The exclusive Interview for The Art of Music 059. On this month's show The Art of Music is back stage with the two German producers and DJs “Store N Forward” for an exclusive interview, so we are looking forward to knowing more about them just before their guest mix kick’s off.
Hello Christian and Thomas and welcome to The Art of Music. First of all, thanks for being here and giving me the opportunity to interview you guys. I will try to make the interview interesting rather than boring, so with that in mind I will start with the first question.
John Mig: How did it all start for you guys? What was the motivational wheel that triggered you to start producing and DJ’ing, and being together as Store N Forward?
We met each other in 1998 in the apprenticeship. We quickly realised that we have the same taste of what a club has to serve to have a good night out. Those days, Thomas was (btw he was only 16!) already part of Hamburg’s club scene. While partying together we became friends and as we both had our first experiences with arranging some bad trashy electronic stuff independently, it was just a matter of time to throw things together. The motivation in the past, present and future is always a strong belief in something.
Back in the early days, it was possibly only a fun thing and not influenced by a certain responsibility towards an audience. We were free, and we just did what we had in mind. Over the years, the freedom got a certain goal. Means whatever we produced and produce now, we always have certain focus we may be turning it into some trance or Trancy touched music someday.
John Mig: How did you come up with the name “Store N Forward” as an artist name?
“Store and Forward” is a telecommunication technique and this topic was part of one of our exams during the apprenticeship. When we decided (2001) to give it all some kind of name we just took and shortened it to Store N Forward. Simple, isn’t it?!
John Mig: Are you both DJ’ing in events and festivals, or does someone stay behind to work with the productions?
We both produce and there is actually no song only one of us had his hands on. Also, we both are part of the shows and picking the tunes of the night, even though Thomas is the lucky man on the desks while Chris has a…let’s call it water, then and jumping next to him. Probably the easier job for Chris, but fun for both though!
John Mig: Do you believe it is better to work as a duo instead of being an individual artist, and what are the benefits and disadvantages of this?
Being two has basically more benefits then disadvantages. Being creative is something you cannot force. There are days, sometimes weeks not even a simple baseline or melody wants to work, and then there is your buddy and can help you out and inspire you to let you or a track go forward. When one of us is at a certain point where he got stuck or is just ready and happy with the arrangement at a certain stage, he hands it over to the other to further proceed or a final polish. Of course, we do not have always the same opinion, but it’s like in a good marriage, without compromises it wouldn’t exist. On the other hand, if you are on your own you have to discuss with yourself. That’s sometimes harder than discussing with others.
John Mig: What are your influences in both the past and the present time?
Well, as you probably recognised our sound over the last years changed a lot and we actually don't have any answer why. When we started music we both were … and still are… huge fans of Ferry Corsten, and as we spun with him in Houston not only because of his music, he's such a nice guy and so much down to earth. And the original Ferry sound was what we were running for, well never made it as good and successful as Ferry, but anyways, "aim high"! So that was our biggest influence in the past. The last years, especially those very exciting years 2010 and 2011 were influenced by a thousand things, and not all of them are related to music. So we definitely can’t bring up all of them here. But to name a few, we really enjoyed the entire EDM development. Genres mixed up, and you have more opportunities without leaving the trance genre. Also the fact, that we bought al lot of music equipment and software was part of the influences.
John Mig: What is your favourite album and tune of all time?
Album: “Nirvana – MTV Unplugged New York” right after “Above & Beyond–Acoustic Album”
Track: There are a couple; one of these: “Michael Jackson – Leave me alone” What a badass baseline!
Album: The Dark Knight Rises Score
Track: okay… here comes the truth – I am totally addicted to Pharrell Williams - Happy
John Mig: Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?
Yes - ? but we won’t tell. Hehe
John Mig: What is generally your live setup? Are you using CDJ’s or Laptop?
We love to spin with Pioneer equipment – over the last decade Pioneer rightly developed a market leader for a DJ mixer and CD player. Well-constructed, direct & professional surface feel, clubby effects and in the meanwhile supporting USB & DVD as well.
John Mig: How do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want, and treating them to something new?
It’s always hard to find a good recipe of a perfect night, that's basically a DJs job. People want to hear their favorite tracks and of course the one or other wish could come true. But also new music needs to have space to develop and some "off the track" tracks can positively surprise the crowd. A little luck for an open minded crowd is helpful though, By the way, remember – there was a time when classic tunes were new and undiscovered and there were DJ’s who made these tunes to what they are.
John Mig: What makes a strong transition from one track to the next from your point of view, and how do you see the relative importance of establishing a flow versus creating tension, through suspenseful breaks in continuity? around that?
Good transitions can be short, can be long, can be hard or smooth. It also very much depends on the sound you play the night and the reaction in front of you and the feedback of the dance floor is mainly what let us decide the next track. So everything could happen.
John Mig: Do you feel a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies of complex DJ’ing, if they don't actually know what, precisely is happening behind the decks?
The crowd doesn’t have to. The people pay for a venue to get entertained and have a perfect night with their friends. They appreciate the fun that they have and that should be enough. Well, some of them are into the music thing and know how to mix and stuff and some of them are not. As a DJ you have to make them dance, all of them.
John Mig: What do you think about the music industry these days? Does it push the really talented artists?
We seriously could answer this question in about 10 years. hahaaa!
