I sincerely had a wonderful time this past weekend & spent every single day this week thinking about it. This event took 6 months of planning, preparation and working. So happy that everyone did their part to make it wonderful.
Here is what you missed, if you were unable to attend. Here we go down memory lane for those of us who made it.
Main Stage at 3 PM Friday June 22, 2012
Opening Ceremony thanks Sarah Elizabeth Nicholls for this picture.
Whew, I almost didn’t get this interview done in time since Defectv was holed up in his studio all weekend long in preparation for Embodied Awakening.
I see that you dj under two names PsiloPsyben and Dfectv. Why the two names?
I like to keep my projects separated, since I play two very different styles of psytrance. The name I put on a flyer usually tells you what I am going to play. PsiloPsyBen sets are strictly dj sets. They are also very fast, aggressive and dark. Dfectv is the moniker I use for my swamp trance productions, and anything else I make myself. If you see Dfectv on a flyer, it will more than likely be a live swamp trance set.
You’re known for playing dark psytrance but you’ve been producing swamp trance. What exactly is “swamp trance”? How would you describe that sound?
Swamp trance, is characterized by slow tempo, steady low end, and all sorts of nastiness up top. It almost feels like trudging though a psychedelic swamp. My style of swamp has a lot of techno, dark psy, breakbeat and even some house influences. That’s the cool thing about making a style of music that is only made by a hand full of people. It can sound like anything I want it too.
What drew your attention to the psytrance scene?
My first introduction to the psy trance scene was Christmas eve 2003. I was about to be shipped off to Iraq and my sister handed me a flyer for a bar night happening that night thrown by the Audiognomes. I had an idea of what psytrance was, (I was given an astral projection mix and an infected mushroom mix earlier that year) but as soon as I walked into that bar, I was in love. The music took hold of me and has never let go. I took it upon myself to spread this wonderful sound to as many dance floors as possible. When I got back from Iraq I played my first psytrance festival. Dreamfields in 2005. Once I immersed myself into the community at this party I was hooked even more. Not only was the music awesome, so were the people. So much different than all the multi-genre raves I had been going to for so many years.
Who and what are your influences?
Many people have influenced me in my time in the psytrance scene. First and foremost is Underfoot. One of the founding Audiognomes. Sadly he has hung up his headphones for a normal life. He was my first mentor and I will always love him for that. Cinder Vomit, Luuli, and the whole Anomalistic Records crew are also huge influences on me. I love all of their musics and it helps me think about what needs to be done to mine. Almost anyone who makes psytrance can be an influence to me though, because they can probably do something that I can’t, and I want to learn how.
What images and emotions do you want your music to invoke in the listener?
I’m really not sure on what images and emotions I want to invoke in my listeners. That would require me trying to make music. I don’t make music. I let it write itself, I am just the conduit it travels through. With swamp trance it’s a bit of a grab bag of emotions anyway. I’ve played shows where I have people energetically dancing and there are people 2 feet away from him or her meditating. Everyone has their own reactions to music, and it’s not up to me to try and make them feel a certain way.
Shouts & Thanks!
I have way too many people in this scene to thank, so I won’t even start naming all the names. I just want to thank all the people that keep coming to watch me play. They are the reason I do this, and without them, I would have a really boring life.
I noticed that music is a huge part of your life. Do you have any professional music training?
Music does drive most of my everyday engine, but I think most people I know share the same love for the feelings, memories and trips a good tune can bring you. I wonder if one day I’ll meet someone that says “I don’t like music.” Ha!
I had a few guitar lessons when I was about 10, but just for a year and then went on to playing with bands, different instruments and having fun with friends playing out. 5 years later I started getting curious about creating sounds adding synths and samples which was a whole different way of thinking about music, which lead me in a new direction to were I am musically today.
Are you from Azores Islands? What is this place like?
If you can make it there one day, even if for a day it will be a day well spent
I grew up in an Island called São Miguel, of about 140k people and it’s one of 9 islands that make the Azores.
The landscapes are amazing, beautiful lakes, camping and good reasons to be outside. Everything is closer, you can be in the city or go out to the woods in 20 minutes and it’s a nice place to get lost in. Nothing like a walk on a saturday afternoon, stopping by a cafe with some tables set outside, maybe on a beach, having an expresso and feeling grounded to earth. Many pirates have passed by there centuries ago, so if you’re lucky discovering tunnels and secrets in the islands, you might find a treasure.
What software and hardware do you currently have in your studio?
