TF Interview: Coredata

Coredata: Trancefix Interview

[17.05.2021]

Here's our latest interview with underground Trance/Psy producer, Coredata. He was our winner for 'Best Album' (Wander) and 'Best Artist' for 2020 so we were very happy when he agreed to take some time with us and speak on a personal level about himself, his music and the scene. Enjoy!

Coredata Copy 8.png



It seemed like 2020 was very big year for you musically. How do you reflect back on this year and what are some of your plans for 2021?

Yes, 2020 was a great year for me musically, I'm incredibly proud of my debut album Wander, although I could have done without the pandemic, as I was looking forward to playing the tracks out at gigs and events, but things are looking optimistic now so I'm looking to the future.

I'm now settling into my new job teaching music production, but for Coredata, I will be releasing more music and developing that Coredata sound. I love exploring new sounds and sonic palettes while still keeping the glorious Platipus sound at heart.

I'm also currently developing a VR experience for Coredata which is extremely challenging but very fun! It's still very early days, so I don't want to give too much away.


You can hear that Platipus love throughout the album. What is it about this label and Simon Berry's approach that appeals to you so much? Did Simon give you any thoughts or feedback on the release?

Where do I begin... you could say I'm a bit obsessed with the sound - there's nothing quite like it. I think it's the adventurous 303 basslines of Art of Trance and the raw tribal feel of Union Jack that do it for me, it's just magical! Those early 90s goa and psychedelic tracks really are special being incredibly creative and free. It's something I always want to capture when I compose a Coredata piece of music. No feedback from Mr. Berry. Who knows if he rates it!?


And what was it like working with JOOF recordings and John on releasing the record. They also have a particular sound and ethos. Did they allow a lot of flexibility with your ideas or is there a significant feedback process involved when developing and releasing the album for them?

It's been really great working with JOOF as they have given me complete creative control which I think is so important for an artist. Everything you hear of mine on JOOF is written, produced, mixed and mastered by myself, and I'm grateful for that as it's massively aided my development as a musician and producer.

The album was pretty much given the green light as it was presented which was a nice surprise. Up until then, before I birthed Coredata, I was so used to labels giving their opinions and feedback on my work, so I just got a bit fed up and decided to go back to the roots of what I love about electronic dance music.


Piccori Dreams
https://soundcloud.com/core_data%2F2-coredata-picori-dreams-1

The Wander album art/video visuals were very cool (who was the artist?), and with your upcoming VR project it seems that visual design is something you have a strong appreciation for?

So the visuals were created by two artists Matt Hellard and Unicorn Palace, and they were edited together by my good friend and band fellow band member Josh Iverson. I think with this kind of colourful, psychedelic inspired music that I’m making, it makes sense to accompany it with visual art. I’ve always been inspired by video games and video game music, so I like the idea of creating a digitally imagined space for Coredata. Something you can lose yourself in.


So you're in a band too? What has your musical journey and career been like up until the Coredata project and what led you to this point?

Yep, in a band called Iversen where I play keys, sing backing vocals and help out with production, mixing and mastering.

Music is my life. I teach it at college and I sit in my studio and produce it as much as I possibly can. I started playing piano at primary school and guitar in secondary, but it was watching the film School of Rock that really got me fired up and subsequently made me raid my dad's music collection of classic rock and songs from the 60s and 70s. Led Zeppelin was a band that changed everything for me, and I think that's what got me really into psychedelic and ethereal music.

It was then a video game called Midnight 2 that got me hooked on electronic music and especially Platipus Records. Art of Trance tracks Stealth and Blue Owl from the Wildlife on One album were on there which completely blew me away. I also remember when I was younger receiving a CD from a Frosties cereal box called Dance Ejay, where you could arrange little stems around to make your own tracks which I absolutely loved, and I suppose was my first gateway to music production. I also remember not wanting to pursue music when I was young, as I was very hard on myself, and thought that "there's way too many people out there that would be better than me, so what's the point?".

And I suppose that leads perfectly onto how Coredata formed... of course there are people out there who could be considered "better" than you, but I realised in my late teens that that's absolute bollocks. You are your own voice, and no one else sounds like you. Yes you have inspirational artists that have influenced your work (like me with Platipus records and Led Zeppelin), but you are uniquely you, and can work a piece of music in your own vision that no one else can, so put the blinkers on and be an artist! I took music seriously and started releasing tracks under my own name, but wanted to get back to the roots of what I love about music, therefore I created Coredata, and here we are!


We have a thread in the forum actually where we share those kinds of gaming OST's. Are other OSTs that come to mind?

