Rank 1 are legends within the Trance music scene. As a duo, they're equally at home behind the decks DJ'ing or as Producers in their studio. They're the guys behind one of the biggest classics of all time - 'Airwave', and they've also released other superb tunes such as 'Such Is Life' and 'Symsonic'. We managed to catch up with the guys for an exclusive interview. Read on to find out how our interview went....
Carl: You've just mixed the new 'High Contrast presents' album - your first compilation album for four years. Could you tell us a little about what to expect from the album?
Rank 1: That's easy: the hottest newest fattest tracks mixed on two cd's! But seriously, we are not the best in describing what sound we like and play, we will let others do that for us.
Carl: How does the album compare to your club sets - are the tunes similar to what you'd play in a club, or does creating an album allow you to try tunes that you wouldn't play in a club set?
Rank 1: Definately! A lot of tracks are played in the DJ set of course, allthough some are not that suitable to be played at peak time at a big festival for example. But they probably would in a 5 hour set or at a Rank 1 Only.
Carl: With regards to your studio productions - are you currently working on any new tunes, or perhaps even an artist album, that you could tell us about?
Rank 1: We have been busy with lot's of things lately. Benno for example has been busy producing tracks with Armin for his artist album Imagine. We do have a new vocal track coming for Rank 1 featuring Sarah Betters, we want to make some other mixes before that one will get released. A new remix for Ronalds Van Gelderen - Embrace Me which can be found on the CD, was finished only 2 days before mixing, and will get released soon!
Carl: As artists, you're very versatile. You've created fairly calm, melodic tunes such as 'Airwave', very powerful, melodic tunes such as Symsonic, and more recently, Tech-Trance tunes too, such as 'Life Less Ordinary' with Alex Morph. Have you always been this open minded, or have your musical tastes changed over the last few years?
Rank 1: Eating the same dish everyday would bore the hell out of us too, so yes we like the change A lot of people were shocked that we changed styles after Airwave, but funny enough the music we did prior to Airwave was totally different too. Change can bring interesting new sounds.
Carl: 'Airwave' is a classic tune, and possibly your most famous too - do you think your career would have been as successful as it has if 'Airwave' hadn't been released?
Rank 1: No, things would be totally different. We owe a lot to Airwave, it opened doors which had been shut before. But perhaps we would have made another even more successful track instead
Carl: 'Symsonic' and 'Airwave' are my two favourite tunes of yours - which is your favourite out of all of your productions, and why?
Rank 1: We don't have real favourites to be honest. Perhaps because we did so many different sounding tracks, and every track had got something that makes it special to us.
Carl: Besides producing, you've DJ'ed around the world at various clubs and festivals. What is your most memorable gig, and why?
Rank 1: Playing live in Osaka is one we will never forget. After we finished our set, Piet shook some hands with people in the front. He nearly got pulled into the crowd!
Carl: A lot of people had written off Trance after its peak in 1999/2000, and a lot of producers switched to other genres - but you stayed with Trance and still remain highly popular to this day. Did you ever feel like giving up on Trance at any point, or did you feel that it would become a strong genre again (like it has over the last couple of years)?
Rank 1: Using the word Trance can be dangerous! Not everybody has the same opinion to where it starts and where it ends. Personally we don' know if we still make "trance". We still like those melodies and synth riffs that makes you shiver. The reason why it got popular is because it's accessible music and because it was fresh and new. Perhaps it will make a revive, but to have the same inpact it surely will be in a new altered form.
Carl: Could you tell us a little about your studio set-up - what hardware and software do you use for producing your tunes?
Rank 1: Easy: Logic 7 and Ableton mostly! We do have lots of hardware synthesizers still, some of them being quite rare, but we use them to get inspired. Software allows you to come close to such machines, although it takes a lot more time to make it sound like hardware.
Carl: Finally, we're now in an era where vinyl records have been replaced with CD's and MP3's. Sadly, that has seen an increase in illegal downloads. How has illegal downloading affected you as artists?
Rank 1: Good question, it's a two faced has two sides. A lot of people think that illegal copying don't do that much harm, but we have seen CD's sell less and less, that's just a fact. But on the other hand, it makes the music more spread and make more people into dance music. But to be honest, it would be a lot better if a global law would make it possible to put an end to illegal copying and downloading.