For over a decade Solarstone (Rich Mowatt) has been creating dance-floor traffic jams with a convoy of revered club classics, all-out anthems & critically-acclaimed albums. As a DJ, he spins weekly at clubs around the planet and for globally-recognized names like Cream @ Amnesia, Ministry of Sound, Gatecrasher & Full-On-Ferry. Releases from Solarstone’s label projects Solaris, Touchstone, solarSwarm & Molecule are instrumental components of his highly individualistic sets and are constantly supported by the trance & prog spinning elite. Solaris International, his weekly show enjoys a dedicated fan-base and is broadcast across +80 FM & Internet stations.
Hi Rich, How is everything? 2013 is coming to a close! Care to share some of your biggest highlights this year?
Hi guys, all good here thank you! Yes I can’t believe how quickly this year seems to have gone, it’s been my busiest year to date. Highlights are many, the combined success of all of our Pure Trance Events is the biggest without a doubt, but if forced to pick specific things I would say the following; getting approval for my cover version of Vangelis’ ‘Bladerunner’ which I really didn’t expect, ASOT600 at Den Bosch which was amazing, and the recent release of Pure Trance 2 after so much hard work.
Just this past Friday, You brought Pure Trance to Exchange LA, How was the night?
It was fabulous, a really great night, Kristina and Giuseppe both played brilliant sets and of course the reception to my set was amazing. There is so much love for the sound of Pure Trance in LA – in fact surprisingly – for me – the USA has been our most successful territory so far in terms of events. I love Exchange, it’s a great club with a great atmosphere, and I’m getting to know quite a few faces there too! Love the huge new L.E.D screen, very effective – can’t wait to return.
Pure Trance vol. 2 was recently released with your pal Giuseppe. It features some great new talent along with the familiar’s. Was there anything different in putting together vol. 2 then you did with the first one? Or did you guys follow the same formula.
Yes it is a little different to Volume 1. For example, Orkidea joined me for the first one and he has a more progressive angle on things, whereas Giuseppe’s take on proceedings a bit tougher and stripped down – more edgy. Some people were asking if we were going to have progressive second disc again this time, but you know, I don’t see any point in repeating myself for the sake of it. When compiling the first album there was less music to choose from, this time when I sent out the call to producers for new music there was a much greater response. Also the mixing was more multi-level on my disc this time, it has more of an ‘Electronic Architecture’ feel to it – I did much more production and reconstruction of the tracks this time – particularly with my ‘Retouches’. As far as a ‘formula’ goes, the only formula really is finding new music from exciting producers and creating a journey for the listeners, of the highest quality. No mean feat!
What is next for the pure trance movement? Where would you like to see it go? The limits are limitless right?
(Laughs) ‘The limits are limitless’? You mean ‘there are no limits, right’? I think we are on the right track. The ‘EDM’ explosion has left a lot of doors open for Pure Trance, people are looking for new music, and Pure Trance is a logical next step for some – it is more melodic & emotional and has deeper meaning – it is music for the soul & spirit and people who have had their eyes and ears opened to electronic music by ‘EDM’ may find the sound of Pure Trance very appealing. In terms of our Events, we are definitely growing exponentially; we have big plans for 2014 including hopefully hosting our own stages at some festivals in 2014. Most artists are embracing the sound now, and most importantly there is a new generation of fans out there, for whom this music is something brand new. It’s going to ben exciting next 12 months, for sure.
Where do you see the most active pure trance fans? Is the USA catching on yet?
Well I think I just answered that question previously as far as the US goes, but this movement is world wide, I’ve actually noticed a huge resurgence in the UK – the recent Pure Trance 2 album has sold extremely well in the UK and I’m getting booking requests coming in – a few years ago I was playing in my home country maybe once or twice a year? I’m very much looking forward to my forthcoming tour of Australia; I know there is a lot of love for the sound over there too. Of course the Netherlands is a very strong supporter of the sound – it’s becoming my second home these days!
We don’t really care for much about the DJ MAG. But this year we saw a big hit for trance artists. Trance will go back to the underground! What are your thoughts? If Any?
I really don’t like getting drawn in to Dj Mag debates any more; the whole conversation is very tired these days. We all know that it has a certain level of importance – it’s a bit like having your yearly appraisal at work, you get a tiny bit anxious about it in the run up, then it’s over & it is forgotten very quickly. It’s useful sometimes when promoters are booking acts and arranging sponsorship deals for gigs based upon a Djs position in the poll. Trance Djs dominated the Top 100 for years, so we can’t really complain now. I was very surprised that I had gone up so much and actually cracked the 100 once again, and am very appreciative to everybody who voted for me – it’s good for the Pure Trance movement more than anything else, but I don’t live my life by it.
Do anything special for the coming holiday season? NYE?
It’s a funny time of year isn’t it? A huge build up then and crashing anti-climax afterwards. New Year’s Eve gigs are always great, but I have a dilemma every year in that it is my son’s birthday on New Year’s Day therefore I can’t really take a gig somewhere which means me missing getting back in time to see him! Christmas is nice, I like to spend it with family and take it easy for the day, like most people, and drink some very expensive brandy preferably. But that’s about it.
Thanks Rich, Any last words for your fans and our readers?
Yes, thank you guys for the incredible support you’ve shown both the Pure Trance movement and also myself; it is hugely appreciated and never ever taken for granted. My weekly radio show Solaris International goes out on AHFM every Tuesday at 18:00 GMT and it is how I get to know my fans so feel free to tune in and come say Hi on twitter ?