Ronski Speed is a veteran of the trance scene. He has been DJing and producing since 1997. His music has had huge amounts of airplay from the likes of Paul Van Dyk, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto and many others. Ronski also ranked #44 in the DJ Mag Top 100 in 2007. So you know this man is a gamechanger in the industry.
On Saturday, January 12th, NYC trance fans (including myself) were treated with an incredible set from trance veteran, Ronski Speed. This set took us all on a ride from classic anthems to newer productions to remixes of fan favorites. If I had to choose one phrase that I said most all night, it has to be “WOW! I’ve always wanted to hear this song live!” From start to finish, the crowd was going “OMG, I LOVE THIS SONG!!!” every single song. An amazing set like that combined with the ambience of the intimate setting at Eris Evolutionled to an amazing night, full of dancing.
Prior to being immersed in the music, I was lucky enough to be able to sit with Ronski Speed and talk shop for a bit. The following transcript has been edited for readability. The unedited audio is also viewable here.
FMF: This is Nadine with Fresh Music Freaks. I’m here with Ronnie Schneider, aka Ronski Speed, this guy is an absolute legend. He has been performing, DJing, and producing for ages; since I was in grade school actually. So yeah, a long time. The first thing I really want to ask you is what got you into this line of work?
Ronski Speed: I would say like with all of us, something drives us. We liked the music and at that time you would start to produce the music that you like or and try it. Some people do it better or more successful, some less successful. And in my case, I got the chance to produce a couple of tracks and music; a lot of people were reacting to it, the big djs were reacting to it. At that time it was still Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk and Armin and guys like that. And so they got me into the scene and gave me the chance to play everywhere around the world.
Trance was obviously the genre that you chose to pursue. Did you have any, musical influences that got you into trance specifically?
Absolutely! Yeah. In Germany, it was always big for us. It was all about Paul Van Dyk at that time. But later on, also bands from England, like Chicane or BT from America and guys like that who brought me, personally into the game. The music I admired and I wanted to produce was similar to music from my idols at this time. So that’s the point where I started.
You’re playing a classics set at Luminosity. I’m going to be there, by the way. I’m very excited! So tell me a little bit about that. How are you planning for that set?
Oh, actually, that’s a good question, it’s still four months away. So basically I haven’t planned anything yet. But as time goes on, I will get more and more excited about this and begin to prepare. somewhat. So at the moment I don’t have any specific plans.
Nothing wrong with that! There’s plenty of trance classics that you can choose from. Speaking classic trance songs, we all love a good one. I’m a dedicated trance fan, so I know that for a fact. But there’s also a lot of new tracks coming out all the time. And there’s always been a debate, classics vs the new stuff. Let’s end this debate right here, right now. Classic or new trance?
That’s always a question. Me personally, I liked the scene around the 2000s until the middle of the 2010s. There were really good melodies you will remember for a long, long time. And about the new stuff that’s coming out now. Very often you have good producers put out a couple of melodies that you find maybe cool for two or three weeks and then you don’t remember that in your mind. This is the big difference. So I think maybe for me; more the old, like the classics. But I also see that many people are going back to the sound they produced years ago. So why not combine everything into one thing. It’s just about the music, whether you like or don’t like it.
I definitely agree with that. You play a lot of shows around the world and there’s so many different tracks that you can choose from. How do you choose what tracks you play? Do you have a track list that you know you’re going to play or do you look at the crowd and say, ‘Oh wow, I should play this next?
I’m always looking into the crowd to see. I know when I go to the club and the people are going to my concerts, they know what to expect. So I’m free to choose from the tracks that I personally like. Sometimes you also play a crowd pleaser of course. Sometimes people come to you and say, ‘oh, can you please play this track?’ Sometimes the tracks are a little bit older. I’m happy to look on my usb to see if I still have them with me. Although sometimes that’s complicated because I have only a limited amount of tracks on my usb stick. So that’s all I can choose. So somebody wants this or that or Chainsmokers or something. I cannot play that, sorry.
Exactly, you only have so much space on your usb. So no Chainsmokers songs at Luminosity I guess, too bad. So, you produced a bunch of tracks of your own that are freaking awesome. My favorite song of yours is “The Space We Are”. If you play that tonight, I’ll be really happy! But when you’re producing a track like that or like your new album; when you sit down in the studio, where does your mind go? Is it all rainbows and kittens or do you just get in the zone?
If I’m in the studio, I’m really concentrating then because I only have a limited time in the studio. When I go to the studio, I’m trying to put out the best. I more or less am in a tunnel and I am concentrating completely on that [the production]. Just trying to do as much as I can in the time I have in the studio.
You’ve produced a lot of awesome tracks, I must say. And you’ve worked with a ton of great producers and vocalists as well. I feel like every artist has that one person that they dream of collaborating with. Who is that for you?
That’s a hard one. I really don’t have anyone specific in mind. I had the chance to collaborate with many, many great people; from Emma Hewitt to Lucy Saunders, to Aruna, and so many talented vocalists. Especially when they came up and, and I could explore them and their vocals. This is what I’m really trying to find; it’s new artists I can collaborate with and that I can also bring to the audience and show them. So for me, many of my dreams have already came true.
Everybody can say ‘I would like to have a duet with Armin, ya know or Paul Van Dyk or whatever.’ But I don’t really dream of that. I’m dreaming of producing my own music. I want to collaborate with other guys, like I’m doing now with Alan Morris and Ciaran McAuley. I heard the latest tracks by these guys and I say, ‘are you interested in working together on my new album?’ And they say ‘Yea, I’m interested’, because they’ve known me for a long time. This is really a good feeling when people want to collaborate with you and then the outcome is really cool. This is what I really like. So I really enjoy collaborating with these guys and I’m very happy that I get the chance to collaborate with these guys.
Yea, you collaborated with Alan Morris on “Evolve” and you guys produced some amazing tracks. I love the album. You just released that last year. Do you have anything else in the works or are there any upcoming shows that you’re super pumped for?
For things in the works, I just finished the production of a new version of “The Space We Are”. I think, after 10 years, it needs a new version that I can play in my sets. So I will play that tonight. I finished a track for Armada. I’m currently working on the dance mixes for the album tracks. Also some new tricks for Euphonic. About gigs, I’m planning to do a little tour about the album. Like you said, Luminosity. I also have gigs in Paris, Czech Republic, everywhere around the world.
*Featured photo via “Evolve” by Ronski Speed*