Today, TranceFix, we are excited to present you with an interview with perhaps one of the best Duos in the business; Stoneface & Terminal. You may also know them, by their names, Matthias and Henry.
Starting in 2002, they have been making music for a long time, and have years of experience in producing quality trance. Lately in the last few years, they have come back with a boom.
From their remix of Yahel & Liya’s ‘Shadows’ to the most recently released ‘ So What ‘ they have been setting the trance scene ablaze with their fresh and exciting takes on trance.
Before we carry on with the in depth interview, special thanks to their management (Dance Therapy), and of course Henry and Matthias for doing this interview. Thanks, also to the TranceFix members who had many interesting questions.
1. Could you tell us more about your insipiration behind A&Ring FSOE Clandestine?
On FSOE Clandestine we want to release Tech-Trance and Techno tracks that are special. We often give advises and ideas to the Artists on how they can make a track a bit more outstanding when their tracks sound interchangeable.
All in one we’d like to have a unique sound on FSOE Clandestine that doesn’t sound just copied.
2. What was the vision behind Gundamea?
Gundamea is our project for our love to the more ‘go with the flow’ tracks that are a bit slower and not arranged too tight. We let the tracks with all its sounds and melodies breathe, surrounded by special atmospheres.
It’s the kind of music you can listen to when you just want to float in sounds3
3. What does your near future looklike? Are there any plans or ideas for the next few years?
We are always working on new tracks as we still have so many ideas… The new Stoneface & Terminal album is in the making and we mixed the FSOE 500 Clandestine CD which will be part of the FSOE 500 compilation, to be released soon.
4. Any albums in the making?
Yes, we are working on our new album. We are throwing in our ideas at the moment and even confirmed some exciting collaborations. The release is planned for mid 2018.
5. How do you manage to stay fresh, and at the same time develop your own sound? This is while becoming popular in a scene which is known for its abundance of tracks that sound extremely similar? What is your taken on uniqueness & exploration, in today’s trance and do you think it is needed?
Now, that’s what we are. Our music is different because we don’t try to fit in the sound that is popular at the moment. We know that this way is more difficult for us because we don’t have the commercial budget like the ‘Big‘ acts in the scene who are more focused on things like lifestyle, popularity and how huge the LED panel and light show is than on how professional and outstanding their music sounds. We came from the very beginning of Trance and Techno and we think that this kind of music wasn’t really down the road in the 2000’s when the media and labels jumped off the train. But many producers changed their sound when it wasn’t in demand anymore. We think there are still enough fans admiring the actual art in Trance and Techno
6. Will there be any more side-projects like Gundamea? Will you keep exploring different genres and styles?
At the moment we don’t have plans for another side-project beside Gundamea and Lichtengard. Gundamea
is the project where we can do and try out so many different things. So we think we don’t need another side-project for the electronic music scene 🙂
7. Your tracks have quite an old school vibe in them. Where do you find the insipiration? What are your favourite plugins, synths that you use to achieve that sound?
We do find the inspiration in looking and listening to the early days of Techno & Trance when it all was new and when Djs and Producers tried out different things. Almost every producer was a nerd who experimented with sounds. We miss that in the scene nowadays.
We still use some older vsts like the Albino and a2 as well as some outboard equipment like the Prophecy, MS 404 or the TB 303 from time to time. We also sample our own stuff from vinyl somtimes. It sounds even different then.
8. Who in your opinion should we keep our eyes on in the scene? Any new talents?
That’s the right word: „Talents“. Today it’s way too easy to do a normal ‘trance-edm-progressive’ track, using a laptop or pc. A talent or, as we mentioned above, a nerd in electronic music is someone who works with, for example, analog stuff too beside the software and who experiments with sounds, synths etc. 24 hours per day. If you mean that kind of talent then we have to say that there is no one at the moment – in our opinion. But anyway, there are good producers like Dim3nsion.
8. What do you think of the so called ‘steroid sound’ trance of these days? It looks like you avoid it in your tracks. Is this a conscious decision?
We don’t avoid it because it’s not inevitable. We don’t think about to include any ‘steriod’ elements in our tracks. And just to blow up a track with stuff that is ‘IN’ at the moment wouldn’t make the track any better in our opinion.
Plus, for us it would be pretty exhausting to play the same inflated and predictable sound all the time. So we just produce and play what we love. It’s a cool feeling to play at a festival and you listen to all the Djs before and you know that your sound will be different when you are on stage.
