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From Flux BPM Online Vault: Interview with Haris C

Interview is written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias published in 2010

He is certainly one of the true pioneers of the trance sound in his homeland Cyprus. Thanks to Mix Fm radio station that he is involved and the events, that he organise some of the strongest names in the trance scene like Armin, PVD, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten etc, performed in the island of Aphrodite in the exotic Cyprus. He appeared in the most happening trance labels like Solaris along with Rich Solarstone in his album Touchstone, Discover with his anthemic Time to Say Goodbye, Alter Ego, Infrasonic and daily are added even more under his belt. He is not only very good to compose unforgettable melodies but also able to switch between styles and influences. From the banging euphoric uplifting style to the more deep esoteric progressive trance beauties like the latest 4U. 4U is a very special single as his record company and he will give all the profits from its sales for a good cause that is to support the children with special needs in Cyprus and specifically with Cancer. The release of that special single in his very successful record label Factual records is the best occasion to organise an interview with him and talk about this great idea and of course to check out the future trance anthems that are currently cooked in his studio. This is the second time that I had the chance to do an interview with Haris and I am very satisfied with his answers in my tough (not really) questions so its highly recommended to find some time to read them and think about them.

Enjoy this interview prepared just 4U our web site visitors and faithful radio listeners.
Dimitri: First of all Haris I’m glad that after quite a long time I’m back with you to continue with a second interview. Despite the fact that our previous interview was quite lengthy there are some people who may read this and don’t know much about you.

So it will be cool to start with the basic question: What trance music exactly means to you as a dance genre and why you took the decision to devote yourself on that style? Is it possible to give us some reasons that will persuade instantly someone about the superiority of trance style in contrast with other styles?

Haris C: Hey Dimitri hope its all with you & thanks for giving me the opportunity for a 2nd interview. Basically for me Trance music is a way of life with its ups & downs. I could say that Trance is like a mirror to me since I see my daily life on it every single day.

It’s the music that makes me feel happy, euphoric, excited, sad and also giving me goosebumps while listing to it. This music Its not about superiority from other genders like House or Tribal or electro since trance itself has that something different from other styles. I tend to listen and play other genres too and I cannot persuade someone to listen to trance. Everyone has its own taste on food, music, cloths, women, men, cars etc etc so if anyone wants to listen to trance there are millions of tracks to have a listen or join me in the club

Dimitri: For fourth consecutive year Armin is number 1 dj of the world according to dj mag Top 100 list. Do you believe that this means that trance music is so popular as it was before some years or you feel that currently other style is more popular and if yes which style you think is the biggest hype at the moment?

Haris C: Aha here it is the most hot question of the decade. For Armin to be No1 for the forth time I believe that there is no one to doubt him out. Trance music is now more popular than before because of Armin, since he has managed to make more easy listing music, adding lots of vocals with well-known Vocalists, adding catchy sounds and as a result he or better say we, us a trance family gained more fans.

The DJ MAG poll is getting dangerously ridiculous due to the fact that lots of the people attached on it aren’t djs for God’s sake!!, Unless you want to call a Laptop DJ a DJ with a pre-selected playlist on it, then that’s fine. I don’t have anything against Laptop Djs but I think being a proper DJ has a better impact on the crowd like we used to be decades ago.

I know vinyl is not an option anymore, ok we to have deal with it, but CD now works just fine, the same goes with the usb technology; not to mention a DUO I saw 3 years ago in Cyprus, when they brought their laptop with a complete set attached on it, and they were fooling the crowd showing to them that they were actually playing live. Bullshit I was back stage and watching the whole joke and laughing at them. Anyhow when I go and play in a club I never have a pre-selected playlist or songs with me. I take lots of tracks with me in order to get into the crowd’s mood and then decide what to play. I believe that DJ MAG should consider by making a 2 poll competition, one for DJ’s and one for Producers fair enough?? . If I take the results then I must say that Commercial House music & Electro is the only Gender to threat Trance music. Lots of R’n’B fans have voted on this year Poll and I think you know the reason why we have Dj or Dj’s who made songs with RnB producers and singers in the Top 100. Also I’m not surprised to see Digweed or Sasha to go down since they have chosen to stay on the underground and deeper scene & sound which in this case it’s not commercial as Electro or Trance is right now.

