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  • Writer's pictureMartin van Zeelandt / TCD

Perrelli & Mankoff Interview (2017)

On the fourth of August this year my life completely changed. I was already back on track when it comes to Sied van Riel and Rielism, but on that day I discovered two new names. It was all thanks to sharing a mix on Sied’s Facebook page that I was drawn towards a mix by, at the time, two unknown DJs/producers, namely Perrelli & Mankoff. I was (and still am) blown away by their approach to Trance music, and their dedication of making sure everyone gets their daily Trance dosage, and this obviously led up to this moment: interviewing these two new superstars. So enjoy the interview with Perrelli & Mankoff!

Q: Hi guys, how are you doing? How’s life at the moment? “Hello! We’re doing great. Thanks for having us!”

Q: Can you explain yourself who you are, to those who have never heard or seen your names before? “We’re a producer/DJ duo based in Newcastle, UK. We’re both huge fans of Trance and lots of other genres of course.”

Q: I wanted to browse your Facebook information section, but there’s not a lot of information on your past, how you got together etc. Only about your releases, which we will talk about later in the interview. But for now, how did you two get together, and was it magic from the start? “CM: We met at a local trance night in 2013 which we were both playing at. Dan had been producing for a number of years and had had a few releases already. We got together in the studio and it went really well. We bounced ideas off each other and we were both really satisfied with the outcome, so we decided to start a project together.”

Q: When many DJs and producers use an alter ego/alias, you decided to keep your last names as artist names. Ever thought of using different artist names instead? “Not really. We chose the name once we had finished our first track, Gratification, and we just stuck with it. We’ve contemplated using an alias but that would mean starting again from scratch. We do however use the pseudonym ‘P&M Project’ for our slower, houseier stuff.”

Q: You two emerged in 2015 with records such as ‘Vertebra’, ‘Gratification’ and ‘Phantom Of The Emperor’. But before you became producers, were you dancefloor ravers? What were Perrelli and Mankoff doing before they became DJs/producers? “DP: I actually got my first set of decks when I was 13, long before I had ever stepped foot into a club. I had a few residencies at some small local nights which were more towards the harder side of dance music.”

“CM: I was a late bloomer in terms of Trance / dance music, but once I started going raving, I got hooked, and knew straight away that I wanted to learn how to mix and produce.”

Q: When I grew up, the music that dominated my youth was House, which quickly diverted into Hardcore/Gabber, and around the Millennium Trance emerged out of nowhere, and I bought literally every bloody Trance compilation under the Sun. What did you two listen to when you were younger, and when was it  you discovered Trance music? “DP: Before I discovered Trance, I was into a genre called Makina (Spanish Hardcore), as well as Hard House. Around 2009 I started listening to Trance from the golden era (late 90s/early 2000s), and it just went from there really.”

“CM: As I was born into a very religious family, I actually grew up listening to Jewish music, which then gave way to pop music, but the less said about that, the better! I got really into rock music as a teenager, and was obsessed with that until I finally got introduced to Trance in 2010, and I never looked back!”

Q: It’s always difficult to answer this question, but I will ask it anyway: for those who do not know Trance or do not understand it, what’s the sheer power behind the music? Why is it so heavenly? “That is indeed difficult to answer. It’s not easy to pinpoint what’s so powerful and enthralling about it. It’s something you just feel. If we had to describe it, we’d say that it’s a beautiful combination of beats / percussion with melodic elements intertwining, that evokes emotion on many different levels. We saw a really cool quote somewhere recently: “Trance is euphoria, and euphoria is a state of mind”.”

Q: Who were the artists you listened to when you discovered Trance, and who was actually the one (or ones) who made you decide to leave the dancefloor and start making music yourselves? “DP: When I started listening to trance, I really enjoyed Ferry Corsten, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold. I wouldn’t say that there was a particular artist who inspired me to make Trance, it was more the music as a whole.”

“CM: What he said^. I think we both just fell in love with the music. When I started listening to Trance, I was a big Armin fanboy, and I also loved Markus Schulz and Gareth Emery. When my tastes in Trance matured a little bit, I considered Sied van Riel, W&W, Jochen Miller, Mat Zo and Arty to be my favourites. As I got more into the harder/faster side of Trance, I was really into the likes of John O’Callaghan, Bryan Kearney, Jordan Suckley, Will Atkinson, Sean Tyas, Mark Sherry. I would say they all played their part.”

Q: To make music you need a studio, or a laptop (whatever’s within budget of course). To make a Perrelli & Mankoff record, what’s the set up? What kind of soft-/hardware do you use? “We’re in the process of building a “proper” studio, so for now we just produce in each other’s houses, using 2 laptops running FL Studio 11, a midi keyboard and monitors. Once we get closer to setting up the studio, we hope to invest in another pair of monitors and some hardware synths. It’s a very basic set-up at the moment, but it’s all about what you do with it isn’t it?!”

Q: You two haven’t been in the scene that long, but still, do you judge your previous records, and see improvements, or are you not there yet? “We absolutely do, we’re constantly seeing improvements and that’s how we know we’re headed in the right direction. We still have a very long way to go, and we’re constantly aspiring to improve our productions, but we do look back and cringe at some of our earlier tracks, which is something most producers do we think!”

