“Trance is a music for intelligent people”
During Amsterdam Dance Event this year we had a pleasure to meet and talk with 25-year old Andrew Rayel, one of the best DJs and producers of trance music in the world. “Modern-day Mozart” is how they call him, extremely talented and hardworking guy originally from Moldova has an impressive career by now. Rayel’s electronic music career started in 2009 at age 17, but he started to produce music only by the age of 13! He is signed under the Armada Music label, co-founded by the legendary Armin van Buuren. By now, Andrew Rayel has performed on the mainstages of Ultra Music Festival Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas, Stereosonic Australia, Tomorrowland Belgium, A State of Trance shows all around the world, and many more. In September, he launched his own label called inHarmony music. His sound is energetic and uplifting, his shows leave people absolutely speechless, so it doesn’t surprise that people already see him as one of the best that trance ever had. So let’s check what Andrew had to say to us.
FestPop: Hello Andrew, how are you? How’s Amsterdam?
ANDREW RAYEL: Hello, I’m very good, first of all thank you for having me, and yeah, ADE is as always great, I’m coming for the ADE for the past few years. It’s not something new for me, I mean, I know what’s going on, it’s a great place to see everyone, everyone is at one place here. In two or three days you can see everyone, all the media, all the DJs,all the friends. Everyone is here during this week, so it’s always a shame to miss it, and that’s why I come here every year.
FestPop: Let’s start with the latest news. You just launched your own label called inHarmony music. Can you tell us something more about it?
ANDREW RAYEL: Well you know, I’ve been always thinking to launch my own label. I’ve been working with Armada Music for already seven years, since 2010, and for already about four years Maykel Piron, the CEO of Armada, has always telling me like “you should start a label with us”. I was always focused only on my music, I’m not ready right now, I’m busy with my music, with touring the world, with stuff like that. After I finished my second studio album this year MOMENTS, which was released back in May, I had 16 tracks. After that I made another 5 or 6 tracks and I said: “Ok, I have album, and I have another tracks ready, I’m feeling very productive and I think I’m ready to launch my label where I’m gonna be launching my own music, but also discovering new talents, and promoting them with my family”. So I finally manage to do that, it’s been a month since the label was launched. It’s called inHarmony Music, and we released two tracks already. First track, my own track, of course, is called “Mass Effect. ” It’s a club banger. A second track was a remix of my classical track “Dark Warrior” by talented upcoming producer Willem de Roo, and already tomorrow we have a third release of talented new guy David Gravell. As you see we have a lot of music that I’m trying to schedule properly and release every month so far. Starting from next year we will have a release every two weeks.
FestPop: So tell us, do your co-workers love you or hate you as their boss?
ANDREW RAYEL: Well, I don’t know yet, but they should love me because a lot of talented new producers that I’ve signed their music, when I got their music they sounded nice but they were not there yet. It was like 70% done track, so the final 30% I made it by myself, I remixed the track, I’ve changed all the bad sounding sounds, I did the last touches on a track, so it’s an opportunity for talented new DJs that don’t know how to do it yet, to have a really good, quality sounding tracks. And they get some tips from me what to change so it’s a great experience to them. So, I would think they should love me for that at least. [laughs]
FestPop: How does it feel to have such a huge success, like owning your own label, only by the age of 25?
ANDREW RAYEL: I am 25 that’s true, but I feel more like 35. You know the last 7 years were incredible, they went by so fast, but for me felt like it was more time, and I aged faster because I’m traveling the world every day. I used to have 11 shows in 10 days on 4 continents, so every day different people, different country, different time zones, everything went very fast, and I feel way older than I am. Obviously it’s a big honor to achieve so many things by the age of 25 and hopefully, I can do even more by the time I get really old.
FestPop: Can you tell us more about your future plans? Where are you going next?
