Interview: Solarstone talks to Trance Hub about new album .- – – –

It’s been five years since the trance maven last released a studio album. It’s fair to say though that his hands have been plenty busy meantime. (Two record labels launched, a hundred releases between ‘em, ‘Electronic Architecture’ continued, formation of a trance supergroup, yadda, yadda, Oh, and the not exactly trifling matter of a scene-wide mobilization and the 60+ Pure Trance events and 5 Pure Trance mix-comps that stemmed from it).

Hello Rich, always a pleasure to have you on Trance Hub. You did really surprise us with an abrupt announcement of your album. Was it planned in such a way?

Happy to be back! It wasn’t planned exactly like you suggest – as a surprise –  but I do prefer to just get on with things and tell the world when they are ready, rather than drip feeding information in advance.  I don’t see the point in sharing the planning and ‘what is next’ information with the public, it’s more exciting to me for projects to arrive with a bang!

To add to that, there is such a mystery behind the actual name of the album. C’mon tell us what is the album title all about?

Ah-ha, well that would spoil the whole mystery around the project wouldn’t it? Using morse in the design , art and campaign for the album is to focus the attention on the music and visual elements, rather than anything else. Personally I always found the sleeve notes, little details etc of an album fascinating, and anyone who follows the Electronic Architecture series already knows that. This is just my way of bringing another dimension to the release.

In our old interview in 2015, you mentioned you had already completed the album and was slated to release in 2016, what took longer?

I have a great many tracks in a halfway-state, but back then in 2015 I was still not 100% on how I wanted the album to ‘feel’, hence I didn’t complete the tracks. Once I had that little moment of inspiration it all started to fit together. Releasing a new album was not of huge importance for the first few years after ‘Pure’ – there was so much other stuff to be getting on with.

Only 8 tracks in your album, while your contemporaries usually pack albums with 15-16 tracks, could we see a part 2 of .- – – –   Soon?

I’m not elaborating on that one ?

How was it working with the phenomenally talented Meredith Call on ‘I Found You’?

She is a real Pro, very easy to work with and she sent me all these wonderful layers of harmonies, canons and other vocal parts to work with – a real delight. She wrote the song over a very simple demo I sent her, I’ll upload it some day so fans can see where it came from, it’s quite interesting when you compare those early demos with the finished song!

After the release of the album, how will your future tours change? Will you leave behind Pure Trance and assimilate .- – – –   in your tours?

No, not at all. Pure Trance is my focus and I can’t see that changing. .- – – –   is an album of Solarstone music, but Pure Trance is a movement which is growing all the time, it’s my passion because it is the summing up of everything I love about Trance.

Trance has made a dramatic comeback to major festivals in 2017, what is your take on the resurgence of the genre?

We’re in a very different place to 5 years ago before Pure Trance, that’s for sure. I’m really happy that things are heading in the right direction. I like the fact that there are so many new, young producers popping up with a love of this music.

Pure Trance is one of the most successful campaigns in the modern day dance music scene, what next for the franchise?

Well firstly it’s not a ‘franchise’! It’s 100% me & my colleagues powering this thing. We want to do some larger events this year – but we don’t want to change the nature of the events. By that I mean that we want to do some shows for a larger number of people but we don’t want to compromise on the production or artistic values. My events are about the musical journey, the integrity of the DJs, understated production – I don’t want or intend to compete with other scenes which focus on confetti-drops, explosions and enormous stages with fireworks! Pure Trance is an underground movement and I’m happy for it to stay that way, rather than have some temporary commercial super stardom.

On a lighter note, we counted atleast 15 bald men in the trance music scene. Can you decode the connection between being bald and making great trance music?

I’m not even bloody bald! I started shaving my head when I was 21 – when I got the eyebrow piercing, but it was being mentioned as a ‘bald Dj’ that made me decide to grow my hair – to see if I still could! It’s a little bit thin but there’s plenty of it – so bollocks to that question ?

After releasing your first track in 1993, did you ever think you would make a full fledged career in trance music spanning over 20 years?

My first record was called ‘Life’s Not Real’ in 1993, in fact my entire discography is here on my website if anyone wants to check it out. – but my first trance release was probably ‘Dolphin’ from the ‘Aquanaut EP’ in 1995. I really had no presumptions or expectations about a ‘career’ – growing up I was told that I should get a ‘proper job’ by people rather than want to get into ‘pop music’ – but my Mother always told me to go for whatever I wanted to do, she listened to my first ideas and gave me encouragement, she read my crappy lyrics and poems and was patient & kind – without her I wouldn’t be doing this now. A ‘career’ in music is tough, it’s constant ups & downs, no guarantees, sometimes you don’t get paid, sometimes you are broke and there seems to be no future in it, other times you are flavour-of-the-month.  Only do it if you truly love your art.

