Enjoying a sunny morning in Amsterdam, strolling by its charming streets and stopping by to take some pics along its breathtaking canals it’s something magical… but when Eller decides to join us for breakfast, oh well, that’s definitely something extra!
Wondering what this amazing artist is up to right now?
So, Eller just moved to a new house, built a new studio, still teaching guitar to his beloved students and…take a look to our chat to know everything about our funny breakfast with a very special guest 😉
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.
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
A few days ago we blogged about the latest banger fresh from the oven of the Dutch talent Mark Sixma, ‘ The Clock’ and let us tell you that we’ve spent the whole weekend blasting it out loud.
Hailing from Breda, the Dutch city that gave birth to scene leaders like Tiesto and Hardwell, he’s responsible for some of the genre’s most revered anthems, as timeless as they are essentials to any trance and EDM enthusiast’s collection.
After attending a few of his spectacular gigs lately, we couldn’t wait to find the right moment to catch up with him.
So….what about now, right in the middle of his re-branding and right after the release of this stunner?
TBA: Hi Mark, first of all how are you doing?
MS: Doing very well, thank you!
TBA: Congrats on your new release ‘The Clock’ such a banger that made us fall in love in love here at The Backstage Access office, can you tell us something about it?
MS: Glad you like it! With this one I’ve combined elements of Psy with Hardstyle.
TBA: What was the idea behind it?
MS: Recently I’ve been feeling the urge to come up with something new, something that is pushing boundaries. I felt like taking my shows, branding and of course the music to the next level. This track is just the first page of a new chapter!
TBA: How long did it take you to make this tune?
MS: The main parts of the track actually came to be quite quickly as I already had the idea in my head. It felt like it was missing something though and after trying some different things I came up with the idea to use a ticking clock. That soon became the theme of the song.
TBA: How does your studio set up looks like ?
MS: It’s actually pretty simple. Windows Desktop, Adam A77X speakers, LG Ultra Widescreen, Apollo Twin USB and an Impulse 49 semi weighted Keyboard. I use Beyerdynamics DT 880 as headphones.
TBA: What are you favorite tools to work with?
MS: I like to work ‘in the box’, so that means I hardly use any hardware. I have loads of software, some of my favourite tools are LFOtool, Nerve, Artsacoustic Reverb and lots of the Fabfilter and Native Instruments stuff.
TBA: Any particular synth you could not live without?
MS: Sylenth1 is just so easy to use, after all these years I still use it a lot!
TBA: The latest plug in you purchased?
MA: Manipulator, It’s amazing what it can do with vocals! It’s how I processed all the vocal bits on ‘The Clock’ actually.
TBA: The presentation of ‘The Clock’ was really insane, with all that teasing and videos, can you share some insights about all the work behind it?
MS: Because we wanted to launch the new logo and brand at the same time it required a lot of work and planning from me and my team. We want to show the world that it’s time for the next chapter. We want to create unique moments and a story that all of you can be a part of too! Our own world where music unites us all.
TBA: Wow, we can’t wait to know more asap!Thanks a lot for taking the time and see you soon!
It’s no secret that ESTIVA is hands down one of the artists we love more here at The Backstage Access, so during last Amsterdam Dance Event, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to join him at Armada Music Headquarter to catch up on the latest news about him and his music.
He played an enthralling set during ASOT streaming that Thursday, featuring 3 brand new tracks of him;
like he told us back in June when we met in Ibiza, Steven has plenty of material for ‘Spectacle 2’ but looks like we need to be patient and wait for the release next year.
We also talked about tour life and the ability to handle it, as it can be stressing sometimes, and then Estiva revealed us he really enjoys testing new tunes to put the crowd out of its comfort zone with something never heard before.
We sat down with Elevven at Armada Music headquarter during Amsterdam Dance Event 2018.
The L.A. based duo (Eskai and SNR) explained us how they joined forces for good giving birth to their project called ‘Elevven’ and how they became part of Statement!.
Already supported by all the big names in the scene, they revealed us some funny experiences and a few facts about their creative process.
Amsterdam Dance Event is definitely the most magical time of the year, anything can happen during that insane week, even bumping into the legendary Ferry Corsten while walking in Armada Music’s hallway!!
We managed to have a quick chat with him about ADE, his project Unity and all the amazing collaborations, his view on some big names quitting the scene recently and more…
A few weeks ago, while Amsterdam Dance Event was in full swing, we reached out Armada Music headquarter to sit down with one of the most talented young artist of the label, David Gravell.
