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Interview: SHIGEKI and FRED E

Two of the DJs supporting Aly and Fila this weekend are DJs SHIGEKI and FRED E who we sit down with to talk about the State of Trance in Asia


ADM: How would you say trance is like in Asia?

FE: Trance will always be growing in Asia. It is the cornerstone of dance music and will remain so. Trance connects to the listener at an emotion level because of its profound lyrics and specific chord progressions. And because Trance connects at that emotional level, people who go to trance events together start building up a strong community bond.

On the production side, it is definitely growing at an exponential rate in Asia. We can see more and more quality producers coming from the East like Japanese DJ/producer -Rinaly (AVA Recordings), Local boys- Effen, Declan Ee (Trouze) and Aaron Sim (Trance Republic) which had their tracks released on big labels like Armada, AnjunaBeats, Blackhole and Magic Island. If there was one word to describe, I’d say Trance is thriving in Asia.

SHK: Compared to when I moved to Singapore over 10 years ago, I feel that the club industry is more focused on big dance festivals with big name DJs playing 1 to 1.5 hour-sets. Majority of clubs cater for mainstream music and a few places push underground music. There are more opportunities for DJs to play in venues and events in all sizes now. There are also incredibly hardworking promotors that come up with awesome parties and festivals in the region that are quite unique and exciting.

ADM: What would you say is the best way to build the trance scene.

FE: The key focus here is ‘build’. Trance community is all about love and sharing however, the disconnect here is that the club/nightlife scene is fighting for the same pie. Different night spots trying to better each other with trance nights with guest DJs targeting the same community on same nights…

To successfully build the trance scene or any scene for that matter there are a few considerations that everyone in the scene needs to look at:

(a)Event Calendar

(b)Club support and Music Policy

(c) Support from Authorities

(d) Support from Community and groups

(A) Outlet operators need to understand the community for Trance in that (specific) country. Unlike other countries with different states, where trance nights can happen concurrently, Singapore is just a little red dot.

Club promoters and planners need to take note of the nights where the big Trance names will be playing and plan a logical Trance event calendar that (hopefully) will not clash with other trance nights. With that in mind, I also understand the limitations due to Trance DJs’ travelling itinerary and how sometimes it is almost impossible to plan it in such a way that would not clash with other places. It is always cheaper to fly a DJ on tour nearby rather than flying one direct from Europe.

(B) Introducing trance music to regular nights to expose regular club goers to the trance elements. When there is education, there will be more positive responses and openness to the genre of Trance. Resident Djs need to step up here to help educate the crowds on their nights instead of just playing anthems after anthems of what customers want to hear, to let them hear what they need to hear. To be honest, with such a colourful nightlife the general music knowledge here in Singapore unfortunately... is past its infancy stage but still juvenile compared to our neighbouring countries.

These outlets also need to relook at their rates for local DJs and payment policies. When these forces are aligned, Trance nights may become extremely successful and sustainable.

(C) The difficulty in owning/running a nightspot has been increasing due to stricter rules and regulations from the authorities in Singapore. On top of that, the stigma that Trance is associated with Drugs is still prevalent in Singapore.

Club culture in Singapore has been sanitised substantially over the last two decade, however, it still seems that whenever there is a ‘Trance’ event, the authorities seem to be at the specific event for a ‘random’ spot check.

(D) Trance communities like Trance Republic, Progressions, Singapore Trance Community need to work together.

SHK: There’s no perfect answer for this but, if there is a scene where people can feel safe and free to be who they are while enjoying the music, they will feel encouraged to be a part of the scene. And the more diverse the scene is with a good balance of mainstream and underground music, the more fun it becomes for them to explore the scenes and find the one that fits their tastes and interests. I also strongly hope that club promotors give DJs longer sets so that the DJs get to go up, down, twist and turn with the music and the crowd can enjoy the experiences rather than moving to the next venue or DJ too quickly.

ADM: What do you look forward to in the near future?

FE: More support for local Trance DJs and producers. Perhaps even a collective Trance event that is held annually that celebrates local and foreign trance Djs with day time production (intro & master class) workshops for aspiring producers and Djs.

SHK: I have always enjoyed deejaying in different environments and playing to different crowds, so I look forward to having many more new experiences, discovering and playing the music that excites me, and supporting and working with other DJs and event promotors who are doing it for the love of music.

ADM: Any advice for young trance DJs?

FE: Keep on doing what you believe in. Be open to criticism and also open to other genres. Be patient. Experiment with different elements and genres. You can hear techno and electro influences in a Trance track. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and don’t be afraid. Trance is a state of mind that transcends genres.

SHK: If you believe deejaying is your true passion and you want to be doing it for a long time, my advise would be to be open to more than a couple of genres and be good at playing different time slots and situations because a warm-up set in a bar is just as important as a peaktime set at a festival. Also, technology has made it a whole lot easier and less expensive to produce electronic music, so it will make you stand out if you produce your own music and know how to reach the people who will enjoy your music.


See them along with Jochen Miller and Michael Vagas to support Aly and Fila this weekend at FOC Sentosa!


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