We manage to catch a few words with the man behind The Thrillseekers, Steve Helstrip as he gets ready to rock to clubbers at this weekend's Technoclub album release party with Talla 2XLC...
For well over a decade, The Thrillseekers have been at the forefront of the world's dance scene. From his first single 'Synaesthesia', through to the club anthems 'Dreaming of You', 'NewLife' and 'By Your Side', Steve Helstrip has been behind some of the most emotive, evocative electronic music, ever released. He's worked with pioneers like Trevor Horn, shared co-production credits with Chicane and co-wrote on Ferry Corsten's Grammy award winning 'Right of Way' album. He's remixed Tiesto and Armin, amongst many others, and reworked Sonique's 'Feels So Good' into a worldwide, No. 1 record.
Steve is as well known as a DJ as he is a producer; having quickly risen through the ranks, captivating crowds the world over with his tough, cutting-edge sets. The Ministry, Gallery, Godskitchen and Gatecrasher have all born witness to his fluid mixing, unique style and kinetic, energetic performances. His spinning career took off with such speed, in fact, that just 12 months after he first put needle to vinyl, he found himself invited to play at Paul van Dyk's Birthday party! 2004 saw The Thrillseekers crack the DJ Magazine's Top 100 DJ's chart for the first time, before going on to break into the top 50 (landing at no. 45) in 2006.
The Thrillseekers story started back in 1999, where, with a relatively basic home studio Steve constructed the trance milestone that is 'Synaesthesia'. Signed and released by Neo Records in 1999, at the height of the trance explosion, it has gone on to sell over 1,000,000 copies, across its numerous, repeated worldwide releases.
Following the collapse of Neo Records in 2003, Steve took charge of his catalogue by launching his own label Adjusted Music. With demand high for the re-releases of 'Synaesthesia' and 'Affinity' (which was originally came out under his Hydra moniker), both tracks were brought back out in 2004, to a huge response. As well as releasing his own records, Steve's also sought out fresh talent for Adjusted. He signed the club hits 'Safe to Dream' by Russian act Evolve and 'Alone Again' by transatlantic duo Deep. His remix of 'Alone Again' showcased a new housier sound, one which was fully realised with his 'By Your Side' release. The track was championed by Paul van Dyk and Pete Tong, being marked up quite simply, as "Brilliant" by the latter, after he played it on Radio 1.
Artist collaborations have played an important part in Steve's production career. Immediately following the success of 'Synaesthesia' Steve went on to launch a new moniker for M.O.S. subsidiary, Incentive. En-Motion was born with 'Truth' in 2000 and 'Getting Away with It' following in 2002. In the adjoining years he also pushed forward, partnering collaborations with Andy 'Pulser' Perring as Insigma ('Insigma'/'Open Our Eyes'/'Avalon') and with ATCR owner Tim Stark under the name Rapid Eye ('Never Going Back'/"Circa-Forever"/"Stealing Beauty"/'Santa Cruz'/'Absolut').
In late 2005 The Thrillseekers moved into compilation territory, with the release of 'NightMusic Vol 1'. The CD and 30 date world tour that followed it was an instant smash, mushrooming the fanbase further and generating State-side and Russian releases of the comp. Summer 2007 saw the heavily anticipated follow up hit the stores, and repeated again in 2009 with NightMusic Vol 3.
After two huge vocal single releases 'Waiting Here For You' with Aruna and 'The Last Time' with fisher, fans were pleased to see the return of Steve's remixing skills in 2009, as he completed Solarstone's stunning 'Part Of Me' and Chicane's 'Poppiholla', which spent over three weeks in the top 10 of the UK charts. However rather than just concentrating on his productions, Steve set to the airwaves with his new NightMusic Podcast and Radio Show concept, broadcasting to over 40 FM and internet radio stations and heard by over 2.5 million listeners Worldwide.
Not resting on his laurels and with a clear objective to think outside the box he welcomed 2010 with the first phase of his Live Xtreme show. Steve's 1 hour live performance includes his biggest club anthems remixed and replayed live on stage. It also features tracks from his other guises such as Rapid Eye, Hydra and Insigma and truly takes the live performance of Electronic Dance Music to the next level. To date Steve has showcased Live Xtreme at profile events across the world including ETD Love (San Francisco), DancePort Festival (Taiwan), Gaudi Arena (Moscow), and Ministry of Sound (London) with promoters quoting that The Thrillseekers have really set the 'standard for live performance'.
Following on, Steve continued with a well received collaboration between The Thrillseekers and Belgium trance legend M.I.K.E and had his own Thrillseekers summer smash 'Savanna', which went on to feature on numerous compilations including Armin Van Buuren's 'A State Of Trance' 2010. The year still didn't end there however with a label re-launch and remix for Arcane Science & Melissa Loretta, plus studio time for remixing tracks by both John O'Callaghan & Armin Van Buuren set for release in early 2011.