Dimitri: One of the highlights of your career is of course your co-operation with Rich (Solarstone) in his latest album Touchstone for the track Ultraviolet. Rich told us his side of the story in an interview that we did at Tomorrowland. Would be great to tell us from your side how this co-operation came about and if you feel happy with Ultraviolet and if you will carry on working with Rich for future projects?

Haris C: Ah yeah Richie. Well Rich came here for a gig with me and he wanted to stay 2 days more, so one morning I’ve picked him up, went to my studio and while we were talking he asked me to show him my projects. So the first one he listened got his attention and he suggested to collaborate. So we sat down composed the melody, and we used some side vocals that I didn’t have the chance to use before on any of my tracks. So I gave him the project file went home worked on it and there is Ultraviolet now. It’s about to be released on early 2011 and will include a remix by me and another one on which I cant reveal now. I have enjoyed working with a guy like Rich, and yes I’m 100% ready to make not one but more collabs with him since he is open minded and we can work really well together. On the other hand I’m also happy to work with as many artists as possible

Dimitri: You co-operate with various great independent labels like Alter Ego or Discover whom you released your single “Time to Say Goodbye”. Would be cool if you tell us the backstage story of that track. When and under what kind of circumstances in your life you produced it, cause I feel that the title is certainly message to someone.

Haris C: Hmm believe it or not ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ was done in just 5 hours. The title it’s not accidentally there and personally means a lot to me. Please forgive me, but when the time comes you will get the answer regarding the title. The circumstances under the track was done where not the best from any point of view you see it. Really sorry Dimi but I can’t say anything about it for now.

Dimitri: You established your own label Factual records. When we did the first interview everything was at the very start. Now your label is recognized and supported by many well known djs all over the globe. Is there a secret behind this success? And what exactly makes a successful record label? Is it the good A&R to discover the best tracks, good taste to choose the best remixes to make the package attractive to many or is it about the hype you get from the support of the big names djs in their sets and radio shows?

Haris C: Yes, we are getting strong with some quality releases coming up in the near future. The success of the label its not only the A&R or the songs but it’s a package and since we are a great team we try, and we will make sure in the future to provide you with the best quality. When you gain support form Big names many young producers see it and consider the label for future materials, then the A&R has to choose what’s best for the label, then the remixers, then the promotion, then the radio shows etc etc. It’s not an easy job to handle a label & I do enjoy it very much since I have great people working for the label. Basically the idea was to give the chance to unknown young producers to share their passion for music with the world.

Dimitri: Factual has a very impressive catalogue so far and you have released even the “Best of” compilation. Please pick up your 5 favorite releases and give us a short comment about each of them.

Haris C: Yes sure on

No1: Redban-Medina (Original Mix) It has a delightful saw bassline and in the breakdown a gorgeous melody kicks in with a massive combination of Guitars and crisp vocal cuts, absolutely amazing, love it!

No2: Santerna feat Stine Grove-Somewhere Better (Monolythe Mix) When I heard this mix I was about to blow my speakers out. That fat massive saw bassline makes you mad and trust me it’s a club destroyer. The guys used the vocal cuts kept the Original Melody in it but their combination is deadly!

No3: Fast Distance - Trip to Eternity (LavKastor Remix), Here LavKastor adds a more broody, fat kickass bassline to the proceeding while in the breakdown he supplies us with melodic plucky notes to increase the heat. I have tried it on the Armin gig and the 10:000 crowd love it!

No4: Leon 78 - Flying (Manuel Juvera Mix), I have signed this track because the melody hook was hitting my brains out and Manuel did a fantastic job by pumping out the bpms to make a proper uplifting monster by adding some off beat saw basslines and some really crisp percussions.

No5: Der Mystik feat Tiff Lacey - Watching the World (ReOrder Mix), ReOrder pumps up the bpms with some stabing plucks, driving basslines and gorgeous pads and you have yourself a must have floor filler! On the other hand I can’t resist to tiff’s voice so the whole package is a must have

Dimitri: The latest Factual release 4U is a very special one as all your profits as a producer and Factual profits as a label from its sales will be offered to children with special needs in Cyprus. Is it possible to tell us why you decide to donate this particular single in a such good cause and if there is a special organization that you will give the earnings from the sales?

