What is the meaning behind your name RoboJoe & how you got into DJing?
I got this name from a friend when I was trying to establish my DJ name and I was given the name because I was always doing the robot at clubs and then boom RoboJoe was born. I got interested in DJing when I went to my first underground party when I was 18 then at 22 decided to give it a go cause watching other DJs express their feelings through the music was incredible and an experience i’ll never forget.
Who inspired you to produce such a hard style of house? This is some pretty hard sounds coming out.
My good friend who took me under his wing introduced me to hardstyle while I was currently spinning hard trance and one song of his turned everything around and I fell in love with that sound instantly.
How did you make the move from DJing to producing? Did you have any formal music training?
Same friend who taught me to DJ also taught me the basics on production bought the programs and started producing and learning on my own and just understanding music helps and having an ear for music is key. Funny thing is I don’t even know how to read music but I sure know how to write it because of my ear and playing with sounds.
What upcoming shows & events do you have planned?
April 6th Im headlining with ” The Rockstar DJS” in my hometown San Angelo , TX and also playing their after party event as well. July 7th Park party event FT.Worth, TX , June 28th Headlining field party event in Kauffman, TX
UPDATE: will be playing Saturday at New Era Transmission, the summer annual music festival July 14-16. Details on Facebook event page: New Era Transmission
UPDATE: Texas Psy at The Nines – Deep Ellum 2911 Main St, Dallas, Texas 75226
You have recently released two albums, what is the process of creating an album like for you?
My process for creating albums is inspiration from family and friends, hard drive to succeed at writing music for everyone in the world to hear. Just working on tracks is so relaxing to me and I feel like when I’m writing music I go into another dimension of time or like another world and there is where i wanna be creating music and i am at total zen when creating.
Big shout to my label manager Jo3y Dgtl for making everything possible and for letting me be me for my creativity much respect. Big shout to SYN Records, House Division Records & Collective Records for having me aboard ” MUCH LOVE AND RESPECT ” But most important my friends, my kids and loving girlfriend for always believing in my dreams and always being there for me. Praise God in all His glory for giving me the gift to write music and express my life through music for everyone to hear and understand me for who I am!
You’re notorious for your dark, militant hardcore sound. What kind of inspiration do you have for the sounds on The Marfa Lights Remix E.P.?
It stems from The Phoenix lights EP. The Science Fiction genre in general inspires me to write music. The Phoenix Lights Ep is a combination of that and my love for late 90s/early 2000s era Drum’n’Bass. Marfa Lights is an extension of that, featuring remixes by James Kelly, Soccer Mom and Burr Rabbit.
I’ve known for nearly a decade and you have an industrial goth look, do you find that music does come out in production?
Yes, Industrial Music will always be a source of inspiration.
You’re next is going to be the Rocket Radio Blast off party, what are you planning for the crowd?
The venue serves absinthe… so I imagine things are going to get weird.
What kind of set up do you have for a live performance? Aside from living dead girl go go dancers…
😉 My live setup includes Ableton Live, a Launchpad, and an LPD8. I compose and sequence my songs live by triggering and modulating original loops and samples. On special occasions VJ Trek will join me and provide live custom visuals.
What are you planning for 2013?
In the next few weeks my full-length concept album “Design Flaw” will be released on CD, digital, and a Vinyl single on www.waxtooth.com. In addition I have some official remixes in the works, a new collaborative project with Grimp, and tons of new material and events soon to be announced.
Follow Psyborg for updates and new music!
Shout outs to Douglas Quaid, Ben Richards and the T-101.
Psyborg will be performing this Friday at Absinthe Lounge, along with unitcode:machine. DJ sets by 4D, DubTilDawn, Heironymous Superfly, Johnny Violence, and JuJu Celebrating Cyberina’s last hour set of Rocket Radio after 14 years. $10 donation to KNON 89.3 FM Facebook. Absinthe Lounge & Cigar Bar1409 South Lamar, Suite 008, Dallas, Texas 75215
Interview: James Kelley ॐ Kontrol Records ITA, Mischkonsum Records GER, Waxtooth Records, NODAT Agency ॐ TexasPosted: September 18, 2012
One of my most favorite things about being a part of scene is watching people get involved with what they love and growing creatively then one day they but something out that makes me go: well it’s about muthafawing time. I still remember the James Kelley that I used to share dance floor space with as being one of the most visually colorful people EVER but right now his sound is dark and minimal and it’s a change that works out perfectly. Some underground party goers will remember that James Kelley has played pretty much every gene while his residency at a warehouse in the late night dancing district of Dallas, TX. Now he’s got his new album The Seven Year Detour out in August I’m glad he was able to take some time to talk about it.
