And the interview saga continues this week with:  

So, during the latest, fantastic edition of our beloved festival ASOT 800 in Utrecht, we also had the pleasure to meet the super talented Ukrainian dj and producer for a nice chat about both his personal and professional life, let’s check out what it is all about 🙂

J: Thanks a lot for supporting THE BACKSTAGE ACCESS

Omnia:  Ok, and we’re right now in the backstage. Thank you so much I really like to see guys like you supporting the industry.

J: What does ASOT means to you?

O:  A lot of things. I think I’ve started producing my own music because of it, back in 2004, I started listening to the radio show, and it really inspired me and I realized that I wanted to make tracks which Armin would have played, so it was like my dream, you know, right now I am here and the dream came true! So i’d say ASOT is a very important part of my career, my music position so yeah, it means a lot.

J. The first time I saw you playing was during ASOT 600 and you totally blew my mind

O: Oh thank you, it was in Den Bosch right?

J: Yes

O: It was pretty special to me too because it was my first show where I was traveling outside my country so playing in places like The Netherlands or Ibiza made me very nervous back then, I was also very young as an artist and I was really excited…but well, I am still excited!!

J. When you make a new track are you ever afraid to play it for the first time in front of a crowd?

O: Yeah, I think almost all producers have the same feeling , because, you know, as far as I am concerned, I always like to do something new, I don’t like to do like a copy and paste of a previous track, I like to experiment with my sound and it means that sometimes you don’t know how it’s gonna be for people, how it is gonna be received, like if they like it or they not really like it, so it’s kinda risky but you know, this is something that pushes you to do many more things in the music production so I think I am always afraid to show my new tracks but I am doing this everytime and it’s a really good feeling and even right now I am really nervous about my set but I will do this.

(Oh yes, he did it folks!! Check out his massive set right here )

J: Where do you see the trance scene going ?

O: Oh I think it’s easier for me, I have my own signature sound and I know which direction I should go, people can recognize my sound which is really cool but I don’t know what to say about the whole industry, so, even tonight we have a psy stage here in Utrecht and we have a 138 stage too, so I think in this moment trance is going in a more uplifting direction, I can’t say I am a big fan of this fast trance honestly, because I’ve always been more progressive and more melodic and maybe more deeper, but I will still do my own thing, because I know what people expect from my sound so, let’s see, I would only say that at the moment it’s really hard to see where the industry is going , the only thing djs and producers can do is to create their own direction, so I am trying to do that ,I am just trying to make my listeners happy I am not thinking in trance or edm terms..I am just doing my own thing

J: And you are damn good at it!

O: hahaha oh thank you, thank you very much!!

J:So let’s talk about your new tune, Why Do You Run?  It has got a huge reaction right?

O: Yes, I’ve just released this new production with Jonny Rose, and it’s been voted as future favorite at A State Of Trance this week

J: Yes, I know and I voted it too!

O. Oh really?? Thank you so much!
And I would also say big big thanks to all my fans, I didn’t expect such a huge reaction it means a lot for me , it is something that helps me keep moving

J: Where do you find the inspiration to create your music?

O. It’s hard to tell…well, you know, I think it’s all about the life style and everything that’s going on with me, I think that inspiration is a kind of filter for musician ,music is your own emotion, you show yourself to the people through your music, I think with my music I try to show what’s going on with me, right now I feel so happy and I think it reflects in my music…in my vibes. Then the ideas just come in my head like melodies and that’s why I always travel with my laptop, cause sometimes I got an idea and I am not in my studio so I can try to fix the melodies that came to me.
Other than that, inspiration can be everything, even my cats, what inspires me today will be something different tomorrow.

J. How do you find the balance between your professional and your private life?

O: I think it was hard when I started my career because it was something new but now it’s ok because It’s my lifestyle, you know I love to do this, I love to create music, I love to travel, to do shows, it inspires me a lot, and all my close friends and my family and of course my wife, they are really supporting me, and my wife understands what’s important for me because if it’s important for me it’s important for her too, but at the same time I always try to find the balance between the work and the family, and it’s not really hard , if you can plan your time, you can plan your life and this becomes really easy.

