The double ender: interview with trance legends Darren Tate and Mike Koglin
Reported by josie
Submitted 03-01-07 19:09
Darren Tate is an London-based producer and DJ with a long and glittering career, having worked with a wide range of international artists and writers. He is also one of the world’s most successful cross over dance producers, having had hits as Jurgen Vries, Angelic, Orion, Citizen Caned and most recently DT8 Project, under which guise he released summer smash ‘The Sun Is Shining (Down On Me)’, and vocal trancer ‘Winter’. Darren owns label Mondo Records and DJ agency Mondo DJs. Not averse to a few cocktails and a chance to talk about his music, Darren was only too happy to answer some questions from the good people of HF, and a few others beside. Even better, Mike Koglin was also hanging about with nothing better to do than submit to a light grilling.
Mike came to prominence in 1998 with his anthem and UK top 20 hit ‘The Silence’, still one of the most popular and respected trance tracks out there. Owner and manager of Noys Music, Mike has collaborated with some of the biggest names in trance as well as signed international artists. He has DJ’ed across the UK, including at Passion and The Gallery, while finding time for international appearances at Japan’s biggest club Velfarre in Tokyo, Malaysia’s Zouk, the USA, Germany, Finland, Belgium and Greece.
Darren, I’ve hardly seen you on flyers in the last couple of years. Why is that? [Ed_Case]
D: Ouch! Well I’ll tell you why, it’s because I’ve been working feverishly on an album. I purposely made a decision at the end of my last major commercial project, which was Jurgen Vries, to take time out to do the new project — the DT8 album. The reason was, although I’ve done a lot of credible underground club music, people were getting the idea that the Jurgen sound was synonymous with what I did as a DJ. I want people to really hear the music I’m about now.
When is ‘Hold Me to the End’ getting a release and will the Ronski Speed remix be on it? [Dubster]
D: It’s getting a release at the end of January. There’s still not a definitive date because Sony are seeing how things develop. We licensed it to Sony BMG for the UK because they had some good ideas with it and we wanted to work with a big label. Ronski has done a mix on it, and it’s really down to Sony whether they want to use it or not. Mondo has commissioned remixes on every record on the album and Ronksi was originally the remixer on ‘Hold Me to the End’. Aly and Fila did a mix which we really liked as well, and I’ve done a mix called the Truly Deeply Dub. Funnily enough that one got support from Armin and PvD. Obviously for me though it’s the original mix that’ll make this record happen.
When is the album going to be released?
D: Realistically we’re looking at after the follow up to ‘Hold Me to the End’. We’ve currently pencilled in a record called ‘Circle of Life’, also known as ‘Lose Yourself’, the reason being there’s an instrumental and a vocal version. So if we’re looking at ‘Hold Me’ in January we’re probably talking springtime for the album. If ‘Hold Me’ does far better than we expect though it could be that Sony bring the album forward.
How long has the album taken?
D: Some of the tracks started production 5 years ago, but I’m not going to say I worked on it for 5 years, that’s not true. I started to really want to make the album happen after DT8 — ‘Destination’ back in 2002. At the time, Roxanne Wilde was going to feature across the whole album and a lot of it was recorded with her. Over time as production standards have increased and my ideas about an album have changed, I’ve ended up revisiting nearly all the records and producing them differently and bringing other artists on board. We’ve now got a whole different beast from where I started but I think that’s made it far more exciting.
Actually I heard that someone’s done an amazing remix of ‘Succumb’ on the DT8 album [untwists arm].
M: It’s amazing, yes, that’s what I heard.
D: It’s a weird thing… this retired producer who hasn’t done anything for years kept writing letters to us saying ‘listen, I know people haven’t heard of me for ages but I’m just wondering whether there’s any chance I could do an on spec remix for you’. This had been going on for a while and Dale and me looked at each other and we went ‘shall we’, and he went ‘oh go on mate, go on’ and we said all right then. Here’s Mike now, and the result after several takes was indeed a great remix. It’s a wonderful complement to the package of remixes.
M: Does that mean the remixers are going to get paid soon?
So who else has done remixes?
M: Well… me, Mike Koglin, this German guy… Mike whathisname…
D: Above & Beyond, Lange, Gareth Emery, Adam White, Sunny Lax — you’ll like his mix, also Ronski Speed and Aly and Fila. One person actually heard the record and said ‘ want to do a remix just because I love the record so much’, honestly.
You’re a classically trained musician. What’s your background and what instruments do you play? [Stace]
D: I play piano grade 8 and er the clarinet… can I just point out the interviewer is laughing at me like I said I stuffed a flute up myself at band camp.
How handy does the clarinet come in then?
D: Well it’s really handy because sometimes I put it together and I smash things with it. I don’t really use it… the clarinet doesn’t feature very much. Unfortunately I made a tragic mistake when I was young, I had the choice between — don’t laugh at me when I say this — learning the guitar or the clarinet, and I really liked the idea of being leader of the band so I chose the clarinet. I got it wrong it terms of what’s required now in the music making business. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a useful benefit to learn all instruments, but I could of done with learning the guitar.
If you had a year now to teach yourself something new what would you do?
D: I’m actually going to get a guitar within the next month.
Are you going to have lessons?
D: Well right now I know that a lot of the things I need in records are quite simple and I reckon I could work them out myself, but to be honest if you want to be good you’ve got to get lessons. It wouldn’t be bad getting lessons, but I want to get lessons in plenty of things… and I barely have enough time to dress myself.
