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Saturday 08th, November 2003
Interview with Michael Burns

Aged 21 and living in Birmingham, Michael has been producing electronic music seriously for almost 2 years. His productions vary from deep house to chilled breaks and anything in between. No matter what style of music he produces, there's always a strong emotional aspect to it. Melody is always the main factor, with each track featuring layer upon layer of intense yet uncluttered hooks, riffs and rippling melodies. A self taught pianist and guitarist, Michael's introduction to music began by scoring compositions for his local theatre group, which gave him invaluable experience with chord structures and melodic content. Just check out any of his works and you'll see what we mean. One of Michaels ambitions is to score a composition for a film. "I'm really into the idea of scoring a soundtrack for a film. I'm still inspired by soundtracks for K-Pax, Castaway, Love Story, Gladiator, Donnie Darko and a handful more. I doubt I'll get the chance to do this, but who knows?". Michael admits he would love to produce music as his career, but he also likes the idea of running his own label. "In an ideal world, I would like to generate my own community of artists, and release their music on my own label. The genre wouldn't be important as long as emotion was involved. I've got to try and establish myself as an artist and hopefully take things from there". Michael has adopted a few production names along his travels, for each he tries to adopt a different sound. There's: Blue Haze - Deep, moody and melodic tracks. Panoptic - Peak time productions. Cardboard - Earthy / organic outlet. And Gazor - under which Michael and Andrew Best (Indaba) target the more techy sound. His track 'Blue Haze - We Feel' has been featured on DJ Mags cover CD, and with reviews like, [b]"Sweeping synths hitting chords of unheard feeling[/b]. This record belongs in the case of every progressive house DJ in the civilized world". Residentadvisor - it's set to be a BIG release. 'Blue Haze - Greedy Planet' has been kicking up a fuss since September 2002. Paolo Mojo was one of the first to pick up on it, and was closely followed by Chloť Harris, Sander Klienenberg, Chris Lake and a hand full of othersÖ not forgetting to mention Mo Shic, who included it on his Essential Mix for BBC radio 1, and describes it as [b]"a piece of art"[/b]. The track has been featured on the new renaissance compilation 'The sound of Renaissance volume 2', and has had 2 other licensing requests since then. Sasha seems to have caught the Michael-Burns-Bug as he's been playing out 'Panoptic - Surface', Showcasing the track from Glastonbury 2003, Live on Radoi 1. The reception it got was absolutely huge. Radio 1 even used the track for the online video they did! Michael has recently done a remix of 'Echofalls - Shiver' which is getting a great response from the likes of John Digweed (plays on his KissFM 100 show), Pete Tong, Steve Gerrard, Chloť Harris, Hernan Cattaneo and Steve Smart who has also played the track out a few times on Kiss. After a few experiments he played with the idea of singing on a few of his tracks, and came up with the production name 'Cardboard'. "Under the guise 'Cardboard' I get the chance to really add some organic life to my tracks, ranging from pianos, Strings, guitars and even my own vocals." Two tracks have already been snapped up by LMR and Cuba recordings, one of which is about to be featured on possibly one of the biggest compilations due out this year, Sander Kleinenbergs 'everybody' album on Renaissance. He has collaborations coming up with Matthew Dekay, Bart Van Wissen, Chris Lake, Snake sedrick, Subsky and Blue Room Project to name but a few, and with his latest tracks getting plays and support from the world's leading DJ's, his future looks promising in the music industry.

Name: Michael Burns
Aliases: Blue Haze / Panoptic / Cardboard
Age: 21
Website: http://www.michaelburns.co.uk
Nationality: British
Favorite dj: donít really listen to them muchÖ
Favorite producer: too many to mention!
Favorite tune: no idea?!
Favorite remix: at the moment.. probably the BRP mix of ĎAndre Absolute - digital Suspenseí..pretty fresh
Favorite cd: Aqualung - Aqualung
Favorite label: Confi-Dance, SOG, LMR, AuriumÖ any of those and many more
Favorite food: pasta, salad
Favorite drink: WaterÖ how exciting!?
Favorite movie: ermÖ hard one.. a tie between Donnie Darko / Usual Suspects maybe ?

Question: Hi Michael! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with trance.nu. Howís life been lately?

Answer: Thanks for asking me happy.. Things are good thanks for asking. Lots of work / collaborations in the pipeline and a few new productions from myself too. Enjoying myself, hehe

Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Michael Burns?

Answer: I am Michael BurnsÖ er.. ďhiĒ. haha. no, Iím a 21 year old guy from Birmingham UK who loves most genres of music. I used to be a chef in a Restaurant but I was recently made redundant. Because of that I have little money but lots of time to produce. I currently have records due out on SAW, Confi-Dance, Minimal, Cuba & LMR and have also been featured on a few compilations (Mo Shic on DJ mag, Sanders ĎEverybodyí on Renaissance, and ĎThe Sounds of Renaissance vol 2í)

Question: Most boys in the early 20ís are more known for their abilities to drink a lot, score god knows how many chicks and doing well in Fifa 2003. Michael Burns on the other hand has showed the world that he is an incredibly talented producer and gotten his productions played by the "A" list Djís. How did it all start?