Apart from a few pockets like UK, Netherlands, Australia, US we don’t really see young producers making trance anymore. How do you think Trance will survive the next generation especially in Asia?

I don’t agree – if you saw the amount of demos I get every week from all over the world you’d be surprised! Agreed I don’t get many demos from Asia – but I never did, it’s never been a hotbed of trance producers – those places you mentioned have always been the main sources of trance music. There has always been a lot of talent in Scandinavia and that is still true.

Give us 3 reasons why you are proud of your new album .- – – – 

That’s a funny question & a strange word with which I’ve always had a bit of a problem; I don’t feel ‘proud’ of my music, I like it, I like creating it and I’m happy that people like it… but I was brought up with the phrase ‘pride comes before a fall’ so I’ve always avoided expressing that emotion, probably wrongly but hey, it’s worked for me so far! I just get on with it.

Original Article: Trance Hub


Interview: Solarstone dives into his new album, Dreamstate as a brand, DRM, & favourite foods!

Richard Mowatt is no newcomer to Trance. Better known as Solarstone, Rich has been in it since the beginning when Solarstone was a 3 person group. As the sole heir to the alias today, he’s maintained a strict quality level most artists may find difficult.  he’s seen the rise of electronic music as a whole, stuck with Trance, and grew in his own way.  Having played around the world and spread the #ILikeItPure and #KeepItPure hashtags, a direct result of his resurgent style known as Pure Trance. Five compilations deep, the Pure Trance style continues to shock the Trance system with beautiful melodies and plenty of energy.

He recently stopped by in California for two shows – One with Paul van Dyk in San Diego, and the other as Pure NRG (with Guiseppe Ottaviani) at Dreamstate San Francisco, and we were lucky enough to catch up with the Trance maestro.  See what he has to say below about his new album, Dreamstate, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and his favorite food!

You’ve been on a busy sweep for a few years now with the #KeepItPure movement, Pure NRG, and now just hit the ground with your new album ‘.—- (One)’.  How did you fit time in to keep writing music for the album with all the touring?

The last 5 years have been incredibly busy, yes – and to be honest, a new album was not my No. 1 priority, but I worked on a very large amount of tracks in this time – there were a lot of singles, remixes & compilation albums of course – and PureNRG! But I wanted to wait for the new Solarstone album until I had a ‘sound’ for it – I really didn’t want to release another ‘Pure’ – that really seemed pointless, especially as all of my albums have been different and had a ‘sound’ all of their own.  I’m very happy with the response to ‘. – – – -‘. My fans really ‘get’ the album – it is very different to ‘Pure’ but it is still 100% Solarstone. If I was one of those artists who basically make the same record hundreds of times I would not be happy as an artist – I need to express myself musically, not play it safe.

I WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK WITH MY MUSIC, TO TAKE THEM ON A DIFFERENT JOURNEY EACH TIME. IF YOU GO ON THE SAME JOURNEY EVERY TIME IT BECOMES A CHORE, NOT A PLEASURE. THE NEW RECORD IS THE FIRST PART OF SOMETHING ALTOGETHER BIGGER.

What’s the coolest destination for you personally to have traveled to over the last year?

New Zealand – I spent a few days there during our Australia tour earlier this year, it really blew my mind – I didn’t play there yet, it was just a short holiday, but the beautiful landscape and laid back vibe really suited me. I hope to play in Queenstown at some point, my radio show has been broadcasting there for over 10 years yet I’ve never met my NZ fans.

Having jumped into California a number of times, what is your favorite Southern California staple food to munch on?  Maybe it’s a California Burrito or ‘In & Out Burger’?

Aaaah! I’m not a big fan of food in the USA, the portions are too large and it is a very unhealthy diet. I much prefer South American food, to be honest! I do like how you always get free water with your meal though! In the UK they charge you for everything. Don’t ask for a coffee refill unless you want to pay twice!

You recently swung by the new A State Of Trance broadcast studio in Amsterdam promoting the album, sharing a good chuckle with Armin on the air.  What was the experience like?

Really good, there’s a wicked atmosphere in the ASOT studio! It is a really great idea by Armin & the team – they invited me to pop in whenever I am in the Netherlands.I’m hoping to borrow their studio sometime for a Pure Trance special!

In that same vein, Armin made the push to simulcasting the video stream for A State Of Trance’s weekly radio show.  You also do a live broadcast on Facebook Live for the Pure Trance radio show. Do you see it as a neat experiment or something that will evolve for music broadcasts going forward?

