Interview: Axis Mundi ॐ TOUCH Samadhi // Anomalistic ॐ North Carolina
“One Foot In Fantasy” is Axis Mundi’s first album on Anomalistic records. It’s available at bandcamp by beatspace. I’m listening to this right now & it gets really tripped out. He’s described it as a person life journey. While I listen to this I’m going on a personal journey – in my mind. Yes.
Currently Axis Mundi is working on his 2nd album. A majority of the tracks from Axis Mundi’s Soundcloud page will appear on his second album “Ara Nova”, which will be five tracks.
He’s work has also been on about 20-25 miscellaneous compilation and versus tracks which are found everywhere. I’m excited to learn more about the work and experience this Asheville, NC producer has!
What crews are you working with now.
I am with a couple of crews now.
TOUCH Samadhi (Facebook) (Youtube) This is an Asheville-based crew which has since spread across the US. Possibly abroad as well. TOUCH was the biggest reason why I decided to move to Asheville. They have all been huge role models to me. Kri Samadhi in particular has been somewhat of a mentor (even though he may not realize it until now) and someone that I hold a lot of respect for and look up to. But he’s not the only one. They have all become very good friends to me personally, and have been very supportive of me, even though the type of trance I create is perhaps the most far removed from most of their personal tastes. I was very honored to become part of their circle and I feel a lot of loyalty towards them.
Anomalistic Records This is an Atlanta based trance label, which is also very much like a family. There are Anomalistic members all over the USA. The label focuses on releasing music which… doesn’t fit in with any particular niche, though the tendency is towards very fast, abstract sounds (even for this particular genre of electronic music). David “CinderVOMIT” Sheker is one of my closest friends. This label released my first album and I’m proud to be involved with them and with the yearly “World Bridge” party which has become an event I look forward to every year. This year’s World Bridge, the seventh, is slated to be the last in the series.
There is also the Goa Gil crew, called “Those People”, also based out of Asheville, and also heavily involved with the World Bridge festival in the summer, and the bi-annual Goa Gil event in Spring at Deerfields. Over the years these folks have become very dear to me as well. I’ve learned a lot from them.
There are a few other crews which I’m also closely allied with. Xexify in southern California, Atrium Obscurum in Texas, and Cosmic E.G.G. in Minnesota (many of whom also cross over with Anomalistic) are also very good friends and supporters. I always enjoy their company and the events they do. They are very good people.
I also have a side project called “Elves of Appalachia” (soundcloud) with David “CinderVOMIT” of Anomalistic and the “Datavore” act. We’re just finishing up an EP which will be out on Anomalistic very soon this year.
I’m very thankful to have gotten to know these groups in my career.
The Axis Mundi is the the center of the world center, how did you decide to select that as your name?
I first heard the term through another hobby of mine – tabletop RPGs (role-playing games). Later (before I seriously got into electronic music) I also used “Axis Mundi” as a general internet and gaming handle online. The more I read about the “Axis Mundi” concept, the more it resonated with me, and it sort of stuck. Even some of my most long-term friends call me “Axis” even though they are well aware of my true name. At this point, I don’t think I could get rid of it if I tried.
In the trance community, there have been a few other “Axis Mundi”s before me. I believe I’m the 4th. Once I found out there were others, I wondered for a bit if I should consider a name change. I even tried to do this, but it turned out to be futile, obviously. I’ve never had any issues with using this moniker, though, and no real confusion amongst other people, so there was never any real reason to change it besides my own self consciousness, so I never really bothered to. “Axis Mundi” seems to have chosen me as much as I chose the name.
It’s Latin, also, which I really like. I’m a languages prodigy. I speak five other languages besides English, with varying degrees of fluency. So I think the name also says something about who I am, in its own way.
I just saw that you are working on drum & psy-trance bass! JUST NOW! How is this different from what you tend to create? Download available online?
Hehe, not yet, though this bit I’m doing now will be the first track on my second album, “Ars Nova”, soon to be released. I’ve always enjoyed other types of music. In electronic music, I’m a big fan of breakbeats, drum and bass, downtempo, industrial, ambient, and IDM. I try my best to incorporate these influences into my trance music, which is why a lot of it sounds very irregular and experimental. Even in my “normal” trance, most of it is in non-4/4 timings, with fractional tempo changes, and subtle broken beat sections. I thought it would be nice with my second album to push my boundaries a bit further and make a psytrance-influenced track that wasn’t actually psytrance in itself. I’m told by those who have listened to it that it’s well done and “sexy”, so I’m probably going to explore these avenues further.
I also have a pet project which is IDM/glitch in nature and mainly geared towards fully live performance, meaning you don’t hear any sounds at all unless I’m pushing buttons and keys and turning knobs like a furious madman. I love hardware and controllerism, and the language of MIDI. At this point, though, this is a personal affair, though perhaps after my second album is finished I’ll devote more time to persuing this with a bit more seriousness and maybe even perform it onstage at the right event. I’m taking my time with it, though.
You can hear some live Ambient, performed with Christian of Sectio Aurea, in Switzerland in this video (you may need to be my Facebook “friend” to see this, but don’t be shy ):
I have had such a blast when I’ve previously tranced in Asheville, NC. How would describe the North Carolina psytrance scene?
