Kyau & Albert are two of the most highly regarded artists in trance. For over 20 years, the German duo of Ralph Kyau and Stephen Moebius Albert have started and managed their own label Euphonic, remixed for countless artists, and released multiple studio albums, all while gaining a massive worldwide following. Their latest studio album Distant Lights is a continuation of their legacy, 13 tracks that really capture the art of producing trance in the modern dance world. Your EDM caught up with the duo in the middle of their Distant Lights tour to discuss their first open to close set, brewing their own beer, and more.
What’s the one thing you enjoy about touring? Are you having fun being on the road again?
Ralph: There are a couple of great things about touring, but if you wanna hear just one particular thing, then it is inspiration. And yes, it is great to be back on the road as we blocked out two months and had no gigs to finish the album at the end of 2014. Of course I really enjoyed the time at home with my friends and family, but on the other hand for some reason I missed touring. And then when we tour heavily I miss home and just miss sleeping in my own bed in proper night patterns. It’s strange (laughs)!
Steven: Being in the studio and touring are two separate things, like yin and yang. Both are cool and important for us. I don’t wanna miss one of them. We try to keep the balance. It is not easy to produce high quality music when you constantly travel, not when you are real artists who write, record and produce all music by themselves.
Did you get a chance to take a break after making your album, or did you feel inspired to keep writing music?
Steven: We always work on new material and do demos between touring and productions. So we already recorded new songs after the album was finished and did a remix for Aquilo.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of playing an open to close set, especially one like your set in NYC?
Ralph: Honestly, I was not sure how it would be to play 6-hour set especially the beginning as we never play warm-up sets. The longest set we’ve played before was 4 hours, and never from the opening of a club. New York was very fun, especially to building the set without any time pressure. I even had the feeling time was running out too fast in the end. The great thing for me was that we had the chance to play a lot of classic tracks, which we can’t play in a two-hour set. It won’t be the last time we play a longer set like that.
Steven: I personally like shorter sets, but indeed it was very cool and quite inspiring to play this set in NYC.
What is a common misconception people make about the Trance genre?
Steven: This is a hard question which I can’t really answer, as Trance is a wide genre and styles are sometimes merged or mixed nowadays. From the musical side, a Trance producer possibly needs knowledge about classical composing, compared to other styles of electronic dance music, because most other genres are mainly based on groove patterns and using sound samples instead of composing the whole track.
What are some goals you have for the Euphonic label in 2015?
Ralph: We normally do not release much material on Euphonic – approximately one release every three to four weeks – but we fully focus on the artist and the release. We just signed two strong tracks to be released this summer. And of course new Kyau & Albert material is coming soon too.
You guys have been touring the world for years, but are there any cities you still haven’t played in?
Steven: We’ve been almost everywhere, but unfortunately we never played in Italy. There were requests, but it never worked out.
Ralph: We had gigs in exotic countries like Mongolia or on the beach in Kenya, played on the arctic circle, in a couple of cities in Siberia and at all major festivals in Europe and North America. Our manager says we’ve played in over 70 countries. I think we should write down all the cities some time. Unfortunately we don’t see much of the cities we play in; it’s really sad.
I saw that you guys made a Distant Lights IPAs. Will you be venturing out and making bottles of Distant Lights Vodka or Whiskey too?
Ralph: We love craft beer and have been home-brewing since 2008. We brew a few times a year, just for fun. Initially our manager had the idea for the album IPA. When we said we’d do it right after the album is finished, he said, why not do a bigger brew with a local brewery and sell it as ‘Distant Lights IPA.’ We asked three breweries in our area and two were open-minded to brew our best recipe. Unfortunately the brewmaster there did not want to use so much dry hops in the end. So we wanted a much heavier, hoppier smell.
Steven: The beer was really good and it’s already sold out.
What was the biggest challenge while making Distant Lights? How did you overcome that obstacle?
Steven: Distant Lights is our 4th studio album. When a track is becoming a challenge, we work on another one and try again later.
Ralph: Yes, most times it is good to revisit a song or production after a couple weeks, months and sometimes years. The good thing about being two guys is that often one of us gets the key idea and all is fine.
Which track on the album means the most to you? Why?
Steven: All of them! We did around 40 demos for the album and the 13 tracks on the album were our personal faves.
What upcoming projects are you allowed to tell us about?
Ralph: We just finished a remix for Markus Schulz. There are also two new instrumental tracks done which will be released on Anjunabeats and we started another remix for a big artist. In mid-May we are releasing the remixes of the track ‘Follow The Waves’ from Distant Lights. In late summer we will also have a brand new vocal single.