The Sound of Garuda: Mixed By Gareth Emery

We chat to Darude

We chat to Darude

We chat to Sean Tyas

We chat to Sean Tyas

We chat toAndy Moor

We chat to Andy Moor

We chat to Alex Morph

We chat to Alex Morph

We chat to Tritonal

We chat to Tritonal

We chat to Matt Lange

We chat to Matt Lange


We Chat To JES

Haezer Interview

We Chat To Haezer

Double Adapter Interview

We Chat To Double Adapter

Tania Zygar Interview

We Chat To Tania Zygar

Giuseppe Ottaviani Interview

We Chat To Giuseppe Ottaviani

Fergie (Robert Ferguson) Interview

We Chat To Fergie

Cristina Soto Interview

We chat to Cristina Soto

Bjorn Akesson Interview

We Chat To Bjorn Akesson

Ronski Speed Interview

We Chat To Ronski Speed

Shane Halcon - Interview

We Catch up with Shane Halcon, And chat to him about moving to Holland, Managing First State and Playing Cricket...

 01.So, long before DJ’ ing and Dance Music came across your path, you were quite a successful Cricket player… tell us a bit about the transition from Cricket to DJ’ing, Producing and Managing one of Dance music’s Finest Acts came about?
To keep a long story short…I was in the UK in 2004 for my debut international season as a Cricketer, I stumbled across the London clubbing scene. On a rare weekend off, I ended up at a club called Canvas, the lineup on the night was Matt Hardwick, Scott Bond, Paul van Dyk, Eddie Halliwell and Judge Jules.  I was so blown away after the event, that the very next morning , quit cricket and decided that I wanted to be a DJ. Since then I progressed from being a music sales rep, to working in a record store and being a DJ instructor , then moved up to being Label Manager at Sheer Music… and now manage FIRST STATE as well as Co-Own the  umbrella of “FIRST STATE MUSIC” record labels.  While working my way up through the “day jobs”, focused non stop on learning the ins and outs on the performance and production side of the music industry too.

02.Do you still swing a Cricket bat around from time to time…?
The last time I held a cricket bat was around 5 years ago. I gave  Baseball a shot though, just for the hell of it… but leaving a nightclub club at 6am on a Sunday morning to play Baseball the rest of the day… well.. lets just say I spent more time sleeping in the changerooms then actually on the field!!

03.What would we typically find in a teenage “Shane Halcon’s”  Bedroom?
My father and grandfather were in the cinema industry … so I grew up as a huge movie fan. I  collected any merchandise I could find.. Star Wars, Superman, Batman… my room was full of action figures, replicas etc. That, plus all my sports equipment.

04.Now, as far as I know the rest of your family’s last names are “Santos”… Where does Halcon come from?
Well, actually Santos is my mom’s maiden name. Halcon is the Spanish translation of my real name which is a Persian name, which in English translates to “Falcon”.

05.Dance Music in South Africa has a very small yet very dedicated scene, Before being the Artist Manager for First State  you were label manager at Sheer Music in South Africa, getting Artists like Armin Van Buuren & Paul Van Dyk distributed to a market better known for being into “Braaivleis & Rugby” did you find this to be a difficult task or are South Africans broadening their Horizons?
Getting names like Armin and PvD out into the market was never really a problem. They both have huge fan bases in South Africa. But trying to introduce a new artist , or lesser known artist rather, was always a little tricky. But lately, seeing that Dance Music is becoming more a part of Pop-Culture then before, people are definitely expanding their horizons to
the Electronic Dance phenomenon.   

06.Since your days at Sheer , Armada’s rights in the territory have been bought over by Next Music, home to most of South Africa’s pop music, Do you feel they will treat 
Dance Music with the same respect Sheer did?
Yes. I think that Next Music have always been a great label, and they wouldn’t have grown to where they are now if they didn’t handle things in the correct manner. They have some huge Dance releases on the shelves, and ultimately that’s what its all about, getting the numbers. 

07.You’ve recently been back in SA for the closing gig of the legendary Club E.S.P, having been a resident there and catching a lot of your breaks through the Club, what will you miss most about E.S.P if anything? 
ESP was like one big family… the staff, the dj’s , the regular clubbers… I met some amazing people and life-long friends there, and it was a first step towards my “big break” internationally. So I guess theres a lot to miss really.

