Hello Ian, Welcome to Trance Hub, you must be fresh out of your gig at Godskitchen – Clash of the Gods, how was the experience for you?
Amazing! Rounding the corner to the event and seeing crowds queuing as far as the eye could see was like going back in time to how it was a decade ago. Godskitchen was rammed and the atmosphere inside was electric. Was great to catchup with all the other DJ’s and have some fun and also great to catch up and talk with fans. A truly memorable Trance event in the UK for sure. Well done Godskitchen….. You nailed it!
You vanished from the scene after making This is my Sanctuary in 2002, what motivated you to come back?
I took a long extended break from music, it wasn’t even my intention to return to be honest and after a while this started to get me down. I would speak to people who wished they could play the piano or guitar etc and felt real bad that I had wasted my ability. When I say being away from music, it was literally this. I couldn’t even switch on a radio, the break was a complete break. I had become very disillusioned with it all. In the mean time we started a family and were doing all the family things which included a weekend Xmas trip to a well known family spot just over 2 years ago.
There I met an old friend who used to be a record distributer and run a label in Bristol many years back. To cut it short, he really encouraged me to start again, talked me into it, and as soon as I got back the equipment came back out. My wife lost the dining room which was promptly converted into the studio……. bless her! I then jumped back in, head first and started listening to all things Trance to get an idea of where it was at and production began.
While the world is going away from Alias you introduced SkyPatrol with ReOrder, do you think Alias still have a place in trance music?
Oh definitely!! – Markus & Ferry with New World Punks, Armin with his Gaia project etc etc. I agree it is not as popular as perhaps 10 years ago but without doubt, still has a valued place in the scene in my opinion. I believe it is a perfect platform if you have something additional and different to what you would normally produce either as a solo producer or the combination of a collaboration. I think that its accepted by many producers that there is an element of risk involved if you push out something different to what you normally would do, however, under an Alias tends to remove this risk.
When did you realise that Folding Your Universe has really made it BIG? How has life changed after that?
First of all we had no idea the track would be a big as it did. No idea at all. Tibor (ReOrder) and myself had become close friends following our Hidden In A Smile project early last year. We would spend a lot of time on Skype listening to each others latest projects and ideas etc. One late evening we were passing some really old stuff from our past backwards and forwards, having a bit of a laugh when I sent him a 128bpm tune I had started around the time I came back to the scene. It had my vocals on and eventually dropped to this little pluck hook line…… bam bam bam bam bam. Tibor went nuts……. it was the pluck hook line to Folding Your Universe. I have to pat him on the back, he heard a big uplifting 138 tune immediately. We agreed right then to do a collaboration on it. I passed the pluck midi over and within literally 24hrs the track was almost complete.
Tibor is very talented at track construction, arrangements and shockingly fast, he amazes me. We passed it backwards and forwards each adding little parts and adjustments here and there and it was completed. I had no idea how popular it was actually going to be. From Armin humming it on ASOT to the Beatport No.1 – it took us a little by surprise to be honest. As far as life changing etc…. It was only when I played it at ASOT in Utrecht and hearing the crowd singing along on the breakdown that it hit me…. that was life changing for me. Momentous.
What prompted you to change your name from Ian Standerwick to Standerwick?
It was a management idea following some design work we had done. Quite by chance the designers mentioned that STANDERWICK could be presented much better than ‘Ian Standerwick’. Im managed by Adjusted Artist Management – the boss being Steve Helstrip (The Thrillseekers). I trust Steve a lot, he is a remarkable person and a great friend. So there was no question from me, and the decision was made to change. The only painful part was losing the amount of ‘Like’s’ on my old Facebook artist page. Facebook doesn’t unfortunately, allow you to merge artist pages after you reach a certain amount of ‘Like’s’……. hmmm.
Talk to us about your experience of working with Future Sounds of Egypt?
