Steve Allen interview
Hi Steve. How are you today?
I’m good, got back from playing with Talla 2XLC at Technoclub in Germany last weekend, just played Argentina last night so been busy preparing some new music for the show!
You recently released a track with Cathy Burton which got quite a bit of support from the likes of Armin van Buuren and Guiseppe Ottaviani. Tell us how it was working with Cathy?
Well funny one this, I actually started this collaboration 2 years ago with Cathy and Raz from Amsterdam Trance, after remixing “Incomplete”, I approached Cathy and Raz with an idea for a single, but the timing wasn’t quite right to release. Fast forward to 2017 and Raz approached me to say we can release, I updated the track and "My Awakening" was finished!
Now, before we go any deeper into this interview, let us talk about Allen & Envy, and the question that is on everyone’s mind…. Why did you go your separate ways?
The project just ran its course, we had no idea what we were doing at the beginning or how big we would get. I look back on that time and I’m really proud of what was achieved, however as human beings, I think we know when things have run their course. At the end of the day it was a relationship between two people, and when the pressures of the industry and life are thrown around things either go one of two ways, it solidifies things or the latter as we know, call things a day and move on in a positive way. We both talked about many different ways about how the "project" could continue, but we couldn't find any common ground, hence the decision to end the project in the winter of 2016!
You mention the pressures of being a modern-day artist, how did you fit everything in with producing, touring, the radio show, social media and everything else?
It wasn’t easy at all, Scott had a full-time job and I worked full time in music with my music studio business. This enabled me to make the Allen & Envy tracks in-between working with clients, but also gave me the time to work with the labels, and be flexible enough to play the shows that Scott couldn't make due to his working commitments, I could also be free to post on social media and learn and carry out all the marketing, as well as searching for the exclusive tracks for the live sets that few would have. Scott only had a few hours spare a week, so he recorded the radio show and made sure that all ran smoothly.
Many people still talk about "Silhouette" as the biggest Allen & Envy track, tell us how that came about?
Silhouette still to this day is my love to hate track, it still gets a huge reaction whenever it’s played but, it’s still the track I want to beat as a producer. When I crafted this sound, it took me over a month, about 100 studio hours easy and countless different versions. I actually stumbled across the intro bassline by mistake when I forgot to take a note out the bassline, and the vocal chops just worked so well with the bassline. I always knew when I heard the vocals from Sarah that I wanted to create that "moment" in the breakdown that always pulls me to certain tracks. I remember playing one or two different versions to Scott when they were finished, and he didn’t like the first few attempts at vocal chops, so I went back into the bedsit studio and finally got them to a point that worked. Silhouette was I would say the start of the sound that defined me as a producer, it’s a sound that is very personal to me as I made that remix at a very difficult part of my life, but that sound has stayed with me and you can still hear that today in my new productions!
How do you feel having to reunite as Allen & Envy for your final ever gig at Luminosity Beach Festival?
I don’t really differentiate between an Allen & Envy gig or a Steve Allen gig, I played many shows together with Scott and also many shows on my own under the Allen & Envy name, for me it’s a gig where I need to go and perform and try and give the fans what they came to see, a sound that runs through my veins.
Is it definitely the last ever set as Allen & Envy?
I never like to say, as you never know what the future holds, but at the moment Luminosity Beach Festival is the last remaining show that was booked when we brought the project to an end!
How does it feel being a solo act?
It actually doesn't feel any different, at all! My sound is still the same, I still use the same production equipment and I still play the same style as I always have. I suppose I have more freedom to try out new ideas that I’ve always wanted to do, i.e. the "live" radio show from my studio and recording my live sets in audio and video and streaming these.
What do you miss about Allen & Envy?
We got quite big in the US, so I suppose I miss touring the US the most, it was lonely at times and a bit boring when you’re staying out there for a week or two as I can’t really produce on the road, but I played some amazing shows there and met some great people which more than made up for that! That’s the one thing I miss the most I think for now, at the moment I’ve just got to wait until the group visa runs out and I can apply for my solo visa in November, kinda sucks that I have to wait but no way around it to get back there!
Is there anything you would like to say to all those Allen & Envy fans out there?
You have shown me amazing support throughout my journey, and I cannot thank you enough for this, I know many of you were concerned that the sound would be gone, but I hope you can hear from my recent releases that I haven’t changed one bit, and I really hope you like what’s to come from me in the future!
What has it been like, rebuilding after Allen & Envy?
It’s been really tough, but having learnt so much about building a career with Allen & Envy, I’m in the process of doing this again, which helps as I’m not such a novice and hopefully won’t make the mistakes I did first time round!
How do you plan on taking things as a solo artist?
I have a really great team around me, so were working toward some things that I’ve never been able to do before. But it was important for me to release music that I’m happy with, on labels that I really respect.
What sound can the fans expect from you as a solo artist?
My sound, it’s never changed, maybe evolved but it’s just my sound, always has been and always will be :)
Can we expect a world tour from you anytime soon?
Yes, I’ve already announced Colombia, and many more dates will be announced very soon which includes Australia, Hong Kong and more dates in Asia and South America.
You have recently joined Critical Labels as head of A&R. Tell us what we can expect from that?
I joined Critical as A&R as I’m always sent unsigned tracks, and I could see that the label had some great infrastructure, and it seemed the right decision to join. Over time things happened and I stepped into the position of head of A&R, we’ve been working hard on what exactly each label within the group of labels represents, and we have a new dual CD - Past, Present & Future that I'm mixing out this summer also!
Another thing you do are tutorials. What do these tutorials entail?
Part of my studio business I set up was a something to help producers out there, but on a more personal level than watching a video or buying a template. You don’t learn to drive by doing these things, you get an instructor, so this was my idea. My tutorials are carried out either in my studio or via skype, and I’m so happy that a lot of my clients have gone on to get the DJ support they want or get signed to some of the labels they want to get on!
What are you working on right now?
I’m just finishing up a remix for WAO138!! and starting work on my new singles with Sue McLaren and a very special vocal single that will come out on Amsterdam Trance!
What are you looking forward to this summer - outside of music?
I don’t really have a life outside of music!
Finally, tell us what releases we should expect of you for the rest of 2017?
Aside from the world tour announcement and Critical compilation, I’ve got new music coming on WAO138!!, Armada, Amsterdam Trance, Damaged, Critical Uprising and a few others :)