This week, Always Alive Recordings has reached a major milestone of 100 releases. In 2011, the Enhanced sub-label has been managed by Daniel Kandi, one of today’s most respected trance artists. Named after Kandi’s radio show, Always Alive has spent the past four years carefully working alongside producers to create a arsenal of EPs, albums, and singles for devoted trance fans around the world. In honor of their 100th release, the label asked Ferry Tayle and Dan Stone to do the honors and make Always Alive’s 2-CD compilation which is in stores now. We recently caught up with Ferry Tayle for an interview which you can read below:
How did you find Always Alive Recordings?
I’m close friends with Daniel Kandi, so I was there when the label started. The first release was “Promise,” one of my favorites of his. I was on Enhanced regularly, but I stepped away to do my album The Wizard. Enhanced asked if I wanted to release on Always Alive which was more focused on trance. So I did and continued to release my other singles as well and now I work as the A&R on the label too.
What does the label mean to you?
I have a very personal connection because of my second solo album (third overall). It took a long time to both make and release it, but everyone at Always Alive did an amazing job communicating with me and helping to get it out there. I was very happy about it and now I release pretty much everything on the label. The thing I really like about Always Alive is that it represents all types of trance. It covers a large spectrum.
What drew you to making euphoric trance over all the other styles?
That’s a hard question, but I think it’s all about feelings mainly. I can produce almost anything, but I have a real connection to what I call the ‘real trance’ sound like uplifting. I’m not a big fan of the EDM sound. It’s not that the sound itself is bad, it’s that it’s too commercial . I don’t find a lot of creativity in EDM which is why the trance we bring to Always Alive, it isn’t focused on just uplifting or progressive. It’s the feeling we try to bring to the label and how we try to inspire those looking to sign with us. Right now I’m inspired by unknown people that deserve to be known because they’re very talented.
What do you hope Always Alive can accomplish in the next 100 releases?
Back in the days of CD and vinyls, when we wanted to sign a track, we had to send a few to the label and they took time to listen and give feedback. But we had precise points to work on. It wasn’t just no, it was work on this or do this, and this is what I miss in the digital age. Nowadays, everyone has their own label; everyone can be signed somewhere. When you send a track to a label and no one replies it’s a shame. If you do get a response, it’s just a no. Maybe one will say yes and you’ll be happy because you think, ‘whoa cool,’ but you will never understand why someone says no. And some labels don’t even care about the quality of the record. It’s too easy to sign a track. I don’t think it’s good for the market.
You guys just want to craft good talent and make better artists, right?
Exactly. If I say no, I explain why. Maybe it’s not quite what we want. Or if I’m on the fence, I’ll ask all the other guys. If it’s a track that can fit but it’s at first no, I’ll tell them to work on something specific. If someone wants to improve their skills, they should listen to the people who are already in the market or business. I want to give people what I never had when I started to work on music. Most of the time people listen to us and it fits better. We want to help build the artists around the tracks.
Do you ever refer an artist to Enhanced if you think their track will fit better with that label?
Yes, we refer people to them all the time. When I first signed that’s what how it worked for me. I didn’t accept when the track was average but they were right so thanks to them they were very hard with me. I didn’t want to listen, but after a while I worked on it and got better because of them. I’ve been with Always Alive for six years now. They worked on my profile and this is want I want to bring to people who want to work with us.
We receive so many demos a week it’s hard to respond. But we take the time, even if it takes weeks or months. I don’t want to listen quickly either; I want to properly listen and feel the track and know how I can give advice to the artist to fix it. But if it’s good and there’s nothing to say we signed it.
If you had more space, what tracks do you wish you could have included to the compilation?
I’d try to pick more progressive tracks. I like to tell a story, so sometimes I need a deep or progressive track. It’s like making a wave, it shouldn’t be flat for 80 mins. I want people to feel something when they hear a CD. There should be a bigger spectrum of genres.
What’s the most difficult part of making a compilation with another person?
First, it’s to find the right track. When you tell a story, each track is a different word. And the way you can use the track doesn’t mean they always fit together. Once you select the right track then the goal is to find the best match of each track. That takes time. When I made the compilation, I worked on the first draft and I listened to it a couple of times. If I get bored, people will also be bored, especially because they probably don’t listen to trance as much as I do. I really try to put good feelings and energy and find the right balance so you can take the mix with you anywhere, from your car to your living room.
When do you know that’s it’s done? Is there a process?
For me, it’s never done (laughs). The only part that makes it done is the deadline I have. I’ll work up until the last minute, and it’s even worse when it’s on my own music. When I did my last album, I had 20 different versions of my albun. It’s never done. I still wish I could rework different things even listening to it now. I wish I could change the order but it’s done when they tell me I have to stop.
Do you work better under pressure?
I love working under pressure. If I have too much time I’m lazy; I want to have the pressure. I think the label knows it, because they always ask me to do things like calling me and asking for a remix in two days and I’ll say ‘okay, sure.’
But what happens if you get stuck? Do you panic?
If I get stuck I say I’m sorry but I’ve run out time, though I try to never do that. The crazy part about making remixes is that I have a regular job. I come home at 6 or 6:30 and then I try to lock myself in the studio. When I worked on the ‘Origami’ remix I started work after dinner around 8 or 8:30. When I sent my idea to Dimension and he said it wasn’t what he was expecting from me, I went back and started from scratch. I have to be up at 7am to get to work by 9, and it was already 3am in the morning. I ended up finishing the track at 5am just a few hours before work. This is what happens. It’s playing with fire!
Your EDM & Always Alive Recordings are teaming up to give TWO lucky fans a chance win copies of the compilation! Enter here.