Insomniac's Dreamstate has become North America's premier trance only music festival, with the So-Cal one being the flagship. For the last couple years since it's creation, we've seen stacked lineups of the brightest up and comers and most beloved veterans. This year, one of Italy's most renown trance legend made his festival debut, the Extrema Global mastermind, Manuel Le Saux.
After watching Manny fill his stage with his blend of progressive and uplifting gems we were able to meet backstage to talk trance, his label, and whats in store for the future.
We're here at Dreamstate with Manuel Le Saux. How are you Manny?
I feel wonderful! I just finished playing and wow what an experience. First time here at Dreamstate, absolutely amazing.
You've played all over the world, what is about Dreamstate that makes it so special?
I like the states. Every party I play in the states, for me, is special, but this one is something else. It's huge. It's my first time here and I feel so happy about it. The fact that they called me to play here, it's a big achievement for me.
How have the US fans been taking your Extrema style of music?
I saw some t-shirts of Extrema, the Extrema team, so i'm amazed at how my label and how my team behind the label is working. I can only be happy about it. I played some exclusive stuff, some unreleased stuff and the reaction was…wow.
Do you find yourself having to think in two different mindsets, being both an artist and a label owner?
Sometimes I know that I have to play only my stuff or the label's stuff, just to support myself and the label. That sounds a little bit selfish but I like what I release on the label. So when I feel I can play a track from the label then i'm gonna play it. I like to feel from the crowd, I don't decide on a track list two days before I just feel it. I have no rules about it, this is how I work. I probably should though haha.
I disagree, I think too many guys plan their sets. I guess it makes sense when you have pre-planned visuals or stuff like that.
In that case yes, but I like to..y'know, you feel now this is the right time for this track, and when you see the reaction from the people and you know “yeah this is the right track”, this is what being a DJ is supposed to be.
Couldn't agree more. Who are some of your favorite up and comers on your label who you are exposing?
Nikolauss, Unbeat, Astuni of course, and Pinkque from Australia. They are doing very well.
And how did you go about finding these artists?
Nikolauss works for the label, he's one of the A&R. Unbeat for example, he released his first track on Extrema and said it was incredible to work with you, I want to release everything with you. Some producers they start with Extrema then they ask us if they can try with some other labels. We say yeah, sure, thats understandable, but what we like about our label is almost all our producers are so loyal to us. We know how to treat them. We are trying to build a great family. It's not all about me. I want to push them, if I can, as much as I can.
Regarding your sound, you've been an uplifting icon most of your career. Have you ever thought about any side projects? What kind of experimentation have you been up to?
Trance for me at the moment has become alot of the same. It's become hard for me to find tracks for the radio show. All the new producers, they take the sounds and samples from the same place, so all the songs sound the same. So it's really rare to listen to a track and say “I know who produced this”, just because it's the same sound every time.
Lately i'm thinking of making new…not hard trance, I don't like the word “hard trance” but slower, banging stuff, between 134-136 bpm. With a really deep sound, not really uplifting.
Would you release it under Manuel Le Saux?
No, I think i'm gonna do it under a new alias, but i'm gonna say “Manuel Le Saux presents..” then say the same of the artist.
So no secret identity with a Mask?
No, no, no. Unfortunately you have to see this face.
So for the producers, what software do you use and what plugins are your favorites?
I work with Cubase only but when I do collaborations, especially with Astoni, we use Ableton. He's a master in Ableton. VST, I would say alot of the same, like Sylenth, Nexus, Spire. It's not about which VST you use, it's how you use it. You can take presets that someone has made or start from zero and make your own sound. Thats the real goal.
Was it ever a big transition to move from hardware to software when all the DAWs first got big?
Hardware is always the best way. You feel that you are making the music, but 2017, Laptops are cheaper, easier. It all depends how you work with the sound.
Going back to Dreamstate and trance. What do you think it is about the trance fans, the trance family that separates it from the rest of the dance music community?
You said it. It's a family. I can go to a EDM or a commerical party and I can never find the same vibe as a trance party. We all know eachother, it's a big family. Here today there's so many friends…so many friends. Even on the other side of the world, you still see all the same friends. it's a big family, everyone knows eachother.
Definitely, you don't see any Trap Family or Dub Families haha. To wrap things up, what do you have in store for 2018?
Well like I told you, I got a new project, I have to start it. I'm going to make a new compilation forsure, hopefully by January, February, it's gonna be out. And I hope to find the time to make another album. I dunno, it's really hard but i'll try to make it.
Get pumped for Manuel's new project and album next year with this playlist of classics!