If you’ve paid any attention to the Trance scene in the last two years, you’ll have stumbled upon the name Para X. The man behind the moniker is German producer Alex van Roezel, who has honed his craft in the more than 15 years of activity and in a back catalogue that’s in excess of 50 singles and remixes . After all this time, he is finally gearing up for the release of his tremendous debut artist album, Rising Star.
We’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with him and throwing a few questions his way, so let’s see how that went. 🙂
TranceMag: Hi, Alex. Thanks for taking a little time to let us pester you with some questions. Where does this interview find you?
Para X: Hi guys, thanks for having me. I’m born, raised, and live in Frankfurt am Main.
TM: I guess the beginning is as good a place to start as any. What sparked your interest in music initially?
PX: I have always been crazy about music. I remember being fascinated with tape decks from as early as 4 years old. My family tells me that I always knew exactly how far to rewind tapes to make my favorite songs play from the exact point they started. I think I drove everyone crazy, because I kept repeating tracks over and over again. That said, I still do the same thing now at home once I have found a new favorite!
TM: In terms of the decision to start producing your own material, what was the catalyst? And while we’re on the subject, what were some of your earliest influences?
PX: Back in the 90s I started listening to dance and electronic music and I began to wonder how tracks are actually made. I had no clue about how songs might get arranged or mixed. By coincidence, one of my mom’s friends happened to be a producer. One day he arranged to take me to the studio, where he and his colleagues worked. It was fascinating and stunning! From that day on I knew that this was what I want to do someday.
TM: Although you probably do get this a lot, we do have to ask: What’s the story behind your alias? Why Para X?
PX: Haha yes! It’s still something I can’t explain properly, without loosing its main essence. I guess it only makes sense in German and if you were to live in the situation.
TM: Switching things up a little, was there ever a track you listened to and instantly fell in love with? Was it perhaps also the first record you ever bought?
PX: Without thinking twice, it’s definitely Rank 1 – Airwave. I first heard it at the legendary Dorian Gray at Frankfurt Airport. I couldn’t get this amazing pad sound out of my head!
TM: To focus in on more technical matters, what part do you view as the centerpiece of your productions? Obviously, all parts are important, but which one do you believe is the key to winning over a listener?
PX: Just as you said, all parts are important to have an overall good sounding track. In my particular case, I would say it’s about the melodies and pads/atmospheres.
TM: It may sound like a silly question, but why Trance? What attracted you to this particular genre?
PX: In electronic music Trance is the genre of emotions and feelings. I love emotional and melodic music, and I love strong and driving beats. Trance has all of this combined – so it’s a perfect match.
TM: Your earlier work like Skytunes and Flowmotion though similar to the sound at the time, was much more of a melodic-leaning affair. Were you ever attracted by other styles of Trance, like for example the kind of Hard Trance your fellow countrymen Alphazone were creating? How about earlier styles like Goa Trance?
PX: My style was always dedicated to feelings and melodies. You will always remember a good melody, and it stays in your mind. Music without emotions just isn’t my thing. In electronic music it’s also Chill Out I enjoy from time to time. This is also the reason why I wanted to include this style on my album. It’s basically Trance, just much slower, with no or very light beats. I enjoy many of the old Dumonde tracks (which are still banging nowadays). Although they are a bit “harder” than what I usually listen to, they always have these beautiful elements in them.
TM: What is your opinion on the current Trance scene and the modern sound that people are attracted to?
PX: It’s delightful to see people from all over the world sharing this passion for music. The global Trance family is incredible. They travel around the globe to see their favorite artists perform and dance to the sounds they love. I’m not sure if there is any other music genre in the world where people unite this way. On the other hand, it seems that this love for Trance only happens at the big festivals. Local nightlife, at least here in Germany, suffers from a lack of attendants. Our youth doesn’t really know what Trance is, nor are they willing to find out. This is a sad fact and totally differs from when I stepped into the scene in the late 90s. The sound of current tracks is really great and the standard is high. I especially see that uplifting has had something of a big revival in the last 3 or 4 years.
TM: 10 best tracks of the year so far?
01. Conjure One feat. Mimi Page – Oceanic (Amine Maxwell Remix)
02. Aly & Fila – Beyond The Lights
03. Klubbingman & Andy Jay Powell – From The Dark (Savon Remix)
04. Andres Sanchez – Eternity
05. Andre Visior & Miroslav Vrlik – Raindrops
06. Cold Blue – Once In A Time
07. Daniel Skyver – Heatwave
08. Manuel Le Saux & James Kelly – The Right Direction
09. Talla 2 XLC & Allen Watts – Helix
10. Bluskay – Breakthrough
TM: Out of everything you’ve written so far (and that’s a pretty impressive number of singles and remixes), which one would you say is your favorite?
PX: Hard to say and it often depends on the mood I’m in. It would be a bit easier if I could say my top 5 or something 😉
TM: Speaking of productions, Laguna and World of Illusion are two absolutely stunning numbers from last year. The recently released title track of your album, Rising Star, is of equally high caliber. How do you find the inspiration to create such awesome material after such a long time in the scene?
