Do you remember where you were when you first heard ‘Pink Houses‘ by Answer42 back in 2009? I was walking down the street listening to an episode of Trance Around The World on my iPod, and it quite literally stopped me in my tracks! Since then the Anjunadeep aces have gone on to wow the world of progressive house with their uniquely warm, uplifting sound and in a very short space of time have become one of its leading lights. They’re also 3 of the loveliest, most down to earth and friendly guys in the business so it’s both an honour and a real pleasure to have been given an insight into the world of Answer42 as we talk early days, their name, their musical style and inspirations, studio setup, their production tips and more!
Hi guys! First things first – how did you guys get together and start making music as Answer42?
We originally started as X-Tence back in 2006, and at that time we were producing mainly trance. Our first works consisted of several remixes for the American singer Amuka, and some of them ended up into the popular Billboard Dance Chart. In 2008 we started to move into progressive trance with a project called Mooka (different name, but same people), which attracted some interest from James Grant at Anjunadeep. At the end of that year we produced the first Answer42 track (Pink Houses) and we signed it with them. Since then, we’ve kept Answer42 as our main alias and have started to develop its sound.
Where did you come up with the name Answer42 – are you big Douglas Adams fans?!
Definitively yes, we are big fans of Douglas Adams and his work. We were considering tons of possible names, but when “Answer42″ came up, it completely blurred out the others. It felt very simple, funny and deep (ok, maybe not that deep, Deep Thought!).
I’ve been hooked on your uniquely warm, uplifting sound ever since I heard ‘Pink Houses’ – but how would YOU describe it in your own words? And has it changed since you started out?
Thanks for your kind words.
Of course it’s not easy to classify our own work. However you might call our music “Tropical Trance”. Our strongest initial influences were mainly trance and progressive house and funk. Through the years we have added some more influences that now range from italo-dance to nu-disco, but still incorporating a strong trance component.
How did you get signed to Anjunadeep, one of the biggest progressive house labels in the world?
In 2008 we released a relatively successful remix for P8 – 1986. The release popped up in the Beatport charts and we were enough lucky to be noticed by James Grant.
Who would be your dream artist to remix, and who would you most like to remix one of your own tracks?
We really like the sounds that are currently coming from Jody Wisternoff, PROFF, Shingo Nakamura and Jaytech. We would love to remix or be remixed by any or all of them.
What are your Top 5 tracks right now?
In no particular order:
Dusky “Stick by this” (the whole album)
Soundprank – Beginnings
Jean Jacques Smoothie feat. Tara Buschm – 2People (Dcup Remix)
Luca Lombardi – Nowhere People (I-Vision Mix)
Dimo feat Michael Inge – Orbit (Answer42 mix)
You recently started a blog to share your production tips – what would be your top tips for aspiring producers?
Be unique. That’s the most important thing for us: there’s definitively too much mediocre and generic music around these days. Keep an eye on our website to get more production tips in the future!
What studio setup do you guys use yourselves?
Our studio is FL Studio based, but we have a hybrid approach involving external gear such as Virus C and Novation synthesizers. However we are moving more and more into the digital domain due to time and logistical constraints.
Can we expect any live Answer42 gigs anytime soon?
Unfortunately we don’t have any gigs scheduled right now, but hopefully in the future!
Recently you posted on your Facebook page: “Exciting things are coming up”. Anything you’d care to share – what are you currently working on and what’s coming up next?
We have just got the master back of our new track! We are sorry but we cannot reveal much about it right now, however it is going to be something new and different from our usual sound. Our sound so far has been mainly synth-driven, but we are now injecting much more samples. Somehow we are trying to merge nu-disco and progressive house, so you can hopefully expect something innovative!
We’ve also got a remix of an older track from an awesome artist, and this is going to probably be released as a bonus track next year.
Our latest remix for “Dimo feat Michael Inge – Orbit” has just been released on Usefull Records, and it’s incorporating nu-disco with progressive house and some tasty vocoding. Go check it out!
Lucy, thank you very much for the interview and good luck with your website!
Thank YOU guys – as a massive fan since the very early days of Answer42, I can’t wait to hear what’s coming next!
Follow Answer42 at:
And check out their remix of Dimo ft Michael Inge – if you like what you hear, buy a copy on Beatport.
Swiss producer Michael Elliot first caught my ear earlier this year with his stunning remix of Labtracks’ ‘Robotic Love’ on Macarize, which showcased his ability to combine progressive house, trance and nu disco influences to make incredible melody-laden music. Since then his productions have been supported by the likes of Roger Shah, Answer42 and Richard Durand and he’s about to release a rocking remix of Valentin’s ‘Decode’ on WeRecommend Records on Tuesday. So I caught up with Michael to talk top tracks, musical influences, his love for Macarize, his production style, dream remixers and what’s coming up next for the boy wonder…
Welcome Michael! As a relatively new face on the progressive house scene, can you please tell us a bit more about yourself and how/when/why you started making music?
