Three years after his first album We Rule The Night, Ran-D releases his long awaited and brand new album Illuminate. This album embarks his diversity as a producer, the hardstyle DJ explains. “I am a perfectionist and I think this is reflected in the productions, the sound design and the mixdowns.” Ran-D joined us for a chat about his album and live performance.
Congratulations on the release of ‘Illuminate’! How did you feel about making this album?
“I actually had a lot of fun making this album. The process went smoothly and I had a nice workflow. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself with the production, and above all to enjoy the process of creating the tracks. I therefore often worked on several tracks at the same time to avoid getting stuck on one track, which can be very frustrating. This ended up working very well for me. The various collabs were also fun to do, so all in all a very nice process and I am proud of the end result.”
Did you have a specific vision in mind when creating this album?
“I wanted to show my diversity as a producer. I like energetic euphoric tracks with a message, raw bangers and even hardcore, so I wanted to reflect all of this in this album. I think this turned out well, and I also received very positive reactions to it.”
What message do you want to convey with the album?
“I don’t have a specific message with this album, but as I said I wanted to create an album that shows all facets of me as a producer and DJ. I also always want to go for quality and not quantity. Therefore, I didn’t put 30 tracks or so on the album, but a somewhat smaller selection of tracks that I support 100%, some of which will hopefully be played and listened to in a few years.”
Can you share some insights into the creative process behind the album?
“This time I did it a little differently than I normally do. First, I started making a lot of setups and then chose the best ones, working in parallel on several tracks at the same time. The moment I threatened to get stuck with one track, I moved on to another. The advantage here was that I often heard immediately the next day what I wanted differently. This really kept the fun of producing this album alive and kept me more productive this way, so this is a workflow I will continue to stick to in the future.”
A while ago we already talked to you about the album and the live act that accompanies Illuminate. We are now a few months further. How did you experience last summer? How were the reactions to your live act?
“The festival summer was really cool, I was on schedule with the productions, which meant that during the busy months, I was able to give myself some rest between performances. I did not necessarily have to go back to the studio every free moment. As a result, I was able to really enjoy the performances.
On top of that, the reactions to the Illuminate live act were very good! We have done everything we can to make it a really great show, with next level visuals, live artists, dance and lots of SFX. I think this is really the future of DJ acts. The visitor really wants a unique experience, so we do everything we can to achieve this with such a show.”
How does the album differ from your previous albums?
“We Rule The Night was also a very diverse album, but I have gone through another evolution as a producer. I think it is very important to keep up with trends in order to remain relevant, without losing sight of my own unique sound.”
A recurring question on Hardstyle.com: what do you think about what hardstyle music looks like now and how it is changing?
“As I already indicated, I think it is important to follow developments within the scene and to include trends in my own productions, of course things that appeal to me and always with my own sauce. I don’t want my tracks to sound dated, so I think it’s important to go along with this, I see that as a challenge.
Of course, the sound has changed considerably over the past few years, becoming increasingly louder and very kick-based. I notice that it sometimes gets so loud that it no longer always fully suits my own taste, but I still hear a lot of cool things that come along that I find very cool. In any case, I’m always open to it. I do hope that there is also enough room for the more melodic hardstyle, because a lot of good stuff is being made there as well.”
What can we expect from Ran-D for the rest of the year?
“As we speak, my team and I are developing a new show for 2024 that will be called Untamed. A number of these shows are already planned for Apex and Reverze, among others. The visuals for this show are going to be sick! It will really be an experience. Of course I’m also making a lot of new tracks for this show, so I won’t be bored in the near future. There will also be some really great collabs in this show. We are also going to do a new show with Gunz For Hire, so we will also be making new raw bangers for that!”