Answer: "Incredibly talented".. haha, donít embarrass me! Iíve always known I want to produce music, and at the age of 19 I started producing downtempo / mellow material and sent it off to a few labels. One guy called Tim Graham was running a record store / label at the time and told me he loved the stuff but have I got anything more dancey.. a month later Blue Haze was born with his 1st house track "Greedy Planet". It wasnít the sound Tim was looking for so it was signed to Confi-Dance Records. Since then itís been named one of the freshest slabs of house music to hit the scene in years, apparently! Since then itís been non stop. I realised there wasnít much melody in house music, almost every track Iíd listen to was just a dark, minimal groove. I felt I could do something different. Pretty much every spare minute Iíve had in the last 1 Ĺ years has been put to use producing music.

Question: Gazor, Cardboard, Panoptic, Blue Haze. Many strange words at once. How did you come up with the idea of using these names as your monikers?

Answer: "Gazor" was born through a collaboration between Andrew Best (one half of Indaba) and myself. The word Gazor has a techy preset feel to it which suits the Gazor style pretty well. Blue Haze was my 1st moniker. The music I was producing was very moody, I think Blue is the moodiest colour, and it was very drifty and hypnotic, so I figured "Blue Haze" really suits the music I produce. Pretty much the same goes for Panoptic (the name suits the peaktime style). I produced a track called "Corrective Tones" and sang on it too. The finished product was something very mellow and had a very melancholy / emotional feeling to it. I wanted a name that has no relevance to emotion. I figured life is sometimes so full of hassle, awkward situations and havoc that it almost feels 3D, so I wanted a name to act as a contrast, hence "Cardboard" in itís almost 2D state, hehe.

Question: Each moniker is connected to a certain style. Panoptic seems to be more like peak time productions while Blue Haze is more deep and proggy but still with amazing melodies. Where do you get the inspiration?

Answer: I absorb inspiration from lots of things. Tracks I listen to, Pictures / textures I see, feelings Iím having etc.. Sometimes you can turn even the worst mood swing into a good track. haha.

Question: What are your favourite type of beer?

Answer: Actually.. I donít drink. haha.

Question: Youíre a hot name on the lips of many prog fans around the world but there are still lots and lots of people that havenít heard about you and your productions. Can you give us a list of your releases so far this year and maybe some inside tips about your upcoming productions?

Answer: Yeah sure. so far the tracks Iíve had out are:

Blue Haze - Greedy Planet (Original + Mood society Remix) [Confi-Dance Records]
Gazor - Stabilized (Original + Blue Haze Remix) [Confi-Dance Records]
Panoptic - Surface (Original) [Minimal Records]
Echofalls - Shiver (Blue Haze Melodic Extract) [Cuba Recordings]
Gazor - Over Light (Original + Blue Haze Remix) [Minimal Records]
Hellpass - Growler (Blue Haze Germ Mix) [Gravitation]

and hereíre a few Iíve got forthcoming over the next few months:

Cardboard - A Thought About You (Original) [Cuba Recordings]
Cardboard - Corrective Tones (Panoptic mix + Matthew Dekay mix) [LMR]
Blue Haze - Mood No.2, Rumble Funk, Frozen Motion [SAW]
Blue Haze - A Time To Reflect, Undertones Part 1 [Institution Recordings]

Question: Standard question to all rising stars; Album plans, do you have any?

Answer: Iím currently getting some album material together, but have no set plans as to whatís going to be happening to it. Iíd love to be able to put an album together comprising of downtempo, film scores and deep house. The album will be a very moody affair but will also feature some extremely mellow tracks happy

Question: Some of your releases are firm in my box right now, and I know Iím not the only one who really enjoys your tunes. But what is firm in your box? Can you give us a top 10 list?

Answer: mmÖ my top ten at the moment would probably beÖ.

1] Blue Haze - The Ambience
2] Solaris Heights - Midnight
3] Matthew Dekay Band - Higher Thoughts
4] Blue Haze - We Will Fade
5] Benz & MD - Untitled
6] Rene Amesz - Thatís the Jazz
7] Arcane - Easy
8] Bart Van Wissen - Unforseen
9] Blue Haze - Sunshine In My Shadows
10] Warped - Forwards

It looks like we have reached the end now Michael but I once again I gotta thank you for doing this interview and I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming work.

Answer: Thanks very much for giving me the chance to feature on Trance.nu!.

Question: Any final words to your fans and to the members of trance.nu?

Answer: Thanks to everyone who has emailed me over the last year to tell me how much they love what Iím doing. Without your support I probably wouldnít have gotten this far, so thanks a lot happy Also a big thanks to Chris Lake, Peter Van Hal, Phil @ Confi-Dance, Mike @ 3Beat for helping me to progress.. and a final THANKS to all the staff at Trance.nu for supporting me and giving me this opportunity! happy

Thank you very much for your time Michael. The trance.nu staff wishes you the best of luck with your work and upcoming releases.

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