What is your musical background before you started working on this album?
I began my exploration of electronic sound in the late 90’s, and spent the next 7 years or so hypnotized by my love for vinyl. During this time of experimenting with almost every source of music available to me, I always leaned toward the darker side of sound, finally finding my home with dark minimal techno. In early to mid 2010, I decided that producing my own music was the only way to go deeper into my own thoughts and express myself as an artist. After finally making material available to the public, I was immediately signed with Kontrol Records Rome, and was fortunate enough for my debut release “The Spell EP” to recieve enough support to land the #17 position on “Beatport’s Top Minimal 100” and then this follow up album “The Seven Year Detour EP” released on Mischkonsum Records of Stuttgart, Germany and peaked at the #7 spot.
It is awesome to hear someone that I used to share dance floor space have a dark album, The Seven Year Detour is minimal techno, what inspired this album during a time that it seems everyone AND THEIR mama is producing other now EDM gone commerical?
I’ve never personally been interested in what “everyone and their mama” was doing, if anything it’s a turn off to me. I generally prefer to do my own thing. Nothing against that, but dark minimal techno just seemed to better fit my thoughts as an artist. I’ll attempt a somewhat brief explaination of the inspiration behind the album, although my words may not paint the full picture that I intended. “Chosen Ones” was written to symbolize the lucky ones that “get it”. The ones that truly understand why we do what we do, why we push the sound, the vibe, the culture, and that are fortunate enough to experience it on a regular basis. “Buried Alive” is about those that allow societal pressures to provoke false needs and wants while putting too much interest in objects, material satisfaction and monetary gain. “Getaway Car” is the vehicle that allows you to escape the clutches of society and just be yourself again. Seven years ago, I let a lot of things get the best of me…and I’m just now getting back to feeling like myself again. It’s been quite a journey, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.
Right now you are all over the United States, if you were to come back to Dallas where are some spots you’d love to play some of your dirty techno tracks?
That’s an easy question. I really don’t have a preference on the “spot”, but I defintely wouldn’t turn down a gig hosted by SoundsLike, Proton, or Rich Productions. Their events almost always guarantee elements that I enjoy. Professionally hosted, with an educated open minded attendance of people that like to get down. What more could you ask for? Maybe a dark dank warehouse 😉
Since your on the road currently, what artists are you rocking out to?
Honestly, I listen to a really ridiculous amount of music on a daily basis. Too many artists to name really. I usually do a lot of previewing tunes for gigs, but when I’m not doing that, I regularly tune in to Dark Material and Blank Code podcasts these days. Although, I’m currently listening to a couple of guys from Argentina named Toollbox that do a really good live pa in my opinion. There are so many amazing artists right now that it’s never hard to find something worth tuning into.
What is next for your production? Are there are producers you look forward to working with?
Well, my third album of this year “Time Machine” will be released on Moleskine Music of Medellin, Columbia sometime in October with a couple of MASSIVE remixes from London based producer Aedicule, and stateside heavyweight Soundmanipulator. You’re going to hear a bit of a different approach in the productions that are currently in the works, but they’ll still have the same vibe, and definitely contain heavy doses of darkness…
As of now I’m still enjoying the journey exploring the depths of myself as a producer and sharpening my own skills in the studio but, I am definitely looking forward to working with some other producers in the future. I do have plans for collabs with a couple of local artists and some of my personal favorite producers as well.
What upcoming events do you have coming up?
I’m on the bill for a couple of parties in Dallas happening the very near future. I’m warming up the main room at the Lizard Lounge with the dark bizz on Thursday September 20th for Prototype/Full Access’s party featuring Above and Beyond. I’ll be getting down at the much anticipated Rich Productions annual Halloween party this year which ALWAYS produces a HEAVY line up. I’m committed to do guest mixes for three podcasts that will be airing very soon as well.
