John thanks for talking with us today. You’ve recently been working with Beatport on a project that’s been very close to you heart. What can you tell us about that?
Over the past decade or more, it has been quite frustrating for enthusiasts like myself who yearn for the deeper, raw, and specialized side of Trance. The problem arises from the fact that all forms of Trance were bundled together under one single genre tag, simply labeled as ‘Trance.’ With the mainstream sound dominating the scene and becoming the most popular, it has become even more challenging to discover the kind of music we are seeking. It often gets buried multiple pages deep, making it time-consuming and exasperating for us to find what we truly desire. Unfortunately, many enthusiasts might not even make it that far in their search, further intensifying the frustration.
On the other side of the coin, this situation also causes frustration for producers. Their releases often get lost and overlooked, meaning all their hard work and passion goes unnoticed. It’s disheartening for them to witness their creations fade into obscurity, hindering their ability to reach a wider audience and connect with those who truly appreciate their artistic expression.
This is the first change that Beatport have made to Trance’s ‘coding’ in its 20-year history (making it no small accomplishment!). Why do you think this was, and looked at from their side, what challenges do you think they faced in this move?
In the ever-evolving music landscape, we have witnessed the rise of other genres that have gained popularity and are considered “cool” by the younger generations. Unfortunately, Trance music, from their perspective, has been labeled as mainstream and dated, which has led to a lack of priority and attention for its development.
Recognizing the need for Trance to evolve and move forward, I took it upon myself to emphasize the importance of giving the genre room to breathe and grow. I firmly believed that establishing a dedicated specialist department was crucial. In comparison to other genres like House and Techno, which had six subsidiaries each, Trance was given only one category, not even including Psy Trance, which we have always considered as a separate scene.
Fortunately, a new team came on board that understood the problem at hand and wasted no time in addressing it. They recognized the significance of providing Trance with the attention and focus it deserved. Through their efforts, they began working towards fixing the situation and giving Trance the platform it needed to flourish once again.
The ‘other’ trance has also been rechristened Trance (Main Floor). Did that come as a surprise, or what were your thoughts on that in general?
I only focused on the new specialized Trance genre, which we code-named ‘Deep Trance,’ I took the initiative to bring attention to this specific style. I believed it was essential to establish a distinct identity for this genre, one that truly captured its essence. To gather input, Beatport sent out an email/questionnaire to labels seeking feedback on what the new genre should be named. The response was overwhelming, with suggestions such as Deep, Hypnotic, Raw, and others that resonated with me and made complete sense.
As for the mainstream side of Trance, I must admit that I have become disconnected from it, however, I firmly believe that DJs and producers within the mainstream Trance world should follow in my footsteps and take the initiative to create more sub-genres that cater to their specific preferences. By embracing this proactive approach, they can tailor the genre to better suit their artistic visions and further diversify the Trance landscape.
Before the opening of this new bracket, what was the most tangible drag factor or hinderance you were experiencing in your career and music?
The term ‘Trance’ began to pose challenges for many artists within the more specialized Trance world, particularly for promoters who did not want this sound in their clubs or festivals. Unfortunately, the underground side of the genre was often overlooked and forgotten, as if it never existed. This situation created a difficult scenario for artists who identified with the underground Trance scene.
To navigate these challenges, many Trance producers found it easier to release their music under other genres to avoid confusion and to ensure their work received the recognition it deserved. This allowed them to explore different avenues and reach audiences that may have been less influenced by preconceived notions associated with the term ‘Trance.’
By branching out and experimenting with other genres, these producers sought to break free from the limitations and constraints imposed by the narrow understanding and perception of ‘Trance.’ This approach provided them with opportunities to showcase their artistic versatility and appeal to a wider range of listeners who might not have been receptive to the traditional Trance label.
How important was this to you personally?
The underground Trance scene in its early days played a pivotal role in shaping my long and fulfilling career. The influence of Trance can still be felt in my sets and productions today, as it has a profound impact on creating those hypnotic feelings that I hold dear.
However, witnessing the gradual erosion and fading away of the underground and specialist side of Trance became increasingly painful for me, as producers started releasing this sound in other genres. It felt like an integral part of the genre’s essence was slipping away and being forgotten. This realization compelled me to take action, and I turned to Beatport for assistance in bringing about this much-needed change.
Driven by my passion and determination, I persisted and consistently reached out to Beatport for nearly three years, urging them to recognize the importance of revitalising and preserving the underground Trance scene. I knew that this transformation was crucial to rekindling the spirit and reclaiming the more specialist side of this genre. Finally, my efforts paid off, and I am grateful that Beatport responded to my persistent requests, leading to the positive changes we see today.
In getting it launched, what hurdles did you and Beatport need to overcome?
Creating content was a crucial aspect of launching a new genre. Without proper releases, it would have been challenging to establish and promote the genre effectively. In this endeavor, the invaluable contribution of Beatport’s new Trance curator, Daniel Lesden, cannot be overstated.
Daniel Lesden played a critical role in meticulously searching through an immense catalog of tracks, numbering in the thousands, and categorizing them accurately within the correct genres. This process must have been painstaking and time-consuming, requiring a deep understanding of the nuances and characteristics of each track. His dedication and passion for the project were evident in his tireless efforts to make this transformation a reality.
We owe Daniel Lesden an immense debt of gratitude for his unwavering commitment, hard work, and determination, thanks to his invaluable work, the Trance community now has a platform that showcases the diversity and depth of the genre, and we are grateful for his significant role in making it happen.
How was it to work with them generally on something like this?
Working with Beatport throughout this journey has been an incredible experience. They have proven to be not only amazing collaborators but also equally as passionate about the project as
I am. We have celebrated each step and milestone together, sharing in the excitement and anticipation leading up to the launch.
The team at Beatport, comprised of dedicated music enthusiasts, has been instrumental in making this vision a reality. Their enthusiasm and support have been unwavering, and their commitment to the project has been truly inspiring. The level of excitement on the launch date was palpable, and it was a joy to see everyone messaging each other with a shared sense of enthusiasm and achievement.
So that the readers can get more of an idea of what constitutes Trance Raw / Hypnotic /Deep, what other artists are you most looking forward to/expecting to see recategorized under the bracket?
Every DJ and producer brings their unique flavor and perspective to each genre they explore. It’s essential to recognize that music is subjective, and individual interpretations may vary. With this in mind, I actively avoid naming specific artists or tracks, as my perspective may not align with others, potentially leading to misinterpretations of genres.
Instead, my advice is to encourage listeners to actively engage with the new genre. Dive into the music, explore DJ charts, and listen to sets from various DJs. By immersing yourself in the genre and experiencing the selections of different DJs, you’ll start to develop a nuanced understanding and appreciation for how each artist views and interprets the world of music. This process allows for the discovery of new and amazing music, while also gaining insight into the unique perspectives within the genre.
Ultimately, by exploring and embracing the genre firsthand, listeners can form their own opinions and develop a personal connection to the music. This approach acknowledges the diversity of perspectives within the music community and allows for a more organic and individualized exploration of the genre.
With Raw / Deep / Hypnotic, trance has grown a new branch. Find out if it’s what you’re looking for by checking the new category page here, John’s artist page here [beatport.com/artist/john-00-fleming/1123] and John’s Raw/Deep/Hypnotic Chart here [beatport.com/genre/trance-raw-deep-hypnotic/99]