Signum: First Strike on Australia
About to embark on their first Australian tour, it seems trance superstars Signum are as excited by the prospect as their local fans. One of the headlining international acts at Slinky parties around the country, ITM’s BrownDwarf tied Ron and Pascal down for a quick chat.
You both first met at school where you did some work together, lost touch and then reunited to produce the stormer ‘What Ya Got 4 Me?’. Can you tell me a little about how you came together again or was it sheer coincidence?
It wasn’t a coincidence, we were still friends but we both went to a different school and lost contact with each other, at some point I (Ron) got in touch with Pascal again, He just signed up with a record company by simply handing over a demo tape with some tracks on it, and he knew that if he could get a contract, I could get 1 as well. So I turned in a demo as well and got the same contract. This was a year later. Pascal had made some tunes under the name Signum, and the follow up we made together (WYG4M). And the rest is history.
What kind of stuff were you producing together while at school? Have you always produced dance music and if not what was it that got you into the scene?
We were making pop music (ballads and stuff) and Ron was making Jazz as well. We started out with this music because we didn’t have a lot of equipment at the time, and it was a good way to learn how to play. Pascal was the first 1 who got in touch with dance music, Ron didn’t like dance music in the beginning until he went to a big rave and was sold for life.
I’ve read that Signum “produce and play a very banging progressive sound”. Do you feel this is an accurate description of how you’d describe the music you produce and DJ at the moment?
Our sets are not progressive, it’s more uplifting trance the same goes for our records, we had a period that we were experimenting with beats and atmospheres within a track which were close to progressive but we’ve always tried to keep the “Signum feeling”. If we had to describe our music we would probably give it the name “uplifting and banging trance with a little techno/progressive touch”
‘First Strike’ was hailed as a breakaway bid to move away from your trademark uplifting vocal trance numbers towards a more ‘progressive’ sound. Was this a deliberate move on your part or more of an experiment and how do you think your sound has evolved into its current state?
First Strike was a bit of an experiment because we’ve made a lot of tracks and remixes at that time, and everybody wanted that same sound so we got a bit tired of making that type of sound. We think it’s good to be refreshing and developing our sound into a more mature product. As for our sound at the moment we think it’s a combination of experience in producing over the years and the drive to make quality tunes.
Any plans to do any further collaborative efforts with other producers as you did with British producer Scott Mac with Coming on Strong and Just Do It?
Yeah we’ve got some plans for the future, we would like to work with Armin van Buuren but he’s so busy, now that we are signed up with his company there might be a chance.
What inspires you in the studio and how do you keep your sound cutting edge? Where do you see your sound and production style developing in the future?
Well, we usually start out with making a wicked beat and bassline, once you have that drive you can feel which way the track will go. We also have loads of melodies lined up. So if you have the right vibe you’ll know what melody to use. We are planning to give a spin-off to Signum, we have the melodic and vocal trance we’ll keep on making but we also would like to make a bit harder more techno type of trance (more similar to 3rd dimension and 2nd Wave).
You have quite a discography of remix work for the likes of Steve Blake, Space Brothers, and ATB. Does this ever interfere with own production at all how do you approach your remix work?
Well it used to interfere a couple of years ago, because at 1 point u don’t have time to make your own tracks anymore, and you’ll use a lot of good ideas that u could have used in a track of your own. So your creativity will get less. When we’re making a remix we usually search for the part that is the most important in that track, it could be the main riff or the vocal, we then take that part and build a complete new track around it.
How does it feel having your own tracks given the remix once over by the likes of DJ Tiesto, Hyperlogic and the Tidy Trax brigade?
It’s an honour if somebody like DJ Tiesto has done a remix for your track considering that he is the number 1 DJ in the world right now. Also the Hyperlogic remix and all the other remixes from Tidy Trax are good although they are not really our style of music. Now, if we want somebody to make a remix of one of our tracks, we want it to be someone who can give it that something extra .
You’ve both produced tracks under your individual personal names. Is this a deliberate move in order to explore ideas that perhaps wouldn’t fit well under ‘Signum’ umbrella?
Yeah it was, we started to do this because we wanted to make some softer trance, and when we were not sure if it was good enough for Signum we would release it under our own names.
Your new releases called “Push Through” and “Sunny Changes” will apparently be on a new label. Can the name of the label be disclosed yet and can you tell us a little about the motivation behind your move from Jinx. What else can we expect from Signum in the coming months both production wise and tours?
Yep we finally can reveal it, we’re going to work with ARMADA MUSIC it’s a company from Armin van Buuren, Maykel Piron (the founder of Captivating Sounds and used to work for Warner Music and Dave Lewis (1 of the top booking agencies in Holland). The label that we’re going to be on is called a state of trance (like Armin’s radio show) and will be released around September. Our motivation for this is that our contract with BPM dance is finished and it’s time for something new. We did a couple of remixes “Laura Turner-Soul Deep” and “Misja Helsloot-First Second” they will be released in June, furthermore we are going to be busy with the Signum spin-off and maybe start a few projects under a different name, and with DJing (South Africa, Ibiza, UK, Holland and maybe more)
How do you enjoy touring and will this be your first trip to Oz and NZ?
We love the touring, you meet so many new people and fans, it’s just great to get the chance to do that, It’s always very heavy (despite of what some people think) and the flying is usually awful, but it’s a fair price to pay and get invited to countries you wouldn’t go to that easily. This will be our first trip to OZ and NZ and we have high expectations and we’re really looking forward to it.
What are your favourite tunes at the moment?
Ferry Corsten – Indigo
Cor Fyneman – Venus (DJ Tiesto Remix)
3 Drives – Air Traffic
P.O.S. – Remember
Mind 1 – Star for Me
Igor S – Boomerang
And of course our new tunes and remixes!
What has been the greatest moment of your career so far?
Our first time Japan and our UK debut in 1 word AMAZING (we think that this tour will be in there as well).
Be sure to catch Signum on the Slinky tour:
Slinky Sydney, Manning House – Saturday June 7 (Buy Tickets)
Slinky Melbourne, Vodafone Areana – Sunday June 8 (Buy Tickets | Win Tickets)
Brisbane, Family – Friday June 13
Slinky Perth, Metro City – Saturday June 14