In laymans terms, where’s what happened:
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Trance world was full of artists fighting for the scene. Initially, Progressive House and Trance were hijacked by EDM and Beatport during the EDM explosion making it cool. Soon after the explosion, the media called EDM uncool leaving the big names of Trance that went chasing the EDM dream in a bit of a quandary.
But today, even with a saturated market, there is still room for Trance enthusiasts to participate in a fresh and exciting wave of music with roots that have been with us since the beginning.
John has viewed the marketing aspect of artists going as far as labeling their own music as a genre just to be booked by promoters and that their music is more easily searchable on the skewed music purchasing site, Beatport describing in grave detail that “You have artists that have made an empire for themselves and are at the top of their game and who are now in danger of not moving forward and losing their mainstage festival spots because they play Trance. The more they scream that their music is Trance the more underground Progressive Trance artists such as myself and them are being pushed out. So what do they do? They create a real mess by releasing music under Progressive House while still having Trance elements in their music.”
So, why not just blanket all of this music together? Well, again, Beatport is partially to blame because artists like John and Paul who are releasing deeper textured Trance are never going to sift through Armin vanBuuren or Above and Beyond records because that’s not where artists like them believe their music fits.
But that’s what Progressive Trance always did, it liked to have a bit of fun but we worked damn hard to make sure it wasn’t obvious in your face of the mainstream. That’s where the skill and care come into it. You have to really think hard, ‘How can I make this moment but not obvious like it’s a paint by numbers scheme where it’s a big build and a big drop and so on?'”
“You’ve seen it America even in the last five years with the Bubblegum Pop and the Sweedish invasion being replaced by more skillful and intelligent producers that, in turn, bring a more educated crowd to the dance floor,” Paul unabashedly said.
Paul finds too, that the young talent in the Progressive world is starting to fall in line and the new music he’s finding for his weekly radio showcould easily be showcased twice or three times weekly. John agrees with this assessment saying, “The music is more organic and that’s what identifies a high-quality track and a damn good producer.”
Paul continued, “These artists aren’t making it (music) to fit into the EDM or Trance scene. They’re not making it appease a record label to have a number 1 single or keep people at the bottle tables happy during a show. People in Progressive Trance don’t give a shit about that, they’re making it because they love it and you (other artists) find and hear it as well and begin to play it.”
Paul cites Stereo Underground, a new artist signed to the FSOE UVlabel where he is the Director of A&R saying, “He makes music that’s inside of him not worrying about a number 1 track. Again, it’s going back to what was truly done in the initial underground boom of the late 90’s and that in itself was popular. You’re starting to see a resurgence where everyone is making their own way by thinking outside the box. Again, it comes full circle.”
The question begs, though, of whether this Progressive Trance movement can stand on its own without the first generation of Trance being left behind. Paul answers that by saying that numerous Trance fans are moving in the Progressive direction but it’s hard to completely move away from Trance because of the deep affiliation people still have with it saying, “We’re making fresh, forward-thinking melodic tunes that have a lot of those same elements that were in tunes 20 years ago.”
“And it’s not just the artists,” according to Paul. “Fans young and old, even the traditional 138 have been emotionally affected by this movement actually thanking John and me for the injection of this specialized branding, the more critical side of Trance being produced, saying that they’re enjoying Trance again, or now, as the age may be – it’s more real for them.”
John again eyes this movement during live performances describing how the art of DJing is aiding again in storytelling and replacing the quickly tiresome theatrics of bangers that cater to remedial attention spans. “The club-goers are there for the experience – suddenly looking down at their watch realizing that three hours have passed. It’s bringing back what made people originally have those energy shifts allowing them to literally go into a trance with their heads down. The early days are coming back – they are back – it’s there again!”