LessThan3: Why the number 54?
Shane: It comes from a film called “54”. The main character buys a car, and the license plate says “Shane 54.” I looked great in the film so I borrowed it in 2000.
LessThan3: Trance mashups seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and you guys seem to be at the head of the pack. Where did the idea come from to make mashups a key element of your performance?
Shane: Mashing up comes from our pop background. We always look for that special “goosebumps feeling” which you only get from a mashup, and the song is almost lifted to a pop song level without being badly cheesy. There is good cheese, and bad cheese. There’s nothing wrong with the first one. To be honest, I don’t even remember the first mashup I ever made. Mashups are nothing new; there’s always been stuff like that out, even in the ’80s.
Myon: We always like to think outside the boundaries. Of course it helps if you have more than 400 a cappellas or remix kits within your reach. Sometimes the artists themselves ask us to mash them up and provide multitrack material. That is a crucial element, since a lot of what we have would definitely cause a lot of internet traffic, but these people know that their stuff won’t get leaked from us.
LessThan3: Who are some artists you’d like to collaborate with in the near future? Any favorite vocalists?
Myon: There are always artists that would be unbelievable to work with or even officially mash up, but we don’t like to give out names! As far as singers, Shane can sing like a bird. He was a singer back in the day. He is the vocalist on our next single Wicked Game.
One of our absolute favorites is Aruna
. Her songwriting is admirable, and her voice is just astonishing, but there are a lot of very good singers out there to adore.
LessThan3: What has been the toughest and most impressive bit of licensing you’ve been able to get so far?
Myon: Licensing is a difficult task if you’re talking about bootlegs and mashups. They are very hard because artists do not yet understand the power of those. If they would they could make more money.
LessThan3: Some say trance is fading in the clubs compared to house, while other say trance is bigger than it’s ever been. What’s your take on the debates and the direction of trance in general?
Shane: In the early 2000s trance was so popular that even instrumental club tracks became Top 10 records in the UK, selling by the cartload. While it’s definitely not as mainstream as it used to be, but it still has a lot of stamina, and due to the nature of the genre it’s easily blendable to other kinds of music. On the other hand, what’s fading is the lost art of songwriting. That is a much bigger problem. It’s not to say that good ideas aren’t around, but the songs seem to got lost in the whirlwind of sampling CDs and premade sounds. Most of the artists are using the same synths, samples and sound sources and it really makes the music boring and predictable.
Myon: People just don’t have the time to explore all their gear. If they run out of factory presets, they would rather look for the next synth than program new sounds themselves into the instruments they like. Of course it is very comfortable, but it makes everyone lazy in a way. It’s ridiculous sometimes how people don’t want to take risks with their music, or how much they don’t care as long as they have gigs to play at. We make music for our own enjoyment, and if we listen to our productions in a couple of years, we want to be proud of them. I would hate to say “but it sounded great three years ago when it was trendy.” But if you have a strong song in the first place, it will carry the whole thing on its shoulders, whatever genre you produce the track in.
Shane: These days most of the labels are more likely to sign someone if his or her music sounds familiar to or (even worse) like an exact copy of something that has been a big hit before. We both are getting sick of hearing the same chord progressions over and over again, and even though we are just as guilty of using them sometimes, we always try to make it a little more exciting, and put that little twist on it that makes it different.
Myon: It’s never been easier to make music than these days, and it has an effect on the music industry big time. People with absolutely no musical background can have a hit if their ideas are good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is all those people who will never be really good in what they’re doing, but due to the pre-made sounds, loops, and samples they will never sound as bad as they really are. Any digital label somewhere in the world can make it accessible, but it will be forgotten way too fast, and in a couple of months time no one will remember those songs apart from the guy who made them.
LessThan3: Tell our viewers about your podcast International Departures. What kind of sound can they expect to hear?
There are no rules; we play whatever as long as we can blend it into the mix. After hearing our Smells Like Teen Spirit
remix on ASOT 450, Armin
told us we can play a rock track at a full-on trance party and still get away with it.
Shane: This is the kind of approach people can expect from us, and we think it is a very strong selling point of the show–“to boldly go where no man has ever gone before.”
LessThan3: What social media tools do you find are most successful with your fanbase? In what ways do you see your podcast contributing to your overall digital presence?
Shane: We use the usual channels, and very much like to see how our fanbase grows. We post on Facebook and Twitter a lot, and sometimes silly stuff gives the best reactions. it’s invaluable to have instant feedback from the people who really like our music.
Myon: The radio show gained a lot of listeners lately; we enjoy posting it every Tuesday. It’s sort of a ritual now, and we couldn’t miss it for anything. It is a very important tool because it enables us to show the world what goes on in “Myon & Shane 54 Land.”