Q: In 2016 you continued producing, and (according to Discogs) 5 records were thrown into the Trance scene, records such as ‘Catapult’,’The Other Half Of Me’ and ‘Hierarchy’. What’s the message behind your music? “That’s a question that Keith Lemon would ask! There isn’t really a message behind our music, it’s just 2 guys putting their heart and soul into their productions, making music that they love, hoping that other people will enjoy listening to it.”

Q: You have had some good responses from the fans and records have been supported by the likes of Paul van Dyk, Markus Schulz, Aly & Fila, Sied van Riel, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Sean Tyas, and the list goes on. Be it as Perrelli & Mankoff or P&M Project, do you sometimes wake up and think it’s all a dream? “We feel extremely grateful and honoured that our music has been supported by some incredible artists, but at the same time, at the risk of sounding conceited, it’s not a surprise really because we really believe in our music and feel very passionate about it. It’s an incredible feeling to have DJs playing our tracks though, and we can’t thank them enough.”

Q: Such a support must have led up to at least a mansion in the country side and 3 swimming pools, 4 Ferrari’s and more? “Of course. Don’t forget about the Lamborghinis, the yacht and the jet!”

Q: 2017 emerged, and so did you two. Sied van Riel shared a mix on his Facebook page and it got my attention. It was the Rielism guestmix I think? Before we go and talk about the present day, let’s talk about Rielism and Sied van Riel. According to Soundcloud (and other media outlets) A&R for Rielism? How did that happen? How did you get this opportunity? “CM: Yeah, that was the mix we made to coincide with the release of Lingering Mind. We’re very glad to know that you enjoyed it! I’ve known Sied for a while, and as the Rielism label and brand grew, it was becoming a very heavy workload for one person, so he offered me the opportunity to come in and help with A&R and with running the label, an opportunity which I jumped at! It’s a role that I thoroughly enjoy.”

Q: Sied van Riel is obviously giving you two a platform to showcase your strengths and diversity. Besides (obviously) being a friend, is he a good mentor? Does he give you any advise on how to improve or change records, etc? “Absolutely. He’s a great mentor, he gives us some very helpful advice and feedback, and it’s a great privilege knowing that we have the guidance and support of someone who has been at the top of the game for so long!”

Q: Production wise you are mainly focussing on making records on your own (with female singers), but if you could make a record with anyone from the scene, who would it be, and why? “We’re actually working on some collaborations at the moment with some of our favourite artists, which we’re very grateful and excited about. Including one with Mr. Rielism himself! You heard it here first .In regards to a vocalist/songwriter, we’d love to work with Susana one day. That would definitely be a dream come true!”

Q: Your most recent releases (Lingering Mind/Solar Flare) are really causing damages all over the world, on several dancefloors. What’s going on in Perrelli & Mankoff’s world right now, and what are the future plans? “Thanks very much! We’re working on lots of new music, mostly originals but also some remixes and reworks. We have some big plans in the works for 2018, but we can’t reveal too much at this stage. We are however very excited to reveal some of it in the coming months.”

Q: It’s always difficult to pick a favourite Trance record of all time, the list is always changing. My list contains ‘Out Of Grace – Obscura’ ‘Spark7 & Thomas DeColita – ID 22’, ‘Thomas Bronzwear – Close Horizon’, ‘Richard Durand & Sied van Riel – Rivella’, ‘Alex M.O.R.P.H. presents Everest – Oree’, ‘Alex M.O.R.P.H. – Consequence’, ‘Celvin Rotane – Bienvenue’,  ‘Factor 9 – Release Me (Svenson & Gielen Remix)’, ‘Gabriel & Dresden – Arcadia’,  and a few more. If you had to compose a list of your favourites, who would it be, and why? “DP: Paul van Dyk – Out There And Back has gotta be my favourite album of all time. I lost count of the amount of times I listened to it a very long time ago!”

“CM: This is never an easy question to answer, but most of my favourites are classics. ‘Solarstone – Solarcoaster (Midway Mix)’, ‘Saltwater – The Legacy (Alphazone Remix)’, ‘Push – The Legacy’, ‘Armin – Communcation’ are probably top of my list. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to!”

Q: What’s your opinion about the current state of Trance, and the history behind it? Has it evolved well, and what will the future bring for Trance music? “We couldn’t tell you what the future will bring, your guess is as good as ours. We think it has evolved in a healthy way, musically at least. There might not be as many events as there used to be in the UK and Europe, but the Asia and America markets are getting bigger each year. There has always been an abundance of great music, some years more than others, but if you look in the right places, there are gems being released every week. Producing will only get easier though, so it’s imperative that labels employ a high level of quality control to ensure that the scene doesn’t become too saturated in the coming years.”

Q: Last random question of today, and it’s the most quirky one ever (hence the name of the website ‘thecrazydutchmansblog’): Sied is covered with tattoos: when will your logo appear on his body? Would he be happy to be a living billboard for P&M? “Haha! We ask him this on a weekly basis. We’re still waiting for his response on this, so watch this space!”

We would like to say ‘thank you’ to Perrelli & Mankoff, a duo you need to look out for! Check them out on various pages (links are underneath the review, so like them, and follow them). Also check out their latest releases, like the majestic ‘Lingering Mind’ with Sara Houston and ‘Solar Flare’. This UK Trance duo will become the next best thing to emerge, so you are warned! Thanks again for these insightful answers, and to get you a fan as well, here’s a Soundcloud player with their releases.

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