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A State Of Trance studio and ‘Service for Dreamers’: behind the cameras

Written by Katrina Merca on . Posted in Home

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Almost everyone has a dream in their lives. Some are simple, some are unreal, but when they come true – you always feel amazing! It was the same with me – even a week before #ASOT810 I didn’t know that I would be there, and even after many days it still feels like a dream – I wouldn’t believe it was real if I didn’t have the photos to prove it.

I will try to describe everything as good as possible, and I hope it can help you too (or at least feed your curiosity).

How to become part of ASOT radioshow?

First of all, I received lots of messages and comments asking how did I get there – well, it’s never easy. When I asked Ruben De Ronde, how many stories and emails they get every week, his answer was – hundreds. And imagine – they really read them all! And now imagine how hard it is to choose only one person every week? Of course, if you live closer to Amsterdam, it could be easier to visit the studio, but what about if you are from somewhere else? Calling via mobile phone is also a good option, but less interesting, right?

My ASOT tattoo, made on February 15 of 2015

My ASOT tattoo, made on February 15 (2015)

I still don’t know why I was the chosen one. Maybe it was due to my passion, which is obvious? Maybe it was luck? Or maybe because I was able to change my flight to be there and I wanted to write this article? Maybe they loved my story and my Trance Family experience? For me this music is more than just special, it changed my life. The track I requested (Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford – ‘Sun & Moon’) reminds me of the past, back to my beginnings in 2011, when I was on my own loving this genre (and that would last 3 more years…). Soon it was #ASOT550, and I promised myself to be a part of another ASOT celebration, once I become an adult (for me that was #ASOT700 in Utrecht). After watching ‘A Year with Armin van Buuren’ I made a promise to myself:  I would never quit this music until I meet him in person. Now this dream also came true (don’t worry, I am not going to quit now!). During all these years my passion was growing faster and faster (I even made an ASOT tattoo 2 years ago), and after the foundation of Trance Family Latvia it all really started to change – I’ve met so many friends, so many amazing artists, that I want to stay in this forever. It also changed me as a person – I was a shy girl, following the life which was chosen by someone else (parents, teachers, friends…), but now – I am the one to make my own life, the way I want to have it! But there are always limits, about everything.

My advice to everyone – don’t hide your love and passion for Trance music, show it as much as you can! Tell people about it, become a part of the Trance Family, and keep on sending your stories to [email protected]! If you are somewhere close to Amsterdam – fight for your opportunity even more! Your wish and passion are visible in your messages too, so maybe at some moment you will also get the chance to be there at the studio.

Arrival to the studio

Finally the day came; I took a tram from Amsterdam center to the south-west of the city, closer to Armada Music office. I was so excited that I couldn’t eat properly the whole day, and at the same time I was feeling good. After a 15 min walk from the tram stop, I was there. Some guy helped me to get in and told me to go to the 2nd floor, where a friendly girl (Carmen) met me and asked me where I was heading to. I explained her that I was there for ASOT radioshow, and after few seconds I was there, at the studio! Soon Armin van Buuren came to greet me; it was really unexpected and nice, as I knew he was busy preparing himself for a new episode. Ruben was also there and some other people I didn’t know. I was also asked if I wanted something to drink, so after I got my tea I took a seat in the blind zone (as I thought). Soon I recognized Omnia, who was also there with his wife and a friend – I took my opportunity to get his signature on my flag, because no one of our Trance Family had met him before. Then I saw Rodg and greeted him – I’ve met him before in Miami, and it was nice that he still remembered me. A little bit later Cosmic Gate came in: even after meeting them both a few days before, it was still amazing to see them again – and having so many artists in one room! I thought this was all, but not – then it was Solarstone’s time to get in.

With Evgeny (Omnia)

With Evgeny (Omnia)

With Richard (Solarstone)

With Richard (Solarstone)

While we all were there, we were explained how everything works. The show is recorded in one shot, which means – if you fail, everyone will hear and see that. All you do is being seen on cameras, although there were a few blind zones (spots in the room, which are not seen on cameras), so almost everyone was hiding there (you can see it on one of the following photos). When the microphones were on, you needed to be silent too. It sounded difficult, but it was fine and even… fun, to see that there is no difference between legends and the rest of the people – everyone hides from the cameras (except the photographer, who was walking around all the time).

