EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: EUPHORIC NATION
by Annette Lucero

SIMshows and Euphoric Nation are proud to present,”Trance Paradise 400”. We’ve got a talented team ready to make your Saturday night, with a headlining set by yours truly, Euphoric Nation. Check out this SIMshows exclusive interview with Euphoric Nation!

What led to the current evolution of Euphoric Nation? Why did you both decide to grow into a duo, and what did that transition mean for both of you?

Don: Euphoric Nation was originally formed as a group.  When all of the members left and I was the only one left, it didn’t make sense to come up with a new name. I love working with other people in music.  So, when Justin and I decided to collab on a couple of tracks it only made sense to team up to see what we could really accomplish together!

Justin: Don and I had been collaborating on tracks, and generally just chatting on and off about music industry/business stuff for a few years. We were both reaching a crossroads where we knew we’d have to get really serious about music if we wanted to go any further. In evaluating what we should do next, we realized that we shared a vision, got along well, and our skills complimented each other, so It was kind of no brainer to team up!

What technical and personal skills do you believe your fellow producer brings to the table?

Don: Justin is probably tired of hearing me say this but he really is a production genius.  He spends so much time experimenting with different ways to do things, taking classes, learning from the pros.  His production skills have far surpassed mine and I have no problem admitting that. It’s really become a specialty to him and I’m excited to see how far that yearning for knowledge will go.

Justin: Don is definitely a marketing and promotion genius! What he’s done to help grow the Euphoric Nation name and the Trance scene in Minneapolis has been amazing to watch.  He’s also an expert DJ! He doesn’t flinch at tricky tempo changes or moving through different genre’s. Track selection as well! It’s rare that you find someone who seems to love and mix all different sub-genre’s of trance. Last but not least, he’s always willing to help out or give feedback. I love that he’s never too busy for anyone, and always makes time to help other producers out!

Don – What has Euphoric Nation taught you about producing alone versus with other individuals?

Don: I think it’s been a while since I’ve been producing alone to be honest!  I was working a lot with my friend David Thulin on vocal tunes in 2016, 2017, and early 2018.  I think I work best when I can bounce ideas off someone else. My extroverted nature makes it difficult for me to be a 100% studio guy.  It’s almost as if I can satisfy that part of my personality by combining studio time with hang out time and working with another person.

Justin – What have been some of your favorite moments within Euphoric Nation?

Justin: Overall it’s been really fun to work together and generate new ideas for tracks! We both have big imaginations, so one day we might be trying to make a classic 138 track, the next day we might have an idea to make a slower borderline deep track. There has even been some talk of Happy Hardcore… but don’t hold your breath on that!  One moment in specific I would say was traveling to Chicago together. We played out all the new music we we’re working on at a gig, and that gave me a taste of what touring would be like. I gotta say it was pretty awesome! I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m sure I’ll soon be adding Trance Paradise 400 to this list as well!

How do you both navigate situations in which you disagree on a sound?

Don: I don’t think we have really disagreed on the tracks we’ve been working on so far.  I think we understand each other’s expertise really well and we both know there has to be trust in the other person’s opinions.  If we are trying to communicate certain sounds we expect to hear or are defending why a change should be made we usually go out and find examples in other tracks to make our case.  I think we have such a high quality standard that we actually appreciate each other’s criticisms. You have to learn quickly that in order to be successful in music you need other people to tear your tracks to shreds.  Nothing is taken personally and so I can’t really see us getting in a situation where we disagree so badly. We are always willing to hear the other person out and to try different things with the song to make it work.

Justin: We have been really lucky that most the time we tend to agree on how we think something should sound. Due to that, if one of us thinks something sounds off we usually just assume the other one is right, and try to investigate what might be wrong with the synth patch or EQ.

How do each of you handle artistic cynicism?

Don: I think it’s really easy to fall victim to cynicism.  In music the common belief is everyone is out for themselves.  DJs say they are in it for the music but you see a lot of people stroking their own ego and making it about their own personal fame.  When you are surrounded by that constantly I can see how you might fall victim to that mentality. I think it’s easier for me to escape that because I see the effect the music has on the fans.  I’m reminded after every show why I do what I do. It’s always been a part of my being to want to have a job where I’m working for purpose. In day jobs I’ve been in non-profit or public service jobs for this reason.  So, when it comes to music it’s always been about giving an escape to people – allowing people to free their emotions in the music. If you think about it that way then it really doesn’t matter what other DJs do because you have a responsibility to deliver a fun and emotional experience to the fans that enjoy your music.

Justin: It’s definitely difficult since there are so many things people associate with being a Producer/DJ like money, fame, attention, etc. But for me at least, if that was my motivation I wouldn’t be making music… I’d do something easier!  More specifically though, when it comes to production this means not being afraid of abandoning bad ideas and situation. If I’m no longer motivated to finish a track, or unhappy with the changes the label wants, the song probably isn’t true to me anymore anyways. It’s easy to think getting a track signed to a label might put you on the map but it’s even more important to ask yourself, “If this song does put me on the map, is this what I want to be known for? Am I happy with this track? Or, “Will my current fans even like this?” I try to keep these questions in mind with every project and it usually helps!

Lay it out: What is Euphoric Nation’s vision for themselves in 2019 and beyond?

Don: There’s a couple of goals I think we have set for 2019.  Some of them are really high goals such as getting a small tour together by the end of 2019.  Some are more attainable, such as having tracks ready to go to release every other month. One personal goal I have is to try to get support from ASOT or ABGT on a track in 2019.  I think it’s very attainable and Justin and I aren’t going to give up to make it a reality. I feel like we are so close to a breakthrough in something big next year and it’s really exciting and energizing!

Justin: One of my all time production goals would be to have a track played on ASOT, or ABGT,  if we keep at it I know we will get there eventually! We’ve already done some preparation for some of these goals, so it will be exciting to see how 2019 pans out for us!

Is there anything else Euphoric Nation would like to share?

Don: One miscellaneous item that I think is a taboo subject around other Trance people is “other genres”.  It upsets so many people that in Minneapolis, Dubstep still continues to be the king of the EDM scene.  The people that get upset about it sit in the corner and complain and don’t do much about it. I’ve met amazing Dubstep DJs that are just as passionate about their music as I am about mine.  Why not support them? Why not wish success for other musicians in the scene? I’ve been trying to do that by experiencing other shows in Minneapolis. I’ve even told some of these Dubstep DJs about amazing Techno shows in the city.  Why not experience other genres and get out of your comfort zone? People in these other genres know I am a Trance DJ and that won’t ever change. As a result, they’ve been also willing to give Trance music a try as well. We are all trying to do the same thing as DJs – deliver an emotional and unforgettable experience to our fans.  It only makes sense to make sure our communities grow, and we can help each other grow as DJs and Producers as well.

Euphoric Nation is ready to make 2019 their year. Make sure to join Don and Justin on Saturday, January 5th  for Trance Paradise 400. Supporting talent will be provided by RENNO and AZNPERSUASIAN. Curious? Event details can be found here.

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