Artist of the Week: Scarab – VagabondOctober 9th, 2008
One of the most productive trance producers is, without a doubt, Swedish producer Airbase. He’s produced several strong tracks and remixes, using the Scarab alias for several of them. One of these beauties is ‘Vagabond’. The song retrieved legendary status, with its effective melody, thumping base and pure trance sound written all over. Up until this day, Airbase is still being praised for his characteristic sound.
The Airbase story began in 1994, when Jezper Söderlund got his hands on some software and started to grow interest on producing music. Within years, Jezper worked hard to gain knowledge and understanding in how to produce, arrange and write melodies. He started buying some tangible equipment and learned even more. After discovering Reason, he soon had ‘Airbase – Emotion’ ready and steady, and in 2002 his first release and record deal was a fact. Many tracks followed. And before he knew it, Jezper felt the need to produce under more than ‘just’ the Airbase guise. A range of 12 aliases were used, with among them the ‘Scarab’ guise. On the 24th of November 2003, Scarab’s first release ‘Vagabond’ was released on Armada’s ‘A State of Trance’ label and got featured on Armin van Buuren’s ‘Universal Religion’ compilation as well. Now, about 5 years later, ‘Vagabond’ still hasn’t left the memories of trance lovers and will always resound in the clubs, holding a permanent position in the record cases of some of the biggest DJ’s around. Time to look back and ahead with Airbase himself.
Armada: First of all, let us start by asking how you came up with the Scarab guise. Why did you use the guise instead of sticking with ‘Airbase’?
Jezper: ‘Well, I was new to the scene, and didn’t knew how to negotiate my contracts properly, so for every label I signed with, I had to make up a new alias. Scarab was a word that I had found in a science magazine, discussing bugs and I thought it had a nice ring to it.’
Armada: Did you ever expect the song to grow out to such a classics? Or do you consider it a classic yourself?
Jezper: ‘I don’t know if I personally think it’s a classic, but maybe I’m just being humble!’
Armada: When googling ‘Vagabond’, 3 things come up: A Japanese animation figure, a Swedish shoe manufacturer and in Dutch ‘vagabond’ is another word for ‘tramp’. Now which one was your inspiration?
Jezper: ‘Vagabond means tramp in English too. I’ve always been fascinated by that sort of lifestyle. Just leave everything behind and walk around without a goal (see movies like The Beach and Into The Wild). But I actually got the word from the shoe brand and had to look it up years ago as I didn’t know what Vagabond meant. Once I knew, I just wrote the name on a piece of paper and saved it, to use for a future track. I’m generally out of inspiration when naming tracks, so I keep all these notes with nice titles I’ve thought up, so I have some to pick from when a new track is made.’
Armada: What special memories has the song given you?
Jezper: ‘Of the wonderful days of producing without pressure. No matter how much you calm down or how much time you take, it’s inevitable not to think of your past work, successes and failures once you’re in the studio to produce. Back then, you just had loads of fun. It’s still fun, but nowadays it’s a serious fun.’
Armada: What happened in the meanwhile? You’ve used the Scarab & Parc guise for several top notch remixes, but no productions. Are you focusing on the Airbase guise now?
Jezper: ‘A few years ago, I was using over 12 different aliases and decided I needed to cut it down and focus on a few of them. There has been a Parc release (Parc – Kingpin) but indeed no official Scarab release. These days I tend to stick to Airbase, Scarab and Parc, all depending on what sound I’m looking for.’
Armada: We heard you just got engaged a few weeks ago, congratulations! When is the big day planned and of course: who will be taking care of the music there?
Jezper: ‘Haha, hold your horses! First off, thank you very much, I couldn’t be more happy to have found the love of my life and engage her. But we haven’t planned anything for the big day yet. Not what kind of music, not when, not how or for whom. There’s too much stuff going on at the moment, so we’re happy staying engaged for now.’
Armada: What’s to expect from you in the near future? Any more classics coming up?
Jezper: ‘I’ve had a few releases this summer that I am very happy with, but one track I’m very excited to get out there is ‘Airbase – The Road Not Taken’, coming out in mid October. It will come with an amazing Leon Bolier Remix. I’m very, very proud of this forthcoming release, so I hope the fans will like it!’