Hey Rich! Number 8 is here. Wow. Feeling proud of the Pure Trance series and how far it’s gotten already?

Very much so, every compilation is unique, I love the angle every guest Dj brings to the series, from the very deep Forerunners mix, the pumping Lostly selection and now Activa’s dreamy and melodic mix – they all add different colours to the Pure Trance picture. It’s very satisfying to have got to Vol. 8 and for there to be so much love for the annual release.

Activa joined you for this particular journey through music. Is that what it is, a journey that flows from your mix to his?

Exactly, it works perfectly on Vol. 8 – we discussed this aspect at the beginning actually, how we wanted the BPM and vibe to flow from disc one to two. I mentioned to Rob that I’d be ending at around 134bpm and he started his mix at the same tempo, I’m not sure if that was completely intentional or not but it did work out that way!

Activa’s been active in the scene for years already – why was 2019 the right year to have him on board?

I’ve known of and loved Rob’s tracks for what seems like forever. We didn’t know each other that well apart from to say ‘Hi’ at the occasional event, but we began chatting a bit more regularly when he sent me the Solar Movement track ‘Where We Dream’. He had been on something of a hiatus from producing new tracks under his own name(s) for a while – and when he sent me this track – out of the blue – it really blew me away. It was so understated, standing out from everything else I was hearing. His sound is so uniquely identifiable – something most producers strive for (but few achieve) and he is very well respected by contemporaries in the scene. When Paula and I were discussing names to guest on Vol. 8, Activa seemed like a logical choice; he was dipping his toes back in to releasing his own productions again, there had been a great response to ‘Where We Dream’ and there was a buzz about him growing, people were getting curious about what he would do next.

Back to your mix. It’s been a busy few months all along. Pure Trance Radio 200. The release of your artist album. And then PT8. Was that an extra challenge, or did everything run smoothly?

2019 was a very intensely busy year for me – of those 3 projects you mentioned, finishing ‘One’ and ‘PT8’ were both huge undertakings – the kind of things it makes sense to do only one of during a year – not two. Alongside running the labels, all the touring and everything else – I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in a year. PTR200 was less work for me, thankfully I only really had to turn up on the day – my wonderful all-woman team handled virtually everything for the 200th show – Paula knew I had my back against the wall with the two albums so she co-ordinated everything. Working with Activa on PT8 really helped – he has so much experience in the industry that I didn’t have to be as involved with the mechanics of compiling a compilation as I had done previously – I just kind of left him to it so I could focus on the ‘One’ album and my own disc of PT8. I was completely obsessed with the whole ‘One’ project for so long – it had to be ‘right’. Working on PT8 was a bit of an escape actually, focusing on other artists’ music rather than my own was a bit like therapy! Timing-wise it could have been better – ‘One’ should have come out way earlier but things kept happening – hence why we delayed the release of PT8 until the end of November rather than at the beginning of the month when the previous editions were put out.

Unlike previous compilations in the series, you’ve now taken on the ‘opening mix’, warming up as we say. How did that work out for you?

I loved it – this is one of the reasons I decided to return to the two-disc concept. I felt that my heart was more tuned to the sedate, progressive side of things and that’s where I should focus for the compilation. I knew Activa would take things up perfectly from where I left off. In my Dj sets the slightly slower, a little deeper & spacious music has such a huge impact in the clubs – I rarely go over 136 bpm – ever –  and I wanted my PT8 mix to reflect that rather than force myself to do something I wouldn’t be content with. Also, so many artists were sending me incredible music that rarely strayed over the 130 bpm mark that I wanted to reflect that too – one of the main reasons for the existence of the PT compilations is to showcase new music from new artists – and I’m not going to start dictating what they should produce, I’d rather let the new, fresh talents in the scene guide me when it comes to the compilations.

What are you hoping listeners will experience once they’ve pressed play on PT8?

A full body orgasm, preferably.

The annual series brings along a time of reflection for the Pure Trance brand as well. How have the past 12 months been for Pure Trance? And what exciting things are ahead?

I suppose you’re right, it does – although I never realised that until you mentioned it! The launch of Neon was quite important, as it freed up the central Pure Trance label for the more sophisticated music that the label was intended for. Don’t get me wrong –  I do like the harder, faster stuff too and there is a big market for it, but it was kind of taking over at one point – the tougher stuff needed a dedicated home. Same with Pure Progressive – I wanted that to be dedicated to the really deep stuff. The thing is, I just love this music so much, and there are so many artists making so many great tracks – I just want to release them so that people can hear them! Reaching 200 episodes of the radio show was a big deal for everyone involved and was so much fun to do. And then there are all the amazing events we did this year, there’s so much love for the whole Pure Trance movement around the world – people come up and give me these huge hugs at our events, it means a lot to them, it’s a bit overwhelming at the time occasionally . As for the future… we’re hoping to do more in Asia in 2020, things seem to be opening up there for Trance music – but to be honest we don’t really make massive plans, it’s more about seeing where the path leads us.

Grab your copy of Pure Trance Volume 8 here.