All good things must come to an end…so we decided to close 2018 with a bang!
Music wise it’s been an amazing year, we attended many spectacular events and had the chance to interview a lot of artists;
As last interview of 2018, we wanna drag you down the rabbit hole, let’s follow us to one of the most iconic parties of the year, Grotesque 350, hosted by the dutch mastermind, RAM, who’s been so nice to sit down with us for a great chat!
TBA: Hi RAM, thanks again for supporting The Backstage Access, first of all, how was your 2018?
RAM: It’s been an amazing year, my best year so far, so I can’t complain, had load of music released, tunes and cds, got a lot of sold out shows worldwide, been touring non stop, so it’s been just fantastic
TBA: Speaking of 2018 what has been your track of the year?
RAM: Northern Starfrom me and Susana, you know, I make music that I love and unfortunately tune like that are emotional trance that are not so hot anymore, so you don’t get to listen to it so often, I missed that very much as to me this was the essence of trance; another tune I love is from my friend Richard Durand ‘The Air I Breath‘, I think it’s an amazing track.
TBA: Speaking about Northern Star, can you tell us the story behind it?
RAM: Well it’s basically my third collaboration with Susana, we started with RAMelia and then we made ‘Someone Like You’ and after two tracks like that and fans keep asking for a new collaboration we really wanted to do something special again…but you know, it’s difficult to overcome what we did or at least to do something at the same level so it took a lot of work and it was a very hard process but now we made it and we are both very happy with the result, it’s nice to see we get so much love and support for it.
TBA: What’s up next?
RAM:Well basically after this, (Grotesque350) we gonna take this show worldwide, we are off to Asia, Australia, U.S.A and South America, we gonna do shows over there and in Europe as well of course, our label is doing amazing too and we will release a new compilation, and we are also about to start Grotesque D, with more progressive house!
About my personal projects I’d say I like to think out of the box so I am working on a new project to show a darker and harder side of me, I came form the hard trance so, basically I wanna make a fusion of different style reworking all hard trance classics, something different form what I normally do.
TBA: I’ve seen something coming up like a show at Paradiso, right?
RAM: Yes basically I wanna do a show for the essence of trance which basically means for me the essential trance records of the last 15/20 years but like the emotional beautiful trance, the kind of pure trance which is unfortunately not played anymore, emotional melodic trance for true trance lovers so it’s gonna be a 5 hours show of what I call angelic emotional trance, not for people that like fashion trance.
TBA: So we are at Grotesque 350 and the anthem is ‘Youniverse’ your collaboration with Alex M.O.R.P.H. how did it come?
RAM: I’ve known Alex for such a long time and we did already a previous collab, and I thought it was the right choice to work with him on the anthem of the event as he is playing here too and on the cd as well… it was for me a logic choice to ask him for it.
TBA: Any other collabs coming up in 2019?
RAM: Yes a lot!! I think the first one is with Heatbeats, one with Natalie Gioia and Darren Porter… then one with Arctic Moon and Denise Riviera,… Julie Thompson, Christina Novelli…. loads are coming cause I am also working on a new album so I think in the album there will be about six or seven collaborations but i cannot spill the bean now otherwise there is no surprise anymore haha!
TBA : Last but not least, as a guy from Amsterdam, why did you choose to set Grotesque in Rotterdam?
RAM: Ah, because there is no Maassilo in Amsterdam haha , but seriously, basically for me this is the best location in Holland I love it here, I think it’s beautiful and even if we love Amsterdam we don’t have a location that fits good as this one.
After a few years on ice, Bob Sinclar’s Africanism label is making its grand return. Initially launched in 2001 in collaboration with DJ Gregory, the label has now reemerged under the wing of Amsterdam-based record label Armada Music to create a new wave with fresh productions and instant classics, of which Erik Hagleton’s ‘City Of Gold’ is the first.
