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INTERVIEW with DJ & producer Adam Ellis about his latest mix compilation ITWT vol.21

The well known DJ, producer and radio host from Sheffield, UK has been selected from the legendary trance imprint ITWT from Breda, The Netherlands to compile and mix the 21st chapter of the world wide known compilation series In Trance We Trust. Adam's showcase on this beloved trance compilation proves his in depth knowledge of the trance genre, his eclectic taste for his class productions and his ability to create a mix that energize the listener instantly and pushes your adrenaline levels to the limits. We had the opportunity in the past to interview Adam Ellis and we are delighted that despite his busy production & DJ schedule he took some time off to respond to our questions and explain how this incredible compilation has been compiled and mixed. Press play and while you enjoy ITWT 021 read his answers right here, right now. 

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

Dimitri: First of all we would like to congratulate you for being selected to be the dj who will mix and compile the legendary ITWT compilation. I would like to ask you how do you felt when they offered you to do this compilation and did you hesitate at all to accept the task?

Adam Ellis: It was a great feeling to be given the go ahead. I was bugging Blackhole for over a year to let me do the next compilation, and in the end, they gave me a shot. 

I most certainly did not hesitate. I knew it would be a challenge and I always relish the opportunity to challenge myself. 

Dimitri: In Trance We Trust has released some iconic classic trance anthems that remembered for ever. Would you like to choose your Top 3 best ever ITWT anthems of all times and give us a short comment about them?

Adam Ellis: All time Number 1 - Tiesto – Just Be – I have always loved how dreamy this record is. The lyrics really make you think. It really is an amazing piece of music.

Top 3 ITWT classic trance anthems:

1 – Ralphie B – Massive 
This track really is massive. Ever since I first heard this record it blew me away. Its an instance Trance classic and goes off every time !!!

2- Alex Kunnari - Lifter
This track reminds me of Gatecrasher, Magna, in Sheffield in 2008. It was an amazing time in my life where I was just getting into Trance music. Music is all about feelings and memories and this one really brings back happy thoughts.

3 – Menno De Jong Feat Noire Lee – Creatures of The Night 
Menno trusted me with remixing his record and it worked out well for both of us. This track really helped cement my name in the Trance scene and gets unreal reactions even now !

Dimitri: Have you ever had the chance to listen previous episodes of the ITWT compilation and if yes which volume is your favorite and why? 

Adam Ellis: I have listened to many. My favorite would have to be ITWT 013 mixed by DJ Carl B. It has one of my favourite progressive tunes on it ‘Fred Numf – Directions’

Dimitri: ITWT is now headed by Menno De Jong. What is your relation and opinion about Menno? Did you actually met when you co-produced tracks or everything was produced via distance? 

Adam Ellis: Myself and Menno have become friends over the last 3 years. He has constantly supported me and pushed me from day 1 and is always there for advice. Having someone like him in the industry, who has been around a while is absolutely amazing and super useful.

Menno is picky and knows what he wants, and he wont take anything if its not 100 % right. For me, I really respect that. This approach has helped me improve so many things in my career. Whether it be making a remix that much better or asking me to do sometimes 3 or 4 times until it is right, this kind of constructive feedback is only going to make the end product better. 

Menno and myself got in the studio when we started our first collaboration ‘Solicitude’ but we finished that and our new one by sharing files via Dropbox. This method is much more practical. 

Dimitri: ITWT vol.21 contains 14 new and exclusive tracks specially produced for the compilation. Did you ask personally these producers to submit the tracks or did you ask various producers to submit their tracks and you finally chose these particular ones? If yes have you received many submissions of new tracks?

Adam Ellis: I was originally asked to provide 8 new exclusive tracks. I wanted to smash it out of the park though so I got 14. I simply made a list of producers I wanted to push and some well established guys. I had to turn down a lot of tracks due to the quality not been there, but in the end it turned out well.