Haris C: Life is a bitch. You never know if you are going to wake up in the morning or if you are going to sleep at night. Sometimes things don’t go they way we want them to, and we need to live with what we have. It’s unfair to see kids dying from HIV, Cancer and all other diseases but that’s life. I’m Happy to be alive and healthy but we need to see the other side of life on which, I have experienced the last 3 years where I’ve been millimetres away of losing 2 of my most beloved people in the world. So I must say, that one day I was sitting on the beach thinking that I need to see life differently because we only live once. There are people who are hungry, seek and don’t have money to do anything so since I’m not rich or anything, I had to make a step over and try to help the people who really need our help. Making the song and donating the money to them it’s the least I can do because they deserve some minutes of happiness and love from all of us so we need to see the bright side of the problem. Yes I understand I’m not Jesus or anything but 300-400 or even 1000 euros will not save me from anything, and on the other hand for me money easy comes and easy goes. There is an event that takes place here for more than 2 decades and it’s called Radiomarathon. Here is the website http://www.radiomarathonios.com/easyconsole.cfm/id/1  and if anyone wants to donate pls feel free and do it

Dimitri: Do you believe that Electronic Dance Music scene should be more active on supporting good will causes as you do with your track and label? Latest example for instance is the Paul Oakenfold, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk collaboration for the victims of this year’s Love Parade. Additional would be great to tell us your opinion about this incident at Love Parade and if you believe that had negative consequence for the dance electronic music as a whole?

Haris C: Of course definitely!!!! It’s so easy to be done if someone wants to help. As you saw all 3 of them took an easy decision, made the track in no time, gave it to the shops and off we go. Everything has to do with the power of will. If we have a strong will anything is possible. It’s so sad to see young people die in a place where they went to have fun and end up dead because someone or the organisation didn’t take the necessary precaution measures. Regarding the negative consequence yes it will take place soon, and if I’m not mistaken they said that Love Parade stops right?, Not sure but if one of the biggest Parades of the World ends then what’s next?

Dimitri: The superb South American Bad Boy Der Mystik will release on Factual his forthcoming unmixed compilation named after his radio show “Rockin’ Your World”. Would be cool to tell us all the details about this compilation and if this is going to be the first of many that will come in the near future?

Haris C: It is to establish Rockin' Your World as a brand of Factual Records and its host (Der Mystik), tracks are handpicked by the Colombian native, chosen according to his criteria of smoking hot tunes that has filled many dance floors worldwide and rock the heads of those who still don't know about them. The format will always be Unmixed, at least those are the plans for the time being, and there will be both Digital and CD (On Demand via Amazon.com) version.

In the first volume you'll find music by Pedro Del Mar, Cold Blue, Sunny Lax, Manuel Juvera, and of course Der Mystik and Haris C, so don't miss out!

Dimitri: Labels like VANDIT or PERFECTO joined forces with ARMADA music in order to survive the recession. What is your feeling as an owner of a smaller independent label about this growing monopoly in the trance scene? Do you feel that you have the same chances like ARMADA to get the best tracks to release and get good sales at Beatport or other download portals?

Haris C: You can see lots of companies to merge worldwide not only in music but in general and trust me it’s not bad. Its not like the big fish eats up the smaller fish but business is business. For me what Armin or better say ARMADA did its not wrong in any way since ARMADA is a company and tries to get the best of the best to have them under their umbrella so why they shouldn’t do it. This means that they have a really good management & marketing departments in order to make these steps. Unfortunately the internet and digital world although we can’t live without them as a matter of speech, was the beginning and the end for lots of things including labels. We struggle to survive money wise to keep the labels and music alive but it’s something we can’t avoid. I wouldn’t say personally that Armada gets the best Tracks because you can see ARMADA artist supporting other labels smaller in size too , and even Armin Van Buuren has Tune of the Week, where tracks that don’t belong to Armada are also featured. We have nothing to be jealous regarding sales because we had Tracks on Top 50 on Beatport and other portals, although we need to work more in order to reach Armada or Anjuna level.

Dimitri: Is it possible to make for us the Top 5 of the independent trance labels that you respect more and write your opinion about each of them?

Haris C: 1: Discover - Proper Banging Trance (True to Trance Label)
2: Alter Ego - Anything from Prog to Trance
3: Infrasonic - Upcoming Trance force
4: Detox - Tech Trance at its best.
5: Lifted Sounds - really love their stuff & especially their Prog Trance tracks. New one, but with lots of future.

