Pure Progressive Vol. 2 – tadaaa! You’re the artist behind it! How do you feel now that the news is out?
Brenden: “Massive relief! I wanted to finish everything sooner, but life has a way of throwing you curveballs (good ones in this case)! I have been pretty quiet in the music industry since covid hit, so this will be great to release a collection of brand new music to fans and really kick off an exciting second half to the year with my biggest project to date.”

How long has this one been in the works?
Brenden: “Almost a full year when I consider when Rich and I first spoke about the project. It was admittedly delayed quite a bit as well due to things going on in life and changes to how we wanted to format things.”

What did you have in mind when you first started working on the compilation – and did that end up working out the way you wanted to?
Brenden: “I tend to have a pretty open mind when I set out to record a mixset, I have no intent to do anything other than select the music I enjoy and mix it the way I like to mix it, and I think luckily my characteristic sound comes through to the listener on its own as a result of those decisions I make. I have more freedom to wander around and explore different sounds on a recorded mix for listening, whereas if I am playing a club gig I have to let the response of the people there inform me of what to play. This results in more musicality and energy fluctuation, and the recorded mix can sort of take its own winding journey without me having to be concerned with whether the breakdown on the next track might be too long for the dancefloor. So yes I think it turned out how I wanted, but what matters to me is if my fans really get something meaningful from it!”

It’s got ‘The Artist’ & ‘The DJ’. Basically, ‘The Artist’ is a Forerunners artist album, right? What can you tell us about it?
Brenden: “Yes I have a long history of Rich approaching me to do an album, and me turning the idea down, but he finally got one out of me! haha This is definitely a disc where I had a distinct idea in mind, which was to present something listenable at home or in the headphones. I experimented with very different kick sounds I would normally not use, messier percussion, and less concern over making a big energy impact in every track. Also the album as a whole feels a bit more relaxed than something I might write for a club-oriented EP. There’s a more atmospheric and slow burn quality to it when I listen back, which I think also reflects where my head was at the past couple years post-covid lockdowns.”

What makes it typically Forerunners? Are there any characteristics that make these tracks typically you?
Brenden: “Each track is a journey! Right from the beginning of the disc I set out for the slow-burn atmospheric style I think I am known for. Lots of pads and probably a deeper sound than what most Pure fans might be used to hearing as I see myself falling a little more on the deeper end of the spectrum than say my highly respected labelmate Orkidea. I like to think I bring something with a little different flavor to the table just as he does, and that unique quality is what makes our compilations and albums worth grabbing! But circling back, each track is a journey is its own right. When linked up with the rest of the album, they form a really cool expedition into the spectrum of music I enjoy writing most, from the slower deeper introspective break beats all the way to the energetic playful melodies I write into some of my club-oriented EPs. Night Symmetry is the first single from the album disc and really showcases that melody-driven style I have a lot of fun putting into my tracks.”

Which are some of your own personal favourites amongst those originals? And what would you like to share about them?
Brenden: “Night Symmetry has been in my record bag since at least 2018 and has travelled from the beaches of the North Sea all the way to the city of Toronto and to the treehouses of Miami…and seems to always be a hit with the crowd. I have wanted this track released for a very long time but was never happy with the mixdown. Finally I got it right, and it is seeing the light of day. I have an image of a memory in my mind at one of the gigs when the melody hits, and seeing all the way in the back of the room the sudden surge of people receiving that energy and the vocal reactions expressing that they were feeling the track exactly at the moments I also feel it, very cool.

After that maybe Hazel Eyes also has a special spot in my list. It was inspired by my first daughter and showcases that energetic bouncy melody I like to use in my tracks. The bassline right off the start reminds me of her limitless energy and freedom of spirit. I chuckle because when she attended her first dance class at the age of 3, all the little girls were sitting in a row listening to the instructor, while my daughter kept jumping up and busting out her favorite dance moves! This is her through and through.