PX: I really appreciate your kind words! To be honest, I can’t exactly explain where my inspiration comes from. I assume, it’s because I really love this music from the bottom of my heart. I’m not following a trend – I just do what I love and feel. So the results are pure and simply me, if that makes any sense? 😉
TM: Since we touched on the subject a little, how did the creation of your album come about? Was it a recent decision, or had it been on your mind for a while?
PX: The initial idea of making an album has been in my mind for many years. But as time went by, I put the idea on hold and I forgot about it. Maybe I didn’t feel the time was right and I wasn’t ready for it. I then found a home with Discover Records and one day they asked if I had ever considered an artist album, and if so, would I be interested in putting it out on the label. This was totally unexpected and came out of nowhere, but I wanted to take on the challenge and I’m very happy with the results.
TM: Since Rising Star (the LP) has tracks with multi-genre influences; do you perhaps have a favorite production on there?
PX: Good question. I obviously like them all, otherwise I wouldn’t want to have them included on the album 😉 If I had to choose one, I would probably have to go with My Salvation.
TM: You’ve released quite a lot of your newer material on Recoverworld’s Discover imprint, and have recently been brought on the team as an A&R for the label. First of all, congratulations! Second of all, how did the proposal come about?
PX: Thank you! It arose from a long and nice chat with the Recoverworld crew. I had offered my help and support with going through the masses of demos they receive. The fact that we have a very similar taste in music and also developed a great friendship over the last two years made us go for it 🙂
TM: Getting onto the subject of production, in terms of the things you need for your day-to-day job, what synths or sounds can you not live without?
PX: There are many fantastic products available these days. Personally, I couldn’t live without Omnisphere 2, Spire, and Sylenth.
TM: On a rather strange note, if you weren’t a producer, what would you be doing instead?
PX: As a teenager it sounded tempting to become something like a Gigolo;) Haha… Jokes aside, not sure. Maybe I would have tried to become a stand-up comedian? At least something creative as well…
TM: Besides music, do you have time to do anything else? Are you a gamer or a TV show fan?
PX: I used to be a gamer as a kid and as a teenager. Nowadays it only happens very rarely and randomly. I sure have my favorite sitcoms, which I love to watch over and over again. But this is mostly on demand instead of watching the regular TV programs.
TM: 10 years is a long time, but where would you see yourself musically in a decade?
PX: No one can predict the future. Hopefully still as addicted to music, as I am now, and in particular, emotions and melodies as I have always been. New production tools and techniques are sure to come and I’m curious as to where future possibilities will lead us. Also I hope people will still like and support me!
TM: Some folks may not know this, but you host a monthly radio show on DI.FM along with Ciacomix. Could you tell our readers a bit more about that?
PX: Yes, it’s a 2 hour show called “Intense Emotions Reloaded”, and takes place every third Sunday of each month. Some years ago I started the initial “Intense Emotions” on a different station. After a few months, I somehow felt it might be too early for my own show – at least a show people would really be interested to listen to. So I stopped it and focused on producing and local gigs. Last summer, Ciacomix and I had chat after some years of radio silence, and we came up with the idea to join forces. Btw, he is one of the very first DI.FM DJ’s with a monthly show.
TM: Speaking of shows and music, you’re also the host of Recoverworld Radio. How did that come about and where can folks interested find it?
PX: This also is one of the things I wanted to take over when I joined Recoverworld. It’s a monthly one hour show, with the latest and exclusive tracks from Recoverworld. You can join me there every first Friday of each month on Digitally Imported Trance channel.
TM: Any upcoming gigs we could catch you at?
PX: Indeed. My next gig is on May 13th at Talla 2XLC’s legendary Technoclub. It’s the release party of the forthcoming Technoclub Vol.52 CD, together with ReOrder and the TC-Residents. Another really BIG one is in the schedule as well now! I have been asked to play at “Luminosity presents ADE Special”, in October, at the World famous Panama Club, which is a massive honor for me!
TM: Everybody we have on here gets this question, and you’ll be no exception: Is there a track in history you wish you would’ve written, or have been there to witness it being made?
PX: The Rocky Theme for sure!
TM: Silly question, but do you have a pet? If not, what would your ideal pet be (you can even go with an imaginary one, if it’s more interesting)?
PX: No … Well yes! I actually have a big plush sheep family!
TM: Any last words for our readers and your fans?
PX: Stay true to who you are. Don’t change for others. Sometimes it appears much easier to go with the masses, follow trends and simply adapt to things. Have you asked yourself, if it’s this what you really want? Do you feel happy to do all these things you don’t want to do, just to impress others? Break out of the comfort zone, trust your heart and follow your own way. Last but not least, I’d like to give a big shout out to each and every one believing in me and for all this tremendous support! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Without you, all these great things wouldn’t be possible!
Thank you so much for talking to us, Alex. Best of luck with the upcoming album, and hope to catch up with you again in the future!
Be sure to check out a review of Rising Star over here. The album comes out exclusively on Beatport on May 15, with a general release and physical CD on May 29. You can also grab a pre-order bundle at this link.
Press images courtesy of Para X.