‘The fans are finally pushing us more, and I love this’—Sean Tyas on the trance community, his creative ethos, and more [interview]

This post was originally published on this site

‘The fans are finally pushing us more, and I love this’—Sean Tyas on the trance community, his creative ethos, and more [interview]Sean Tyas Press Shot

The path to success for Sean Tyas was a quick one. A longtime connoisseur of trance and somewhat of a hero in his hometown East Coast scene, the producer entered the global circuit in a strong way back in 2006 when his debut single “Lift” became an instant hit that topped the Beatport charts. He’s since remained a driving force in modern underground trance, planting his feet firmly in the tech and uplifting realms and boosting his profile with a consistent slew of international touring and performing alongside the likes of John O’Callaghan, Bryan Kearney, Paul Van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, and many more. He’s the type of artist to take well-calculated, careful decisions in his career, allowing him to stay true to the sounds that inspire him while growing on his own terms—and in doing so, he’s set himself up for continued prosperity.

Tyas has has quite a busy 2019, undertaking one of his busiest touring years while providing fans with a variety of singles across Subculture, VII, and of course, his burgeoning Degenerate imprint. A particularly noteworthy release came in the form of his remix to the Rapid Eye classic, “Circa Forever.” His re-work preserved the timelesssness of the original whilst updating the instrumentation and ultimately twisting it into a modern masterpiece of his own. After months of stirring a frenzy among the trance community rinsing the then-unreleased gem, it finally became available to all in August. Now, Tyas prepares to make his trek back stateside to California’s Dreamstate—a Insomniac’s festival dedicated to the genre which has become America’s premier event for the sound. He’ll be joining fellow icon Menno De Jong for a stimulating back-to-back on Saturday, November 23, where fans can expect a high-octane mixture of classic and contemporary tunes. Grab tickets for Dreamstate here.

We sat down with Tyas prior to his westward voyage to talk about his journey until now, remixing legends, his process, and what else is in store for the next year.

Let’s dive into your artistic journey. Tell us about your decision to produce trance, and the process of finding your own sound. Did you find it easy to create something distinctively ‘Sean Tyas’ from the get-go, or was your path more complicated?

That is one hell of a broad question but I’ll do my best to not write a novel. I started off into the whole scene as an enthusiastic raver in NY back in the late 90s, going to parties and clubs and really loving every single moment of what happens to me when I set foot on that dancefloor each weekend. Nothing really up to that point in my life was really quite like it. Eventually, I really started to get more specific in my musical tastes and to fast forward a bit, I ended up falling deeply in love with trance. I still liked a few other styles but trance just “did it” for me. The power and that 136-142 BPM energy was just resonating with me and how I danced. I was in art university at the time, so I had a bit of time to start to make a bit of music as a hobby, where I could finally start to learn how it was made and what was required to do it. Unfortunately, it was a VERY expensive thing for an 18-19 year old to get into back then. Computers were not on the level they are at now, where everything could be run as software inside the machine. I’d have to buy synth-after-synth , drum machine-after-drum machine, etc, just to get specific sounds. Just trial and error (a lot of errors) led to development.

What drew you to trance in the first place, and why do you think people are attracted to the genre as a whole?

I think its a genre that very heavily, in its nature, promotes togetherness on that dancefloor. The crowd at trance events know their music, know the tracks, and most likely know LOADS of other people they are on that dancefloor with. It’s a beautiful community. Maybe that’s why we do get newcomers to the genre too, and the music can be outright gorgeous at times, but that was be so fucking ignorant to say “yea, trance is emotional so people come flock to it.” I hate that phrase because its bullshit; all music is emotional to someone. Death metal is emotional and evocative to the right person. But for me and countless others, well, trance just hits the nerve and scratches that itch we need scratched. It’s never something that is easy to explain, why people like a type of music, but there it is—people love what they love.

How does living in Switzerland help or hinder your creativity? Would you ever consider moving back stateside, since the genre is beginning to have a renaissance there? Why or why not?

It’s a pretty inspirational place to live I have to say. Walking and running outside in these landscapes of mountains and rolling hills is inspirational in itself, so as an artist I find it to be really conducive to the work I do. As far as moving stateside, my roots are pretty deep here at this stage, now over 14 years living here, I’ve gotten dual citizenship, and my kids are already growing up so fast in the school system, I think here is where I stay. But having said that, I am REALLY lucky to work a career that allows me to get back to USA very often to constantly satisfy my homesick feelings when they pop up. Most of my family is in New York, so with JFK being the hub of almost every trip to the states for me, extra quick visits to friends and family are effortless—and I love that.

What have been your key ingredients in sustaining a longterm career, especially in a field of music with such peaks and valleys in popularity?

Peaks and valleys indeed. But it is one thick-skinned genre that is for certain. The main ingredient to sustain any long term career… it’s really simple and obvious. Improvement, consistency, humility (by this I mean to always be working for something, because the moment you have that sense of “entitlement”, you are already the asshole), and health (this is one I have only really started to believe in during the recent years going to the gym much more often and really concentrating on eating better foods). Anyone else can just simply throw a monster marketing budget at their career and get all their tracks ghosted, but is that sustainable? Is it respectable? Not to me.

What are some creative or career-related roadblocks/obstacles you’ve had as of late, and how have you worked through them? Has your outlook on music and your career changed as a result?

The only obstacle anyone should be concerned about is self-doubt. The minute you let that all in, you are already in trouble. I need to ALWAYS believe in myself, my skill level, and believe in what I’m doing. I have had disappointments all throughout my career, of course, but these just get me working harder, specifically in the studio… pushing my sound, trying to experiment with techniques I’ve never heard in a trance track as well as sharpen ones I’ve used before to make them new and cutting-edge.

How does a day in the studio look for Sean Tyas? On account of your innate perfectionism, would you say it’s easier for you to bang out rough ideas quickly, and afterward you spend the vast majority of your time tinkering with them to ensure they meet your standards?