Dimitri: The compilation includes some of your latest productions as well. It will be great to give us a short comment or the background story of these tracks:

Adam Ellis: 

Adam Ellis & Michele C - Don’t Disappear:
Don’t Disappear is a record that I have wanted to make for around 18 months. My first 2 vocal singles have been very uplifting. With Don’t Dissapear I wanted to make something much more melodic and less happy. Other than Napalm Poet, this record is the track that I spent the longest making. It took around 4 months of solid work to get it finished. 

When it came to the vocals I wanted something really haunting. After some searching with Menno, we got an amazing demo from Michelle C. She delivered a huge vocal and the rest is history.

I am super proud of this one.

Mekka - Diamondback (Adam Ellis Remix):
This remix started by total accident tbh. I was researching older classic progressive Trance records and I came across this classic. Obviously it is massive, but it sounded pretty dated and too slow for my normal slot times when I DJ. I noticed that the main section ( the bit with the haunting vocals) was fairly empty and could be used in a remix. 

I simply chopped all that out and spent a few days editing it, then I pieced together the remix over the following 3 or 4 weeks. 

When it was done we sent it to Perfecto and Paul Oakenfold himself signed it. 

Adam Ellis – Tilikum:
Tilikum was a track name I have wanted to use for a long time. The name actually comes from a killer whale in Florida. I was saving this name for a track with a tougher edge. When I made this record I felt the name was appropriate. 

Dimitri: Did you had in your mind an idea of how the mix should sound like? Did you wanted to reflect the current ITWT sound or the sound that Adam Ellis is usually playing in his Dj gigs?

Adam Ellis: I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to build up the mix due to the short time limit, and too be honest I wanted to show off the sound I am known for. I wanted to push new talent and features lots of new music. This is something I achieved, so I am happy in that regard.

Dimitri: Have you attempted the mix many times or the mix was recorded in one go? Did you record it as live mix or you have it done with the aid of software? If yes which one and why you use this specific one?

Adam Ellis: I used Live 9 for this project and it did make 4 try’s to get it right. This is where fresh ears help and people that will give you critical, yet constructive feedback. This is such an important thing in the music industry as it helps one grow. 

Dimitri: Did you stay and listen your mix again and again to spot any awkward moments or you recorded and send it straight away to the label as you felt very confident about it? 

Adam Ellis: Yeah I must have listened to it about 200 times haha. I only sent it when I was 100 % happy with it. I got feedback from fresh ears and adjusted accordingly. Its all aboutb working together present the best possible experience to the listener. I am happy to take constructive feedback all day long. 

Dimitri: It would be excellent to give us a short comment about the rest of the tracks you choose for this compilation and explain why you like them so much?

Adam Ellis:
01. UCast - Jetlag (Intro Mix) – Ucast is an amazing producer and I wanted to get him on board with a fresh single for me. He delivered an amazing uplifting track which I felt was perfect for the comp.

02. David Rust – Nightshade – David is a name that is fresh and he is a great talent that is making waves with his early releases. I was, and am still pushed by people, so it was important to me that I made the most of this fantastic opportunity and pushed guys I think deserve it. David is one of those guys

03. Chris Metcalfe featuring Amy Kirkpatrick - Across The World – I have always loved Chris’s music and I knew right from the get go that I wanted to feature him on this comp. When he delivered ‘Across The World’ to me I was delighted. What a tune !

04. Danny Minns - Alpha Seven – I met Danny through a post I did asking for new records and ‘Alpha Seven’ was the first track that we signed to the comp. Its an amazing piece of uplifting Trance and one I am proud to have on the compilation.

05. JERZYK – Atlanta – Atlanta is one of those tunes that gets everyone’s hands in the air. The breakdown has an amazing vocal sample and a fantastic melody. What more can you ask for in a track?

06. Will Atkinson – Subconscious - I included this record because it truly is a standout of the last few years. The track speaks for itself really. What a beast !