Constructed from the stuff that legends are made of, Erik Hagleton’s ‘City Of Gold’ goes down the floor-filling road that circles round the Africanism stamp. Juggling smooth, yet groovy percussion loops with deep bass, soft synth swirls and choir-like vocal chants, this track turns any spot into a makeshift dance floor, all in tandem with the excellent remixes from Daddy’s Groove and Nico De Andrea.
Since its launch in 2001, Africanism has been a blazing the trail for a large chunk of the House scene with its infectious funkiness, percussion-led sound and African vibe. Having released music from major-league artists such as David Guetta, Martin Solveig and of course Bob Sinclar and DJ Gregory, the label reached a number of commendable milestones, including #1 positions in Billboard’s Dance charts in 2005 (‘Summer Moon’) and 2006 (‘Hard’) and a golden record in South Africa with ‘Africanism 1’. Now restarting in collaboration with Armada Music, Africanism is immediately back on track with an instant House classic from Paris-born, London-based musician Erik Hagleton, who’s mostly known for his iconic remix of Basement Jaxx’s ‘Jump N Shout’.
Bob Sinclar: “Back when we first started the label, the idea was to give DJs something different to play during their sets, something unlike all the commercial, mainstream stuff. That notion still holds true today, but with additional focus on the new generations of music enthusiasts. It’s time for young people to discover real House music. It’s our duty to guide them into that direction with Africanism, and we’re very grateful to Armada Music for believing in us and wanting to join us in this endeavor.”
Maykel Piron, CEO Armada Music: “Africanism has always been more than just a label. To us, Africanism has been a fresh wind in the House scene, a label that introduced its own style of music and convinced DJs and listeners to step out of their comfort zone. To be a part of their relaunch truly is an honor for us all, and we’re really excited to work so closely together with them on adding some more color to the House scene.”
Erik Hagleton: “I’ve always had an appreciation for percussive African tribal music – it’s so fun and timeless – so it made sense for me to reconnect with Africanism for the release of my new single. The inspiration behind ‘City Of Gold’ actually came from a fond childhood memory. I used to watch a cartoon called ‘Les Mysterieuses Citee d’Or’, or ‘City of Gold’, and the melody of the theme was my main inspiration for the track.’’
Let us take you back to ‘1998’. Trance was booming like never before, and a few lads from the U.K. got together, wrote a breathtakingly beautiful piece on nothing more than a Yamaha W7 workstation and saw it become a seminal record that would change the lives of countless dance music fans forever. Today, that masterpiece, ‘1998’, celebrates its 20th anniversary and it does so in style with a brand-new 2018 version from Binary Finary themselves and remixes from Trance hero Marc Sixma and Italian Big Room/House/Techno maestro Dosem.
A true hit both on and off the dance floor with commendable chart positions in the U.K. (#24 for ‘1998’ and #11 for successor ‘1999’), ‘1998’ is revamped after two decades of dance floor domination. An evergreen classic no Trance fan has ever been able to get enough of – nor ever will, this masterstroke creation from Binary Finary is about to add another twenty years to its successful reign.
Binary Finary: “We are just really humbled that the little project we started all those years ago on a Yamaha workstation is still gaining attention and music plays all these years on. We are excited to hear the new remixes being played out at events across the globe. Really exciting and truly fitting for a 20th birthday party.”
PVD-HEADLINED IBIZA NIGHT CONFIRMED TO RETURN FOR ITS SECOND SEASON / NEW CLUB + DAY/DATE DETAILS
Hot off the back of the freshly-released ‘Music Rescues Me’ album,Paul van Dykhas more good news for fans today. Having enjoyed a highly successful 11-week debut run (culminating in him picking up DJ Awards Ibiza’s 2018 Trance Master title), The Supernova Group confirmed thatPaul van Dykwill be joining the SHINE family for another season in 2019. Having headlined the Ibiza night throughout the summer, SHINE will be back at a new venue, and further will see Paul return to his customary TRANCE THURSDAYS residency slot on the White Isle.
On SHINE’s first season, Paul reflected: “SHINE brought a breath of fresh air to Ibiza in 2018. To break out and do something new and under our own steam was a wonderfully liberating experience for myself personally and, I think, all involved. The team was right, the vibe was right and the DJs SHINE brought in to play were second to none. Trance and its global family were back on the island in its truest form. That all showed in the reception the night received.