Every day is different depending on what projects are going on. For example Tuesdays are usually radio show day, so I’ll spend all day going through all the promos of the prior week, sifting through and putting together the mix for the show, then doing all the voiceovers etc. On a production day, I guess the first thing i usually do in the studio each day (or every couple of days) is to reverse engineer a couple of sounds I hear in tracks that intrigue me that I hear in others’ productions. It can be anything from a drum with a unique aspect to it, to a brutal bassline that I want to know the approach of how it ticks. From there I can apply these techniques in new ways to to other things and it brings about a cross-pollination in the studio that really leads to new creativity for the full day.

You’ve had a couple notable remixes this year; for one, your long-awaited take on Rapid Eye’s “Circa Forever” finally came out, and you also took on John O’Callaghan’s “Choice Of The Angels.”
How did these come about? Tell us the backstory and what inspired you to re-work these ones.

The Circa Forever remix was nice for me because to me, like so may others, that original really symbolizes this sort of “Golden Age” of trance, and of course a couple years ago when I threw together my first “re-work” of it. By re-work—as opposed to calling it a remix—I mean the original track is layered into a project and I go and cut out the bass end of it completely to be replaced, while adding multiple elements onto the track and also tweaking how the arrangement flows with edits. This [re-work] was sort of my go-to classic for that time. After a while, I think Armada mentioned to me that they could release it, but I said, “you know what, I’m not too comfortable at how it sounds right now.” To me it was just a rework, and generally, I don’t LOVE the idea of releasing those. “Let me turn it into a full-fledged remix, not utilizing the original track as the backbone anymore,” I told them. And so yeah, that came out, and I am happy it did, because it is now much more in line with my own sound. And as for the “Choice of the Angels” remix, John has been a friend of mine since the “Discover” days, and he came to me with that single and asked if I’d like to remix it for Subculture. “Hell yeah, why not?” I thought. It was very open to melodic reinterpretation in its original form, and this makes it so much fun to remix.

Do you ever feel pressure to adhere to a certain aesthetic in your music in order to please your fanbase? How do you balance making something fulfilling to you without alienating longtime listeners? Have you ever felt afraid to experiment with your sound further on account of this pressure?

I feel the fanbase is overcoming the monotony that we have seen in the genre over the years—fans are finally pushing us more, and I love this. The sound is finally evolving and I’ve been an obnoxious proponet to this change in the genre for years. Its finally seeing a bit of fruition now and some of these new tunes people are releasing now are really becoming on the level that we need to be. Attention to detail, attention to sound, and a bit less lazy in the generic melody department. As far as fear to experiement, never. I mean look at my album Degeneration; this was my first artist album and I wanted to really see what I could make. To say that this was a “journey” for me would be putting it lightly, but I got there in the end. John Askew was so supportive the whole way through, with my ideas of things like including two Drum ‘n’ Bass tunes on the album as well as bits of breaks, techno, and chillout. Experimentation leads to growth and learning.

You’re about to play Dreamstateyou’ve played a few now, correct? What do you think festivals and events like this say at large about the USA trance community?

It’s fantastic to see the popularity of the style has birthed this beautiful brand of festival, and it’s so encouraging to think about what the future holds for the USA trance community. These behemoth events bring new faces into the scene for their very first time, and I can only hope they truly love what they hear and see and decide they love it as much as I do.

What are you favorite parts about Dreamstate?

Well, Insomniac is just a fantastic company that really look after us as artists, from the stocked up artist dressing rooms, to the production level on that stage we play from. The light shows that accompany the sounds we bring really exponentially enhance the experience to all the people on the dancefloor and it is just an experience from beginning to end. I’ve always been a sucker for a good laser show

Finally, what’s in the pipeline for Sean Tyas?

I have a new single coming out in December on Deep in Thought, featuring a truly amazing seasoning of vocals from Nashville-based Shelby Merry, whose quality of vocals you truly have never heard before in a trance tune. I also have new remixes coming. The first is my new remix of Liquid Dream by Liquid Soul & DJ Dream I have done for Iboga. This is actually a complete redo/overhaul on a remix I did 2.5 years back as my Neodyne guise, but always felt I wanted it to sound different. Well now it will come in its full form. The second remix coming is one I’ve just done of Bryan Kearney and Dierdre McLaughlin “Open My Mind” for Kearnage which I’ve just started testing out now. You will hear all three of these new productions at Dreamstate for sure. After these, I have a long list of stuff to get to, but I think 2020 I would really like to focus and start putting toegther a second album that is 100% club-focused…

Photo credit: Sean Tyas’ Artist Team

ORBIT Playlist: Nathan Barato selects some tasty cuts ahead of City Hearts Festival

This post was originally published on this site

ORBIT Playlist: Nathan Barato selects some tasty cuts ahead of City Hearts FestivalNATHAN BARATO 4

For the better part of two decades, Nathan Barato has served as a leader in the house and techno space. The Canadian producer and selector earned his stripes as a hometown hero in his Toronto scene, moving on to become an internationally lauded talent thanks to his cutting edge melding of everything from garage, breakbeats, and classic house & techno into his sets. After signing onto numerous imprints like Hot Creations, Rekids, MOOD, and more, the time soon came for him to launch his own imprint Roots & Wings. His excellence in curation on both the A&R and DJing sides continue to place him in the underground’s upper echelon.

Just off the tip of his latest releases on Roots & Wings—the gritty, Kevin Knapp-assisted “Funk Police”— the artist looks westward for his next big showing: City Hearts Festival. The urban off-shoot of Desert Hearts touches down in LA on November 9-10, and Nathan will be taking on a special back-to-back performance alongside Desert Hearts co-founder Porky. Expect a deliciously eclectic showing as these two join behind the decks for the first time. Of his upcoming performance, he states:

“Its probably typical of me to say, but Im super horny and mentally stiff to play City Hearts. This DH crew is so dope …really love playing and just being at their jams. Its one of the most distinctive and fun events on the planet. Obviously Im so excited.”

