Progression is a very important aspect of nearly anything in the music industry, so important that there are subgenres of house and trance named after it. Whether it comes to an artist's career or a record label's growth, change needs to occur, experiments must be made, and risks must be taken.
British trance label Enhanced Music has taken this principle to heart, growing from a small setup to the pop-trance and progressive house powerhouse it is today, releasing music from pioneering artists like BT, Tritonal, and Lange. This is very evident in their upcoming mix compilation, Enhanced Sessions Volume Four, featuring two discs presented by Enhanced mainstay artists Estiva and Juventa.
The compilation, which dropped on the 22nd of September, is a seamless blend of trance, progressive house, and electro house. To celebrate the occasion, we had a quick chat with Estiva and Juventa over their work.
(EDM.com = Sam Foxhill of EDM; E = Estiva; J = Juventa)
EDM.com: What goes into putting together a mix for an official compilation for this? How do you pick the tracks?
E: I’ve had the pleasure to pick tunes off a huge pile of unreleased stuff. As you’re going through them you get hugely excited, but after you’ve selected the best tunes you realize you still have about 40 tracks. You then have to filter down that list again when you start mixing as there’s only so much music you can fit on a CD. I tried to find the right balance between a fresh sounding variety in sounds and a sweet flow in the overall mix.
J: A month or so before actually starting on the compilation, it’s all about collecting new material. New label signings, tracks just finished by fellow producers or tracks that just came out and really blew you away – you bring all of that together and then select approximately 20-30 tracks that are the best out of everything. After that you need to get the mix down. To me it’s important the mix flows really well, and transitions need to be as seamless as possible. Eventually you end up using maybe 15-20 tracks from the ones that you had originally picked. It’s tough to drop other songs as you probably really wanted to use those too, but there’s just no room for it. But when the mix is done and it sounds good, you know it was worth it!
EDM.com: Was there a theme that you wanted to have for your respective disc?
E: Naturally it really had to represent my taste in music; it needed to have a full range of different grooves and loads of melodies.
J: Not necessarily a specific "theme," though I think my disc represents my sound and the music I like really well. There’s melodic songs, and tracks that focus on bass or incredible arrangement; there's a bit of everything, but they all have a sound to them that really appeals to me.
EDM.com: How is working on a mix compilation different than, say, a radio show, or a DJ set?
E: Surprisingly I’ve kind of approached this mix as if it was an episode of my Next Level podcast! A live set is usually played either in a club or at a festival with a live audience. Especially during one-hour sets there’s not much room to "explore" as you have to keep people dancing. The compilation will most likely be heard individually on an iPod, in a car, or at home. It’s usually a much calmer setting, more intimate, and I feel like I can take the listener to explore the different layers in the songs a little bit more as they are more patient in this environment.
J: They’re similar in a way, since for both I select the tracks I wanted to use upfront, but the thing about a compilation is that once it’s done, it’s done. You can’t go back to it and change things here and there – when you deliver the final mix, it has to be perfect. The preparation for a compilation is a lot more time-consuming, but just as satisfying as a great live set when you get it to flow well.
EDM.com: How did you get chosen to work on a project like this?
E: I’m really blessed to have so much support from Enhanced Music and Tritonal. I think Juventa and myself represent a certain type of Enhanced sound that the label wanted on the CD!
J: I’ve been a part of the Enhanced label for years now. I grew from being a newcomer to being one of its household names, and I think that made them decide to let me have the honor of mixing the newest Enhanced Sessions compilation. I just hope this won’t be the last one I get to work on!