So today Trancefix, we want to give you a interview with someone who is perhaps a bit of a legend in the trance scene. He has stuck with Trance through its rough patches and has been faithful. Everyone knows of The Thrillseekers, aka Steve Helstrip. Starting in 1999, with his famous Synaesthesia track, he has kept up his tradition of ‘wowing’ us with each and every track he has released, without falling into the monstrous pit of the common garden variety of EDM. Whether it be Synaesthesia or Find You, or even his glorious remixes, he keeps on finding new ways to excite our souls with his brand of trance.
Oh and he always throws a mean DJ set.
Hi, Steve, hope you are doing great, wherever you may be in the world! Thanks to you and your management for agreeing this!
It’s my pleasure! Right now I’m back home having just returned from playing an open to close set at Crobar in Buenos Aires. Still feeling the jetlag, but that’s a permanent feeling I have these days!
- Have you ever felt like you are running out of ideas as so many things/melodies have been tried already, so it is harder and harder to come out with something original within the genre?
Some days I sit for hours trying to create something new and end up with nothing that excites me. I could release a track every week, if I wanted to, but I would get no satisfaction from releasing average tracks. For me, they have to stand the test of time.
Then other days, I sit at the piano and the magic just flows. When this happens, I can spend weeks finishing the track. After I’ve played it out in my sets for some weeks/months, I decide if I want to release it as a single. So, yes, it is sometimes hard to come up with something original, but it’s what I love to do and always strive to push myself.
- With Escape, it seems you took a slightly different approach then you would with a single, or a EP. Some of our members seem to think it’s more commercial sounding. Perhaps that is the wrong phrase, but it overall as an album it does sound different than anything you’ve done in the past. Why didn’t you do a more ‘back to the roots’ or classic ‘old but new’ Thrillseekers Sound?
I wanted to show a different side to my music and production. At the end of the day, I’m known for trance, but I also love to produce down tempo music, and also try out new ideas. For me, that’s what an artist album is all about.
I’d personally get bored listening to an album where all the tracks are in the same genre. That said, I believe all the tracks on Escape have the similar emotions that you find in trance, but the instruments I’ve used might not be what you usually hear on the dancefloor!
- What advice can you give to new & upcoming producers to help them break through?
Just be yourself and create your own sound. Don’t copy other artists if you want to stand out. But you need to have patience and work at your craft for many years before you can expect to stand out. Most importantly, never give up!
- We all know you did a project with Pulser, called Insigma. What kept you going and not moving onto another genre, and do you still keep in touch with Andy?
Yes, I still speak with Andy from time to time. Such a shame that he left the music industry, as he was such a great talent. I stay with trance because it’s what I love. Not just the music, but the scene, the people, the attitude. It’s a way of life for me!
- Do you have a specific way of starting and working on your projects or is it just on a case-to-case basis, it’d be great if we could get some insight on this!
I don’t have any fixed methods of working. But mostly it starts with a melody, which can begin on piano or a synth sound that I love. Once I have something that I love, I develop it from there. Usually the chord progressions come next, then other ‘hooks’ or musical phrases. I believe you need to have 3 strong music hooks, or riffs, in a track, so I always aim to have at least 3 in a track.
- Ever thought about releasing an old school style track under a secret alias, just to see how it would do?
I haven’t, no. But I don’t write music just to see how it will do. I write music that I love, and that I hope will make a positive change to people’s lives.
- What’s your opinion on Trouse/EDM and the influx of generally badly composed music?
I believe there’s room for every genre of music. What I may think sucks, others may like, so it’s not for me to judge. Conversely, I can’t expect everyone to like what I do. And that’s fine also!
- Any funny or weird gig stories you can tell us?
There are a few, but this one still kills me! I was playing in Germany after Paul van Dyk. His set was being aired on BBC Radio 1, live. But after a technical glitch, they had to cut to my live show. However, I hadn’t had time to sound check, and I had no monitor to hear what I was playing on my keyboard.
When I got home the next day, the last 10 minutes of the broadcast was me playing Synaesthesia, but instead of playing the riff on the usual sound, I had a drum bank selected and you could hear the melody playing with whistles, bongos and even a dog bark. Shocking! I never play live without a proper sound check these days! LOL.
- Will there be a remix album of Escape, or will it be just single releases?
Yes, we’re working on remixes right now, so watch this space!
- The last question, is what is Richard Helstrip doing these days? (Free Radical for our readers, that don’t know.)
He’s still producing music in his spare time, but hasn’t released anything for a while. He now has a family, so I believe his commitments have changed along with that.
So if you haven’t checked out Steve’s recent album, please do so using the links below this:
Escape (SIGNED!) CD : http://www.thethrillseekers.co.uk/shopindex.php
All other stores: https://fsoe.lnk.to/Escape
Why stop at Escape?! Check out his recent and older singles. Every single one is a gem.