In Trance We Trust is one of those labels that’s been around for a long, long time. Originally established in 1997 by none other than Tiesto himself, the record label is now under the umbrella of Black Hole Recordings, and these days serves as a launching pad for many successful trance producers.

They just released their 20th mix compilation, aptly titled In Trance We Trust 20. To commemorate the occasion, they recruited not one, but three DJs to each put together a mix. We took this opportunity to ask a few questions to one of three DJs, Mike Saint-Jules, about what it’s like working on a mix compilation.

(S = Sam Foxhill of EDM.com; M = Mike Saint Jules)

S: How is putting together a tracklist for a mix compilation like ITWT20 different from doing a tracklist for an ordinary set, or a radio show?

M: Putting together a tracklist for a compilation is a bit more challenging than the radio show in a few ways.

For a radio show, you’re checking on a weekly basis for new music via promos, beatport, etc. You mix them on your radio show and that’s that.

For a mix compilation, you’re working with the label to select material that’s either exclusive or non-exclusive. The non-exclusive titles take more time to get cleared by other labels and that’s really where it takes time to get a full tracklist for your compilation. Also, taking the time to really make sure each transition is better than the last is really important as it’s a compilation that will be made available for people to buy. So you want to make sure everything is perfect for the consumer.

S: How did you find yourself in the position of being asked to work on a major compilation like this?

M: I’ve been with Black Hole Recordings for 4+ years now when it comes to releasing music. And in that time I was able to grow a strong relationship with Arny and his team. I had actually approached them about mixing the compilation almost two years ago during ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event). It wasn’t until recently that Arny asked if I could be a part of the 20th edition to the series along with Menno de Jong and Sneijder. A really great opportunity!

S: Did you have an overall goal in mind for the end product? Any story you wanted to tell with it, or any emotion, feeling, or sensation you wanted to capture?

M: I wanted to make sure my disc had a theme with a quick intro and outro. So the overall goal was to showcase space-like productions for most of the disc and to eventually release the uplifting stuff near the end. I also wanted to give new, upcoming producers a chance to showcase their music.

S: Was there any way you tried to differentiate your mix from other sets out there?

M: I think for this disc, I went against the grain by playing some progressive stuff in the beginning and then gradually move forward by increasing the tempo. I didn’t want to just start off with a heavy-hitting track. I definitely wanted a flow in this one.

S: Were there any difficulties you encountered while putting this together?

M: I think getting the non-exclusive tracks cleared might have been the most time consuming. You have an idea on what you want in your mix, but you have to wait to make sure that the songs that you want are allowed to appear on the compilation. Other than that, actually deciding which tracks to put in order and making sure the theme stays intact was another semi-tough thing to conquer when mixing this CD.

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