A simultaneous broadcast on all stations & networks is the ideal scenario, but it’s only possible if the time zones make sense. My own stream on Facebook is synchronized with the DIFM broadcast, but neither of those gets very many listeners if I’m completely honest. The main focus of the show is the FM syndication – for example, Dance Paradise radio in Brazil gets millions of listeners.

On Facebook, the sound quality is very poor. Each stream reaches many thousands of people eventually but I don’t think it is the ideal way to reach fans; it’s just an experiment. I do like the YouTube stream of Armin’s show, but I can’t see me doing that – he has a large team around him to help, whereas I do my own show single-handed, I’m not on the same level as ASOT. I would like to grow the show into more of an event, for it to be on a par with GDJB or ABGT eventually – I know that PT radio is in the top 5 of trance shows worldwide already so that’s a start, but Solarstone is a small operation compared to those guys. They have more financial strength than me to get investment to pay for the support network to make it bigger, but that’s OK – I’m happy to be underground!

You launched Pure Progressive as another outlet for the deeper sounds you are into that don’t quite fit under Pure Trance.  What gravitates your tastes between the two labels today?  If you had to distinguish the two styles – is it more than tempo and BPM that pushes one track to a certain label?

Yes- it’s completely about the tempo and the vibe, Pure Trance isn’t about the BPM, it’s about the feeling, the mood – but I do think it is important to separate the faster & slower tracks so that DJs and labels can know what to expect. I’ve always covered a wide range of BPM and depth with my releases & DJ sets so it comes naturally to me to have these two labels. The deeper more progressive sound is on the rise, which is a good thing. Artists like Forerunners. Arnold & Baggotts, and Gai Barone are ones to watch this year.

Digital Rights Management continues to be a hot-button issue in the industry. As a label owner, and given the plethora of streaming options out there – things like Facebook Live, Mixcloud, Spotify, YouTube Live, and so on – do you think there is any solution out there that is fair to the owner and the listener?

Trance fans don’t tend to listen to trance on Spotify, that’s a fact – for some reason, it’s just not that popular – I make a tiny income from streaming. Short edits are more popular on streaming services, and the music I make & release simply does not fit that format – it’s about the mix, the journey. When you shorten a trance track to 4 minutes it loses its character and meaning somewhat. Also, services like Spotify make way too much money and don’t pay fairly to the artists. They take a huge % of the revenue. But even now with services like Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music costing something like €10 per month some people still think it is ok to illegally download pirated music. I despise those actions. Don’t call yourself a fan if you won’t pay for my music. Don’t come to my shows. Fuck you.

In hard times, Art is even more important than in times of prosperity. Why should we creators make a living too? I know people who use those hacked TV boxes so they don’t have to pay for TV entertainment either now, why do some people expect to get their entertainment for free? They want to destroy the film & TV industry the way they largely destroyed the music industry and all those artists who could not make a living anymore? I despise those actions too. It is biting the hand that feeds you.

We’ve seen Pure Trance touching plenty of your fans; some even have tattoos of your logo. What’s the craziest story one of your fans shared with you?

I don’t know about ‘crazy stories’ but a guy met me at Buenos Aires airport on Friday a couple of weeks ago with ‘I Like It Pure’ tattooed on his arm. I was very moved by that. It is time I got a ‘Keep It Pure’ tattoo myself really! I really want some more tattoos but deciding what to have is so difficult, anyone with tattoos knows that.

Given the back catalog of music you’ve made over the years under a number of projects, what’s one tune you’d love to give the Pure rework to that you haven’t yet?

There are quite a few actually! ‘Destination’ is one; ‘The Calling’ is another. But both of those tracks of course already ‘Pure Trance’ – I would just give them an overhaul. Which other ones… ‘Speak in Sympathy’ perhaps? That needs an update for sure, although Giuseppe and I have been playing a version of it occasionally in our live shows.

From your perspective as a long-standing bastion for Trance, what’s your take on the vision of Insomniac’s Dreamstate brand?

It’s good for Trance on an international level; it’s great for spreading the word & the music, bringing the music to a new audience. The EDM boom partly made this possible – but without elements like Pure Trance, Subculture, FSOE and other consistent Trance labels & artists etc. it would not have happened – that is a fact. Many artists gave up on trance. Hardly surprising though – considering the pummeling and abuse trance and its associated artists received at the hands of media and stupid, ignorant ‘cool’ DJs. A small number of artists and labels kept the scene alive during a hard period in Trance’s history. But completely honestly there are a few DJs who they book which I don’t see the point of – DJs who have done nothing for the new wave of trance. Dreamstate is largely and rightly about who is making a difference now – not only 10 years ago. It’s not a classics event, and it shouldn’t be.