John Mig: In your opinion, how accurate is the DJ Mag Top 100? Does it reflect EDM in reality?
To be honest. No clue and we don’t really care.
John Mig: Back in the days people used to listen at festivals, tracks that were hard to find or to listen anywhere else. Nowadays it seems that this has changed and the tracks that you are listening to daily on the radio are the same that a DJ will play in a festival. Do you think it is better like this, or was it much better before, where the audiences didn’t know what they will listen to and they had lots of expectations?
We mentioned a bit earlier – the DJ have to entertain the people. Doesn’t matter if the DJ does it with tracks he spun a few days before in radio or not. The listeners, the people at festivals – the entire audience you build up as an act or artist, have the right to get what they want from you, having a good time, whatever helps. But for avoiding any confusion, of course we do not play for example folk music or hip-hop at our gigs for pleasing every one of them.
John Mig: Technology; is it helpful or harmful and in which ways?
Helpful because it saves time, you can have a chat and share stuff with people while having a good time in the porcelain department. But that also lets people expect you to be fast on replies and brings a certain pressure on time. Relaxing is hardly possible these days. You have to take your time and leave the phone at home here and there.
John Mig: Do you prefer to remix tracks or producing original ones?
As we are not doing so many remixes we are more into making originals.
John Mig: Do you think today Trance is at the top of EDM, or is it loosing its ground. As we have seen recently, there were some statements in various forums that state electronic music and mostly Trance has lost its quality, and has become really commercial with no impact. What is your overall opinion of Electronic music?
It's developing like we predicted years before. Production wise, Trance & Progressive Trance got even more mixed up with house, electro, pop and minimal elements in the last years and that let us hope that trance gets more attractive to the world again due to reaching a wider audience. Besides that, we are positively surprised that the 138bpm sound got reactivated. It seems that the old spirit from back in the days is on some floors again. But yes, there is a commercial part in it and we think it’s good. Don’t forget, there are people who make music for a living because they love what they do. How could that work without a commercial aspect to it. How could they set up festivals like Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, the ASOT parties and so on without earning money? See it with a smile – the commerce opens the music for a brighter and bigger audience and even small acts and artists have the chance to make something really big out of this like never before!
John Mig: What inspires you guys to produce music?
A mood, a view, a moment, a sound, a folksong, a death metal song, a pop song, some trance, people.......silence......and it all comes along with a feeling. Philosophic, isn’t it? ...but don’t get us wrong, it’s not that we are walking through the streets while being heavily sedated, watching the sky and licking frogs for further ideas on future tracks. (We don’t!) There are way more moments you are even not open for getting inspired at all. That’s life. But those other small moments support us every once in a while. The naked truth also is: Sitting in the studio, having a coffee and just start just something like scribbling on white paper until the biggest garbage or something nice comes out of your hands.
John Mig: Which hardware and software do you use to produce? Any favourite plug-ins?
DAW: Cubase 5.5.3 Workstation: Intel i7 2600k PC with Windows 7 Professional and 8GB RAM – Interface – eMU1616m Monitoring: Genelec 8040a, Mackie HR824 and Mackie BigKnob Mixing and Recording: Yamaha O3D, SPL Goldmike, Rode NT1000, TLaudio 5021,dbx266XL Hardware Synths: Access Virus B Softsynths: Virus B / Powercore, JP6k, Massive, Sylenth, Nexus making 99% of the sounds Software: Waves Diamond Bundle, Waves OneKnob, 2xUAD1 (Standard plus Fairchild, Dreamverb and PultecPro) and 1x Powercore (Standard plus Harmonie and Virus)
John Mig: Do you have any tips that you may want to share with us for the new producers out there?
Many roads lead to Rome! Keep your head up, stay curious and learn how to use your tools instead of using tons of senseless plugins.
John Mig: What do you think about ghost producing?
Ghost producing is happening and we really don’t care. We do our own stuff that only counts. There are different kind of careers. If that should be the way being successful, why not? There are guys in the back are no real entertainers with big producing skills and be sure, they are happy to have a market to sell their goods. Authenticity lies in the eye of the beholder. Live and let live.
John Mig: What was the best and worst experience of your music career so far?
Best - Playing with Ferry Corsten in Houston. This was a crazy night! Worst - Early years: Playing in front of four people and a dog due to parallel event Oktoberfest.
John Mig: Any upcoming gigs for the summer? Any favourite country or club that you want to perform?
Complete gig stop due to focus on our debut artist album during the summer.
John Mig: How do you relax guys when you are not producing or doing gigs? What do you like to do most?
Chris: Couch surfing, some fitness, watching football or riding motorbike. Thomas: I am a movie fan (nerd) so I spend a lot of time with this. I also love football and racket ball.
John Mig: What should we expect from Store N Forward in 2014? Any new albums or collaborations?
As mentioned, we are releasing our debut artist album in the end of 2014 and we are totally excited about it. We had the chance to work with other great musicians like Mil Brokes, Johnny Norberg, Cynthia Hall and are very happy with the results so far. A lot of things to be done still! But we will 100%ly make it! Watch out!
John Mig: What would you like to say to your fans and The Art of Music listeners?
We cannot wait to see you out there in the clubs! Until then you can follow up on everything we do on these websites.
Thanks a lot for reading and having us! Boyaaa!
That was it. Thank you Christian and Thomas for this great in depth interview and we look forward to listening to your guest mix.