Nathan’s given us a taste of what’s to come for this edition of Orbit, where he’s picked a fine batch of dancefloor weapons. “Funk Police” naturally makes the cut, in addition to fresh cuts from Amine Edge & Dance, Sirus Hood, Truncate, and Cuatero. Grab tickets to the fest here in the meantime.

Techno Tuesday: Ardalan and the philosophy of being ‘Mr. Good’

This post was originally published on this site

Techno Tuesday: Ardalan and the philosophy of being ‘Mr. Good’Techno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Duality is a concept instrinsically connected with Ardalan‘s life and career. Born in Tehran to parents with international professions, he spent his youth living between Iran and his stateside home in the Bay Area and adapting to each locale’s different societal norms. Oddly enough, it was through his friend in Iran that he discovered DIRTYBIRD, courtesy of Claude VonStroke‘s megahit, “Who’s Afraid Of Detroit?” Not long after, he attended the very first BBQ as a young teenager. He released his first track on the imprint alongside Justin Martin by age 19, forever cementing his status as label family and one to be watched.

It was through this newfound success, and growth into adulthood, that the Ardalan noticed the contrasting nature of human existence, especially in the way one might present themselves to the world versus the person within. Thus, Mr. Good’s story was born. The key lies in its title track, and the more sinister “Mr. Bad,” which are the yin and yang of the album’s story. Just as everyone has a “Mr. Good” that they show off to the world, there exists a “Mr. Bad” to balance it.

The album as a whole is experimental, a step away from the lighthearted shade of tech house one migh have expected from his longform debut. Ardalan is no one trick pony, however, and he pulls off his album and its multi-genre exploration off with polished finess. One might even say that Mr. Good is an entrance into a new sonic era for DIRTYBIRD.

We chat more about the themes of Mr. Good for this Techno Tuesday, additionally taking a gander into its tech side, Ardalan’s artistic journey, his dual lives, and more.

Mr. Good really gave you a medium to explore your sonic range. In doing so, has your overall style in studio and behind the decks changed at all as a result?

In some ways I believe it has. I feel like I am always constantly testing new ideas and taking risks to do something different. Whether it’s in the studio or behind the decks, I really enjoy challenging myself to find a new sound. It’s fun. I look at it like its a puzzle, but with sound! I love playing different styles and creating a journey out of a DJ set. When I am in the studio, I always find a way to use or create something different with each track. I’m now excited to explore uncharted musical territories!

Which songs in particular really pushed you to go outside of your comfort zone musically, and in what ways did they do so?

“Lifted” with Claire George. It’s the one track on the album that isn’t 4 on the floor. I’ve never made a drum n’ bass tune in my life to this magnitude, so when I started working on it I didn’t really know what I was doing or know if there was a rulebook of sorts that I needed to follow. I was just jamming on the SP 1200 and having fun when I realized I could just work with the loop in half time and turn it into drum n bass!

Your dance music discovery really began in Iran. Can you take us to the time of discovering Euro house and techno there and how this ultimately prepared you for your full launch into the music world upon reaching adulthood in the Bay Area?

When I was growing up in Iran, I really didn’t have any sort of knowledge for music. I was just hearing all these cheesy trance melodies and some 90s pop house on bootlegged cassette tapes and satellite televisions from Europe. I was exposed to hearing Persian music as well. In the late 90s early 2000s, my brother got into Progressive House and Techno music from artists such as Deep Dish and Anthony Pappa. I got a taste of that and instantly got hooked. I then moved to the Bay in 2004 and really got into Boards of Canada & Aphex Twin. I then moved back to Iran in 2005 and moved into my brothers old room. He left his old computer behind with all the music mentioned above still in it. I started going through it and found James Holden’s Balance 005 compilation and that changed everything for me. I got into microhouse / minimal around 2006 and moved back to the Bay Area in 07. That’s when I heard Claude Vonstroke’s “Deep Throat” and ultimately DIRTYBIRD!

On that note, you’ve also mentioned that you made an effort to imbue the music of your ancestry into the project; how have you executed this?

I tried to incorporate a track that had those elements but I ultimately ran out of time and didn’t want to rush it as I want to do it right and raw yet keep those Iranian elements balanced.. I will go back to it in the future!

Techno Tuesday: Ardalan and the philosophy of being ‘Mr. Good’Ardalan Shot By Grady Brannan1 1
Photo credit: Grady Brannan

The album process was a long one for you, and with some tracks taking months to finish. How did you get over these periods of writer’s block or override what was holding you back?

Most of the tracks were finished in the last three months of the album process. But it took me forever to finish “Mr. Good” with PartyPatty. It was the first track that I was seriously working on for the album. I had never done an album and I really loved “Mr. Good,” so I wanted it to be perfect and I constantly kept changing it. I literally have about 250 versions of it. I took a break from it and read an article about how “perfectionism” is self-harm . I took a break from it and made “I Can’t Wait” and two weeks later I took one last stab at Mr.Good and I was happy with it. I grew so tired of hearing it in my studio during the album process, but now on my album tour, it’s one of my favorite tracks to play! Other than that, What kept me sane in that period was hanging with my girlfriend and family. Any chance I could I would take breaks as needed from the studio. I would dedicate some time to doing something different which I think really helped the album process for me as a whole. I got addicted to this mobile game called PUBG and was playing it with different producer friends like Sepehr, The Fitness, Option 4, and even Doorly! I thought I wasn’t gonna finish the album because I was having so much fun playing it. But it took some stress out of the process and when I went back to working on the album. I felt recharged.

You’ve gotten your hands on a lot of new hardware for the making of Mr. Good. What’s next in that regard? Have you considered trying your hand at modular production?

I think I have enough gear for now. Modular is a commitment and I know i wont stop once I start. So I think I will have to mess with VCV RACK until my new studio is 100 percent treated and complete. I have now moved to a new apartment and I have a smaller room to work with. I have so much gear so I think I’ll be okay in that department for now. Next thing for me though is to learn my new room the same way I learned my old studio and treat the acoustics more properly.

