INTERVIEW: An interview with Solarstone, Spring 2014

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Originally a 3 piece, Solarstone is one of the forefathers of Trance. Starting in 1995 and from the U.K. they have been lighting the fire for Trance and allowing the progression of Pure Trance to its current state. Starting to go solo, it was not until the Top 40 hit of Seven Cities that Solarstone became a household name, and since then this track has been released 3 times, remixed by Armin Van Buuren and sold over half a million copies.  In addition he has worked with the likes of Ferry Corsten, Ottaviani, Protoculture and played some of the world most esteemed events.

From WMC, to the private islands of the Philippines and bush parties in Australia to Cream @ Amnesia in Ibiza, Solarstone has continued to amaze his audience. In 2012 he relight a former project to form Federation – a new band-based live act. It was immediately singed to Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto Records and has resulted in 4 Beatport top 10 charting singles. Solarstone is legendary amongst the Trance scene and with a new EP, Solarstone will show us what he loves to do: elevate, captivate and mystify.

1. Pure Trance TO was an incredible event, tell us about it from your eyes?
It was one of the best Pure Trance events we have done so far, the organization and production were perfect. The mapping of the visuals was very effective too; all these elements help towards the bigger picture. We had an amazing crowd, the vast majority of which stayed right till the end. I was very impressed with Sneijder who showed what a pro he is, the poor guy was absolutely exhausted and not particularly well either, but he played an absolute blinder that night! Can’t wait to return.

2. There seems to be a system, an ideology behind Pure Trance, what is it?
This music is a way of life for millions of people around the world, it is not constrained by musical fads & fashions, and it is thankfully free of artificial & transient trends – the result of which is an audience who feel a genuine love for the music. Our events demonstrate this – you won’t find as pure and emotional response & connection at any other event, because the audience are totally at one with the music. It’s an incredible thing for the crowd & the Djs too. I’m just trying to push & promote this music which, for a while, was being seriously overshadowed and marginalized by the more commercial styles. People should be proud of what makes them feel good – know their own minds.

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3. Your “Pure” album was a return to your roots with the track Falcons with Giuseppe Ottaviani who you shared the stage with in Toronto. How does it feel to resurrect?
It kick-started something of a renaissance for me as an artist, for which I am eternally grateful! It feels good to be able to focus on the music I love deeply and to share that with an audience who feel that same connection to this music. I was very disenfranchised with the trance scene before I released that album and now – after a couple of years of very hard work – the trance scene is a very different place now.

4. 2009 Electronic Architecture² (Squared) unleashed and won immediate acclaim. Nominated for an IDMA award in the Best Full Length Mix category. It was a great idea to commission the Electronic Architect online tool, which allowed fans to design their own version of the cover art. What spawned this idea?
The multi-media world in which we now live allows limitless creativity when it comes to engaging an audience to promote a release. The Music & Art concept behind the EA series is perfect for things like the Cover Art designer. I love the design of the EA albums, and wanted to have a bit of fun with it. Sometimes I do have these strange ideas and it seems worthwhile to pursue them to their conclusion, just for the hell of it, and see if people enjoy them. It’s just a bit of fun really.

5. It says in your bio that you are basically a DJ “that every electronic dance music lover, planet-wide, should witness at least once in their clubbing careers”. Explain why.
You’d better speak to my PR guy about that, that’s his opinion, I didn’t write it. As an artist, with things like biographies and promotional texts you need to extract yourself from the equation and allow the professionals to do their job – sometimes I see things like that and I genuinely wince; you can get embarrassed and self conscious about sentences that big you up. Insecurity and paranoia are probably part of being a musician anyway. You always live in fear of everybody realizing one day that you’re not really any good at all – and telling you so.

6. Through your career you’ve traveled worldwide taking you to some of the biggest events and festivals across the globe, and also some of the most remote. What was the most remote location or strangest location you’ve spun in?
Oh gosh… there have certainly been a few. On the beach on Borocay Island in the Philippines was probably the most beautiful and remote. I’ve played on the side of a volcano in Indonesia, on a boat in a cave. I’m totally up for playing in random locations – so long as they are safe for the crowd and there is a decent sound system.