I had aspired to one day reach a level good enough to be considered for FSOE. This was and still is my favourite label. The choices of tracks and artist they take on, not to mention the massive inspiration that Aly & Fila are to me. I consider Fila another great friend that I’ve made in the industry and he has shown me great kindness and encouragement. On one particular remix I was working on for them I hit a wall with the tune, there was a real tight deadline and the pressure of this got a little to much. I contacted Fila and said that I didn’t think I could finish the track. He came straight back understanding where I was, suspended the release date until I had completed the remix in my own time, thus removing the pressure.
It’s the fact that Aly & Fila are artists themselves that they can recognise little issues like this and encourage you to succeed. I am very happy being part of the label and Armada, they are all a great bunch of professionals to work alongside.
A lot of uplifting trance producers find it very difficult to establish themselves as good DJs, do you agree with this?
In some ways yes, but I believe there are some fundamental things that will dictate how popular you will become – or not, as a DJ.
The important thing above all else is the fact that you’re a producer first and foremost. If your fortunate and your music starts to see some success and you aspire to get out there and DJ then this tends to follow all by itself. What level you attain as a DJ is impossible to predict as there are many variables which decide this success. To me its like the icing on the cake but in my mind, its all about the music you produce, this is the transport that will help take you to the stage.
If you were to introduce someone to Uplifting Trance, which tunes would you pick?
Oh now there is a question! There would be a few classics from producers like The Thrillseekers, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Lange, and Armin. There would be some up to date tracks from Darren Porter, James Dymond, Aly & Fila and of course a few of mine!!!
Tell us something you really like about the Trance music industry & Something you don’t like about the Trance music industry.
Unlike many other genres, there is a lot of humility in the scene. The producers and DJ’s I have met over the last year are a great bunch of guys. I don’t know why, as I’m even guilty of it, but we naturally think that some of the scenes biggest and best are maybe arrogant or a little up themselves etc….. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Chatting with many of the artists in the artist area at ASOT in February was a real eye opener for me. Such normal, humble super talented guys.
What is sad, and not just common to the Trance scene is the illegal downloading of tracks and the massive impact its having on artist and producers. I’m not referring to a profit one can make at all here, rather the impact on a career. Placement on charts such as Beatport has a true bearing on your career and how you move forward. For the price of a few bags of Haribo’s you can do that producer all sorts of good things to purchase legitimately. Enough said!
For young producers, it is a big decision to invest a lot of money to build your own studio…Could you give them tips on how they can set up a studio at an affordable price?
The basics will be a computer, some speakers and a mother keyboard to play on. This can all be done on a budget. Then see how you get on. If you excel and find you have the creativity, ability and patience to produce, then an investment in a fast PC with a large amount of RAM is absolutely crucial. Then probably one of the most important investments is going to be the speakers you monitor on. This often gets overlooked and the cheaper option seems a better idea, but in the long run you will end up changing them, trust me.
Can you talk to us about your upcoming tracks?
There are a few in the pipeline. I am very excited about my first original track in over a year – Valyrian which will be on Future Sounds of Egypt label. It has also been included in the new Ministry of Sound Trance Nation album mixed by Aly & Fila which I’m very excited about. I also have a wonderful collaboration with The Thrillseekers coming soon on Armins Who’s Afraid of 138 label, this too has also been included on the Trance Nation album along with Skypatrol’s – Sailing Airwaves. Another track I’m very excited about is my recent collaboration with Allen Watts, again on the WAO138 label. This is set for release later in the summer.
We’ve heard that you are a gym freak, what advice would you want to give to people who want to have a perfect body in the upcoming festival season?
I was a gym fanatic before coming back to Trance again, I still do a little here and there just to maintain some level of fitness, but not as much as I would like to, my waistline is a reflection of this! There just isn’t enough hours in the day now and production is priority above my pecks lol. Any advice??? It’s simple, don’t eat shit, eat lots of protein rich foods, eat slow digesting carbohydrates, train hard in the gym and no Carbs after 5pm. If you want to lose some pounds and meet your 6 little friends on your abdomen, good luck with that, it can take a long time and your body fat must be very low. Loosing weight and reducing body fat became quite simple back then. After doing it this way and that way and this diet and that one…..its all rubbish (well it was for me), just stick to a caloretic deficit, regular activity and what you do eat make sure its healthy, its actually very simple!
Thanks for this awesome interview.