J: Do you have at the moment any tool or synth in studio that you really like?

O: Sure, I am a big fan of Native Instruments and you know all the melodies in my tracks are usually made with Massive, I am really good with this instrument and it helps me a lot: thanks to Native Instruments (laughs),yes but I am using a lot of things like Silenth1, Nexus, Spyre, Z3ta+ , products from Spectrasonics, stuff from Rob Papen. And for FX and mixing I usually use the ‘Waves’ audio plugins! They have a really big choice of tools to work with sound! For mastering it’s almost always iZotope Ozone plugin!

J.Ok I think I have to let you go for now, but thanks again for your time and see you soon on the dance floor!

O: Thank you! see you soon.


Last Saturday, during ASOT 800 in Utrecht, The Netherlands, I’ve had the honor to meet the super talented dj and producer Estiva, he was so nice to join us right after his epic set, for a very interesting chat!

J: Thanks a lot for supporting The Backstage Access
E: Yes, of course, thanks for having me

J:The first thing I would like to ask you is: What does ASOT mean to you?
E: Means to me? Well the first time I was listening to ASOT, no, actually, let’s go way back, when I was 15 ,16 ,or something, I used to listen to ASOT radio show,and it kinda got me into producing music so at some point I was actually releasing music on labels, and one of the first songs, was picked up by Armin van Buuren and he played into ASOT so while I was tuned in one night,  I heard my song and I was like: hang on, this song is one of my songs, so Armin was playing my song, can you imagine it? Like ,the thrill for me was insane!
So that was my first experience and actually got hooked from that moment on.It’s really special for me,  you know, the music like the emotions and the beats…I like the groovy beats,not too fast, I do like the psy trance stuff like for an hour or so and then I’d go back to something else, so like the whole trance jam is really interesting to me.

J: I know you are cooperating with Ruben de Ronde and his label Statement, so any new projects going on?
E: Yes, so…first things first, about one year ago, I was kinda lost and didn’t know which direction I wanted to go with my music, so I told to myself, ok let’s just have fun again, try to create music that I really like,not for the labels, not for the fans, just whatever goes up in my mind, so I made a few tracks, sent them to Ruben, he said Yes, I love that, so I released some tracks with Ruben, got to know him a little bit more and now we  actually have written a tune together, with Rodg as well, so that’s a collaboration and I think he premiered it tonight (during ASOT 800 in Utrecht) so I am proud of that, that’s great! 

(The tune is called “Intergalactic” and you can find it in the new album “Togetherr” that you can pre order here)

J: Is there a track that represents you right in this moment?
E: It’s kinda hard, I would like to say that my last production is my best production, but it’s a very tough question to answer because I like to see the whole picture, tonight I’ve played 60 minutes of my own music, so looking back, that’s me, I’d say it captures my vibe, it’s a combination of a good groove and an epic melody maybe.

J: Any festival on your bucket list?
E: Well, does it get any better than ASOT?
I mean next year, on my bucket list, there’s ASOT850!Let’s stick to that!

One of the cutest moment in the famous Radio Dome…family time for Estiva!!

J. What do you like to do in your spare time if you have any?
E: I like cycling, soccer, football, I actually been to Italy too in Pisa, Tuscany ,with my bike,hit the mountains with my bike so that’s what I like to do, but really, other than that, if I have some time, I just go ahead and produce.

J: Where do you find the inspiration to create your tunes?
E: Nights like these are very inspiring to me because you feel the energy so when I get back home  home tomorrow morning I am like  I need to go to sleep but I actually have so many ideas in my head, I need to go to the studio as well so I won’t just sleep…so that’s where I find the inspiration.

J: Do you have a favorite plugin or studio tool at the moment?
E:I write my tunes with FL studio since I’ve started so I would definitely recommend it to anyone. I use also Spyre, it’s a great synth and like it a lot.