The sound-generator I mostly use is inside my head and I use as the main piece of gear, for ideas/sounds/effects and other stuff too. For triggering: fingers, sometimes forehead if I pass out on the keyboard exhausted. Ears for Recording samples that then go back to the sound-generator!
(controllers: apc40, mpkmini, novationx25,roland d-50| hardware: mac, ableton, mackie monitors, complete audio 6 interface, tascam dr-100 recorder, allen & heath one dx). In moving a few times I I had to part with some hard synths, but the quality of soft synths today is good enough that you can produce equal sounds and have lots of flexibility. With a midi controller connected and well mapped you are on your way to weird land!
You’ve traveled and played to audiences all around, what is your favorite gig to play?
I don’t know if I have a favorite gig since parties are really special for different reasons, but of course there are always a few that just in remembering them bring me a smile. I love sharing music wherever I have the opportunity to do it but for example Guatemala recently was a special place, the night and morning were beautiful in a place called lake Atitlan, music was good and people had great vibes, interesting and interested, open and friendly.
Electronic music is getting more and more diverse, as technology keeps getting better, as people keep having new creative ideas on how to make music and on what it will sound like. I think it’s always a beginning of something new for all genres including Psychedelic Trance. There are many things that keep me very connected this type of psychedelic trance music, one of them being the idea of a better future and from what I have seen, there are lots of good messages to learn from a gathering, a party or a festival, one of them being that we all exist together in this world, we all share the same air and with love we bring people together and together we share a dance-floor!
You’ve been a part of the Dallas electronic dance music scene for well over a decade. Tell me how you went from being on the dance floor to being a dj
Well, I’d have to say that I’ve been at least a bedroom DJ the entire time I’ve been a part of the EDM community in DFW. When I was 16 my parents bought me a set of decks and a mixer for Christmas. Imagine my excitement to hear that my dad was going to take me to Guitar Center and let me get whatever I wanted, he didn’t really know about equipment of that nature and wanted me to have the best. So I walked out of there with top of the line everything for the age we were living in. But I didn’t have any records! So a couple friends of mine who played Drum N Bass who had a pretty extensive collection of records (but had really crappy equipment) started using my house as a place to play… and party, and I got the luxury of storing, and being able to use their record collection. A while later one of them got pretty bad into drugs and sold off his share of the vinyls to me for 40 bucks and the other one went away to college, at that point I had a whole collection of vinyls. I still actually have them, It’s always nice to lisnten to them, it totally brings back memories. It wasn’t until 5 or so years later that I wound up at my first psytrance party and my musical tastes as well as equipment took a drastic change from the DNB and UKG that I was playing in my much younger days.
I’ve noticed that you’ve been playing more on the techno side of things. What are you planning with for your next set?
You noticed correctly! You are always so informed about the subtle nuances in electronic dance music! But seriously, a couple of years ago at the first river party in New Braunfels, TX I was a little lifted and I heard Sean Anderson playing his Pointbender project really late on Satuday night, the speakers were down low because the police had already been there and nobody was dancing except me and Dawn Soleil Psychedelique. I was hooked! The slow pulsating rhythm and the eerie psychedelic sounds layered in the most simplistic way just left me feeling speechless. So, I went home and started fevorously downloading as much Techno as I possibly could and started playing it. For this next upcoming set, I’ll be playing very similarly to what you’ve heard from me in the past (no country western this time…lol) but I have a lot of new material that I’ll be playing with. I was starting to feel stifled by the lack of new music so I went out and basically revamped and replaced my entire collection. It’s going to be very fun, groovy, psychedelic, and most importantly, booty shakin!
Serato, Traktor, Ableton and CDJ’s. What are your views on the new digital revolution?
Well, I think that the digital revolution is a great thing. I really enjoy the freedom it gives artists to really explore multiple facets of music all from a very convenient, easy to carry, package. Gone are the days of lugging pounds of vinyl, making sure there’s a wind deflector at outdoor parties so the wind doesn’t pick up the needle and stop the music, and making sure that vinyl stays in the shade so it doesn’t melt. As long as the artists that use it are using it to really explore new horizons and not to just be lazy, I think it’s great!
There are a slew of bedroom djs out in DFW who want to start playing out, what is advice you have for them?
My advice to new DJs that are just playing at their own homes is to practice, practice, and practice! Once you feel comfortable enough to allow other people to hear you, try and get some friends to let you play at a house party of theirs. It’ll break you in so that you aren’t scared to play in front of people and, if you are good, you might get a booking elsewhere. Burn events are good practice too. At those events, you’ll get practice playing on a sound system that is bigger, plus if you aren’t great nobody will boo or yell at you (radical self expression, right) unless you are playing psytrance at 8am when everyone is sleeping and/or hungover. And if you are good, more exposure, leading to bookings. It’s all a very organic process, at least it was for me.
