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INTERVIEW with Relaunch about his album Experience released on his own label Relaunch Music

The very talented underground trance dj and producer Relaunch is about to release his second album in his own record label Relaunch Music that he recently established. With support from the greatest trance djs  in the industry and releases on magnificent labels like Bonzai Progressive, Saturate Audio, Lost Language and more Relaunch new album will be welcomed from the fans of real underground trance sound that carry your senses and mind away and invites you to escape from what we all accept us being reality. I'm very glad that Maik aka Relaunch accepted the challenge to reply in my interview and here you can read it with the hope that you will discover maybe sides of his career that you may don't know already. If you are introduced to his music from this interview why not to contemplate this first contact with his album Experience that will definitely  inspire and elevate your inner self. Enjoy reading his great answers.

Interview is written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Music Journalist and radio host at 1mix radio.

Relaunch Music

Dimitri: It would be great to take us on a journey back in time and let us know when was your first ever contact with electronic music and when you took the decision to get involved and start producing it as well.

Relaunch: That`s really long ago as it was in the early 90ies, when exploring the HR3 Clubnight (radio show) with Fenslau & Väth. But the real “aha” experience with electronic music happened when visiting the Dorian Gray club at Frankfurt Airport for the first time. I remember Torsten Fenslau/Mark Spoon playing on this event and before this evening I really couldn't`t imagine what impact this music could have in a club. But after their sets I was infected with the electronic music virus and I bought two 1210 (plus mixer), started collecting vinyl's in different record stores around and in Frankfurt and began with DJing, then in the late 90's with producing.

Dimitri: Why you were attracted to trance as music genre and what elements in this genre you like the most?

Relaunch: The best way to transport emotions with music is with melodies, so this is my preferred way to include feelings/experiences/emotions into a track. But I really like techno, too. Emotions can be transported with techno music as well, but as there are the more minimal melodies, emotions work different in techno tracks.

Dimitri: Can you list for us the most influential electronic music producers and composers who had a serious impact on your productions and what elements in their music you appreciate the most?

Relaunch: They really hit the spirit of the era

90s: Eye Q/Harthouse , Jam & Spoon , Lazonby, Emmanuel Top, Fenslau, Nosie Katzman, Marino Stephano, Hildenbeutel, Väth, Transa, Resistance D, Cosmic Baby, Underworld.

Around 2000 (with Prog Trance) I was fascinated from the groove and the prog trance elements: Vinyl Labels like Method, Vapour, Plastic Fantastic, BozBoz, Global Underground, Plusquam, Beatfreak, Bedrock, Sumsonic, Yoshitoshi, Cyber, Deconstruction, Shinichi, Lost Language, Automatic …but the list could be even bigger…..

Dimitri: Your first album was called Two Minds released on Mistique Music. What kind of feedback you got for this album and are there any lessons learnt from the production experience you got from this album?

Relaunch: The feedback was very good and it had an extended stay at Beaport's chart. If I learnt something from the production of Two Minds ? For sure, but these lessons were not in mind for “Experience”, as this album production was completely different.

Dimitri: You had releases on top labels like Bonzai Progressive and JOOF. Would you like to pick up from your releases your absolute Top 3 favourite ones?

Relaunch: Yes, gladly, I included Lost Language as well:
1. One Love (Lost Language)

2. Allure (JOOF)

3. Dream Remote (Bonzai)

Dimitri: You decided to set up your own record label Relaunch Music. I wonder why you took that decision and if you think that an artist can be record label at the same time. The advantages and disadvantages of an artist to have his own label.

Relaunch: First of all I must say that managing a Record label plus being artist is really a lot of work. But I had to go this way as I wanted to create a playground where I have the freedom to do with them whatever I want. I often thought about edits, remixes or transformations of my original tracks, which couldn't happen due to different reasons. Now my own label is opening these closed doors for more creativity.

Dimitri: Your second album is called Experience and includes 17 tracks including  electronica and progressive trance tracks. How long took you to produce this album and did you work on it full time?

Relaunch: I finished my last remix around October 2014. Since then I worked on the album beside my day job, so it took more than a year from writing/conception over producing to mastering.

Dimitri: Which track was the easiest to produce and which one was the most difficult that took you longer period?

Relaunch: I worked on every single track a lot, so it’s a hard question, but maybe “So am I” was one of the easier productions, “Coco Loco” was one of the more difficult productions as I had to do some different versions before being satisfied.

Dimitri: Can you describe us the way that you produce a track? From which elements you start and how do you build it up until to reach the complete track.

Relaunch: I often start a production with a synth jam session to have a melody, harmonies and bassline to build the rest of the track around. But it also works when beginning with bass drum and bassline. Both processes have their (dis -) advantages, as it`s important to have the elements of a track (including bass drum, claps, hi hat etc.) on the same pitch.

Dimitri: What kind of software and hardware set up have you used to produce the album and have you made any upgrades in your studio from your previous album?

