The world is on pause… But you can hit ‘play’!
The coronavirus spread rapidly internationally in early 2020 and forced historic nationwide lockdowns across the globe. The difficult but necessary quarantines have affected everyone. DJs are stuck at home because the clubs have been shut for months with no hope of reopening any time soon. With this new abundance of downtime, some have focused their efforts into creating new material available for their fans to consume through a variety of digital mediums. This is a collection of various mixes that were inspired through quarantine and released to entertain and aid in coping with the stressful circumstances. This article features trance artists (duh), our TRANCEPORTED team recommendations, and the digitization of the summer festival season.
Italian artist Giuseppe Ottaviani couldn’t pass up this opportunity to show off his studio! When the virus took off, Ottaviani reached out to the fans: “I’m pretty sure you’ve been watching the news and you know what kind of hell Italy is right now, so this, of course, is affecting my travels… I’m going to take this little break to be locked down in my studio here and work on new music”. He’s reassured us that he is fine and healthy and uploads content live from his studio often. Check out his studio set-up in this recording of his live vinyl set:
A veteran in the scene yet keeping up with the times, Solarstone arranged a special live broadcast from his studio in Wales to our computer screens. The stream, titled Down The Rabbit Hole, went on for five hours and he even took song requests from fans who were watching and participating in the Youtube live chat! It appears he’s added a video broadcast to his current Pure Trance Radio episodes.
Fans of Gabriel & Dresden might be the most entertained trance listeners over the past few months. Dave Dresden (featuring many of his child’s stuffed toys) streams four sets per week on their Twitch channel for Club Quarantine. A special Facebook group was created in support of the show and it has grown to exceed 2,800+ members. Make sure to check out the Twitch schedule but keep in mind that his broadcasts can last anywhere from four to twelve hours! All setlists for Club Quarantine can be found here as well as recorded versions available for streaming or download.
Ben Gold and Ruben de Ronde teamed up last month to create RuBen: Live From My Living Room, a B2B mix posted in two parts that has a total run time of eight hours!
“Streaming live from my home studio to connect our trance community through these difficult times“, Steve Helstrip aka The Thrillseekers‘ launched the series called Connected.
A “quick mix so I don’t forget how its done ;)”, Ørjan Nilsen posted this 30-minute video to his Youtube channel.
Indecent Noise can be often found throwing a variety of themed “Extravaganzas”, from trance classics to extended vinyl sets, sing-a-longs to hard tech! His shows have been streamed through his Twitch channel and I encourage you to scroll through all his interesting themed ideas. For example, this one is titled “Live from Kitchen- Trance Classics Extravaganza: B-Sides & Remixes”.
Tech trance enthusiasts have over five hours worth of music brought to you by Mark Sherry: Lockdown Session 001 and Lockdown Session 002.
UPDATE: Mark Sherry reached out (hello!) to let me know about an additional four hours of tunes posted exclusively on his official Facebook page! He said the third episode was a special one for Colours House Party in support Mental Health Awareness Week. Lockdown Session 004 was split in two parts – one and two.
Another ‘live @ home’ style mix comes from Bryan Kearney featuring some of his all-time favourite tunes – “Hope you are keeping safe and enjoy the music”:
Simon Patterson has recorded three live streams for his fans. In the first he played “some old & new tracks live in China”. For the second he put on a “producer set” featuring his favourite tracks from his back catalogue. Most recently it seems he has relocated to Singapore.
Self-described as “Nothing But Rockets” John Askew streamed from his studio under his NBR hard trance alias; each one of the eleven songs in this mix is considered an NBR Rework.
The two halves of Cosmic Gate each have broadcasted separate shows for their fans from quite opposite locations in the United States. Claus Terhoeven, who goes by Nic Chagall, did a two-hour “Exclusive Classic Set from New York Rooftop”. Stefan Bossems, who goes by DJ Bossi, saw an opportunity to do something fun and very memorable for his neighbours!:
Crazy times ask for crazy concepts! As COVID-19 made the world lock down, we decided to play a set for the residents of the Icon Bay building in Miami. We set up a DJ booth at the pool and everybody celebrated on their balconies, respecting social distancing. Watch the full 90 minutes set here with some amazing drone shots from Miami day to night. Enjoy and stay safe! — Cosmic Gate Youtube, “Miami Balcony Rave Set”
MaRLo captions his live set with “I can’t wait to see you at a show soon”! Not sure when that will be… but those first few shows back will undoubtedly deliver a different kind of energy!
