We met up with another hot export from the Netherlands, Estiva – otherwise known as Steven Baan, at his long awaited Toronto debut last July at RYZE Nightclub
He’s another brilliant heavyweight from the Enhanced Music roster which showcases an eclectic range of talented dance music artists, and is led by power pair Tritonal and Will Holland. More commonly known for his striking melodic tracks, ‘Wait Forever’ and ‘Better Days’, which spread like wildfire to the sets of many notable electronic artists such as Armin Van Buuren, Above & Beyond and Dash Berlin.
It’s been a big year for Steven with several new track releases, a milestone of reaching 50 episodes of his podcast ‘Next Level’ , and a major Australian and North American Enhanced Sessions Album tour with Juventa this summer. He shared his knowledge & experiences with us on his successful tour alongside Juventa, details on his new track with vocalist Sarah Russel ‘Feel’s Right’ [OUT NOW], the development of trance and his sound and much more…
Trance United: So how has it been touring with Juventa? What have been some of the most memorable shows, or moments, on the tour?
Estiva: It’s been a blast! Before the Enhanced tours started I’ve played a lot of shows traveling on my own so it felt really good to be on the road with someone you enjoy hanging out with. I’d been looking forward to coming back to Australia again for about a year so I was really excited when it finally happened! I remember the Melbourne and Sydney shows were absolute fire! The North American tour consisted of all debut cities for me (apart from Ottawa) so naturally that had me buzzing too! Meeting cool new people and seeing great new places is one of the perks of my job that I can never get bored of!
TU: Where did the alias ‘Estiva’ come from and why use a DJ pseudonym, rather than your real name?
E: We have to go back in time for this.. About 9 years ago I believe! ‘Estiva’ basically derived from my name (Steven). People call me Steve all the time so if you start playing around with it and try to make it sound happy you’ll get Estiva I guess.. My real name, Steven Baan, doesn’t really sound like a fancy international name.
TU: You’ve been a prominent artist on Enhanced for quite a while now… when did you get your ‘big break’? Has anyone helped or mentored you over the years? What made you choose a career in music?
E: It’s hard to point out any big break as I think my career developed quite naturally/gradually. Production wise I think tracks like ‘Wait Forever’, ‘ Teddybeat’ and ‘Dinodrums’ boosted my career a lot. Show wise things got a lot bigger in 2013 when I started playing in North America regularly.
TU: Would you say that your sound has changed or developed over the years? If so, how and why? How would you say that Trance itself, has developed?
E: Oh yes absolutely. Back in 2006-2009 I was a high school student enjoying creating songs in my bedroom. I just wrote what I found pretty and sounded cool in my room. When I started dj’ing in 2009 I found out the music I’ve been writing wasn’t really music you could dance to. The more I played, the more I realized I needed more clubby elements in my tracks. I started mixing up my melodies with groovy beats and I think I’ve now come to a point where it really works.
Trance is a dynamic genre and we’ve seen in the past few years that it’s been influenced by different genres. But even more, trance influenced other genres. You can always hear a great variety in my tracks, I don’t like writing the same type of track over and over again. So naturally, all the new kinda genres that have elements of trance in it are exciting to me. I love the diversity!
TU: Do you plan a North American set differently than you would one say for Europe or Australia?
E: I always thought I needed to do that up until somewhere early 2013. I then realized I just have to play my own set. Play what I love in the order I like. Create edits and mashups of tracks I like and don’t limit myself in any way. This allows you to feel completely free and happy with what you’re doing while performing and I think that state of mind is needed to entertain people.
Estiva ft. Sarah Russell – Feels Right Out now on Beatport
TU: Your new record Feels Right ft. Sarah Russell is set to release August 25th. What kind of reaction have you been getting from the crowd so far?
E: After the intstrumental Koalastrike/Boxmeister/Shoesham EP I wanted to go back to something pretty again. Rather than banging out the club beats I felt like writing something closer to tracks like ‘Wait Forever’ and ‘Better Days’! People really seem to like Sarah Russell’s voice and the hook! It’s just out on promo and Ferry Corsten and Tritonal have been hammering it out already!
TU: You have some wild names for your tracks! HippoDrop, TeddyBeat, DinoDrums, Smiley Smilesworth…It’s great to see you having fun with the track names… how do you come up with these names and why?
E: Keyword right there! It’s all about fun, isn’t it? Partying with friends while hearing great music! I always want to stand out with my sound but found it hard to translate that to a track title. With this funny animal themed titles I think I’ve found a way that works ;)
TU: Is there a particular track or remix in your discography (or perhaps a couple) that you are most proud of or resonate with, the most? If so, why?
E: I’m always proudest with the latest song I’ve put out. I still learn a lot every day when I’m in the studio and the latest song should always be your best track on the technical side of things. I recently remixed Mat Zo, which was a big moment for me though!
TU: Are you working on any big projects at the moment that you would like to share with your fans?
E: Me and Juventa have a compilation coming out soon! Enhanced Sessions Vol.4 is packed with unreleased music. I’ve got three new pieces on there myself!
Pre-order a copy of Enhhanced Sessions Vol 4 here: http://enhan.co/ESV4-CD
TU: When you aren’t travelling, producing or DJing, what do you do in your spare time?
E: That little list pretty much sums up my life. Sleeping is missing! Of course I do get some time off and then I’d like to take my racing bike and go wherever I feel like going to. I also want to hang out with friends as much as possible obviously!
Check out Enhanced Sessions with Tritonal & Will Holland on Itunes
Stay connected with Estiva for more info on releases, tours etc
Interview conducted by Amber Traill