Big thanks to all my friends that have supported me for the last decade! Much respect to all of the promoters that keep the underground alive by continuously pushing the sound. All of the labels that have believed in my music: Mischkonsum records (Stuttgart, Germany), Kontrol Records (Rome, Italy), Fanciful Label (Berlin), Waxtooth (USA), & Moleskine Music (Medellin, Columbia)… and to all the peeps that keep the dance floor heated!
I first started hearing you play UK Garage at Groovology every Sunday at Homebar (before it became the Green Elephant) what lead you to start producing dubstep before there was even a following for it in Dallas?
I had already been producing drum & bass as well as UKGarage/2step and releasing several tracks of both on vinyl. Mark J, Chrisko, and I were spinning the earliest dubstep tracks from Tempa, team Ammunition, and London within our UKGarage night, Groovology, pushing the beats forward. And that inspired me to produce my own Dubstep.
Describe the evolution of Dub Assembly over the past 6 years?
Dub Assembly was born in 2006 from our Groovology UKGarage/2step event (the longest running in North America of its kind that was a weekly event from 2000-2005 and lives on now as an annual event) and allowed us the opportunity to keep pushing the bass forward with a full-on dubstep event instead of just mixing in the dubstep with the UKGarage/2step as we had done the previous 5 years. [click here for Memorial Day 2001 mix – thanks Por Vida for hosting this mix. – Ally] The Dub Assembly event occurs monthly and it quickly grew to incorporate the Dub Assembly record label. The record label has almost 30 releases now, many on digital and 7 or so on vinyl. As an artist I’ve been grateful to headline many events throughout the US and many events in Europe too. With the DA event we’ve continued to play big venues in the city including the Granada Theater, Trees, and our spirtual home since 2000 The Green Elephant (aka the Home Bar for those that know), performing many times as headliners and also incorporating guest headliners since we are fans of the music too. Dub Assembly is celebrating its 6 year Anniversary this Saturday at the Green Elephant with guest Cyberoptics (Play Me, Los Angeles). We’ve been growing strong for 6 years and will continue to grow for many years to come. I’m All In.
What new Dub Assembly releases are in store?
Haha! I can’t give away all the surprises yet but many good beats are
in the works !
What do you look for in dj when adding them to the Dub Assembly roster?
In adding, and keeping, to the roster I look for enthusiasm for the Dub Assembly event and label, honest effort toward promotion of the events, honest and serious contribution to the label, and good souls. I’m All In. Are you? If you are there is a place for you…whether you are in audio production, graphic arts, or promotion. Contact me
and be among like-minded souls.
Finish this sentence: Dallas, TX Dubstep is _________.
Jason Mundo will be celebrating this Saturday at the Green Elephant in Dallas, TX.(click link for Facebook event details) $10.00 over 21 $15.00 under / tickets at the door for 18yrs+ w/valid id and so should you!
Shout outs & thanks to: “my Dub Assembly Crew Joe & Athena. Thanks to all the people from Dallas to worldwide that have supported Dub Assembly over the years!”
You’ve been heard playing a variety of genres over your 10 years of djing. This summer you’ve played midtempo psyglitch & glitch hop. What current producers do you currently enjoy playing out?
For the last year or two I have been focused on playing psychedelic bass music like PsyGlitch and PsyStep. I have been playing a lot of material from Australian producers like Kalya Scintilla, Mr. Bill, Hypnagog, Barry Koota, and Sun Monx. I am also very inspired by a lot of stateside producers like Bird of Prey, Sixis, Desert Dwellers, Mr. Rogers, Heyoka, and Cheb I Sabbah.
I try and keep a balance between glitchy, world, and psychedelic vibes.
Is this a change from what you like to listen to in your non-djing time?
When I’m not DJing I like to listen to psytrance (Progressive Psy/Full On/Psybreaks) downtempo (Trip Hop/Lounge/Ambient/World) and bass music (Glitch Hop/Trap/DnB).
I heard your going to be playing trap music soon. What do you think of trap music, any tracks stand out to you?
