“Trance is dead”.
A line heard all too often throughout the electronic music community. To say that this is a touchy subject for many would be an understatement- but to the many people who have moved on, this is their perceived reality.
To properly address the question “Is trance dead?”, we first and foremost have to effectively identify what trance is from one person to the next.
So what is trance? In my eyes, trance is much more than musical genre; it’s a way of life. Trance is the global unification that dissolves border, religion, language and skin colour. Trance is a shining beacon of hope in a world that would rather give you a dirty look than a helping hand. It’s what keeps many of us smiling from day to day and reminds us that life is not only a thing of beauty but a truly precious blessing.
Are you or were you ever a trance fan? Close your eyes, and think back to your earliest surreal trance memory; that moment when it’s just you, the music, and several hundred (or even thousand) of your closest friends.
Those moments where you feel like the music is a testament to exactly how you are feeling at that exact moment. The moment where your heart beats every time the drum kicks and the sound of the melody uplifts your heart and emotions to levels you never thought were possible. The moment where you look from side to side, front to back and see nothing but smiling faces that are all on the exact same level as you.
“For some reason, some people tend to be very negative about trance in particular. I think “trance” as a genre has been declared “dead” by these people and the press for the 6th time now. And yet, it remains to be the most popular genre in dance music. In fact, in my experience, trance has never been bigger as it is right now! Maybe this is because several people have very different definitions of the genre “trance”. Some people consider “trance” to be similar to “commercial” or “cheese”. For me trance is the only genre that isn’t a prisoner of it’s own style. People that like real trance, are very open minded to all kinds of dance music. For example, I play a lot of records that are labelled “progressive” or “techno” in my recordstore. Trance to me is a journey through different kinds of dance music, not the formularic crap some call “trance”. Trance is part of modern day music now. Face it.” – Armin Van Buuren
That’s trance. Trance is the embodiment of emotion. It’s not a musical genre. We are trance. And to quote Bryan Kearney, we’ll never die.
So with that said, let’s address why people really think that trance is dead.
In my opinion, just like all other sects of reality, everything moves in waves. Some people call it “bandwagoning”, others call it what’s “in”, or what’s “popular”.
Time for a history lesson. In the underground electronic music community, the early 90’s saw trance stars like Sasha, Digweed, Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold transform a generation of lost sinners into a globally unified underground community. This was the first real time that trance rose from the ashes and spread its wings.
Fast forward to the late 90’s, and a man by the name of “DJ Tiësto” came along. Although he was primarily known for his DJing and track selection; he quickly became the face of the new generation of Trance to usher in the millennium. Over the next few years the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, Sasha and Digweed (who had all been floating as the world’s biggest DJs since the spark of electronic music) handed over the puck to men like DJ Tiësto, Armin Van Buuren and Ferry Corsten, and gave way to the “Trance generation”.
This was the era that many would claim defined the sound of trance- the sound that all future tracks would be judged upon.
The next decade saw many massive DJs we’ve come to know and love rise and fall. Sasha and Digweed moved on to the more progressive side of music, and in roughly 2008 Dj Tiësto would move on to what would soon become the mainstream, “electro house”.
Just like every other facet of life, things change and people move on. What’s important in life is that you don’t pay attention to the hype- fuck the bandwagon. Don’t listen to what your friends tell you is good or what the radio tells you is good, listen to what speaks to your heart. Let the music that your heart beats to guide you and never allow someone to tell you what is good, what’s bad, or what is dead.
Losing one of your favourite producers to another genre- as stupid as it may sound, can be heartbreaking. If it’s someone you’ve spent a large amount of your life listening to, it becomes a part of who you are, just as anything else would. When you see them move on, it’s like losing a piece of you.
Fortunately, there are thousands of producers around the world every single day trying to make that perfect sound that emphasizes the feelings that words cannot- and every single day, a new artist is discovered.
Continue to keep the passion alive for the music that we call our own. Promote from within, and remember that as long as you still feel love, trance will never die.