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Thursday 25th, August 2005
Smith & Pledger Interview

Above & Beyond's protegees Smith & Pledger are 2 men to watch in both production and DJs circles, with guest presenting on Trance Around The World and gigs springing up left right and centre backed by their new tune 'Northern Lights' that has just dropped on Anjunabeats. A couple of weeks ago trance.nu caught up with the boys to find out how life is treating them and pitch some questions from t.nu users at them!

Your new track Northern Lights is out now, how would you describe the track?

Northern Lights is a classic Smith & Pledger instrumental melodic trancer. The title was inspired by one of the harmonic noise effects in the first breakdown. It reminded us of the rare optical illusions known as the “Northern Lights” which appear in the night skies of the northern hemisphere. The track has many of our trademark sounds and atmospheres and has been played quite a lot by Paul van Dyk.

User Afterhourpower: You are strongly connected to the Anjunabeats sound. Don't you think they sometimes interfere with A&B sound or vice versa? What are the main differences in sound?

Yes and no. We have known Above & Beyond for about seven years now and were into fairly similar stuff and even shared records. I think that they are fonder of vocal tracks than us, but we still like to dabble in them now and again. I suppose A&B are also more purist with their sound, where as we like to fuse things together in the hope of getting a more unique sound - that’s the idea anyway!

Going back to your first releases, how did you get your break into the scene? Are there any tips you could give our aspiring trance.nu producers to help them get their foot in the door?

We started out mainly just doing remixes and through this we learnt a lot about how to mix and arrange tracks. I think this helped us with writing our own tracks as it gave us experience and an insight into how other people put tracks their tracks together.
When producing music I think it is a good idea to reference it next to similar tracks that you feel are well produced. This tells you immediately whether you have mixed it correctly and then you can make adjustments. If you have CD decks it can be handy to test it out to see how it cuts it for DJing as unless your doing for it pure art of it, at the end of the day, DJ’s will being playing it out. I think this will raise your chances of getting your stuff out there. Send it to labels and DJ’s as sometimes getting a name DJ to play your stuff can show labels that you have what it takes and will therefore risk money on you. But to state the obvious the most important thing of all is to just make sure you write a great record.

User Synchronise- What is in your studio?

Our studio is based around an Apple Mac running Logic. We have quite a few hardware synthesizers from Accces, Roland, Korg, Clavia etc. and a range of signal processors and software. We also have a full DJ setup of course…

User Calvinn: where do you get the inspiration for the tracks you produce, and what process do you go through when writing the melodies?

This is one of those questions that is really hard to answer. I guess what we draw influences from is often quite random, it can sometimes simply be just of case of being inspired by some new tracks you have been sent. When we go out and have a good night DJing or even just a colourful night out, that can give you a real surge of enthusiasm to get into the studio and produce something really special.

Production wise you’re becoming more and more established nowadays, and you’re getting more & more DJ bookings as well. Which discipline do you prefer and why?

The two things are very different but we love them both. In the studio it’s great to experiment with ideas and sounds but it’s also brilliant to see the reaction that a newly finished tune gets when you play it in a club. We don’t really have a favourite discipline as they’re both linked and can each be very rewarding in different ways.

User Andyboy: Who is your fave single DJ and what is your fave trance tune of all time?

Favourite DJs: Remy, Ferry Corsten, Armin and Sasha
Favourite tune: We don’t have one as they are too many great tunes out there. To name a few of the main labels we support: ATCR/ETCR, Euphonic, Armada, Spinnin' and Anjunabeats.

User blackers782: What other styles of music do you guys like listening to? Also, in the future are there any plans to produce music of a different genre?

We listen mainly to electronic music – anything from chillout to techno. We’ve experimented with and have even released records in other genres but right now we’re concentrating on trance under the name Smith & Pledger and on a more progressive sound as Aspekt.


How do you see your sound evolving? What are your ambitions for the Smith & Pledger sound?

Our sound is continually evolving and changing to keep it fresh and interesting. We have many ambitions one of which would be releasing our own album oh and lots of money and cars (only joking!).

How do you see the scene as a whole right now? How do you think it will evolve over the next few years?

The trance scene is always evolving and changing and that’s one of the things that help to keep it interesting for us. Recently there have been a lot more progressive house and techno influences coming through and we’ve been trying to take some of that onboard and use it to develop our sound. In the next few years it’d be good to see more quality tunes that still sound good 5 years after they’re released like all of the classic tracks do.

What is your opinion on digital downloads and the use of different formats to challenge the dominance of vinyl nowadays?

With the rise of the Internet and the obvious advantages it offers for music distribution it was inevitable for the dominance of vinyl to be challenged. As a DJing format vinyl still offers a lot but CD’s and MP3’s can also prove useful. It’s good that labels like Anjunabeats with its digital download system are finally getting on board. Piracy is still an issue though and people have to realise that if they choose to steal music they are making it harder for us to continue producing it and they are also harming the scene as a whole.

And finally, where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years time? What ambitions do you have left within the scene?

Hopefully enjoying ourselves making music. In the future we would love to get our own radio show and perhaps set our own record label up some day.

Thanks to the guys for doing the interview and to Jennie at Making Waves for organising it all for us! Check out Northern Lights on Anjunabeats now and watch out for S&P in a club near you soon!

http://www.smithandpledger.com


Written by:
Micra_Power

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