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Cosmosis Interview Feb 2011 - for Beat Magazine, Australia


By bagginz - Posted on 11 February 2011

 

Music has always been a big part of your career, first being a session musician, then composing and recording pop tracks. Was it always your dream to end up producing your own Psy Trance, or was being involved in music enough?

Well, perhaps you underestimate quite how ancient I am.  I'll take it as a compliment  : )

Psytrance didn't actually exist back when I started making dance records, so no, it wasn't my dream to make Psytrance because it was still in the future. The earliest dance music tracks I that I produced were influenced by Acid House, House and the earlier Acid Trance sound typified by Hardfloor.

After I started working with Jez “Laughing Buddha”VanKampen (with whom I co-wrote the first Cosmosis album) we both became completely enamoured by the sound of the 12” vinyls being released by this little record label called Dragonfly Records based in south London i.e the early Goa Trance records.

Back then it was quite difficult to find this weird new underground music with just a small selection 12” vinyls available only at the hippest underground record stores in the backstreets of London. TIP Records, Dragonfly and relative newcomer Flying Rhino were the only labels that we could find releasing this weird and exciting new music.  Consequently we knew every single release that came out. Jez had a few contacts in that early scene and scored us a couple of tickets to an early TIP underground party in Kings Cross. Pretty mindblowing to say the least. I hadn't seen or heard anything like it before. There was no looking back after that for me.

But listening to and creating music as well as making it my career had already long been the focus of my life even before the advent of MIDI sequencers and affordable studio equipment made it feasible to create one's own records.

And yes creating music is enough for me, the form is not that important. It seems to become less so as I get older. I tend to agree with Duke Ellington in that music falls into just two categories: good and bad. In any genre there's excellence and mediocrity. I have a pretty eclectic taste in music and listen to everything from Folk to Classical, Rock and Pop through Jazz to some of the more brutal electronic styles like Dubstep and Drum n Bass. It just so happens that I'm currently still infatuated with the sonic possibilities of Trance and electronic beats. That may change, we'll see.

 

What does you live setup normally consist of?

A PC Slaptop running Ableton Live, Novation NIO audio interface, PEAK midi footswitcher, Digitech RP350 guitar multi FX pedal Novation Launchpad, Korg Nano Kontrol, and an Ibanez electric plank.

If you're interested you can see my live setup in action here: http://www.vimeo.com/13405023

 

 

You worked with artists like Jez Van Kampen, and then Dj Kuma on Mumbo Jumbo, do you enjoy working with other artists, or prefer a solo project?

I like both approaches because they offer different advantages. When working in the studio with someone else, apart from the obvious advantage of someone else bringing fresh musical ideas to the session, it can be a lot more fun especially when slogging through long editing sessions. Working with another experienced producer (rather than a DJ) is particularly useful because you can take more breaks and swap the two major roles of: 1. driving the sequencer, editing and focussing in on the miniscule details and 2. being responsible for maintaining the overview of the track/keeping the session vibe light and moving forward / tea making responsibilities.

On the other hand when working alone there is not the same restriction on time, so I can indulge myself in trying many different ideas before choosing between them. There are also no artistic compromises that need to be made between ideas, so I can express my personal artistic vision more completely.

 

Fumbling For The Funky Frequency’ is probably one of the cleverest album titles I’ve heard, summing up the majority of the time spent in studios by mix engineers. How has the album been received, what has you main feedback been?

Glad you like the title. Judging by the dancefloor reaction people seem to like the tunes too.

Generally the feedback has been that people are really enjoying the combination of the so called Goa sound which is a more colourful and melodic often created by using resonant filters to bring out the harmonic series and which is a technique I focussed on a lot in my earlier music, combined with the modern production sound of a hugely fat-in-your-face kick and bass sound. It's quite similar to the approach I took in my previous album Psychedelica Melodica. The tunes on Fumbling are really a development of that idea.

 

You have a website which seems to have lots of advice, tips and tricks for upcoming producers.

The Tips and Tricks section on my website, yes, I didn't originally actually intend to create that per se, it just sort of developed as I published my emailed answers to questions that budding producer friends asked me via email. I figured that if someone had asked me a particular production question then someone else could probably benefit from my answer and so I published my replies on my website and eventually expanded it into it's own little section.

Here's the url in case anyone's interested: http://cosmosis.co.uk/tips-and-tricks

 

You sure do have an impressive list of countries worldwide that you have played live too. Is there one event that sticks in your mind, or a favourite crowd?

I do get asked this a question a lot. After 15 years or so of globetrotting and continually playing at different parties all the experiences kind of melt in to one big long 15 year fluoro dream after a while. There’s also been far too many good ones to narrow it down to one or two.

The ones I tend to remember are always in locations of outstanding natural beauty, like outdoor parties up high in the Swiss Mountains, on beaches in Goa, Bali or Brazil, in the English countryside, desert parties in Israel, rainforests in Australia that kind of thing.

 

Do you have any upcoming shows? Where have your recent ones been?

I've been playing a lot in Israel lately. I enjoy the parties there, they love their Trance and they really know how to party. I've been going to Russia more and more over the past 4 years or so. There's some great outdoor parties there during the summer months.

 

So what do you do when you're not busy touring and making music?

Sit in the garden in a place in the sunshine with a view over the mountains and play the blues on my acoustic guitar, learn a new piece of music or write songs. When I am not doing that I read. I also spend time meditating, quite apart from the other benefits it's a good source of musical ideas.