Twenty years ago, we were in the future. The signature sound and aesthetic of Y2K promised a glossy, space-age vision of what life could look and sound like. Everything was synthetic and iridescent and bright and digital, no more so than the blissed-out EDM and Eurotrance—from DJ Sammy to Ian Van Dahl—that swept both our airwaves and Dance Dance Revolution consoles.
For queer electronic Belgian music duo PROMIS3, comprised of producer Andras Vleminckx and singer Brent Dielen, the era offered the promise of progress, so it’s no wonder they lean heavily into the sound and style of the early 2000s with their own brand of futuristic, yet nostalgic trance-pop.
Inspired by classic trance elements, including artists like Sasha, Taucher, Paul van Dyk, and Bonzai Records; sci-fi films like Event Horizon and Annihilation; vintage Y2K electronic gear like the Virus TI2 synthesizer; late ‘90s and early 2000s video games; and Belgian club life from that era, PROMIS3 capture the authentic sound of millennium-era Eurotrance with a decidedly modern, often subtly socio-political perspective.
Premiering exclusively on LADYGUNN, the mesmerizing 3D visual for PROMIS3’s shimmering safe space anthem, “Simulated Paradise,” transports listeners to a sleek digital utopia where anything is possible. It’s an “Elysian digital world, where everything is simulated to your desires and ideals” and “everybody is equal.” For Vleminckx and Dielen, escapism is more necessary than ever before, especially during Pride Month.
“The sad reality for many LGBTQ+ people is that they have to sacrifice so many things just to live authentically,” the band shares. “Society, friends, and family might have let them down and for so many of them, life becomes survival. ‘Simulated Paradise’ serves as a safe haven and place of relief, where you can be your true self without needing to worry about getting judged by society—a daily and ongoing struggle for so many people in our community.”
But be warned, dear listener: Once you enter the simulated paradise and experience the ecstasy that awaits, you may not be willing to exit back to reality.
“Wouldn’t we all love to wander inside our own synthetic heaven, for whatever reason that may be? We want to symbolize the rise above how society ‘labels’ people; the breaking free of the chains which hold so many people captive,” the duo says. “‘Simulated Paradise’ lends a shoulder to cry on for those who feel rejected and alienated from ‘the pack.’ It’s a place so beautiful you might end up staying and not wanting to go back.”
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photos / Fabian Lenoir
story / Erica Russell