The ClubPlanet Interview: Lange

The ClubPlanet Interview: Lange

by DJ Ron Slomowicz

At the end of last year, Lange (aka Stuart James Langelaan) released the incredible We Are Lucky People album. His trademark high energy trance sound is always the focus as pretty elements of progressive and a touch of electro keep the sound current. Working with incredible vocalists like Shannon Hurkey, Betsie Larkin, and Susana also made the album one of the best of the year. An active producer/DJ since the '90s, he continues to create high quality music and his label Lange Recordings is always top-of-mind for DJs looking quality trance tracks.

DJ Ron: I was looking over your history and it seems like in the ‘90s you did a lot of remixes but the past couple of years not so many, why the change?
Remixing is how I got started, I was doing a few of my own productions but I went down the road of being a regular remixer for Positiva. Every label was pouncing on me because I seemed to be doing the right sound at the right time. I got into doing a vast amount of remixes; I think I did 20 remixes in 1999. Over the years I wanted to concentrate on my own stuff and that has become my focus. It is more of an occasional thing that I do a remix.

DJ Ron: We Are Lucky People is an amazing album, how long did it take you to put that tougher?
Thank you very much; the album took me about a year from conception to finish. I released singles along the way and I did a few new twists and things to the final project in the end which took an extra month or so.

DJ Ron: When you do an album do you think to yourself that you are going to put a certain number of songs on it and that a certain number of them are going to be singles? Is that in your mind when you are making the album?
Lange: Like I said, I was releasing singles all through the year anyways, so it wasn’t a case of getting all the music together and then deciding what the singles were. I was literally releasing everything as I made it, sometimes promoing it three days after I finished the track. The idea behind it was something to give me momentum, and I found it quite exciting to share my music fresh out of the studio. Normally you have to be selective about what you put on the album, but literally everything went on the album as it was made, it was amazing to do it that way.

DJ Ron: What do you think about the current sentiment among a lot of producers that the album is dead, it’s all about a single every few months to stay on the road.
Lange: That is indeed the sentiment and that is a sensible way of doing things. It is all about keeping up with new material and there is a need to do that and to maintain the flow. It probably puts people off creating albums because you have to stop things, pause, and slow the releases down. As far as the album being dead, with things like shuffle on the iPod, people aren’t really listening to music from start to finish any more. I personally don’t think that it is dead, that is why I did the album last year and I want it to be an experience when people listen to it. That is where I got the most value from a personal point of few, and to find a product that I think is nice to listen to from start to finish.

DJ Ron: It is 2014 now, based on you current structure should we expect your next album in 2016?
Possibly, that is how is has been working out, but I am in no rush to do another one, it was quite a stressful year with the album and all of the touring.

DJ Ron: What inspired you to cover “Hold That Sucker Down?"
Lange: I have always loved the original version, which was one of the 12 inch club mixes as opposed to the commercial vocal version. I was listening to it in the car, it was on a CD my wife was playing and I thought that it would be great to remake it and really give it some power. Since it was produced back then it obviously didn’t have the power to play in the club as much as it does these days. I had a really great gig for New Year’s Eve playing with Andy Moore in Oakland at the Oracle stadium in front of 15,000 people, and I wanted to produce something for an intro. I thought that I could really make an orchestral thing out of it, and it seemed like a bit of a challenge, but I wanted to remake it into an epic club version for today. It turned out really well and I still love playing the record.

DJ Ron: By chance has Rollo contacted you at all?
No, they haven’t talked about it but hopefully they would approve of it.

DJ Ron: I don’t know how you feel about this but I want to talk to you about some of your classics. Are you SuReal who did "Take My Breath Away" or did you just do the remix?
Yes, I was “SuReal It was one of the first tracks that I produced in 1996 and one of the first ones to get picked up. It didn’t get released until the year 2000 when it was a chart hit in the UK at # 15. It was absolutely amazing for me and it was the beginning of my career. It was basically me and a guy who wrote the lyrics, the vocalist, and a management guy who cut himself into the deal.

DJ Ron: Okay, I always thought that it was you but I wasn’t sure. Going back to your classics, the ‘90s are back with Nu-House; do you think that your trance classics “Drifting Away” and “Follow Me” are going to come back for 2014 also?
Personally I don’t think so. I actually touched up “Follow Me” last year because I wanted to do something when I mixed the Trance Nation compilation for Ministry of Sound. I thought it would be great to bring it back and I had a chat with Positiva about it and they thought it was a great idea. I didn’t want to move it too far away from what it was originally, so I tried to keep it in the ’99 kind of vibe but give it more grove for today and slow it down a bit. It was actually a risk and I was quite scared about doing it in case it was badly received, I wasn’t going to put it out unless I was sure. I think that those records need to be left there, I do play quite a few bootlegs of classics every now and again, but I think I am going to leave “Drifting Away” where it is for the time being.

DJ Ron: How did it feel when Pet Shop Boys contacted you for the remix of “New York City Boy?”
It was amazing; I remember reading that they were really pleased about the mix that I had done. This was right at the beginning of my career and I was blown away, I had been watching them on top of the boards and hadn’t dreamt about doing anything like that. When I got the track and the parts I wondered how the hell I was going to make it into a trance track, it was difficult to remix. We finished it but we barely used any of the vocals.

DJ Ron: Since you have been around since the ‘90s a lot of people now say that all producers must DJ and all DJs must produce. What is your take on that?
I think that these days to be a DJ you need to be producing. These days most DJs just pay a producer, but if you are going to start up DJing you are going to need to either do the hard work and learn how to produce or pay somebody to do some productions for you, they go hand in hand. I don’t know how a DJ would come through now, especially in the EDM genre, without putting productions out. They must have some really good skills to stand out from the crowd. I must say from a producers’ point of view a producer needs to DJ purely for financial reasons as well. It’s very difficult to make enough money from just making the music itself unless you are aiming for commercial hits. The two are married; it’s good to do both and it’s fun.

DJ Ron: Yeah, one feeds the other. Back in the ‘90s social media was not a factor, how do you think that it has changed what you do?
It’s changed drastically; I never used to feel as pressured to always be in the spotlight. The amount of music that we release now is being forced by that, you have to have an output and interviews going out. On the one hand it has really upped the workload and really upped the competitive nature of the scene, but it is also great because you really get to know your fan base and you can interact and respond to them. It is good on a social level obviously, but Twitter is my favorite. People used to want to ask you questions and they would have to send you eMails but with Twitter they can only ask you something that is 140 characters and they aren’t expecting an essay back. You can get back to people in a way that you couldn’t 15 years ago. I think it is a great way to have short interactions and updates and you get to know your regular people that message you, it’s really cool.

DJ Ron: I looked up Lange on Wikipedia and the three options were watchmaker, ski boots, and airplane parts. If you weren’t a DJ or producer, which of those three things would you be involved in?
That’s a difficult one, I can’t ski, watchmaking and airplane parts sound boring- but I would go with the airplane parts, I could get discounts on good flights.

DJ Ron: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Lange: A huge thanks for keeping with me and all of the support that you guys have shown. I really felt the support last year in particular with the album, all year people were pushing for me and the response in the end was amazing and I couldn’t have been happier.

Interview conducted March 2014 during Miami Music Week.
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