Interview: Indecent Noise & Standerwick discuss Harder Trance
It’s about 11:00pm at Somewhere Loud in San Diego, and you can feel the excited energy begin to rise as underground trance legends Indecent Noise and Standerwick prepared for their debut sets in the Whale’s Vagina.
Both these producers/DJs are well known for their harder, faster trance style otherwise known today as “138.” Standerwick hails from Bristol, England and got his start in commercial music before branching off into electronic music production. After a five-year break from the scene, Standerwick came back in full force in 2012 and is now one of the biggest rising stars in the uplifting and tech-trance realm.
On the darker end of the harder trance spectrum lies Indecent Noise. He first gained fame in 2006 for his hard trance productions, which are inspired from the original trance sounds of the 1990s. Today, he is the proud owner of the Mental Asylum label and continues to spread the love of darker, faster tech & psy-trance to the world.
I was lucky enough to get to sit down with these two incredible artists and talk about their careers and where the trance scene today. Check out their wisdom below.
OTB: Let’s start off with you, Standerwick. Congratulations on your first tour in America! How do you like the American crowds so far, and what are some differences you’ve seen in the American trance crowd v. the European one?
STANDERWICK: You know I was asked this question before and it’s difficult to answer since Exchange LA was my first show for the North American crowd. To be honest, it’s kind of universal the way people react to dance music here and across the world really; that’s what I find at least. Being in America is amazing; I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve actually been here! I was thinking to myself [about California], “I’m quite happy you live out here” – this place really appeals to me.
OTB: California is definitely a great place to start off your American tour! Going back to your musical career, I know that you have a very diverse background in music and play several instruments. Is there any particular instrument that you prefer playing the most?
STANDERWICK: Instruments have always been something I’ve played; my dad was in the military and he was a band’s man. He was a percussionist and taught me the drums and other percussion, and then he taught me piano which I played a while. After that he forced me into playing a bit of brass and then reed instruments. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly overqualified in any group but I can play a bit of each and like it.
OTB: So you’re pretty much a jack-of-all-trades, I suppose. Going off of that, I also know you’re a vocalist as well and you have used your voice in songs before. What kind of songs are your favorites? What would one normally hear you singing in the shower?
STANDERWICK: Well I don’t actually sing in the shower! You’d probably catch me singing all the time other than that though. For me it was always the big pop ballads I liked to sing growing up.
OTB: Can I hear a sample?
STANDERWICK: Nope. Answered that one quickly!
OTB: Darn! was really hoping for that one. Moving forward, with all of your recent success, releases, appearances, etc., what’s the next step for you career-wise? Thoughts of your own label?
STANDERWICK: Absolutely not. There are too many labels out there right now; it seems like everyone has one these days and I don’t see the point. The scene is completely over-saturated, more than ever, with new music. It’s great that everyone has a chance to do music! That really is a great thing. I remember in the past before the introduction of easy accessibility to be able to produce music – you’d have to pay stupid amounts of money to get into recording studios, and even to have to buy a guitar as a kid was expensive, you know? So to be able to produce music back then, it was a gift. Now anybody can buy a PC or a Mac and record something. I just wish there was a little bit control in the industry; sometimes I wish there weren’t so many labels out there and that it was more of a selection process like back in my day when my band mates and I had to go door-to-door to record labels with our cassette tapes in hand. These days you can produce a track, send it off to a label, and they’ll bang it out in a few weeks. You can sift through 120 tracks and only find one good one. I respect the time it takes to produce but I wish there was more control over saturation in the industry because good tracks are often missed.
OTB: That’s definitely a really interesting point you bring up about the music industry these days – I’ve never thought of that before! But now it’s time to include Indecent Noise in on the interview fun. To start, what has really shaped the way you’ve produced music?
INDECENT NOISE: It’s hard to say – I started with listening to a lot of my dad’s favorite producers and we listened to lots of Oxygens. We also had this music magazine that came with various genres that I listened to a lot as well. I was really digging into house music, techno, tech house, drum & bass, liquid drum & bass, early psy-trance, and progressive house. I’m really open-minded when it comes to electronic music and nothing really shocks me except for EDM, which is horrendous. It’s a horrendous version of house music and it’s too squeaky…but we won’t get into that.
OTB: You’re a multi-genre producer. Do you have any particular favorite type of music to produce?
INDECENT NOISE: There is no favorite genre! Every genre has it’s own set of rules; it’s cool and it keeps your ears fresh when you work on different genres at the same time in the studio. When you’re a multi-genre producer you could introduce so many sounds from different genres into your sets and it makes them interesting and unique.
OTB: Since you’re Polish, what is your favorite word in English, and what is the hardest word for an Anglophone to say in Polish?
INDECENT NOISE: My favorite English word is either bollocks or cunt. Hardest word for an Anglophone to pronounce (view Soundcloud below):
OTB: Now it’s time to get both your answers on some questions. First off, both of you have gained notoriety for your faster trance productions. What is it about the higher-BPM trance that attracts you guys most to the genre?