A major theme of this record is the duality of humanity; you have to be ‘Mr. Bad’ to be ‘Mr. Good’. Can you describe how this theme has played out in your own life, and how you translated it into the album/musical format?

I just think we go through different phases in time. Everyone has some sort of internal battle. Not everyone is 100 percent stress free, maybe a few souls these days. We all have ups and downs. Whether its mental instability, hardship of some sorts, or depression. Without all these negative experiences, how would we learn what’s good or positive in life? Sometimes we just have to accept that were not perfect creatures but we can learn from it and pursue happiness. I think it’s kind of funny because the theme of the album became about self doubt in finishing my album. I was hitting a wall and I wanted everything to be perfect. I was like, “this track needs to be “Mr. Perfect.” I learned that it can’t be perfect. Sometimes you just gotta let go of that self doubt and be bad or get freaky with it. Sometimes you wanna be a Mr. Bad and not sleep. Sometimes you end up going to an underground warehouse and lose yourself in the music till the next morning. These experiences turn out to be good for the soul sometimes.

Going off of the above, a lot of these tracks were written well before the themes of your album came to mind. How did the process play out in pulling these ones out of the archives and fitting into the overall story you wanted to tell?

I wrote a lot of tracks that didn’t make it on the album. There are only two tracks that were made before the theme. I guess in some ways I managed to fit them in the story. After finishing the Mr.Good track with Party Patty, I got really inspired to create tracks from scratch and not go to the old projects. I will eventually release all those. I have so much more music that didn’t make the album.

Now that you’ve taken this leap into album territory, what are some of the next milestones you wish to reach career-wise, and what are you doing now to accomplish them?

I want to explore new sounds and keep making more music. Even releasing different versions of the album perhaps. I am also trying to lean on making my studio more jam friendly and produce “live”. I want to make the leap into the live performance world at some point as well. I think that’s the next step career wise. It will be a fun challenge but very rewarding once I take it more seriously.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the years as you’ve blown up, especially within the last five?

I’ve learned to be extremely humble. I have met so many amazing people and fans in every city and im truly grateful for that. I don’t like being alone for long periods of time. I appreciate the time I have when I’m home. The album process taught me to be positive and not stress about the little things in life such as not allowing myself to get mad or complain that the coffee shop at the airport didn’t have almond milk. I learned to get excited about the small things in life. It’s given me the tools to push through the stress of being a touring artist. I have been touring since I graduated college in 2013. I try and exercise as much as I can. I play soccer every week between gigs. It’s my biggest passion after music. I try and go for a run as much as I can and during tour life. I think Justin Martin has inspired me in that department.

You’re currently on one of your biggest, if not the biggest, tour run you’ve ever taken in support of the album. Which places are you most excited about playing the first time?

I am excited to play at Meow Wolf for the first time!

Any final words or thoughts you wish to share?

I just wanna say that it’s been so amazing to see peoples reactions to my new album. I am really thankful for all the support!

Order a copy of ‘Mr. Good’ here

Premiere: HOKI – The Push

This post was originally published on this site

Premiere: HOKI – The PushHoki Press Shot Courtesy Artist

HOKI seemed to appear out of nowhere. The newly minted, relatively enigmatic duo comprised of Varti Deuchoghlian and Brent McCormick clearly had their proverbial ducks in a row when getting their start, utilizing connections gained from their respective musical pasts and coming out the gate with strong remixers in Clarian, Matthias Meyer, and Facundo Mohrr. Their team, network, and knack for melodic house production in place, they soon announced that the run of singles they’ve been releasing would become an album—an intriguing way to make an entrance, indeed.

The latest single from the upcoming LP comes in the form of ‘The Push.’ Per their established aesthetic, the track is a euphoric track assisted by McCormick’s vocal touch. Its thick bassline, sweeping strings lacing the background, and twinkling synth melodies are universally appealing, and primed to do well on the dancefloor. Given their large support system in the melodic house arena, which includes Lee Burridge and the aforementioned remixers among it, we’re sure this one will be rinsed plenty in the coming months. Order a copy here.

Photio credit: Marco Lammatteo

Premiere: Justin Jay – Rave Tool

This post was originally published on this site

Premiere: Justin Jay – Rave ToolFlauntMagazine JustinJay BenGlasser 3

Justin Jay has had a robust 2019. The prodigious producer, DIRTYBIRD top player, and label owner released his third album, Everything Will Come Together, in May to critical acclaim. At the end of September, he commenced an expansive tour across the US in celebration of reaching the third anniversary of his now-iconic LP, Fantastic Voyage. In the meantime, however, he made a connection with the Desert Hearts crew—and it’s with the California collective label that he’s housed his latest creation.

Future feels is a groove-fueled EP whose tracks build off one another in a groove-heavy fashion. We’ve taken the more extended cut, “Rave Tool,” whose centerpiece is its robust, funk-infused bassline that moves the piece forward at a spry pace. The low-end really shines in “Rave Tool,” which is notably lacking in melody and sparse in its vocal usage; and it’s this aspect that makes it particularly hypnotic.

Order a copy of Justin Jay’s ‘Future Feels’ EP here

Photo credit: Ben Glasser

Exclusive: Morgan Page remixes deadmau5’s ‘Imaginary Friends’

This post was originally published on this site

Exclusive: Morgan Page remixes deadmau5’s ‘Imaginary Friends’Morgan Page Press Shot

Deadmau5 will follow his 2018 album, Where’s the Drop?, with a subsequent compilation, Here’s the Drop!, which will feature remixes that infuse electronic energy into the original orchestral singles. The Canadian producer has enlisted previous collaborator Morgan Page to try his hand at hit track “Imaginary Friends,” and the output is as high-quality as fans of both producers would expect.

