Under The Radar: Why Andrew Lang Is Our Next Rising Talent
Welcome to another series of Under The Radar, where every week we showcase an upcoming artist who we believe you should know about. This week’s talent is a former high school teacher who has decided to devote himself to the very thing he loves most; producing house and trance music.
Hailing from Toronto, Andrew Lang is an emerging player in the dance music industry with signings to popular record labels like Elliptical Sun Recordings, NRG Dance Records and Freegrant Music (Check out my article on label owner Max Freegrant’s newest album here). His sounds are truly pieces of outstanding merit that have received support from electronic music power players like Paul Oakenfold, Andy Moor, Paul van Dyk and Above & Beyond. But what helps him shine out most in the saturated industry is his ability to assimilate his unique sound with house and trance influences. Andrew says, “I think given my introduction into house/trance you can really see those elements in my music. Call it nostalgia, but I’m really attached to that mid-2000s style of house/trance, and I would love to see it come back.”
Take for example his most recent release on Emergent Music called the Mantis EP. The Pelagic track manages to nudge along the line of chillstep, but harmoniously integrates mainly progressive house with vocals and piano tunes. Mantis on the other hand exhibits his unique sound on diverse blends of progressive house, trance, and a bit of tech house–or as Andrew describes it: “techy Max Freegrant/Jerome Isma-Ae style trance and progressive”. This EP is but a small sample of his versatility as an music artist.
And if you take a listen to one of my favorite tracks by him called Sunlight, then you can see his where his ample input of trance influence go to work. Each set of bars in the track carries on a set of harmonious and uplifting melodies that evidently makes it both unique and euphonically pleasing. An exhilarating track that will get you dancing–Sunlight acts as a serotonin booster that will have you grooving to every jubilant bass kick.
Andrew Lang was never a complete stranger to music. At a young age, he got his knack from playing the piano and being the lead guitarist for several bands. But it would be during his years in college where he would finally discover house and trance music: “One day my buddy who had recently gotten into the party scene in Toronto came over and started talking about how great this house music was that he'd been listening to in the clubs. He gave me a list of tracks to find, which I might add was actually difficult. This was in the mid 2000s, where house and trance were still very much an underground niche genre and pretty much everything was still being played on vinyl. So I put off looking up these songs for a while until one day I managed to actually get around to it. Actually I can tell you the exact song that really got me hooked: Tomcraft - Loneliness. I'm actually listening to it now while I think about it, and damn, it still holds up to this day. After that I really thought ‘there's more to this than I realized’ and went on to some of the other tracks on the list, like Junior Jack's Da Hype. Again, I was blown away. How had I dismissed this whole genre? From that point I got him to bring me CDs of tracks local DJs were playing at the time every time he came over.”
From that point on, Andrew’s burning desire to make electronic dance music would only begin to spark. He began dabbling with the ever popular macintosh software Garageband during the grind for his teaching credentials. But even after landing a full-time job as a highschool teacher, Andrew was still not completely satisfied. So after a three year tenure, he decided to leave teaching and instead focus on his desire to produce electronic music. With house and trance sustaining his passion for generating beats, Andrew Lang would commit countless hours into learning the Ableton software, watching Youtube videos, and eventually work his way up to his very first release; the Tomahawk EP. Fast forward to now, and the product of that burning commitment still shows in the music he finds interesting and creates. "I’m always producing music that I would like to listen to. I’ve never cared about making tracks just because ‘that’s what’s in right now’ or whatever”.
I asked Andrew if he had any advice to give to aspiring producers? He responded by saying:
“Be prepared to work. I started playing piano when I was 6, took up guitar when I was 11 and have been playing ever since. I started producing about 4 years ago now and I can definitively say that this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done for a number of reasons. The amount of reading and Youtube tutorials, and general trial and error I’ve had to endure over the years is hard to quantify. It takes a special kind of person to want to listen to the same loop over and over again just to tweak the smallest EQ point, or to deal with labels rejecting the demo you just worked on for weeks for example. It’s a rollercoaster and hard to stay motivated at times juggling work, life, and music responsibilities, but if you enjoy creating music and stick with it you’ll see the results.”
But his biggest piece of advice to aspiring producers is to not get so caught up in comparing yourself to others:
“It’s a natural part of being human, but don’t be so hard on yourself. A lot of these top level producers have literally been doing this since they were kids. Along the same lines, celebrate the little victories. I read that in another article somewhere and I really like the idea. Set small goals and be happy for yourself when you meet them. Maybe it’s getting support from a DJ you like, learning a new technique, or getting your latest track signed. You started making music because you enjoyed it (I hope). Don’t get caught up in the fact you aren’t on Anjunabeats after year 1. Things take time.”