Armada’s Future Is Looking Awfully Bright With Orjan Nilsen & Andrew Rayel

EDMTunes Armada Rayel Orjan

Being named as the “future of trance music,” is no short order, but it seems especially of late, that Orjan Nilsen & Andrew Rayel’s names are often very quick inclusions to the list.  Perhaps its that the leader of the biggest trance label in the world continues to sing their praises, that their tracks are very frequently featured in countless live sets, or they’re the two primary acts responsible for EDC New York’s trance satisfaction.  It could be that their respective albums are two of the most highly-anticipated of the year (Orjan’s sophomore debut and Rayel’s freshman), or that neither artist is a stranger to the DJ Mag top 100.  Both of them have a musical pedigree, a touring schedule jetsetting them around the world to a veritable who’s who of locations, and are still young enough to confidently say that they easily have 50+ more years of music left between them.

Any of these above factors could be just cause enough for an artist to rise to meteoric fame, but with all of these factors in place, its no surprise these two men have found themselves right where they are, squarely in the limelight amidst a torrential surge of dance music popularity.  In other words, the future of trance has never been brighter than it is currently, with Andrew Rayel and Orjan Nilsen.

We had the opportunity to sit down with trance’s newest banner men during Miami Music Week, as they were kind enough to stop by our pop-up store in Downtown Miami to talk about the year they have planned, where they feel like their music fits in the rapidly expanding subsections of electronic music, and gathered as many details as we could about their upcoming albums.

Andrew Rayel

Let’s start with your album.  You had said awhile ago that was coming out in 2014.  How’s that coming along?

It’s about 95% done, working on a few final details, and it is confirmed for a May release.  I don’t want to say exactly what date just yet, because the last time I did, i was wrong, and it was a big mistake (laughs).  It’s my first album, and is going to be out on Armada Music.

Every single track has a history behind it, and a great deal of meaning to me.  I hope everyone will like it.  It’ll definitely be all album mixes, no extended mixes on this one, we will save those for later.  Every track is separate, having its own intro and outro.  Can’t say exactly how many tracks just yet, but in just a few weeks, the album name, the cover, the tracks.

Any word on any potential collaborations?

Several massive collaboration will be on the album, I can reveal none yet as everything is still being processed, but it’s going to be something very special and I really can’t wait for everyone to check the album out.

Trance is going through this transition that is polarizing a lot of listeners, where people are saying that if you aren’t playing over 138 then its not pure trance, what are your thoughts on that?

Well, first of all Trance is a really wide genre with it’s very own unique sounds, from epic, to tech, uplifting, and even “pure trance”

 I don’t think we should be putting labels, I think we should focus more on keeping what Trance is, which is really all about the emotions, melody, euphoria going on in the track… the journey your in…no matter what the BPM is…

Talking about the progression of your year, you interviewed with one of our other authors on New Year’s Eve in Canada, and informed us that you were planning a big tour once you sorted out the remaining issues with your Visa.  How’s that coming?

Yes! Well recently got my US work visa after a very hard and long process, which well is very worth it. Have my very first US tour which starts from in Miami , Ending in Chicago and passing by cities such as LA, Boston, Oakland, New York, and Philly!

 Im really happy the VISA is finally here so I can finally perform for my US fans and hopefully more gigs to be announced in the future! You can always check my website for that!

In the United States and in Europe, people feel very strongly about the word “EDM.”  Having played mostly in Europe until now, what are your thoughts on EDM and the EDM craze in the US?

Well, Electronic Dance Music is a big word to use or say to be honest, especially nowadays on how everything is merging with Dance Music.

 The EDM scene between Europe and the States do differ to be honest, both are amazing, but you can say that the States has that special vibe especially since EDM boomed few years ago here and it gets bigger and bigger day by day.

 The only sad thing is that there’s always that percentage of clubbers when they go to festivals, sadly they might not know who the artist is playing yet going for the fun of the festival, which is well good and bad , good that festivals are growing, but bad as in its always nice knowing your music in the festival you know… but hey!  as long as they’re enjoying the music, thats whats its all about right?

Speaking of crowds, trance has a sometimes…rabid fan base.  Do you feel somewhat nervous when it comes to staying a “trance” artist, especially in light of a few other notable trance acts having left the space recently?