When and where do you have upcoming gigs in London? [TheWorkman]
D: I don’t really. Electronic Sessions is the next gig in London. I played in America in December and Dubai for NYE. I’m doing America again in this month then SPX in Southampton, then the Electronic Sessions Boat Party and something in Ireland. After that Australia and New Zealand, which takes me up to March or April.
So do you get more gigs abroad?
D: I do tend to play more abroad. Although Mondo is based in the UK, the music I’m involved with has a widespread appeal, and because of the internet there are fans of that music all over the world. Obviously in the UK there’s a turn towards house music right now, electro house and other forms, whereas around the rest of the world you’ll find the stuff that I play is actually becoming more popular.
Do you have any more collaborations lined up with Jono Grant, as Nocturnal Creatures is one of my favourite tracks? [kr00t0n]
D: I tell you what, there’s a new Darren Tate record called ‘Echoes’ and if you like ‘Nocturnal’ you’ll probably like it. It’s a good one for the trance fan. Actually I spoke to Jono last week and we were both saying we should do another one. We aim to do one next year sometime so it’s on the cards.
Mike what’s coming up for you, what releases are on the cards?
M: There’s my collaboration with Paavo of Above & Beyond, called ‘Untitled Audio’. My other release which was out on 11th December is another collaboration with Alex MORPH called ‘Shift’, which is another track taken from my highly successful album ‘VS’.
Haha I gave you 4 stars out of 5 for that album and called you ‘one of the most affectionately regarded characters in trance’.
D: He’s put that quote on his myspace profile! Mike lives by myspace.
M: It’s true, my life has been overtaken by myspace.
How many ‘friends’ do you have, 9660?
M: Not quite, 8150.
Who’s the biggest name you’ve got in your myspace friends?
D: You’re looking at him baby.
M: Tiësto’s one of my friends, then you find out there’s about 9 Tiëstos on myspace… but all 9 of them are my friends!
Mike what’s coming up for you in terms of gigs, are you playing more abroad as well? You headlined last year at the Love Parade didn’t you?
M: At San Francisco yeah. In fact I just got back from San Francisco again, playing 1015 and another party called Intergalactic and this weekend I’m in Tokyo playing at a club called Velfarre.
Do you ever play in Germany?
M: I played last month at the Euphonic label night in Berlin with Kyau & Albert, Ronski Speed, Stoneface & Terminal, that was great fun.
So Darren how’s your new studio looking?
D: Great… except I haven’t done it yet, I did my flat instead. I used to be the guy with everything, all the equipment in the world, but that was six years ago. I still have tons of equipment but I haven’t upgraded it in ages. When I do it’s going to f*cking rock.
Give us some specifications for the techy people in the audience.
D: I’m going from a ProTools Mix Plus system on a G4 Mac running OS9 which is really out of date and Logic 6, to a G5 Intel Mac dual processor, which is going to be able to run I would say 100 times more things than my current set up. What it will enable me to do is not only have a thousand times more access to what I want, it’ll enable me to work 50 times quicker than I can right now. It lets you be so much more creative. I read a piece on the Apple homepage about Gabriel & Dresden and they were talking about their mixes, and one of the things they were talking about - they put distortion modules on every single audio channel so they had a little bit of distortion across the entire mix. You can see how a little bit of that would work, just creates a little bit more energy. If I did that on my setup — if I put four of those on my computer — it’ll blow up, the studio will be on fire.
Mike what’s your technical set up at the moment?
M: What I did, which is what a lot of people are doing at the moment, is go back from the digital route and go a bit more analogue again. A lot of people had a Digital 8-Bus plus a digital mixing consul, which looks good but doesn’t actually sound all that great. I compared my mixes I did on my old analogue mixer I had and I decided to go back and have one instance of analogue in the mix. I use a G5 running Logic. It’s nice to have that analogue mixer addition during the mix so you can eq things… overdrive certain elements, and then record it back into the computer.
You’re both known for your big trance sound. Are you tempted to follow other trance and hard trance producers into other genres? [Markus]
M: Trance has obviously been around since 1997 or so… when I was in my early 60s haha, so it’s not surprising that people get slightly bored with what I call ‘fluffy trance’… breakdowns, snare rolls, know what I mean? I’m really into what I call techno trance fusion which takes a lot of drum elements from techno — the Dutch know how to do it best — like Sander van Doorn, who’s one of my favourite DJs and producers. People like Mac Zimms, e-craig, all those boys… that’s what I’m trying to do as well.
D: The DT8 album covers all sorts of genres — electro, breakbeat, chill out.
Last question, what was Charlotte Church like to work with?
D: Oh give me a break I’m not answering this again.
No wait… did you rinse her on the mixing desk and if not why not? [DJ Zone]
M: He did.
D: Mike’s right I did. Thing is though, when she decided to come in and take her ***** down and put that *** on the mixing desk… [edited… for fear of colossal libel damages].
Photos courtesy of Mike Koglin and Darren Tate. Not to be used elsewhere without permission.
Share this :: : : :
Follow HarderFaster ::
Other Features By josie:
It's the Generation game featuring Agnelli & Nelson, The Thrillseekers and Lange
Peach at Heaven: Reviewed
The Gallery at Turnmills: Reviewed
The International Indoor Festival at SeOne: reviewed
Knowwhere @ Heaven ... reviewed
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.