Coldharbour Recordings artist Stuart Turner, one brother of the Arkham Knights duo, puts on a variety of live streams through their Twitch channel. Fortunately, he reuploads the footage to their Youtube page for those who missed the original broadcasts. The series is called Music TV Live Studio Mix, with the additional special features including a producer set, a Coldharbour night, a release party for Arkham Knights’ brand new EP “Distorted Reality”, and an impromptu garden deep set.
Tony McGuinness from Above & Beyond has been doing something a little different with his time off. He’s been putting in the effort to recreate old shows and mixes and broadcasts them on his own personal Twitch channel from inside his home. For example, you can watch his live streamed DJ set of the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 2011 here.
This guy goes all out when it comes to creating an experience. In his latest project, Seven Lions presents Visions. It is a new live stream concept that melds music with custom visuals and illustrations, truly creating a more immersive and stunning viewing experience! Each show will feature a set from the head Lion himself, two rotating guest DJs, and the promise of more surprises along the way! You can tune into Visions live every other Thursday indefinitely to admire the work of Jeff Montalvo (and to see his gorgeous bouncy mop of hair up close).
1001Tracklists is every EDM lover’s best friend. This website is the central database hub for tracking all IDs across the globe. Users help contribute by compiling complete setlists for everything from live events to radio shows. The website is getting in on the live-streaming upswing by hosting 1001Tracklists Virtual Festival. There have been two editions of the online event; version 1.0 ran from April 10th to April 13th and produced forty-one new mixes, and version 2.0 ran from May 8th to May 10th and added another forty-two to the mix. Trance has been well represented: Matt Fax, Fisherman, Nifra, Mark Sixma, Rodg, Ørjan Nilsen, Ben Gold, Ruben de Ronde, Somna, KhoMha, and Gabriel & Dresden have contributed to this project. Vini Vici were the trance representatives in the final version 3.0 that broadcasted on June 25th to June 27th. A total of thirty-seven new acts were added to the list. All mixes from all genres who participated in any of the 1001Tracklists Virtual Festivals can be found here.
It was a shock to no one when Luminosity Beach Festival announced their 2020 cancellation. From Thursday June 25th to Sunday June 28th, Luminosity Events streamed a mix of audio and video performances from 77 trance artists across their assorted social media outlets. The audio-only sets were uploaded to their Soundcloud page and the video broadcasts were saved on their Twitch channel (for those of us who are curious to see the living styles of these DJs). The event delivered nearly 100 hours of music spanning across the four days!
So far it is green lights for Transmission, the biggest and most recognized festival dedicated only to trance artists. People flock to Prague every year for the stacked line up and to witness its famous epic laser show for themselves. The date is set for Saturday, October 24th though announcements should be monitored. As a pacifier, they launched the digital series TRANSMISSION LIVE. Previous participants include Jorn van Deynhoven, Rodg, Dennis Sheperd… and many more, but only a select few have been reuploaded to their Youtube channel for all to access. To catch the exclusive performances run by TRANSMISSION LIVE you will need to download the app Woov. I suppose the easiest way to keep track of the schedule is to follow their posts on Instagram. A bonus Epic Edition seemingly records local Czech DJs performing live from within the club Epic (in Prague) – Luigi Di Mare, Driftmoon, Thomas Coastline, and ProggyBoy.