He dragged us down the rabbit hole revealing us some very intriguing enlightenment about the ups and downs of being a successful artist and we cast a light on a few important issues like how to stay healthy and fully energized during a very busy tour schedule;
what’s the concept behind his new logo,
what’s the secret formula behind his smashing remixes; some insights about the upcoming EP and much more.
One of the highlights of the last Amsterdam Dance Event for us has been hands down having the chance to meet some extraordinary artists from AVA Recordings ( Sheridan Grout, Sam Laxton, Memory Loss, Rinaly) and Bjorn Akesson as special guest, who have been so nice to sat down with us for a few minutes to introduce themselves and talk about their music career and the path their following.
AVA Recordings hosted a stage during ITWT night and let us tell you, we sincerely hope you didn’t miss it because we had a blast! The uplifting atmosphere and the pounding beats kept us going through the night dancing as…no one was watching us 🙂
We suggest you to keep those amazing talents on your radar as they are growing fast in what we can call a fully refreshed trance scene and boasting a huge support from the biggest names in the business they’re more than ready to destroy all the dance floors worldwide….you are warned 🙂
Now let’s check what they told us and what AVA Recordings means to them!!
Now that dust has just settled on a spectacular edition of Amsterdam Dance Event, we are proud to share with you our interview with the legendary Markus Schulz; a really interesting chat about all the insights of the new album ‘We Are The Light’, with some juicy info about the collaborations, the stories behind some of the tunes and much more.
Curious yet? Let’s check it all out HERE:
Listening, it’s hard to envisage, but Markus Schulz’s most “up” album to date – originated from a remarkably dark place. With his seventh long-player on full release this week, the DJ / Producer / Songwriter took the opportunity to share insights into the album’s production path and what lay in its bedrock.
“I’m a believer in having to hit bottom first before climbing back up Markus says. It’s a truism, but it’s also, I find, generally the case. It was around the time of the tragic events that unfolded in Las Vegas last October that Markus felt that nadir had finally been reached.
“I’ve always been very upfront about how mood influences the direction my music. In that respect it’s both a resource and outlet. I’m incredibly lucky that, over many a year now, the audience has come, not only anticipate this, but – as often – to embrace it.
So really “We Are The Light’ is equal parts rally cry to them and myself.”
In this respect Las Vegas proved again to be the backdrop for another pivotal moment for Markus. This time though it was 2018’s EDC. “This year there was a sense of resilience and defiance there. Absolutely you could feel it. A real air of determination amongst EDC’s audience,he says;people feeling that they weren’t going to be cowed or made to feel afraid, you know’. That was an incredibly transitional set and experience for me. And that’s where the direction of this album really took its biggest cue from”.
My state of mind now is that we have to believe we’re starting to turn a corner in order to actually get into the turn. We should be the ones that make the changes first. We (the electronic music community) are the light that the world needs right now. I think it’s time we – for lack of a better expression – ‘stepped up’. It’s time we showed the world how it could all be”.
“The last Dakota album was written from the standpoint of how I saw things at the time. ‘Watch The World’, in hindsight, was more observatory and third person. This one though is written from what I see as a shared collective perspective & experience between the fans and myself. We are the positivity that the world needs. Ultimately what I want is for people to feel good after listening to this album. To spark a greater sense of positivity; to empower in someway. I really see our community as a microcosm of what could ‘be’ with the world. In a way we are a poster child for a better way of being. If we could in some way harness the sense of community & its positivity and catalyse it beyond our bounds, it would give electronic music a legacy so, so much bigger than it even is now.”
Tracklist: 01: Markus Schulz – The Awakening
02: Markus Schulz & Omnia featuring Seri – Road Of No Return
03: Markus Schulz & Alina Eremia – You Light Up The Night
04: Markus Schulz featuring Nikki Flores – We Are The Light
05: Markus Schulz – Heaven
06: Markus Schulz & Lachi – Far
07: Markus Schulz & Jared Lee – Together
08: Markus Schulz & Smiley – The Dreamers
09: Markus Schulz – Flight of the Phoenix
10: Markus Schulz & Soundland – 51°11′17″N 10°3′10″E (We Haven’t Lost Our Way)
11: Markus Schulz & JES – Calling For Love
12: Markus Schulz & Adina Butar – Breathe Me To Life
13: Markus Schulz & Emma Hewitt – Safe From Harm
14: Markus Schulz & Christina Novelli – Symphony of Stars
15: Markus Schulz & Jared Lee – Utopia
16: Markus Schulz featuring Sebu (Capital Cities) – Upon My Shoulders
More info available on Markus Schulz through the resources below: