Flashback: Mike Foyle – Love Theme DuskOctober 21st, 2008
The most gentle piano play you have ever heard and the best beats to go underneath them. If there ever was a way to fill clubs with some classical music, this is it. ‘Love Theme Dusk’ shook the world with its unforgettable, sensitive sound, as it was being hammered by the big jocks all around the globe. No one less than Armin van Buuren opened with the song for 40.000 white-dressed party lovers at Sensation White 2005. But more followed, as it had massive impact and was favourited by countless of music lovers. Even though the piano melody was written by Dave Schonauer, it were Mike Foyle and The Signalrunners who turned this one into a worldwide club anthem.
England based DJ/Producer Mike Foyle saw himself growing out to be one of the most promising names for the future. In the past couple of years, ‘Love Theme Dusk’ grew out to be a classic, and eventually led to a range of other successful Mike Foyle productions, like ‘Shipwrecked’, ‘Firefly’ and ‘Pandora’. With his lush piano play and a characteristic sound that is almost unable to copy, Mike Foyle is steadily growing out to a fully fledged producer/DJ with the world as his playground. Time to look back and ahead with Mike Foyle himself.
Armada: What special memories does ‘Love Theme Dusk’ bring up?
Mike: ‘This track is very nostalgic for me! Back when Love Theme Dusk was becoming popular, just before it was released, it was a very exciting time for me. I remember one particular time when I was at Turnmills in London with my friends, and Armin played Love Theme Dusk and people went absolutely wild! Loads of hands in the air and screaming and shouting, it was amazing and I was still quite new to it all, so not the kind of thing I had encountered many times before. It was one of those perfect moments in life… an extremely memorable experience for me, and one that will stick with me forever.’
Armada: The tune turned out to be your breakthrough and a big range of releases at Armada followed. Has the tune somehow caused a stigma or put a label on your style? Since so many people expected more piano tunes?
Mike: ‘Piano and Trance seem to accompany each other so well! And I don’t think I really realized quite how well until after we finished with Love Theme Dusk. So it was more that I developed a passion for this kind of fusion between synthetic electronic music, and organic, classical-esque piano movements, and I wanted to do more of them. I don’t feel there is a label on my style at all, if anything I worry that if I don’t calm down and stop doing so many piano trance tracks, people will get bored of them! I do plan on doing some more, but I’m by no means going to limit myself to just tracks of this style. It’s not just piano that gets me going, I just love the richness of the sound and the vast amount of control you can have over a lot of these traditional instruments. The one that I actually specialize in is the violin, which I played pretty much all my life. It’s something that I have yet to incorporate properly into my trance music, but I plan to one day. My new one for Armada, ‘Bittersweet Nightshade’ uses a synth as the main melody and bulk of the track, and the idea behind this one was to recreate the richness and variation of a real instrument, but with a synth. You will notice that there is a lot of variation in the expression of the main synth in ‘Bittersweet Nightshade’, there are lots and lots of different variables that are constantly changing, rather than just the basic one or two variables that you often get with a synth of that kind. I like to think it gives the track a bit of life and persona.’
Armada: Your DJ style (more techno-ish) used to be quite different from the style you produce in (sensitive trancers). What makes the difference?
Mike: ‘Actually these days, it’s quite similar. I tend to play faster and harder sometimes than someone might expect, but that totally depends on the gig. I make sure I carry a range of different styles around with me. Everything from tech house and minimal, to electro, progressive house, progressive trance, uplifting, banging, techno, dark trancers, the lot. I guess I just like to be able to go in whatever direction I think is appropriate. ‘
Armada: How about the gigs, got a busy schedule?
Mike: ‘I had a very quiet Summer, but in the last month or so I’ve booked up loads of dates. In November I’ll be going on tour in the USA and Canada, and then Thailand for 3 gigs at the end of November as well, so I’ll be quite busy during the next month, especially considering I am also a university student in my final year! I’ve got lots of other dates booked up between now and February next year, so things are looking good.’
Armada: Could you tell us a bit about your aliases, Andromeda, Statica and Bolt?
Mike: ‘These are really just project names for various different styles. Andromeda was for a one off release, which was actually a track that I made about 7 years ago. I really loved the track and wanted to release it, so I did, under the Andromeda alias. Bolt is just an excuse to do the odd technoey experimental banging track every now and then. In the last two Bolt releases I’ve tried to push the boat out in terms of the techniques I’ve used in the production, as well as the concepts. In ‘Pleasure to your ears’ I basically recorded a friend of mine playing some folk music (he is a singer songwriter of alternative folk music here in Leicester) on his guitar. I completely tore apart the recordings and used them as a basis for almost all of the sounds in the track, including the bassline and a lot of the percussion. This was a real experiment for me, which involved hours of cutting up and processing sound in ways I had never done before. Statica is an alias that I used for my more progressive, spacey trance music, the slow, thick sounding stuff like Space Guitar. Bittersweet Nightshade was supposed to be the next ‘Statica’ release, but I’m not yet sure if it will be released as that or not. We’ll have to wait and see what Armada decides ;).’
Armada: How about your classical background? Were you the type of kid that was forced to have piano lessons, or did you really want to?
Mike: ‘I actually never had piano lessons. I have always lived with a piano around, so it’s been very easy to just pick it up myself. I’m not a brilliant pianist by any means, I’m more of a violinist. I learnt violin most of my life and stopped taking lessons when I reach about 16. But I still play it in my spare time and will do for ever. I used to be the leader of my local Youth Orchestra, back when I was young and innocent, hehe. I think without this background, I wouldn’t have got to where I am now. I feel like I’m able to express myself musically in the way that I want to, but a lot of that falls down to knowing the music theory, and understanding what works, and why. I’ve studied music academically for the past 6 years or so, and am currently doing my final year at university. This course has opened my mind so much to different techniques and ways of thinking about music.’
Armada: What’s to expect from you in the near future?
Mike: ‘Well, there are a few things to watch out for. Firstly, ‘Bittersweet Nightshade’ will be coming out on Coldharbour Recordings somewhere in December. I have also been working on a number of remixes. Recently released was my remix of ‘Headstrong – Helpless’, which is a very summery and extremely cheesy trancer which I had great fun with making! I’ve messed around with the vocals a lot so that they are totally different to the original, and it sounds like a different song altogether, a very cheesy and happy one! Quite pleased with it, despite its extreme cheese factor. So those things are set in stone, but I couldn’t tell you what you can expect in the next year or so, because I have no idea! Just going to keep doing what I want to do and what people seem to like and see where that takes me!’