John C: To start things off, can you share with us how you were first introduced to music making?
Andrew Bayer: I first became interested in music because my parents (thankfully) forced me to take piano lessons. Then at the age of 12, I started learning music production and was self taught before I went to Berklee.
John C: When did dance music specifically become a focus point for you?
Andrew Bayer: I always gravitated towards dance music when I was a kid, but when I went to Germany in the summer before I started high school, I discovered “real trance” and fell in love.
John C: You had studied music synthesis at the Berklee College of Music. How do you think approaching dance music production form a formal education has influenced you as an artist?
Andrew Bayer: It completely changed my life. I can’t speak highly enough about Berklee or my fantastic professors there. The teachers really make you think outside of the box with challenging assignments that really push your skill set and take you outside of your comfort zone. Just being in the environment surrounded by people who are pursuing a very specific skill in music makes you learn so much by proxy as well. It’s really an incredible place.
John C: What is your creative process like? How do you approach making a track and do you utilize hardware, work ‘inside the box’ with plugins, or a combination of both?
Andrew Bayer: It totally differs on track to track and from genre to genre. Sometimes I get into a crazy hardware mood where I try to source as many sounds from hardware, or utilize a lot of outboard processing gear. Those are my favorite sessions, but to be honest, when you’re on a time crunch, I find it harder to use outboard gear. Software has gotten so good now, and while I think hardware still really brings some magic to the process, you can totally achieve amazing results with just software. Some tracks I will do completely and 100% in the box, but ideally I think a combination of both is the strongest approach.
John C: Looking back since you first entered the dance music scene, how do you think the electronic music scene has evolved?
Andrew Bayer: It has definitely evolved a lot. Electronic music always changes pretty rapidly and there have been lots of “eras” since I started. One of the most obvious changes is that tempo has slowed down, especially in trance. I love slower grooves. It allows for more “danceability” in the track. This obviously doesn’t apply as a blanket statement so there are always exceptions!
John C: Looking back over that same period of time, how have you evolved as an artist?
Andrew Bayer: I’ve tried to dip my toes in a bunch of different genres. I think it’s important for artists to explore tons of different sounds and ways to explore music. If you have a specific genre you specialize in, then force yourself to make something radically different for a period of time, you will definitely come back into your comfort zone with new tools and exciting ideas that you normally wouldn’t pursue.
John C: You had mentioned when discussing the Anamnesis Trilogy that you found the current EDM era to be very focused on “high impact, instant gratification and, to be honest, absolutely uninspiring and boring arrangements” and wanted to bring the focus back to music being a journey. Can you expand on that?
Andrew Bayer: Certainly! I think that arrangements have become very predictable, and it’s something a lot of us have fallen into. You can get a promo that’s 128 bpm and skip around to every section of the track without even looking at the waveform. We need some more variation. We need tracks over 5 minutes long (please). When I started clubbing (because I was too young initially when I was putting out records), tracks were on average 9 minutes long. I think the instant gratification of popularized dance music has opened up a lot of new people to the scene, which is a great thing. Now I think the natural progression is that they will want some more variety, and longer tracks, interesting arrangements, and tracks that make statements will be back.
John C: Trance music seems to be in a transition period, where even some loyalists have felt disenchanted by the direction some of their favorite artists have gone in. Overall, how healthy so you feel the trance music scene is today?
Andrew Bayer: I honestly don’t really know. I don’t mean to come across as snobby or anything, but I just don’t really listen to trance, or keep up with the scene too much. I know there’s definitely a divide between “old school trance heads” and the newer generation…which is ridiculous to me. I’m an old school trance head, and I don’t run for the hills if something different gets popular. Always give everything a chance. I would have never thought I’d ever say that I like Justin Bieber’s music, but I love his last single and have played it like 20 times in the past few days. Instantly disregarding something because of its label or BPM is completely idiotic.
John C: Which artists do you currently feel are leading the way for the current generation of trance and progressive?
Andrew Bayer: I’m really lucky to be inspired by some of my buddies in the scene. Take Lane 8 for example. His music isn’t classified as “trance”, but to me it is both trance and progressive while still incorporating more genres. It’s amazing, and he’s such a talented guy. Grum is so so good as well. That’s real progressive trance right there. And Eric Prydz is still god of everything.
John C: As an artist, it would seem that you actively avoid pigeonholing yourself to one genre or style, instead consistently releasing music that seems to be a fresh representative of what you are capable of. Do you feel it is important to stay diverse as an artist?
Andrew Bayer: 1000000%. It’s so important. I’ve been in a rut and made the same kind of music for a while and felt very uninspired. Forcing yourself to work in other genres and borrow ideas from completely different sources than your comfort zone really gives you some fresh ideas and brings interesting things to the table.
John C: What do fans of Andrew Bayer have to look forward to over the next year or so?
Andrew Bayer: Well we’re in the middle of releasing my Anamnesis Trilogy. There’s a special treat though- a seamless version that has a new intro track and outro track that I’m really excited about. They are beatless and remind me a bit of my album If It Were You, We’d Never leave.
Andrew Bayer will be coming to Chicago and bringing the Anamnesis Tour to Soundbar on Saturday, November 7th. Event is 21+.
Information on the show is available on the official Facebook Event Page.
Photo Credits: Sos Adame