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Tuesday 28th, February 2006
Hemstock & Jennings

Les Hemstock and his partner Chris Jennings are the most revered and successful trance producers in Britain. Their productions are played by the worlds top DJ's including Paul van Dyk, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Guy Ornadel, Johan Gielen - the list is truly endless! After joining forces a few years ago, Hemstock & Jennings had a string of massive anthems as ‘Sagitaire’, ‘Merge’ and ‘Hemstock & Jennings’, lining the UKs record shops, resulting in them being one of the most in demand remix and production teams in the UK. Les has remixed for the likes of ‘Ian van Dahl’, ‘Warp Brothers’ and ‘Joshua Ryan’ and his winning collaboration with Paul van Dyk is certainly a major highlight. Their record ‘Nothing But You’ sold tens of thousands worldwide charting in every Top 20 national chart. As an international DJ, Les has entertained crowds all around the world. Whether it be playing in front of 60,000 clubbers at the huge Dance Valley festival in Holland, rocking the BBC Radio one soundstage in Ibiza or touring Asia with Gatecrasher. In England Les regularly appears at all the major trance clubs including Gatecrasher, Slinky, Goodgreef, Promise, and Escape. 2004 saw Hemstock & Jennings hit the worlds clubs with yet more huge trance hits including ‘Reverance’ signed to Mondo Records and ‘Magenta’ which has featured on Gatecrashers compilation and Paul van Dyk’s Mixmag covermount compilation CD. Not only did Judge Jules and Armin van Buuren make ‘Reverance’ their radio shows tune of the week and Tried and Tested accolade, but Tiesto also used it several times to open his live gigs! 2005 saw the release of ‘The Passion’ on Mondo records and Hemstock & Jennings make another global advance by signing to fellow trance producer and top DJ Armin van Buuren's label for future Hemstock & Jennings releases, beginning with their widely supported ‘Babylon’ tune. And recently Hemstock & Jennings made their first mix compilation ever called ‘Quest For Trance’ on United Recordings.

Trance.nu: How did you guys meet each other and when did you decide to team up?
Les: In 1998 I signed my solo tune Gold & Delicious “Ascension” to Judge Jules label ‘Serious Records’. During this time I met a production manager at Serious Records recording studios in London whom informed me he managed a producer by the name of Chris Jennings in Stoke on Trent. He was surprised that I hadn’t heard of Chris, my being from the same town.
The production manager put me in touch with Chris and we obviously hit it off and have never looked back. Since our first tune, Sagitaire “Shout” on Dave Pearce’s “Nu-Life” label we have created some of the biggest trance tunes from the UK including our Paul van Dyk collaboration and Top 20 UK hit.


Trance.nu: You also worked together with Paul van Dyk. How was it to work together with him?
Les: Well, as anyone familiar with our back catalogue will know “Nothing But You” was originally entitled “Arctic” on our Phaze Records label.
It was a song I wrote in Norwegian from my days of residence in Norway. Chris and I had a chord structure down which we recorded sometime earlier and decided to ask our session vocalist if she would like to give it a go for us.
Our session singer by the way was Kym Marsh, lead singer with the band “Hearsay” (winners of the Popstars TV show) Kym used to drive over from Wigan to sing sessions on various tunes for us before she was drafted for the TV show. In fact we didn’t even know she had entered for the show until her Dad said she was in Norway because of a TV competition she had won. That was all good and well as she certainly deserved it.
Kym picked up the Norwegian phrases for “Arctic” very quickly and sang like an angel. Chris and I recorded the tune and sent it out to labels who thought it was too slow and not pacey enough for the dance market so we went back to do a new mix with a big riff and then we manufactured it ourselves. When I received the white labels I sent them out to all the A-list DJ’s including Paul van Dyk in Germany.
Paul rang me weeks later and asked if he could either sign it to remix or we could collaborate with him on it for his forthcoming album. Naturally we opted for the lucrative advantage of a collaboration and flew out to Berlin where we joined Paul for a couple of days. It’s quite funny as Paul didn’t realize those were actual words on the tune, he thought they were purely ad-libs and when I told him what the words meant in English he came up with the title ‘Nothing But You’
The ironic thing is that the mix Paul eventually released was also more similar to our original mix of ‘Arctic’ that everyone rejected and now because it had his name connected everyone wanted it – ironic and quite petty that the industry responds to names in this way and must overlook so many great tunes without really listening to their potential.
All in all ‘Nothing But You’ was a great success and not only was the launch single for Paul van Dyk’s new album but also the biggest single from the album on an international scale which says something for our production idea in the first place don’t you think? It was great to see the tune in at No.14 on the UK charts.