On my last trip to Ibiza this year I dropped into the recently fully redeveloped Eden. I was blown away to see how the venue was modernized and refined. I’ve played the best and most exciting venues in the world and the new Eden is exactly that. Alongside San Antonio’s continuing regeneration, I am sure SHINE will host a world-class 2019 production there. Trance and Eden have a close relationship/shared history that goes back decades. In tandem with the desire to have the night back on Thursdays, I’m delighted to say that SHINE will be moving to the club for the upcoming 2019 season.”
Of the night’s move to Eden, the club said: “We are delighted to be hosting SHINE Ibiza for the first time in San Antonio. We are dedicated to offering a diverse range of club nights to our Ibiza crowd. We can think of no better team to bring Trance to Eden than with legendaryPaul van Dykand the SHINE family for 2019”.
SHINE promoter and MD of The Supernova Group Nick Ferguson echoed that, saying: “We are very excited by the opportunity to move SHINE to Eden for the 2019 season. The club has recently experienced a fantastic redevelopment and resurgence, as has San Antonio. Eden is well run, by people that believe in trance and are passionate about working with an exciting new brand!”
Paul will once again headline the night and a first raft of supporting DJs will be announced early in the New Year. Season 2 of SHINE begins with an opening fiestaon July 11, 2019and will run for 11 #TranceThursday nights through toSeptember 19.More info to follow early in the New Year.
Making his mark on the A State Of Trance imprint, Alex Kunnari teamed up with star vocalist Mike Schmid for an inspiring Vocal Trance gem. From the sizzling melody to the warm vocals and back, ‘This Fire’ is a song that will keep burning within Trance fans for a long time.
Alexander Popov shows he never lets us down with his single ‘Always Connected’ from his ‘Intention’ album. Together with LTN and stunning vocals from Cari, Alexander Popov made a track that is meant to be in your favorite playlist!
In tandem with LTN and vocalist Cari, Alexander Popov proudly presents another stellar single from his ‘Intention’ album. Characterized by a perfect balance between the raw, electro-scented bassline, angelic vocals and powerful melody, ‘Always Connected’ truly is a song that sticks.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an international PR at Armada Music? Who are the guys behind all your favorite artists? And what do they do exactly?
Well we had the pleasure to have a nice chat with two of the best PRs in the business, just to quench your thirst of curiosity and we’re ready to share the juicy details!
TBA: When did you start working at Armada music?
Lisanne: I started working at Armada Music on January 2, 2017. I finished law school, but felt I needed to have more creativity in my life. I love Law and will never regret choosing it as a study, but my creative / musical heart needed attention. I worked in the entertainment business on the TV side first, but soon discovered that there is only one place that will make me happy every day: the music business. So here we are!! And to be honest, I don’t think I will ever leave the music field.. 🙂
Justine: For me, it was early 2016. I was working in fashion, but needed a change of scenery. One day, I was at this Pablo Nouvelle concert in Paradiso in Amsterdam as a fan and got overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of a certain group of people dancing in front of me. They had a great influence on the overall vibe of the crowd that night and somehow really caught my attention. At a certain point, Pablo Nouvelle announced he recently signed with Armada Music and while saying that, he pointed towards this specific group of people standing up front. It turned out they were working at Armada Music and were there to support him. You could tell they were very proud of him and enjoyed working for him, which was why I told my friend ‘I want to work there as well!!’. The day after, I sent this exact story in an open application letter to Armada and the rest is history.
TBA: Can you describe us your job?
As you know, we both work for Armada Music – currently the biggest independent electronic dance music record label, founded by Armin van Buuren, Maykel Piron and David Lewis. At the label, we represent a wide range of acts (e.g. Armin van Buuren, ARTY, Andrew Rayel, Fedde Le Grand, GoldFish, Lost Frequencies, Loud Luxury, Morgan Page, Ørjan Nilsen and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano), as well as the label itself on a PR & Promotion level.
