Jun 03, 2016
Andrew Rayel Talks Recent Productions, Mashups, & Track Selection
Last week we were lucky enough to catch Andrew Rayel's performance at Soundcheck in Washington, D.C. It was a big day for Rayel as earlier Armin van Buuren featured his Dreamstate edit of "Dark Warrior" on A State Of Trance. We took some time to catch up with Rayel to discuss his approach to his sets and recent productions.
How do you approach a set at an intimate nightclub vs. a bigger club or festival set?
Andrew Rayel: At a festival with only an hour, I have to play pretty much all the banging songs. For a club, I have more freedom and time. I can play some more underground tracks, maybe some psy, but it’s still going to have a lot of bangers and new music off of my upcoming album which I’ve been testing since Ultra Miami. Each time, I add a little more to see how they work, and then I go back to the studio and change things.
You have a lot of big mashups. How do you listen to songs and approach these?
Rayel: For me, most of the time, mashups come from a time limitation. You have one hour, and there’s way too many tracks I want to play, so I start cutting them and putting them together. Take the best parts of all of them and make a mashup. After that, it just comes naturally and I’ll play them. I can just hear tracks that fit perfectly together in the same key with the same type of harmony.
When you’re road testing new tracks, do you like to play them in their original form, or with a vocal that people know?
Rayel: For the tracks that are new, I’m not putting anything on top of that because I want to see how they work naturally. Maybe they need something changed or added. For example, when I played “Epiphany” for the first time, the break was completely different. There was no vocal and the melody was different. I played it at ASOT Toronto for the first time. You can hear a difference in the melody and vocals. So sometimes people are confused by this.
What do you think was the inspiration for your most recent single “Epiphany”?
Rayel: I wanted to get back a little more into the traditional Andrew Rayel sound with those opera vocals, but still gave it a bit of a new touch and it sounds pretty modern. I found the amazing vocal that sounds totally different from the original sample. A lot of people ask me where we find these amazing vocals, and the answer is that it’s a secret. I don’t want to let it out because not many people know about where we get the vocals from. Probably only Armin, me, Orjan Nilsen, and a few other guys know. Sometimes we record them, but it’s tough to find a voice like that. Those people singing those vocals - they’re not really meant for electronic music.
Today, you had the Dreamstate Remix of “Dark Warrior” played on A State Of Trance. Can you talk about that?
Rayel: You know, this year I got offered to play the Dreamstate stage at Beyond Wonderland, so I decided to create a couple of unique edits for some of my songs because I promised the fans that I’m not going to play any EDM or commercial tracks. “Dark Warrior” is one of my most famous tracks, but it’s right in between genres. I decided I would remove everything possible that would be considered EDM and did a 140 BPM psy trance edit for “Dark Warrior” in my hotel room in Miami during MMW.
You played it as the last song of your Ultra set!
Rayel: Yeah, it was my last song, and there were four people screaming at me that I had to cut it out. That’s why I played just like ten seconds of the drop, and then had to cut it out. Obviously there are time limitations to everyone’s set. But I really wanted to play it. It was the first time that I was playing it live. I had to play it, so I played pretty much all of the song and ten seconds of the drop, and then had to cut it before people killed me. Officially, it was broadcast for the first time today on A State Of Trance.
How do you use 1001tracklists?
Rayel: I love the site. Back in the day, I had to listen to everyone’s set who plays before me, like at ASOT. Now I can just sit down, relax, and five minutes before my set pull it up on my phone to see what the person who was before me played. Armin does the same thing. That’s where I learned it from. This year at Ultra, after my set I went straight into the radio dome to be interviewed and Armin was looking at my tracklist on the site and goes, “Oh, you played 34 tracks in one hour!”
Anything else you’d like to add?
Rayel: I’m working on my next album. I’m working really hard on it and constantly adding new material. It’s going to be released probably at the end of this year or beginning of next year.
short link 1001.tl/39yryb