J: Ok thank you so much for your time and let’s catch up soon.
E: You are welcome, thank you for having me 


If just like us, you couldn’t get enough of his stunning set at ASOT800, you can listen to it again here



And for all of you always looking for new stuff, we have a very special treat:

Estiva’s new EP,  Barba/Tarmac  is OUT NOW on Statement!  so hurry up and grab it here:

Barba / Tarmac

Download & Listen : here








The latest ASOT edition just amazed us all with its majestic show, the 800th episode’s celebration was absolutely insane, and we bet you are looking forward to the next edition already!!

Whether you were with us at Jaarbeurs during that incredible night or you were just spending a cozy night on your couch following the streaming, the main thing is we were all united for A State Of Trance, because it’s part of our lives and our stories and something we could not really live without.

It’s like the whole trance world is connected for a unique night, a one of a kind experience which aims to unite us all; ASOT means a lot to us, right? Well… we’ve had a chat with some of the artists performing there and  found out what ASOT means to them (and a lot of other interesting things which will follow asap in their interviews, during the next days)




Well the first time I was listening to ASOT, no, actually, let’s go way back, when I was 15 ,16 or something, I used to listen to ASOT radio show, and it kinda got me into producing music’s at some point I was actually releasing music on labels, and one of the first songs, was picked up by Armin van Buuren and he played it into ASOT so at some point I was listening to it and I heard my song and I was like: hang on, this is one of my songs, so…. Armin was playing my song!!! Can you imagine it?… Like the thrill, for me it was insane!
So that was my first experience and actually got hooked from that moment on. ASOT It’s really special for me, the music, the beats, trance means a lot to me.


Giuseppe:  It’s kinda of an institution, you know, one of those BIG things that have to be part of your life if you are a trance artist, you gotta play here
Richard: It’s like I milestone. If I was Armin I would end it at 1000 because it’s a really good number, if you get to 1000 then you get to do 10000 so that’s not possible ( but I am not gonna say that to Armin btw…- laughs-)


To me it means A lot of things. I think I’ve started producing my music because of it, back in 2004, I started listening to the radio show, and it really inspired me and I realized that I wanted to make tracks which Armin would have played, so it was like my dream, you know, right now I am here and the dream came true! So i’d say ASOT is a very important part of my career, my music position so yeah, it means a lot.


Rodg: For me, it kinda changed, you know, I’ve been playing here for the 3rd time, before that I was a visitor, it was about the music, you heard new music, a lot of productions, you know it was just an amazing festival, but now, I am here as a dj, playing the record I made in the studio is more about I am gathering people, bringing people together to enjoy music all together and especially for his event they come from all over the world, you see flags from countries you can’t even think of, that’s pretty special like, we, with our music bring these people together, that’s exactly what ASOT mean to me.

Ruben : I think the most important thing about ASOT is unifying, like bringing people together, the media are trying to divide everyone nowadays, try to scare people and make sure that everybody hates each other like you need to hate that person because he does that and so…I think with ASOT or with music in general we are trying to do something different, we are trying to bring people together so that a perfect example is when you see people with palestinian flag or israeli flag and they can dance together like they are here for the music not for any political reasons….that’s the most important thing about it,yeah I know it’s a bit deep but it is what it is 🙂


I think it’s already for years and years the biggest trance festival and it’s the party to be, it’s always something to look forward to, every time you get invited to play here, it’s like being a baby in a candy store! it’s awesome to be here, awesome crowd, everybody is so excited so it’s just very nice to play here!!


My very first ASOT was with my friends and I remember that I was in the car listening to the music and then I thought it was different from everything else  it was little bit magical, special, I love that everyone is different , everyone is loving the music, everyone is uniting and coming together to celebrate , there are a lot of other festival but this particular one is so nice and unique, I haven’t seen anything like this before.


It’s a building block for me as an artist, and for my productions, I mean a lot of people know me for my persona, my branding, but ASOT is very good for the exposure of my singles too Armin and Armada always supported my tracks and helped me get me to the point I am now,I love playing here because Armin brings everyone together and it’s a great festival.


It’ s a very exciting event to be, I meet all the trance family people , lot of people I work with…It may sounds like a cliché but trance is kinda a way of life for me , it’s part of my daily life.

