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Thursday 05th, June 2008
Rank One Interview

Dutch duo Rank 1, aka Benno de Goeij and Piet Bervoets, are one of the most famous partnerships in trance, being responsible for classic anthems such as “Airwave” and “Such Is Life” and recent hits like “Life Less Ordinary” with Alex M.O.R.P.H. and “The World Is Watching Me” with Armin van Buuren. Out now on CD (digital release 14th June) is their highly anticipated first mix album in four years, “High Contrast Presents Rank 1”. We caught up with the guys for a trance related chinwag.

Hey Rank 1, rumour has it that you are reluctant to go into details in interviews – could you make a rare exception for the world’s leading online trance community? wink

Rank1: If you guys make up some interesting questions we will more than glad to make the exception! wink

We’ll try our best! You are the latest DJs to have been chosen to mix the ‘High Contrast presents...’ series. What were your aims when you started this mix, did they change and all and what can we expect from the finished result?

Rank1: Our aim was to make a trance CD with our taste, we got free hand in the choice of tracks, although eventually a lot of tracks are from Be Yourself Music anyway. Shows that we think it's good music!

Did you have many arguments about tunes that one of you wanted and the other thought was rubbish?

Rank1: This time not really actually! Although we feared the worst of course haha.

Do you have any particular favourite tracks in the mix?

Piet: Moonbeam & Tyler Michaud – Love Never Dies
Benno: Heatbeat - Nebula

You have A LOT of synths in your studio (as you can see on their website www.rank-1.com ). Do you still use them all and do you both have a personal favourite?

Rank1: Actually some of them are quite rare, and very specific. Analog gear can have a very distinctive sound and the trick is to know what and implement those things in software. The Korg MS20 is one of our favorites though because it can sound really nasty. But also the Roland Jupiter 8 is such a wonderful machine! And lets not forget the 303, the 808 and wait the Moog Voyager! Nah we can't choose… lol.

You also have a variety of ‘real’ instruments – how do you incorporate them into your productions?

Rank1: Very simple, just record it! Like when we were writing the ‘And Then’ track. We felt it needed a bass guitar in the break, so we plugged it in and played it.

You ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer! You will be performing a Rank 1 live show over the summer – what will that involve?

Rank1: Basically playing our own tracks, remixes and perhaps some classics in a new outfit. It's amazing that Airwave and Superstring can have that impact after all these years.

Would I be right in saying one of you is more of a DJ and the other a producer? How do you think that contributes to your hugely successful partnership?

Rank1: Yes, you are quite right about that! A cooperation is always about complementing each other. It's that the difference in the two of us that makes it work. It's not that Piet doesn’t know how to produce, or Benno doesn't know what works on a dance floor, but getting some honest feedback will never hurt you! Sometimes you get stuck in your own way of thinking. It was just the other day that we realized that we either agree or disagree, there is no middle way. That's good for some fireworks when it comes to discussions, we are even worse than couples married longer that 50 years haha!

Your sound has undergone a remarkable change over the years, personally I think for the better. What made you move away from the big trance sound that you had so much success with?

Rank1: Perhaps because of the flood of similar tracks that followed. We don't like to eat potatoes everyday, and the same goes for music, especially dance music. It's all about evolving and trying to do something new. It might not all be as brilliant as we would like it to be, but at least it keeps us alive musically.

Do you get a lot of stick from fans who want ‘another Airwave’?

Rank1: Not as much as back in the days, although we can understand their point of view. The only thing people sometimes forget is making music is about letting your heart speak instead of doing what other people want you to do. But perhaps the next Rank 1 single might be something like another Airwave!

Do you miss the days when trance topped the charts or do you prefer it going back underground?

Rank1: It's not that we miss those days, trance is still very widely spread. As long as we get people to dance to our music here and there we are more than satisfied.

You still do have a mastery for creating sublime strings, tell us, what is your secret?

Rank1: Some things you can't explain, they just happen. The same goes for playing a keyboard. It starts with playing something randomly and most of the time suddenly a melody starts to form in your head. When that happens it's just a matter of playing and recording.

You’ve had a number of successful collaborations recently, such as your recent single with Jochen Miller – And Then, have you got any more collabs lined up and what is cooking in the Rank 1 studio?

Rank1: Yes we had quite some collabs over the last years, most of the time with people we know for a long time. For example the cooperation with Armin was one that had been on the agenda for a very long time. When working together we found out it worked out very well, and even resulted in Benno coproducing a lot of tracks on his album Imagine. For the future a new single with Sarah Bettens on it's way, but we need some more mixes. But we just as well might decide to do some club releases first.

Just for fun which of these would you rank # 1 in the world starting with... producer?

Piet: William Orbit
Benno: BT


Piet: Moonbeam & Tyler Michaud - Love Never Dies
Benno: Coldplay - Fix You

Animal to keep as a pet?

Piet: Labrador Retriever dog
Benno: Tervueren Sheppard dog

Place to DJ?

Piet: Government Toronto
Benno: Bedroom wink

Cake and/or sweet?

Piet: Bonbonblock
Benno: No, thanks!

Piece of technology?

Piet: iPhone
Benno: Vacuumcleaner

Cheers Piet & Benno – best of luck in everything you do!

Thanks guys! Great questions!

For more info and full album tracklisting check this news item: http://trance.nu/v4/news/rank-1-mixes-third-edition-of-high-contrast-prese

www.highcontrastrecords.com | www.beyourselfmusic.com | www.rank-1.com

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