The Dutch trance superstars playing the numbers game…
Piet, Benno welcome to DMCWORLD towers. A real honour to have you gracing these pages as I know you are not a fan of interviews. I read one from you guys from a while back where you answered a serious question on ‘what is your favourite piece of technology?’. You answered ‘The vacuum cleaner’. So fingers crossed for this one! We had to grab you for the magazine due to your ADE BUZZ Chart smash ‘7 Instead of 8′. Loads of comments flying about from your fan base including “at last – a proper trance journey’, ‘finally innovation in the trance scene’ and ‘the progression if too perfect’. Kind words. Talk us through the tune…
“Hi DMCWORLD! Yeah the great responses took us by surprise, actually we were a bit anxious since it is kind of a different track. First of all because it’s 7 times a 4/4 beat instead of the usual 8 (hence the title) The main idea is to go back to the era where stories were told. Something we missed and we longed back for. But it’s awesome to see so many listeners feel the same.”
It’s exciting times for dance music with America now finally showing their muscle. What were your thoughts on Sander Van Doorn signing to Jay Z’s Roc Nation and a certain US company trying to buy the Sensation brand for a cool $100 million?
“We could not believe it! But then again it proves that the power of dance music lasts longer than just a decade or two. It’s here to stay! Subgenre’s may come and go, but like rock it’s gonna be around for a while.”
You have one of the most unique production partnerships on the planet, Piet you hit the road DJing all over the world whilst Benno prefers studio life cooking up your next masterpiece. I do remember you once saying though that you are worse than a couple who’ve been married for 50 years arguing as there is no middle ground between you two, you either agree on something or don’t….
“True!! What was the question again? But seriously, we do have an overlap, and one of them is how we feel music should sound. We like a certain power in the bottom end, and we are quite specific about it.”
Piet, what is the current top 10 you are spinning?
Rank 1 – 7 instead of 8
Dennis Sheperd – Edge of The World
Delerium feat Sarah McLachlan – Silence (W&W & Jonas Stenberg remix)
Ben Gold feat. The Glass Child – Fall With Me
Lange – We Are Lucky People
Dash Berlin feat Emma Hewitt – Waiting (W&W Remix)
Orjan Nilsen – Filty Fandango
Andy Moor feat. Sue McLaren – Trespass (Antillas & Dankann Club Mix)
Aruna – Save The Day (Tom Fall Remix)
Cosmic Gate feat Emma Hewitt – Calm Down (Omnia Remix)
You moved away from the big trance sound when everyone followed you with similar tracks. Dance music is about always evolving – what direction will you be taking your sound over the next 12 months?
“We long for the days where we just did something, not competing with our colleagues. Back in the day we could do just about anything because it was new. Also trance music evolved from long melodies into more compact easier melodies like for example L.E.D. There Be Light. But at this stage we would like to go back and have the accent more in arrangements and hypnotic flow, and that’s what we would definitely want to do more in 2013. As a matter of fact, we just finished a collab with M.I.K.E. / Push known for his classics in the ’99 trance era. We got this suggestion by one of our followers and in 11 days we made a complete oldskool trance track that has just that feeling. So more of that is definitely to come!”
Who are the artists you are listening away from dance music at the moment?
“As a matter of fact we are not the type of guys that have trance music played around all day. To be honest, hearing a DJ set in a club or festival has so much more edge because a whole story is told. But Benno likes to listen to Coldplay and Snow Patrol and Piet likes the Cranberries and Michael Jackson.”
We were inside the main room at Trance Energy when the doors had to be closed due to the amount of people trying to get in to see you. What have been the best festivals of 2012 for you, you have been busy in the States…
“We really love EDC New York and EDC Las Vegas, unfortunately Las Vegas had to stop earlier than expected because of heavy winds in the valley. When you see a whole stage moving because of the wind, it gets pretty scary. Also we really enjoyed the live sets on Nature One and Sunrise festival this year.”
‘7 Instead of 8’ is your first solo single in a long time. Does that mean you have a cellar full of tunes ready to blow? What’s coming next from the mighty Rank 1 vault?
“You can expect more stuff after the release of the track with M.I.K.E. We have indeed have quite some ideas lying around, but as a matter of fact most of the time it’s an internal need that brings out a track in no time. It’s like wanting that car you have layed your eyes on for a while, you will feel restless until you are able to buy it. That’s exacly how we feel with ideas in our brains that need to get out…”
Who are the producers from around the world you are giving fives to at the moment?
“Orjan Nilson is throwing in his Norwegian feelings right now. Played by a lot of jocks around the world including us.”
‘Airwave’ was a colossal hit all around the world – where was the strangest place you heard the record played?
“It’s not exactly a place but when you are in a club and somebody comes to you and tells you that the song played (in this case it was Airwave) is the best he ever heard and that Airwave was the thing that got him into EDM, that is really funny to hear especially when the guy didn’t know that he was telling his story to one of the guy’s who produced the song.”
Are you happy to be tagged as trance music’s version of Daft Punk?
“We’d feel honored if you could compare us to Daft Punk, since we are big admirers of their sound and their way they bring their music. They really understand the ‘trick’ which music in essence is. And they know how to do that trick harder better and faster. Should we change our name into Rank Punk?”
Ha ha! Like it. You have been at the top of your game for over a decade now. What are your thoughts on all of these 15 year old wonder kids now producing No. 1 records in their lunch breaks? Is it too easy to make music these days?
What could not be great about youngsters making good music?! Making music is easy, making it sound very good is a little harder, improving yourself over and over again is the most challenging, and somebody succeeds at the age of 15 we can only take our hats off to.”
Benno – when was the last time you had a great night out in a club?
“My studio probably won’t count, right? It sounds like a club though, even at night haha. But serious it’s been a while. I do have a night out planned in two weeks to see Boyz Noyz. I’m not such a regular clubber like I used to. But tbh I like festivals better for diversity in sound.”
And finally, it may not be good for our images, but Rank 1 really love…
“Playing chess when nobody is around.”