07. Skylex - Fire Kingdom – ‘Fire Kingdom’ is an amazing uplifter with a tougher edge that Skylex is known for. I loved this one from the get go !

08. Niko Zografos – Acropolis – Niki is another guy that I wanted to push as he has had some great records out in the past year but is still a fresh name. His track ‘Acropolis’ is a massive Trance record that ticks all of the boxes. 

09. Allen Watts – Magnus – Magnus is the definition of uplifting Trance and its no surprise that Armin played this two weeks in a row on ASOT

10. Allan Morrow – Desolation – Desolation really hits the floor hard when it drops. It does exactly what it is meant to and destroys dance floors. This is a solid slice of Tech Trance & one of my favs from the comp!

11. Active Limbic System - Exploring Another Reality – ALS are two great guy and were a pleasure to work with. ‘Exploring Another Reality’ has some quality tech elements running through it and some amazing acid work. I love this one !

12. Aimoon – Unstoppable – Aimoon is a firm fav on Mark Sherry’s ‘Outburst’ imprint and I went to him right away for an exclusive. What a track he gave me ! 

13. Shugz - Eden’s Calling – What can you say about this beast. ‘ Edens Calling’ is an in your face slab of Tech Trance with a haunting breakdown filled out with atmospheric vocals and a hands in the air melody. Amazing work from the Northern Irish youngster!

14. Midway - Monkey Forest (Casey Rasch Remix) – I have always loved this classic and was chuffed when I was sent this remix. Casey always nails the remix’s, and as usual, he didn’t disappoint with this one ! 

Dimitri: Are you going to support this compilation with an album tour? Are there any days already confirmed?

Adam Ellis: We did have something sorted for this but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out. Fear not though, you can catch me playing out lots of these tracks at my live shows.

Dimitri: Can you pick up for us your top 3 best ever gigs that you played and give us the reasoning behind your choice please;

Adam Ellis: Top 3 Adam Ellis Dj gigs

Man this is tough tbh. I will give it a go though 

1- Mandarine, Argentina, 2014. This was my first club show in Argentina and it was such a special gig. I played for 4 hours and words cant really describe the passion and emotion that the crowd showed me. It was something that I will never forget and that’s why its number 1 for me. 

2- A VERY close second is when I played for Cream in Ibiza at the word famous ‘Amnesia’. IT wasn’t even a dream for me to play here, as it simply didn’t seem that it could ever be possible. Its madness to think that I did get a shot at that amazing club. 

3- This could be any number of gigs but I'm going to give it to Melbourne for my FSOE tour earlier this year. I really loved the energy from the crowd and had a blast playing there. 

Dimitri: Your radio show is called Ellicit radio. When did you started and are you satisfied with the response it gets so far? Do you think there is too much competition for radio shows and how do you attempt to stand out?

Adam Ellis: Yes the new show is called Ellicit. I recently made it into just a podcast. ATM it’s still early days. The reception could be better, but rather than focus on the negatives, I’m pushing it and will grow the show and brand over time.

Dimitri: What other tracks that are not previewed in this compilation are you going to release soon and can you tell us something more about them?

Adam Ellis: I have so much coming up its actually crazy. I have worked so hard over the last 9 months and have some amazing music to be released. More info on those soon ;0

Dimitri: Are there any dreams in your career that haven’t been materialized so far and if yes would you like to tell us about them?

Adam Ellis: Ahh of course, I don’t think you ever stop dreaming. Unless you are PVD, Armin ect, there is always something new to achieve. I’m just enjoying the ride atm

Dimitri: Last question is about Trance music that people should Trust. What makes in your opinion a classy high quality trance production that stands out from the rest?

Adam Ellis: A good standout record needs to have a little bit of everything. It’s so hard to make a standout track nowadays as there is a lot of generic music about. A recent standout for me would be James Dymond – Push. That’s how you make a standout tune!!

Thanks very much to Adam Ellis for  replying to this interview.

Buy ITWT vol.21 here

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