Shortly before the show, Armin asked all the artists at the studio to record a few words, which were used later in the show and which would probably be used later in some other mixes (wishing ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ in April? Why not?).  And then – the time to start the show arrived!

Recording the show

The show went well. Or almost – you can see everything on YouTube or on Facebook. Rodg presented another of his new tracks (‘Progressive pick‘, as always #giggle) and then it was Solarstone’s time to tell about his new album and make some jokes with Armin and Ruben. Then it was Omnia’s turn to talk about his new release together with DRYM, Omnia’s wife was happy to make a video of him there. Later on Cosmic Gate started their guest mix with a new remix by Sunny Lax of ‘Fall Into You’. The first hour was coming to an end, and I knew – my turn is very close.

When Cosmic Gate started to play their last track, Armin showed me that I had to get closer to the microphone. I was nervous and not sure of what to do; the track was going to be played for a few more minutes, so I started to dance a little bit, to hide my real feelings, because I knew that people could see me. And then it was time for ‘Service for Dreamers’ and my turn to speak. Shortly before that Ruben reminded me that I had to put on the headphones (totally forgot about them). Then I introduced myself, told my story and proudly showed our Trance Family Latvia flag to everyone, but still… of course you are not able to express yourself in such a short time. I wanted to say so much, to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone of the Trance Family around the world, but when you are there – you just forget some things. That’s another advice: if you want to tell something really important – write it down somewhere. You are not able to control yourself when you are nervous. Maybe it was just me, because I’ve been dreaming about this for years, but you can never know everything.

Me presenting Trance Family Latvia flag (and everyone hiding in blind zone #giggle)

Me presenting Trance Family Latvia flag (and everyone hiding in blind zone #giggle)

To be honest, I almost didn’t hear the track I requested, because I was still too excited. I used that time to make pictures with Ruben and Armin, to talk to him about random things I wanted to know, and also to hug him. I could try to explain why Armin and his music are so valuable for me, but then this article would be too long.

Then it was time for the 2nd hour. I stayed in the studio and continued to listen to the music, danced and took some more pictures. Most of the people have left already, but I wanted to stay till the end, because I really loved the music, but perfect moments never last forever.

At some moment I got lucky to join the artists for a sandwich at the cafe, which it’s located in the same building. It felt unreal, but at the same time – so natural. I was mostly staying silent, listening to others talking about the previous weekend, their events and experience in Miami and some other stuff, sometimes adding a few comments myself. I could feel that my experience with this music was nothing compared to theirs, although they are still normal people as everyone, just doing their work and trying to relax when possible. We are all humans, and it doesn’t matter how well known and popular we are.

Enjoying company of Ruben, Armin and Cosmic Gate at the cafe, which is located in the same building

Enjoying company of Ruben, Armin and Cosmic Gate at the cafe, which is located in the same building

After the show

After saying a warm goodbye to everyone, I left the studio. Instead of taking a tram, I walked back to my hostel for longer than 1 h – I needed some fresh air and to let all emotions and new memories to settle down. I was trying to remember as much as possible, but still it felt like I missed something. I am not even mentioning how my Facebook was going crazy! Some inexplicable feeling of euphoria was always around, and I still feel very happy after many days. Is it because of my deep love to Trance music? Or just because this was one of my biggest dreams coming true?

It was another step forward for me. I thought I would feel totally satisfied after everything, but not. When one a goal is achieved, it’s time to fight for the next one. My next dream is to find a job related to the music I love and to the things that make me feel amazing; also with the people who understand my passion. I don’t know how much time it will take, but I believe it can become reality (I’ve even started learning Dutch #giggle).

My biggest advice:

Do what you love, fight for what you want, enjoy everything and make your dreams become reality! You are the creator of your life, and nothing comes by itself! Go to music events, support your favorite artists, and show your passion to music, because these are the things which make Trance so special! And at some point you will find your moment of euphoria.

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Katrina Merca

Trance Lover from Latvia
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