7. Let’s talk about your monikers you have: Young Parisians, Skyscraper, Space Kittens for Hooj Choons and Liquid State to forming Federation – a new band-based live act, signed to Oakenfold’s Perfecto Flouro – resulting in 4 Beatport top 10 charting singles. What inspired this live act?
Federation was initially just myself and Ben wanting to do something a little darker & harder – and a bit different to what was going on around us. A song based fusion of Trance, Thrash and New-Romantic influences. Members have come & gone, and the current line up is myself on production, Ben on vocals, Vereven on guitar, Harry on keyboards. Dance music can be so sterile and shiny; Federation is the opposite of that. The artwork and lyrics are challenging, there is a mystery to the band – which I like. I’m more of a back seat member these days, writing and producing.

8. You have remixed the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Ferry Corsten, BT, Radiohead, The Human League, Sarah McLachlan & Tiesto’s Allure project, Aly & Fila and Mory Kanté. How do you select whom you will be remixing?
It’s a balance between offers and desires. I’m very choosy as far as offers are concerned – the track needs to excite me. Sometimes I may do a favour for someone but the way it usually works is pretty simple, it’s just a matter of me hearing something and having a desire to do play with it. Getting the parts for something which has already been released can be quite challenging though, but with tracks like the Lana Del Ray one I didn’t need the stems, I just extracted the parts with EQ and filters. When you do a bootleg remix it can be quite exciting, but it’s easy to get stuck in a bubble – the original artist or label may have no interest at all in releasing your remix. Ultimately your bootleg is going to be well received because the audience are already familiar with the song and recognize it when you play it out – you get a cheer. The amount of artists who have bootlegged my own tracks then demanded it get an official release is many. I get emails like ‘I played my bootleg of Seven Cities’ out and the crowd erupted – you must release it’. The crowd didn’t erupt because their remix was amazing – they erupted because they love Seven Cities. People get frustrated that some of my own remixes never get an official release, but that’s entirely the choice of the label. Take my remix for Hurts for example – that was an approved remix, but it came about when I approached the band asking to do a remix for them – as a fan. They liked it, but didn’t want to release it, that’s no biggie for me. But it’s really not acceptable to then offer it as a free download etc. – the band or label gets to decide on things like that. I don’t give away my own music for free; I’m not about to start giving away other artists music either.

9. Solaris International is your long-running, widely syndicated radio show platform. With a cult-like following, broadcasted across some 45+ FM & Internet stations to a listenership of over 8 million! How do you keep your show interesting?
I’m really not sure how we came up with that figure of 8 million! I think we basically just added up the total listenership of all the FM stations which broadcast the show… perhaps it should say ‘potential listenership’ … another one for the PR guy! But regarding your question, it’s very simple really; I just search for and play great music. My show is a bit different to the majority of EDM shows out there, with the different sections like ‘progressive selection’, ‘its not the kind of thing we usually play but we like it anyway’ etc.… I’ve noticed other shows have hijacked the ‘chillout moment’ for the end of their shows recently, but that’s ok – it’s nice to end a show with something soothing.

10. In 2009 you launched Solarswarm which has been known as “the world’s very first social network record label”. Explain.
It is run by its members  – Swarmers – who scout for fresh and exciting new electronic music and then post clips via soundcloud on the forum. All decisions are taken by voting in polls. Remixes are commissioned and artwork imagery is decided on in the same way. The guys in the office handle the back-end admin, like distribution, promo and licensing, which leaves the Swarm to enjoy what we call ‘the fun stuff’ Anyone can join, provided they meet its all-important key criteria; a love of electronic dance music, some creative juice, but most importantly, the desire to be part of a team guiding a record label on its journey. There are no musical genre restrictions – quality is the only filter. It’s a bit quiet on the Solarswarm front at the moment, but to be honest with you I have been so busy with the day-to-day Solarstone stuff that my eye has not been on the ball with Solarswarm. It needs to be re-launched, but I’m not going to do that until I can devote myself to it properly

11. Would you rather be a deep-sea diver or an astronaut? Explain.
Neither, I don’t like being underwater – and I don’t like heights either! Happiest here on Terra Firma.

12. If you would like to say anything to your Toronto fans, now is your chance!
I shall look forward to seeing you soon for our next Pure Trance boat party! Thanks for your amazing support.
Solarstone is not ready to throw in the towel, with the Pure Trance movement continuing to grow we have only seen a fraction of what this legend is capable of. Check out his SoundCloud for new mixes, releases and live recorded sets.

LINKS:

Facebook 
Official Website
Twitter
SoundCloud

Miss Raquel EDM TOR

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About Author

Adele Desloges

Adele is the Manager at EDM TOR. She also heads up the social media as well as the photo and video team, and has been promoting events across the GTA for years. She has been a fan of EDM since the mid-90s and has since found a focus of pure joy in the trance genre.

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