Interview: Agnelli & Nelson

Ireland’s trance aces are set to put Ministry of Sound, Euphoria’s dancefloor on fire! Agnelli & Nelson have done Gatecrasher, Godskitchen, Cream, Slinky and Tidy, as well as remixing for big superstars such as U2, Ferry Corsten and Armin Van Buuren. Formerly known as Chris Agnew and Robbie Nelson, the two Irish DJs have been making music since 1997 and have guest mixed on Radio 1, including 2 live New Year’s Eve special. Best of all, they have also been on Top of the Pops! With the release of their compilation Worldwide Trance Sounds Volume 5 and the anticipation of their arrival, we spoke to Robbie Nelson.

So have you done anything exciting today?
Not today. I’ve just been taking it easy for the last few days. I just got home after being on tour for a month, which took me to Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. I’ve been at home though and last night I went to a motocross race, which was great.

How did the two of you meet?
We just really knew each other from growing up and living nearby. Chris asked me to do a remix of a new tune he was making so I did and he liked it. We just decided to do a few tunes together, but nothing really serious. However, the first one we did ‘El-Nino’ was a worldwide hit!

When did you discover your passion for trance?
I first heard of trance in 1992 when I was a resident in am undergrond night club in Ireland called Circus Circus and we used to have guest DJs, so when the Utah Saints came to play there, their manager John told me about this still-new genre called trance. I checked it out and the next thing I got the promoter to book DJ Dag, a German DJ who was one of the pioneers and I got right into trance from that day.

You have traveled all over the world. Which is your favourite?
There are so many great gigs around the world and the great thing is they are all different in some small way that really stands out. Ibiza is a great place to play because everyone is on holiday. Then you’ve got places like Buenos Aires in Argentina that can only be described as pure quality. Melbourne in Australia really stood out for me as I’ve played there so many times and never had a bad gig. Two of my favorite clubs in the world are Zouk in Singapore and Heaven in Seoul Korea.

What’s the wildest party you have ever played at?
Over the years I’ve ended up in some crazy places one of the my favorite was playing at the first ever F1 night time race in Singapore in 2008, but some of the wildest parties I ever did were years ago back in Ireland at the peak of the rave scene. It usually all started playing at this club on a Friday and just playing at different clubs all weekend but you would see the same people from all over the country and they would all end up at this illegal beach rave on the Sunday night it was a mad time back then.

Do you prefer remixing for others or creating your own tracks?
Creating new tracks works best for me cos it’s always good to start with nothing and end up with a track. The problem with remixes is the deadlines. I don’t like to work under pressure so I try to avoid remixes.

What’s the biggest difference you notice in trance music in these 10 years?
I think it has morphed a lot into other styles. I recently played at the Winter Sound System in Australia and Laidback Luke played right after me. Nearly every tune he played was tech house with big trance breaks and he is known as a house DJ.

Which DJs do you look up to?
Don’t really look up to any DJs. I’m friends with most that I meet traveling and sometimes on a tour. These are the guys who share the same experiences as you so they become your mate, but you really only see them at gigs, in the hotel or airport.

Any new trance DJs we should really watch out for?
Greg Downey is an Irish DJ who has been learning his trade for a few years and his new tunes are really doing some damage for me at the minute. So he’s one on form and his DJ sets are full of energy.

Any new projects we can expect from you guys?
Well we have a new Agnelli & Nelson single, which might be released soon. I have been making a load of new tunes on my own and 2 have already been released this year under my name Robbie Nelson. First was ‘Aviator’ and then ‘Shangri-La’. The next one is nearly ready to go but I haven’t decided on the name yet.

Agnelli & Nelson will be trancing it up at Ministry of Sound, Euphoria on Friday, 6 August 2010 from 9.30pm onwards. Entry RM60 +1 drink. Visit for more on the act and don’t forget about too. Click here to find out how you can win passes to their gig.

Image Ministry of Sound, Euphoria