When all is said and done, we do hope your ASOT experience has been great, and just stay tuned for the full interviews with each of these amazing artists!!

So… now we are curious, what does ASOT mean to YOU??

Up Close And Personal With Kimberly Hale


Hi everyone!

Today I got a pretty special treat for you: an exclusive interview with one of the most talented songwriters/singers of the trance scene, I am happy to introduce you to the lovely Kimberly Hale from the United Kingdom!

Let me tell you that her angelic voice and magical lyrics will charm you and bring you to another place, she will cast a spell on you…you have been warned!!


With a string of emotionally and stylistically diverse releases and compilations through multiple dance labels including Statement!, Armada, Amsterdam Trance, Raz Nitzan, Sir Adrian, Discover Group, EMI, and more…Kimberly’s tunes and collabs have been supported on worldwide radio shows and DJ sets by the top international superstars Armin van Buuren, Cosmic Gate, Paul Oakenfold, Max Graham, Andy Moor, Lange, Judge Jules, Simon Patterson, Marcus Schossow, Nifra, Ruben de Ronde, Susana, Audrey Gallagher, Jes, Beat Service, Pedro del Mar, Omnia and many more…

So, let’s welcome Kimberly on TheBackstageAccess!!


K: Thank you so much for asking me to be here with you and your readers, Jess!  



J: Could you tell us how and when did it all start in the music industry for you?




K: I do distinctly remember sitting in the bathtub when I was 3 years old and saying to myself that i was going to be female Elvis when I grew up. haha My parents watched a lot of Elvis movies in the Bible belt.  After that it was piano lessons and southern baptist church choir at quite a young age.  I think for a lot of us, music is a lifetime path! 



J: What inspires you when creating a tune ?


K: A few times it has been a choice between having a nervous breakdown or writing a song.  Crises are very fertile moments for songs and some of my best received tunes were written in those moments.  Plus I saved some money that would have been spent on therapy!   haha 


Otherwise, I would say when writing on piano I need a lot more internal and external inspiration — life events and strong feelings, poetry, or listening to so much of the great music we have in this genre for example.   


Writing over tracks, it seems to be a lot more instinctive and things just sort of come to me out of the air.  


J: a couple  of my favorite tunes you wrote are Moment Of Truth and  All In, could you tell us something about them?


K: Thank you Jess!  It’s funny you single those tracks out as they were the first vocals I wrote over tracks in a very long time!  Most of the other releases I have had recently have been me starting with nothing but my piano and having to write the structure/chord progression as well.  


Suddenly, not only did I get the tracks given to me first, but super fun and inspiring tracks that made my job really easy!  They both came out very effortlessly and I freestyled it completely.    


“Moment Of Truth” was such a blast and inspired me rhythmically.  

“All In” was so melodically developed that I felt the only choice I had was to follow and dance around with Ruben’s lead which made it very simple to write!  The lyrics and words i did not think about at all either.  They literally wrote themselves. i edited slightly in the honing stage. 



J: Are there any artist you would love to cooperate with?


K: I don’t know why I always feel coy when someone asks me this question!  It’s not like you’re asking me something naughty!  hahaha 



J: If you were not a singer what else would you like to do?


K: There have been times when I had so many friends coming to me for counselling that I could have been a full-time therapist/ muse!  I’m an enfp so that is definitely in the skill set! I really want to write a novel one day!  


J: For those who are not familiar with the whole creative process, could you explain a bit how it works for you when you are asked to write something ?


K: It’s definitely a different process when I am writing on piano or over a track as I mentioned earlier.  But one thing is that for both, a physical warmup is very important and I always seem to do better when I stretch out completely like I am about to pole vault or something like this. 😉   I think any tension in the body can inhibit flow!   


I can write songs quickly but I generally spend a couple weeks at least perfecting and honing as they always get better when I do that.  I am normally not happy with the lyrics unless they seem to have multiple meanings and I have three points of view which I typically like to incorporate.  I test each song this way to make sure they hold up most of the time.  I’m not sure if anyone else notices it or not, but it’s important to me! haha 



J: The most important tune to you so far and why?


