Hot off the heels of EDC Las Vegas, where he took over the Dreamstate stage to curate his own Find Your Harmony lineup — Andrew Rayel paid a visit to NYC and sat down with us to talk about this spectacular experience, his label and radio show, trance music in general and so much more. If you want to listen to a track and become one with the music, it’s Andrew Rayel that you need to be listening to. His productions will help you ‘Find Your Harmony’ and make you want to cherish the ‘Moments’ when his tunes are flowing through your ears.
Considering that Andrew Rayel is sometimes called the next Armin van Buuren, it’s easy to see why I’m shining a spotlight on him for our #ManCrushMonday series. With recent hits like ‘The Melody’ and ‘Originem’ and throwback tunes like ‘550 Senta’ and ‘Sacramentum’, he really knows how to produce bangers and trance anthems alike. His work in the studio has even earned him the prowess of having his tracks played by heavy-hitting artists like Tiësto. Not to mention he’s been moving into the upper echelons of DJs, having been ranked within the DJ Mag Top 100 several times.
We had the opportunity to connect with Andrew Rayel and ask him the questions that you want the answers to. The following transcript has been edited for readability. Interview also available via Spotify, YouTube and iTunes!
FMF: Hello, this is Nadine with Fresh Music Freaks sitting here with Andrew Rayel. He’s a DJ and producer in the Trance world. Not only is he our favorite Moldovan DJ, he’s also the label head of inHarmony and he’s the man behind the Find Your Harmony radio show. Welcome back to New York City. I’m glad to welcome you here. How are you?
Andrew Rayel: Thank you so much for having me. I’m very good. I’m super excited for everything that’s coming up. I’m super excited about the weekend that just passed. I was lucky enough to partner up with Insomniac and Dreamstate to host my own stage at EDC Las Vegas for one day. I put together a great lineup of my friends and colleagues. I had Ruben de Ronde, David Gravell, Space Corps, Andrew Bayer, Mark Sixma, MaRLo, Cosmic Gate and myself. Everybody did great. It was massive. Lots of people. Exciting times.
Yea! I saw some of the videos from my friends on Snapchat. I had some serious FOMO not being there. What was is like being able to curate your own full lineup and have a stage to yourself for an entire day?
I’ll have to say, it’s probably the biggest highlight of this year for me. And also probably one of the biggest things in my career so far. Obviously it was a lot of work. It was pretty hard putting everything together to make everything happen. But with the help of Insomniac and the Dreamstate guys (which is pretty much the biggest trance brand in the United States), we managed to do this and it was a big success. The stage was full from the beginning until 5:30am. There were thousands of people at 5:30 in the morning and I was very happy! It was a very successful night. Find Your Harmony EDC. What else can we do?
You’ve got to go to the next step, right? Take it international!
It always becomes bigger and more difficult, of course.
Yeah, that’s the challenge. Speaking of Find Your Harmony, I actually really love that title. It’s super cool. And it brings me to ask you, have you found your harmony?
I did, yes! I’ve found my harmony. That’s why the label is called inHarmony. Obviously there’s still more room to find harmony in life. In general, there’s many aspects of finding your harmony. In your family, having kids, being in that moment and place in your life where you’re absolutely happy with everything and you have realized all your goals and everything. I’m still super young, so I have lots of time to make that happen.
Yes, we’re actually the same age! Your music is obviously a huge passion for you. We can definitely tell by listening to your music. When you get into the studio, where does your mind go? How do you get inspired to come up with new tracks?
