why don’t people like trance?

Fang2004 posed a legit question on the rave victoria music board:

K, I know there aren’t many people around Vic here that like TRANCE, and everytime I ask why, no one can give me a straight answer. Now I’m asking everyone here to tell me why they like or don’t like trance!!!… please?

My answer:
It’s a really tricky genre to play because it’s easy to take the dancefloor down the wrong path. As was mentioned before, sometimes the breakdowns can get too long, or the tracks selected don’t do anything. I think that’s a thing that some of the trance DJ’s were more guilty of a couple years ago but it sticks with people. “Oh I went to see DJ Trance and fuckin’ nothing happened for an hour.” Of course, for people who genuinely like to dance to a beat, this is not a problem. That being said, programming a trance set is difficult at best ..
After 7 years I am still picking up techniques and methods to read the dance floor faster, more honestly .. quite often I don’t play my own favorite track (or even my own just-produced-that-night track) if it doesn’t closely fit the mood of the dance floor. Sure I will do a bit of steering, but you need to balance between education and entertainment. Some DJ’s, no matter the genre, forget people are there for a good time..
A comment about “having to be high on E to appreciate trance” is pure rubbish. People enjoyed chord progressions long before drugs. Think about how your favorite movie would be effected without its soundtrack, almost all of which are reliant on the same musical theory a lot of trance is.
At the end of the day, I can honestly say playing trance is a tight-rope act. You’re expected to mix really well — a sloppy 2 minute mix can really mess the whole thing up. Don’t play too cheesy, don’t play too intelligent. Make it go somewhere, but not too fast. Give the crowd an exciting key change between two tracks, but make sure they do not clash. Phrase your mixing perfectly. Oh yeah, and ocassionally look up. This is powerful music; it needs to be presented in the right way.
Listening to: John Creamer & Stephane K – I Wish You Were Here (Lexicon Avenue Vocal mix)

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  1. yeah. I often find myself asking people why it is they don’t like trance and for the most part I find it’s just that they have this negative preconception of it that clouds their judgement. However, I agree that it takes talent to play a set of trance well. But for me that’s one of the things that makes it so special when someone comes along that is capable of such a feat.

  2. As for the trance comment… I think people dislike trance because there is a staggering amount of bad trance, and bad trance dj’s. Dj’s that will bog boring tribal shit for 90 mins, then play a couple good tracks, or dj’s that cheese out from start to finish. Programming is by far the most important part of a prog/trance set… the music ebbs and flows, the mixes aren’t meant to be noticed as they happen, but rather afterwards. A noticeable progression from start to finish, but forming a set that encapsulates a whole idea. A dj is there to set a mood when playing this kind of music, and I think this is where it becomes very easy to lose people. One wrong turn can empty the dancefloor, and you can lose all of the energy you had been building. I’m out there learning every time I play… what kind of music does what, and where you can go from where you are… you also have to have an understanding of where you want to take things, and a vision of the set as a whole. Once you start to understand it, you can take a crowd where you want to go. This is what separates a good prog/trance dj from an amateur. Where a good funky house dj has tricks up his sleeve, cutting and scratching, a good prog dj must have a deeper knowledge of melody, harmony, keys and feeling. You’re not *just* laying bricks, you’re building a house.

  3. hahaha…
    – “(no, I’m not implying that all jungle lovers do blow..).” – however, jungle does in fact, blow.

  4. Adam and Braeden make some good points. Trance can be fromage. It can be formulaic. It can sound dated.
    I’d like to suggest that many people find their way into the rave scene through a long relationship with top40, and trance is an easy bridge to take because it’s accessible. The melodies and rhythm are upfront and the lyrics are notoriously uncomplicated. Coupled with the euphoria of a good E rush and you’re on your way.
    Most kids get their first exposure to dance music through the radio, and for the most part the crossover tracks in North America tend to be trance because that’s what the major labels are willing to sign distribution deals for.
    All that supports the theory that trance is the my-first-rave music, and it’s only later that you develop an appreciation for prog or breaks or whatever you’d like to call the next level.
    Another theory is that, very simply, trance begat rave. It’s been around a very long time. More than a decade. Some of us have moved on. It’s just not fashionable to like trance, whether or not you have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
    Personally, I don’t like trance the same way I don’t like hip hop. Most of it is garbage, but all it takes is an open mind and you’ll always find producers worth listening to.

  5. I still like trance.
    There is a lot of really shitty trance out there that bores me to tears.
    That being said, there is a lot of really shitty prog/jungle/dnb/techno/ambient/electro/whatever out there. I’ve been bored at as many prog nights as I have trance nights.
    Personally, I think most people get stuck into a rut of “I only like of music, so that’s the only thing that is good.” My music collection has a taste of just about everything in it, and I like to think that it’s fairly well-rounded… and that’s a lot more interesting than having 1000 trance tracks.
    So to sum up, when people say “I don’t like trance” or “I don’t like jungle”, what they really mean is “I don’t like *most* trance” and “I don’t like *most* jungle”.
    Diversify, people!

  6. I agree with mischiff. Trance is a proverbial gateway into dance music because it’s simple, it still (for the most part) has some sort of vocal content and you can hear it on a lot of top 40 radio stations.
    I liked trance when I first became interested in electronic music, but I don’t anymore. Not because it’s unfashionable to like it, not because I became some sort of jaded raver, but because I feel that it’s predictible and it sounds quite dated. “New” trance does the same stuff that “old” trance did, just with (slighly) newer-sounding synths. A good chunk of the electronic music community moved forward and started exploring newer, more sophisticated sounds at the turn of the century but I feel that trance has stayed put.
    To me, electronic/dance music is a bridge between technology and music that’s constantly changing and evolving much more rapidly than other genres of music, which is part of the reason I am so attracted to it. Trance doesn’t really have anything to offer those who are looking for a more challenging sound. Maybe that’s the geek in me, or maybe that’s the producer in me, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  7. Yep and yep. Nodding with most theories but favouring the dated explanation most. Following even the top 40 formulas as an example music has changed. Think back about how HARD Cinderella or RATT was; they are borderline Country now. R&B now is certainly not the same (nor better) as R&B was 10 years ago. It is no secret music changes and evolves. If it didn’t, we would all be listening to ‘OceanFM’.
    I think you would have been hard pressed to find a ‘common’ raver in the early nineties who knew half of the current labels (dance hall/prog/dnb/etc) associated with electronic music today.

  8. And THAT, my dear ‘z0na is why you’re the best.
    My memories of having THE MOST fun at parties (starting with the very first Monkey Mansion, before I even knew what Trance WAS, or who YOU were for that matter) very often are centred around a set you played. I, for one, love trance, but only when the DJ doesn’t let me down. 😉

  9. Oh, and that said, I like trance to dance to, but not necessarily to dissect at home on my stereo. For that I think we definitely do develop more sophisticated tastes.

  10. I respect trance regardless of the cheesiness and money-making schemes, purely because it’s how i got into dance to begin with and the fact that it gets a crowd going.
    Amen Lefty – diversify 4tehwin!

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