Tidy News

The Return of The Brutal Sound of Hard Trance

When Tidy first launched their Resonate series in 2002, I bet they didn’t bank on it celebrating its 18th birthday this year.

With the roller coaster rode that the hard dance scene is it was difficult to gauge who would pull through the tough times but Tidy did and the Resonate series continued with the last few volumes having had the Technikal treatment and peaking just before Christmas 2019 with Signum and Nicholson providing the mixes. Other names that have mixed the series have included Guyver, The Freak and the legendary Alphazone to name a few.

It gave birth to the slogan, “The Brutal Sound of Hard Trance” and that it was. Resonate was a bit of a gamble for Tidy who had pioneered the hard house scene and were looking at encompassing other genres which was still ‘Music For The Harder Generation’ and that is something we’ll talk about another day.

It could all have all gone completely wrong… but it didn’t…

As it happened, the gamble paid off and a new pulpit was crated for those who wanted to preach about an alternative sound, a sound that was still hard and energetic yet different.

Hard trance had been around long before Tidy came up with the Resonate concept. In my Wax and M8 days I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Germany witnessing the growth of hard trance from green shoots to becoming fully blossomed trees that would eventually bear energetic and atmospheric fruits.

I’ve was lucky enough to frequent Germany quite a bit in the early to mid-90’s visiting several events there including Nature One and Mayday to name a few as well as the crème de la crème of them all… Love Parade. Prior to this I’d promoted Doncaster Warehouse with M-Zone who had introduced the northern rave scene to hard trance and we were first people to bring the likes of Timo Maas, Gary D and DJ Crack, three of the biggest hard trance pioneers in that country to the UK. Other names we brought over included Bonzai’s The Fly, Yves De Ruyter and the Low Spirit founders, Westbam, Marusha and DJ Dick, The sound was relatively slow to come over to the UK’s club scene but when it did it was appreciated within the rave scene where it remained pretty much underground.

Fast forward a decade and we are back at Tidy where, as mention earlier, a big risk was being taken.

Lee had already developed the style of music he was spinning at events from the traditional hard house sound to more a more energetic, harder edged trance sound… A plethora of labels was producing the sound, much of it very poor compared to those in Germany but Haslam had an ear for choosing the right track, which were unknown to many clubbers but packed a punch when dropped on a dancefloor.  Tidy made the decision to create a new series based on this sound and it was titled Resonate. Lee would mix the first one. He describes how it felt to mix the first album in a series that had an unknown future in unchartered waters.

“It was pretty incredible really, I recall the moment when Amo came up with the concept and asked me to mix the first one and it became a bit of an obsession. I have always taken a lot of time when I was mixing an album but more so on this one for sure. “

Despite having now mixed four of the albums in the series, it’s actually a mix by someone else that he cites as his favorite in the series after Resonate 4 which he also mixed. Incidentally that is the favorite of many clubbers.

“Resonate 2 which Guy mixed was really strong and defined the time it was released really well.”

For the 11th edition Tidy have changed the two-disc format to three and Lee explains how.

“Originally we were going to do just an upfront album but I said to Sam, as it was #11, it would be great if we did a joint album,  so a mix of new material and then two more mixes of the ‘best of’. To be fair I would have easily done an extra mix as there were so many tracks that deserved to be on but some we just couldn’t license anymore so we settled with 3 CD’s. The upfront mix also includes some old tracks that I was surprised never made the series so far, so some ‘ones that got away’.”

Trance is such a diverse style that has evolved over the years and like with all styles of music has seen some pretty dark and uncertain times. Out German creators deliver such a polished sound as you would expect any German creation to be. The Belgian’s were also making great hard trance thanks to Bonzai and it’s often debated who actually created the hard trance sound. In later years, the Dutch also came on board as major contenders in trance and hard trance productions. The sound was forever evolving no matter which direction it went in. The UK did struggle to grasp the sound and only a handful of producers were actually able to produce a sound that was on par with, and occasionally better than the Germans.

“I do feel in some circles that a lot of the production styles are getting very samey and obvious.” Says Lee but he still feels it is innovative and far from stale. “A lot seem to sound the same sonically which puts me off, I think for a scene to move forward people have to take some risks.”

So, Volume 11 has arrived and is upon us and with it came various challenges. The main hurdle to overcome was what to put on the album as there was so much material to choose from.  “Picking the tracks…” Lee pauses momentarily. “Like I said before there were so many that deserved to me on and then some we couldn’t license but I think in the end it’s a great album and I’m really pleased with it.”

Order yours!

Whilst you are wrapping your ears around the three CDs there are talks of a Possible Resonate arena at tw25. It would also be great to see a Resonate event at some point.

And we all thought Lee had hung up his headphones…

“I wouldn’t say I have come out of retirement,” he concludes, “I probably play twice a year at best and they are always for Tidy… I stopped DJing as I wanted to focus on my family, spend time with the kids and also to concentrate on my own business and Artist Management which is what I do today. I will always love DJing but the reality is I wanted to develop my career in the industry away from all the touring and DJing… These days I get my buzz from helping other, younger DJ’s coming through aspire to what they want to be.”

Lee has dedicated resonate 11 to one of his closest friends who sadly passed away very recently. The album is a fitting tribute to Steve.

“Steve was one of my best friends. We met in the mid 90’s and DJ’d together at a place called Camelot’s in my home town of Doncaster and then went on to both DJ at the Doncaster Warehouse from 97-99. He was the man that introduced me to Andy Pickles before I started working at Music Factory in 1998. He was one of the kindest blokes you would ever meet, always had time for everyone else and he was just a great guy to be around. We shared a flat together for a few years in the late 90’s and he also worked at the Music Factory in Rotherham for a number of years.”

“Steve took his own life a few weeks back and it has devastated not only me and all the people that knew him, but of course, it’s destroyed his family. I wanted to dedicate this album to Steve because he was a massive fan of hard dance and of tidy and a great DJ himself. He is gone but will never be forgotten. R.I.P. Steve x”

Resonate 11 is released on Sunday 26th July, which is also Lee’s birthday weekend. It is available to purchase from Glamzoo.

I’ve had a listen and it is, without a doubt, the best one to date. Lee’s Resonate 4 was a touch act to follow it but the man himself has done it with three discs of brutal energetic hard trance. Good things come to those that wait… and that time has finally arrived… enjoy!

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