The new generation of trance fans (who are the majority of who go to Dreamstate shows) could not care less about what happened in 1999.  If trance lovers in their 30s and 40s want to hear old ‘classics’ from their youth they should use iTunes or go to classic events – don’t expect new events like Dreamstate to be about those old records. I’ve made my feelings known to Dreamstate, and I believe they respect my opinion.

On a general level, I also get generally frustrated when promoters keep booking the same few names for every event. I’m not talking about Dreamstate now, but it’s really bad for the scene overall. What I do in the grand scheme of things – I do for the scene in general, I don’t crave some temporary commercial success; I want to help create something of substance that will last. Hence why I support upcoming names so much at my events and on the labels. There is a lot of jealousy and nasty snake-like stuff going on behind the scene – people trying to damage their ‘competition’ – I despise those actions. This isn’t a competition of who can die with the most money or fame – it needs to be more of a community, with co-operation and a solid, cohesive support network between artists, labels & promoters. I didn’t get to where I am by trying to hurt other artists, so it ispossible to work in a positive way in this industry! Most of us labels & artists are ok, but there are a few bad apples spoiling it for the rest. It’s about having a positive state of mind, a caring and positive attitude. There isn’t room for divas in the trance scene. JOOF would have something to say about this too ha-ha!

If you could implant one core idea into Dreamstate that you think could help it truly grow, what would it be and why?

I think that Dreamstate’s heart is in the right place already, but we all need a little guidance from time to time of course, including me! I’d just say that history is a good teacher; learn the lessons of the past and don’t over-reach yourself – or go for the quick buck. Treat your audience with care and respect and they will stay with you.

Original article: EDM Identity


Interview: Solarstone tells us about Pure Trance Radio 100 & ADE 2017!


Hi Rich! It’s a busy time for the guy we know as Solarstone, how are you doing?

Rich: I’m pretty knackered actually, the trip to & from Chicago last week was very grinding and I just took Oscar to London for a couple of days, hence not wanting to get out of bed this morning.

Only a few days left until Pure Trance Radio hits 100 episodes! Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? Do you still enjoy making that weekly 1 hour of Pure, rather than – let’s say – choosing a monthly show?
Rich: I do enjoy the show, sometimes when I am tired after the weekend it takes some effort to get into the right mind-set, but once I start listening to all the new music I get into it. The show was monthly way back in the beginning but that seemed pointless to me. I do miss it being a 2 hour show sometimes but I simply don’t have enough time to make a 2 Hour show at the moment.

The celebration’s shaping up to be quite a spectacular live broadcast! What can you give us away about the live show? What can the Pure Trance listeners expect?
Rich: It’s going to be about connection, with guests of both Djs & fans, to make it a special occasion. To be honest with you I’m not a fan of these ‘anniversary’ shows just for the sake of it – on Episode 350 of Solaris International I popped a balloon in the studio & that was it – but there’s something special about the Pure Trance show – it’s part of a larger community, it seemed right to do something special which involved friends from the industry, fellow artists and also die-hard fans.

We heard rumors of Giuseppe Ottaviani’s cooking everyone his famous carbonara? And Robert Nickson also doing a live set? What specialty will you be sharing with the audience?
Rich: My timeless wit and glowing personality of course ;)

Will there be any Solarstone exclusives we should look out for? A new Pure Mix to be premiered, perhaps?
Rich: Perhaps… maybe! The show will actually be stuffed full of exclusives, and big news too!

100 episodes, (nearly) 100 #BigTunes. People can still vote for their favourite to have a chance at making the #BigTune Top 10, to be broadcast during Pure Trance Radio 100. What would your personal Top 3 of #BigTunes look like?
Rich: They would be Robert’s remix of ‘Adventure to the South’, Factor B ‘Sacrosanct’ and Peter Steele ‘Mantra’.

A selection of Pure Trance fans have been invited to join this special happening as VIP guests. They’ll be asking you their own question first, but will we also get to know them a bit?
Rich: That depends how forthcoming they are! Let’s see if I can coax them out of their shells – or get them slightly drunk.

We can’t wait! Another thing we’re looking forward to is the next Amsterdam Dance Event, and a certain Pure Trance Night on October 21st. Has ADE become a must, a sort of standard, for the Pure Trance brand?
Rich: Absolutely – I love ADE, it’s such a great occasion each year, meeting up with my colleagues from around the word – and yes- our annual event has become one that Pure Trance fans look forward to – this years is going to be our biggest yet with myself, Gai Barone. Robert Nickson, Giuseppe, JOC and Bryan Kearney.

