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Nightlife

In a trance with Robb Blak

An interview with Lost in Trancelation's resident DJ

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Robb Blak is one of Orlando's foremost purveyors of trance music. He runs a monthly trance night at Bikkuri Lounge on the last Friday of each month called Lost in Trancelation, as well as a weekly radio program called "Pitch Blak" on Synthetik Visions Radio.

Orlando Weekly: Trance waned in popularity throughout the 2000s, but you stuck with it.
Robb Blak: Trance had only fallen in popularity here in the states. Worldwide, it was still the most popular genre in dance music, with artists like Armin Van Buuren being at the very top of the electronic community and DJ culture. I actually consider trance to be just a small part of my musical influence.

What do you think contributed to the resurgence of trance here in the States?
I think a lot of it had to do Armin Van Buuren ranking No. 1 in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll four years in a row, from 2007-2010. That was what actually inspired me to start a local trance event. I talked to a veteran local DJ asking about playing trance music in Orlando, and he said no one would go for it – even though at the time seven of the world's top 10 DJs were trance DJs. I started Lost in Trancelation on a whim, and I realized there were a lot more trance fans locally than I think anybody realized.

Club nights tend to have a short lifespan in Orlando. How have you kept Lost in Trancelation going strong for nearly three years?
The owner and entire staff at Bikkuri have been extremely helpful and supportive. The biggest thing, though, has got to be the fans. The fan base for trance music here in Orlando is very much like a family, and that has been a huge factor for the night's longevity.

You started out in goth-industrial music. Do you ever get the urge to return to your roots?
Sometimes. Not really what I would call "goth." ... I've recently been thinking of starting a side project that will be more of a full band, going back to that style. Only as a side project, though.

What is your fondest memory from one of your events?
The most memorable was from Lost in Trancelation about a year and a half ago. I was gone for a few months for personal reasons, and had left DJ Agni and Cyberian Soundz to run the night for me in my absence. The response that I got when I returned was huge. So warm and welcoming. It really reminded me why I do what I do, and why I had fallen in love with the scene to begin with.

In electronic dance music, the mantra PLUR – peace, love, unity, respect – is huge. What's that all about?
I have no clue. When I first started going out in the mid-'90s, I really felt the PLUR events – at least in the scene out in Hawaii, where I lived at the time – were the most PLUR you could get. It was people of all different backgrounds, races, religions, orientation, all coming together and dancing to the same beat. It was the total package of peace, love, unity and respect. These days I don't really see that, but they still say it. I'd rather hear someone say PLUR than rage, though.

Lost in Trancelation

9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25
Bikkuri Lounge
1915 E. Colonial Drive
facebook.com/lostintrancelation

Pitch Blak
Thursdays 6-8 p.m.
synthetikvisionsradio.com

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