Dimitri: In the first interview that we did you told us that a club scene was nonexistent at that time in Nicosia. Has this sad situation changed at all ? Have you had in the last years a lot more international names visiting to play in Cyprus?

Haris C: It is the same like it used to be 5 years ago but with a small difference. Back then small in scales names worked fine but as time passed the only names that work nowadays are only the Big names. When I get emails for djs to come because they are on TOP100, I’m trying to explain that they simply don’t work not because they are bad or anything, but sponsors don’t care for names that are not well known in the Cypriot community or to them and they request big names. Big names such as Armin, PVD etc, work because they have so many radio hits and that’s easier for people who are not into trance music to follow them up. Not to mention that our city Nicosia with more than 300.000 population has only 1 EDM Club, which struggles to survive believe it or not. We are trying though to do as many names as possible in order to save the EDM Music here.

Dimitri: Do you still work with Mix Fm in Cyprus? If yes do you believe that is essential to have in your side media like radio as Mix FM, tv stations or internet in order to support a particular music scene to grow?

Haris C: Yes I do still work and I’m also a share holder of the specific station. When we started in 2003 we had only 1 goal and that was to establish and to get MIX FM the No1 HIT Station in CYPRUS, and I’m proud to say that we are the NO1. Lots of radio stations tried to enter the FM battle but with no luck. We play 24/7 hits non stop and people seem to like it since they don’t like to much blah blah. Since 2003 we are booking and organising the biggest events in Cyprus such us: Armin Van Buuren, Paul Oakenfold ,Tiesto, Matt Darey, Solarstone, Ferry Corsten, Judge Jules, Paul Van Dyk, JOC, Rank 1 and many more. We also host shows like: ASOT, Vonyc Sessions, Corsten’s Countdown, Solaris, Nocturnal, House Pacific etc. As you can see by getting all these djs & shows we are trying to make the scene bigger but unfortunately smaller names just don’t work and as a result only one club is still open but struggles to survive like I said above.

You see we are company and we cannot effort to risk money or even spend time to make a small event if that event wouldn’t work or better say it wouldn’t have a profit. I don’t think that nowadays anyone would work for free or to do an event for the sake of the event , not to mention that due to this crisis, lots of companies have pull out their sponsorships and this makes an event even harder to happen.

Dimitri: You have played along with all the huge names in the dance scene such as Tiesto. Please remind us the names that you have played along as a dj and if you can a small comment about the way that treated you as a support dj? If they were nice or nasty to you.

Haris C: Heheh nasty?? Nah all of them are different, some of them are more talkative and easy going and some others are buttoned up but everybody who I played with were nice to me. I have played with AVB, PVD, TIESTO, Solarstone, Matt Darey, JOC, Ferry Corsten, Paul Oakenfold, Rank1, Judge Jules pfff and many many others. I was pretty amazed though with Armin to be honest. He is such an easy going guy although he is NO1 and had a nice time with him just like the rest of them

Dimitri: Last questions are about your radio show, if you carry on producing it and if you enjoy doing it and what radio means to you? Do you have a funny or serious story to confess us while you produced a particular episode of your radio show?

Haris C: I really like doing it although for me time is money and I enjoy it a lot. My radio show is not about me or my label but it’s about music in general. You can find me play anything from electro, chill out, classics, banging trance, tech trance, prog trance you name it!, because outside there are some really cool tracks.

You will rarely find me play what others play in their radio shows since for me If a track is good then I play it. I never look on names since there are some amazing tunes from young talented artists I have never heard before, and personally I feel that they need to have their chance and support, so I get more excited to play them up. One time I got an email to play Lady Gaga so I tried not to be rude and I to explain what Positive Vibrations is all about.

Dimitri: Please give us your message to the people that will read this interview and give us your piece of advice to the young producers who would love to attract your attention with their demo and get a release in the future on Factual records.

Haris C: First I would like to thank all of them for their support and help through the years and as I promised before I will try to do my best to serve the EDM community as much as I can. Regarding the youngsters I keep on saying to have patience and more patience, to be more open-minded, keep feet on the ground and one day if they are, good luck will be on their side. Anyone who feels and believes that his or her music is good and quality feel free and send me your demos (Andres@factualrecords.com) until then bye from me and thanks a lot!

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