The last time Page and deadmau5 teamed up resulted in a Grammy nomination for deadmau5’s remix of Morgan Page’s “The Longest Road,” and while that is a high bar to live up to, their newest release is noteworthy in its own right.

Page’s rendition of “Imaginary Friends” finds a way to totally transform that track’s energy while only subtly altering the original sound. His remix is addictive without compromising the sense of calm the track instills, but it adds a subtle bassline that heightens the BPM and sets the tone for the stellar remix.

Page is known for his ability to pick out a polarizing vocal, and he stays consistent with this by choosing humming vocal accents that carry calmer introductory notes into a light drop. Even with the dance-worthy accents Page has infused into the release, the orchestral components of the track are still present, only to be complemented by Page’s minimalist groovy additions.

Page spoke to Dancing Astronaut about his creative process behind the remix, stating, “This was one of those really fun remixes that came together quickly. I only used one stem of the original song because all the parts were in Dolby Atmos, and that creative limitation inspired the whole chopped up strings style of the remix. It was an honor to return the favor and remix deadmau5 since his mix of ‘Longest Road’ helped get my career started.”

Deadmau5’s Here’s The Drop! is out in full on Oct. 4.

Techno Tuesday + Premiere: Gallya re-works deadmau5 & Grégory Reveret’s ‘Ira,’ reflects on her rise to global renown

This post was originally published on this site

Techno Tuesday + Premiere: Gallya re-works deadmau5 & Grégory Reveret’s ‘Ira,’ reflects on her rise to global renownTechno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

The electronic music spotlight grows on Eastern Europe as a new haven for sleek underground sounds. Gallya has found herself among the wave of house and techno greats rising out of the region, starting off on a strong note via Set About, a label which she started alongside fellow Bulgarian Metodi Hristov —who’d already become an icon at that time. It was clear from the get-go that she’s one to watch. A year later, she was nominated by Beatport for its ‘Top Tech House’ award. Her sound has continued to blossom since then, with Gallya turning in a darker, headier direction and a series of Eps on mau5trap backed heavily by label boss deadmau5. She’s also earned support from Sian and the Octopus camp, cementing her place in the techno realm. In the past year, her path to global stardom has really begun to unfold, where she’s traveled to places like Sri Lanka, Tokyo’s Sound Museum, Lebanon, and of course, the esteemed UK institution, Creamfields. Expect her base to continue growing at top speed through the next year.

Keen to hear what Gallya has learned through her deeper immersion into the global music space, we sat down with her ahead of her latest release on mau5trap—a remix of “Ira (ov)” from the acclaimed Where’s The Drop? The LP saw composer Grégory Reveret pair with deadmau5 to recompose a collection of classics into pieces fit for a symphony orchestra. She takes an industrial approach in this one, forging a grimy breaks track that lays on the bass. Her hometown influence can certainly be heard in this one. Gallya expounds further on her closer relationship with mau5trap, her ever-evolving sonic palette, running a label, and more for this edition of Techno Tuesday.

Techno Tuesday + Premiere: Gallya re-works deadmau5 & Grégory Reveret’s ‘Ira,’ reflects on her rise to global renownGallya Press Shot Courtesy Her FB 2

In passing we’ve read about former Soviet countries (Georgia being a big one) and their conservative policies presenting some difficulty when it comes to trying to grow dance music scenes in these places. Do these issues exist in Bulgaria, and as a result does the country have a huge underground scene that persists out of government sight?

The politics in Bulgaria make it very difficult for certain parts of the music scene here– the government really doesn’t really care about parties or nightlife culture. In the last two years, they banned outdoor parties after 10PM, which is hard because historically we’ve had amazing parties on the beach till 7AM. I don’t think that will last after this government is out, but it definitely makes it hard. With the indoor clubs there is less of an issue with the government–you can party until 10AM if you want as long as it’s outdoors. Because there aren’t as many regulations on the indoor clubs, the capital has a ton of different types of parties. You can find very underground stuff but also big ones on different venues and weekly events. It’s a nice balance, but it’s definitely not a huge scene.

Who are some other rising artists from Bulgaria that we should be paying mind to? Techno or beyond.

Through our label, Set About, we’re really able to shine a light on Bulgarian artists we believe in. Two examples of this are Peppou and Martin Stoilkov, two really talented techno artists who you should look out for.

Have you ever gone through moments of burnout or passion loss as a result of making music into a career? How did you/how do you reinvigorate your passion if so?

Yes it happens sometimes, but I get through these moments by reading motivational books or just going to a really good party. Sometimes burnout moments give you really good studio moments if you push through them, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when to keep up and when to just take a step back and take a break–every time is different. It is important in these moments to remember that it’ll pass and everything will be cool again. I try not to take it too personally and just know that it’s part of the process.

Now let’s talk more about Set About – what were the factors that led to you and Metodi Hristov deciding to create the label, in your own words? What makes you two a like-minded musical pairing?

Metodi and I have always had similar music taste and the same desire to do more than just release our own music. We had a similar understanding of the music industry, so starting label together just felt natural. It’s our shared brand and the way for us to express our taste and share music from other artists that we like.

Also we started the label hoping that as we continue to grow we can also release music from newer producers who aren’t well known yet. When we started making music, it was hard to get anyone to care about our music because we didn’t have a lot of followers. I hate that side of the industry, and want to make sure we’re just shining a light on good music. Every one deserves a chance to be seen.

The age of the internet has brought about a huge increase in artists creating their own labels. Do you think this has had an effect on the role of a label in general within the music industry into not so much a ‘gatekeeping’ platform, but more of a collective-type format that gives the owners full creative freedom and a place to support their friends and artists they like?

I think this ties into my answer for the previous question pretty well –yes I think it’s great that everyone has a chance because that way the labels releasing quality music are able to be seen. Also it makes the big labels work harder, not just to count on the bigger names they have on their rosters. The competition creates quality.

