While talking with some close friends in the scene a couple of months back, one of them brought up this trance retreat happening later in the year. I immediately became intrigued with this idea to provide a unique opportunity for up and coming producers to better their skills under the mentorship of leading trance producers over seven days. To me, this sounded like a dream vacation, mixed with a once in a lifetime chance.
I reached out to the creators of this experience to see if I could better understand what to expect. Edwin and the extremely respected Dennis Sheperd, both agreed to sit down with me and dig deeper into this special retreat. Enough babbling from me, let’s get into this.
Q: Hello Edwin and Dennis, I usually don’t like starting with this question, but given the circumstances I think it’s appropriate. Can you please give a little introduction of yourselves to my readers?
Dennis: Hey, my name is Dennis Sheperd, I’m a Trance music producer and DJ from Berlin, Germany. I have been producing since 2004 and DJ’ing since 2009. I have performed in over 30 countries all around the world and in all 5 continents.
Edwin: Hey, I’m a Trance enthusiast & promoter from Calgary, Canada with an amateur level of production experience. I’m an entrepreneur with several small businesses, and I’ve worked on events with a wide range of Trance DJs, and travelled the world to experiences club shows and festivals!
Q: What do you hope your attendees will leave with? What stage in production skill is this targeted for?
Dennis: Our attendees will leave with much more knowledge about how people work who have “made it” in the Trance scene. We have all gone through the same problems that our attendees are going through and can help and guide them with music production tips & tricks that might save them years of own practice! Also hanging out and learning from your idols is pretty tempting too, isn’t it? 🙂
Edwin: As an amateur producer I have found both live group and one-on-one tutorial sessions to be extremely beneficial. The ability to interact and ask questions freely with an instructor rather than following a simple Youtube tutorial allows for a greater sense of understanding, and also more creative freedom. We will be tailoring the course content around the average skill level of the group; our target demographic is for amateur producers who have some experience, but are looking to take their productions to the next level. I also think that the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals in a learning environment such as the retreat will allow for useful musical relationships to be formed.
Q: Trance has quite a few different styles associated with it. How did you go about choosing your roster of producers?
Dennis: We wanted to find a good mixture of different styles, we cover Progressive Trance, Uplifting Trance & Bigroom Trance with our producers. The producers we chose fitted well to the concept both from a personal and reputational level.
Edwin: With the term ‘ghost producers’ and ‘sound engineers’ thrown around all the time in today’s EDM world, we wanted to ensure that we chose genuine producers who are experts in various fields, as well as ones who have experience in teaching and training. While there are many talented producers out there, it’s important that they be good at communicating and presenting their skills in an educational and entertaining manner.
Q: This is a very unique experience. How did you two come up with this idea?
Dennis: I was browsing through a German website called “Wireless Life” which is a blog for digital nomads. These guys regularly do what they call workactions. A mixture of work and vacation. They usually rent villas in a beautiful country and work from there, helping each other and basically benefiting from each other. Then I thought this should also be possible for music production. I told Edwin about that idea and then he suggested that we turn it into an educational retreat!
Edwin: I’ve been working on a 1-on-1 basis with Dennis for the past year, and it has been a very fun experience. When Dennis mentioned that he was looking at doing a ‘creative holiday’ with some producer peers I knew that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime! I think the learning & networking will be invaluable, and the retreat can also serve as a platform for those looking to take the plunge into serious electronic music production and/or advancing their musical career.
Q: Producing and DJing seem to go hand in hand in this age. Will you be addressing DJing at all during these seven days?
Dennis: While I agree that DJ’ing and music production go hand in hand, from a technical point of view there is not much connection. Music production is possible without knowing how to DJ and vice versa. Therefore we left DJ’ing out as a topic. This is a pure music production retreat so that we can fully concentrate on helping our participants in that area.
Edwin: We would like to keep the seminars focused on production, but I am sure that all sorts of topics (including DJing) will be brought up and discussed over a few cocktails over the course of the retreat!
Dennis: I agree! Our talks at dinner time will probably cover all kinds of interesting topics.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions. Do you have any parting words?
Dennis: I am looking forward to spending a week with a group full of enthusiastic and awesome people and have a great time!
Edwin: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the retreat, we have a ton of creative & fun ideas for the retreat, it’s going to be an incredible experience!
Check out their website https://www.tranceretreat.com.
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