Solarstone// Hello chaps, I’ve been following your steady & impressive ascent through the ranks of the trance glitterati over the past 12 months, how has it been for you?

Steve – A&E// It’s been a real rollercoaster ride of emotions, we burst onto the scene back in 2013 with ‘Silhouette’ but I didn’t really feel that we were at a level as artists to really capitalise on the success. So we put together a plan to get to where we wanted to be. That started with me (Steve) quitting my full time day job for about 12 months and moving to music full time, with lots of hard work it seems to have worked out really well, despite a lot of ups and down! I have just moved to a new studio away from the house, and we have a great team around us to help us push on and really make a mark in the scene.

Scott – A&E// Like everything in life, it’s been full of ups and downs, tears of joy followed by sobbing in the corner while no one is looking. Despite all that I’ve enjoyed every second of it. We have always had a plan on where we wanted to take Allen & Envy and although situations have changed our individual paths slightly, Allen & Envy is stronger than ever :).

Solarstone// Working as a duo has its advantages & disadvantages, I know because I’ve been there! Care to elaborate on both? What is each of your roles in the Allen & Envy setup?

Steve – A&E // It is difficult being a duo, mainly the financial aspect is the hardest part of it, but I always said if we was going to do this we need to make it work for us. We did that by launching the weekly Together show, hosted on DI.FM. With the sheer demand this puts on an act, I always believed this would give us an edge over other acts at our level, but also lets us engage with our fans which is a massive part of why we do this!
In terms of the roles, they are quite straightforward… I do all the productions and remixes on my own and deal with the day to day “Allen & Envy” stuff. We choose the tracks for the show together, Scott records and publishes the show and more recently, Scott started hosting the show on Facebook with a live stream. Over our career we have tried to do as many gigs as we can together, however moving forward Scott will play the majority the events on his own whilst I move into other areas of the music industry.

Scott – A&E// The main disadvantage as Steve said is the financial side. Also with a duo you have different styles and thoughts and quite a few times styles have branched away a little, but always come round to the same in the end. Steve’s favourite saying is ‘Stevie is always right’ and to be honest, most of the time he is. But not always, can’t have him getting a big head or anything…lol.
We were best mates before Allen & Envy and worked on other projects together so we know each other better than we have known ourselves (mgmt concurs ;-)). People always joke that we are a married couple as we work well together.
My roll at present is a lot less than Steve due to still working full time Monday through Friday and some weekends in my day job. I look after all aspects of the weekly Together podcast and deal mostly with social media streams. I aim to cut down my hours next year to free up more time to take tasks off Steve so he can focus mainly on the production side and his own business ‘Steve Allen Music’.

Solarstone// How do you find touring affects your ‘normal’ life? Do you friends & family ‘get it’? Is it hard to strike a healthy balance between your on-stage persona and your private life?

Steve – A&E // Now that I’ve had an opportunity to tour, I’ve witnessed first-hand how hard it is to balance your life as an artist and a family man. Being on tour I realised how much I missed being in the studio and writing music, which is where I wanted to be… hence my recent decision to split more gigs with Scott and get back in the studio to maintain my inspiration 🙂

Scott- A&E // Steve has done most of the touring to date as I’ve been restricted because of work and managing to spend time with my kids. That being said, I will be taking on most of the gigs next year and drop down to part time hours at work. I find it hard to fit everything in as I work 12hrs most days, then spend a few hours at next working on music. Most nights I don’t even have time to eat! You find that you are constantly trying to balance everything.

Solarstone// About your approach to production; do you have a tried & tested system i.e start with a melody, groove? Without being too nerdy, any favourite VSTs or hardware?

Steve – A&E // For me the hook, whether that is a melody of vocal and the feeling that it gives us is the single most important part of a trance track, so this is what I always start with. I then build the track from the foundation upwards, so kick, bass, percussion and then leads and pads and FX last of all.
I tend to use the same software for all my tracks, Massive, Sylenth and Spire in that order are my go to VSTS’s and plugins like LFO Tool. Fabfilter, Camel Crusher and some of the Waves plugins are the ones I tend to always lean towards.

Solarstone// Many producers feel that unless music is their full-time occupation, they are not ‘real’ artists – which is of course nonsense – it’s extremely hard to make a full-time living in this industry! What are your thoughts on that? Prior to turning professional, what was your day job, or do you still have one?

Steve – A&E // I went full time music 12 months ago, before that I had some fairly good jobs as a Senior Project Coordinator, Qualifications Coordinator etc… , with an horrendous sickness record. I didn’t really give a shit about my day jobs, I always put music first. I would often phone in sick when I had to get a track or remix done, or felt too tired after gigging. I always knew I wasn’t a 9-5 man, and always wanted to be working in music.

When I moved to music full time I knew I had to do something else other than DJing so I launched Steve Allen Music. The main aim of the venture is to help acts with their productions via tutorials in my studio or over skype and also offer the perceived dirty side of the business, engineering. I do have to say I really enjoy doing this, I hand select the artists I work with and the guys are really keen and have a great hunger about them, it has now got to the point that the tutorials and engineering make up about 75% of my annual income.

Solarstone// Any long-term plan or particular ambition in the A&E camp or are you just taking each day as it comes?

Steve – A&E // My long terms plans are away from A&E, but will benefit A&E in the long run. Ive just started taking Piano lessons, to learn the theory behind what I already know through making music. And I’ve started trying to break into music for Advertising, TV and Movies, which I’m really excited about.

Scott – A&E // For me, my goal is to quit my full time job and go full time music. This will give me the time to be in the studio with Steve more and start to learn the production side myself.

Solarstone// If it all ended tomorrow & you had to do something else, what would you do? Or would you throw yourselves off a bridge?

Steve – A&E // I have to admit I often find myself thinking is it all really worth it, I might as well just go back to work full time. I think if you’re an artist you will understand this, as we all go through these stages from time to time. But this was one reason why I launched Steve Allen Music, as a safety blanket if things didn’t work out I could still work in Music. I think our manager would be keener on the bridge jumping, so we’ll do our best to keep him on the ledge 😉

Scott A&E // There has been a few times when I’ve thought of stepping back from it all due to commitments outside of music and health problems. It’s very easy to let things get on top of you and the easy way is out. Not a great fan of heights so won’t be getting close to the edge to throw myself off….lol.

Allen & Envy’s collab with Miikka Leinonen, ‘Panorama’ is OUT NOW! Grab it here!