Why Trance Farm Has Changed its Course and the DJ Who is Making Me Happy

Not to brag, even though I’m going to, but Trance Farm was on the verge of becoming a well-respected Trance and Progressive music blog (let’s face it, they’re all blogs) in the industry after only two short years of existence. But, from writing close to a thousand articles in two years to absolutely nothing in the past two months hasn’t been by accident. After spending countless hours providing free publicity to DJs, I realized something – I wasn’t happy.

I wasn’t happy because most of what I wrote went unnoticed and unshared by the DJ for whatever reason, even though I always tagged on social media. Maybe it was because everyone and their mother tags the same popular DJs daily in the hopes of getting a response from them or their management, and Trance Farm got caught in the middle of a giant notification sea that these accounts receive.

Maybe it was because Trance Farm received the same press releases as every other blog in the industry, and except for a few minor changes, I just copied and pasted them to the website after a long day at work. After all, a DJ isn’t going to open each new release article to see which one is different because they’ve already been mentally trained to know that each one is basically the same. So, yeah, in the end, that one’s on me for not being unique, but who’s to say it would’ve mattered anyway?

Maybe it was because Trance Farm wasn’t DJ Mag, Mixmag, Dancing Astronaut or edm.com. I mean, if a DJ is going to take the time to share something, shouldn’t it be from a website that people know? Even when I wrote for edm.com, a lot of my articles weren’t shared by the DJ, either. To backtrack, writing for edm.com was a great experience; I learned a lot of what not to do in the industry, and I can’t thank Ethan Baer, Devin Culham, Lauren Elizabeth, and even John Cameron for helping me along.

But is that why I really wasn’t happy? If I were to honestly say that I wasn’t happy because I didn’t get enough back, that would be pretty childish and petty, wouldn’t it? Or would it?

You see, with the exception of those press releases, feature articles are incredibly time-consuming to write. And, while I don’t regret any article I’ve written, something about simply making other people happy just wasn’t cutting it for me. Trance Farm was becoming more of a second job than anything, and when you put a lot of pressure on yourself to please others by meeting deadlines, it took a lot of the fun out of it.

While Trance Farm was growing, I never wanted to be another DJ Mag; there weren’t enough resources to do it. Like edm.com at the time, I wasn’t paying the small group of contributing writers who spent countless hours of their own as basically a favor to me, but to this day, I’ll forever be grateful for their talented services.

With that said, and perhaps my tastes are changing because I’m growing older or the songs all sound the same, but I’ve grown tired of uplifting Trance. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some great tunes being released, but for the most part, I’m done with it and reverted to Progressive and Deep House music. And, who knows, I may get tired of Prog after a couple of years when everyone starts sounding the same because it’s all of a sudden becoming the new thing… again.

So, why did I write all that? To illustrate the point, I will now only write articles if it’s a topic I genuinely want to explore or express my gratitude for something a DJ has done. In other words, if it makes me happy, I may write about it.

I’ve listened to a lot of DJ sets throughout my 50 years on this planet, and believe me, a lot of them have been absolutely terrible while the dance music community hails them by kissing the DJ’s ass on social media. Still, there’s something about the way Toronto’s Tim Penner mixes that is not only seamless but effortless. His ability to combine songs without the listener noticing is an art that only a few DJs in the world can accomplish, and listening to him work makes me happy.

There are hundreds of hours of music yet to be heard. With the completion of his astounding 254-week span of hour-long Slideway Sessions on April 2, 2020, he began recording monthly three-hour Passenger podcasts in June 2020 that have very interesting – almost mesmerizing openings. I almost can’t wait to take walks and explore places outside when it’s nice to escape the realities of such a fucked up world in which we live for a while. Tim simply puts me in a happy place that I haven’t felt since I got sober three and a half years ago.

Around Thanksgiving of 2019, I was just starting to come out of my shell of being around people without a drink or a rolled-up dollar bill in my hand by hosting local Trance and Progressive shows here in Cincinnati. I was even to bring Enamour here during the third week in March of 2020, but we all know what happened just a week before that, and it’s been a struggle to regain that social confidence ever since.

But, I’m around people every day. My job as a restaurant manager sees me talking to random people daily, but that’s my job, and for some reason, it’s different when in a social setting. Maybe you can relate.

I’ve always been kind of a loner; I’m an only child, and as an example, the majority of concerts I’ve attended throughout my life that number well into the hundreds have been on my own. And, the thing is, I guess I like it like that; I don’t have to worry about pleasing the person I’m with by having stupid conversations with them while the show is going on to make them feel included. I can do what I want when I want, but at the same time, it can become incredibly lonely.

So, as a writer and new fan, I wanted to learn more about Tim, but as I searched his name with every major music blog, I found little to nothing on this highly talented DJ. No feature articles, no interviews, no nothing save a few new release promo articles. I know his close relationship with John Fleming, which enticed me more in wanting to talk to him since I had the honor of speaking with John a few years back for an article with edm.com.

I guess Tim does this on purpose, and I can’t say I blame him. It burns my ass when I see feature articles written that are either laid out in a lazy Q&A format or the same stupid-ass questions are always asked. If I were a DJ, I’d get tired of that bullshit, too – I know, this coming from the guy who just admitted to copying and pasting a lot of new release promo articles – but interviews are different. When I talk to someone, I have a conversation and want to get to know the person, not their fucking creative process that every other blog asks.

Since I’m on a slight rant, and I’m kind of going off-topic here, but do you ever notice how sports reporters always ask athletes and coaches the same questions at halftime or the end of the game? Ex: “Coach, you’re down 7; what do you have to do to come back and win the game in the second half?” “Um, score more fucking points than the other team,” would be my answer. Or, “What was going through your mind when you attempted that last-second shot?” Well, my answer would be, “I hope I make it.” I mean, don’t you want to reach through the TV and throat punch the reporter? What the hell do you expect them to say?

Back to Tim, and when I was down in Texas recently on vacation for a week, I walked 65 miles in 7 days and listened to his shows through my earbuds non-stop while out and about exploring neighborhoods and side streets. It was true serenity – my experiences in a new place were one of almost fantasy, wondering what the people were like and the stories they could tell – all the while forgetting what the real world was presenting us.

I guess my favorite episode thus far has been Passenger 07 (December 2020). As I said earlier, each podcast’s openings are unique, and there’s just something about the music and spoken words that resonated with me.

Courtesy: Tim Penner SoundCloud

Thanks, Tim. You have made me think about a lot of things lately, and although some may think my written words are selfish, it’s time for me to be happy because I’ve only about 30 more years left on this planet.

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Erik Lake

All this machinery making modern music can still be open hearted.

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