But I really only feel this way when talking about the way the internet impacts releases–it’s great that there are so many ways to discover music, but I think social media has made it really hard for artists to let the music speak for them. There are a lot of “artists” on social media who have huge followings but are relying on ghost producers and just posting nice pictures on IG. People who do it for the fame and the money take away from the ones who work hard to make it about the music.

You’ve expressed your love for techno many a time; as it’s such a broad term with so many different definitions and styles, what does ‘techno’ mean to you?

Nowadays the genres are so mixed, there are so many different subgenres and types of techno so I don’t think I can really define techno as a whole, musically. It’s funny because some people would say I’m techno but others would call it something completely different, it’s all about point of view.

But to me Techno is a lifestyle and a state of mind. Techno can be really varied but it’s mostly the darker side of the electronic music, which really resonates with me. It connects people in a very special way. Generally techno is about raving till the morning and dancing to harder beats.

Over the past couple years you’ve been working your way into the USA dance sphere; a tough land to crack into. How has that process been for you and what have you learned in general about successfully securing rights to work/perform in other countries, as well as growing your fan base abroad?

Yes! I have a pretty big fan base in the US but unfortunately this is the audience I haven’t been able to meet yet because of how difficult it is to get a visa. It’s literally the only place in the world I’ve had this problem with, so I find it hard to stay connected with the people there – there’s only so much you can do without being able to connect with people in a live setting. It’s something that we’re working on. Most places are actually pretty friendly for visas, it’s just thinking ahead and getting the proper paperwork done. The US is a little different; there’s a big risk of getting denied so it needs to happen at the right time. It’s definitely been an eye opening experience and a lesson in patience. We’re working on making it happen in 2020, so hopefully I will have the chance to party with my people based in US.

What are three quintessential Gallya tracks that embody your sound and why?

My style has definitely been changing a bit each time I create music, which I find is a normal part of the process, trying to evolve with each track. I think the tracks I just finished in the studio are going to be the most defining for my sound, which is really exciting. Since I can’t share those yet, my three favorite tracks I’ve released so far:

1.Gallya – Still On Earth (Original Mix)

2.Gallya – Elements (Original Mix)

3.Gallya – Machines (Original Mix)

What are some artistic milestones you hope to accomplish over the next few years?

Playing more festival sets and get my visa for the US so I can start touring there.

You just had a great performance at Creamfields. How was it playing that festival for the first time?

It was amazing, definitely the best experience I’ve had in my DJ career. The vibe on the festival was magical and really enjoyed performing on that stage. I closed out a huge stage and it was very interesting and exciting.

And finally to cap it off, everyone’s fave question: what’s next in the Gallya pipeline?

Next is this very special remix I did for deadmau5, I’m really happy to be giving you guys the first look. Also many more releases, collaborations and exciting things coming, but it’s still early to talk about some of it.

Order a copy of ‘Here’s The Drop’ here

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’

This post was originally published on this site

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Press Shot Courtesy Team

For the better part of two decades, Noir has remained planted firmly in the underground. The Danish stalwart came to prominence as a strong house talent, building up a vast repertoire that spanned from deep to tech, even with some slight dabbling into the minimal realm. As more people became enamored by his carefully crafted work in the studio and his excellent curation in the DJ booth, Noir blossomed into a bona fide leader in his field. That being said, the producer is not one to remain stuck in his ways. Over time his style became sleeker and darker, and he’s since switched completely to the driving techno aesthetic we know him for today. His latest EP, Damage Control, is the latest to epitomize his newfound take on club music.

One might argue that evolution is difficult when your tools remain the same, and it seems Noir falls into this camp. He’s built quite the robust studio over time, swapping out pieces and software and discovering new elements for his music in the process. We take a look at his studio today, after over 10 years of fine-tuning it; inside, we discover his love for modular, classic machines, and some key modern pieces. These items offer plenty of room for innovation, and it’s safe to say Noir enjoys using them to their fullest potential.

Order a copy of Damage Control and listen close to hear how the following items played into the record’s production.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 1

The past 2 years I have been getting into modular stuff. I know I am a little late to the party but it actually took me a little bit of self-educating to really figure it out and also find the time to dive fully into it. Now that I have done just that I can’t get enough. I love patching and playing around with it and obviously i chose, bought and build everything myself and will be expanding soon. It’s too big a tour to get into all the various components as there are 19 different modules in that case but in this picture the modular heads can see what I chose for my first case/synth.

On the side is the classic Roland TB-303 for all my acid stuff – something every producer using hardware should have in his/hers setup. And then there’s the Dark Time sequencer from Doepfer which I found very inspiring, quick, easy to use and hands on for doing great sequencing or arps.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour IMAGE2

Alongside the modular synth I build follows the semi-modular stuff. The Moog Grandmother is great as stand-alone but also for patching up with my modular synthesizer and playing my melodies and grooves directly from that + controlling the tempo as well. The Moog Mother-32 + DFAM are great in combination especially if you want to control the tempo of the DFAM which can be done via Mother-32. As DFAM is mainly used for percussion in my productions it’s very important that i can sync the tempos. The 0-Coast from Make Noise in the bottom of the picture is very cool for the more random and weird stuff. It’s a little powerful beast that always surprises me. I also use it for background ambience as it can be patched into “self-playing” mode.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 3

Quite a lot in this picture. In the background is my soundcard from Universal Audio. I think I have had that for 7-8 years now. Very reliable and high quality. The all-black synth is Digitone from Elektron. I bought that mainly to experiment with FM synthesis and it’s really good for that. It’s not the easiest synth to use if you wanna explore outside “presets” as I always do but it’s got great in depth if that’s what you are looking for. Below is an efx unit from Eventide. The H9 just have so many cool efx to spice up your analogue synths and it gives it that little extra that makes it sound spot on – especially when you are jamming around. I don’t like when it’s too dry and plain – so having the ability to add reverb, delay, chorus, etc. on the fly is just great for an analogue setup. My newest synth is right next to it. It’s the quite small Arturia Microfreak. But don’t be fooled by its size – it’s very powerful and intuitive. As it’s my newest piece of gear and it’s the one I am using the most right now. New gear is always exciting, right?