TRANCEPORTED TEAM RECOMMENDATIONS
Adele: Aleksander Stawierej aka Indecent Noise is one of my favourite DJs to see live because he always throws in songs that you wouldn’t expect to hear. The first time I saw him perform was back in 2012. He closed his set with Safri Duo and my brain just about exploded! I hadn’t heard that since I lived back home – well before I moved to Toronto. The reason I’m picking Guilty Pleasure Rodeo is because I was surprised to get so many of my old favourite dance tracks that I liked before I even knew what “trance” was. I have a soft spot for Brooklyn Bounce and Mauro Picotto, and Aleks played some in each of the three GPR streams. I was so happy he dropped Komodo that I cried tears of joy.
Anna: Back in 2019 I had bought a ticket to Factor B’s premiere Theatre Of The Mind open-to-close set in San Francisco for Valentine’s Day 2020. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to make it, and although I was crushed, I looked forward to more dates being released. Of course, this never happened. I got a small taste of Factor B’s new prog alias with a few IDs tossed into his Trance Unity set but I needed more. It had been weeks since we had heard anything, and while other DJs were streaming out of their living rooms on Twitch, we heard nothing from Factor B. Finally in May he came out from the shadows and presented us with this hour-long gorgeous tour of the canals in Amsterdam and introduced his new alias, Highlandr. By the end of the set, my jaw was on the floor, and of course, I immediately played it again.
Ashlyn: When I’m not reminiscing over the best memories from Markus Schulz inside Stereo from last fall (I treasure that night even more now, while its return in 2020 seems like a meritless daydream…), I’m browsing through the rest of Schulz’s expanding library of isolation-inspired content. In addition to his expected weekly Global DJ Broadcast radio show (that includes a bonus extend four-hour Community In Isolation special), he starred on the debut episode of A State Of Trance Classics guest series, he’s broadcasted live from his studio on several occasions (so-called “Quarantine Afterdark” episodes and his wife’s quarantine birthday celebration), and he’s participated in the We Rave You Quarantine Mix Marathon and the World On Pause digital festival fundraiser. By far my favourite of everything in the mix is “Quarantine On The Balcony” – live broadcasts of Schulz blasting trance on his own private balcony overlooking a gorgeous oceanic view of Miami. I love this refreshing type of homemade-created content, something only extreme seclusion could’ve given us.
Luc: I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Thomas Datt‘s Chronicles. His mixing is tight and the track selection takes me back to a time when the world wasn’t quite as hectic. I love the way Thomas effortlessly takes the listener on a journey from slower progressive tracks to harder tunes that will have you dancing in your seat. When I’m listening to his Chronicles live set, I feel like I’m in another dimension!
Phil: Out of the huge amount of live streams and sets to pick from that have come about due to the global pandemic, my favourite so far is Tony McGuinness’ re-make of Above and Beyond’s first-ever Trance Around The World episode. As Ashlyn mentions above, McGuinness’ has been recreating old A&B material, including their radio shows. If you take a trip through history, you’ll find the supergroup’s first venture into radio started on January 13, 2004, under the name Trance Around The World. McGuinness had the inaugural tracklist stored away on a disk, and since the original broadcast was never archived, he did us the favour of remaking it on a live stream. It even includes a classic vocal chop that will bring rushing memories back: “Trance Around The World, with Above & Beyond”.
Shadman: The boss of Skullduggery, Greg Downey, has been doing Live From ‘The Bunker’ sets, which is something new we get to experience because of this quarantine. My personal favourite is Live From ‘The Bunker’ 004, which I feel is a little different from what Greg usually plays. This set includes tracks like Home by Above & Beyond, Carrera 2 (Nu NRG remix) by Three Drives, Shadows (Stoneface & Terminal remix) by Yahel, and many more tracks which took me down memory lane and hit my emotions.
Sarangh: The last few months have been tough for everyone. Staying indoors and watching our favourite artists perform on streaming platforms has become the new norm. In such times, what we need is a set filled with uplifting and emotional trance music. Tibor Tomecko a.k.a. ReOrder brought that perfect set to us from his studio. Packed with songs by: Darren Porter, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Gareth Emery, RAM, Aly & Fila – this 2-hour mix is one that you cannot miss!
