Although it's been around for decades, trance has never quite had its spotlight in the U.S. And with the current EDM boom in America, we've seen the meteoric rise of dubstep and progressive house, but not trance. But we just might soon. Tritonal, the Austin-based producer/DJ duo consisting of Dave Reed and Chad Cisneros, has been making trance and progressive since 2007. In the last two years of DJ Magazine's annual Top 100 DJs list, the duo placed 83rd (2011) and 65th (2012), and have recently been mentioned on MTV's Clubland as "Artists to Watch" for 2013. Before performing in Portland, Oregon, the duo took the time to speak via phone about their beginnings and plans for their bright future.
How did you first get into the EDM scene? Who were some of your favorite producers at the time?
Cisneros: I got exposed by going to clubs during my college years. There weren't as many producers today as there were back then, but I really got into The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, and Sasha.
Reed: The first stuff that pulled me in was Ace of Base, and Snap! But once I got past those cheesy dance songs, I started listening to Gouryella, Armin van Buuren and Tiesto. Pink Floyd was also a big influence for me; some of the sounds they had in that era were awe-inspiring. I wasn't really a clubber-type, that's all Chad; I just wanted to soak the music in.
With trance being popular on a global scale, there's no doubt other countries wanted to book you for shows once you started making waves in the scene. What was your first international gig and were you prepared for traveling abroad at the time?
Cisneros: It was in Moscow, Russia. We played in New Zealand in that run as well. As for being prepared, no, we were a couple of idiots back then. But from that point until now, we've been able to travel around the globe and back several times over, and you learn how to survive constantly traveling. We like traveling, but it's a grind.
You've recently wrapped up 100 episodes of your radio show "Air Up There," and are now rebranding it as "Tritonia." What do you hope to accomplish with this rebranding?
Cisneros: When we started "Air Up" There, the fans we had weren't what they are today; we didn't have Tritonians, and our fans mean everything to us. We can't let everything out of the bag yet- but with the rebranding of this show, not only will it be syndicated on XM Area, but it'll be built around our fan base to give them a more influential role with our radio show.
Recently on MTV's Clubland, Armin van Buuren stated how much he likes you guys. How does it feel to get such recognition from the #1 DJ in the world?
Reed: It's definitely a milestone for us. We appreciate and admire Armin for all the things he's done for trance music, and to have him say that about us feels amazing. And we're more than willing to put our best foot forward and live up to that recognition.
Specifically, he mentioned how much he liked your live sets, saying they were fun to watch. What exactly do you bring to the table in your live sets? What atmosphere do you create?
Cisneros: We both mix during the show. One person mixes while the other interacts with the crowd and gets them hyped. We're really lively; we just go full out when we're on stage. We mix quick, we're in and out of tracks fast, and it's a high-energy, pedal-to-the-metal approach, because we're there to have fun just like the crowd, and we want to give them something to remember.
You've noted that your sets aren't typical trance; they're more diverse than that. Since you began in trance, how do you deal with the "purist" fans that may ridicule you for not sticking to your roots?
Reed: The reason why we got into trance is because of its emphasis on melody; we're all about melody. But now, if you listen to tracks from all over the spectrum- from dubstep, to house, etc.- they can also have good melodies. We're never saying that we're only playing one specific genre or bpm; we're not like that at all. We just play music that applies to us; music that portrays a great melody and displays our kind of energy. That, we feel, is what represents us as producers and as DJs.