The pedal in the picture is the Expressive E Touché SE which is a very touch sensitive (controlled by your hands) instrument. It’s fantastic to use with analogue stuff but it comes with software and can also be used for vst synths as well. It’s basically capable of doing multiple efx at the time in an easy to use way. Kind of hard to explain. Do yourself a favour and watch some videos on this pedal in action. It’s quite amazing and super inspiring to play around with.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 4

What would a studio be without the Moog Sub37, or actually this is the newer Subsequently37. Go to synth for big bass line and leads. The quality of this synthesizer makes it a joy to work with every time and therefore will always stay a firm favourite in the studio.

Above the Moog is the Novation Peak which sounds amazing. I find it really good for pads especially but it can do everything and it’s a mixed digital + analog synthesizer which makes it different from most of the other synths I own.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 5

The Korg Minilogue is a classic mini-synth which I feel is a great synthesizer to start out with and one of the first I got. The little display is pretty nice to watch your waveforms and this classic helped me learn how to use everything quite quickly. Today you can get the Minilogue XD which is party digital too and therefore has a lot more possibilities. I might upgrade at some point.

Above is another classic – The Arp Odyssey. It sounds classic. It sounds good. When you need an arp or sequence and you going for old-school sounds this is the one. You gotta know 100% how to control it through or else you won’t get anything good from this synth.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour IMAGE6

These are the midi controllers I use mostly for modular and software stuff.

When using software synth I still have to be hands on and kind touch everything by hand instead of using the mouse. SparkLE is for drums. Arturia Beatstep Pro controls both drums and synths and Keystep is mainly for arps and sequence creation. All of them are very inspiring and easy to use. I also have the Keylab MK II 49 when I need a bigger keybed for my hands on melodies and chords.

All of these are from Arturia and they did an amazing job to create these controllers which I find the best on the market at the moment. Paired with their software V Collection 7 you can’t go wrong. I am a big fan of their products.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour IMAGE7 STUDIO

That is me in the studio with the track “Autophagy” loaded up in Ableton Live 10 (the only DAW I use). In this picture you can also see my ATC monitors which I never regretted spending those extra $$$ getting into my studio. They are by far the best studio monitors I have ever owned and the only ones I could fully trust when doing my mix downs. I have had them for 5 years now and they are very reliable.

Photo credit: artist management

Giuseppe Ottaviani expands on his metamorphosis following ‘Evolver’ LP and the current state of trance [Interview]

This post was originally published on this site

Giuseppe Ottaviani expands on his metamorphosis following ‘Evolver’ LP and the current state of trance [Interview]Giuseppe Ottaviani Press Shot Courtesy Artist Team

Giuseppe Ottaviani falls into the category of “innovator” when it comes to trance, remaining true to the genre’s hypnotic, yet highly emotive roots while continually seeking out refreshing new ways to construct it. Thus, the name Evolver feels plenty appropriate as the title of his latest album effort. It brims with class, immersing listeners in rich soundscapes capable of uplifting, calming, or invigorating. What sets Evolver apart from the rest of his discography, however, is the album’s roots. Each of its tracks began as mere improvisations and blossomed into interlacing parts of a broad sonic story. As the LP was conceived in the club, the finished product is naturally built to stir powerful moments on the dancefloor; the lack of stylistic differentiation does not diminish the overall quality, however. Who doesn’t love a nice array of peak-time tracks to choose from, anyhow?

Evolver is the latest in a strong track record of work from Giuseppe. His prior album, ALMA, showcased his exploratory side and saw the Italian studio wizard proving his production versatility. In total, he’s notched six albums to his belt—a testament to the enduring musicality he’s displayed since his breakout in the early 2000’s. Outside of his long-spanning discography, the producer has also built a reputation on the live front, crafting his ‘Live’ and ‘Live 2.0’ performance concepts. Now, his two worlds have combined on Evolver, whose base was written during his wide-spanning ‘Live 2.0’ sets. We dive deeper into these creative pillars with Ottaviani himself, who sat down with us just after the release of the album, and more for a full-bodied discussion.

Evolver saw a bit of an ‘evolution’ in your writing style. How has this changed your overall outlook on musicmaking, and do you foresee yourself adopting this methodology moving forward when it comes to writing new tracks?

I remember a very old interview from Faithless explaining how their track ‘God Is A DJ’ was casually born during one of their concerts. They just randomly played a riff and people went crazy for it so they decided to make a song out of it. I’ve always been fascinated by this so since the launch of my Live 2.0 concept and setup over 3 years ago I’ve been writing simple but effective melodies, ideas, live on stage, at the sound-check or in my hotel room prior to the show. Everything I’ve done was instantly published on my social media and played straight away at the gig to see if the idea was a good one or not. Basically every track was just a demo improvised and played live. Just like what happened with Faithless, people’s feedback was the main thing, in fact the good demos (those that have got a good reaction on the dance floor) have been saved, the others went straight into the bin.

3 years later I ended up with something like 22 “good demos” on my laptop and I simply decided to turn then into a full studio production and make an album out of it. 17 tracks made it to the album.

Evolver is not a studio album; it was born on stage and that’s what makes it very special. It wouldn’t exist without the feedback of thousands of music lovers from all around the world. This different method of writing music is so inspiring for me and I’m definitely going to use it more often in the future.

What made you want to make Evolver an album vs individual singles tailored to each place/moment the tracks are inspired by?

Well, these tracks were meant to be a “live thing” only, something that people could only experience at one of my live shows. On top of that, I was in the middle of releasing my previous album ALMA and other singles so I didn’t pay much attention to these tracks to be honest. Now as I said before, everything was published on my social media and people were constantly asking for those tracks. They were dying for a release date but I never thought about releasing them until people kept pushing so hard and asking for it. So thanks to them I decided to release the tracks. I didn’t want to keep people waiting by releasing one track at a time, so I decided to create an album and release all of them together.