Lost in Our Years rounds out my top 3 because it is another long held back track like Night Symmetry, except no one has ever heard it. I have played with it for years in my studio, and will probably come back to it again for new interpretations. I just love the melody and progression, and forced myself to make a finished version to cap off this album disc, which is why I will likely revisit it for additional refinement and experimentation. They say a song is never truly done and you just have to hit a point as an artist where you can feel comfortable releasing it to the world, which is very much the case with this one. It has nostalgia written into it, escapism, some history of my years of music work, the emotions I felt during the covid lockdowns, emotions for my wife and our journey together, all wrapped up into a few minutes of music. It is a powerful track for me to listen back to, and I hope fans will get something from it as well.”

It’s not the first time you’ve done a mix compilation, since you’ve taken care of the first CD of Pure Trance Vol.5, back in 2016. That’s 6 years down the line. In what way, do you think, have you grown as an artist since then?
Brenden: “I am much more confident in what my sound is and what I bring to the table today. Back in 2016 I was still trying to figure that out, and you can hear a very very wide spectrum of music on that disc, which was awesome! But on this compilation while there is still quite a bit of winding around different styles of tracks, it is more focused and distinctly my sound. You will hear tracks from friends I have made since that last compilation in 2016 that I consider influences of mine, as well as the slow-burn approach to building a mix that I prefer.”

How hard was it to make a selection for ‘The DJ’ mix? Did you have to leave behind some favourites, or is this exactly what you aimed for?
Brenden: “Very hard, especially when you have tracks that you absolutely want to include in the mix, but as you start to hit the time constraints you simply cannot fit in. You have to craft a story from beginning to end within the limits of the CD format, and the tracks need to bring the elements you need at the right time in order to tell the story properly. The mix is still exactly what I aimed for, as that is the point. I cannot sacrifice an entire disc for a single track that might be my favorite if it does not fit the story. Some of my own music was left out on both discs because it was not going to make sense to force them in.”

What sort of journey do you hope to be taking listeners on?
Brenden: “An adventurous one! I am a big fan and collector of compilations stretching back to the 90s when I first started getting into this style of music. The mixes I enjoy most are the ones that I wanted to hit play on and listen all the way through. No bouncing around to favorite tracks or hitting repeat, but really diving into the whole mix from beginning to end because they told a story and transformed my experience. I liken it to reading a good book, going through all the ups and downs, being challenged on difficult ideas, getting exposed to new perspectives, experiencing a definitive beginning and endpoint, and hopefully gaining additional perspective on the world. Many of us do not have the time or patience to sit and ingest an entire book anymore which is a sad thought, our society is so instant and surface, but they can really be life changing when given a chance and I strongly recommend dedicating the time. I can truly look back on my life and point out books as well as music compilations that brought about a change in the way I approach my life, and I can only hope that maybe my music might play a role in someone else’s experience as well.”

Last but not least: what does Pure Progressive represent and mean to you?
Brenden: “Home. My longest and most meaningful relationship in this industry has been with Rich, hands down. He signed my very first release in 2006 and we’ve stuck with each other ever since. I know that if I have a special track that I am excited about, there is a high likelihood Rich will also appreciate it, and will give my music the proper treatment and put it out in the world, I couldn’t ask for a better situation. Pure Progressive does a great job balancing between the more euphoric sound and the deeper progressive sound, it is a place for experimenting with that crossover and connecting the trance world with the progressive house world. Some labels do a great job of focusing on a very specific sound they want to champion, whereas Pure Progressive seems to focus on an entire spectrum of the progressive world, and showcases the best music from across that spectrum. When we run a promo, I am always amazed at the DJs who come from widely different corners of the industry sending feedback and grabbing my tracks. The label really does stand apart in that respect, and risks alienating those who want the same reliable sound in every release, but it is so worth that risk as we have proven time and time again.”

Pure Progressive Volume 2, Mixed by Forerunners, is out now -> https://blackhole.lnk.to/pureprogressive2