Relentless Beats

RB Exclusive Interview: Saad Ayub is Trance Music’s Hidden Gem

Saad Ayub is one of the hottest new DJs making dreamy trance music; and after releasing his brand new single “Ever After,” Saad Ayub has received immensely positive feedback. This entrancing song sounds like what could be a Dreamstate anthem one day. The official music video for his latest track “Ever After” featuring Fenja, has reached No. 1 in the weekly YouTube stats for Armin‘s label Armada Music. “Ever After” is outperforming the second best video by a landslide, receiving almost 2:1 views compared to the next best video on Armada. With a mentor like Armin Van Buuren, it is hard to imagine not finding success. Saad Ayub praises his mentor for not being a prisoner to his own genre, even saying that he has taken Armin’s willingness to experiment with different styles as inspiration for his own music.

Saad Ayub feat. Fenja – Ever After (Official Music Video)

However, he hasn’t solely been into trance his entire career; Saad Ayub started out as a house DJ in Bangladesh. Being one of the frontrunners to introduce electronic dance music to the country, Saad Ayub helped to lay the foundation for what is now the Bengali electronic music scene. He had actually discovered trance music when he moved to Canada at age 21. After going through a bad breakup, Saad Ayub had found comfort in this uplifting music, and after that trance became a major part of his life, bringing him to where he is today. In this exclusive interview he even says, “Trance fans are the best fans, and I am really lucky to have fans all over the world.”

Your new track that just came out, “Ever After” sounds like what could be a Dreamstate trance festival anthem. What went into producing this track?

That’s a great compliment, thank you! I can’t wait for Dreamstate SoCal. There is a great story behind the making of this track. Right after my track with Jennifer Rene was released, one of my biggest fans reached out to me asking if I would ever do a collaboration with Jaren. For me, just getting that request was a huge compliment, as I adore Jaren’s voice and have a great deal of respect for her as a prominent vocalist in the trance scene. It didn’t stop there. He kept asking me and even met with her at Bal En Blanc in Montreal, asking if she would be interested. Right after that, I approached Matt Cerf, who is her musical partner, and we agreed to work on the project together. I will always be thankful for the opportunity they gave me. An interesting fact I learned during the shoot for the music video (which comes out on Sept 20th), was that the top line was originally written for Armin 7 years ago. Armin was presented with two ideas by Jaren and the one he chose became his track “Unforgivable.” I am really honored that Jaren thought I was capable of making something out of it with my studio partner Anderson Luis. You can be the judge of how well we did.

Is there a special place you go to or routine you go through to gain motivation and gather ideas for creating new music?

I actually seem to gather a lot of inspiration while I sleep, as crazy as it sounds. A lot of my ideas come to me in the first moments after waking up in the morning. Sometimes a melody will come to me, and I’ll get it down on midi as soon as I can. It’s a similar process for my mashups. For example, my mashup of “Heading up High,” which Armin played during the ASOT 750 pre party, was made the moment I woke up and was finished within 30 min.

What age did you first discover your passion for trance?

Trance really became a major part of my life right after I moved to Canada – I was about 21 at the time. I was coming out of a bad breakup and was able to find some consolation in this particular genre of music that previously, I had only casually listened to.

You were actually one of the frontrunners introducing EDM in Bangladesh as a house DJ back in 2008, and this is how you started out in the music industry. What was that experience like?

My experience included the sleepless nights spent promoting events and playing sold out shows. I consider myself blessed to have experienced all of it from such a young age. I take pride in what I accomplished during my time in Bangladesh; we laid the foundation for what has now become the Bengali electronic music scene. It’s only a matter of time until electronic music really takes hold in Bangladesh, we’re already seeing the beginnings of it!

You’ve had huge support from Trance legend Armin Van Buuren, as a label boss, major influence and mentor. What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from him as a mentor that you can pass on to aspiring DJs and producers?

One thing I learned from him was to never spend time worrying about what other people think of you – it’s tough in the age of social media. Looking back, I think I get why he said that. If you’re passionate about creating great music, you need to dedicate yourself to it as much as possible rather than focusing on things that only serve to distract you. It’s all about recognizing what really matters to you, and not sweating the rest of it. Also, as much as people have criticized him for dabbling in a different sound, I think too often artists become prisoners of their own styles and it’s nice to see that he is willing to experiment. I have taken inspiration from that and plan on applying it to my music in my own way. The aim is to sound unique but still retain some mainstream appeal.

Other than Armin, what artists do you look towards for inspiration?

Giuseppe Ottaviani is a huge influence for me, and I am really grateful for his support as well. He is actually the guy who first discovered my mashups, which was a huge boost for me. I also take a lot of advice from John O’ Callaghan, I think he is a great personality in the trance community. He’s very level-headed and to the point; I have a lot of respect for his work and his character. Sean Tyas and RAM have also been big supporters of my music and for that, I am thankful.

Say you go out tonight on stage, you’re feeling yourself, the fans are excited for you and they are LOUD, the production is incredible and the stage you’re playing on is a spectacular sight in its own right. You rock your set, the fans love you, and you wish you could just … keep … playing …

You’re playing the festival of your dreams; at what festival do you imagine yourself?

Dreamstate (definitely something I’m working towards) or a festival either in Mexico, Argentina or Australia.

You’re headlining this festival, playing the closing set:

—  What would you play as your opening track?

Good question, I actually have no idea, it all depends on my mood. If you look at my setlists, each one is different from the last. I always make special mashups or intros for each set I play.

—  What would you have your last track be?

Not sure, but most likely something classic, like Armin’s “Sail” (just love that track) or my mashups of “Faded” or “Hey Now.”

I used to do musical theatre when I was younger and would live for that rush you experience performing on stage in front of a large audience, and you have an even bigger crowd at festivals! How would you describe that rush you feel performing on stage to someone who doesn’t know what it’s like?

Oh cool, I love musical theatre! Imagine being in the crowd at a festival. You’ve got a nice, energetic buzz going, you’re surrounded by your friends and loved ones, and your favorite track is playing. It’s somewhat like that, but with a healthy dose of nervousness.

What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen happen while playing at a festival?

When I played at Nocturnal Wonderland as my debut US gig, the stage I was to play at opened half an hour into my time slot. The reason was that it was an exceptionally hot day and the sunlight had made the decks too hot to use without burning yourself. When I finally did start to play, it was to a crowd of about ten people. The ten who made it, were there because they really love my music – huge shout out to them for running over to catch my set. The first guy to show up had never heard of me before and only knew that I was one of the few trance acts at the festival. The crowd of ten could have easily been ten thousand. It’s those special moments that matter to me the most. Trance fans are the best fans, and I am really lucky to have fans all over the world.

Connect with Saad Ayub: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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