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Starecase to Heaven - Sasha Favourites on Trance

Author: Skruff
Sunday, April 22, 2001
"Dance crowds are fanatically loyal. Providing you don't take the piss out of them, they'll follow you to the end of the Earth." Progressive trance producer Paul Crossman and Al "Eels" Watson are Starecase, presently one of the UK's hottest production teams. Particularly popular with Sasha, the pair also teamed up recently with James Holden who recently remixed their new single Hopeless. Benedetta Ferraro tracked Paul down in Bristol this week.

Mezz: How did you first hook up with Al "Eels" Watson-
Starecase (Paul Crossman): "It all happened at the Lakota club in Bristol where we met through mutual friends. At the time, it was around 1996, Al and I were involved in promoting club nights with a few other people in Bristol. We decided to start writing tracks together and we have done so ever since."

Mezz: How did your interest in music develop into a career-
Starecase: "Personally, I've always had a desire to break down any track I happen to listen to, and I feel this outlook has taken me to another level from just being a music lover. It's a common denominator amongst producers. I always listen to how a record has been made and to the effects that have been added which is a totally different angle from a typical listener."

Mezz: Your "Hopeless EP" was released on April 9th, what was the idea behind the EP-
Starecase: "There are three tracks, all of which were written in a quite concise period, last year. We tend to write as the inspiration comes, following a very natural approach. I feel this EP works really well as a package because it sums up many of our different sides. Obviously getting the Ariane (aka James Holden) mix of "Hopeless" was a real bonus, since James' sound is so beautiful and distinctive."

Mezz: You're being hailed as the initiators of the break-beat trance crossover…
Starecase: "We haven't invented anything. We both like many different sounds and the mixing of these can produce 'weird and wonderful' results. Breakbeat marked our first interest in dance music at the end of the '80's. At the time, dance music was all about mixing and throwing together different elements into the melting pot, like hard core, break beat and kick drums. People did what they felt like and the scene wasn't just about selling product. We still see things from that perspective. As our interest in music has developed, so has our sound. As we've progressed we've also realised that what really kicks the dance floor is the 4/4 drums, so why not mix various sounds and beats and do whatever takes your fancy- After all, we're talking about music, not science."

Mezz: Sasha is a big fan of your music, what makes him still the nation's favourite DJ-
Starecase: "Dance crowds are fanatically loyal. Providing you don't take the piss out of them, they'll follow you to the end of the Earth. You can see it in the sort of fanaticism that club nights like Cream have created; people feel like they're special, and part of a big family. Sasha is a good DJ, and he has loyal fans because he puts his heart and soul into his sets. He drops records that will mark people's lives, because we have to remember that relationships and friendships are sometimes created or broken on dance floors to the sound of these records."

Mezz: Bristol was a really happening location on the dance map a few years ago, but it all seems to have gone a bit quiet…
Starecase: "Bristol is still a reference point in music terms, no one can deny that there's a lot of talent around, but in my opinion the clubbing circuit has gone slightly sluggish in recent years. I'm not saying it's dead, there's a lot of hard house, garage and hip hop, but nothing that resembles what we're into, i.e. progressive house, or there aren't any clubs that thrive on a more producer based sound. However Bristol, being a student's town, still has a lively bar scene and has life and energy going on. I've also not