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Interview with Roger Shah about his compilation Magic Island, Music for Balearic people vol.7

In the big wide world of dance music, there are some happenings that are now as ‘summer’ as summer itself. What, for example, would this time of the year be without the two discs of judiciously compiled, skilfully mixed music, comprising that annual sonic sojourn to the ‘Magic Island’!? 

The acclaimed Dj, producer and label owner Roger Shah again delivers a sonic arc that takes you from the surrounds of beach, bar and dayclub on - with perfectly pitched development – to the night. ‘Magic Island Volume 7’s AM-to-PM disc initially plays it slower, cooler and more inclined. Frontend, it mixes up indolent numbers like Static Bloom’s ‘Island Ride’, ‘Holding Closer’ & ‘The Way’ from Brian Laruso and Balearic Session’s ‘Into The Morning Light’. Latterly, grooving rhythms and swaying melodies capture the mix, with equatorial numbers like Sunlounger & Kingseyes’ ‘I Just Wanna Dance’ and (in its new High Noon At Salinas version) ‘Coconuts & Pineapples’. 

From Mix 2’s outset, Magic Island’s after-dark credentials come fast to the fore. A deuce from Dirkie Coetzee (‘Space Odyssey’ & ‘You’ll Find Me There’), David Broader’s ‘Celtic Beauty’, ‘Into The Stars’ from Rene Ablaze and the Uplifting Club version of Roger & Moya’s ‘Reasons To Live’ each, by degrees, increase the mix’s elevation. Taking it to its highest heights, Roger newies ‘Love Heals You’ and ‘Never Forget’ sit alongside rafter-blasters like Bernis’ ‘Luminas’, ‘Together’ from Sunbrothers and Andy Elliass & ARCZI’s ‘Hope For The Future’ 

During the last months Roger Shah has also released Singularity with Nick Murray and Music for Meditation, Yoga And Any Other Wellbeing Moments’. In this very productive period of his life we are happy that Roger Shah has accepted the challenge to answer to our questions and here you can read his answers that contain information that you were not aware of for sure. Press Play in your computer CD and enjoy  Magic Island, Music for Balearic people vol.7 while you read his answers in this very interesting interview.

Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Music journalist and radio host at 1mix radio 

Dimitri: Hi Roger, it’s always great pleasure to talk with you and very thanks for accepting to do this interview.

Roger: Hi, always nice to talk with you, too

Dimitri:  The hardest part for any compilation compiler is the selection process. You asked from your facebook page to send you exclusive cuts for the compilation. How many tracks did you manage to collect and from them why you pick up the ones that manage to be in the latest track listing?

Roger: I received more than 500 tracks but also did a few tracks myself to set the tone and mood for the album. It's like doing a puzzle, first I decide which tracks I really like and then I see how the would fit into the mix together with the other tracks.

Dimitri:  I have notice that you mainly choose artists that have worked with you in the past. Is this because you trust them and you believe their talent or just was matter of quality of the tracks they submitted?

Roger: Of course we always let previous artists know about that's that time of the year to send me new tracks, we have new artists as well but for some reason my magic island artists deliver great high quality music and beautiful tracks and maybe just understand what I'm looking for.

Dimitri: We should mention of course that part of the compilation with various tracks is your good friend Brian Laruso who collaborates with you on some projects as well. Would you like to tell us how many years your friendship with him is dated and under which circumstances you met and you become so close friends?

Roger: I think we met via my brother in one of my local resident clubs in Stuttgart in 1998, so our friendship is lasting for a long time, he is also a part of my tour management team travelling with me and my A&R for Magic Island Deep and of course he is really doing amazing music himself. He is just one of a few people who always stood close to me as a real friend also in the harder times of my career when other people left.

Dimitri:  In the compilation are included tracks from your side projects High Noon at Salinas and Sunlounger. Would you like to tell us why did you start these projects in the first place and is their sound different of your main Roger Shah sound?

Roger: High Noon At Salinas is my kinda tribal house project and I think I don't have to explain too much about Sunlounger which is my real balearic project. I enjoy using my aliases for the mix album to set the mood for especially for cd 1.

