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Thursday 25th, August 2005
Thrillseekers Interview (Aug 2005)

Steve Helstrip's best known guise is of course "The Thrillseekers" and it is under this alias that he will forever be in the hearts of trance fans for productions such as 'Synaesthesia' and 'Dreaming Of You'. Steve will soon be launching a new album "Night Music Volume 1" with 2 discs encapsulating his not inconsiderable DJ and production skills. Trance.nu of course jumped at the chance to chat with him about the new album, life on the road and some other random bits and bobs...

Hi Steve! Thanks for doing the interview for trance.nu! First things first, how are things right now, what have you been up to recently?

Lifeís been pretty hectic over the past few weeks with deadlines for my compilation and new single, but Iím starting to wind down now having spent the last 4 days partying none-stop in Australia. Iím here as part of my ĎNightmusicí tour, which kicked off with ĎA Night of Tranceí at Arq in Sydney. It was a cracking night, from what I remember. My set time was 2 Ďtil 4, but I was still knocking tunes out at 8am. After 48 hours in Sydney, without sleep, I jumped on a flight to Perth and did it all again. I managed to get catch up on some sleep and spent a night at a casino, which I came away from 180 quid better off. Right now Iím flying back over to Brisbane where the in-flight film is Madagascar. Again.

Describe to us a week in the life of a ThrillseekerÖ

Every weekís different, but typically my time is split between the studio, running the label, and spending time with my family. Luckily I work from home, so I get spend a lot of time my son, William, and actually lead a fairly normal life. If Iím not working to a deadline, I like to finish work around 6, have dinner with my family and spend time with Will before his bedtime. I might sneak back into the studio later in the evening, or just chillout with the missus or friends.

Fridays are normally spent driving down to Heathrow to catch a flight somewhere for a gig. Itís a long old trek (about 4 hours), but it gives me time to listen to all the new tunes I get sent. As for the weekend, well, I get up to the usual crazy shenanigans in the clubs and subsequent after parties!

How do you manage to squeeze in a Ďnormalí lifestyle around your DJing and production?

Well, I still go to Tesco and B&Q like everyone else, but just not on a weekend.

Moving onto the new album now, explain to us the ideas behind itÖ

It was the next logical step for me as a DJ/producer. Hopefully Iíve done something new with this, as each CD portrays each side of what I do. Disc 1 (The DJ) reflects the kind of music I play out as a DJ and is really a condensed set of my favourite tunes from the past few months. I often surprise people when I DJ, as they expect me to play like I produce, but thatís not the case. Iíll often start out pretty laid back and take the listener on a journey through melodic and techie trance, ending up with some harder tunes at the peak of my sets.

Disc 2 of Nightmusic (The Producer) is a collection of some of my favourite remixes. Some of them are well known, such as Sublime, but Iíve also included some earlier mixes that I love and still play out, like Free Radical Surreal.

What makes ĎNight Music volume 1í stand out from the other compilations out there?

Have a look at the tracklist Ė itís the nuts!

What medium do you spin, and what did you use for the compilation?

I only play from CDs these days, as I get sent a lot of tracks up front before the vinyl goes into production. I also like to make edits of tracks, keeping just the best bits for bigger impact on the floor. I actually put the compilation together in Ableton Live, though, as itís so easy to make edits on the fly and try out different ideas quickly.

What are your thoughts on the change of emphasis on vinyl sales towards mp3s and digital media?

Electronic music has always been produced with cutting edge technology, so it only follows that new technologies are being used for playback and distribution. Thatís just progress for you. I just hope peopleís attitudes towards file sharing change so that artists can continue to make a living from their music.

In terms of artist profile what would you say is the most important thing to get people to recognise the Thrillseekers name?

Playing the best venues in as many places as possible, combined with some decent tunes helps.

How do you see the Thrillseekers evolving over the next 5, 10 years?

I really have no idea at the moment. It was always my intention to move into film music, but Iím having so much fun doing what I do now that I donít know when thisíll happen.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? How do you think you could top this?

There have been so many, I donít know where to begin. Before Thrillseekers I was part of a pop duo, called The Flood. We did some amazing things, including performing on Top of the Pops, and recorded a Christmas single with all the big names in pop at that time at Sarm West Studios. I was lucky enough to play the piano that Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded on, which just blew my mind.

My fondest DJing moment was playing to a full house at the Gods Kitchen Christmas party last year, together with Armin and Pulser. Andy and I played back to back as Insigma, which allowed us to play tracks we would normally never get away with. I had the last set as Thrillseekers and finished on my mix of Autumn Tactics. Everyone was singing and I was fighting to hold back the tears.

Are there still plans for a Thrillseekers artist album?

Definitely, itís my next project.

With vinyl sales dropping all the time, is there still room for any dreams in the music market nowadays? If so what are yours?

Iím looking forward to experimenting with different sounds and styles for my album and hope to take a live element on tour.

What do you think about the increasing trend in crossing over genres nowadays amongst DJs and producers?

Musicians and DJs have always mixed genres, thatís how music evolves. Thereís a lot of tech influence creeping into trance now, but I think this will be a short lived phase. Whatís gonna be nextÖ.?

Which DJs and producers do you most admire and why?

There are loads of DJs I respect, but Iím a particular fan of Matt Hardwick just for the tunes he picks. Iíll always hang around to hear his sets if weíre playing at the same event. Some of my favourite producers at the moment include Sander van Doorn (everything he does ends up in the CD wallet), Mark Sherry has also done some wicked mixes of late which I love playing out.

Do you prefer DJing or production, and why is this?

The buzz from you get from DJing and producing is so different, I couldnít choose between them. I think Iíll still be writing music long after Iíve hung-up my headphones, though.

Does your brother still produce?

Yeah, heís created some wicked tracks but never gets round to finishing them off. Heís such a perfectionist.

Is your entire family musical? Is there a great aunt somewhere in darkest York with a diploma in the oboe?

Donít know about the oboe, but my Grandad was shit hot with a harmonica, and my dadís pretty nifty behind a drumkit.

Can we expect any more collaborations in the near future?

Yes, definitely, but youíll have to wait for the album to find out who with!

Who would you most like to work with on a track?

Iíd love to work with Vangelis, heís been a huge influence on me. That guy will be remembered alongside Mozart and Beethoven.

And finally, the name suggests youíre one for the crazy lifestyleÖ whatís the maddest thing youíve done in search of a thrill?

I canít tell what the maddest thing was, but doing a bungee jump came pretty close. I had to down half a bottle of vodka before I jumped. I actually shit myself! Whereís the fun in that?

Trance.nu would like to thank Steve for the interview and Tim Stark for setting it all up! Check out Night Music Vol 1 when it comes out, or if you're quick enter the competition here on trance.nu to win 1 of 5 signed copies! Check the news section!


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