Niklas Harding presents Arcane - Ice Beach
If you've got a thing for fine melodic tracks, be sure to keep an eye on Niklas Harding. This Danish talent made his way into trance around 2006, and scored big time with 'Ice Beach', 'Red Jewel' and 'Blue Circles'. Teamed up with producing mate Anders Mikkelsen he created that typical Arcane sound, Scandinavian all the way. Soft, yet hitting right where it's supposed to, with fresh sparks and bass driven melodies. The soft, trancy progressive style of these guys left such an impression, Coldharbour Recordings just had to sign them up. In a period where tech-trance seemed to be the leading style in clubs, 'Ice Beach' kept that trancy soul alive. About 3 years after its release date, Armada Music looks back and ahead with Niklas Harding himself.
Armada: How did you come up with 'Ice Beach'? Both the name and production itself?
Niklas: 'The name was basically made up by picking two words that didn't have much in common. It was made in autumn, so we were dreaming us away to a nice beach, though we were still freezing our asses off when going outside. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes as a producer you got to leave the studio some time! The track itself was made over a few days. It started out with the basics: kick, percussions, bass line etcetera, and then building up good atmospheric melodies that worked well together. Next we worked on the arrangement of the track and took time to decide if this was good enough to leave the four walls where it was produced.'
Armada: What was the motivation for the particular sound /melody line in the track, and how does that relate to the title of the track?
Niklas: 'At that time it was all about the saw bassline and a simple melody. We wanted to make something a bit different, a funkier track with a good chord structure in the melodies. The motivation was to make a piece of music that people could listen to, forget about the cold outdoors (being a Scandinavian, I know what I am talking about) and just imagining yourself at a nice beach party with a cold drink and loads of bikini babes, haha!'
Armada: Any special memories regarding the track?Niklas: 'Definitely! The most memorable must have been playing at Club Asta in Holland at New Years Eve, dropping this track and seeing people go mental to something we had made. It is this kind of feeling I won't trade for anything in the world, it's almost better than sex''
Armada: Ice Beach was produced together with Anders Mikkelsen, like 'Red Jewel' and 'Addictive'. Why did you guys decided to stop working together after that?Niklas: 'We simply grew apart musically and didn't share the same ideas on how the music should sound. I think it's healthy once in a while to evolve your musical taste and the way of thinking about music. By doing this it keeps your productions sounding fresh and innovative instead of just sticking to the same old sound that you've had previous success with.'
Armada: It kind of made you breakthrough in the trance scene. Why is it that we haven't seen much more of your work after then? Were you concentrating on other things in life, or did it just not work?
Niklas: ' every parent tells you: 'Niklas, remember to get an education and don't only rely on this bum tchi bum tchi music'. So I did, I spent the past 3 years taking a bachelor degree in economics, which took up most of my time. It is not something I regret though, I think it's a good idea to have something to challenge your mind with, other than chords and scales, which is also why I plan to go back to school and take a masters degree. After Anders and I stopped working together, I had a lot of stuff to learn for my productions, combined with switching sequencer from Reason to Ableton, it took me some time to fully get along with the program but I'm back in business again!'
Armada: How did the track end up at Armada Music?Niklas: 'I was talking with Markus Schulz quite a lot back then and had a good network of up and coming producers, so I was always sending over new tracks to him for the label. When I got myself into producing music, it was a rather obvious choice to send it to him, things just went on from there to a signed deal with Coldharbour in the end. '
Armada :What's going on at the moment? Anything exciting coming up?Niklas: 'I have taken this year off from any boring duties, to only concentrate on my music career. I have really missed having the time to spend a whole day in the studio and just see how a track evolves. For the past few months I have been busy making new singles and remixes, a collab track, 'Saturn', with Danish mate Kris O'Neil , will see a release at Ava Recordings in the coming months. 'Gabriel Lukosz feat Rachele Warner - Last One Out (Niklas Harding Remix)' will be out 27th January on Lange Recordings and a remix for the famous Airscape guise, with vocals by Jes will be out in April/May. I recently finished a new single named 'The Soul' and also finished a collab track with fellow Dane Mike Hawkins titled 'Sonar'. The release schedule is starting to fill up.'
Armada: What's to expect in the future? Change of styles? Fulltime producing?Niklas: 'My future plan is like any evil guy in the cartoons: To take over the world! I have a lot of stuff planned for 2009 both production wise and gig wise. I am currently working on my first vocal single with vocals by Audrey Gallagher so I am really looking forward to see how that works out. As for change of styles'I already did when I decided to switch sequencer. It meant that the typical Arcane sound is no more, but that's only for the better in my opinion. I don't want any of my productions to sound much of the same and I have already made a lot of different productions genre wise, from house inspired tracks to tech-trance, even to some generic trance which I am currently doing in a new remix. It's pretty much the same when it comes to my DJ sets, everything can be played. Maybe not polish polka, but as long I think it's good and can rock the club, it will get airtime. I am currently doing fulltime producing and dj'ing, and will continue so until my studies start in the summer. Luckily enough the masters degree I am going to do is quite flexible so if you see me at a gig reading up for an exam, I can always use a helping hand, haha!'