Well first I wanted to say thank you for the interview! I’m 24 and I’m from Switzerland. My interest in dance music started when I was 7 years old – some older boys were outside running around with ghetto blasters and listening to some kind of happy hardcore. That was the perfect sound for a hyperactive kid like me – I spent hours trying to find this sound on the radio, but unfortunately couldn’t find anything like it and was really disappointed. My musical career started when I was 9 and took up the violin, but I was always more interested in the keyboard which my violin teacher had. A few years later, when trance was taking over Europe, my father was checking out some CD shops and bought me some stuff, including the official Street Parade 1999 compilation which was mixed by DJ Tatana. After that I knew I had to make music like this and I started going to record stores to buy vinyls. I took my first steps as a producer with a software program called E-Jay and Dancemaker, but after a few years of using this software it got boring and I wanted to create my own melodies, so I ended up using Reason – which I still use today.
How would you describe the Michael Elliot sound – and why the name Elliot as your artist name (Michael’s real surname is Lefebre)?
My sound is very melodic, happy but also meloncholic. It’s between trance, progressive house and indie dance/nu disco. I took the best elements of all these different styles I like and created my own sound. It always has to be more melodic and less minimal – but I’m really not the type to fit into genres.
With regards to my name – that’s actually a very weird story. The name Michael Elliot was created by a friend of mine. We always used to watch the TV show ‘Scrubs’ together and one of the characters is a female doctor called Elliot Reed, and in one show she has a boyfriend called Mike. Somehow they meet each other and say each other’s name – MIKE?? ELLIOT?? And after that scene my friend looked at me and said that would be a good name for you. So that’s the mystery behind the MICHAEL ELLIOT
You’ve already acknowledged your 80s influences, can you tell us more about who or what your biggest musical influences & inspirations are?
I was made in the 80s and I think it’s probably in my blood, but it’s not my main theme. A lot of my inspirations for my own songs come from old 70s, 80s and 90s pop songs. I look at the structures of songs and maybe take some inspiration from there – some example include Phil Collins, Kool & the Gang, Styx and Player. My biggest electronic influences are Chicane, DJ Tonka, Eric Prydz and Tiesto. In fact, Tiesto is the reason why I’m here and doing this interview with you Lucy. In 2002 the track ‘Lethal Industry’ came out and it just blew my mind. Then I discovered the ‘In Search Of Sunrise’ series and fell in love!
Do you prefer producing remixes or original tracks?
At the moment I would prefer to make more originals, but it’s good that I receive a lot of requests for remixes. I always try to make something different to the original, but I guess that’s what everybody says
What’s your favourite track that you’ve produced or remixed to date and why? Which one are you most proud of?
I love them all and they’re my babies. The one I like most is my bootleg of ‘De Nuit’. I loved the original but I think my musical interpretation of the track sounds pretty good. I can identify very well with the lyrics; everybody has had a summer love or a partner who left them, and the lyrics are about that memory of a beloved person. The chords and the bell sounds just came to me easily. A good track opens up images, memories and emotions – I think that’s the main point of music.
To date your tracks have received support from the likes of Roger Shah, Richard Durand and Answer42 – how does that feel?
It’s just amazing! I’m very thankful, because these guys are all like my mentors. I grew up listening to their stuff and it’s just an honour that they are supporting me. Thank you guys. If you give me your address, I will send you Swiss chocolate
Do you DJ as well?
Yes. I started with vinyls and changed 2 years ago to Traktor. But at the moment I’m more focused on producing.
Who would you most like to: a) remix, b) remix one of your tracks and c) collaborate with on an original track?
a) I would love to remix Lifelike’s Discopolis. This track is just so sexy. If you think it’s not sexy then just watch the official videoclip…
b) David Folkebrant. We have the same taste and I’m very curious about how it would sound. He was also one of my first supporters and we got to know each other about a year ago via Soundcloud.
c) Ellie Goulding. Her voice is just amazing. I saw her live in Switzerland and she’s a great performer. I like the way she combines electronic elements with acoustic/ classical ones.
What are your top 5 tracks right now and why?
1. Thomas Feijk – Hi (Original Mix) (Macarize)
This is the tune of 2011 for me. You can play it in a club because of the heavy bass and it has this lovely vocal sound which defines the whole track for me. The break is relaxing and not too long and then after a few seconds comes the heavy bass again. I would make it the same way – it’s just perfect.
