One of the many enjoyable things about Dreamstate is the seamless weaving of melodies and sounds that surround you as you meander the grounds of the NOS Events Center. The unique yet identical patterns of trance music can't be boxed into one genre, they open the box and unload different styles- classic, psychedelic, GOA, uplifting and progressive. While different in sound, they all have one goal- to bring you into a state of trance.
On the newer, more progressive front we have Ruben de Ronde. Alongside Armin van Buuren, Ruben has been hosting the weekly radio show ‘A State of Trance', a staple in the trance music world. I sat down with Ruben after his successful set at Dreamstate SoCal where he opened up about his new album, latest tracks and what's in store for the popular radio show.
I just watched your set. For those who weren't in attendance, what did we just hear?
Ruben: I played a lot of new stuff. There was even some stuff that I got today from good friends of mine here in L.A.
We're at the third incarnation of Dreamstate– describe the vibe here.
Ruben: I've played Dreamstate in San Francisco before, but this is my first time here and I'm just buzzing. I was here yesterday to see the Gaia set; to see all the totems and stuff like that tells me that people are so passionate about trance music. I feel like this has become a gathering of trance music and I'm absolutely buzzing.
Is there any other festival that compares to what you just experienced here?
Ruben: A State of Trance Festival has the same vibe. I would say this could be the equivalent of Europe. At ASOT we had 80 different nationalities and 55% of the people there were outside of the Netherlands. A lot of people are willing to travel far to festivals like this and it shows the dedication to trance music.
I'm glad you're bringing up A State of Trance because I was going to ask how the show is going. You and Armin van Buuren are about to celebrate 850 episodes.
Ruben: Yeah man. I've been working with Armin for ten years on ASOT and this year we decided to make a full switch to video. I think this took the show to the next level; it's something not many shows do. To see the reaction of people watching the show is amazing.
I had a chance to speak with Armin van Buuren earlier this year after his Armin Only show here in L.A. He was really excited to share with me a new segment for the show called “Service for Dreamers”. What's your reaction to the new segment?
Ruben: It's unbelievable. This week we had people fly in from New York just to be on the show. Some of the stories we receive are really touching— like an email we got recently where a guy shared that he was about to end his life. He got in touch with trance music and that made him stop and not do it and take the next step in his life and turned it into something positive. It's amazing to see that trance can make such a difference in a person's life. It's my favorite part of the show by far.
You guys close out each year of A State of Trance with the Tune of the Year, is there a clear winner yet?
Ruben: No, it's a very close race between a few tracks. But I am really excited to announce the tune of the year. I hope someday it's treated like a proper award show instead of just counting down the tunes. There's still so much we can do with the show and that's one of the ideas.
Besides the radio show, you also put out two albums this year.
Ruben: Yeah, I don't know where I found the time for that. But yeah, this year I released two albums, one of which is “My Story” which I released in January.
And you've still kept yourself busy by releasing new tracks.
Ruben: Yeah and I played two new singles for the first time today here at Dreamstate. I also have new collaborations coming up with Protoculture and Estiva. There's so much going on.
You've definitely have had a busy year, any highlights of 2017?
Ruben: When I look back at the year, it's been fantastic. I played 5 or 6 Dreamstate shows this year, and I didn't really expect that. Most of the music at these shows are uplifting, and my sound is more progressive. I want to send a big thank you and shout out to Jeff and Chris from Dreamstate for believing in my sound. I hope that every year from now on can be like this year.
And what can we expect out of you for 2018?
Ruben: I'll have another album out for 2018, which is why I have all these new tracks going out. Obviously, I'm going continue with the weekly A State of Trance radio show and gearing up for the upcoming 850 show in Utrecht. It'll be another busy year, but I can't complain because I'm blessed to be able to do what I do.