I have only been playing trap for a few months now, it’s really just something I have been dabbling with for local gigs at clubs and bars. It’s a nice middle ground for me and a mainstream audience. It’s still bass music I love combining the tempo of dubstep (without the in your face shrill sounds) and some elements of rap (rolling hi hats and deep bass) that people can really groove to. As far as trap goes I would say some of the top producers right now are Flosstradamus/Diplo/Baauer/Drankenstein/UZ.
Even though it’s been a while for you, do you remember what made you start djing?
I got introduced to electronic music at a pretty early age, 13. I was already collecting a lot of electronic music on vinyl and cd. It seemed the next logical step to start DJing. I was obsessed with the culture and would collect anything that had to with electronic music, books, magazines, movies, flyers. After reading mixing tutorials on the internet and watching a local DJ (Jason Hatfield) mix in my bedroom, by age 16 I was pretty much hooked on DJing. From then on I would buy records at a local shop (The Volume) and hit up shops (Core/Spinmasters/Bills) every time I went to Dallas with family. Started doing house parties at 16 and playing out at local raves by 17.
Right now there is a lot of talk all over the dj world about dj not mixing live, what is your opinion on that type of performance?
It’s 2012 and the world is changing. Technology is changing too and if you don’t keep up it will leave you in the dust. A lot of what you are speaking of probably has to do with the fact most DJs are mixing on laptops now. For some reason people have lost respect for DJs when they make the switch to laptop DJing. It has made DJing accessible to the masses because almost everyone owns a laptop and can afford a cheap DJing program. This is good in some ways but horrible in other ways. It’s like owning a drum kit and saying you are a drummer or a rockstar, just because you own the equipment it doesn’t make you good. Also a lot of producers are DJing their tracks on programs where you can preset your mix or have it arranged ahead of time. This is great for producers who don’t specialize in DJing but want a way to showcase their music in a DJ setting. I have been using a laptop to mix on for the last 6 months and I love it. Do I use the Sync button? No I don’t, its not even very accurate and there are bpm readouts on every program and on cdjs so just quit being a lazy ass and manually adjust your beats like every one else.
Since you’ve played outdoor festivals this summer, how would you compare that to the atmosphere of a single night event? Any preference?
I love playing at festivals. I think it’s great having an entire weekend to pace yourself and be able to hear a wide spectrum of music throughout the event. Also being around artwork and being involved in activities like workshops and ceremonies is awesome. Plus having vendors and being outside and getting to camp out adds to the experience as well. It basically encompasses all of my favorite things into an entire weekend of fun, yes I love festivals I can’t express it enough. I would pick a festival over a club night hands down every time.
Excited about your planned tracks with Murcielago, a producer in Texas. Describe what we can except from this collaboration.
We haven’t sat down and worked on any tracks just yet. Both of us have just been tossing around some ideas on what we would like to do. We have had a few jam sessions with fellow Pinealien producer Psymatik and dabbled with different styles. Hopefully we will be working on some hybrid tracks that incorporate elements of PsyGlitch, DarkPsy, PsyStep, and Psybient.
Any shout outs & thanks.
Yes shout outs to all my crews I’m involved with Pinealiens, 903 Bass, and Beatdown Krew. A lot of love going out to the Atrium Obscurum crew for helping me be involved in the Texas Psy scene. Shouts to Moksha music and Jordan Moondoggy for having me out to Arkansas recently. Respect to DJs and Promoters like SoundShaman / InertG / Banjos to Beats for pushing the PsyBass/Glitch sounds in Texas. Shouts to my family and close friends who have supported me throughout the years and who have kept on believing in me.
Tell me where you’re from, where you currently live.
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Tx. After a brief stint in College Station I made my way to Austin where I’ve been for most of the last six years. I’ve taken a few extended vacations from Austin. One to Asheville, NC, where I got engulfed in the magic of the psytrance community, and one to the west coast on the annual fall hippie migration to the Nevada dessert and norCal. Austin is where I always end up though, and it’s a great place to be. There’s so many things going on all the time that you’re always able to find something fun to do and there’s a great EDM/Burner community.
What kind of music & parties did you first go to?
