Hey Rich! Before moving on to business, let’s bring your worried fans an update on your health first. How are the ankles doing? Are you ready for jumping duties behind the decks at ADE?
Rich: “It was certainly a taxing summer, but I’m finally getting back to some semblance of normality, I did a 3 hour set in Sofia, Bulgaria at the weekend and didn’t have any problems, although I did have to get a wheelchair through the airport at Frankfurt the following day! Should be fine for ADE.”

After months of preparation, a quest to find the perfect tunes and co-mixers, Pure Trance V5 is set for release on October 28th. What can you tell us about the process of creating your own mix?
Rich: “It’s always a long & quite in-depth process, finding the tracks is a balance between working with established names who I know and trust to deliver quality and finding new names who might need a bit of coaxing and coaching to deliver their best. The mixing itself takes a fair amount of time as I work a lot with stems – which gives me the freedom to make a more collage-type of mix as opposed to end-to-end overlaying. But of course due to all the health issues I had over the summer it all took a lot longer than anticipated. Still I only missed the deadline by a week in the end. I started collecting material for the mix around April this year, I signed 35 tracks in total personally in the process, so even though they didn’t all make it onto the album they will still be released a singles, so the schedule on the labels is packed for the next 6 months.”

When did you know it was time to let it go and say ‘it’s done!’?
Rich: “I kind of know instinctively when that point arrives.. it might sound strange but that point is actually before I’ve finished the mixing – if I can explain… it’s the gathering together of the material which is the tough part, once I know I have everything that I need then the rest happens relatively easily, I know that when mixing a comp I can do 3 mixes in a day – sounds like not a lot but the technical side of blending the tracks with stems, FX and processing takes a lot of time. So 2 weeks before it was wrapped, I knew the ultimate time frame. The mixing though is only part of it, once that’s done then there is everything else to consider; the artwork, the PR, there’s a huge amount that happens next!”

You’ve invited Forerunners and Sneijder to create a Pure Trance V5 mix – two very different names that both stand out in the Pure Trance field. Why did you pick these two artists? How do they differ and how do you three complement each other?
Rich: “Both are producers who I respect and have worked with a lot over the years, and with V5 I wanted the album to represent a ‘Pure Trance Event’ – so everything from the deeper more progressive side to uplifting to chaotic end-of-night material needed to be included – there was no option other than to make it a 3 disc album, and Forerunners was the logical choice for Disc 1. Brenden has enjoyed something of a renaissance over the past year, I pressured him to get back into production after he’d pretty much stopped a couple of years ago – his ‘Foundation Mix’ of ‘Lifecycle’ was what did it, I found he has fallen in love with a new sound – previously he was producing uplifting 135 – 138bpm trance, but his new sound is very deep and moody, but still beautiful. I wanted to showcase his talents on Disc 1 – it’s a very immersive disc, very deep. Sneijder on the other hand has played a whole bunch of our Pure Trance events over the past few years, he knows exactly how to rock a crowd in the latter part of the night, he’s also on our Pure Trance Artist roster. He was a shoo-in for Disc 3. Then I do my ‘usual’ thing on Disc 2 which links it all together.”

What’s the process like when there are three different mixes to be completed? Do you agree on the use of certain tracks? Do you have the final word on what a mix should be like?
Rich: “I briefed both artists on what I was looking for, they both ‘got it’ right away, and I created a drop box folder to which all submissions would be uploaded, so I could check them out. We worked together throughout the process, contacting producers for material, discussing tracks etc. and what changes need to be made – if any. It’s more of an ‘executive producer’ role for me with Forerunners & Sneijder’s discs – they know what they are doing, but I just oversaw the final result.”

Which tracks or remixes, in your mix, definitely needed to make it onto V5? And which ones are the exclusives, made or remixed for the album?
Rich: “There are 46 exclusives on the album in total, which is a huge amount of something like this, as for which ones ‘needed to make it on’ – that would be all of them! Remember that when licensing in and signing tracks for a compilation there’s no guarantee that all the tracks will be used, so you go through the process of refining and making decisions on what works best. Sometimes there is an absolutely brilliant track that you really want to use, but it just doesn’t fit with the rest of the tracks, and it’s all about the bigger picture. There was something fabulous from Airwave which I really wanted to use, but the mood and sound of the track just didn’t fit, and other than making my own remix which I simply didn’t have the time for, it couldn’t make it on. Every track on there is there for a reason, there are zero fillers, it’s 100% killers. I produced the single ‘Lifeline’ with Ferry Tayle exclusively for PT5, that was on the planner from pretty early on.”