ANDREW RAYEL: Well, I’m trying to focus now mostly on label, bring in more new talented producers that will be able to deliver quality material every month or every couple of months. We have enough music to release on the label, pick a few talented artist, try to push them harder and make them grow into big superstar DJs, maybe even bigger than me, why not. I’m trying to make a group, a family, so we are all equal, we share equally the music and support each other, so hopefully, they grow even bigger than me.
FestPop: Let’s go back in the past for a moment. You started producing at the age of 13, you play the piano and you studied orchestral music. From where, or from who did you get this passion for music?
ANDREW RAYEL: It’s hard to say where did I get this passion for music because judging from the history of my family, there are no musicians at all. I’ve asked all of my relatives, my parents, my grandparents, they don’t remember anyone in the family that had to do anything with music. So I was like an anomaly, like something out of the border. Like how did he become such a great musician when there was nobody related to music in our family. But just listening to the music when I was really young, my parents actually saw that I have this attraction to music, so every time I would hear a song, I would be just, moving my fingers, pretending that I’m playing that song. They said ok, this might be something and they send me to an audition to a musical school. The teacher said that I have big musical abilities and that I should study music and obviously I picked piano because I was pretending to play piano and then studying piano and classical music in musical school. That was the golden age of trance music, they were playing big trance records on the radio; Armin, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, everyone was on the radio, so I saw the connection between classical music that I was learning and trance music because of the melodies. And I decided, ok, that’s what I want to create.
FestPop: We often hear that people describe trance music as very emotional music, also Armin said once that it has almost religious effects. How would you describe trance music?
ANDREW RAYEL: It’s very personal for each one of us, obviously it’s very emotional, very transparent and very soul pleasing. So you can be sad and you will find yourself in trance music, or you can be very happy, anyways you will find yourself in trance music. It is music for any kind of mood, any kind of people, but also very spiritual and very deep. Not everyone will understand it straight away, so you have to grow more to understand trance music. It’s pretty much like classical music, very complicated harmonically, very intellectual so it’s for very well-educated and intelligent people.
FestPop: What’s going through your mind the moment before you enter the stage. Are you feeling excited, nervous or something else?
ANDREW RAYEL: Always something different. As you said, sometimes very excited because it’s a new festival, it’s a great crowd, I hear them screaming my name, they want me to be there. And sometimes, you know, I’m a little bit scared because the crowd is too big and it’s a live broadcast and ten million people are watching it on YouTube. And what if I’m gonna mess-up something, what if power goes off? It’s always a different feeling, but you know I’m already used to those feelings so I know how to control them and just go out there and give them all of my energy.
FestPop: Do you have a favorite country or a festival you like to play in?
ANDREW RAYEL: There’s a lot of them. I love Canada, Montreal, I love California, Los Angeles, San Francisco, EDC Las Vegas, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub in Vegas. I love Asia, Malasya, Indonesia, Thailand, my home country Moldova, so many fans over there, so many great places, and would be really hard to choose between all of them.
FestPop: So recently you started to film vlogs. Where did you get the idea to do that?
ANDREW RAYEL: I started watching a lot of shows, surprisingly I don’t watch those kind of easy types of shows, but somehow I got really into vlogs, different types of vlogs, and I found it really interesting for me to watch what other people who are interesting me are doing daily, where are they going, who are they talking to. So I said ok, maybe my fans would be interested in what am I doing, where am I going, what shows am I playing, because it’s impossible to follow me all the time, so by watching a vlog, in ten minutes you can see the most exciting things that happened in past weeks, it’s like a resume.
FestPop: We saw in your vlogs that you like to ask your friends one question, so I want to ask you that same question: What is the best moment of your life?
ANDREW RAYEL: I’m certain and I’m pretty sure that the best moment of my life did not happen yet. But if we judge so far, there’s a lot of them that are kind of at the same level, but probably the most exciting and most dramatic that decided the whole thing is me choosing to play piano, choosing music in general when I was very very young. This is probably the most important moment of my life, me taking a decision that I wanna play piano and I wanna do music.