08.These days you’re based out of Dordrecht in the Netherlands, working as Artist Manager for First State as well as doing quite well as a DJ yourself, what have the biggest changes been in lifestyle since leaping across the ocean?
It’s a huge difference in lifestyle… and I’ve still not completely adjusted yet. Cycling lanes , Reliable public transport, higher taxes, smaller houses, taller people, windmills and dykes , legal marijuana and red light districts … I’m still culture shocked!!  But it’s still the best place to be, I’m only an hour away from one of Europe’s biggest travel hubs (Schipol airport), and from there… getting anywhere in the world is just so easy.

09.How did the management deal with Sander (First State) come about?
In April 2009, I worked with James G and ESP to bring FIRST STATE to play at the Slippery N Wet party. After their tour, I kept in touch with Sander, and we shared similar ideas on the industry, and ultimately we both wanted the same thing. So we discussed the idea of me being his manager ,as well as helping to  set up and run the record labels.

 11.Tell us a bit about “First State Music”?
First State Music is the registered name for the company, which comprises of 3 record labels, namely “First State Music” (Trance), “First State Deep” (Progressive) and “First State House” (House) . We’re a sublabel of Black Hole Recordings, who as you may know, was initially set up by Tiesto.  Our aim is to help promote new and quality releases from established as well as up and coming artists. We already have artists signed up from around the world…. Russia, South Africa, UK, America…  We’ve launched our debut track, Jason van Wyk’s “Dream On” and that’s been receiving some great support from Above and Beyond and Sander van Doorn for starters. We’ve also debuted a new artist on the House label, “Propaganda” and his tunes are doing pretty well on the Progressive House scene too.

12.You’ve also signed a 2 year deal with Menno De Jong’s Intuition recordings, how did this come about?
After spending a few months in studio with First State, I was really inspired to find a new sound for me , and I think I did just that with the tracks “Solid Ground” and “North Gate”.  I’ve always been an admirer of Menno’s work, the Intuition Label and some of the best parties in Holland… the Intuition festivals. I sent Menno samples of the new tracks, and he loved them so much, that he signed them right away and decided that he was gonna hold on to them as exclusives for his new cd compilation. The label are also about building an artist’s profile , so I think I made the right decision.

13.Best gig you’ve played far?
There have been many. But to name some of my favourites… “Nu Wave & Perfecto pres. Paul Oakenfold” , First State @ Slippery N Wet  - April ’09 and my International debut @ Club SE One in London back in ’07. 

14.Worst gig you’ve played?
I was booked for a gig in Plettenberg Bay in May ’09. The “club” I was supposed to play at,
didn’t have a  proper sound system, nor a DJ booth, nor any DJ equipment. Their setup comprised of 2 x hifi speakers from 1981 I guess, 1 LP player , and a Sony “discman” cd player.
The club manager argued that he didn’t know HE was supposed to supply the equipment and blamed my booking agent for not keeping him informed. Yet the club had signed my contract which had my technical rider written into the contract, so he clearly didn’t read what he was signing.
There were people wanting to hear me perform, so I couldn’t let them down. The club had rushed to hire CD players that I could mix off… and I played for a few hours, to the delight of all 20 people that could  bear to stay behind and listen to the distorted speakers that were probably last used when the new Bee-Gee’s LP hit the shelves!!

15.You’ve shared stages with some of the world’s best Artists & DJ’s… who has been your favorite and Why?
Being on the same lineup as Paul Oakenfold was a dream come true. I was listening to Oakey’s tunes before I even knew that HOUSE wasn’t just a thing that you lived in.
Other then that, sharing line ups with First State, Menno de Jong, Jon O’Bir, Jose Amnesia, Lisa Lashes, Armin van Buuren, Kyau & Albert  and so many more.. there’s just so many great moments and memories.

16.Lastly what does the future look like for Shane Halcon?
For the near future, I’ve got my debut EP coming up soon , and I’ve got a few great gigs up ahead… Including the Intuition Sessions Vol. 2 CD launch, which will be at the biggest Electronic Music Festival around, the Amsterdam Dance Event.
And for the foreseeable future, I’m aiming to pump out the releases, build the record label, and try to squeeze some big remixes too. We’ll just have to wait and see I guess.


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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