Together with the Product Managers, we try to create a hype around the tracks that get released via the label. It’s our responsibility to put the word out there, get the tracks known and streamed as soon as possible after release. Therefore, it’s our job to arrange promo tours, (online) interviews, radio/tv visits, social media take-overs, meet & greets, contest/giveaways etc. At the end of the day, we want our releases and artist roster to grow and become well known/more popular on a global scale.
TBA: What is the most challenging part of it?
Both: The most challenging part of music PR is to create the right PR angle/story to go with a release. For us, it’s important to build on a good story to make you stand out from the huge amount of music that is being released each day.
TBA: What is the funniest part of it?
Both: Creating that story/unique angle around a release can be quite fun sometimes.. We try to collect as much information as possible beforehand about a specific release and/or artist and sometimes you’ll find out about some funny, juicy details. Apart from that, promo days and festivals are definitely the most fun as we get to go out there and build on the relationship with the artists we represent.
TBA: How is it like to rub elbows with so many big DJs ? (And did you ever get use to have Armin around?)
Lisanne: I love to spend time with the artist, because I love music. To be around people who love the same thing as much as you is always great. That is in general the thing I love most about my job. Hahaha, yes I am used to having Armin around, but always love it when he is at the office because he is such a nice and funny guy.
Justine: It’s always a challenge of course with so many DJs and tracks being released every week. But I think the most important thing here is to actually believe in the music you represent and like Lisanne already mentioned; have a passion for music in general. Being passionate about what you do definitely makes your job a whole lot easier. I think Armin is one of the best examples of someone being really passionate about his career and having him around definitely has a positive, inspiring effect on the entire team here.
TBA: A day in the life of Lisanne and Justine …. let’s go wild and tell me everything:)
Lisanne: Well, most of the days aren’t as exciting as most people think, I guess.. I get up, walk to work (with Justine) and grab a cup of coffee. Then I try to get all my e-mails sorted before lunch and make sure I have a to-do list ready for the rest of the day. The music business is a fast-moving business and things don’t always go as expected, so we need to be able to respond to this fast. Having the inbox in order makes this easier. In the summer, we have a lot of festivals in the weekend and in October, we’re obviously really busy with ADE. But most of the days are spent at the office in Amsterdam. For me, that means liters of coffee and typing my ass off.
Justine: I think Lisanne’s description is quite accurate.. spending 24/7 on our phones and computer talking to media partners, artist management, event organizers, promoters etc. and setting up meetings to discuss strategies and promo plans. Definitely no 9-to-5 job as we work with a lot of different time zones. Besides that, Lisanne and I are having a lot of one-on-one sessions where we brainstorm and try to think of new ideas/ways of promoting releases and the label in general.
TBA: ADE has just been over, how was this edition for you?
Lisanne: This was my second ADE. I was better prepared for all things that were going to happen and knew better where I got myself into. ADE is hectic, but one of the best weeks of the year for us. During the day, we have loads of meetings and we schedule a lot of press moments with our artists. During the night, we try to attend the parties or events where our artists are playing or the ones that our partners are hosting. We don’t get much sleep done during this week, but because of all the things going on and the positive vibes all around, it makes it quite easy to keep going.
Justine: I couldn’t agree more. ADE is definitely the best week of the year for me! For us it’s the perfect opportunity to meet up with everyone that we’ve been working with all year (that aren’t exactly based ‘around the corner’) and to meet new people as well. Apart from the meetings/panel talks/events/parties we attend during that week, we also organize and host the ‘Armada Invites ADE marathon’ in our very own in-office club, which is very exciting to work on as well!
TBA: You have to deal with a lot of people, artists, managers, press and so on, it requires a lot of patience, positive attitude and energy I think…. how do you keep yourself going all the time ?
Both: It really helps that we are both extremely passionate about what we do; this definitely makes things easier. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re all trying to reach the same goals here and that it’s important for us to work together to be able to achieve these goals.
