Interview: Andrew Rayel Offers Sound Advice

Andrew Rayel started making music before many top DJs out there. Making music under the Armada label and being part of A State of Trance family, this sweetheart from the little-known country of Moldova has truly made a name for himself. Sensible Reason caught up with Rayel to chat about drinking culture, how he got into music, and what’s next on the agenda. An off the record conversation sparked the start of the interview, which got us talking.

Sensible Reason: We were just talking about the drinking culture in the US. What is the legal drinking age in Moldova?

Andrew Rayel: Well…I believe there’s a law, but nobody knows about it so people just start drinking whenever they want. I don’t agree with that and it’s a really bad thing, but the good thing is that they have the freedom so they don’t over drink. Because you know when someone tells you not to do something you really want to do it. But in Moldova, people aren’t telling you that.

SR: Yes, that is exactly what we were just saying.

Andrew Rayel: I’m not really familiar with the drinking culture in America, but I know people have fun here a lot! [Laughs]. But what I would tell you is that you can have so much fun without drinking. You can enjoy music and dance, you can have fun with your friends. Drinking will only make you wasted, you’re not going to enjoy the music. I hate it when fans come to festivals just to drink and party and go crazy, they’re not coming for the music or the artists. That’s just disrespectful towards the artists, for the people that worked to create this festival, the people who have to clean the mess up.

SR: Wise words. So what do you think about TomorrowWorld so far?

Andrew Rayel: I just got here and I haven’t seen much so far but I remember last year was incredible, everyone knows so many people from all over the place, so many countries, so many flags, you can see them all together. I was just discussing it with my manager that you can see so many wars in the world, so many people fighting, so many countries fighting with each other, and then you come to TomorrowWorld and you see two people from two fighting countries dancing together united. So, I think people should come here, learn all these things, go back to their countries and tell all their people not to fight anymore and just dance.

SR: There was actually a UN ambassador that promoted TomorrowLand for the same reason.

Andrew Rayel: Yeah, they should promote festivals like that!

SR: He said that the fundamentals of these festivals are how the world should be.

Andrew Rayel: YES!

SR: Do you agree?

Andrew Rayel: Absolutely!

SR: Should we start contacting world leaders?

Andrew Rayel: [Laughs] I’m not a world leader or anything but that’s how I feel about festivals and war.

Credit: Jacob van Rozelaar

Credit: Jacob van Rozelaar

SR: What has been your favorite festival that you’ve been to?

Andrew Rayel: Well, EDC Las Vegas is definitely one of my favorites. TomorrowLand/TomorrowWorld, they have the same vibes they’re great. A State of Trance, not to be forgotten, of course, there are so many people coming to that, and A State of Trance Mexico is coming up as well I’m really excited about it.

SR: You’ve been making music for a while, so what do you feel as been your biggest accomplishment?

Andrew Rayel: Musically, I would have to say my album, which was released last year on Armada music it’s called Find Your Harmony. I’m really happy that I was able to tell a story with this album and now I’m done with the album but I’m still going on with shows. I think it’s time to come up with something new, though, but I’m not going to tell you what it is, but there’s going to be something.

SR: Why can’t you tell?

Andrew Rayel: Because it’s too soon!

SR: At what point did you stop and think “Wow, I’m doing something big?”

Andrew Rayel: When I was doing the Find Your Harmony Tour and I was playing some shows and there were people coming just for me. It wasn’t a festival where people were just coming for the name of TomorrowLand or something like that where they come for the festival and then wander to a stage. But, when I did the Find Your Harmony Tour and people were just coming for me I thought, “Wow, these 5,000-10,000 people want to see me.” That’s when you realize how big it is.

SR: Are you here all weekend?

Andrew Rayel: No, I leave tomorrow for Tampa. I’m playing the amphitheater there so I’m really excited for that.

SR: What are the major differences between the music scene in Moldova and America?

Andrew Rayel: Well, I’d say that the people here are more open to different genres, you can play more varieties of styles, you can mix them up and people are going to love it. In Europe people are more conservative. If you’re labeled as a trance artist then they want you to only play trance. I’m still trying to teach them that we artists want to be free and we want to do the things that we want to do and if they don’t like it they should go to the artists that they like. But, I feel like the American crowd has a big influence on the European crowd. They see all these big festivals like EDC and Ultra and it influences the music in Europe. They look it up and want to hear/see that.

SR: Do you ever have a desire to make music outside of the trance scene?

Andrew Rayel: I do love trance, don’t get me wrong, it’s my favorite genre, but sometimes I feel like I want to do harder stuff, softer stuff, even a rock song. At the end of the day I’m a musician so I should be able to do whatever you want.

SR: You are classically trained, what was your first instrument?

Andrew Rayel: Piano, but I have experimented with a ton of other instruments. I use a lot of strings in my songs, guitar, I don’t play live but there are so many instruments out there that can be used and I have used and what I will be releasing in the future.

SR: Have you ever thought about doing something live?

Andrew Rayel: I’ve never felt comfortable playing live piano in front of other people, besides friends or family, I was always really nervous when I had exams at music school. It wasn’t a huge crowd, maybe like 300 people or so but I always got really emotional, because you can really mess it up. It’s hard to play live, and we were playing really hard classical stuff. I got an uncomfortable feeling so that’s why I don’t really do it live. I think of myself as more of a composer, Beethoven and Mozart never really performed in front of other people, they composed it for other people, they gave the pieces to other performers to play in front of thousands.

SR: I do feel like it’d be really cool if you broke out your piano during a song live, though.

Andrew Rayel: If it was really short, maybe why not. But a concert, it takes a lot of planning and it’s very hard.

SR: When was the last time you were home? 

Andrew Rayel: This year? [Laughs]

SR: Sure, we’ll say this year. 

Andrew Rayel: I had almost 10 days home for a studio break this year.

SR: Do you miss home?

Andrew Rayel: Absolutely. Home is everything for me. My parents, my brother.

SR: Where do you draw your inspiration?

Andrew Rayel: I’d have to say my greatest inspiration is the crowd that is in front of me. So, every time I perform, I try to memorize the feeling and the image of all these people jumping and going crazy and when I go to the studio I try to reveal all the memories. So, I wish the studio was right behind the stage.

SR: What is your favorite dessert?

Andrew Rayel: Chocolate cake. Or just chocolate in general.

We are excited to see what Andrew Rayel has coming up in the future, stay tuned as the hits keep coming.

Ashley Cizek

Went to school at UW-Madison, graduating with a BA in psychology. I hula-hoop, I write, I enjoy sunlight.

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