Dutch duo Sander Van Dien and Raphie B’s ‘First State’ alias was responsible for some of the biggest Trance releases of the late 2000s such as ‘Falling’ which featured the sumptuous vocals of Anita Kelsey. After Ralphie B’s departure, the 2010 album ‘Changing Lanes’ was a turning point as Sander Van Dien took First State’s releases away from Trance to explore other genres.

Sander announced recently that he is coming back to Trance, and we were delighted when he accepted our invitation to speak exclusively to TranceFixxed to tell us more:

TranceFixxed: Hi Sander, it’s great to speak to you. We were really excited to read your recent announcement that you are “coming back to your Trance roots”. First of all – was there a reason that your productions moved away from Trance in the first place?

Sander: Likewise, it’s great to do this interview for you guys. Thanks! To answer your question, Trance is the dance music I fell in love with and what gave me my fanbase that I still have to this day. The love for the music never went away but for a while I felt it didn’t move forward creatively. I’ve always stayed close to my melodic roots but going back to where I came from is the best feeling ever.

TranceFixxed: What caused your recent change of heart, to want to come back to Trance?

Sander: Mainly my fans asking me to come back to the Trance style they loved me for; it’s hard to ignore hundreds of comments about that! And to be honest, I don’t want to ignore these messages from my fans as they are the reason that I can do what I do.

TranceFixxed: For the first few years, ‘First State’ was a joint project between you and Ralphie B. Does your change back to Trance mean that you may be working with Ralphie B again in the future?

Sander: I’m always willing to work with Ralph on new music in the future as we go way back and have a great history together.

TranceFixxed: So what can we expect from the 2015 version of the First State Trance sound? Will it be similar to one of you previous albums such as ‘Time Frame’ (from 2007) or something completely different?

Sander: I want to stay as close as possible to my older sound without losing the 2015 / future touch. It’s very important to me to keep the sound fresh so that every record surprises the listener in the right way. But the First State signature sound will be all over these upcoming records.

TranceFixxed: Will your new Trance sound mean changes to your monthly Crossroads radioshow podcast?

Sander: Actually yes, the last 2 episodes are already in the new style and I tend to move that forward in the new episodes!

TranceFixxed: As you have been producing music for over 10 years you have a significant back catalog of previous releases. What was your favourite Trance production from the earlier years of First State?

Sander: That’s a hard one! For remixes, I’ve always had a weak spot for my own remix of ‘Waiting’ by Dash Berlin, but if I had to pick one First State original it would be ‘Reverie’ as it had such a huge impact for my career at the right moment.

TranceFixxed: What’s your favourite Trance track that you heard recently?

Sander: Ilan Bluestone’s ‘43’ on Anjunabeats. I love the vibe of that record!

TranceFixxed: Do you have any plans to resurrect your ‘OneWorld’ alias for future productions?

Sander: I would love to if the right idea presents itself. I’ve always kept this alias for ideas that were too ‘chill’ for the First State handle. But definitely something I will keep in mind.

TranceFixxed: It is currently expected that Electronic music producers both regularly produce and release new music and that they DJ and go on tour, which are two very different talents. Which do you find easier and comes more naturally; producing music or DJing?

Sander: I’m a studio beast to be honest, but I also love to DJ as it’s a way to let go some excessive energy and feel the vibe of the crowds when they react to sudden things that have been created in the studio.

TranceFixxed: Which do you enjoy more?

Sander: I enjoy them both! In all honesty I’m studio geek who loves to party!

TranceFixxed: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Sander: Later in the summer I’m planning to release a new single which I’m working on at the moment and I’ve just finished a remix I did for Showtek featuring Vassy – ‘Satisfied’ which will be out soon! In the meantime, I’m working on a remix of one of my own classics… As for touring I’ve just came back from a small tour in Asia and I’m looking to be on the road again soon!

TranceFixxed: Any thoughts or plans about doing another album?

Sander: Not really right now as I’m more focussed on doing singles. But if the right label is open to it I would say yes!

TranceFixxed: What was the strangest / funniest thing that has happened to you on tour recently?

Sander: Well I travelled to India a few months back and went to a far off city where they asked me to stop the music for a birthday announcement… and then they asked me to play some Bieber music! Travelling thousands of kilometers for a request like that cracked me up!

TranceFixxed: Finally, when are you next performing in UK?

Sander: I would love to be back as soon as possible as it’s been a while! I’ve always loved playing at Ministry of Sound in London!

TranceFixxed: Thank you for your time. Best of luck with your journey back into Trance!

Sander: You’re very welcome, thanks for the great interview!

Recent Crossroads Radioshow Episode