A&B: You can easily produce something which sounds just like all those other trance records out there and think that you've nailed it, and then mail it out or press up a few CDs and get it into the public domain. So generally speaking, I don't think there's less good music, but there's an awful lot more bad music that's coming into the scene. You'll always find somebody to play your stuff, but I think the onus is more on the DJ and certainly for us as label heads. We're doing an awful lot more top-down A&R with the artists that we sign in terms of the stuff that we're putting out and the work that we're putting in after they think it's finished to get it to a point where it's really as good as it's going to be. That applies to everybody, we do that with our own tracks and our most successful instrumental trance artist, a guy called Super Eight who absolutely nails it as far as the public's concerned every time, and in every place his records are, you know, to a greater or lesser extend A&Red by us. That's a privilege that a lot of these young kids that are making records and it's very easy to convince yourself and your mum and your girlfriend that what you've done is good. When they have people who've got some experience actually saying it's no so great and they need to change it, they'll go and sign it to somebody else. So there's an awful lot of stuff that's not really had enough care and attention and really serious objective feedback to make it as good as it used to be. So I don't know what, in terms of the sound it's just going to happen, but that's something that's happening in trance music now. There's an awful lot more not so great stuff that's available for download and what have you. I suppose it's inevitable and it's not great for the scene but in some respects I don't know what the answer is - it's one of those new horizons that we need to deal with really.
RS: I love your term 'VST trance,' that's brilliant. So are you
using Cubase and Logic or what do you use in the studio these days?
A&B: We've nothing against VST as a protocol to enable plug-ins to work in a computer.. We work on Macs so we don't really used VST as a protocol anymore. We certainly use the increasingly bewildering power of the computer to make sounds through soft synths and through sampling techniques, but we have still a large amount of external stuff that we use as well. The bits of the external equipment that do so much better at a particular job are the ones that we use most, and I guess the bits that we use most are the Pro 1 which is an old set of circuits mono synth which is really great for dark base sounds and dirty noises. The JP 8080 still gets wheeled out from time to time, that's the classic sort of Ferry Corsten doorway synth. There's all sorts of other bits that we use, but obviously the computer is at the heart of it these days and the array of plug-ins and soft synths is incredible. The job I suppose and the reason why VST got the term it got from where we're sitting is that if you just use the same presets and the same program as everybody else your records are going to sound the same as everybody else, and that generally is an issue.
RS: Are you using Logic or are you using ProTools?
A&B: We use Logic and we've recently invested in some really good converters. We've got some Apple G converters which I must say of all the things that we spent a number of thousand pounds on over the last five years, these are the most marked difference. People are talking about going to 24 bit / 96 kilohertz sampling rate and everything else. If you play a 16 bit file through some old CD player and/or through your computer and then you play the same thing through some really, really good converters that have got accurate clocks, the different is astounding really. You're still playing the tune when you go to a club, but at least in terms of making music it gives back some of the air that the analogue system used to have. We also mix through an old ghost desk, an old analogue glitzy desk, even if we're just putting everything out through eight or ten channels and mixing the desk flat, something particularly bottom end sound through an analogue desk is a much richer bottom end than just adding it up digitally in a computer. So it looks like a computer set up but there's some important augmentations to the way that we work that I think, hopefully you can hear it immediately.
RS: What's in your iPod right now that you're listening to?
A&B: My iPod today is on shuffle songs because having just recently bought a CD, I always stick it on shuffle songs. I've got nearly seven thousand songs on there so it could be anything from Keane to Frank Sinatra to Trance. I listen to all sorts of things. I've been trying to listen to a lot of sort of sad songs because I'm trying to get into songwriting mode for the Ocean Lab album. So I've been listening to a lot of things like Keane, Radiohead, Crowded House, Jeff Buckley, and things like that just to get a few phrases that sometimes spark you off. Random is my favorite just because I've got such an eclectic collection on there that it throws up some amazing, from A to B situations where it might just come out of a Tiesto record and go straight in to "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Frank Sinatra. It's a wonderful thing to be exposed to that kind of wide variation of music. With all that I've bought, it's like a random radio station with all the stuff that I love already.
RS: Is there anything you'd like to say to all your fans out there?
A&B: Thanks for the support. One of the things that still astounds me is that we're out there every week and if you look on our forum you will see crowd pictures and it looks like there's a whole crowd of Anjuna Beat T-shirt wearing people in the front row. That is happening more and more with greater regularity and greater numbers all around the world. It makes me feel very, very proud and very, very happy and very privileged that we've got such a loyal fan base and we hope we keep doing what they want to hear.