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#InDepth Interview with Spark & Shade about their The Castaway EP on High Contrast

No strangers for the imprint, Spark & Shade returns to High Contrast after their release "Horizon".

Dutch Duo "Spark & Shade" will be releasing their EP called "The Castaway EP" featuring the tracks "Not Even Close" and "Shipwrecked"

Not Even Close can be best described as a tribute to the classic Trance sound, but updated to 2018! Big anthem-like synths and melodies marks this track.

A different sound can be found in Shipwrecked. The perfect crossover between Trance and Electro!

Both tracks are ready for both the Festivals and the clubs!

Spark & Shade - The Castaway EP is out now. Buy here

Spark & Shade have accepted the challenge to answer our InDepth interview questions and here you can find their answers, thanks so much to Justin at High Contrast for organising it.

Dimitri: When did you start your involvement with electronic dance music and which music style you are more affiliated with and why?

Spark & Shade: We both are into Trance for more then 10 years already. Hooked by the melodies and energy from Trance music. As you will notice in the future we like almost the whole range of Trance, from Progressive to the more uplifting, but I don't think you can expect a Psy tune from us in the future.

Dimitri: Did you had the opportunity to attend any kind of music production course or are u completely self taught? Do you consider that is essential for any artist to complete any production course?

Spark & Shade: We both are self-taught actually. We know each other for a long time and via forums, YouTube's and chats we learned a lot and also just trial and error and see what works.

Dimitri: In which label was your first ever release and how did you manage to attract the attention of the label?

Spark & Shade: Our first Spark & Shade release was at Above All Records. First a remix of Divinity, but also our first solo release was there. As Matthijs is running Above All Records it wasn't very difficult to get their attention ;)

Dimitri: Let's focus on your latest Castaway EP. Please tell us from where did you got the inspiration for the track?

Spark & Shade: Like I said we are in the scene for a long time. I think we both are pulled into Trance by classics from Rank 1 to just name one act and you can hear those influences in Not Even Close. Those sounds and arrangement are inspired by their sounds and though they are a huge inspiration, we are Not Even Close to their status they have earned in the Trance scene. 

Shipwrecked is more inspired for some dancefloor energy. Some might not consider it as Trance, but if you have heard the tune in our radio show this one definitely will fit into a lot of Trance sets!

Dimitri: How long it took you to produce the two tracks included on this EP and was an easy or difficult process?If you have faced any difficulties please tell us about them and how did you resolved them?

Spark & Shade: It differs per track as all productions have their own 'problems'. Not Even Close costed us more time then Shipwrecked, which was finished within days. For Not Even Close it was a puzzle to get the orchestral part in the break right and to keep the energy in the drop. Eventually we think we solved that puzzle :) 

Dimitri: Do you have any friends or relatives that you send them the track before sending it to a label ?

Spark & Shade: Yes we do! It is a process where you want some feedback from other people. Sometimes just a simple I like it / I don't like it and sometimes you want some specific feedback when you are getting stuck in the project. When you have heard your track over and over again it is good to send it so someone who can listen to it with some fresh ears and some open-minded feedback.

Dimitri: Can you describe to us the studio that you have produced the tracks? What is your favourite hardware and software set up? 

Spark & Shade: Hardware is great toys for boys, so we do like that, but we produce only "in the box" actually with Cubase. We don't really have some secret ingredients as VST but we do try to get the most out of it. We use a lot of Spire, Nexus, Massive, Serum and for the NI Kontakt player there are awesome instruments.

Dimitri: Do you master the track yourself or the mastering is task for the record label? Do you understand mastering as being essential?

Spark & Shade: We mastered this tracks ourselves and the mastering definitely is critical to gain those last % to finish the track. A mastering isn't a magic trick that makes your mediocre track into a good one, but it surely can be the difference to make it from a good one a great one that will work on any system and any dancefloor.

Dimitri: There is a growing trend of vinyl coming back for good. Would you like to see this track released on vinyl or any other of your future tracks? Do you prefer digital files or vinyl?

Spark & Shade: We both started with vinyl and still have vinyl and turntables, so yes, that definitely would be a dream to have it on vinyl someday! Though the record box is much heavier then a flashdrive the handpicked tunes you are collecting is a great feeling.

Dimitri: Do you have any future releases planned and when will be released?

Spark & Shade: Oh yes we have! There is so much coming up actually, but no specific dates known yet. One that you can expect is a remix we did of a beautiful vocal track, so hopefully we can share it soon!

Dimitri: Do you produce a radio show/podcast as well? Please tell us here all the details about it. If you don't have one please tell us why you don't think is important for your career.

Spark & Shade:  Every 2 weeks we have our Audio Treatment show broadcasted on Trance Energy Radio. Besides picking new tunes we really try to deliver a good mix you will listen over and over again so we put a lot of time in picking the best tunes and mix it into a good show.

Dimitri: Can you offer us here your tips or more elaborated advice for any new artists who may read this interview and wish to get involved with the electronic music industry.

Spark & Shade: Though quality always goes above quantity, it is really important to have a regular release schedule. We have a lot scheduled now after a long initial period to make sure we can send out our tunes during the year. A reliable label partner is also important to discuss your release schedule as it is a waste of time if you have 2 releases in 2 weeks and after that 4 months no release for example. So finishing tunes and communication with your label is key!

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