Ha, oh man! Big raves for sure.. My first party was Meltdown in Dallas and I was blown away from the start. Most of my first parties were more mainstream raves in Dallas and Austin. That was all when I lived in College Station and I was into the more mainstream producers and genres like house and breaks. Dubstep wasn’t really on the scene yet, but I always had a thing for DnB and 2-step.. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I started going to more underground warehouse and house parties though. I kinda got sucked into the Austin EDM scene when I got here. There were so many fun parties that weren’t in downtown clubs and it’s a pretty close-knit community, really most of my friends here I’ve met through electronic music scene. Then one day I found psytrance and nothing has been the same ever since..
When you started djing, you played so many different things. As your style has progressed how would describe it?
Oh I’m still all over the place when I dj. I’ve really tried to build my collection to be able to play just about any vibe of music from chilled out to tripped out to danced out and my influences are across the board: dubstep, breaks, glitch, idm, dnb, psytrance, house.. I try to find music that combines elements of all those into something that can’t be described by a single genre, and instead look for what a track does to me when I listen to it. I guess that’s why it’s always been so hard for me to answer the ‘what do you play?’ question, it really depends on when and where I’m playing but ‘psychedelic bass music’ is usually a good blanket term.
I’ve definitely come a long way from some of the first SoundShaman sets. That was around 2 years ago, and I was playing a lot of Mimosa, Heyoka, Vibesquad, mostly the west-coast bass music pioneers, and it all had that ‘slow and low’ dubstep/glitchop vibe. Now I tend to go for music that’s more upbeat and cerebral and really works it’s way into you and takes control. It took me a while to get comfortable playing more complex music and utilizing the dj software I use (Traktor!). I like being able to shift the bpm’s around in a set rather than staying in one place the whole time. It really gives me a lot of freedom to read the crowd while I’m playing. If people are really into it, I can keep going with that vibe and if not, I can switch it to something totally different. Or sometimes everyone is really into it and I’ll switch to something totally different anyways =P I’ll do things like go from a heart-opening emotional track into the nastiest wall of sound you’ve ever heard into something so goofy you can’t help but laugh at. I guess that’s a good metaphor for my dj’ing philosophy: take it serious, push peoples limits, but don’t forget to make it fun!
As you’ve tour different festivals & events, what experienced really made you love what you do? Any challenges?
I think SoulRise was one of my stand-out dj experiences. I played a 3-hour set at sunrise that capped off an amazing weekend, so many of my friends dancing and vibin’ out.. It definitely gave me a feeling of ‘this is why I do it’. There’s been many other moments like that.. Any time everyone is really into the music and feelin it, it’s an awesome feeling to be up there in the dj booth when that’s going on.
I suppose the biggest difficulty has been getting myself into the dj booth at the right time and place. Early on I would always get stuck on the chill stages at weird times, and end up having more people dancing than the main stage, or end up playing an awesome set to 3 people.. It took a while to get given the better time slots, but honestly now that I’m getting booked to play more festivals, I enjoy the challenge of putting together a set to fit a certain time, regardless of when it is.
What are some producers that you encourage others to listen to?
I’ve been really digging all the stuff from Australia I’ve been finding. Merkaba/Kalya Scintilla, Goosebumpz, Blatwax, Meat Axe, Mr. Bill, Sun in Aquarius, Mindbuffer, Circuit Bent, Hypnagog.. Luke Mandala and Jpod out of Canada are pretty sick too. Street Ritual out of California has some great artists like Thriftworks, JOBOT, and Knowa Knowone.
As Re:Growth nears, what are you looking forward to?
I’m really excited about Old Growth! The venue looks prime, so many friends and amazing musicians on the lineup, and friends and family from all over the country will be there.. It’s gonna be a great time! I’m playing at 1:30pm Saturday afternoon, which is one of my favorite times at a festival so look forward to some vibey daytime grooves!
Do you have any shouts or thanks to give?
So many! Pretty much all my friends all over the country, many of whom unknowingly influenced my dj’ing in some way or another, for listening to my dj sets and supporting my efforts. My brotha from anotha motha and all-around homie for life Joshuasca, who has been a huge musical influence in my life since we met. DJ Nod, the only person to play dubstep at World Bridge, for showing me both Traktor, and what it means to play a vibe rather than a genre. Brian, Jessica, and the rest of the Atrium Obscurum crew for all the awesome work they’ve done for the psytrance scene in Texas, and for booking me to play their festivals! Lydia and the Synergy I.D.E. Crew from Austin, where I played my first gig as SoundShaman, for constantly pushing me to evolve musically. All my friends from Asheville and Atlanta, who invited me into their tribe with open arms and showed me how awesome the psytrance family was! And everyone in Austin who has been coming to my gigs and rockin out on the dance floor for the last 2 years.. And thanks to you Ally for doing this interview with me!