Downtempo, drum & bass, moombahton, psytrance, techno. What do you listen to normally? Right now, what do you enjoy playing the most?
Out of everything that you listed, I am listening to a lot of downtempo, moombahton, and techno. I really love moombahton, like a lot. I played a moombah set the last time I played the Pubstep weekly here in Denton. The crowd went insane! Something about it, it’s slow enough for people to keep up with it yet high energy enough that it just hypes the room. Plus we’re in Tejas so, everyone loves anything that has that south of the border feel to it. Lately I’ve found myself listening to a lot of late 90’s Trip Hop. Which strikes me as odd but I’m finding so much of the roots of the music that is coming out today in that low-fi gritty sound that is Trip Hop. Sadly, the genre only lasted for a very short time and then fell apart. Plus it’s super fun to cut into Downtepo sets. As far as what I like playing most, it’s hard to choose. I like to play different things at different times for different reasons. I’m too indecisive to choose just one.
Let me know if you have any shouts & thanks to make!
Shout outs! I would love to thank first and foremost my loving partner for being so supportive of me for the last year of the wicked journey of life. I’d also love to thank all of the people that have touched me, inspired me, loved me, and pushed me to go beyond. I’d like to thank Ally Fiesta of HydroSupraLicked.com for interviewing me, and for being my friend for so many years. My good friend Jared for being there in the beginning of it all, Erin Lee for widening my views on music, and life; Lydia for teaching me that through darkness you find the light. I’d like to thank all of my family at Atrium Obscurum, Jessica, Brian, Melody, Keith, Willa, Sonty, Sarah, Juju, gosh the list just keeps on going and going! Thank all of you for putting up with me over the years, I know I haven’t been an easy one to deal with and for a while there I was a super hot mess. I’d like to lastly thank my blood family for always supporting me and being so wonderful and kind. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for each and every person who has been a part of this existence. Thank all of you for co-creating reality with me. I love you all.
How did you end up in the psychedelic trance scene?
I happened upon the scene thanks to my Brother who took me to my first Psy festival. It was actually thrown by the Audiognomes in August of 2005 and was called Dreamfields. I was struck by how open people were compared to the “traditional” Raves that I had attended in my younger years. And the Music! I had of course listened to Psytrance for some time at that point, however I never got the chance to see it in person (rather than listening to my brother mix in the basement, which was cool when playing video games), which is a dramatic difference. Having come from a highly diverse musical background, I felt very quickly that I had found Home. I had found a group of people from completely different backgrounds, brought together by this music. By early June of 2006, after The Chilluminati threw the first Sacred Earth Open Air, there was no going back for me.
Tell me about Audiognomes, where are you all from?
The Audiognomes was originally a primarily Madison, WI based organization. Through out the years we have had some members move on due to careers, family, graduating college, etc. So as time went on we began asking people from around the midwest to join us, and we currently have quite a diverse group. Being an Audiognome means becoming part of a Family and we are quite selective in who we ask to join. We base it on our impression of a person, not just their skills behind the decks or with producing, but their drive, ambition, and personality. We’re driven not by ego, but by our passion. Each of us is driven by our passion for this music, and our wish is to be a conduit for the music that we bring.
Updated mix, downtempo, soundscapes.
How would you describe the music scene is in Wisconsin?
The music scene in Wisconsin has changed over the years. Back in the early 90’s through the early 2000’s there were gradually larger parties to the point where every other weekend there would be a Rave in Madison, heck, Daft Punk played in Madison in 1996 (I was too young at that time, pity). Then it kind of fizzled out for a while. Counties around the state had passed strict sound codes and there was fewer properties where a private event could be held. I went to three Raves between 2001 and August 2005, one was the last big outdoor party in Wisconsin called Rejuvination, and the other two were eight hours away in Illinois… I was under 21 at the time and that made it hard to be at a club/bar where most people played after the big Raves ended, and also where the Psy scene in Madison really started in 2003.
I gradually I fell out of the loop due to my age. And then Ben started telling me about these club parties that I couldn’t go to with this awesome music… However a majority of people preferred breakcore, dnb, house and techno oriented genres and had a general distaste for anything including the word “trance”, as a result many events or clubs would not even consider Psytrance. After our primary venue in Madison closed. We were quite limited as to where we could play in Madison. We have had bars let us do monthly events for a time over the years, but the audience wasn’t building to what the owners wanted. We’re working on spreading our name around town to fix that. But in the mean time I have these wonderful festivals to play at, which are usually a few hours away, however well worth the trip.