Zelda Ocarina Of Time was a huge game for me too. I remember seeing that game advertised in Gamestation at a vewhere you could walk into the shop and play it. The idea of being dropped into this fantasy world full of colour, where you can run around, just encapsulated me.

Zelda is obviously known for its legendary soundtracks, but another game I loved which also had quality music, was C&C Red Alert 2. Such a banging mix of heavy rock and electronic music, which subsequently lead me to get hooked on The Prodigy.


I also wanted to ask and learn more about your job as a music teacher. What's that like and what are your thoughts on how music education is taught/structured in the UK. Does electronic music have a place? Do the students laugh when they find out you make face-melting psychedelic music?

Yes, I'm teaching in London and I'm really enjoying it there. It's been very challenging with all that's been going on, but the kids and staff are awesome. I try and play as many different styles of music as possible, but the students tend to gravitate towards rap, trap, drill, and all that, which I don't mind too much sometimes... I remember playing Union Jack - Papillon as a listening exercise once and a student perked up and said "rah, I kinda rate that you know...". There is still hope for good music hahaa.


So how important is musical education, training and theory? Do you see it as significant when becoming a quality electronic music producer or does it not play a huge defining role as people might suggest?

I don't think it's necessary at all to make great music... I think it helps, but if you have a good idea of what you want to make, train your ear intently, and work hard enough, you can make really outstanding music.

One of my favourite artists Burial, as far as I'm aware, doesn't haven't a music theoretical background, but his two studio albums have some of my favourite music of all time.

I had a rough time with my music education in terms of theory and such when I was at school and always relied on my ear. It served me fairly well to be honest, and it wasn't until I decided that I wanted to teach music, that I worked harder to understand music theory which subsequently lead to me writing my first traditional verse-chorus style songs with lyrics and all sorts!


The reopening of clubs and parties seems to be on the horizon, which you must be excited for. Will it be your first opportunity to play out tracks from Wander? Where and what kinds of events will you be looking to play at and how do you find the scene in London for this particular kind of Trance?

Yes! Very much looking forward to getting out there again. My favourite nights in London are DanceLoveHub and Trance Sanctuary. Emma and Mark who run those nights are incredible people, and we owe them so much to keep the scene going strong in London! Getting gigs is so tough for DJs these days, just as everyone is doing it! I also play live, so I'm hoping to get booked for a live set again so I can bring something different to the party.


What's you set up like for both live performances and also when at home in the studio? How are you making those amazing baselines we hear throughout Wander?

So all basslines in the album are played on my TB-03, except my remix of Jungle Run which is played on my SH-01a. I also have my TR-09, which I use in studio productions at times, but I'd use that more in a live situation. Those Roland boutique models are great as they make that beautiful sound, and they're much smaller than the originals, which makes it perfect to gig with. I also have an MS-20 mini which is class! It has such a nasty sound, plus the patch bay is fun to mess around with, although I have to admit, I don't have a bloody clue what I'm doing with patch bays... haha. The Behringer Neutron is the latest addition, which again, is a proper nutty synth which I definitely need a full day to play with...


I'm not a producer myself but does the introduction of a new piece of equipment or synth change much when producing, opening up more avenues and ideas? Essentially like the introduction of a new instrument, for example.

New anything in the studio always gets me excited and inspired. If I had more time and more income, I'd probably spend it all on music gear and just live in the studio for a month... I'd come out the other end like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant...


Where do you draw inspiration from when creating a track and what can you tell me about the process?

So, like I said earlier, Coredata came out of the desire to just make something original and return to the roots of my obsession with music.

I'd call Coredata a hybrid between Uplifting and Psy... I listened to a lot of Trance Around The World with A&B from 2007 onwards, so Coredata is almost like the love child of Above & Beyond and Platipus records. Reiterating once again, I take a huge inspiration from video games - the themes, sound palettes and the idea of creating a colourful digital soundscape that you can dance to.

I'll mostly always start with a 303 bassline as you may have already guessed listening to my music... Either that, or I'll find a sample from a video game or a piece of world music that inspires me. I'll then work on making sure the track is very groovy... I'll start hearing some percussion or certain rhythmic patterns in my head for the hi hats or other percussion, then get it down. After that, I'll work on the melodies and atmospheric stuff to get it sounding deeper.

I always try and make sure I finish a track as soon as I can to stop it becoming stale


Who is a producer you would like to collaborate with today, naming someone from the past and someone from the present

An artist from the past would be Robert Plant just as he was writing lyrics for Led Zeppelin... his lyricism is magical, and I’m currently getting into writing traditional verse/chorus songs with lyrics as another project.