Dimitri:  It’s interesting to let us know what happened after selecting the tracks. Did you ask the producers to change or modify them in order to create the mood that you were aiming from with the compilation? If yes what kind changes you asked them to do?

Roger: Yes, wanna take the chance to thank the producers for their support and being open minded to do some changes, sometimes I have some additional ideas to bring a track to another level, sometimes there are just simple things for the intro or outro of the track to make it easier to mix in and out.

Dimitri: After the selection follows the actual mixing. What process did you follow for the mixing of the compilation? Did you mix it as DJ or the mix entirely depends on computer software? Did you try the mix many times with different tracks and maybe different order or you did it with just one take?

Roger: I played around to get a vibe and to find out which tracks fit best to each other. this process takes always a bit of time. to mix I'm using ableton which I also use for my live shows.

Dimitri:  Your compilation usually support the careers of many young talents to get exposure to a wider audience. Do you feel that you have  received the recognition and appreciation from all the new talents you have supported through the years in your compilation or some of them they didn’t even say thank you for this?

Roger: I think most of them appreciate it and I have a great contact to my artists but of course like in everything in life there are great artists and friendly people but also guys with too much ego for no reasons, who remain as a one timer on my label.

Dimitri: The compilation includes your latest singles as well Roger Shah & Moya Brennan - Reasons To Live, Roger Shah & LeiLani - Love Heals You, and Roger Shah & Nathia Kate featuring Amber - Never Forget. Would you like to tell us what you remember the most while you were producing these tracks and most importantly on how you worked with the singers that all of them are magnificent with Moya Brennan being my personal favorite?

Roger: I travelled to Mexico to work with Nathia Kate on the collaboration for "Never Forget", 

all the way to Hawaii to work with Leilani on "Love Heals You" and also took a chance to do a beautiful selfmade video to capture the beauty of Hawaii for the song. 

Then went to Ireland to work with Superstar and Grammy winner Moya Brennan, I'm still like a little fanboy when ever I meet her, even I know her for a while now and became friends with her family and also working close with her daughter Aisling Jarvis, it's always something special working with her. 

But I enjoy all my collaborations and the creative process of going back and forth with ideas in person. Sometimes you work back and forth via internet, but the best is to sit together in the studio and jam and write together, so I recorded ideas and vocals in those different countries and then did the final mix back home in Germany in my studio.

Dimitri: Are you going to support this compilation with club tour all over the world? Are there such plans?

Roger: I already played a few shows and focused more in the US since my album peaked on a crazy #9 position on Itunes US, already played Orlando and Miami, end of July I will be in Seattle and Portland and after a little summer break I'll go to NYC and we are in talks with more cities in the US but also in talks with Asia, Australia and latin America which is still a huge territory for me.

Dimitri: You have released the album Singularity with Nick Murray. What can you tell us about this album, why you decide to record it and are you satisfied with the final result?

Roger: Doing Dance/Trance music I'm known for is just 30% of what I am doing as a musician/composer/producer. I'm working for severall companies in Hollywood as classical composer and also so called trailer houses specialist in doing cinematic trailers, for me coming from an orchestral background at first, it's an exciting journey, the album with Hollywood composer Nick Murray was ment to showcase a little bit of that work and I received a lot of great feedback and reactions.

Dimitri: Another exceptional album you released lately is "Music for Meditation, Yoga And Any Other Wellbeing Moments’. In your facebook you have noted that you have produced it because your fans were requesting it. Would you like to tell us the basic concept behind this album and what it means to be offered on audio 3D format?

Roger: Yes, I received a lot of request from people being into that direction and were using some of my Sunlounger chill out tracks, but more the instrumentals instead of the vocal hits, so I realised that there must be a demand for that kind of music and was digging deeper into it and started to produce an album into this direction. After my album was finished I got approached by Auro technologies to mix the album in their revolutionary 3D audio format which has been very exciting for me to do. They have their own audio receiver and system and are a competitor to Dolby, so it has been an honour for me that I got invited to go to Belgium to mix my album for their needs.

