This is Part 2 of the Trance Music Mastery Interview With Betsie Larkin. She shares more details about collaboration with producers on her album, “All We Have Is Now”. In 2011 Betsie gathered some of her favorite producers and collaborated to release her first solo EDM album, “All We Have Is Now,” on dance titan, Black Hole Recordings. The album features collaborations with John O’Callaghan, Ferry Corsten, Super8 & Tab, Solarstone, Lange, Bobina, Sied van Riel, Bjorn Akesson, Giuseppe Ottaviani, and Rafael Frost. The first two singles, “All We Have Is Now” and “The Dream” both hit the Music Week Club charts and were hammered on dance radio worldwide.
How much time went into producing your new album?
Some of the songs were really old. The song “Stars” which Ferry produced was actually from an old solo EP that I did before I started trance. Hearing it was what made him want to work with me initially, so it was fitting that he produced the new trance/rock version. If you take old material into account, it took about 5 years. If you don’t, I would say about 2 years, on and off. I had label interest, but no one was pushing me to finish it and I had to be the one coaxing the project along. Let’s hope the next one is quicker!
Do you have a personal favorite song on the new album? If so, which one?
It changes… “Obvious” was my favorite for a while. Lange’s production is so cool, in my opinion. “Breathe You In” also has stunning production, but it’s in a more dark/moody way. “Chasing” and “Stars” perfectly marry trance and rock, in my humble opinion. Those two are triumphant on their own, but when you add the trance elements, it’s over-the-top. “The Flicker Inside” is a special tune and was the last one to be finished on the album. It’s different from the rest of the album. I have a soft spot for all of them – there’s a story behind each of them and the album really is journal of my experiences and musings mixed with the work of great producers.
What song(s) seemed to come together most easily on All We Have Is Now? Why do you think that is?
“The Offering,” “Chasing,” and maybe “Toys.” Sied, John, and Giuseppe work very quickly and, for whatever reason, these three fell into place with minimal effort. Some of the others took longer due to busy schedules, using live musicians for certain arrangements, etc. All worth the effort, but some took more than others.
Related to the previous question: What song(s) seemed to be more challenging to finish on your new album and why?
None of them were extremely difficult. There were a few that just didn’t make the album because they didn’t fit. You can’t force certain things in the creative process, and I try to work with people that I can get on the same page without splitting hairs too much.
What are some studio/music tips you can share that you’ve learned from your work on your new album?
One is to keep sharpening the saw – try to learn as much as you can from the people you collaborate with. It’s so much faster than learning every lesson by trial and error. Vocal recording-wise – I always work with a professional engineer for the final recording and am a big fan of doing it that way. I have decent recording equipment but find that having a second set of ears as well as better mics, etc, moves the needle. If any readers need someone in the NY area, I recommend Jon D’Uva who has recorded 90% of the songs that I’ve tracked in the last 5 years (vocals and band recordings).
What are some myths or misconceptions that you think many people have about the dance music business?
1. All DJs do is play records.
2. Producing dance music is easier than rock
3. The featured vocalist didn’t have a part in the writing. Fairly often, we have a 50% part, at least, in the writing.
4. Being an artist is always fun. There is SO much more work involved outside the jet-setting and partying that you see in the music videos.
What advice would you like to share with aspiring singer/song writers or music producers?
Keep learning and improving. Find the most talented people you have access to – work and learn from them. Be ready for the inspiration to come and make sure to capture it on paper or with a recorder, etc. Think positively – This work can be frustrating and if you visualize reaching your goal, whatever it is, it will give you that spark that you need to keep going. Last one – be disciplined.
Thanks for interviewing me and good luck to all of you who are on the path to producing!
Betsie Larkin is an accomplished trance vocalist, song writer, and musician. After reading this interview, check out Betsie Larkin’s recent album: “All We Have Is Now” on Premier Recordings.