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Thursday 22nd, February 2007
Sophie Sugar

Sophie Sugar is one of the fastest rising stars in UK trance in 2007. By sticking resolutely to a melodic, uplifting trance sound she has won legions of fans and has confirmed her qualities as a producer by having her latest release, ‘Fallen Too Far’, signed to Armin van Buuren’s Armada label. Tipped by both Mixmag and DJMag as a star of the future, she is certainly making waves both in the UK and beyond. Trance.nu caught up with Sophie to find out a bit more about the girl behind the music and her plans for the coming year.

t.nu: Hi Sophie, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with trance.nu, how are things with you?

SS: Hi – thanks for all the questions! Things are great thanks. I’ve had a really busy start to the year. Christmas seems like years ago already!

t.nu: Firstly congratulations on the release of your latest single, ‘Fallen Too Far’. It was signed by Armin van Buuren’s Armada label, you must be pleased with the support it’s been getting?

SS: Yes, I’m delighted! Sometimes when you’re in the studio and you’ve been working on a track for a few days, it’s easy to lose all concept of what the reaction is going to be like. I never know what to expect! With Fallen Too Far, the support from DJs like Armin and Paul Van Dyk has been great and, aside from this, all the messages from DJs and clubbers around the world through myspace. Judging from the reactions, it seems to be one of those tracks that just ‘works’ on the dancefloor.

t.nu: Music has been a big part of your life from an early age, how did you first get into trance?

SS: On my first ever ‘holiday with friends’ in Ibiza in 1996 – I was already into dance music and clubbing but didn’t have a favourite ‘genre’ as such. While I was there, I heard BBE’s ‘Seven Days And One Week’ for the first time at Es Paradis and was completely blown away by it. I started listening to trance from that moment onwards. Over the next few years there were so many amazing tunes around -Cygnus X - The Orange Theme Veracoche - Carte Blanche, System F - Out Of The Blue, Matt Darey – Liberation, Armin – Communication, Bedrock - Heaven Scent, William Orbit’s Adagio For Strings – the list is endless! I’ve loved trance ever since those days!

t.nu: How did you get into production?

SS: I played the piano for 10 years when I was younger and once I got into trance was always coming up with different chords and riffs on a keyboard. A friend of mine (who was also into trance) had a studio and we would sit there for hours messing around with my ideas and turning them into (very basic) trance tracks! It would be quite funny to listen back to them now!

t.nu: Who were your influences when you first started producing?

SS: Pretty much all the ‘99 trance ‘lot’ in some way! People like Agnelli & Nelson and Matt Darey especially. Later on, Robert Nickson and Icone were also big influences.

t.nu: Trance is a very male dominated genre, have you encountered any difficulties being a female trance producer?

SS: No! None at all! In a way this surprised me for a while but I guess if a record label hears a track that they want to sign, they’ll sign it. Again, the same applies with DJ support – if a DJ likes a track, they’ll appreciate it for what it is and play it no matter who it’s by.

t.nu: Why do you think there are so few females producing and DJing trance?

SS: I don’t know! This always surprises me. All those uplifting melodies and emotion-packed breakdowns and yet the scene is completely male-dominated! Trance must bring out the sensitive side in men!

I suppose on the technical side of things, learning to mix trance requires more concentration when you first start, more time spent perfecting the art of mixing in key etc as well learning to match beats. Maybe girls don’t have as much patience! I’m sure most men would agree with that! Haha!

t.nu: What advice can you give to any ladies trying to make it as either a DJ or producer?

SS: Don’t try and market yourself on being female. Spend a good couple of years developing your own individual sound both behind the decks and in the studio and once you have found this, don’t veer too far from it for a while. Don’t expect to be treated any differently.

t.nu: Your music is an increasingly rare thing these days, genuinely good melodic trance. What do you think of our former trance masters going electro or tech and do you think you will change your style in the future?

SS: Aah, thanks! I completely understand why people would want to experiment after years of making the same kind of music and some of the original trancers have built up such huge names that they have the freedom to do this. Until you’ve reached this kind of level though, I think it’s important to stamp your sound, especially in today’s market with so many great producers around. Personally speaking, I have no plans to change my style. As much as I like and respect different styles, I can honestly say that I’m loving uplifting trance more than ever!

t.nu: What releases have you got planned for the coming year?

SS: I have another 2 track EP coming out on Armada in the summer - ‘Day Seven’ and ‘Sense Of Connection’ - both of which I’ve just finished! Day Seven is the follow up to Fallen Too Far and has a similar kind of driving groove and intense breakdown. Sense Of Connection is really euphoric but in a more laid back way - it actually has a real ‘Gatecrasher’ feel to it (in my opinion anyway – I’ll wait to hear your thoughts!).

t.nu: Have you considered doing a full vocal track?

SS: Yes, although I think there’s a very fine line with vocal trance and it’s important to get it spot on. Saying that, I do have one or two ideas so watch this space!

t.nu: You’ve won several awards such as Mixmag Future Hero for your DJing, how is the DJ career going and where can we expect to hear you spin in 2007?

SS: I was nominated by Mixmag in last year’s Trance Awards and they recently featured me as ‘One to Watch’ for 2007 which was great. It’s really nice to have that kind of support. This year in the UK you can see me at nights such as Vaccine at Turnmills - I’ll be playing there in May alongside Armin van Buuren, Riley & Durant and more - and abroad in all sorts of weird and wonderful places! I’m actually going off for a month long tour of Indonesia from May-June covering 10 different islands which should be pretty crazy! I love seeing other cultures and playing to such diverse crowds.

t.nu: What can we expect from a Sophie Sugar set?

SS: If I’m playing earlier - warm, chunky and progressive moving gradually into a more melodic vibe. If I’m playing later, then a full on hands in the air trance-fest!

t.nu: You must get a fair amount of attention when you’re DJing, from crowds used to seeing an ugly bloke behind the decks, what’s the weirdest stalker story you can relate to us?

SS: I don’t get that much attention! Trance clubbers are so into their music that they’re far more interested in what I’m playing than in me. I’ve had a few people asking me to sign various body parts but nothing too weird as yet. Ask me again in another couple of years and you never know!

t.nu: Away from dance music, what do you like to do to relax?

SS: Well, relaxing doesn’t really come into my life much at the moment which I guess is a good thing in a way! When I do get a spare moment, I like reading and watching films - I’ve just finished Angels And Demons by Dan Brown which I loved. I also like chilling out with friends and having a few quiet drinks on a night off – although saying that, last time the few ‘quiet’ drinks resulted in us all getting home at 11am! I do usually try and get to the gym a few times a week as well but think I gave it a miss that week!

t.nu: Again, thanks for your time and best of luck in everything you do!

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