What are you hoping the listeners of Pure Trance V5 will experience when playing the album?
Rich: “Well I’m hoping that they will get a taste of what our Pure Trance club events are all about – the journey, the whole night. I’m a strong believer that the programming of a night should be about the musical flower, the build; the journey. It should not be about particular Djs demanding an earlier, later or ‘peak time’ slot based on their profile – which then messes up the flow of the night. That happens a lot in the club scene, egos and attitudes from Djs & managers can break a night – ruin it for the audience. At my events there is none of that bullshit, also there are no ‘artist logos’ or ‘special guests’ or arguments about billing – we try to do it in alphabetical order. Amusingly we had a situation one time where an artists manager was arguing about this artists place on the bill, he was billed ‘under’ another Dj whom the manager felt was not as big as his own Dj, so we offered to do it alphabetically instead. The result was that artist being bottom of the list rather than second from the top! It’s just nonsense really, but it pervades the scene like a bad smell to this day. I have ‘Solarstone presents’ in very small letters on the logo so that people know it’s my night, but I never place myself top of the bill intentionally. I wish the same could be said for other ‘brands’. I’m sure some artists use the whole ‘branded night’ simply to put their name in enormous letters about all the others, and it’s disrespectful to the other guys playing on the night in my opinion.”

Now, on October 22nd, at the Pure Trance ADE 2016 Special, the album will already be exclusively available for the Pure Trance fans. Sounds like the perfect place to get the album signed, right?
Rich: “Absolutely! This will be the first time that the latest CD will be available to buy at the event, and of course I’ll sign anything that people bring me to sign. We are also having a little ‘soiree’ before the main event, in the bar / restaurant of Jaz Hotel, where a selection of Djs who released on my labels (Robert Nickson, Driftmoon, Ciaran McAuley, Liam Wilson & Alex Ryan) will be playing in an informal setting. I would have loved to have put those guys in the main event obviously, but there’s only room for so many Djs on line up without compromising on set lengths (I’d rather have fewer Djs playing longer sets that cramming them in with 45 minutes each). The Soiree is free too, so anyone can come, say Hi, hang out with me and the other Djs, get a bite to eat, whatever – it will be really nice to do something informal and relaxed before the chaos ensues!”

Will you be spending some days in Amsterdam before the event on Saturday as well? Any parties, network drinks and meetings planned?
Rich: “Definitely, I’m flying over on the Wednesday so I can spend a few days meeting my friends and colleagues in coffee shops & cafes, talking about business and just catching up. I’ll be going to Ferry’s night and a couple of others, but am planning to have Friday night off to chill before Saturday’s main event.”

Next to those of many other Pure Trance heroes, we’re all very much looking forward to your set at the Jaz Hotel that night. What can we expect? Will you be taking us on a V5 trip?
Rich: “You bet, Forerunners, Sneijder & I will all be premiering tracks from PT5 on the night, along with loads of other great music, and I’m really looking forward to additional sets from Orkidea, Gai Barone and Factor B who is flying in from Australia to close for us! Giuseppe will of course be there too, he’s an essential part of our ADE programme and will be treating us to some of his Live 2.0 sounds. I know we announced our event quite late (for various reasons!) but I’m hoping that people will add our event to their already packed plans & take the time to come over on Saturday night and check out what we have going on – it will be a special night to remember.”

In the meantime, you’re also trying to finish up a new artist album. How’s that coming along?
Rich: “Getting there slowly 🙂 It’s coming together nicely, I realised back in 2014 that it was not going to be a fast process with everything else that was going on, so I didn’t rush it and have just been concentrating on making it something special. I didn’t want it to be ‘Pure 2’, I want it to be something fresh and immersive, so I’m working with some new names and singers who bring something new and inventive to it. Bear in mind that I will have released 6 compilation albums and countless new tracks by the time the new album comes out, so I’ve not been slacking! The album will be 100% new material & I promise it will be out next year!”

ADE is a yearly highlight to thousands of electronic dance music fans. It’s also a time to make up the balance and look back on the past 12 months. How has Pure Trance developed over the past year? And how has the brand developed when we check back with you at ADE 2017?
Rich: “I think it has grown and developed, we’ve added some great names to our roster of artists including Bjorn Akesson, Dan Stone, Thrillseekers, Ferry Tayle, Ciaran McAuley so the events are more varied, but the main thing is that the trance scene in general is way more healthy now too, due in part to what I’ve been doing with Pure Trance. I launched the Radio Show and Pure Trance Progressive and the label’s releases are coming out weekly now, there’s so much great music about which fits in with the Pure Trance ethos. The future looks great!”

Cheers to that, Rich! Pre-order your copy of Pure Trance Volume 5 here!

Be part of the Pure Trance ADE 2016 Special, grab your ticket here!