What are some ways the destinations listed in the track list influenced the sound of the tracks? Speaking specifically to the destination-named tracks of course, not pieces like ‘8K’ or ‘Tranceland’

When I write a new idea I normally think of a silly/random name, just for the sake of giving it a title. So track titles like “Soundbar,” “Time Shift,” “Belasco,” “Ciudad de Mèxico,” “Panama,” and “Colours” are named after the city/club/event name where the idea was born. ‘8K’ is named after the keyboard I used in studio to make the main lead: a JP 8000. Other track titles like ‘Operator’ and ‘Follow The White Rabbit’ were inspired by a movie: The Matrix.

In the end I just decided to keep the original demo name and this is why there are not sophisticated and smart titles but just pure randomness.

Can you tell us about some of the biggest challenges/roadblocks you faced during this album process, and how you overcame them?

This album was born very last minute. I think it was the end of October 2018 when I decided to make the album, so I only had 7 months to turn around 20 tracks into a full studio production, and to pack the album. With all the touring I had, it wasn’t easy at all. Put some adequate family time into the equation and you’ll figure out how much pressure I had to delivery everything on time. How did I overcome? Well I had to do some extra hours work of course and I tried not to give too much attention to all those little details that are so time consuming and that only producers can hear but make no difference for everybody else. At the end of the day people loved the initial raw idea so I just tried to polish that.

This album notably lacks vocal/lyrical elements. How have you used melody/dynamic/instrumentation to convey the message of each track without using words?

As I said before, the album was mainly born on stage so of course no collaborations were possible at all. I like the fact that it’s just me, my music and the crowd. If you want, this album is a huge collaboration between myself and all those people who’ve attended my shows during the past 3 years. The melody is what carries the message for me, not the words. This album is kind of a flashback to my origins where I never used vocals in my productions because the music was doing the talking.

Some DJs have expressed concerns about trance becoming a parody of itself in that producers are getting lazy and laying on uplifiting/’cheese’ elements just for cheap kicks. Where do you stand on this issue and where do you see the direction of trance heading in the future?

Well I think this applies pretty much to any kind of music, not only trance. Producers jumping on the bandwagon and saturating the audience with the exact same formula over and over again is not a new thing! Being creative and evolving your sound is what keeps any genre alive I think. So I’m sorry if I don’t sound like 2008 anymore, I’m also sorry if I sound like 2002 again but with a 2020 touch in it!

At the end of the day I simply divide good music from bad music and I think I’ll just keep going my way and go with the flow as I really like to change, but also not to change. Yes, artists are weird.

Talking about the future of trance? I have no idea, it’s like asking me how the new iPhone XVII will look like. On a more serious note, what I can say is that a good melody will remain the main thing for trance music which undoubtedly will keep bringing the same positive feelings and emotions to millions of people—even if it will constantly appear to us in a different dress.

Have there been any recent places or shows you played that have given you great inspiration as of late?

I recently played one of the best shows of my career: A State Of Trance 900 and Dreamstate Europe. Those shows were something special and the new ideas I’m making at the moment are pretty much inspired by those experiences.

What is a piece of hardware in your setup that has played a central role in the album writing process?

I use a Soundcraft Ghost 32 analog mixing desk for the mixdown, and I use an API 2500 compressor which basically gives my sound signature to all my tracks. The API is a very aggressive compressor and it’s not really meant to be used on the master, but if “handled with care” it can give a super pumping touch to the track which is what I’m always looking for when I master my tracks.

Who are some underrated artists that we should be listening to more?

Three years ago one of my favourite albums was released by DJ Eco. It’s called Wolves and I keep listening to it on a daily basis. I don’t think it received the attention it really deserves so I would suggest to invest 78 minutes of your life in some amazing and very original music.

Finally, what’s next for Giuseppe Ottaviani?

Well I think that after releasing a full instrumental album with 17 tracks it’s time to deliver some vocal tunes, and I already have something big in my hands.

Photo credit: artist management

Order a copy of ‘Evolver’ here

ORBIT Playlist: Guy Mantzur & Khen supply a sultry progressive collection following their Bedrock release, ‘Where Is Home’

This post was originally published on this site

ORBIT Playlist: Guy Mantzur & Khen supply a sultry progressive collection following their Bedrock release, ‘Where Is Home’Gm Khen

Two of Israel’s finest, the seasoned veteran Guy Mantzur, and next generation hero Khen, were brought together on John Digweed’s illustrious Bedrock imprint for another shimmering EP, Where Is Home. Their chemistry has only grown stronger in the nine years they’ve been collaborating; this latest effort shows two styles flowing effortlessly into one another for a clean, striking sound. Both of the record’s moody, yet distinctive tunes are primed to become set staples in the melodic realm.

Dancing Astronaut has brought them together for a follow-up round of creation, but this time they’ve been tasked with curation. The latest in our Orbit series is ideal for those who like their sounds silky and progressive. They’ve assembled a rich collection of pieces that are each a journey in themselves, from Eli Nissan’s polished “Arpu” to Whomadewho and Rampa’s effervescent vocal number, “Tell Me We Are.”

Mantzur and Khen share quite the history together, beginning with their mutual circle of friends in their native Tel Aviv. The former got his start during progressive’s golden period in the early aughts, eventually growing to become a top rated talent, label owner, and resident of the legendary Cat & Dog club. Thanks to his brother Vic F, Khen’s been immersed in the world of underground electronic from a very young age. He found himself in the same circles as Guy Mantzur by the time he reached his teen years, beginning his climb in 2010 after showing an equal knack for melodic arrangement. Their collective journey began that same year with “Dysfunctional Superstar.”

In 2016 they had a huge hit on their hands via “Children With No Name,” the lead single off Khen’s debut album that we had the pleasure of premiering. Expect no shortage of future anthems from these two as they continue fine-tuning their craft.

Photo credit: artist teams