2. Envotion – The Last Wave (Anjunadeep)
This is what I like about Envotion. They make progressive house but it’s completely incomparable to anyone else’s. The kick and snare could be from a rock song and the the synth lead is just inimitable. The title of the track and the sound just fit really well together.
3. Luca Lombardi – Nowhere People (Original Mix) (Neuroscience Deep)
I like the warm atmoshere of this track. It’s the perfect track to open a warm-up set to get the crowd in the right mood.
4. The Knocks – The Brightside (Lenno Remix) (A/M Octone)
It’s my good morning song. I turn it on and I’m happy! I’m a big fan of Lenno and I think he’ll be really big.
5. Pryda – 2Night
A classic Pryda track. This is my ‘workout’ song when I go for a run. I like how he created his own style and just continues with it. He’s already a legend.
Obviously you’re part of the Macarize family – what is that you love so much about the label?
I love Macarize. Kris is just a genius in how he sorts out tracks for his label. Macarize is not only a label, it’s a second family for me. If I had troubles he would try his best to help me, but he’s also very direct when he doesn’t like something. That’s what I like and need. I think we’re seeing the beginnings of a very big label in Macarize.
What are you working on at the moment and what’s coming up next for you?
I’ve just finished a remix for my Italian friend Vitodito of his track Fede. I also made an original for Macarize, but I’m not allowed to say any more right now
On 6th december my remix for Valentin’s ‘Decode’ is released and if you like 80s-influenced nu disco/indie dance then you should not miss this.
What are your ambitions for your music career and what do you hope to achieve with your music?
I love music and I’m on a journey to find myself right now and trying to pass on the love that I have for music to others. At the moment I’m trying to establish myself in the music world. I do it because I love it and it just feels natural to make music, not to make money or anything like that.
Thank you Michael! It’s been an honour to be a part of your musical journey and I can’t wait to hear what’s coming up next…
Lifelike = the best thing to come out of France since Daft Punk. It’s that simple. And not content with bestowing his own unique brand of aural awesomeness on us, he’s now opening the door for fellow French funkateer Roman D’Amour on his Computer Science label.
‘Make Love Tonight’ is an adrenaline-fuelled injection of pure disco hedonism, picking up the threads of Daft Punk’s legacy, interweaving them with extra smooth, enchanting levels of feel-good and lacing them with sheer, shameless JOY!
The Peo de Pitte remix is about as banging as it gets, ramping up the energy by a fair few fahrenheit and twisting the original into a down and dirty disco foot-stomper.
Then of course it’s the turn of Lifelike himself, who makes it look oh so easy by turning in a masterful edit that will have you hooked from the first thrilling kick of the disco drums.
‘Make Love Tonight’ is out on 5th December on Computer Science. Just trust me when I say that you need this level of happiness in your life! OOH LA LA…
I love how Macarize never fails to mix it up and release a deliciously diverse range of artists, genres and tracks, and today’s newbie doesn’t disappoint – step forward Domestic Technology‘s disco delight EP, ‘Sun Valley / Studio 77′.
‘Sun Valley’ has to be the most appropriately titled track I’ve heard in a a long time – as you’d expect, it really is the aural equivalent of a sun-drenched day in some dreamy distant fantasy land. With its defiantly disco 70s keys and guitars, this is 100% chilled, summery sunshine vibes all the way!
And ‘Studio 77′ just carries on the journey, with its funked-up gently rocking guitar riffs and old skool, synth-pop keyboards transporting you back to a time when music and life were stripped back and simple. All you need to do is put this on, turn it up and get your groove ON!!!
‘Sun Valley / Studio 77′ is out now on Macarize – buy a copy on Beatport.
Remember how a few weeks ago I told you that Fuzzy Cuzzin was gonna be big? Well, I wasn’t messing around – get ready to be ROCKED by his debut release on Macarize, which Kris has finally revealed. This is probably my most eagerly-awaited track of the whole year!
I love how uplifting ‘Canis’ is right from the first bars, with its addictive looping chords, disco synths, staccato stabs and utterly distinctive vocals. In fact I can’t actually adequately express in words just how happy this track makes me! But what I CAN say is that it makes my heart jump, my soul soar and my feet dance like there’s no work tomorrow!
Fellow up and comer Funkhameleon turns in a blissed-out, funked-up rework with a serious groove. Lowering the tempo slightly, he adds a Balearic vibe, lush warm progressive pads, piano hooks and rocking riffs but keeps the disco synths – and lives up to his name perfectly!
