Since Andrew Rayel stepped onto the electronic music scene a number of years ago, he has been one of the fastest growing artists in Trance. Already with a major album under his belt with Armada’s label, Rayel has almost crossed the finish line for his sophomore album, this time telling us that it will be much more cohesive than the last. We were lucky enough to sit down with Andrew for a moment to discuss this project as well as a number of other topics that we hope you enjoy as much as we did!
Where are you originally from, and how would you describe the electronic music scene there?
“Well I am originally from a small place called Moldova. It’s a very small country, there are only about 3.5 million people over there, probably smaller than any of the major cities in the U.S.. Surprisingly, electronic music is pretty good over there, I’m working with a company that does a lot of dance shows over there. We brought so many names to Moldova during the year like Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, and a lot of other names as well. At the moment is a little tough because of the economy and all of the political things that have been happening in Eastern Europe, but I still personally do a lot of my shows over there. At least once a year. When I did the release party in Moldova we had about 6,000 people which was great. The biggest show that has been there was Armin Van Buuren with about 8,000 people I’m getting pretty close to him [laughs]. It’s growing and I’m doing the best I can to help the electronic music scene be there as much as I can.”
You’ve described your introduction to electronic music through artists like Armin Van Buuren. What is it like to work with him now, especially after he was such an inspirational figure for you?
“Absolutely insane. If you told me five or ten years ago that I’d be working with Armin Van Buuren on a daily basis and I would be a part of Armada music with a collab with Armin, I never would have believed it. But slowly I got there because of the music. That was how we connected. After all music really does connect people.”
What were some of their tracks that initially inspired you?
“Serenity” by Armin. It used to play a lot on the radio when I was little, and that was actually the track that got me into the trance world. the only thing that I was able to listen to at that point was radio. I had a little boombox radio and there was one station that used to play that kind of music.”
You’ve played Ultra numerous times, and you’re also playing Maps Backlot this year as well as Ultra. Are there any other surprise places that we could expect to see you?
“I actually did a surprise set at the Armada invite at Nikki Beach with Borgeous, Fedde le Grand, and a bunch of guys. I was the special guest that closed the show. It didn’t actually go as well as I had expected though. Nikki Beach has the same problem every year with the neighbors who don’t like the music as much. While I was playing they lowered the volume so I couldn’t give that energy that I wanted to give everyone. But still, everyone stayed until the last moment. Hearing the crowd go crazy over the music a little more than usual was really cool though so thank you so much to everyone that came out that night.”
Would you say that your sets change a lot from show to show in terms of festivals vs smaller shows?
“Yes, because when I play smaller venues I tend to play longer sets. When I do that I tend to play a little deeper and more emotional music. I try to play more unreleased stuff too. It’s much more intimate. At the big festivals and arenas I really want to rock the crowd and get people jumping with a bit more energy.”
You’ve released a number of tracks already, but are there anymore hints we are going to get for the upcoming album?
“Yes! I just finished my second studio album called “moments” which will be released on May 5th, and we have released a couple singles off of it already. They have gotten a pretty good reaction from the fans so far, especially the very experimental psytrance track called “Tacadum”. That one has probably gotten the biggest reaction so far. People definitely weren’t expecting it. I will also be releasing the next track off the album in April, but after that you’ll have to wait for the album release in May. We have lineup a two month tour for that which I am really excited about. It has some very small venues and some very big ones too and hopefully they’ll fill up pretty fast.”
How did this album differ from your first one?
“The first one, I didnt really know what I was doing. I knew the concept of an album obviously because I have listened to so many, but there wasn’t really a plan for it. I was just making music and put everything together, made an intro and said okay that’s the album. This time this one is very well planned. Each track was individually thought out and put together for a story that I really want to tell.”
You have already accomplished so much in your career, but what are some of the goals you still have set for yourself and your career?
“This tour I am starting has been one of the big goals for a long time and with Ultra 2017, it starts now. I always wanted to do a solo tour where it’s not just random clubs with people walking by and not knowing who is playing. This tour is for the fans that know Andrew Rayel and know who they’re going to see that night. I always wanted to experience that as it has been one of my dreams for a very long time. After that, the next big dream of mine is to launch a label. I will probably open my own label under Armada music at some point in the future. That way I’ll be able to release my music along with other artists I like with my own thing. that will be the next step.”
Now, we’ve been told that you recently won a gold tournament on Groove Cruise. Who are some of the other artists that you beat?
“Oh my god [laughing]. I think it was EDX, Cosmic Gate, there were a bunch of them. But just so you understand, I didn’t really win— it was a complete accident. I’ve never even played golf in my life. I scored two balls and everyone else only scored one. How much of a win is that? It was total luck and then they told me I won.
I wasn’t even planning to do the mini golf tournament. They made me do it. I actually signed up for the ping pong tournament which I’m actually pretty good at— and I lost in the first round! The one thing I was good at I lost right away, and won the game I had never even played before.”