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Friday 16th, November 2007
Mark Norman Interview

Trance.nu caught up with the Dutch trance duo Mark Norman to discuss their excellent new album 'Colours' on Black Hole Recordings. Featuring JES and Celine on the twosome's first vocal productions, it marks a departure from the tough tech-trance sound they made their name with, with more mellow and melodic flavours. We touch on that and also discuss their forthcoming tour, their highlights of 2007 and performing with Enrique Inglesias...

Firstly, congratulations on the release of your new artist album! Are you happy with the results?

Yes we are! It has taken a while but we are very happy with this diverse album. It is a more relaxed album then our previous album Synchronicity and it has a warmer sound. We make some investments in our studio and we are happy with the sound we now have. We are very proud about vocal tracks. For us it was a great honour and experience to work with artists like JES and Celine. Also we are more then happy with the fantastic artwork!



How long did it take you to put together the album?

It took almost two years. Colour My Eyes was the first track we produced for the album. The final track was finished end of this summer. Our intention was to make the vocal tracks first and at the beginning of 2007 we had all vocal tracks finished. Then we set out the course of the rest of the album and produced music from the heart!

Why did you decide to call it ‘Colours’?

As you can hear the album consists of very different tracks with different moods. Different music, different colours.

You surprised a few people when you released Colour My Eyes, because it was a more mellow sound than we have come to expect from Mark Norman. The album still has its tough moments but overall presents a more relaxed sound. Are you mellowing as artists?

Well after we produced our first album with tunes like Overkill, T34 and Touchdown we kind of had the feeling to show a different part of us. A lot of people know us from the banging tunes so we wanted to try something different. As an artist you want to explore, learn and to broaden your sound. The second album had to be more listenable. We never worked with vocals before so that was our first goal: to produce a vocal track. The first track we produced for the new album was Colour My Eyes. When this track was finished we send it to Black Hole Recordings for some feedback and before we knew it Tiësto wanted this track for his ISOS album. So for us it was also a surprise that this track became a success.

We think that for an album it is not bad to have more mellow tracks on it, but of course for the clubs it is a different story. We also made remixes of the mellow tunes just for ourselves to play. But now we are working already on some new massive banging monster tunes!

You’ve worked with a variety of other musicians and vocalists on the album. What did they bring to the record?

Their great vocals and lyrics. We worked with JES for a full week in the studio and she is such a great artist. She brought a lot of material to our studio. We first produced some tracks for her own album Disconnected but we noticed that there was so much material left and we used some on our own album. Talk Like A Stranger is a track with some rocky influences and a good experience of combining rock with trance. One Moon Circling is a big vocal trancer.

Celine had also recorded some more songs, and after the success of Colour My Eyes we needed a follow up. Be With You has again very catchy lyrics and the sound is a combination of electro and trance.

You have incorporated the electro sound well many of the productions on the album. What do you think about the electro influence on trance and do you think it has been overdone at all?

You always have to look forward and try to be innovative. Somehow, sometimes without noticing, we always get inspired by what we hear. The variety of styles is coming closer and you can hear that a lot of producers are searching for the right sound. That’s really good because it creates new styles and a lot of good music!

There is also a lot of uplifting trance style tracks on the album. What has made you move into a slightly more trance direction with your sound?

Our sound was always trance orientated, but yes there are a lot of melodic records on it. We always try to create a certain warmth in a track. And most of the time we ended up with melodies.

Blikken Machine is almost a homage to one of my favourite Mark Norman productions, Overkill. Coincidence or intentional?

A little bit off both actually. We always had the intention to do a remix of Overkill. We started with Blikken Machine like all other tracks and half way we decided to use some old sounds. Although it looks like Overkill the notes are different and it has totally different beats.



Do you have any personal favourites on the album?

There are a lot of interesting tracks on the album. ST Barth’s is one of Norman favourite tracks cause he has some beautiful memory moments with that track . Mark’s favourite is Become Human but also the one we did with Jes & Celine… difficult question, next please!

You are preparing a world tour to promote the album – can you give us any details on that? How can you beat the ‘Around The World In 80 Days’ tour?

We cant’ beat the 80 Days tour because it is a totally different concept then the Colours tour. With the 80 Days tour we visited 25 countries in 80 days but with the Colours tour we spread it out in a couple of months. For this tour we worked with V Media creative which is our good friend and favourite designer. He will join us on a couple of gigs with his amazing VJ show. He also designed the artwork for the Colours album, the 80 Days tour and did the visuals and artwork for the Tiësto EOL tour. Also we only do four hour gigs with this tour because then you can create something and make a night special!

You have a couple of gigs lined up in Brazil in December. How do you feel about playing South America after the horrific recent events at the Carl Cox gig in Venezuela?

We feel sorry for the victims and family but unfortunately there are sick people in this world who think that a life is worth nothing. On the other hand you can’t ignore the majority of the clubbers in South America due to that incident. A lot of people have nothing to do with that and only want to party so we are not afraid to go to South America.

What can we expect from a Mark Norman DJ set?

As we said before we play four hours sets and then you can build a night. The good thing about these long sets is that you can play a lot of own tunes without irritating the audience. You can imagine it is not fun for a deejay and for the clubbers to play only their own tracks in one or two hour sets. When you have long sets you can spread them and combine it with new hot tunes. What can people expect when they see us playing… hmm I think a lot of energy and smiling faces everywhere. We always want to create a happy atmosphere where people dance their ass off!

We’re nearing the end of 2007, what have been the highlights?

That Mark became a dad. I think that that is the highlight of 2007. No doubt! We played a lot of nice venues, festivals, released our 2nd artist album but when you see that little boy you know why!

You’ve performed alongside Enrique Inglesias – does it get any better than that?

Let’s hope so! That was a once in your life time story. We were booked for New Years Eve 2006 at Nikki beach in St Barth’s. We didn’t know Enrique was performing before our set at the same event. You can imagine it was really a strange experience when Enrique came to us and said: its showtime! It was really a nice experience and after the set we had a nice conversation and lots of drinks!

What have been your top tunes of the year?

It is difficult to say because there were a lot! Recently I like the Deadmau5 stuff but also the Marcos Schössow stuff is very good!

Which artists do you think will breakthrough in 2008?

I really don’t know. There are a lot of good artists at the moment. Maybe keep an eye out for Tiësto… haha!

Finally, do you ever get frustrated being mistaken for one person?

Not at all. I can imagine that people are confused. It is a bit confusing that Mark Norman are two people but in our opinion it sounds much better than Mark & Norman..!

Many thanks for your time and best of luck with the album and tour!

You’re welcome!

You can hear samples of all tracks from the album at www.blackholerecordings.com


Written by:
frombeyond

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