Labtracks – yet more fast-rising Finns from the Macarize family – stick to the nu-disco of the original, but their deep 90s-style bassline, driving drums and powerfully moving synths tinged with melancholy add a wistful, longing feel to the track that is beautifully bittersweet…and reminds me a bit of Michael Cassette.
It’s impossible to say which of these 3 I love best – everyone’s a winner!!!
‘Canis’ will be released on Macarize on 5th December. Not a moment too soon!
Part 2 of the glorious gem that is the Fear of Tigers remix back catalogue is here, and sooo worth the wait! I’ve rediscovered how intensely I love his bittersweetly beautiful version of Ellie Goulding ‘Lights’ and rejoiced in replaying his recent remix of Bright Light Bright Light’s ‘Disco Moment’, as well as falling in love with a few lovelies that I HADN’T heard before, including the remixes of Vanbot and Studio Killer.
There are also great reworks of Sound of Arrows and Queen of Hearts, who Fear of Tigers will be performing with at 93 Feet East in London this Friday. I haven’t actually seen him perform live yet and the combination of all the acts on the lineup is IMMENSE, so I can’t wait for this one! Any London followers who like nu disco, house or electro – this is an absolute must-see!
Download the whole set here, and roll on Friday!!!
Dammit I don’t know exactly how he programmes his synths or how he goes about melting music down in the Lenno lab, but this much is for certain; Lenno magics up a unique alchemy that enables him to infuse his work with such sheer joy that it’s totally irrestistible. Taking the synth-pop of the original, Lenno rightly places the rousing lead vocal centre-stage but turns it into a dance classic by serving up the perfect accompaniment of trademark sharp, sassy disco synths plus uplifting piano hooks and glorious electronic 80s riffs.
Big, bouncy, bright, shiny and above all HAPPY, this isn’t just feel-good – it makes you feel full-on invincible!
This remix is out today on A&M/Octone – buy a copy on iTunes and it’ll be one of the wisest moves you’ve made all year…
A cracking new remix from the consistently fantastic Answer42 is here to cheer your ears, so get this on and turn up the volume NOW!
Their rework of Dimo ft Michael Inge ‘Orbit’ takes a slightly different tack to Answer42 original tracks, with a funky as hell nu-disco feel. And while I adore Answer42′s original progressive style – I don’t think it would be possible for them to make a track that I DON’T love – I’m also really digging this new direction, it’s the perfect musical melting pot of all the elements I most love about nu-disco AND progressive. This remix is all about driving drums that DEMAND that your feet get up and dance, disco synths and stabs to get your hands in the air and of course, the trademark Answer42 deep deep bass, innate groove and failsafe feel-good factor! Bravo, guys – loving your work!
Yet another incredible remix from the Finnish tour de force that is Lenno! HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE THIS INSANELY TALENTED AT THE AGE OF 16???
Tighter than an Olympic gymnast in a lycra body stocking, beautifully produced, brimming over with dirty disco bounce and catchy as hell – Lenno has already established his own trademark sound and it is the most addictive, feel-good funkathon you could ever wish for! This is the kind of music that makes you feel like anything is possible, that will make you dance all night, that will make you smile so much your face aches!
Lenno’s ‘New York Town’ remix is out now on La Valigetta – click here to buy.
This is his entry into Mad Decent’s competition to remix Diplo’s track ‘Horsey’. And what a rework – whereas the original is dull and actually frankly not a pleasant listen, the Fuzzy Cuzzin makeover gives ‘Horsey’ a whole new disco-funkin-tastic lease of life! Bursting with old skool synths, hip-hop breaks, a French filter house nod to Daft Punk AND a beautifully sweeping string section, this is seriously, crazily FRRRESH!!! Haven’t had it off repeat all day
If you want to go and support Fuzzy Cuzzin’s entry, and I strongly suggest that you do, click here. GO CUZ!
Prepare to feel GOOD, because Fear of Tigers is giving away two free compilations of his best remixes to date, and the first one is here! Covering 2006-2009, these remixes for the likes of Pnau, La Roux, Mille, Visitor and Sound of Arrows demonstrate Mr Tigers’ talent for adding his burning bright, 80s-hued golden touch to tracks from a hugely diverse range of artists.
My personal favourite from Part 1 is his remix of Visitor ‘Los Feeling’, but his rework of The Sound of Arrows comes a close second. Which is handy really because it turns out that FoT, The Sound of Arrows and Visitor will all be performing in London at 93 Feet East on 11th November. Sooo, that’s 3 of my favourite nu-disco acts together in one venue in my hometown – doesn’t. Get. Better!!!
To listen to/download Fear of Tigers’ The Remixes Part 1, click here.