Exclusive Interview: Andrew Rayel Talks Upcoming Album And The Dreamstate Dilemma


Andrew Rayel has quickly become one of the strongest assets of Armin van Buuren’s record label, Armada. The Moldovan trance superstar is a staple of the festival circuit whose tracks have received support from the likes of Markus Schulz, Dash Berlin and Tiësto.

However, a recent incident demonstrated that perhaps those sentiments aren’t universal throughout the trance community. When news surfaced that due to Paul Van Dyk’s hospitalization Rayel would fill in for him at the Dreamstate stage of Beyond Wonderland, pure trance elitists took to social media to voice their doubts that he would be a good fit for the brand.

When we spoke to him during Miami Music Week, Rayel was gracious enough to give us his thoughts on the situation. In addition, he revealed tidbits about his new album, as well as a track he plans to debut during his Ultra Music Festival performance.

Check it out below, and enjoy!

First and foremost, let’s talk about your new track, “Once In A Lifetime Love.” It’s got all the makings of a festival anthem. How did it come together?

Andrew Rayel: Well, I received this vocal from Kristina Antuna, whom I know from her collaboration with Cosmic Gate. I actually did a remix for that track, “Alone,” and she sent me the vocals [for “Once In A Lifetime Love”]. I immediately thought that this would be a perfect time for me to do this collaboration because at the time a lot of people were coming to me and saying that they fell in love at my show – that they met their other half at my show, that they proposed during my show – so it was like, oh, alright, once in a lifetime love. That’s what it’s all about. All these moments. So it was inspired by these couples coming to my show.

I’d produced a demo, I’d played it in a couple shows, and then I tweaked it a couple of weeks ago, and it all came together. I finished it and released it finally, and it’s the second single from my upcoming album. The first single was “Winterburn.”

As far as festivals go, Ultra’s a pretty great one to premiere new music. Do you have any unreleased material that your fans should look forward to during your set?

Andrew Rayel: Absolutely. I’m gonna play a couple of new IDs that are completely fresh from the studio during my Ultra set, and obviously at my own Find Your Harmony party at the club MOKAI. One of the tracks is still a demo that’s not finished and it’s probably gonna be different, but I was working on it like two hours before I was supposed to go to the airport. I got so excited that I completely forgot that I had to leave for Miami! I was just producing and my brother came in and said, “You have to go to the airport, you’ve got a flight!” I managed to finish a playable version so I’ll definitely drop it.

Is that track also going to be on the album?

Andrew Rayel: Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna come out very soon.

I’ve gotta ask about Paul van Dyk. How did you find out about his accident, and how did it come about that you would take his slot on the Beyond Wonderland lineup?

Andrew Rayel: Strangely, I found out from my mum. She’s really into electronic music and the dance scene so she follows everyone, and I was producing in my studio. I was two or three hours through a live broadcast of A State Of Trance and then I went to my studio to produce, and when I woke up my mom said “Have you heard about Paul van Dyk falling from the stage?” It was big news for me; obviously that’s a huge tragedy for everyone and we’re all waiting on him to get well very soon.

Then, a few days ago, Insomniac asked me to replace him for Beyond Wonderland because he was supposed to play at the Dreamstate stage – so I’m gonna go to California and do a very special Dreamstate set. I’m just gonna go and do my thing, but it’s gonna be completely different from what I do on the main stage.

I was gonna ask about that as well, actually, because you have a history with more underground trance genres, too.

Andrew Rayel: Right, so I’m gonna play some of my old stuff, and I prepared a couple edits, like the one for “Dark Warrior.” I did a very, very nice psychedelic, fast version of that track and a couple of others as well, so I’m really curious to see what they’re gonna say about that set. There’s not gonna be any commercial vocals or anything, it’s gonna be a very underground set.

I saw that people voiced some speculations on social media. I thought you handled it very well, but how did that make you feel?

Andrew Rayel: I’ve went through many things and I still feel that each person has his own taste. The best thing you can do is listen to what you like, and not complain about other people – and not be selfish and tell other people what they should do. Everyone should do what they want to do. I mean, there are some fans that are selfish. They actually want you to do what they wanna hear, but I don’t wanna do that. Why would you ask me to only do what you want?

With how fast electronic music has blown up, there are new markets popping up as hotspots for it. What do you think your nation of origin, the Republic of Moldova, might be able to contribute to the global conversation that is dance music?

Andrew Rayel: Well, we do pretty big shows in my country as well. I did my Find Your Harmony release party in Moldova which was, like, 6,000 people, and for such a small country that has 3.5 million people altogether, those are big numbers.

When Armin [Van Buuren] came, we had more than ten thousand. It’s growing, but you can’t reach huge numbers in Moldova because the population is pretty small and the economy is not the best in Europe. Even though many people go to the shows, the other half of the people can’t afford to. I’m doing some charity things as well, but there’s not too much I can do.

What else can you tell your fans about your upcoming album?

Andrew Rayel: Hopefully it’s gonna be finished by the end of this year – if everything goes well and no vocalists pull their tracks at the last minute, (laughs). I know pretty much everything about it, like how it’s gonna look, and I’m curious and excited to show this information to everyone.