- Top 100
May 4, 2012
This week we had the opportunity to catch up with Richard Mowatt better known as Solarstone. This was particularly exciting for me as recently released was the new track from his third solo artist album which is slated to drop this year. The first single adequately titled The Spell already has a substantial play count on my own iTunes as well as huge support from all of the trance heavyweights.
The Spell features vocals from Clare Stagg who has a unique tone which is equally as calming as it is resonating, this over top of a well executed trance production. It is a track that has no other genre sub-classifications, surprise drops or wobbly bass lines. This is one of those songs which could match your energy either at the peak of a live set or during the quiet drive home afterwards. It is a pure trance anthem which matches appropriately with the album title – Pure. If this song is an indication of what Solarstone has in store for the album, we should be excited for a piece of art dedicated to the tradition and what some would call religion of trance.
The Spell is available for purchase and I highly recommend picking this one up for either your live sets or personal collection. It is a great preview of what is still to come his year from an incredibly talented producer.
We managed to pick Richard’s brain to delve further into Solarstone and to gain a little insight on the production of Pure and what we should expect from it.
Q: What can we expect from the album in terms of the sound you are using? Where have you taken your influences from?
The sound of the album overall should please traditional Solarstone fans, and lovers of the sound of Pure trance. Touchstone was partly a home-listening record, but I’ve really turned my attention to the dancefloor with this record. Of course there are a few down tempo numbers on there, it’s not all four-to-the-floor, but compared to Touchstone for example it’s definitely a club record. I recorded this album as a reaction to all the riven division that’s crept into trance over the last three years. It’s a kickback against nonsense genre terminologies and a fight-back against the self-appointed style councils that try to tell us what music’s cool and what the latest must-like is. Against tracks that have such a mish-mash of sound styles that even their producers don’t know what they are making. This album is both a purification and celebration of the term TRANCE. I’m reclaiming it, for all those who just want to dance to music that takes them to another place, for whom this music is a feeling, a passion, a way of life. As far as influences go, I’m influenced by everything and anything; music, feelings, the weather.
Q: North America has a fairly young market for electronic music, in what way would you like to see the trance genre develop here?
This is really a question for fans of the music in North America. As an on-looker it would be nice for the scene to develop without the inherent snobbery and back-biting that exists between EDM and other music styles in other parts of the world. It’s not a ‘competition’ between the genres, there is room for everything. It would be nice for promoters in North America to embrace the essence of what is wonderful about this music, how it unifies people and celebrates life – rather than simply see it as an opportunity to book the obvious big names and make a quick buck. Most importantly we need to encourage producers of this music in North America to create their own sound, their own take on the music, rather than emulate what already exists, to work traditional elements from their musical heritage into the music and personalize it a little.
Q: How have you developed as an artist in the time from the release of your previous album Touchstone to the upcoming release of Pure?
It’s very hard to look at yourself as an outsider and be objective about something like that. To be honest with you I don’t analyze myself in that way at all, it’s not a healthy thing to do. I just make music and express myself through it, analysis of myself after the end result would border on madness.
Q: How did you go about choosing the vocalists to feature on the album?
I was put in touch with Clare Stagg by Jayne Hanna of The Steals, and we had an immediate chemistry between us. We work incredibly well together in the studio and are close friends too. Clare is a great song writer with a wonderful pure voice, and I predicted world domination for her when we first met – she has a unique voice. Betsie Larkin and I recorded Breathe You In for her recent album, I love her voice and she is a true professional, very easy to work with too. She was the obvious choice for the song, although I did need this pointed out by my manager! Sometimes I can’t see the woods for the trees. Bill McGruddy I’ve worked with previously. To be truthful I don’t like to work with too many different artists, I prefer to keep a close circle around myself. I like to build up a relationship with artists whom I respect and who inspire me. Hannah I discovered via Motif Never Let Go (signed to Touchstone Recordings).
Q: Overall, what feelings/thoughts/emotions are you trying to evoke with the tracks on this album?
Anybody who loves trance music understands the emotions that are derived from it. Whenever I read a review of a piece of music where the reviewer attempts to reveal the emotions which the artist is ‘trying to evoke’ it just seems false and presumptuous – a listener can say what emotions the music evokes in them, but I can’t pinpoint any feelings/thoughts or emotions in particular at all, it’s subjective. You have to listen to the music and see where it takes you on a personal level, not pre-empt the experience. I have an emotional connection to every track on the album of course, but they are personal to me. Sometimes when a fan tells me a story about how a particular song of mine ‘changed their life’ or had a particular effect on them it’s quite a bizarre thing to encounter, because it’s entirely relative to that person’s life, it’s like the butterfly effect, it’s nothing to do with my ‘plan’ for the song. Something that may be poignant to me may go completely over someone else’s head, or vice versa. If you experience something particularly emotional and a certain song is playing at the time, that creates a unique connection.
Getting the chance to investigate the thought process of an artist creating their masterpiece does nothing but heighten my excitement for it’s release and I hope this Q & A session has sparked that interest in you as well.
Here at The Trance Floor we will be waiting with baited breath for Pure and all it has to give us.
Every Friday we will be providing you with all things trance here at DJ Mag Canada.
Until next week,
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