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Wednesday 26th, October 2005
Ian Betts Interview

Ian Betts is a rising star in the UK trance scene, with DJ gigs at some of the hottest clubs, his own record label- Six:Thirty and a blossoming production career. He's just returned from Cream in Ibiza where he played the closing party, and on the back of this the lovely Annabel from Mostwanted PR caught up with Ian for a chat especially for you lot!!!

1)For those who read Trance.nu, tell us who you are and where we can find you playing?

I'm a UK based trance DJ and producer with a residency at HeatUK. I've been playing in the UK and abroad for about 6 years now taking in places like Australia, Spain, Netherlands, Israel and Thailand, and this year I've played at events including Dance Valley, Cream in Ibiza, South West Four, Tidy Weekender and Euphoria. I also run three record labels; Six:Thirty Records, Six:ThirtyDigital and Pandemic Sounds, I've had around a half a dozen tracks released including 'Polarise', 'Shimmer' and 'Koinomia', and have remixed tracks by Matt Darey, Kuffdam & Plant, Elude and Zirenz amongst others.

2)What style of trance do you play?

It obviously depends on what time of the night I'm playing but I guess I'm best known for my high-octane euphoric trance; tracks with big riffs, soaring melodies, driving basslines and loads of dancefloor energy! I play all kinds of stuff right across the board though, from chunky funky progressive and tech sounds right through to hard trance, it really depends on the crowd and the event. I love breakbeats too!

3)Where can we expect to hear you in the near future?

I'll be playing my HeatUK residency on November 19th at the Koko Club in London for our Evolution night where each DJ plays classic tracks from a given year - I've been chosen to play tracks from 1998 so I'm going to be really spoiled for choice! I'll be making my Wildchild debut @ SE1 for their 3rd Birthday on October 29th amongst a line-up that is a who's who of trance! I'll also be playing with Mauro Picotto on Nov 5th at The Fridge in London and returning to the Gallery @ Turnmills on Dec 9th. And then I'll be at Brixton Academy on New Year’s Eve for a very special event with some of the biggest names in trance - I'd love to tell you the line-up but I've been sworn to secrecy, although it will be a real treat!!

4)Tell us about playing Cream Closing. Was that special?

Oh yeah, very special!! I've played at Cream a couple of times now but this one was far and away the best - the atmosphere was electric and Amnesia was as busy as I've ever seen it, to witness the reaction which Tiesto held was quite something. Everything about the Cream nights at Amnesia is amazing - the line-ups, the music, the attention to detail, the sound system, and the ice cannon of course! I've been lucky enough to play at both the Opening and Closing parties for Cream now and they have both been outstanding events, they are quite rightly the kings of Ibiza!

5)2005 has been a pretty special year for you? What have been the highlights?

Obviously the two Cream events in Ibiza were real highlights, as was playing both days at this years Dance Valley festival - I was completely blown away by it as an event, the level of production was amazing and to actually be a part of it was incredible. The reaction I got from the crowd over the whole weekend was very special and I loved every minute of my time there, can't wait to go back! Getting the labels off the ground has also been a highlight for me, especially as the support we have got has been better than I ever could have hoped for - I think it's a very exciting time for trance at the moment, there are lots of very talented producers and DJs out there who will ensure that the scene is kept fresh, and I want to make sure that they get heard....

6)What was the inspiration for starting your labels that and how is it going?

I originally started Six:Thirty Records so that I could have more control over releasing my own productions - I'd had a couple of tracks out on other labels at that time, had seen how things worked and how they could possibly have been done better, so I decided to take the plunge. I now have complete control over my own work, so if it fails there is only on person I can blame! The success of the label has changed things slightly in that the label is becoming less of a vehicle for my own stuff and more of brand in itself.

In setting up Six:Thirty Records I was being sent a huge amount of unsigned material from young unknown producers which I wanted to sign and release, but the economics of releasing vinyl is such that I was being financially restricted from doing so, and that's where the idea for Six:ThirtyDigital was born! We are using this label to focus on up and coming talent and will be releasing tracks on CD and download only, which I'm convinced will be the future if dance music - I'm really excited about this venture and I've already signed half a dozen tracks which have all been mainstays in my recent sets.

7)What’s the best DJ Booth you’ve played in so far. What was good about it?

Amnesia in Ibiza, without a doubt! Everything about it is perfect, from the mixers and decks to the location above the dancefloor to the crystal clear monitors, it makes mixing an absolute joy. I can't think of another venue that comes close.

8)Where do you get your inspiration for your tracks?

I get inspiration from some of the most random places - I once heard three notes being played as part of the music on an airline advert on the TV, it triggered something in my head so I rushed off to the studio to jot them down, and within a few hours I had the framework of a new track! I also get inspiration from listening to other dance music producers from all genres, as well as more mainstream music - some of the best chord progressions and inversions can be found in rock music if you know where to look for them!

9)What’s the favourite track you’ve produced so far. Why for you like it?

That's a tough one to call actually, they all have their appeal. If I had to pick one it would probably have to be 'Koinomia', the track I produced with Matt Williams - the whole process from having the initial idea to completing the final mix down was great fun and everything about it worked just as we'd imagined. It was also the first release on Six:Thirty which made it doubly special and the Marcos remix was spot on. I have to say that this would be very closely followed by 'Shimmer' that I wrote with Ollie Leighs - it was a little different from most of the stuff I'd produced up to that point, and the first time I heard Inertia's remix I almost wet myself!

10) Do you have any others in the pipeline?

Yeah, there's a couple of originals that I'm working on right now for the labels and I've also got a number of remixes in progress with more to come. I've also just finished remixing Matt Darey's new track "Eternity" that I'm really happy and excited about. I've got a couple of new collaborations planned too, one with AnjunaBeats latest signing Dan Stone, plus follow up tracks for my Ayana and Neotechnic projects.

11)Do you have any strange DJing habits or rituals?

Not really no. I'm pretty ordinary really, not many tricks, I much prefer to take things as they come and react to how things go. I never plan my sets as I love to feed off the crowd, using their energy to fire me up into creating the perfect soundtrack for their night out. I like keeping things fresh and exciting but I also have no problems with dropping the odd classic!

12) How long does it take you to produce a track?

It can vary from a couple of days to a couple of months! Sometimes everything just flows, I find all the right sounds, loops and riffs without thinking and everything falls into place really quickly - it just takes a couple of plays on a large system to make sure all the levels are ok and then it's done! Other times I can scratch around for days trying to get a part to work before giving up and trying something else, or even giving up on the whole track altogether! I've got lots and lots of half finished tracks on my Mac, maybe they'll see the light of day at some stage!

13)Who are your current favourite DJs?

To be honest there is so much talent out there at the moment that it is hard to single individuals out. Greg Downey has really impressed me recently, his sets have real drive and energy. He's a talented producer and a really top lad too! John Askew and John O'Callaghan are also right on top of their game at the moment - the Discover label is far and away my favourite at the moment! And I have to mention Paul Van Dyk and Steve Lee as being my two biggest influences - I still hold them both in the highest regard.

Thanks to Ian and Annabel for the interview, don't forget to check out the websites below!


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