Dimitri: When the new Roger Shah album will be released and what we can expect on it? Do you currently produce tracks for it? 

Roger: Almost done with it, working on it since about 2.5 years and already spent a lot of time and  budget, the 3 tracks we talked about earlier with Moya Brennan, Leilani, Nathia Kate are all taken from my forthcoming artist album and the way I travelled to all those places I did it with almost all included collaborations. It's a bit too early to talk about it in depth, but i can reveal it will be a double album in a wide range of sound and also the fusion of Roger Shah & Sunlounger into one project, means some tracks have more the Roger Shah trance sound while others are more Sunlounger balearic and slower bpm influenced.

Dimitri: Do you have an absolute favourite location that you believe your compilation will be enjoyed the most in other words which place is your absolute favourite to take your holiday and escape from your duties?

Roger: Going back to Ibiza for a holiday this summer after I have been away for a few years, but also LA became like my second home, have been very impressed of Hawaii, so I guess any place with beach and palm-trees would do it's magic for me.

Dimitri: Lets finish finally with your message to all the aspiring talents who would like to become part of your Magic Island family of artists. What is your advice for them?

Roger: Try to develop your kind of unique sound and keep on sending music to us, also when you don't receive an answer at first, due to the amount of submissions I can't write to everybody but be assured I'm listening to every track. A link to soundcloud is always the best and easiest way to get heard. also the best time to get signed to Magic Island is always between November - March when I'm working on a new Magic Island mix album.

Thanks very much to Roger Shah who manage to find time despite his busy schedule to reply on  this interview.

Many thanks to Tim at Stark Profiles for organising this interview.

Tracklist: Magic Island Vol. 7 – Music For Balearic People 
Mix 1.
01. Brian Laruso & John James Renfrow featuring Meredith Avery - Holding Closer (Intro Mix) 
02. Rogier Dulac & Miss Autumn Leaves - Endless Dream 
03. Brian Laruso - The Way 
04. Raul Pablo Sanchez - Day Out 
05. Static Bloom - Island Ride 
06. Balearic Session - Into The Morning Light 
07. Raul Pablo Sanchez - Bouncing Chips 
08. Sunlounger featuring Kingseyes - I Just Wanna Dance With You (Jukebox 80s Remix) 
09. Eddie Murray featuring Rosco - The Ending 
10. NotAndrew & Alain Ducroix - John Lover (DeepRock Mix) 
11. High Noon At Salinas - Beautiful People 
12. Christian Drost - Into The Night (MI7 Edit) 
13. Sunlounger - Coconuts & Pineapples (High Noon At Salinas Remix) 
14. Bob Memphis - You Are My Lighthouse (MI7 Edit) 
15. Clarks - La Digue (Original Mix) 
16. Clarks - Footsteps In The Sand (MI7 Edit) 
17. Marc Lee featuring Angelika Borof - Something Inside Me 

Mix 2. 
01. Platen & Clarks - Satellite (MI7 Intro Edit) 
02. Serge Macoveu - Minnewanka (MI7 Edit) 
03. Arcania - All Is Lost 
04. CJ Seven featuring Marjan - One More Time (MI7 Edit) 
05. Hamza Khammessi - A World For Us 
06. David Broaders - Celtic Beauty 
07. Dirkie Coetzee - Space Odyssey 
08. Emanuele Braveri featuring Aylin - Winter Tale (MI7 Edit) 
09. Yodis - Filtered Thoughts 
10. Rene Ablaze featuring Robin Vane - Into The Stars (MI7 Edit) 
11. Roger Shah & Moya Brennan - Reasons To Live (Uplifting Club Mix)
12. Dirkie Coetzee featuring Amy Kirkpatrick - You’ll Find Me There (The Cracken Remix) 
13. Andy Elliass & ARCZI - Hope For The Future 
14. Roger Shah & LeiLani - Love Heals You
15. Andrew Henry & Glorius - Magic Island (MI7 Edit)
16. Roger Shah & Nathia Kate featuring Amber - Never Forget 
17. Bernis - Luminas (MI7 Edit) 
18. Sunbrothers featuring Natalia Meister - Together (Extended Mix)

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