It’s got a line-up of titans. What can you tell us about your choice to invite Gai Barone, Bryan Kearney, Giuseppe Ottaviani (Live 2.0), John O’Callaghan and Robert Nickson (Live)?
Rich: They are all artists whose music has been a consistent feature of the show over the past 2 years, and they’ve all played at PT events apart from JOC – he’s a PT virgin, so I’m looking forward to ‘deflowering’ him ;)

Last year, the ADE Night also had a nice and cozy soirée beforehand, with warm-up sets. Any plans on having another one this year?
Rich: We’re working on it, I’ve been talking to the guys from Dolby about possibly doing a Dolby Atmos showcase at ADE, so lets see if that happens – fingers crossed!

Will it also be the release party to the next Pure Trance compilation, Volume 6? When will we find out who is or who are co-mixing it?
Rich: PT6 will be released shortly after ADE – I’ll be announcing my co-mixers of the album live during the show!

Right, sounds like there’s lots of Pure Trance awesomeness in the pipeline! Thanks for the update Rich, and catch you at Pure Trance Radio 100 & ADE! :)

More info on Pure Trance Radio 100 here & tickets for Pure Trance ADE 2017 here!


Solarstone Picks 6 Tracks for 6 Hours of Dolby Atmos

Happy New Year to all purists of #Trance music, as SOLARSTONE returns after last year’s corresponding opening party. With that a debut OPEN TILL CLOSE session in the UK and performed in DOLBY ATMOS SOUND, The Gallery’s inaugural event of 2018 is to specifically showcase ‘Pure Trance Volume 6’ – which features both established names with hot new talent. Hence a mantra to match The Gallery’s own, the sixth iteration of this famed compilation series will be presented within an unparalleled clubbing experience and the ‘Dolby Atmos’ technology.

A comprehensive sixty speakers added to Ministry’s existing installation will facilitate TWENTY TWO AUDIO CHANNELS - further enhanced by a bespoke lighting environment. When combined with SIX HOURS of ‘PURE TRANCE’ in unprecedented clarity, SOLARSTONE will segment his album as part of complex soundscapes strategically placed and shifted throughout The Box.

Here Solarstone picks a top track for each hour of his open till close session in The Box, for The Gallery’s 2018 opening party on January 5th.

Hour 1: Forerunners - "Just For A While"

Solarstone: I've used several Forerunners track in previous Atmos shows, and this one is also simply perfect with the low throbbing bass and kick glued to the main stack and the hypnotic pads and synths placed strategically around the 360 degree span of the club.

Hour 2: Gai Barone - "Shiny"

This is one of two tracks by Gai featured on Pure Trance 6. In my opinion this is one of Gai's finest moments, and the multiple layers of synths & FX work brilliantly in the Dolby Atmos setting, arpeggios will rotate around the club (and around your head!) making a truly immersive experience.

Hour 3: RNX - "Atoms"

One of my favourites from Pure Trance 6, the spiralling arpeggiator sounds incredible when it sweeps around the room, creating something of a vortex - I programmed this back in May and when I tested it at Sound-Bar in Chicago (the only other club in the world with the Atmos sound system installed) you should have seen the look on the faces of the crowd - it's really spectacular.

Hour 4: Allende - "10 Minutes to Infinity"

Such a brilliant track from Finland's Anssi Hohti aka Allende. This one picks up the pace with it's glorious pure trance emotional production, it has so many layers of riffs, synths and FX which lend themselves perfectly to the 'whole room' spread of Dolby Atmos, putting you right in the middle of the music. Sweeps go from ground-to-ceiling in this one, pads shimmer over your head and the acidic lines spin around the room sucking you in.

Hour 5: Solarstone - "Seven Cities (Pure Mix)"

I simply had to make a Dolby Atmos mix of this, when you hear the guitar echos bouncing around all over the places and that vocal sample coming down like the Voice of God from the overheads it's incredible to thing that this one was produced almost 20 years ago. The Atmos placement of sounds creates an immersive feeling that previously only the effects of MDMA could induce. If you love this track, you simply have to hear it in Dolby Atmos.

Hour 6: Eco & Driftmoon – "Trust In The Wind (Cold Blue Remix)"

One for the latter part of the evening - a pounding #140 pure trance remix whose power and exhilaration are only intensified by the way that the Dolby Atmos mix enhances the spaciousness and lush production in the track. Juraj's orchestral production is spaced around the room & combined with the solid Cold Blue drums & bass which are propelled from the main stack.

Solarstone plays 6 hours all night long in Dolby Atmos Sound on Friday January 5th. Ticket and more info here.

Original article: Ministry Of Sound.