The walls of the Citrus Building at the NOS Events Center reverberated and shook the ground as hundreds of fans eagerly awaited to enter the structure. The edifice, dubbed “The Vision” stage for Dreamstate SoCal, was getting crowded quickly and eventually had to be closed off due to overcrowding. For fans lucky enough to make it inside, they were able to sing and dance along to one of the biggest names to come out of trance music this decade.
Since his first release with Anjunabeats in 2012, Ilan Bluestone has been busy crafting hit-after-hit and packing stages across the world– not just at his inaugural set at Dreamstate SoCal. The U.K. native had a busy 2017 touring North America with Anjunabeats alongside Jason Ross and Andrew Bayer and is now preparing to release his debut album.
Hours before the fans packed The Vision stage, Bluestone sat down with me and candidly spoke about his upcoming album, the current trance scene and the admiration he has towards his fans.
You're gearing up to play your very first Dreamstate event–what do you think of the idea of an all-trance festival?
Ilan: I thought it was a very cool concept because it unites American trance fans. The whole vision of bringing everyone to one big festival where everyone can dance to just one genre—trance music— it just shows you how powerful it is.
What can we expect out of your set?
Ilan: I'm gonna be playing some new material from my debut album, which is coming out next year. So I'm gonna be testing out some stuff out on the dance floor and see how it goes down. I've been testing it out on the road but now that its a festival, it's gonna be great to see how the crowd reacts especially since its a trance crowd.
How's the reaction been to your new music outside of the festivals?
Ilan: Oh, it's been amazing! I've had really really good shows– sold out shows– and it's been absolutely epic.
Your new single, Another Lover, was heard at Above & Beyond's Group Therapy 250. What was your reaction to hearing them play it?
Ilan: I was at home in England watching it on t.v. and I thought it went down great. I loved hearing the crowd go crazy.
You said you're working on your debut album, how's that coming along?
Ilan: I haven't even finished it yet; I'm still working on it at the moment. I've been testing out the tracks on the dance floor to see how they work so that way I can go back to the studio to edit stuff and perfect them. So there is no release date yet.
What can we expect the album to sound like?
Ilan: It's very different. It's not just going to be all trance– it's gonna be a variety of ambient, a bit of 80s music and a bit of deep house. I'm kind of dipping my toes on everything because an album lets you explore your musical horizons. It's also not just gonna be all Anjunabeats. Doing an album gives me the versatility to experiment and that's what it's about as an artist– to be able to show what I can do and what I like doing and what I enjoy making at home.
Dreamstate has grown to a massive two-day multi-stage festival. What does that say about the current Trance scene?
Ilan: Trance has never died and never will. It's only evolving and getting bigger. The fact that social media is helping it get to where its gotten means it's staying.
Dreamstate is known to bring a roster of early Trance artists– is there anyone here that influenced you?
Ilan: I just got to meet my absolute legend next door, Mauro Picotto. I told him straight, I said, “Dude, you're a legend”. I told him his music is fantastic and has always been inspiring. I took a picture with him to show my brother– he's gonna be so excited. He's a huge Picotto fan.
Do you look at what other Trance artists are producing? Do you compare your work to them or are you focused on yourself?
Ilan: No, I'm only focused on what I am doing. I will be looking at other artists once I open my own record label– which is the plan.
A record label?
Ilan: Yes. Bluestone Records.
Is that a working title?
Ilan: No. We'll see what happens. Bluestone's maybe. Who knows.
It sounds like a record label is still way in the future then. Let's focus on the album first.
Ilan: Yes. Album first and get to the fans that I haven't gotten to yet around the world. I still have loads of destinations I haven't reached yet.
What can we expect out of you for 2018?
Ilan: Once I get the album out of the way, I'm gonna do more club tracks– more bangers. That's my focus because I want to get people hooked on my sound. People who aren't into Trance–bring them in.
Gaining new fans is obviously important.
Ilan: I think the fans keep me grounded more than anything, I like being able to connect with the fans. I reach out to every fan I can, I take a picture with every fan I can. Being able to communicate with my fans is my number one priority– to be able to listen to how they get inspired by my music and see how I can make myself better.