STANDERWICK: It’s kind of strange – I kind of fell back into it when I got back into trance. I did dabble around in the lower BPMs and yeah it was good, but there’s something about the energy and the drive of 138 or 140 trance that really attracts me. I don’t know what it is, but when the beat’s going and the bass is going it’s like, “Yeah, this has got some real energy!” I don’t find as much energy in the lower BPMs or the other kinds of trance. There’s still obviously energy there and some of the producers coming through at the moment do bring it. For example, Tempo Giusto: some of his work – wow! I play his stuff all the time in my tracks although I normally pitch it at 138. He does have a 132 track out that has just as much energy as a 138 track so it’s definitely achievable, but while I have thought about producing a slower track I preferred to stick with what I do. It’s easier – you don’t want to upset the fans!
INDECENT NOISE: People always ask me, “What’s so magic about 138?” For me it’s 140 but anyway…trance in the very beginning was high, up-tempo music. All the classics we know from the 90s and early 21st century are higher-tempo. I grew on this and I’m trying to keep the legacy. I’m not gonna change soon!
OTB: Speaking of fast trance, I’ve noticed that there’s been a huge psy-trance movement going on over the past few years, with many faster trance DJs switching over to the genre (Ex: Bryan Kearney, Simon Patterson, Jordan Suckley). I want to know from an artist point of view – what are your thoughts on this movement? What do you think sparked it off and why is it resonating with so many of you?
STANDERWICK: *Snickers* I’m guilty of that. It’s definitely gained a lot of notoriety over the past months for sure. But when I introduce any kind of psy element into my music, it’s gonna be psy-trance, then it’s gonna go into uplifting, then it may have some techier bits in it. So anything I’ve done that has psy-trance elements in it, I wouldn’t consider a psy-trance tune. In general I really like experimenting with different kinds of sounds and sub-genres within the genre. The new Skypatrol track combines about four different genres: psy, tech-trance, uplifting, and an EDM drop. It’s always nice to experiment because everything seems to be very generic at the moment.
INDECENT NOISE: I played psy-trance before it was cool (hipster)! But no, I grew on psy-trance and I have strong psy-trance roots. It’s good, you know? It adds variety to music. Although a lot of music labeled as psy-trance today in my opinion such as Coming Soon! or Neelix is actually tech-trance. Psy-trance as I know it has a running bass line and nasty acid; you know, just a spacey element. What Coming Soon!, Interactive Noise, Neelix, Spin Twist guys in general are doing is a new kind of tech-trance; very chunky and very minimalistic. Which is absolutely amazing, because it works on the dance floors. There really is no bigger message behind this music, it’s just the nasty bass that makes people dance.
OTB: The past 12 months have seen a lot of touring for the both of you. What is one of the most memorable events you guys played and what made them so special?
STANDERWICK: There are two in particular: Argentina on the FSOE tour, and the first time I played at Ministry of Sound, again on the FSOE tour. I think what sticks out to me the most is the gravity of these events. The crowd in Argentina always acts as if trance had just hit them in a big way, and it’s one of their favorite genres thee days. As for Ministry of Sound – for any DJ it’s Mecca. It was definitely one of the bigger things on my bucket list to play Ministry of Sound. The choice of club is ministry and the crowd is the Argentinians; if you bring the two together it would be a perfect scenario for me.
INDECENT NOISE: Thanks for having us here in San Diego, by the way! For me, I’m moving into extended sets that are absolutely brilliant. I’m pushing open-to-close sets more so I can introduce more sounds to people and move all throughout the genres. My favorite party I did last year was in New York. There were 200 people an intimate venue, one smoke machine, a couple of lasers, and I played six hours. It was absolutely brilliant; I would play like this every day if I could! As for bigger events, I loved EDC Orlando. EDC Orlando to me was better than Vegas atmosphere-wise. It was really fucking good.
OTB: Really? Interesting, I’ve heard rumors that the crowds in Florida weren’t too great. Maybe that’s from the main stage though.
INDECENT NOISE: No! The trance is booming there right now! I did a show in Space this year, I also played at this tiny club in Orlando and it was brilliant because the energy was insane and people were very passionate about the music.
OTB: Any favorite sample packs or gadgets so far this year?
STANDERWICK: The Activa sample packs are really good for psy. On a random note to aspiring producers: don’t fill your computer with too much. Find the basic, stick to it, and learn that! Anyway, for me synth-wise I keep it very limited; I use Zepra, UE, Massive, Silence, Reveal Spire.
INDECENT NOISE: To be honest I’m moving studio this year so I’ve only been in the studio for a couple days’ worth finishing current productions. I haven’t had a chance to try out new gear because I’ve been touring all the time and I just renovated my new house. I’m looking to moving my studio in June so I could spend a couple weeks off tour to make music. My favorite gadget this year is my iPad app I use on the stage; it’s kind of cool.
OTB: That wraps up the interview! Thanks to both of you for the opportunity. Now go kill it!
And killed it, they did. Indecent Noise’s set was recorded!
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