Well, it does put a pressure indeed, but I always try not to think of that. I’m not in the position of judging who left and who didn’t, I respect every artists choice…but when it comes to me, trance will be the genre that I started with, and will be the genre that I will keep making, however, experimenting from time to time doesn’t hurt for an artist, as its always good to think outside the box and not being stuck in it…but of course within the limits of your genre.

Orjan Nilsen

Maybe we can start with Buenos Aires, you all turned a misfortunate situation into history when after Aly & Fila couldn’t attend their closing set, you and the other ASOT headliners all converged onto the decks for an incredible history making B2B.  Tell us a little bit about it.

“To be honest, firstly, well, I’m not much of a 138 bpm guy, and everyone was booming around there.  So with me and Jeff (Dash Berlin), we weren’t quite sure what to make of it – it was certainly going to be interesting.  It was probably one of the most fun sets of my life.  Everybody just went for it, and the audience in Argentina is always crazy, but this time they went nuts.  I’ve never seen so many Twitter comments in my life, as after that night.”

ASOT650 Buenos Aires

You mentioned the ever “dangerous” 138.  Do you feel comfortable staying in your area, or any pressure to move towards that, or at least sample it?

“I don’t like it going very fast.  I like to stick to 130.  My comfort zone though, it really is all over the place.  I’ve made 140 tracks and 138.  I like to get into a groove, but my opinion is that you lose some of the groove when you start going that fast.”

Going on to some of your work, you mentioned something coming out in about a month, is this the rumored new album we’ve been hearing about?

“Actually yes, it is a new album, but I can’t really talk about it much until I have more completed for it.  Its in the really early stages, and only have 2-3 tracks, and I’m looking for about 10 tracks in total.”

About 10 years ago, you’d see more albums 16-18 tracks, and now its a bit closer to 10.

“I definitely think its better.  If you have a truckload of tracks, people are going to miss some gems, really strong tracks.  I think its important to focus on maybe 10 or so strong tracks than 18, when some of them may not be as strong.  I probably have about 50 tracks which I could make for the album that I could use, but I believe its more important to be selective.  Sadly the producing does have to take somewhat of a backseat when touring.  You do get more stressed.  I travel for long periods of time, but that also means i’ll then be able to spend a lot of time at home afterwards, so its really a give and take situation.  I feel better if I do get those blocks of time at home to chill, and to focus on producing.  I have a daughter as well, and she takes priority every single time.  I’ve thought about taking my producing on the road, but I need my comfort zone, my monitor, my keys.”

You mentioned your daughter, it begs the question.  Do you believe in the concept of a musical family?  Are you laying any foundations for her future in music?

“Well the thing is, I come from a musical family, both my father, my brother, and mother.  My father was a drummist and a vocalist, and brother played played guitar and drums.  I play piano, clarinet, guitar, I’ve sung and played drums as well.  The musical history is there, but I want her to be able to make the choice.”

As far as the next few months are concerned, aside from the album, what else does the rest of 2014 look like for you?

“I’m working on a compilation, most of those featured artists will be those people from my label ‘In My Opinion.’  There will always be tour stops in The States and Asia, and of course Europe festival season is coming along nicely, Ibiza is always fun.  Summer is always madness.  I might as well just say bye to sleep.  I live in planes…I LOVE it (laughs).”

The last time I personally saw you, was at TomorrowWorld, you’re sporting a bit of a newer flashy hairdo, buzzed on the sides with a few designs.  Is this the style of “new trance?”

“(laughs) I have an amazing stylist in my hometown, and she has all these crazy ideas, and I’m just her guinea pig.  I remember this one time I had this really dark black hair, and then on the sizes she put together a chessboard.  Even going through customs, I’m here walking through the airport and everyone is stopping me and saying “heyyyyy cool man.”  She is amazing, and was offered a job in Paris by Schwarzkopf.  She likes our hometown so she stays and I get to reap the benefits.”

You’ve been exposed to a lot of different venues as of late, you’re playing a pool party today, the ASOT stage Sunday.  Do you tend to cater your style to the different venues, or do you stick to a “signature style?”

“By now, most people know who I am, and know my tracks.  Sometimes though, these smaller venues, or pool parties are fun because they offer you the opportunity to change things up a bit.  Its about a 50/50 chance that the people will actually like it when you change things a lot (laughs).  This being said, it is a bit tough when you have so many sets and such small time between them, you’ll probably see a few similarities, but not too many (laughs).”