Trance.nu: Will there be a follow up for ‘Nothing But You’ maybe?
Les: Doubtful as we have so many tunes written that there really isn’t time for any outside influences at this time though you never know what’s around the corner so stay tuned as they say…


Trance.nu: And collaborations with other producers?
Les: To be honest we don’t have any intentions of working with anyone at all for a while unless it’s an important career move that is unavoidable.


Trance.nu: Are there any producers or vocalists that you would like to work with? And who would it be and why?
Les: There are really very little producers we would want to work with these days beside the well established BT or Dutch new boy Jochen Miller whom I highly rate. As far as vocalists are concerned I believe the best ones are yet to be discovered so who knows maybe we discover who we really want to work with?


Trance.nu: Do you both have your own studio, or do you work together in 1 studio?
Les: Chris and I share our studio in Stoke on Trent which we co-own and run.


Trance.nu: What is your favorite equipment?
Les: I think it has to be the computer a G5 and simply because without it there would be no dance music these days.


Trance.nu: What do you prefer: Software / hardware?
Les: We used to be full on hardware but as times progressed so have we and now it’s software all the way!


Trance.nu: You guys produced some tracks under aliases like Magenta, Sagitaire, Fusion, Merge and of course Hemstock & Jennings. Can we expect some new tracks from any of those projects in the near future?
Les: Possibly – we have lots of new tunes lined up for future production and with the restrictions of contractual obligation we may find ourselves using further pseudos.


Trance.nu: In the past you guys did remixes for acts such as Ian van Dahl, Warp Brothers, Neo & Farina and Moogwai. Can we expect some new remixes made by you guys soon?
Les: We recently finished a remix for Aria ‘Tears Of An Angel’ which should be seeing a Dutch release very soon and we also recently completed a mix for Sony Music in the UK of a great song called ‘Drown In Me’ by Silencer.


Trance.nu: The two of you recently remixed a double CD called ‘Quest For Trance’. This one is out now. How was it to mix a compilation like this one?
Les: This is our debut trance compilation through a very well respected label in Holland, United Recordings whom I have long admired and supported through their great releases. The album has been an absolute pleasure to create, not only from the amount of quality tunes we used in the mix but also to work with such a great team as Hans van Veen and his crew.
This album will also feature a unique mixing concept never before done in the history of dance compilations. We have taken parts of each tune like vocals, effects and synths from the masters and actually mixed them into the cross over’s as well as editing the mixes into unique forms that can never be found anywhere else in those compiled tunes other than this album. No producer in the world could remake this album exactly was we have – I guarantee it.
You would not believe how many man hours this album has taken and we have worked it like no other product…I hope we have given the CD buying clubber something more for their money than the average money making corporate compilation. Anyone can check it out at the United Recordings website; http://www.unitedrecordings.com/questfortrance


Trance.nu: How are the reactions on the compilation so far?
Les: Amazing….reactions are flooding in from fans and industry alike whom al comment on the quality of the content and the unique mixing style of the whole double album. In fact Chris and I have received two other offers in the last two weeks for mixing other label compilations. We are considering but will not commit yet as we have an amount of our own productions to complete primarily.


Trance.nu: Will there be a follow up for this CD in the future?
Les: Hopefully yes - we would like to do it though I think as a label United Recordings have to research other producers too and we also have to be careful of not over marketing our name. One thing is for sure – the amount of quality United release would always tempt us back for another bash!


Trance.nu: Les, you are a DJ for a long time. What are the biggest changes in the scene during the years?
Les: Without doubt the biggest change has been the music style and technology which I think has gone mad! I’m not interested in how a computer programme can cue up my tunes and play them from a laptop - I’m interested in playing bloody good tunes and watching a club full of people going nuts – that’s it! Nothing more is required of a DJ in all truth.
I have watched music change which is fine as it should always be developing and progressing and its good to see equipment has developed to the extent of CD players being not only equal to the record deck though in fact being better now.
Time will tell but as long as there is live music there has to be a live element and that element is the man supplying the sounds – the DJ - not the computer…a computer doesn’t have a soul - remember that!


Trance.nu: What is your Top 5 of this moment?
1. Hemstock & Jennings – Babylon
2. Aria – Tears Of An Angel
3. T.B.A. – Revelation
4. Jochen Miller – Chromatic
5. Hemstock & Jennings – Mirage (Jochen Miller Remix)


Trance.nu: What can people expect of Hemstock & Jennings in the near future?
Les: The new trance single on Armins label called ‘Babylon’ – another set of international dates with our new live PA and DJ sets around the world as well as lots of new releases and various other things like radio shows and remixes which will certainly help us spread our music to a global audience.
Oh... and there may be one or two surprises in store for 2006..stay tuned!


Trance.nu: Thank you very much for your time and good luck in the future!
Les: Thank you too and best wishes to all your readers!


Written by:
dancemania

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