If you’re into Trance music - you’ll know him. He’s signed to Armin van Buuren’s record label and a regular on the world’s biggest radio show ‘A State of Trance’.
He’s played at Global Gathering, Creamfields, A State of Trance, Trancefusion, Transmission, Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival to name a few.
His name is Andrew Rayel and I had the chance to chat to him recently about his thoughts on playing the smaller cities, the revival of Trance, and why a Trance crowd tops the rest.
You’ve been making music since the age of 13. How’d you get into electronic music and manage to be releasing music at such a young age?
It’s a very long story. I started by learning in musical school since I was 9 years old. I studied piano for 7 years and while I was studying piano I was never a big fan of learning other people’s music. That’s what they were making us do. We were learning Mozart and Choplin. I always wanted to create my own music. At that time I was learning to create different melodies on the piano but didn’t know how to record them. Or I didn’t know where I was going to go with them.
Because with a melody you can go to any genre. You can create rock music, pop music, classic music or electronic music. They used to play some electronic music on the radio. That’s when I heard the music of Tiesto and Armin and ATB and I fell in love with that music and I decided this where I want my melodies to go. And it was another 5 or 6 years of working very intensely on production up until I got my first signing on a label. Then after that I signed one of my tracks to Armada Music and Armin really loved the track. They began playing all my tracks in his sets and the rest is history.
It’s an amazing story. Were your parents behind you and pushing you at such a young age?
Yeah totally. My Dad was not really into music and he didn’t understand it in the beginning. But my Mom always supported me and saw that I wanted to be a musician and a producer and later a DJ. She supported me and gave me everything.
Even in the beginning, she borrowed some money so I could buy my first equipment for my studio. I think as soon as they see that it goes to something and you start earning a little money and getting recognition. Then they start to seeing it’s more serious and not a hobby or a waste of your efforts.
Right now both my parents are into electronic music. Sometimes even more than me!
What are your parents listening too?
My mum listens to my radio show and the sets I’m playing but also to Tomorrowland sets. She always researches and listen to the music. She’s really into it.
Your new track “Last Summer” has a much more commercial sound than you’ve had previously. There always seems to be a bit of a public outcry when an artist releases something that’s more commercial than usual. What can you tell your fans about this new sound?
I can’t say this is my new sound and this is what to expect from me. This is just a track that we made to try out a more pop sound. At a certain point every artist wants to try certain things and new sounds and that’s what happened with this song. It was also a great collaboration with Garibay. We knew each other and ended up in the studio together. The production process was so fast. After 2 days we ended up with this and we realised “why not release it? It’s got great lyrics and a great meaning. There’s even going to be a club mix which will sound more like the Andrew Rayel you know with a Trancey sound. So all the fans don’t worry too much. I’m just going to try these things once in a while but my main focus is trance and electronic dance music and it will always be like that.
What are your thoughts on the revival of Trance that seems to be happening now?
Oh it’s great. I mean, different people see it in a different way but for me it’s great because it means there is more trance music and more tracks for me to play in my set. Obviously when there’s more trance music and more artists getting into it then the quality improves and it’s just awesome that there’s more of it. More to play on my radio show Find My Harmony! It’s great for me in general.
I’m talking to you from one of the smaller Australian cities called Brisbane. We have a strong Trance following here but it’s much smaller than the larger cities. Around 500 people for a sold out event. Having played at so many legendary clubs and massive festivals do the smaller more intimate events still appeal to you or is it all in the hands of you’re booking agent at this point?
I know Brisbane, I’ve been there many times. Yeah absolutely. We do smaller shows all the time. Obviously the agents prefer the bigger shows but I never want to miss out on the small clubs and small cities because there’s fans everywhere and not everyone has money to buy tickets to Sydney or Melbourne. I always want to please the fans so we’re doing our best to get out to the smaller cities. The energy most of the time is 3 times more intense because these people don’t get as many shows and they just go crazy and know all the tracks and sing along.
I find a big difference between Techno, EDM or Trance crowds in their energy. Have you noticed this and what’s your favourite crowd to play to?
Trance music itself is different and it tends to be more emotional and more melodic. So it brings more meaning and emotion than techno music which is more rhythmical. Or EDM which is more banging and rave type of music. Trance has more emotion to the melodies and this is why people connect faster and stronger to this music. You can see people crying and getting very emotional and that’s the crowd I love.
Your level of production ability really grew in a few short years. What advice do you have for new producers when the market is overflowing with people trying to breakthrough?
Production skills always grow. I’m constantly learning. I’m watching U-Tube Videos and reading things I try to always keep improving. This is my advice. Keep learning and researching and asking other producers questions. Watch tutorials online. We live one life and there will never be a time when you know everything. In the early stages you want find the sound you really like. Like an artist you really enjoy. Try to get as close to that sound as possible. Then you’ll learn the skills to do that. Then you’re ready for the next level which is finding your own sound that hasn’t been heard before. And this is what will take you to the next level.
What DAW do you use and why?
I use Q-Base. Probably 99% Q-Base 1% Ableton for small things. It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as you use it the right way. They’re pretty much built the same way and can do the same things. It’s a matter of comfort.
What’s your favourite plugin?
This is a hard one. I have so many favourite plugins! I love Silent, Zebra and Invisible Limiter.
For more information go to: http://andrewrayel.net
Listen to Andrew Rayel’s ‘Find Your Harmony’ Radio show on Spotify (recently celebrating 113 Episodes): Here
Current Global Tour Dates: http://andrewrayel.net/tour