Coming back to Coredata, as you may have already guessed, it would have to be Mr Simon Berry... what can I say, his productions are timeless, sublime, unique, otherworldly... everything that resonates with me as a musician and producer. I’d just pepper him with questions about Wildlife on One and early Platipus on how he would make the tracks with the technology available at the time... he’d probably be sick to death of me after a couple hours


A recent sample of a track by UK artist Enigma State demo'd an entirely hardware driven production, taking inspiration from classic productions in years past. So far It's seemed to hit a special chord with listeners and in a time when many criticisms have been voiced about modern productions feeling too harsh, sterile, muddy, flat etc and with a general loss of warmth and organin-ness more synonymous with older productions. This brings technology into the forefront of the debate on sound design and I wanted to get your take on that.

That's certainly a very deep and interesting question... since I started Coredata, I really have not been listening to much current stuff that is being produced... I feel it's a mixture of me not wanting to be caught up in the latest producer trend to focus on my own sound, and also because I don't really get inspired by most modern sounds at all really... apart from what the guys over in Israel produce... people like Modus, On3, Skizologic, Dekel, Gorovich etc... those productions really excite me, and I feel they still have one eye on the past on what makes dance music so mystical and thrilling, but they also know how to make it sound in the here and now. Not to say UK and European guys don't know how to do that, and there are that certainly do that I speak with often and have a lot of time for.

I always find it difficult to listen to modern trance tracks at home, but when I make it to a club or rave/festival and hear it on a proper system, I remember why I love it so much...

Funny you should show me that Enigma States track... I recently made a track using just my hardware gear that will be released on the new Electronic Architecture 4 compilation, named ’94’. It’s definitely is a fun ride making a track that way.


Do you think that software has the capability to match hardware completely i.e be indistinguishable?

I'm afraid if I told you that... I'd get into a lot of trouble haha. I always laugh at the analogue vs digital debate. It reminds me of kids in the playground that used to argue over something like Pokemon vs Digimon! To a really experienced and trained ear, I reckon you could tell the difference... For example, I've got D16's Phoscyon which is a soft 303 clone, and I can definitely tell the difference between the Phoscyon and my TB-03, but that's probably just because I use them almost every time I sit down to make Coredata tunes! In my productions, I try and make my soft and hard synths live side by side in harmonious partnership. Soft synths let you do almost anything, and my hardware gear is lots of fun, but I need a good amount of time in the studio to get into it.

How do you think the current scene could be improved, and how Trance and Progressive music could continue forward into another decade?

Trance is a funny old genre. I think people need to realise it’s not 1999 anymore and the scene needs to move on. Let there be experimentation from new producers and keep an open mind. I keep seeing remixes of old classics littered on beatport which makes me yawn a bit...

Keep politics out of the genre and let the new producers play out at gigs more. Open to close sets are good, but you can have too much of a good thing. Ask my belly over lockdown.That being said, there are people in the scene that work super hard that deserve recognition. Emma at Dancelovehub and Mark at Trance Sanctuary. They are the people that keep the scene alive! If you want to really sample what the scene is really about in London, go to those events. Trance Sanctuary is the DADDY of trance parties, and Dancelovehub is like the edgier younger sibling. Both amazing nights.


Tell us a strange or interesting fact about yourself

In the summer, when I'm not at festivals or raves, I'm round at my local cricket club either with a cold beer, or a ball in my hand playing the strange old sport...


Would you rather to be able to speak all languages or to speak to all animals

People are arseholes, so I'd much rather talk to animals like Ace Ventura


Ferry, Armin or Tiesto? (and why)

Ferry, Ferry, Ferry everyday of the week. He was an icon for me when I was first getting into trance. So many aliases, so many great tracks.


Least favourite genre?

I think the atonal kind of modern jazz sounds like musical representation a mental breakdown or some sort of hysterical gibberish.


If you could submit 10 tracks to a top 1000 Trance list, what would they be?

1. Art of Trance - Octopus
2. Man With No Name - Teleport
3. Veracocha - Carte Blanche
4. Union Jack - Two Full Moon and a Trout
5. Shakta - Lepton Head (Deedrah Remix)
6. Art of Trance - Haagen Daaz
7. Art of Trance - Kaleidoscope
8. Clanger - Seadog
9. Above & Beyond - Alone Tonight
10. Underworld - Dark And Long (Dark Train)


Thanks to Coredata for doing this interview with us. He is one of the best producers in the scene right now so we look forward to hearing more from him over the years to come! Hope you enjoyed this read guys.

TF

Jungle Run
 

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Gagi

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Great interview, as usual. Got a nice sense of humour.
 

Propeller

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Great interview. He seems like a really cool guy, a genuine music lover. It's great to have him in our scene!
 
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Juna

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Finally got round to the reading of this, good interview dudes
 
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