Feb 16, 2013

British trance legend Stuart Langelaan, aka Lange, has been part of the scene since the late ’90s and is still going strong. He took some time after his set at Digital Society’s Sixth Birthday in Leeds to talk to LessThan3 about the current state of the scene, his recent work, and what the future holds for him and his music.

Lange vs. Genix - Immersion (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]
LessThan3: Your back-to-back set with Andy Moor went well tonight. Is this something you do regularly?
Stuart: This is only our second time, but we’re on the same agency and we’re very good friends so we thought it would be good fun to do it at this event. We did a back-to-back for 15,000 people on NYE in San Francisco, which was absolutely amazing, I have to say. We have a few more events lined up this year, but we’re keeping it for a select few.
LessThan3: Do you think the way the scene has exploded in the US is a good thing?
Stuart: It’s a good thing, but the problem is, for the more peripheral scenes like trance–and I say trance as in the “real trance”–it’s lost a little bit of ground to the “housey” side of things. House music has become more trancey and epic, trance music has become a bit more house. We’ve lost a little bit of the journey that trance used to offer.
LessThan3: How do you feel about the UK scene at the moment and the way some clubs have shut down but then you’ve got bigger events like this still happening?
Stuart: You look at the crowd out there and they clearly like their trance. They like the melodies, but they like it quite tough as well. But it is sad that the UK doesn’t seem to be able to sustain many weekly nights; it’s all about doing monthly events. Possibly it’s economy driven, but it’s annoying that it’s that way.
LessThan3: You’ve been part of the dance music scene for over 15 years now. What major changes have you seen in that time?
Stuart: I would say the spirit is still the same, but obviously things have really changed with the music industry and the record label side of it. Tracks you produce now are literally around for a few weeks. Obviously you have the ones that move into classic territory, but for the most part tracks have a really short life-span nowadays. It used to be about having a vinyl promo going out, then you’d have a lifespan of six months for a record. The scene has really moved on as well; at the moment we are seeing it going through this unusual stage with house and electro very much joining with trance. America has woken up to it as well. They call it EDM, though I’m not a massive fan of that term.
LessThan3: What’s the key to staying at the top of your game?
Stuart: You’ve got to take on the new way of thinking. I have a label, Lange Recordings, and we operate in a very modern way with digital releases. You have to have the mindset that things have drastically changed.
LessThan3: There’s been a buzz on social networks recently about producers changing their style to suit certain trends. What are your thoughts on this?
Stuart: I agree that there are some people that are doing that by the looks of it. I’m hearing a lot of producers doing the stabby house SHM-style stuff, and if I’m honest I do find that kind of stuff pretty boring. What I look for has either got to be emotive stuff, which is what trance is all about, or it’s got to be something that has a twist to it and isn’t generic. I think that there is a problem at the moment with the trance scene, and yes, there should be these people shouting out “come on we need some real trance”, but at the same time I don’t necessarily feel that “real trance” should be “old trance.” I don’t make “old trance” any more; I’m known for a particular sound and I feel that I’m quite forward thinking. People five years ago were complaining that Orjan Nilsen “is making this new stuff; it’s not real trance” but now they see some of his older tracks as trance classics, and they’re not “old school” trance tracks, so I think you have to be careful.
LessThan3: You’re best known among the general public for your earlier hits such as Follow Me and Drifting Away–how do you feel that relates to your current era?
Stuart: They were at a time in the UK where trance completely crossed over; tracks like Drifting Away were in the pop charts and I look at those days very, very fondly. But trance doesn’t have to be like that anymore. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but we’ve moved forward a little bit, we’ve tried different things, and we’ve encompassed what dance music has to offer. A bit of groove and slower BPMs can work a little better in some circumstances.
LessThan3: You’re playing the ASOT600 event in Madrid. It must be pretty exciting to be part of such a massive global event.
Stuart: I’m really looking forward to that. I did it last year as well in London and it’s always a great showcase to do whatever you want to do for an hour.
LessThan3: Your collaboration with Genix is out this week on Anjunabeats. How did that come about?
Stuart: It came about just by chatting with Genix; I’ve known him for a long time. I think it was almost exactly a year ago when we said “lets do a track” and he came over six months ago and we made it.
LessThan3: What do the next 12 months hold for you?
Stuart: I’ve got an album coming later in the year, but I’m not going to keep you waiting all year and have a sparse release schedule. I’m going to be sharing the tracks as I go along. The idea is that I’ll have a year presenting the album and then it will culminate in the final product.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Stuart: I think in that situation I would have more on my mind and probably wouldn’t be reaching for my iPod!
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Stuart: Emotive, driving, epic.
Airplay enabled