With their third album safely ticked off on everyone’s ‘must have’ list of 2018, Miika Eloranta and Janne Mansnerus settle down with DMCWORLD to explain their thoughts behind their huge move to Armada, what life in the studio is like together and what is coming next from this on fire production duo…
You’ve called your new album ‘Reformations’ – a while ago you made a move that shocked a lot of your fans by moving from Anjuna where you’d been pretty much since the beginning over to Armada. Was that an essential ‘reformation’ for you, and why did you feel the need to do it? What do you feel it’s brought to your music that it didn’t have before?
Yes our new album is called Reformation, as a few years back we came to the point in our career where we felt we need to break the patterns and habits we were used to. Leaving Anjuna was a hard decision as we had been there almost from the start and all of them are our friends too. But sometimes in life you need to make changes to feel excited again, and nothing motivates you like jumping into unknown. There are no “yesterday’s ghosts” and that extends to everything we do – for example we have changed our routines in studio too. It also feels like we are more open minded with our music. Not trying to put it in one mould, but rather breaking the mould, which gives more variety to our music.
How was the fan reaction to you moving to Armada from Anjuna? Trance fans are some of the most fanatical in electronic music, did you lose some followers along the way because of the move?
Maybe we did lose some, but we have definitely gained a totally new audience as well. And it’s not the first time that we have changed things or sound, so we are used to hearing a little bit of criticism too. Overall we feel that there are a lot of positive vibes going on right now. The feedback we got from the trance fans after our set in Transmission was really, really good. They really loved it so I think there’s no hard feelings from any direction.
This is your third studio album, so it’s fair to say you’re not new kids on the block – have you achieved everything you thought you would by this point?
When we started, we just wanted to get our tracks released and played by DJs. We never thought this could end up as a career and take us all over the world. Of course when things started to evolve and we started to get requests to play UK, Holland, Russia, Argentina etc we started to see there was something bigger building up. But still touring USA, playing EDC Las Vegas or Tomorrowland seemed to be like distant dream. We have been lucky to be able to continue doing this for so many years and make a living out of it. But of course there’s always more to achieve and we always try to become better musicians and performers. If we can do that it will take us to new places again.
What’s your stand out track from the album, and why?
‘Burn’. First of all we love Hero Baldwins vocals there, but then there’s a good mixture of old and new mixed together. And it’s musically quite diverse too.
We just saw Porter Robinson drop a pretty old-school influenced trance EP and do a trance set on Holy Ship, and Arty dropped some Alpha 9 work recently too. Do you see a shift back towards classic trance happening and if so, why do you think that is?
Classic trance sound has been doing its “come back” for a good while now and we have also been bringing those old school vibes to our tracks. If you listen to tracks like ‘Cosmo’, ‘Quest’ or ‘Into’ it is easy to hear how we have been influenced by some older trance while writing those melodies. But our productions we like to keep fresh and forward thinking. We like to challenge ourselves in studio and find new sounds and ways to produce our music.
Are there any new names producing the more euphoric style of trance that we should keep an eye out for?
There is lot of buzz around Factor B. Brendan is our good friend from over 10 years and he is all the way old school with his sound. We’ve done a track with him which he has been banging every gig with super reactions so maybe we should get it released.
‘Reformation’ comes out in two parts – why?
These days when music is consumed so fast, releasing a full album in a one go is tricky. Lots of great tracks are missed because all the attention is on the first 2-3 singles. This way we have better change for each track to be heard.
The two of you have been working and touring together for the past decade, which is longer than many relationships. Do you find that you sometimes need space from each other to keep Super8 & Tab from going stale? What do you do to keep the ‘magic’ alive?
Yes it’s crazy that we have been doing this together over 10 years and to be honest sometimes we do get a bit bored with each other, but there hasn’t ever been anything that couldn’t be solved. Sometimes there are some voices raised, and 10 minutes later it’s like nothing happened. You know, we love what we are doing and we both know we are better together than separate, so maybe understanding this is the key.
What’s your daily creative process like in the studio?
We have both families so it’s rather a 9-5 job in studio now. Lot of actual writing happens on the piano at home, then we take the ideas with us into studio and start to work from there. We start to play with drums and basslines and so on. But there is also lot of other stuff these days too that we need to take care of daily. Emails, content for social media, interviews etc.
If you could work with any piece of studio kit, or one hardware/software brand, what would it be and why?
We love to get racks full of legendary outboard gear, but that would be rather 10 different brands than just one. But if it has to be just one, it has to be Logic Pro. Basically it’s possible to do everything you need with plugins that comes with it. Back in the days we used mostly Logic synths and effects.
You can only listen to one song ever again – what is it and why did you pick it?
Jean Sibelius – Karelia. Jean Sibelius is the best known Finnish classical composer and there’s so much emotion in his music, you can hear that melancholy you can find in our music too. There are also so many layers that you can find new things with every listen.
Finally, what can we expect from you after Reformation?
More music, more music. We are already busy writing new stuff, but let’s get this album out first and and tour with it little bit. See you at the gigs!