What was it that drew you to becoming a DJ?
I was bored with just updating the website. I kid. I was drawn to become a DJ not only because of what you can do with an audience, but also in a large part due to my Brothers influence. It looked fun and I wanted part of it. But I was always too nervous to start, wasn’t sure which “style” I would play. For quite a few years people would ask continuously “When are you going to start playing like your brother?” I always said I was taking my time, and I was. I was watching how it was done and I had some very good teachers. Also I was really bored with just updating the website.
How long did it take before you started playing out?
Quite a while considering all the bugging at every damn festival or party I would go to about when I would become a DJ like my brother.
Again, I kid.
In all honesty it took me two to three years before I was ready to take the plunge. I feel like waiting that time has helped me take into perspective the feel of the audience. It has given me a different point of view that I take into consideration. Yes, I could play 200+ BPM for an entire set, but I then think “What would I do if I was in the audience?” Playing that fast is intense, not only for me but for the audience, you have some control of your audiences emotions and it is important in my view to take that into consideration.
On a side note I have not posted a mix in a few years… I’ll do my best to change that. However over 120 mixes are located at www.audiognomes.com
This is a preview from the entire album – which is over at bandcamp (click here) I love me some straight up ragga so its there. Towards the end it’s that heavy sounding dubstep that inspires me to get vodka and ice. (I really like tear out dubstep when I’m drunk. Anyone else? ha ha!)
How did you get interested in music? When did psytrance come into the picture?
My parents were a strong influence. My dad played bass guitar for our church and my mom had a record/tape/cd collection that rivaled most music stores (seriously her whole collection took up 2 whole walls of her apartment). Between the both of them, there was definitely more time listening to music than there was watching TV growing up. My progression to psytrance begin in 1991 when I was first introduced to “techno” by a show Jason Bentley had on the NPR station in California, called Metropolis, every night at 8 PM. From there I learned about raves, became an avid attendee and fan of the “club kid” culture and then learned about these secret parties they would throw in the Mojave. Everyone I talked to were crazy passionate about those parties. How the people were friendlier, how the open air and scenery just made the mood of the party better and how alien the music was. I finally got myself on the proper phone/usenet group lists that announced these events and went to my first desert party in 1999. It was true love immediately. I never wanted to go to another dirty California warehouse rave again and didn’t have to with 4 different crews throwing down a party at least once a month.
When you first started DJing, what was the vibe/crowd/venue like?
I first started DJing in my backyard at the private parties that ATLpsy would throw for the GA/NC psytrance family, the SpaceCamp parties. So the vibe was nothing but pure, the crowd was small, real intimate, and full of love and the venue was perfect as it was a home field advantage so to speak….lol. I have so much appreciation and love for all of the guys (Brainlizzard, Pyite, Puskara, Ika, Psyonic and most of all for CinderVomit) that helped me with gear and support; let me plug in my headphones and hear, watch and learn what they were doing; and more than anything, gave me the strength and encouragement to take my psytrance experience to this next phase, from dancer to DJ.
What are some differences that you notice in the psytrance scene that vary from other EDM subcultures?
Hrmmmmm…..in no particular order I would have to say:
Audiophile-tuned speakers….psytrancers are extremely particular and finicky with achieving crisp and concise sound.
Tends to be more of a spiritual overtone to the event, at least to the “heads”
Attendance on average I would have to say is older, possibly (and I use this loosely) more mature than your typical EDM scene.
Sadly, psytrancers do up the art/deco aspect more often than the EDM scene these days. The art was one of the most amazing aspects of the first generation of raves and it seems that the more commercial EDM gets the focus on the visual art has slipped away to nothing but a banner some lasers and a VJ, if you are lucky.
Most of all I would have to say though that psytrancers are more likely to treat you like family (the good kind that is) than any other group I’ve encountered. I’ve got more friends all over the US and the globe just because of our common bond of the music and the love for our scene.
Tell me more about the crew that you’re with, AtlPsy?
As Atlant-aliens, we used to be limited to psytrance parties in North Carolina for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, the different crews that threw down in NC were great, but the 3.5+ hr drives were a little rough sometimes. The silly thing though is that we really didn’t know of each other until Tribe came along and Moksa formed a “tribe” for Atlanta. Together we discovered that we each had a skill or commodity to contribute to putting on our own shows down in Atlanta and thus a great group of clowns and shenanigans was born.