For a town this small, there’s a HUGE arts and music scene in general. Moog Synthesizers also has its headquarters here, and these and a lot of factors mean there are tons of electronic musicians who produce stellar work… true audio geniuses. But you never hear about them, because they aren’t necessarily interested in promoting themselves and having a big name about it. They just do it because it’s fun and it pleasures them to do so. This is an important aspect of this area.
As far as Trance goes, TOUCH Samadhi and THOSE People have been here, pushing the trance scene, helping it grow, doing events, making music, etc. since the late 90’s. That’s old-school in this genre. As mentioned earlier, I’m very glad I discovered it when I did. I couldn’t have gotten to the point where I am now without these crews and the Asheville local scene, and as far as I’ve gone up to this point, I still see horizons in every direction. The Asheville scene has been a big influence on me in the way I view my place and direction in music.
Even (and especially) now, I oftentimes feel humbled by the sheer amount of talent, enthusiasm, and dedication that exists in this area and its people, and it humbles me when I listen and see what other people are doing around here.
When was your initial influence to Psytrance? What was that experience like?
Before trance, I used to listen to a lot of heavy metal. I was first turned onto psytrance via my high school exchange year in Germany, when I would listen to late night radio there. I didn’t know it was “psytrance” at the time, all I knew was that it was the first electronic music I could relate to, and listening to it made me feel very, very good. After a short while I stopped listening to metal altogether, and I began changing in a lot of ways for the better.
Some of the first names I listened to were Hallucinogen, Infected Mushroom, Juno Reactor, Koxbox, Etnica, Astral Projection, Talamasca, and others. Nowadays, my tastes have changed somewhat and I listen to different artists. But I still respect these old acts for what they did, and in some cases, still do.
To date what is the best experience you’ve had djing?
Wow, there are so many. My primary reasons for doing what I do are the travel and the people I meet. I’ve been very blessed to have played all over the States as well as two Europe tours. Some of my most memorable were:
Playing with Sectio Aurea on top of a mountain in Switzerland. The dancefloor literally dropped off into a huge cliff, and while I was playing, I could look out across the black midnight sky and see a massive thunderstorm flashing lightening behind a distant mountain, silhouetting the Alps for a few seconds with every bolt.
Playing in front of thousands of people at Indian Spirit ’09 in Germany. When I started, I had the shakes and thought I would faint. Looking up from what I was doing and seeing a sea of dancing heads under the black and strobe lights… there’s nothing like it.
Playing in the Mojave desert outside of L.A. in Spring. At night, the sky was perfectly clear and I could see more stars than I’ve ever seen at once in my life. Thanks to that, I now know what it looks like when the sky cracks open – and I was completely sober, too.
Playing near the tree line on the side of Mt. Hood in Oregon with Secret Society. Even though it was May, it was COLD up there – we literally drove THROUGH a snowstorm to get to the venue, and it was snowing while I was playing! The wilderness there was virgin, untouched, and felt very primeval.
Playing/being at a very small “family” style party with a crew of Germans (the “Klabusterbaerenbaende”, which, loosely translated, means “The band of some strange little animal which burrows up into your ass”. They rented out a villa on the coast of Southeastern Spain, in Benissa, and the whole affair lasted a week and a half of the most solid, uninterrupted debauchery I’ve had the pleasure to indulge in. They did it totally “Fear and Loathing” style, complete with a special briefcase – I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.
Opening for Psykovsky just about a month ago right here at home, in Deerfields. The party was a huge success – half experimental glitchy IDM (on Friday) and some of the most exotic psytrance on Saturday. The promoters, all personal friends of mine, were doing that as their first event – a very daunting task, but the event went off without a hitch and was without a doubt one of my favorites of all time. It was an honor to open up for Psykovsky, an artist I greatly admire presently, and I’m glad I played before him and not after him, because I have no idea how anyone could have followed after what he did. He really blew me out of the water in all the right ways.
Any thanks you’d like to give out?
Besides those whom I listed in the cover art of my first album, “One Foot In Fantasy”, well, I’d like to thank all of those people again, and especially my Mom, my beloved sister Dakota, my fiancee and the love of my life, Mary Johnson, Jerry Ricks, Myrkabah, Somadelic, Vic and Triplag Music, Oblium, the Anomalistic crew, Elves of Appalachia, TOUCH Samadhi, Those People, Atrium Obscurum, Mind-Expansion Records, Xexify, Cosmic E.G.G., and more… I’m reluctant to name individuals beyond that because there are so many, and I don’t want to accidentally leave anyone out. I’d also very much like to thank each and every person who’s ever given me a shout out, a hug, a congratulations, a “Like”, a “Favorite”, etc…. every time I hear or see appreciation for my art, no matter how small, it makes me feel really, really good about my art, and gives me a bit of strength and courage to continue doing that, and to keep pushing my own limits. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I never, ever, ever could have done, or do, what I do without your kindness, love, patience, understanding, and support.
Axis Mundi is played in Texas at Armadillo Area, Hugh Springs on June 23 for Embodied Awakening. Hope you asked for Monday off because you’re going to need a rest after this weekend.
Edit: updated broke mix/track links