: ”I am pure obsessed with Trance, I am not going to lie! I am not narrow-minded, I do enjoy other genres to listen to, but I wouldn’t stray away too much. I love a bit of techno, tech house, and progressive.“
From what we know, you’re quite a passionate trance fan yourself. Next to DJ’ing, do you also still go out to trance parties yourself?
Maria: ”Oh I do enjoy a party still. I was Luminosity Beach festival the week before last! It was amazing. I think when I am DJ’ing that I am a clubber on the decks. I have just as much fun!”
We’ve got a feeling you’re right at home at Pure Trance! What, do you think, makes the trance scene as good as it is? And what are some of the things that still need changing?
Maria: ”Oh thank you for the hospitality! I think the DJ’s, music, and the fans make it what it is. Trance has the best fans in the world! They are so passionate about the music compared to other genres. I think a few attitudes could do with some changing. A lot of people bash the scene. It could be a lot more positive and people should help each other as opposed to being in competition with each other. There are a lot of keyboard warriors out there, but I don’t think it’s going to go away, so it is what it is!”
Obviously, one of the things the trance scene needs is more ladies behind the decks! Unfortunately, female DJ’s and producers are still a rarity these days, especially in trance music. Why is it, that in such an emotional genre, we can’t find more talented girls like you?
Maria: ”I am not sure why there are not more ladies on the scene. I don’t have the answer to that and it’s something I always get asked too. I guess, it’s a male dominated scene and perhaps the ladies feel a bit intimidated. Well of course I am not intimidated, but it could be a reason. It would be great to see more ladies come through the trance scene!”
Either way, we’re very lucky to have you! Now, with summer in full flow, we can’t wait to see you play ‘The Story’ out. Where can we catch you play in these next few weeks?
Maria: ”I am away to Germany for Nature One festival August 6th. I then go to Ibiza for Connect / Universal Nation @Es Paradis, August 10th. This is then followed by another trip to Ibiza in September for a few of the HeavensGate events. Towards the end of September I make my debut in LA, so I am really looking forward to the next few weeks/months.”
With some massive releases locked into your discography now, the bar’s set even higher. What more can we expect to hear from you, production-wise, in 2016?
Maria: ”I am currently working on a new vocal track, which is around 70% completed so keep your ears peeled for that. Lots of new music is underway!”
Thanks for the interview, Maria, and see you soon!
Grab ‘The Story’ on iTunes, Beatport or stream it here!