Your production has beautiful layers, what kind of training and experience do you have in music production?
My Father and Grandfather are both musicians so I grew up around instruments. When I was young, about Six or Seven years old, my Dad bought me a drum set and an electric guitar. He always had synths and keyboards, too. So, I played on those a lot as kid. My parents never pushed me to do any music lessons, and I really just liked to experiment anyway. It wasn’t until my Thirteenth Birthday that I was given a nice acoustic and electric guitar that I really started to get serious. Sometime after that I found the rave scene and sold my guitars for turntables and then my turntables for my first synth. In 2002 I was introduced to Fruity Loops and moved from there to Ableton. I have owned about Fifteen or so different synths, but for now I am strictly “in the box”.
During your live sets there is a cinematic feel as if there is a story being told. Is there a method to your performances?
I love movies, so that is neat that you can pick up on that. My music definitely is influenced by things in, and periods of, my life – hope, love, friends, lessons, beauty, growth, struggles, and the conflict of change and emotions. So, while my performance may not intentionally be telling a story… Each song is.
Overall the gene of Twin Shape is called Down Tempo but there are various genes that come up in just a single track. What are your influences in your sound?
I listen to a pretty wide range of music, but for the longest time I really cut back so I wouldn’t be too influenced by the artists I was being exposed to in this realm of music (when working on the Twin Shape project). The first Artist that had an impact on me, for this sound, was Phutureprimitive, namely his Subconscious album. The fist Twin Shape type track I made came about by accident, really, I just started playing with the BPM of a track I was working on in another genre and something grabbed me. It was a month or so after hearing Subconscious and it reminded me of it, so I knew I had to be careful what I listened to so I could follow the threads path. At that point I had never felt so connected to the music I was writing and I knew I was where I needed to be. Other than that I grew up listening to a The Cars, Depeche Mode, Devo, The Cure… A lot of 80’s Synth Pop, but I have listened to Industrial, Rock, etc, too. Other than what I grew up with I would say EDM had a huge impact as well. I love all forms of Progressive, Psytrance, Breaks, and DnB. And of course I listen to a lot of Trip Hop and Psychill like: Massive Attack, Ott, Lamb, Androcell, Shpongle, and tons of other artists.
You’ve been touring for a while now. Is there a favorite event that you’ve played so far?
It is hard to pick a favorite… My most memorable would have to be my first performance, which was for Atrium Obscurum at Peto Lux Lucis. It had the biggest impact. I had passed up a few bookings prior to that because I hadn’t yet completed enough music for an entire set, but I took this one because I knew it would force me to be ready. It was far enough out that I knew if I stuck to it I would be OK. So, I told all of my friends that I wouldn’t be around for a while, moved into a friends place over an hour away from everything, with no internet, and I spent everyday working until I was done. It was like being alone really because my friend worked nights. The show wasn’t perfect, but it felt so good to finally play live and share my music. And that is something I had been wanting to do for many years. I learned a lot and am thankful that I was given that opportunity, plus I met a lot of great people.
There is a mystery around the psychedelic mask that you wear when you perform, why the mask?
I think it shows my true face better than the one under it. If people really want to know “me”, the music I play and the art I wear say a lot more than my words and skin cells do. I like to take that part of myself out of the equation and try to align my true self with the emotion and message in the music for people to share with me. I think it helps me feel not so naked as well; I never feel so bare as when people hear my music.
Huge thank you to everyone, and everything, that has been in my life and shown me or taught me something.
Twin Shape is performing Wisdom of the Aegis, June 19-21, 2015 at Armadillo Acres (Hughes Springs, TX)
For detailed directions go to www.atriumobscurum.com
Please look for a sign on the fence that says AO –>
That sign will be approximately 30 feet to the left of the entrance to the land. The sign is white with black paint.
He’s currently working a full length album. A remix to be released in November on Harmonious Discord.
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!
ManiuplationN’s Seed of Sounds EP is also available currently on Beatport.com TX.
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.