Teamwork is key, and this way, we try to keep inspiring and motiving each other on a daily basis.
TBA: ASOT900 is approaching, how much are you involved in that ? And what are you gonna do?
Lisanne: ASOT900 is the biggest indoor trance festival in the world and a proud project of Armin. Because I am responsible for the promotional side of not only Armin, but all the trance acts at Armada, I will be organizing and coordinating press opportunities for all of them during this night. With it being such a big event, loads of media partners from all around the world will attend, which gives me the opportunity to build on the relationship and create promo opportunities for our artists and the A State Of Trance label. I will probably ask Justine to help me out during this night, as this is always very hectic and it never ever goes according to plan.
Justine: Like she already explained, Lisanne is in charge of all the PR & Promo around this event but like every year, I will definitely be there as well to help her coordinate and assist where needed.
TBA:Lisanne, would you tell me a secret about Justine ?
Lisanne: Hahaha! Not going to spill the beans here, but Justine has a very easy way to go undercover and sometimes uses this when it’s Sunday and she doesn’t wants to be recognized.. 😉
Justine: Hahaha, so true!
TBA: Justine, would you tell me a secret about Lisanne?
Justine:Besides her passion for electronic music, Lisanne’s guilty pleasure is listening to Dutch Folk music.
She’s attending every show, standing front row, singing along to literally every song they play, haha!
Oh and 1 more things: if you ever meet Lisanne on the dance floor, make sure to ask her about ‘The Vacuum Cleaner’. Trust me; it will be a mind-blowing experience!
Photo courtesy of Floris Heuer and Bailey Frank Hyatt
Off the back of success single ‘Hipcats’ (with David Penn), follow-up ‘Huh Huh Huh’ and signing with Armada Subjekt on an exclusive basis, ATFC has lined up his next highlight of the year. In tandem with Parisian electronic music DJ/producer and Pardon MY French member Mercer – who’s been blazing the trail with recent singles such as ‘Let’s Get Ill’ (with DJ Snake), ‘Neo Disco EP’ and ‘Boss’ (released on DJ Snake’s Premiere Class Records)) – the Anglo-Turkish House herald pushed his grooviness to the next level to come up with the vibrant ‘Twisted’, a no-holds-barred House cut sure to spice up the scene.
Helmed by a vivacious bassline with crazy vocals and layers of percussion woven through, Mercer and ATFC’s collaborative effort on Armada Subjekt is why so many people call House music their home. Topped off with slight Nu-disco influences and a little bit of sonic madness, ‘Twisted’ is the record that makes your head spin time and time again.
ATFC:“I contacted Mercer after hearing he’d done a great edit of ATFC & David Penn ‘Down Wid Da’ and 2 weeks later, we had finished this collaboration. Sometimes people and ideas just click and ’Twisted’ is one of those times. Hopefully more to come!”
Mercer:“It was a pleasure to work with ATFC. First of all, I love his music; I’ve been playing a lot of his tracks in my live show for years. I edited one of his songs for my sets and he reached out to me on Instagram. We started talking and sharing music. I sent him a bassline I recorded in 2009 for a tune I never finished, and he immediately felt it and sent me his version the next day. I finished the track the day after. It was so quick! I’ve been playing this tune for months now and the crowd always goes nuts, so I’m really glad it’s out in the open now!”
Hot on the heels of a particularly popular contest with Norwegian dance music icon Ørjan Nilsen, none other than Statement! regular and Progressive Trance trailblazer Rodg takes over the reins to launch a similar contest on Armada University, the new producer platform operating under the wing of Amsterdam-based record label Armada Music.
Exclusively available to the almost 4000 producers who signed up to Armada University for free since the launch of the platform less than two months ago, Rodg’s new course-driven contest offers a unique look into the Dutch DJ/producer’s production process whilst also nudging budding producers to put their skill to the test and finish up what Rodg started in his course. The winning submission gets a collaboration with Rodg as a full-fledged release on Armada Music. For more information, please visit the course page:‘Rodg – Finish My Record’.
