Featured Article - 2007-08-29 13:05:05 - Interview with Lange - August 17, 2007
Arthur: Hey, this is Arthur Galestian. I’m here with Lange, who has flown in from the UK this weekend for his performance tomorrow night, the 18th of August, at “Space Opera” at the Hudson Theater in San Bernardino.Ranked No. 54 DJ in the world, according to DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ Poll for 2006, UK DJ/Producer Lange is recognized as one of the most influential dance artists of the past decade. A DJ who has remained at the forefront of the scene throughout his career and a producer that continues to push all boundaries.
Hey, Lange, how’s it going?
Lange: I’m very well, thanks.
A: So why don’t you tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started with DJing and producing and how did you attain the current level of success that you have?
L: I first started producing from when I was about 14 or 15. I started with just a basic keyboard at home, and kept on sending demos off, and had one featured in a magazine… Future Music magazine it was. And that got picked up by a label and so I started producing
A: What kind of keyboard was it?
L: Oh, it was like, one of those Yamaha home keyboards, you know… really cheap. But I gradually built up a big studio over the years and had a demo featured on Future Music magazine, which led them to me signing me a record deal with EMI. And then the DJing followed later… about four years later. I decided it was time I got out of the studio and into the clubs where my music was being played.
A: Is there a story behind your artist name, Lange?
L: It’s actually half of my surname, which is Langelaan. So it’s a Dutch surname, save me spelling the whole thing!
A: Oh, you have a Dutch background?
L: Not really. Well, it goes back about 200 years I think.
A: Fair enough. How do you find all this traveling, is it worth it in the end?
L: Yeah! I’ve had some great times all over the place, actually. I’ve met some great people. It’s quite tiring. I’m pretty tired now as I was saying earlier on, but yeah, well worth it.
A: Yeah, I can imagine! From your experience, what are the best crowds you have played to around the world, and what makes a good crowd a good crowd?
L: That one can vary quite a bit, actually. I mean, you can have some amazing events where it’s just down to the sheer size of the crowd, like… I played Fort Dance in St. Petersberg a couple of years ago… that was amazing! 25,000 people. But you can also have some amazing events also when you’ve got, like, literally 250 people in a small venue. One place, for example, I play quite regular is a club in the western isles of Scotland, which is really small, but they’re really good friends that run the events. So I go there and the atmosphere in there is absolutely electric. So it varies It can vary a lot.
A: Ah, it’s more of an intimate experience, the smaller places… Can you give us an insight into what your studio is like? How do you create your tracks from inspiration to completion?
L: My studio’s drastically changed, actually, over the last few years. I’m literally just using a PC now, with a keyboard, and some controllers… which I think, obviously, a lot of people are going that way. And certainly the new producers are just using PCs. So I’ve actually started to get rid of a lot of my rack, you know, my hardware stuff, and, in fact, sold my big analog mixer that I’ve got last week. Just too hefty to keep carrying around, ’cause I’ve moved house. So the studio’s really downsized. It makes it so much easier as well, to sort of flip between projects. You know, I’m writing an album so I can easily just go from file to file. And, uh, don’t know what else you said there… [chuckle]
A: Well, as far as creating your tracks… from inspiration to completion… how do you normally go about that?
L: Usually, I need some kind of starting point, which would be either inspired somebody else’s track or an idea or… you know, it can be something that’s affected me in my life and I just kind of want to, you know, go and write some music at that time. And I usually start with building up some percussion and maybe some bass line ideas ’cause I think that’s very important in dance– to get those core elements right from the off. And then I think about melody and the chords.
A: Okay! Now you’ve rocked audiences of 25,000, performing at prestigious festivals like Global Gathering, Summadayze, Creamfields and the Zurich Street Parade. You’ve also made appearances for some of the best club brands in the world including Godskitchen, Gatecrasher, Ministry Of Sound, and Slinky. What do you think it takes to be an outstanding DJ?
L: I think the most important thing for a DJ is to have good taste in music. I don’t actually rate DJing as a massively highly skilled art form. I think producing is far more difficult and far more taxing on the brain. As long as you can mix well and have a good idea of where to take your set, which, you know… you’re always looking at the crowd, looking at where you want to go with it. Yeah, I think it’s good taste that’s the main element.
A: Right on. Now, you currently stand as number 54 DJ in the world, according to DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ Poll for ’06. What words of advice do you have, from your personal experience, for DJs and producers that want to make it in this highly competitive industry?
