Clearly still exhilarated from having just played his set at A State of Trance 950 in Utrecht, Ben Gold walks into the interview room with a cheery smile on his face. Seemingly satisfied with the audience reception of his set (which, we learned, took seven weeks of preparation and were 70% IDs!), the ASOT veteran had plenty to share with us.
From his highly successful debut as FUTURECODE with Omnia to his well-acclaimed album Sound Advice: Chapter 2, the British DJ/producer sat down to talk. about his appreciation towards ASOT, his proud achievements in 2019, as well as his vision for the trance scene going forward.
Read on below to learn more about Ben Gold, as well as what he has planned for the year. And don’t forget to check out his full set at ASOT950!
Hi Ben! Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us here at EDMTunes! And before we start, congratulations on the amazing set that you just played for fans here at ASOT950.
Thank you! It was an amazing festival yet again – I really enjoy playing at ASOT and every year when I get the book-in, it’s always an exciting moment. It’s a great platform to showcase – especially at this show, which is the biggest trance party in the world – what you have to offer over the next twelve months.
Spoken from experience! But you are a veteran on the ASOT stage after all. How would you say things have changed over the years in the trance scene, and how have you adapted your sets to accommodate these changes?
You know what, I always just try to be true to myself and have fun in the studio. ASOT, especially, I think is just a great platform to premiere all my new music. It’s really easy – well, easier – to turn up and play an hour of music that everyone knows. But to turn up and play an hour of brand new music, that’s what ASOT is all about. Pushing trance forward. That’s how I do it anyways, and to be honest, a lot of guys do it like that as well. ASOT forever, may long it live!
Plans for 2020
That explains the impressive number of unreleased tracks in your set just now! Can fans be expecting a few releases soon, or what are your plans for the year?
So half of my year is already planned. Coming up next will be a single with Allen Watts! After ‘Strike As One’ and our remix of ‘Jetlag,’ we just thought we work so well in the studio. And so, we got in again and we wrote something again. Not specifically for ASOT, but we did have ASOT in mind, so that’s coming up in two weeks.
After that, it’s pretty much a snowfall – every six to eight weeks, we’ll have a brand new release. 70% of my set just now was brand new – half of them are scheduled, and half are not yet. But I think that’s quite a nice luxury to have. If some worked better than others, then we’ll put that release earlier, and maybe we’ll edit that other one a little bit to get it ready. But I’m super excited for this year! I guess ASOT just gives you the opportunity to plan and prepare. Usually, when you tour regularly, you can kind of get stuck in a groove of following the same framework for your sets. Having shows like this gives you the opportunity to come up on stage, and surprise.
Well, it sure goes both ways, because fans definitely get super excited about new music all the time. I’m sure it’s an awesome feeling for you as well to scroll through your socials reading comments like ‘I NEED that ID soon’.
Exactly, you have to listen. You want to hear this music I played? You HAVE to listen to that ASOT set, because that music is nowhere else. That’s what’s quite cool as well, but it’s also nerve-racking! You work really hard on this music, you perform it, but once you step off the deck, and it’s such a weird feeling, because that’s it. Seven weeks I prepared for this set, and as soon as it’s done, that’s it. I’ve got no more that’s secret anymore – I’ve just given everything out. It’s also quite a lonely feeling afterwards – it’s like that’s it now, but you know what, back in the studio and let’s create the next one. That’s just how it rolls.
Looking Back at 2019
So taking a step back from ASOT, and looking at 2019 as a whole, you’ve had a widely successful year, especially with the amazing reception you got from both your FUTURECODE project and Sound Advice: Chapter 2. So let’s start with FUTURECODE. How did that come along?
2019 pretty much started in this venue, closing the main stage at ASOT900 with Omnia as FUTURECODE. That gave us the platform then to get gigs all over the world under the alias, so that kind of paved a way to a pretty hectic tour schedule as FUTURECODE. I don’t know if we really anticipated the success of the project. Of course you want everything you do to be successful, but I wasn’t really sure it was going to take off as much. I just finished Sound Advice: 1 before we wrote the seven exclusives for FUTURECODE.
And for Sound Advice: Chapter 2? What was the driving force or inspiration behind that?
As soon as ASOT was done, that was it, and I started writing Sound Advice: Chapter 2. That was always meant as a sequel to Sound Advice 1, but more dance floor-driven. As soon as we wrote ‘The City Sleeps Tonight,’ that changed the game – that was my favourite track of last year. The moment when Roxanne Emery, Zoe Lowe and I came out of the studio after working on it, I still remember so vividly. I live now in Amsterdam, and I got the tram home from the studio, and I just played it over and over again – I couldn’t believe it was my record. Once I finalised the production in terms of how the track should sound, this track really paved the way for Sound Advice 2. It’s the lead single, and yeah, we put everything behind that record.
That ended up making its way into the ASOT Top 20 as well, didn’t it? Congratulations!
Yes, and at #17! I was quite surprised, to be honest, because it was a late release in the year. Most of the records that get ranked high, or at least in the Top 20, have been released for at least six months, maybe even longer. So I was super happy to see that in there, along with ‘Dancing In The Rain’ (#25) and the Sneijder Remix of ‘Stay’ (#5). I can’t imagine a set without ending with that record. I said that last year, and I’m saying it again this year. Sneijder killed it – he did to it what needed to be done.
I think most fans will be curious as to whether there’s going to be a Sound Advice: Chapter 3 coming up soon?
Well, Sound Advice 2 was fun! But I think I’m kind of done with albums for a little bit. I’m planning to slip back into writing some singles, which will give me a bit more freedom. 2020 will be exciting!
The Future of Trance
Looking forward to that! Finally to wrap things up, since you’re dubbed as ‘the Future of Trance’ by Armada already, where do you think the future of trance lies? Especially when trance in the most traditional sense, is defined by a set of production ‘rules’ per se.
I don’t think there should be limitations, rules. I think they have to go. If trance wants to move forward, these limitations – key drum, BPM, melody, pluck… these traditional trance staple “rules” need to go. I really like what’s going on in techno right now, where you see a lot of trance influence in techno. But the techno guys would never say that about trance. Like ever! But I’m open to it. To me, it is trance. Ok it is techno, but it’s acceptable in trance.
And the more DJ’s there are in trance, the better. Because there are a lot of producers in trance, and there is a difference between a DJ and a producer. I’m a DJ that makes music. I’m not a producer that DJs. See what I mean? I love playing extended sets – playing six to eight hours from open to close, I can do it, and I love it. I prefer it than playing one hour, because I can start somewhere, and go on a journey. But none of that is planned. I’m prepared, but it’s not planned. So the more DJ’s that are in trance, the more the scene will keep pushing forward. I’d like to get these barriers get knocked down – it’s the only way to keep things moving forward. So yeah, embrace it, let the music guide you, and just enjoy it.
Ultimately, I think it’s important to just have fun in the studio, and don’t feel that you’re in a box. I played records of uplifting trance to the tech-iest trance records that I’ve ever written. Yet they all fit into one set, despite being produced differently. There are no rules, no barriers. I just do what I feel is fresh. And the more people that do that, trance is going to be awesome.
And it’ll be here to stay. Thank you so much once again for taking the time out again to speak to us, and hope to see you again at your next show!