Victor: Grum has been live-streaming a lot on Twitch on behalf of his Deep State Recordings label and posting the sets on Mixcloud. A handful are available only via Mixcloud Select, such as his Trance Archives and 80’s Influences sets. Tracks are monetized to the respective artists and you are free to set the contribution amount starting at $2.99/month.
It’s impossible to run a festival in the current climate as it unquestionably breaks all the rules involved with safe social distancing practices. The two biggest annual outdoor events in Toronto, Veld and Dreams, were officially scrapped for 2020. Reasonably, Canadians everywhere are affected: Shambhala (BC), FVDED In The Park (BC), Chasing Summer (AB), Bomfest (AB), Ever After (ON), îleSoniq (QC), AIM (QC), Osheaga (QC), and Future Forest (NB) all announced they will not host their respective events this year but have all the best intentions to return next summer in 2021.
The only outdoor event in Toronto left to keep tabs on is Electric Island. In their official statement, EI posted: “… the health and safety of the community comes first, and so it is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of the July 1st and August 8th events. Full refunds for the entire season will be automatically issued to pass holders. We will continue to monitor city guidelines and remain hopeful that we could see you in September. We thank you for your loyalty and messages of support during this unprecedented time”. Additionally, keep an eye out for Escapade in Ottawa. It was postponed to September 5th and 6th with minimal changes made to their original line up; however, I strongly advise against travelling anywhere outside your own city to maintain good health and safety practices.
International EDM event promoters Insomniac had to reschedule or cancel all of their festivals due to the breakout. The company’s modus operandi from the beginning has been to please the fans, or as they say, their “most important ‘Headliners'” (a clever branding message splashed across the wristband party boxes they mail out to their annual participants). In an attempt to satisfy the disappointment, they launched Insomniac Rewind. It is a Youtube channel that broadcasts recorded sets from EDC Las Vegas, EDC Orlando, EDC Mexico, Hard Summer, and Okeechobee from 2015 til present. Viewers can tune in any time because it is being live-streamed 24/7! That is five years of nostalgia across all genres on the spectrum. Insomniac also hosts Virtual Rave-A-Thons for their extensive festival brands.
EDC Las Vegas has now been rescheduled to October 2nd to 4th. Insomniac Founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella occasionally posts sneak peaks of the stage projects in anticipation for this year’s massive desert dance party:
View this post on Instagram
Another sneak peek of our #kineticZEN stage for @edc_lasvegas. *human provided for scale. 😎✨ I can’t wait to share the entirety of this stage with you. Again, this is only one little piece of the kinetic Field. We are still building, creating & planning for October. Til then – Stay Safe, Stay Positive & We will see you Under the Electric Sky! ❤️
Arguably the biggest global electronic music festival, Tomorrowland, in Boom, Belgium, was cancelled with no plans to reschedule and will move forward with the event in 2021. Tomorrowland Around The World is this year’s digital substitute. “In these uncertain times, Tomorrowland searched for a new destination where we, the people of tomorrow, will be united around the world” reads the tagline on the welcome page. The two-day event takes place on July 25th and 26. There are eight “stages” with 33 slots on the first day and 35 slots on day two – click here to see the full line up stacked with big-name artists!
In addition to the musical performances, there will be different kinds of interactive experiences to choose from, including inspirational webinars, games, and workshops related to lifestyle, food, fashion, and the Tomorrowland Foundation.
The People of Tomorrow are invited to experience this unique event together with friends: dressing up with your best festival outfit, putting up tents in your back garden to create your own DreamVille, setting up a big screen, inviting your beloved ones for a nice barbecue with music and an amazing festival experience, decorating your balcony or throwing a party in your living room – this weekend is all about uniting through the power of music in a responsible and safe way. — What Is Tomorrowland Around The World?
The full day/weekend experience begins 16:00 – 01:00 CEST, including “time-zone-friendly” viewing option for visitors from Asia and North or South America. Get a glimpse into “their new home” through the trailer:
Until we can reunite on the dance floor, remember to stay safe and take care of one another! ♥ ♥
Ashlyn Doughty – TRANCEPORTED
*Banner photo snapped by @natifl0res