AVA Recordings has hit its big 1-0! We caught up with Andy Moor and right-hand-man/co-mixer of the ‘AVA Past, Present & Future’ album to get their thoughts and reflections on its release.
What’s up Andy/Somna! How are you guys doing today?
Andy: I’m doing great thank you… working in the studio.
Somna: Doing great! Eating some leftovers from last night consisting of rice, fish balls, broccoli and corn!
Congratulations on the release of ‘AVA 10 Years – Past, Present & Future’. How’s the feeling in the camp on its release?
Andy: We are all happy with the outcome, and excited with the response so far.
Somna: For me it’s a mixture of happiness, relief and excitement.
Let’s get a bit of background. Andy, from inside the progressive and trance areas, who was your greatest influence/s when you started DJing and producing?
Andy: I was influenced by lots of music in the 80s, from artists like Jean Michelle Jarre, Vangelis and Depeche mode originally. Then there was a lot of more commercial 4/4 electronic dance music around and I just started to dig deeper into this style.
And yours Somna?
Somna: As crazy as it is, when it comes to trance productions, some of the earliest Andy Moor / Whiteroom music was a real eye opener for me and helped influence my own productions over the years. I also got a real helping hand from Michael Parsberg (Safri Duo) who was kind enough to offer some really helpful advice to some of my earliest trance productions (under Leung & Wan).
If you had to single out one magical moment from all the others from AVA’s early years, what that it be?
Andy: It will be hard to single out one specific moment, as every small moment has led up to where we are now. But if I had to choose one then it would be the lead up to the first release…. As it seemed to be an age before it was released, so every little element of it’s release is still engrained in my mind.
And Somna, what about the latter ones?
Somna: I think for me seeing the community come together to help me with the making of my “Hands -ft. Jennifer Rene” music video was really magical to me. It was a project that would have never worked if fans didn’t step up and I’m so happy with the way the video turned out.
Most your own material comes through AVA now and has done for quite sometime. What have been the benefits you’ve felt in doing that?
Andy: It’s a labour of love, and the benefits are for us as a label and group of artists. Also to have control over the style of music I produce is suitable to the integrity I have and love for the Trance genre. I would never want to sell out and produce a style of music just because it will make a different label more money.
Somna: I think the beauty for an artist of having a home label is the ability to experiment and write music without the thought of tailoring it specifically for a label’s style. Obviously with AVA we do have our musical identity within this genre but I have free reign to experiment without the risk of making the wrong sound for a label I’m aiming for.
The album is co-mixed by Somna, who’s the head of A&R and your label partner. How did you and Benjamin first come into contact?
Andy: We met in Vancouver during an event that we were playing at. I witnessed his passion, his genuine desire and blatant talent that needed to be exposed to more people. The rest, as they say, is history.
What was it that you heard in his music that particularly appealed to you?
Andy: His style was similar at the time and his attention to detail was intricate. His music had a great feel to it and it was obvious he could put his hand to anything.
Having handled it all yourself, was it difficult passing the A&R reins to him?
Andy: It is always difficult for a micromanager such as myself to hand anything over, but with Ben he instills confidence when dealing with him, he covers every base. He knows what I like and we both have the final say on tunes, often helping to develop an artist’s tune together before we sign it.
What was the first AVA record you heard Ben?
Somna: Wow that’s a tough one to recall. I don’t know which was the first record I heard but certainly one of my favorites of all time is “Faces” from Andy & Ashley Wallbridge.
Andy, do you remember the moment you held the vinyl of AVA001 in your hands and if so, what were your thoughts?
Andy: I don’t I’m afraid, but I still have the releases in the loft and do miss handling and seeing the physical copies of music that I’ve been involved in. A Facebook banner just doesn’t have the same effect.
What’s been its most catalytic releases in the last 10 years?
Andy: Year Zero was a big tune, in that it crossed a lot of boundaries despite it being obviously Trance. For example I would hear it played by progressive and even Techno DJs at the time. And it was around during the days when a tune would be played for a year (rather than a few weeks), so the effects of it continued.
Any personal favourites?
Andy: Probably David West – Make U Mine
Somna: “Sky Dancer” by Hans Seo feat. Anna Toth
If there was one artist operating throughout the last 10 years, who’d you’d like to have seen on the label, but hasn’t yet been, who would it be?
Somna: Rafael Frost, by the beard of Zeus his productions are top notch!
Andy: I’d also say Rafael Frost (although he has remixed on the label). His production style and attention to detail fits with our Ethos perfectly.
Any new artists you’re looking to bring through that we should keep an eye out for?
Andy: We get an ever increasing array of quality demos coming through from new and established producers alike. So there has never been a better time to keep your eyes out for our new releases.
Somna: There’s a guy who’s released a vocal track on our label called Hans Seo who’s got something really special going on with his writing. I was really blown away when he showed me “Sky Dancer” and the vocalist Anna Toth has some pretty beautiful vocal pieces on youtube but the writing on “Sky Dancer” is just something else!
Andy’s a bit of an old hand at mixing compilations, but this is your first, Somna. How did you find the process?
Somna: I think because this compilation had an amazing array of tracks to choose from over 10 years it was a real pleasure to piece the tracks together in a way that flowed from our progressive pieces to the more up-tempo uplifting material. It took a bit of planning, discussions and arrangement between the two of us but I’m very pleased with the journey over the 3 discs.
Did you split the discs, or did you both have a hand in mixing each?
Somna: We had a hand in all 3 discs together, rather than having 1 artist per disc and potentially splitting people’s opinions based on their artist preference, we wanted to work together and tell a story where the focus was more on the music of AVA and its place within our 10 year history.