K: It’s really hard to say on that one as many of my tunes have been instrumental in leading me to another place.  Sometimes you only get one opportunity to move a certain direction and each of those markers has been a moment of truth to me 🙂


J: What do you love to do in your spare time ?  

K: socialising with friends, health and fitness,  i’ve been taking ballet classes lately too. 




J: Your relationship with social media and your fans ?


K:I really wish I could figure out a way to better reach the fans on Facebook.  Since they started with the algorithms, i think it’s really made everything feel so stagnant.  I’ve thought about sending smoke signals!   haha I feel pretty sad and dejected in there now!  And most of all, I feel really terrible that it’s so hard to reach the fans.  :'(  At least Armada music and A State of Trance posted some videos of our music lately which did receive a nice response so I was grateful for that.  


On a bright note, my instagram seems to be doing better a tiny bit and I’m finding the nature of the site a lot more calming, fun and positive than Facebook at the moment.  



J: Describe yourself in 3 words 🙂


K: Perceptive







J: Please leave a message for TheBackstageAccess readers 🙂


K:  Thank you for loving and caring so much about the music!  Your energy is what makes this all complete!  Thanks for giving us the space on this earth and the constant support to create heavenly meaningful things!  Lots of Love!   Kimberly Xox  



Photo courtesy: Asia Werbel




 In an attempt to both raise awareness and actively protect the hearing of music lovers around the world, Armada Music and Alpine Hearing Protection have joined forces. Their collaboration kicks off with a brand-new earplug. The Alpine PartyPlug Armada Edition is not only available for purchase online in the Armada Music Shop, but will also be sold at A State Of Trance 800 Utrecht, the biggest Trance event in the world.


The decision to join forces was a definite no-brainer. Recent numbers show that in the Netherlands alone, over 20,000 young adults damage their hearing every year. The main cause of this problem is that those very same people neglect to protect their hearing even though the volume at an average concert or festival could cause irreparable hearing damage within 15 minutes of exposure.


Alpine Hearing Protection: “We’re glad that people have become more aware of the dangers and risks of loud music, but we still have a long way to go. People often think earplugs take away from the experience, even though this has been a thing of the past for a long time now. In fact, the Alpine PartyPlug Armada Edition comes with a special acoustic filter, which not only upholds the quality of the music, but also makes it so much easier to indulge in normal conversation without having to guess what the other person is saying. There are simply no cons to wearing hearing protection.”


With their earplugs, Armada Music and Alpine Hearing Protection hope to decrease the amount of people suffering from hearing loss due to insufficient protection. Now it’s up to the people themselves to take matters into their own hands.


For more information about Alpine or hearing protection in general, please visit


 Ever the man to come up with new ways to improve and perfect his craft, Armin van Buuren has once again gone all out. Tonight, the world-renowned Dutchman is to open his new radio studio in Amsterdam, built specifically to enhance the A State Of Trance experience for his fans with a full video stream system. 
“Now that 2017 has started, I can finally share something really exciting with you”, says Armin van Buuren in the official announcement. “I feel that the time has come to take the next step, to go next level with A State of Trance. To accommodate this, I’m opening my very own radio studio in the HQ of Armada Music on February 2nd.”


“From that moment onward, the episodes of A State Of Trance will be so much more than just a listening experience. Thanks to a full video stream system, you will be able to watch me and A State of Trance live on my Facebook page and YouTube channel, every Thursday from 8 PM till 10 PM CET. In addition, we can offer you a behind-the-scenes look from time to time and will occasionally invite fans and artists to drop by during the live show as well. We will be able to connect like never before and I hope you’ll love this new development every bit as much as I do.”


Tonight, after the official opening of the radio studio, the 800th episode of A State of Trance will be streamed live on Armin van Buuren’s Facebook page and YouTube channel from 8 PM to 10 PM (CET). A little over two weeks from now, on February 18th, the milestone will be celebrated in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, the Netherlands, with a brand-new edition of the biggest Trance event in the world: A State Of Trance 800 Utrecht. More info and tickets: