(M = Mike Walkusky of EDM.com; N = Noah Neiman)
M: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. For those that don't know, not only are you a producer and DJ, but you're also a doctor. How do you balance all of this?
N: Thanks for having me! Trying to find a balance is rough! [laughs] Being a doctor is obviously a full time job, so it takes up a lot of my day. I mainly write music after I get back from my clinic, but there are times when I'll write melodies at lunch or if there happens to be a lull in my schedule.
I've tried to streamline my music making process too, so I have very little to do that involves setting things up in the studio or doing anything technical. As soon as I get in there, I can just start writing.
M: You've been producing instrumentals for quite some time now, though your next single “A Thousand Miles” features a singer. What made you produce a vocal track this time? The last one you produced as an original track was back in 2010, I believe?
N: Aside from “Lose My Logic” last fall with Sean Tyas & Fisher, the last vocal track I did was in 2010. At the time I was working with a great singer, Catherine Weathersby. Unfortunately, we kind of lost touch when she went back to school, so I started doing instrumental tracks and I guess I never really looked for another vocalist.
I suppose what made me want to write with a singer again came down to access. Good vocalists aren't everywhere, and I want to maintain a certain standard for my music. I met a pop music producer here in Austin, Texas a little while ago named Adam McInnis, who's become a good friend of mine. He introduced me to a lot of his pop singers who each have a unique flair to their sound. Expect to hear more vocal tracks in the future!
M: What was the creative process like for "A Thousand Miles" from the time you came up with the concept all the way until you finished the song?
N: It all started with the lyrics, "I've got a hundred miles to drive tonight, but suddenly it's like a spell came over me." I thought it up in the shower. That seems to be where all my tracks get their start! A hundred miles isn't all that much, so I decided to change it to a thousand miles [laughs].
I met the singer/songwriter, Cadence, through my friend Adam, and I was blown away right when I heard her. She’s just got these huge pipes that take this track to another level, so it was a pleasure to work with such an amazing talent. As far as the production goes, it seems everyone in the EDM world has been using that "festival-synth" sound over hardstyle kicks, like in Sandro Silva & Quintino's track, “Epic.” Despite it's ubiquity in dance music, I wanted to take the sound and turn it on its head to make it sound fresh again. I trance'd it up a bit and we were off! And that's kind of what you hear in the roughly 1 and 5 minute marks in the track.
M: I see you've been mentioning hardstyle frequently on your Facebook. What interests you about hardstyle?
N: [Laughs] Yeah, hardstyle... It's sort of a secret love of mine. I think it's the speed and the soaring synths. I don't particularly like it all, but the melodic stuff is great. Frontliner is an amazing producer. I've been listening to his track "Weekend Warriors" for months! I've got some projects I'm working on that have a bit of hardstyle in them. I may even end up writing a full hardstyle track soon.
M: Where do you see your sound evolving to in the near future?
N: As I mentioned earlier, my tracks in the future are going to feature more vocals, because I feel people connect with the lyrics on a much deeper level than tracks without lyrics. Of course, I'll still be making my classic electro trance stuff, and I might even through in a more traditional trance track—who knows! But I do want my music to be a bit more relatable on a widespread scale successful, so I’m excited for people to here what’s to come.
M: What are the positives and negatives of having a following like the Trance Family?
N: Well, obviously they're a passionate lot! I think a big positive is that when they love something, they really let you know it. But, that might also be partly negative too, because when they don't love something, they REALLY let you know it! In addition to being passionate, they're also quite the vocal lot. But I like that. Having the instant feedback is nice, whether it's good or bad, because I like engaging with fans on my Facebook page or on YouTube or wherever.
I really like knowing that there is a worldwide crowd of people that loves Trance, though. I grew up in a time and place where everyone hated dance music. Back then, anything with synths and a four on the floor kick drum was called "techno," and the resounding opinion was that "techno sucks." With the internet and the Trancefamily, my passion for writing the kind of music I do now seems validated, and that feels awesome.
M: What are your feelings on the current state of trance music?
N: You know, the vast majority of people seem to accept the fact that music evolves. There are a few groups that really hate when things change, like when guys who used to make pure Trance started making Trance 2.0. Those guys got a lot of backlash on YouTube. Hell, even I got a bit of it when I wrote my remix for Heatbeat. But in my opinion, if music doesn't grow, it gets stale, and if you don't move forward in your creative process as a musician, you can get lost to obscurity while those who keep staying ahead of the curve move on without you.
I think things have never been better for Trance. Sure it's not what it was 10 years ago, but I think that's a good thing. It's been expanded and been influenced by so much of the new sound that's out there. To me, Trance has been enriched. A lot of Trance nowadays is like a more melodic version of house music and that's where my sound is headed.
M: Tell us about your new podcast, Radiofire, and it's prime time slot on DI.FM. What can fans expect from the show?
N: Yeah, so for 2014, I decided to change my podcast's name from "The Rush" to "Radiofire," partly because I think the name is just edgier, but also to let fans know things are changing for me. It's going to be a multi-genre show featuring all sorts of music, ranging from Trance to Dubstep, Trap to Hardstyle, even some chill out music, and I may even throw a rock track in, here and there!
DI.fm has been kind enough to feature the show on their Main Stage channel, and it'll be played every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 12 Eastern US time. It'll also still be played on the channels and at the same time that used to play The Rush, so people who have been loyal fans on those outlets won't be out of the loop. Of course it'll also be available for download from iTunes and Soundcloud.
Radiofire launches on April 22nd.
M: How was SXSW this year?
N: SXSW is always cool. I don't spend a lot of time there because, honestly, I'm quite the introverted homebody, but I met a lot of people there. Singers, tech guys, etc. I played a couple small shows too. Nothing huge. But, one of my closest friends, Andrew Parsons, who's the head of Real Music Events, one of the biggest EDM promotion groups in central Texas launched his own record label at SXSW, called Beat Binge. Andrew likes my taste in music, so he's made me the lead A&R for the label. It's small but we plan to grow it. Expect to hear some great stuff coming from it soon!
M: Who are your biggest influences right now?
N: I'd have to say my friends Chad and Dave of Tritonal are a pretty big influence currently. We all live in Austin, so we get to hang out every now and then, and I get to see what their creative process is like at times. That's been a positive impact on my new tunes. You might not hear it in my current discography, but I've got quite a few unreleased tracks that I'm playing as IDs in my sets. They'll be out eventually.
M: Thanks for speaking with us Noah!
N: Thanks for having me on EDM.com. It's been a pleasure. And thank you for featuring "A Thousand Miles"!
"A Thousand Miles" will be out on Magik Muzik, April 28, exclusively on Beatport.com.
Follow Noah Neiman: