Behind The Beat | Lange Interview
It was a clear spring night in New York City, and the trance stars were aligned as I got a chance to meet up with the legendary DJ Lange prior to his set at Santos Party House.
OTB: Lange, it’s so awesome to meet you! You are one of the iconic trance DJs in the industry and you’ve been at it for 15 years and counting. Out of all the styles of music you could have chosen, why trance?
Lange: I think trance chose me, in a way. I was getting influenced by a lot of the early 90s dance music – I was never into rock or anything – so I started making music that was edging that way… It was the right sound, right time for me. Early labels like Platypus, Huge Tunes, Perfecto Records, I was really getting into that stuff due to the tracks that were being released that I was hearing on radio stations. So, really, I just sort of ended up there, and I’m still there in many ways.
OTB: Speaking of iconic trance producers, you did a back-to-back set with Andy Moor at the Ministry of Sound last month. Tell me about what that was like.
Lange: That was great! It was our third back-to-back set together. London has such an open-minded crowd, and the Ministry is always a good – and a bit of a messy – night.
OTB: Aside from making your own music, you are also the boss at Lange Recordings. What do you look for in artists that you sign?
Lange: I don’t have massively specific criteria. I know a lot of labels look for a really specific sound and they want to have that one sound that goes across the label. I’m pretty open with it; we have some more progressive releases, some less trance-y, some more trance-y stuff. What I look for is tracks that I can support – that’s the bottom line. I look for good music and good people to work with. Like Tangle & Mateusz, Noah Neiman, and Alex Larichev are all really nice to work with. It’s a happy family over at Lange Recordings!
OTB: Let’s talk about your new album. What’s the significance of the title, “We Are Lucky People”?
Lange: The title was from a track I made last year and, as I was trying to think of a title, I couldn’t think of a title that was more appropriate. The name struck a chord in the scene, and also for me personally. I got stuck a little bit last year; there were moments where I wouldn’t really be able to write much in the studio and I wasn’t really sure where I was going. “We Are Lucky People” was really a turning point; it helped me realize I wanted to get back into making more beautiful, melodic kind of trance music. That’s my direction at the moment so it felt right to select that as the title.
OTB: You are reading my mind! I want to ask you a bit about where you think we stand now under this EDM Umbrella, if you will. You mention the term “beautiful, melodic trance,” and as a die-hard trance fan myself, I can say I have a lot of pride in the genre. It seems that increasingly so there is a lot of experimentation evident in tracks that are being released now. Artists are versatile. Therefore, do you think these genres still exist, and do their names still serve a purpose?
Lange: I think it’s difficult at the moment. As this takes off in America, everyone is using the “EDM” tag now. What I like about trance music is that it still has that meaning, if you like; trance still gives you that feeling that you can only get from trance, in my opinion. I feel there are a lot of great sounds that have gotten big in the past few years. We don’t mind a little bit of wobble every now and again, or sounds from techno, or even big-room sounds like snares. I don’t mind that kind of thing. What I don’t like is the laziness, the copycatting, people trying to make it sound a certain way to make it “commercial.” That is the kind of stuff that is going on now; it’s the kind of thing where I get promos in my inbox and I listen to 5 seconds of the track and go “oh no, no, no, no.” So, I’m not against any of the elements, but I don’t want all of them. That goes for trance as well, I wouldn’t want to play a 4 hour set of just rolling base lines, breaks, beautiful melody – I like to mix it up!
OTB: Do you think it is, dare I say, career suicide for someone to just stay totally and stereotypically one genre, these days? Do you think that experimentation is necessary for success right now?
Lange: I don’t know that it’s career suicide, but I definitely think it’s a bit mind numbing. The reason I have done different things over the years is because I have lost interest. I try something new in order to freshen my palate. For me, I got back to my sound by trying different things, but for now I want to stick with the melodic trance. But I don’t want to get bored doing the same old track.
OTB: Two last questions for you. The first is what is your favorite pre-gig ritual?
Lange: I probably have one, but it’s going to sound really boring! I go for dinner, I have a nap, maybe a glass of wine… I just try to relax and get everything ready. I publish some last minute editing and sort out my USB. In fact, it’s quite funny – and I know other DJs are saying this too – but really I am there until 15 minutes before the car picks me up sorting out my bloody tunes! We all do it, we all do it.
OTB: And what is your post-gig routine?
Lange: I don’t have a specific one. I don’t tend to go to after parties like I used to. But I will usually stay in the club for a bit. I like meeting people. If I’ve traveled half-way across the world, I want to spend time meeting fans where I am. Sometimes I will find a restaurant or a late-night take-out place, but then I am a good boy and I go back and behave…Maybe have a cup of tea or something.
OTB: Okay, I know I said that was my last question, but just because you are a veteran of the scene and I am dying to ask you, I will beg of you to just humor me with one more. What do you think is the role of the party is in the EDM scene in America? You mention being “a good boy” and having tea as your means to relax…
Lange: At the end of the day, it’s a release. Whether you are raging in the latest Dada Life or losing yourself in the emotion of a trance set, it’s ultimately about getting away from that week. For me, though, I listen to music all week, so to get away I will quite happily not listen to music. In fact, sitting on my couch watching TV with my wife is a very rare little treat. So, maybe I’m boring, but it’s my escape.
Needless-to-say, Lange is not only one of the greatest trance DJs, but also doubles as an anchor of wisdom in this ever-expanding scene. Make sure you grab his new single, “Risk Worth Taking,” and keep an eye out for a Lange gig near you!
In Trance We Trust.
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