The Sound of Garuda: Mixed By Gareth Emery

First State - Interview

We chat to First State about Power Tools, Adopting South Africans and his brand new Album...

 01.Other than being quite a powerful tool in carpentry, Sander is quite a powerful name in Dance music, including DJ’s Sander Kleinenberg,  Sander Van Doorn and of course yourself Sander Van Dien… is there some kind of magic to the name or is it pure coincidence?

HAHAHA!!  *Laughs*  Perhaps its in the name… perhaps its because we’re all Dutch. Who knows?

02.I’ve had a couple of  experiences where people outside of the scene confuse Armin Van Buuren with Armand Van Helden, as well as Sander Van Dien with Sander Van Doorn… has anyone ever made this mistake when meeting you?
When meeting in person, maybe a few times. I know that there has been confusion
with the Sander van Dien/Sander van Doorn  thing, that’s why I keep presenting myself as “Sander-First State” as seen on my Facebook account.

03.Since “Falling” with Anita Kelsey, First State has been a constant in Sets by Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk And Armin Van Buuren, just to name a few… how did the meeting with Anita and the song come about?
I had an idea for the track, and contacted Anita’s management because I really liked her voice. I asked her to write some lyrics and send over a demo recording, which she did.
Once I received the recording, I produced the track around the demo she sent. At first  Anita wasn’t too happy because I had left out around 70% of the lyrical content. I  don’t think it was too bad an idea… because the final result of the track was phenomenal!

04.Are you sick beyond measure of hearing and playing “Falling” yet?
Yes AND  no. “Falling” was my breakthrough track, and one of the first steps that lead me to being where I am today. But an artist shouldn’t sit back in the comforts of a single track that was done years ago.  I like to keep my sound modern and fresh, constantly evolving and moving forward. 

05.You’ve brought a very fresh sound to Trance in recent years, what do you do to keep your production relevant yet fresh?
I’m my own biggest critic. I’m never happy enough with anything I produce because I always feel that there’s something that could be bigger and better. I guess that this is what keeps me on my toes and , as I said in my previous answer, keeping a fresh , modern and constantly evolving sound.

06.Tell us a bit about your writing process, what do you do to get into the right headspace before starting production on a track?
It’s just completely random, and depends on the moment really. Sometimes I’ll have an idea which I will interpret , other times I’ll experiment and play around with sounds, and build on that. Of course a person’s mood and mind-set have a lot to do with it as well.

07.You’re managed by Shane Halcon, a well-known DJ and producer in his native South Africa, What was it about Shane, that made you decide to pluck him all the way from South Africa?
He’s got the knowledge, experience and dedication to his work, and we also share the same ideas on career directions for our music and the label.  We were also good friends before the thought of working together even came about.

08.I’m a huge fan of Three Drive’s Greece 2000… you did an amazing mix of it not too long ago, how did it end up on your plate?
The track is owned by Massive Drive Recordings, managed by TON TB (a.k.a Three Drives ) who was my bookings agent at the time. From time to time labels like to breathe new life into classic tracks, and I was approached by Ton  to add my touch to the remix package.

09. I’ve got to admit “Your own way” with Elliot Johns is one of my all-time favorite tracks, how did the meeting with Elliot come about?
After hearing Elliot John’s voice for the first time, I was really keen to work with him, So I contacted his manager, and took it from there. As with “Falling”, Elliot sent over the vocal recordings, and I constructed the tracks around them.  

10.Most DJ’s might have great success with an album, and then go completely off the rails when it comes to a follow up, but as great as “Time Frame” was… “Changing Lanes” seems to be even more superior… what did you do differently on the second album?
Changing Lanes had to be bigger, bolder and more diverse. Going “off the rails” is not an option for me.  I’m always considering what sort of outcome will follow one of my releases. After the resounding support from “Brave” , “My Sanctuary” and “Cape Point”, I knew that I was on the right track with the album.  I was more focused on the production of Changing Lanes, because I was hell-bent on making it a bigger success then the first album.

11.Who do you look up to  most In The EDM scene and Musical world in general for that matter?
I’ve always been an admirer of The Swedish House Mafia, collectively, as well as their individual guises, Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastien Ingrosso. I also enjoy  stuff from Eric Prydz  and Deadmau5.

12.Any track that you never go to a gig without…something that just seems to work every time?
I normally prepare a new set, and burn new cd’s for every gig. I always have a few tracks that I keep in the cd case longer then others. But there are a few of my own tracks that have  a permanent slot in the cd holdere, that may be called into action from time to time, like “Falling”, my remix of Dash Berlin’s “Waiting”, “Brave” and a few others.

13.Lastly… what does the future look like for Sander Van Dien  First State?
I have just signed on to a new bookings booking agency that are highly rated, … and I plan to make inroads towards regular performances at bigger festivals worldwide… a New mix compilation, some big releases from my label,  the release of my debut music video, and a few other bits that will all be revealed in time!


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