Trance music arrives in Kuching

  • Ben Gold on stage at Trance ALOT
  • The venue at Santubong
  • Ben Gold at Trance ALOT, Kuching
  • A DJs on stage
  • Isaac at the interview
  • Crowd dancing to trance music in Kuching

Have you ever heard anything about Trance music? For so many decades, people have been creating music either for dancing, having fun or representing their ethnic cultures. Music has been  around as long as man, and throughout the ages people have reveled in the joy of creating music, singing songs and dancing along to the sounds. Music makes people move, it plays with your heartstrings, and it transcends place and time: it has that spiritual significance that connects people. And so I wonder: can you even imagine how many genres of music there are in the world altogether? Of course if we consider that different countries and places offer different versions of each genre, a full number is hard to be achieved. We can though state that there are approximately around 22 types of music genres in the world, to name a few: pop, opera, alternative, electronic, reggae, rock, R&B, jazz, indie pop, hip hop, country, blues. Most of these will sound familiar to you.

The venue at Santubong

The venue at Santubong

In this article I would like to tell you more about Trance music, starting with a brief introduction. Trance is a contemporary kind of music that was establish in the 1990s in the Netherlands and Germany. Also called Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Trance is well known, and although it is undeniable that Trance is a combination of other electronic music styles including techno, house, pop, chill-out and classical, it is nowadays considered a genre on its own. Trance music repeats melodic phrases and plays at between 125 to mid-160 beats per minute. Instruments used for this type of music are synthesizers, keyboards, drums, machines, sequencers, samplers, rhythm composer drum machines and digital audio workstations.

December 2014 marked an historical date for Kuching, Borneo, as the “ALOT – A Land of Trance” energetic music festival was organized in order to shake the city of cats with Trance music. ALOT Project Manager Isaac is a young man who has dedicated his life to music and has been involved in such kinds of events since 2-years ago. He is only 24 but he is proud to have handled, amongst other events,  Elements of sound and Armada Night.

Isaac at the interview

Isaac at the interview

Talking to Isaac, I found out that Kuching was chosen to held this prestigious event in order to educate Borneo people, not really familiar with Trance music, that this genre exist. Isaac, a Trance music lover, refers Trance as a state of hypnotism and heightened consciousness where music mixes with many layers and rhythms. He certainly sees Sarawak as a new market for Trance music, and for this he envisage this event happening in Sarawak for the next 5 years, starting with 2 ALOT events for March and August 2015 when the festival will be extended from a two-day t a three-day event. “I am confident that this first event, which has combined the support of female leading vocalists to achieve the unique sub-genre ‘vocal trance’, has surely helped us to market the next events, where we expect the show to be much more alive with a much bigger audience”, he finally expressed.

Meanwhile, 26 years old Ben Gold, one of the Dj performers from London, stated that the best word to describe trance music is ‘universal’. Ben has been spinning since the age of 16, when he   first showed interest in Trance thanks to his passion for music:

“It did not necessary have to be Trance, but this genre got me connected as soon as I heard it; I am a Dj and realized that while performing it was not that easy to put to work, but when I got it right, I saw the positive reaction on thousands of people. Of course, studio works helps as it is there that I get the ideas for my Dj sets, ideas that have to get both producers and the audience in total emulsion, but in the end my base inspiration come live, when I see the crowd dancing!”.

A DJs on stage

A DJs on stage

Ben’s inspirations are Djs Armin Van Buuren, Chris Schweizer and Harry Koster. He has been performing Dj music in many countries around the world, especially in USA, Australia and Indonesia, and has recently signed a contract with Armada Music and with Garuda. Asked about the future of Trance music, Ben commented that the genre is looking very healthy and evolving, and that he is really excited to look into the future. His advice for those who want to become a Dj is to work hard, be genuine, create your own music and identity, be different and don’t be lazy. For him, the 10 years involvement in Trance music has made him realize that to stay in Trance, all he has to do is stay relevant, while also retaining and keeping his original sound through his creativity.

In the end I only had a short time to connect to 30 years old Trance vocalist Susana Bookings from Holland, also making who her appearance in Kuching. She started her connection with Trance music with a song called Shivers. According to Susanna, being a trance vocalist is all about emotions and music combined in a form of art, and her inspiration mainly comes from the music itself.

That’s all I can share about Trance music for now. I hope this has been an inspiration to you all. If you want to know more about Trance music and to what it sounds like, log onto ALOT websiste https://www.alandoftrance.com

Electronic dance music is rapidly gathering popularity all through the entire world! Get to know more here: https://www.musicinstrumentscenter.com/edm-revolution-in-music-era/ 

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About the author

Cato is a young woman from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Cato gained a Bachelor Degree with honours in Social Science majoring in Communication Studies at the University Malaysia Sarawak - UNIMAS. After a long spell as a full-time reporter writing for TV and Radio news in Borneo and beyond, she is currently a Special Officer in the public relations field. She is also a regular and passionate contributor at Asian Itinerary. Cato is a dynamic woman with several interests and hobbies like travelling, listening to music, playing guitar, reading, kayaking and surfing the Internet. She is a young promise in the travel-writing world, and one of the main exponents of Asian Itinerary.

View all articles by Catohrinner Joyce Guri