9. What can trance learn from other genres?
At the moment it can learn that there are much more sounds and even more kickdrums than the stuff that is popular at the moment. Trance is more than an intro, a break and finish, a Trance track can easily go 10 minutes. Trance is a feeling. It’s not only about the ‘HYPE’ nor the biggest light show. Just experience sounds and dance.
10. What is trance lacking the most in right now? Vice versa, in what ways is modern trance better than before?
At the moment there’s too much ‘safety’ thinking in the heads of Producers, DJs and Promoters. Many producers are copying the crowd pleasing stuff from successful Producers / DJs. Many DJs are playing the scene Top 10 tracks and styles to be booked by the promoters who have to make sure that they’ll sell tickets. Not many Producers / Djs and Promoters try to show the crowd some different sounds and rhythms. Everything sounds totally synced.
The tracks are arranged and mixed totally on point. Dj Cuts and breaks don’t have to be longer than like 1 minute. The visuals and fireworks are synced to these tracks that are played by Djs who seem to do their practiced Choreography. It’s all about entertainment. But a bit more freedom and thinking outside the box is not wrong at all 😉
11. How does being part of a duo feel? Is there someone who deals with the technical or musical side of music production better?
We think both of us have a very good understanding of music and when it comes to creating a new track (ideas etc.) but technical wise Henry is 100 % the nerd and Matthi maybe 80 % 🙂 If we talk about the production Henry can make the difference for sure. If it comes to ideas Matthi can bring the final difference. Nevertheless, at the end we are working perfectly balanced if we do a track / idea together as Stoneface & Terminal.
12. If both of you have completely different ideas in developing a track, what do you do?
It doesn’t happens often that we have totally different ideas. But if one of us doesn’t like an idea, we just don’t do it. It’s not a good working if one of us doesn’t like the way the track is going. But first we try out all ideas, even if they are weird in the beginning 🙂
13. Is trance popular in Germany? What is holding it back from being more popular?
Trance became a small niche in Germany. It was big in the 90’s and early 2000’s when it happened on TV etc. At the moment some kind of Dance-Pop, released and played by
‘DJs’, is big here. German radio stations are playing it a lot because it’s very soft and slow, produced totally on point with the same chords in almost every track. The listeners like it as even new songs sound familiar.
14. What do you think about DJs who have a ‘new style’ which is actually the trending style of the moment? Is that to do with a lack of personality? What is the most distinguishing element in your music that you have to avoid this ‘lack of personality’?
Of course, it’s a sign of lack of ideas and an own personality because they want to look and sound like their idols or whoever. Not only the music sounds the same, they even copy the ‘choreography’ of other DJs because they think it would be cool to look like them. We never thought about such a thing, we are who we are and we are here because we produce and play the music we love. No more, no less 🙂
15. What do you consider your best track?
Matthi: Another Day
16. Do you like housekeeping ?
Yes we do (sometimes).
17. Why is there a fruit called grape while also having a grapefruit, but they are not the same?
On the tree, grapefruit happen to look a lot like grapes, maybe.
18. What are some of the songs that go you into Trance music to begin with?
KLF – Last Train To Trancentral (Pure Trance Version), LSG – Hearts, Jam & Spoon – Follow Me, Humate – Love Stimulation (Love Mix), Cosmic Baby – Loops of Infinity, Alien Factory – Beta Music… there are quite a lot and almost every track sounded different. And they still do.
19. What is the first track you would show to a person who is new to trance? (one track from you guys and one from someone else
Matthi: I have 3 tracks to show:
- Stoneface & Terminal – Berlin ’99
- LSG- Hearts
- KLF – Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance remix)
Henry: 3, as there’s so much to show :
- Stoneface & Terminal – Tale In Verse
- Amorph- Sunflow
- Cosmic Baby – Loops of Infinity
20. It feels like you have had a bit of a new lease of life in the recent years, with many of our members agreeing that you are one of the best in the scene at this moment. Has anything changed for you in this time? Where is this huge surge of inspiration coming from?
We had an aha moment at an event called „Electronic Family“ that we played in 2014. After our set we had time to enjoy the event and we stood on the main stage for around 30 minutes. The music sounded like one track.
There was no variety in the set and we decided to leave the main stage but we came back around 2 hours later. And guess what: the sound was the same like two hours before although another DJ was playing.
We also talked to some people who told us that they were there since 6 hours and it was all the same… After that moment we said ‘It must be possible to show people that there’s something different!’
Please do check out their latest single out on Beatport ‘ So What’
Why stop at ‘ So What’ ? Each track of theirs whether it be a remix or original is worth checking out.