Hey Rob! Here it is, the compilation you’ve been working on for the past few months: Pure Trance Volume 8! How does that feel?

Hi. It feels great to have it released as its been a fair few months in the making and has taken quite a lot of work. Rich’s designer has done an awesome job on the artwork and the compilation itself looks great.

At one point, Rich popped the question and asked you to create a mix for the album – what was the first thought going through your mind?

My first thought was an immediate yes. It’s a prestigious comp and brand and I think there are a lot of people who would like the opportunity. I also wanted to make sure I did it justice and create a mix that represented what I think trance is but without being too much of a departure from what people have come to expect from the Pure Trance albums.

Why do you think Rich picked you as the fellow-mixer for PT8?

There have been quite a few guests that represented different areas within the trance genre over the years and, leading up to him asking, there were a selection of tracks that Rich was supporting on the radio show – bit of good timing I think.

It’s not the first compilation you’ve done – did that help in creating this one, or is every compilation you work on still a challenge in itself?

I think it helped as I knew the processes and what had to happen so the ‘admin’ side, for want of a better word, came a bit easier. It didn’t really help in receiving music and shortlisting the tracks – there is always an element of difficulty in getting the best music to make the best mix and I often spend time reworking, remixing and creating new tracks for projects like this.

We reckon it’s hard to get to the point of really letting it go, and stop editing or changing things up, right?

I’m actually pretty decisive. I have been through periods where I just never finish anything and pour over productions, mixes and projects like this, but it often gets to a point of diminishing returns so you have to be quite harsh sometimes and come to a stop.

Were there any tracks you had to let go, simply cause they didn’t fit the mix in some way – killing your darlings, so to say?

I reworked and edited quite a lot of the tracks but there were some tracks made in full, especially for the album

Any tracks or remixes you made, especially for PT8?

  • Midnight was a track I did some time ago which was released on Greenstone, the label of a good friend, Rolo Green. That was a remix under my proggy alias, Jay Stephens, I decided to make a new, faster slightly old school trance version for the album.
  • Lexicon was a collab track between myself and Rolo Green – I wanted to get a specific sound for that point in the mix, which was a kind of progressive trance that I haven’t heard for a long time. That was brand new for the album.
  • When Rich gave be the brief for the album, its screamed out as a perfect chance to remix one of my favourite vocal singles, Mindcircus by Way Out West. Maybe a tough one to do as the Gabriel & Dresden remix is held in high regard by a lot of people, but I knew the direction I wanted to take.
  • Pure Soul was written for a specific part of the mix, where I wanted to pick up the pace but not make a huge riff based track that would be too much for early on. I wanted a specific groove too which I couldn’t find elsewhere, so got to work on an original.
  • When The Mask Falls wasn’t created specifically for this, but it was finished in time and would have been daft to miss it off the tracklist.

In what way do you identify yourself with Pure Trance?

In a way, before this process I’m not sure I did really, which might explain why I was a little surprised that Rich asked me. I didn’t really associate with any of the main trance brands / labels since I took a break and got myself back to a ‘normal’ life after being self-employed in the music industry for such a long time.

I think moving forward, as Pure Trance has developed our paths have aligned somewhat so it’s less identifying myself, more just a point at which both my style and the labels / brands style have fit each other well.

How would you define Pure Trance – and what does it mean to you as an artist?

Pure Trance is definitely the nearest to what I would see as ‘proper’ trance music. It isn’t defined per track, but overall which is something I quite like as it understands that trance exists in a few forms and allows a mix, or dj set to develop over time.

As an artist it is a great brand to be associated with as I think Rich and those who he has had involved in the label over the years all have a similar outlook on what trance is and what their role is – it seems that we’re all different parts of a longer story and while you might see us individually at shows, Pure Trance shows are where things will come together and make more sense. I definitely found that at the recent Pure Trance night alongside Rich and Robert Nickson.

You’ve seen the Pure Trance movement develop and grow. What do you think is the power behind it?

Rich is obviously the driving force but I think the real power is with the fans and those who crave a little more from the music, the dj sets, the mixes and compilations. They seem to understand and appreciate the ethos of the brand and support the music in a way that it allows the development and growth.

What do you hope listeners will experience once they’ve pressed play on your PT8 mix?

I hope that they will hear and understand what I think Pure Trance is and appreciate what myself and Rich have created. I have tried to stay true to what I thought Pure Trance is which there is always an element of risk in as peoples opinions differ.

I am immensely proud of my mix and don’t think I would have been able to create anything better, if that resonates with even 1 person then it will make it worthwhile.

Grab your copy of Pure Trance Volume 8 here.