L: Well, that’s a tough one, actually… a really tough one. I would say, unfortunately, it’s increasingly down to having the right connections, being able to sell yourself. You’ve got to get the press right. When I started this, I was very naive. I just used to make records in my studio, you know, I didn’t have a clue about the whole press structure, but increasingly now everything’s about press, you know… you can see from things like MySpace and how important those kind of things are. So focus on just literally getting heard and meeting the right people.
A: Yeah, seems like you’ve come a long way. Your record label recently had a remix competition (Lange Recordings is your record label) for the track “Angel Falls.” How did that go overall and how was the winner’s production singled out and selected?
L: That went really well, actually. I was amazed at the response. I think something like 2,500 people downloaded the remix parts… from the stats.
A: It was mentioned on the radio show a couple of times, actually. For two weeks.
L: Alright, well thanks!
L: Yeah, we had about 600 entries, which I went through with Ruth from Lange Recordings and we sort of narrowed it down to about 10 and then sort of argued over it. And then eventually came up with the winning remix, which was called the “Cata remix.” It was just selected on, obviously, quality and the strength of the ideas in it. But mainly, it wasn’t just a carbon copy of the original or keeping to the same sort of arrangement. I was looking for something a bit different that complemented the other mixes that we got. So I think we found that, anyway.
A: Alright. Well, let’s talk about some of the direction in which your sound is going. Some of the most notable works from your past have been “I Believe,” “Follow Me,” and “Drifting Away.” These are all melodic trance tracks that have been associated with your original sound from many years back. How do you think your sound has changed over the years, and how do you go about defining your new sound?
L: I’d say I’ve definitely changed a lot, particularly in the last 2 or 3 years. I wouldn’t say I’ve totally turned my back on the melodic, but my focus has been much more on getting the rhythm and the bass right, and putting a bit of a groove into tracks, and a bit more surprise and fun, rather than sticking to an arrangement where you know it’s going to kick in here or you know what the drop’s going to be like. So I’ve tried to focus on switching things around a little bit and also giving it more cutting edge feel, and I’ve been influenced a lot, as well by, obviously, the electro’s been really big in the last year or two. So a lot of the neat, you know, tight percussion has cut into some of my work. So, yeah, really I’d say it’s evolved into a style of trance, but bringing in other genres, and maybe slowing it down a bit as well. Some of my stuff now is like 125 BPM, which I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing, sort of, 5-6 years ago.
A: Yeah, different from the 135 or so.
L: Yeah, well it used to be 138 all the time! [chuckle]
A: Oh, right on.
L: Must be age, as well, having an impact, I think. Getting old, slowing it down…
A: Now let’s talk about your debut album release. That’s going to be something really exciting for you. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about that?
L: Yeah, it’s been a long time in coming, but I’m now celebrating 10 years in the industry this year. So, I thought it was about time I got this album done for sure. I had actually said, last year, that I was going to do an album, and… it didn’t arrive! But this year, I’ve made sure it’s going to happen and also there’s going to be a second CD as well, as I’m celebrating 10 years.
A: It’s going to be a double-CD release?
L: Yes. The second CD is going to feature a lot of those old tracks that you mentioned, actually, before. Because they’ve never been brought together really, on one CD, so I thought it’d be a nice idea to put them all together, you know, unmixed. And the first CD of the album will be pretty much all the new material. So it’ll be new and old, really… all mixed in one.
A: Okay, and when can we expect to see this?
L: It’s due for release the first week of November.
A: Okay, as far as your future goals in the coming years, what can we expect to see from Lange Music. What can we anticipate coming from you? Your dreams? Any goals? What’s coming? What can we expect?
L: Well, after writing this first album and enjoying, really, the flexibility of being able to write tracks that wouldn’t be released as singles, that don’t necessarily, you know, suit dance floors… it’s opened up music quite a bit to me, so I’m quite excited about doing a further album later on. And, yeah, just continuing really DJing and traveling the world.
A: Alright, right on. So where can we get some more details about you, your music, any gigs that are going to be coming up, your releases. I’m sure a lot of people are interested in knowing where they can keep up with your work, so what are some of the best ways of doing that?
A: And I’d like to wish you lots of success with this year’s DJ Mag voting for the “Top 100 DJs.”
L: Oh, thanks very much!
A: Is there a link on your page that makes it easy for your fans to go and vote for you?
L: It’s funny you should say that. There is! If anybody feels like supporting me in the DJ poll, it’d be much appreciated. There’s links on both my MySpace page and web site.
A: Any last words?
L: Thanks to your listeners for any support that they’ve given me and thanks to yourself.
A: Hey, no problem, thank you very much for the interview. It was great.
L: Thank you.