Trance, much like a different genre that starts with a T, tends to divide people into either a love it or hate it camp with very few putting it in the “meh” category. Detractors dismiss it as boring, while those who love the genre claim it kicks the feels into a higher plane. Say what you want about the genre, there’s no denying that the producers of trance put an incredible amount of time and effort into those tracks. We were fortunate enough to get to chat with Kyau and Albert, two of the longest running trance producers, before Lucky and had a great discussion about both the crowds that come to listen to trance and what they try to create with their music.
Kyau and Albert, or as they are known off stage, Ralph Kyau and Steven Albert, are veterans of the trance world and as a result had a lot to say about the music they make and the experiences they’ve been able to have. What they shared with us had us excited for their set, and even more excited for state of trance to come.
RELEASING DISTANT LIGHTS
We had the good fortune of chatting with the guys exactly a month after their most recent album, Distant Lights, officially dropped. Naturally we were curious to know how the guys were feeling about releasing something that they had put countless hours and endless amounts of energy into. One of the things we love about many of our favorite trance artists is that they don’t feel a need to make every single track on the album a huge banger. Such is the case with Distant Lights.
“Fans really love the album, we made it not 100% pure trance, we made it a little journey. – Ralph
“Like we always do” – Steven
“Like we always do” – Ralph
Some trance artists lately have been criticized for going too mainstream (ahem… Tiesto) and betraying their trance roots. We are overjoyed to be able to say that on both their album and their set Kyau and Albert have indeed stayed true to the trance. Fans clearly appreciate it, when we were looking out on the Lucky crowd during their set at the End of the Rainbow stage spirits were high and hearts were full with the sweet melodies the guys were playing. However, not only is feedback from fans great, some of the best compliments come from one’s peers. The day before Lucky the guys track Let the Thunder In was featured on Paradiso headliner Armin Van Buuren’s A State of Trance 704. Rightfully so, the guys were a little excited about it.
OUR GLOBAL COMMUNITY
The most incredible thing about dance music, and trance in general, is how it truly brings together the global community. Kyau and Albert have played on stages all over the world, both big and small, and yet everywhere they go the crowd is always united by the music. Not many types of music can claim that diversity in their fans, and we would be lying if we said were weren’t a little proud of the fact.
“The crowd all over the world is the same, because people know about the music from the internet and the crowd’s globalized, whether you go to Asia or to the US or South America there’s not a big difference in the crowd. They look different maybe but they’re not really that different” – Steven
We’ve found this to be true, whether it’s experiencing a crowd at a local event like Lucky, or a big show like Ultra or EDC, or even Tomorrowland. Dance music fans are a special group of people, and this is shown by the fact that the producers we love tour all over the world in order to reach as many as possible. Year over year we are finding festivals popping up more and more places, such as EDC Mexico and Tomorrowland’s first time in Brazil. We can only imagine where we’ll be seeing some of our favorite artists and festivals pop up this year, all in an effort to further unite dance music fans.
Much like our incredible advances in technology have enabled fans to come together, the ability to send large amounts of information very quickly has enabled fantastic collaborations to take place. One such example of this is the revelation shared by the guys was on their track Calming Rain with Maria Nayler. One would think that actually meeting everyone who plays a key role in the track would be a given, and yet trance magic was found without all of the artists being in the same studio.
“Maria Nayler, on the album Calming Rain, we never met her in person. We told her vocal producer that we are really keen on working with her on the album. We had a really strong instrumental and we sent it over, and they wrote the lyrics and they sent the lyrics back. We were working on the lyrics, in our studio, and we sent it again to them, and so.” -Ralph
One of the things that sets trance apart from other genres is the approach many of its artists take to creating their tracks. Many artists such as Cosmic Gate, Leon Bolier, and of course Kyau and Albert are classically trained. What does this mean? This means that it is simply impossible to dismiss trance artists as just kids behind computers and the way Kyau and Albert described the emotion they include in their process just cements that.
[pullquote]”Trance is very emotional music… it’s quite related to classical compositions because it has lots of melody and chords” – Ralph[/pullquote]
Technology has made it possible to keep up with making and remixing tracks without having to be in a full studio. Some artists have shared that they dislike the small format that comes with working on a laptop, but Kyau and Albert have a great appreciation for the work they can get done on the road. Stephen likes working on demos and ideas on the laptop “because you can do that anywhere, at home on the sofa, on the plane.” Ralph loves that the more portable technology has made it much easier to compose. However, both guys also have a greater appreciation for the work that can be done in the studio, because in-studio technology has skyrocketed just as more portable technology has.
A PROTEGE AND THINGS TO COME
It’s hard to believe that Lucky is now another year off, but the guys did let us know they have a few magical things in store for us this year. Now that Distant Lights is making the rounds one would think they’re kicking back and relaxing, but that is simply not the case. They just remixed Aquilo’s I Gave It All and are receiving rave reviews for it. As may be expected from the dialogue above, whether on the road or at home Kyau and Albert are “are always working in the studio, we are already working on new stuff but also doing reworks for other tracks, and are working on some remixes now.” We look forward to seeing what else they put out in the coming months, and look forward to seeing what their next album holds.
In addition to their own upcoming musical adventures, Kyau and Albert just signed up and comer Mino Safy of Algeria to Euphonic Records and they couldn’t be more thrilled. Ralph lit up when we asked who we should have on our radars. Mino Safy has done quite well already, with a feature on Paul van Dyk’s Politics of Dancing Volume III and just getting signed to Armin’s ASOT 2015 album. For such a newcomer to get two tracks on compilations with trance legends is a huge deal. Mino Safy also remixed an upcoming single for Kyau and Albert, but despite our best efforts we couldn’t get which single it would be out of them. All we can do is wait with excitement for it to come out.
Since Kyau and Albert have been making trance music for over a decade, we had to get some parting thoughts on what the journey has been like for them. We can only hope they are sharing this same wisdom with the mentees on Euphonic Records. The only constant in this industry is change, and being able to hear their perspectives was refreshing, especially in light of the new people and things to come.
“[Producing is] always a learning process. Also the industry changed so much during the past year so it’s not so much self anymore, it’s now digital. As a producer it’s also all digital. When we started we put together all our synthesizers, our hardware stuff, and now all you need is a computer. There’s so much change, and good change also in the future. There’s always things to learn and, nothing we would regret.” -Steven
Sadly our interview like all of them had to end at some point, and in this case it was time to get from the hotel to Lucky. We had a great time chatting with them and enjoyed getting to geek out about production and what the future holds for them, and got to share with them the magic that is the upcoming Paradiso. Ralph and Steven have yet to visit the Gorge but we sincerely hope it’s in their future. We hope they had as fantastic of a time performing for us at Lucky as we did watching them. Hopefully they’re back in our gorgeous region in the near future, but until next time we wish them safe travels and inspired studio time.
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