So, what does 2013 have in store for Steve Helstrip and the Thrillseekers you may wonder? Well, things are starting off with a bang as he joins Talla 2XLC on the 2nd February for Technoclub's 41st compilation release party at the familiar surroundings of Monza in Frankfurt. It will be the first visit to the legendary club in over 10 years and sure to be a very special night with plenty of fine trance music on show. We went to have a catch up with Steve before he heads over to Germany for this weekend’s party.
i:Vibes: Welcome back to the Technoclub, Steve. It has almost been 10 years since your last memory. What do you still remember from that evening?
Steve: Oh yes, quite some time now. I remember dancing in the crowd for Talla’s set, but not much else! I must have passed through a thousand clubs since then, and they all just blur into 1 over the years.
i:Vibes: How excited are you about coming back to the Technoclub?
Steve: I’m always excited to play, but especially this time as it’s the release party for Volume 41 of the Techno Club compilation series.
i:Vibes: What kind of DJ set can we await from you and how many classic Thrillseekers tracks will you feature?
Steve: I’ve always stayed true to my style. I like uplifting, well produced tracks in the trance genre. If you’ve heard my podcast you’ll know the kind of things I play. I might throw in a few of my own tracks, we’ll see.
i:Vibes: You are mixing the new Technoclub CD compilation. What can we expect from your mix?
Steve: I’ve pieced together around 17 tracks from what I consider to be the best in trance right now, including a few exclusives from myself and some of my friends in the industry.
i:Vibes: How difficult was it finding the track list for this CD. Was it any different than finding the right tracks for your Night Music compilations?
Steve: The process was exactly the same. After listening to around 500 tracks I requested around 40 that I really liked and began piecing them together in such a way that the disc flows and takes you on a music journey. It starts with my intro track ‘Returning’ which is pretty chilled out, then works its way through dark, progressive trance through to peak time anthems. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.
i:Vibes: You produced a new track with Talla 2XLC called Fracture. What was it like making a track with the German and how did you guys split the duties in making the song?
Steve: We actually have very different studio set ups, so we decided I would start the track by coming up with the melodies and chord progressions. Once I had the track sketched out I sent the parts over to Talla to finalize to his taste, as it was going to feature on his CD.
i:Vibes: You don’t produce much as the Thrillseekers, but what you produce is amazing. How proud are you about not releasing something every two months like so many well known artists do?
Steve: I’m pretty fussy about what I release. I could release a track every two weeks, but what’s the point of that? There’s enough mediocrity in dance music with adding to it, so I only release the tracks that I love myself.
i:Vibes: How has your sound changed from Dreaming of You?
Steve: I think the emotions that I put into my music are quite similar, but the sounds and production has changed over the years.
i:Vibes: One of my all time favorite Thrillseekers songs is Waiting Here for You. How would it sound today if you made a new mix?
Steve: Maybe a little tougher sounding, but not too different for the original. There are certain sounds that I like and don’t steer to far away from.
i:Vibes: What is your general opinion of the world trance scene? Is it going in a healthy direction?
Steve: Trance has been pushed back underground, which is where it came from and where it belongs if you ask me. I think this is very healthy for genre, the music and the true fans.
i:Vibes: Where would Steve Helstrip be today without the track Synesthesia?
Steve: I think exactly where I am now. I was pretty determined to make a career from music, so if it wasn’t Synesthesia it would have been another track.
i:Vibes: Will another Night Music ever be released and what other productions can we await from you in 2013?
Steve: I’m considering NightMusic Volume 4 for later in the year. In terms of new tracks, I have 4 releases scheduled over the next 6 months, starting with Anywhere With You, featuring Stine Grove on vocals. This will be out in February with a remix from Solarstone, which features on the compilation.
i:Vibes: How many times do you estimate have you heard the track Synaestheisa? Why is this track timeless?
Steve: While I was working on it in the studio, maybe 3,000. Now it’s more like 3,000,000! I think it still stands up because on the surface it’s just a very simple 3 note melody. Yet underneath, it’s a complex journey that seems to connect with people both in and out of the club.
i:Vibes: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Steve: I really can’t say!
i:Vibes: What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Steve: The Hangover. Such a great movie!
TECHNOCLUB VOLUME 41 COMPILATION RELEASE PARTY
You can catch Steve Helstrip aka The Thrillseekers live at the Technolcub this Saturday the 2nd February along side Talla 2XLC in Frankfurt. Check the web site for full details.
:: Order the new compilation right here!