It’s always different. I made this system for myself that helps me produce music faster. When I started making music, obviously I didn’t have many shows I had maybe one or two shows each month and I’d have the whole day in the studio. I could spend weeks in the studio and I would not come up with a plan for the day. I would just go into the studio and see what would happen. And obviously that would make the whole process way slower and way longer. I ended up creating some great tracks, most of them were very well thought and it took a lot of time to make, to make those tracks. Nowadays, I have way less time because of all the shows. We do three, four, up to five shows a week, plus all the traveling and everything. I’ve come up with this system where I have a technical day where I work only on technical stuff like making sounds, snares, kicks, drums. I find strings and pianos and just organize it into folders and label everything. Like these are the kicks that I like or that I’ve created and I like, and the strings, pianos, and everything. That makes it easier for me on my creative day when I just think about melodies and concepts. I don’t have to spend an hour looking for that perfect kick or bassline. I already have my favorites in one place and it’s super fast to put all the elements together. And obviously, we’re a result of everything we see, we think, we listen and all of that influences my creativity. All the movies I’m watching, all the places I’m traveling to and seeing and all the people I meet — that all comes into my music. If I have a bad day or a bad week or month it will probably be a sad song or something very emotional. If I have a happy day or week, it’ll probably be something banging and energetic. It’s all about those moments that come together for me in the studio.
Yes indeed. We’re definitely happy that you find the inspiration and are able to make these tracks. But, what if you weren’t a DJ and producer? What career path would you have taken?
That’s a very hard question because I’m so deep into this and I can’t imagine myself being or doing something else. I guess something related to art or something very creative. Maybe something very close to music. If not producing music, maybe being a manager or A&R for a label or something like that. Which is still super weird for me because creating the music, that’s the thing that I always wanted to do and I can’t see myself stopping.
Well, we’re definitely glad that you got into this industry. We love your music. Now, I have a question that I ask to every trance producer because you all seem to have a different perspective on it.
What is trance?
Yes! *both of us laughing* What does trance mean to you?
I’m a musician and my opinion is that we should always put music first and then the genres. Obviously, trance is one of my favorite genres of music. But, I always think about music and what does music mean to me? It’s either trance or classical music. Music for me is that moment in time and space in the universe where I feel those great emotions and for some people the same moment or the same track or the same melody can bring different types of emotions. You can even see it during my sets. When I play a song, there’s a person that jumps and goes crazy, there’s another person that cries, there’s another person that is happy or sad. It just makes you feel something and that is music to me. Trance goes under the same description for me.
I understand what you’re saying about the crowd, everybody has a different emotion. That’s what I love about trance, the journey. Speaking of journeys, you’ve already played at so many shows around the world this year. Where else can we catch you in 2019?
Summer time is festival season I’ve got a lot of European festivals. I’m going to be playing Tomorrowland again. I’m going to be joining Armin van Buuren on his ASOT stage in the Bay Area. There’s a bunch of European festivals in so many countries over there. I’m also going to be coming to the US a little bit in between those festivals. We’re already planning the next Find You Harmony show; it’s going to be in Asia. Right after that, I’m going to do my best to bring a Find Your Harmony solo show to the United States. There’s loads of space for us to grow. Not just the Find Your Harmony shows, but my solo shows where I do different clubs and festivals. Make sure to follow my music and tour schedule and you can find me. It’s even hard to say where am I going to be one month. I know I’m playing New York and Chicago this weekend, then I have a show back home. After that, I need to look it up.
I was looking at your schedule and I was like, ‘wow, you’re all over the place’.
That’s the best thing, that we do shows all over the world.
You gotta do it, right? You spoke about your music too and this year has been a tremendous year for you, already. You’ve had several remixes and releases already. What else can we see from you expect from you this year?
I’m working really hard on my label, inHarmony Music. I’m signing a lot of tracks. I have a few favorite artists on the label that are very consistent and they send music very consistently. We respect them and we try to help them to get to the next level. I’m talking about guys like Husman, Corti Organ, Bogdan Vix and KeyPlayer. These are the guys that release tracks on inHarmony constantly. I’m trying to help them and bring some of them on tour with me. Find Your Harmony just passed episode 150. We’re on the way to the big number 200 and we’re going to plan something around that — a couple of bigger shows. As far as my music goes, I have an upcoming single, which is a collaboration with Haliene. She is one of the beautiful voices in trance music and the track is called ‘Take All Of Me’. It’s going to be released in June. It was premiered at EDC this weekend. I can’t wait to show it to the entire world.
I’m excited for that one too. I just want to say thank you again, Andrew. Thank you for sitting down with me.
Thank you for having me.
You’re not going to hear the handshake.
Yeah, you guys won’t hear the handshake, but it happened. *laughter* This is Nadine from Fresh Music Freaks signing out!