Relaunch: No, it wasn't necessary to make a studio upgrade for the album. Before big projects like an album production I spend days on finding sounds, programming and sound design, especially on my hardware synths. If I do that, I'm having enough new sounds. I'm using a mixture out of analog and digital equipment in my studio, my favourites are Dave Smith Prophet, Novation Mininova & Kore (even it contains a lot of bugs).

Relaunch - Experience
Dimitri: Can you take us on a journey through the album and give us a short comment about each track of the album:

01. One of those Days (relaxed beginning of the album, classic instruments like piano and saxophone is the parolee)
02. Manja (groovy & flowing prog trance with funny arranged voice snippets)
03. Coco Loco (is sounding like a cocktail ;)
04. Story Modus (flowing Progressive Trance)
05. Blue Sky (Mixture out of breaks, Trance and Chill Out)
06. Crawl Space (Mixture out of Progressive, Trance & Breaks)
07. Experience (Headline Track of the album)
08. So am I (groovy & flowing track with jazzy break & breaks ;)
09. Green (Green is in da house)
10. Fusion (Album Edit) (pure Trance, written around 2000 produced 2015/16)
11. Sunspirit (Prog Trance, written around 2000 produced 2015/16)
12. The suffering of a Fool (deep progressive Techno)
13. Rhythm (Progressive Techno)
14. Perception (Album Edit) (Do you remember Prologue?) 
15. Cast from the Past (Melodic track mixed with some psy vibes)
16. Maracana (Balearic Vibes)
17. Late night or early Morning (Closing Track of the album)

Dimitri: Why you have felt that you need to produce an album rather than just singles? Why an album is important for your career?

Relaunch: An album shows a different and more detailed spectrum of an artist and tells another story than singles or EPs. I really like the album format due to more creativity.

Dimitri: Are there any tracks that are not included in the final tracklisting? If yes please tell us the reason.

Relaunch: Yes, there are some, because they need some more work and album is complete. But they will be released for sure, I'm planning with Relaunch Music 003 an “Epilogue” Release to be published after the album.

Dimitri: Do you have someone special that you send your tracks after producing them to listen to them and give you honest opinion?

Relaunch: No, as it doesn't work for me. If I would consider single opinions it would change my music in a way I don’t want. I want the pure Relaunch sound for my releases.  I'm just speaking about musical content actually. The quality of a production is another thing. When I started releasing tracks I always showed these my friend Eric Sneo (who is a brilliant DJ, producer & Mastering Engineer and he has that reference hardware spectrum analyser!) which is more precise than software tools. After analysing my tracks with it he gave me really good instructions how to improve the sound quality. That helped a lot !

But I'm getting the best feedback if I`m having the chance to test unreleased tracks live on the dancefloor. With the feedback of a crowd I can always see if a track works or not.

Dimitri: You have produced some fantastic remixes for various artists like the legends Jam & Spoon, Andy Ling, Airwave, Gai Barone and more. Would you like to tell us how do you treat usually the remixes? Do you think is essential to respect the original or you prefer to recreate it in your own style?

Relaunch: Thank you - that depends on the original. Jam & Spoon`s “Follow Me” for example can`t be made better, as it`s an all time classic I had to produce as close to the Original as it could be, without sounding the same and still having a bit of Relaunch flavour. When remixing an actual track I like it to recreate it in my own style, still respecting the original.

Dimitri: Are you working on any remixes at the moment and for which record labels?

Relaunch: I'm not working on it yet, but I actually confirmed a remix for Neptune Project.

Dimitri: Do You feel that trance will come back strong in Germany or you believe that the trance wave in Germany has gone for good?

Relaunch: I don`t believe that trance (I'm definitely not talking about commercial “EDM” or something, which is far away from real trance music in my opinion) will come back strong in Germany. In the last years it stays on a solid and constant level, so trance is more underground again (except the big festivals and events), so I think this is a kind of “self-cleaning” process, as real trance almost seemed to be dead some years ago.

Dimitri: What is your opinion about social media like facebook, twitter, Instagram? Do you understand them as having positive effect in your career?

Relaunch: Yes absolutely, these social media can be annoying but the positive marketing effects aren't to dismiss.

Dimitri: Are there any plans to follow the release of the album with club or festivals tour? 

Relaunch: I'm in the planning phase, and I'm actually in contact with promoters and booking agencies, but didn't fix anything since now. So if there are promoters or booking agencies who are reading this interview and might be interested in a cooperation – don’t hesitate to contact me with your ideas.

Dimitri: In which clubs or festivals you have performed so far and which one is your absolute favourite and why?

Relaunch: I have performed at Tomorrowland 2015, some gigs in UK and different clubs in Germany, but my absolute favourites are closed since a long time, unfortunately – Dorian Gray (Frankfurt Airport) and Paramount Park (near Frankfurt). Both clubs and crowds had this special vibe I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Many thanks to Relaunch for his time to reply in my questions in such an informative way.

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