In conjunction with the release of his course and contest on Armada University, Rodg also launched his own Armada University sample pack on music creation platform Splice. In total, his sample pack contains 201 custom-made, Progressive Trance-flavored samples, all of which will prove invaluable for anyone wanting to learn from his course and/or compete in his ‘Finish My Record’ contest on Armada University.
Advertised as THE platform for music producers who want to learn, improve and become the best, Armada University was founded in collaboration with FaderPro and specializes in unique music production courses from an increasing number of established artists, including Sultan + Shepard, Harry Romero, Thomas Gold, ATFC & David Penn, Ørjan Nilsen, GoldFish and more. Upon subscribing to Armada University for free, students not only get an exclusive 20% discount on all artist courses, but also get access to GUARANTEED feedback on their demo after purchasing a course, remix contests, free producer tips, music production blogs and other forms of exclusive content.
There are few, if any artists from the electronic music domain that studied at a conservatory, much less can write, orchestrate and conduct a full orchestra. BT is completely unique in the electronic music realm as he does this, well… all the time.
This month sees BT return to a musical realm in which he is uniquely versed. Since cutting his teeth scoring cult crime caperGoin 1999, the US composer has provided OSTs for an incredible diversity of films. He’s written groundbreaking scores for everything from TheFast & The Furiousto Oscar winningMonsterand even Pixar shorts.
In association with Black Hole Recordings, this December sees him release a beautiful intricate, emotionally soaring, orchestral and modular hybrid score. It is one though that presented the composer with a myriad of new and distinct challenges
‘Ittefaq’ (English title: ‘Coincidence’) is the US composers first non-English language film. Written and shot in the twisting, turning, Akira Kurosawa-forgedRashomon-style (where mutually contradictory interpretations of events are presented), BT found himself in uncharted composition territory.
To overcome this multi-faceted scoring challenge, while synchronously echoing the fast moving events of the whodunit, BT drew on his most eclectic palette of musical forms to date. Amongst its 29-track span, BT sits classical instrumentals and cooler, more downtempo electronic pieces (written primarily with a large modular synthesizer), alongside orchestral and symphonically led numbers, in turn featuring any number of sub-styles, techniques and methods. It’s a truly remarkable and unique tour de force –wildride; elucidating the bleeding edge of what is possible in modern score.
Currently holding a rare ‘100% Fresh’ rating on review aggregatorRottenTomatoes.com, ‘Ittefaq’ has been one of Bollywood’s biggest word-of-mouth sleeper hits this year. While initially proving a hurdle, the intricacy of the Mumbai-shot thriller’s plot ultimately proved to the strongest spur for Brian Transeau’s score. Centered on the story of a man falsely – or otherwise – accused or murdering his wife, BT crafts one atmospheric, suspenseful and evocative set piece after another. Swift-yet-fluid musical pivots mirror the film’s unfolding events/conflicting dialogues (‘Ittefaq’s strapline “2 Murders, 2 suspects, 2 versions”saying much). Throughout though Brian maintains an overarching air of intrigue, expectation and anticipation to the music. His latest OST triumph, BT’s accompaniment to ‘Ittefaq’ is out today and available to buy or stream here:https://bt.choons.at/ittefaq
01. ITTEFAQ Theme Suite
02. Vikram, Katherine, Maya Theme
03. Modularis 04. Prologue Chase
05. Night Market Arrest
06. The Crime Scene
07. A Murderer Loose
08. Discovering Katherine’s Body
09. Vikram’s Great Escape
10. Into the Apartment
11. Maya’s Story
12. End of a Life
13. Investigation Theme Suite
14. The Faulty Light
16. Two Sides of the Story
18. The Aftermath
19. Was it Maya?
20. Is it Vikram?
21. The Video Argument
22. The Accused
23. Maya’s Theme Suite
24. Truth in Photos
25. Dev’s Suspicion
26. Vikram Finishes the Story
27. The Two Brothers Theme
29. The Peak btmusic.com facebook.com/bt twitter.com/bt soundcloud.com/bt