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The differences between Forest, Darkpsy and Hi-Tech, his music, the new album ‘Moksha’, his astonishing musical roots, and his experiences as a Psytrance artist, so says Antagon

From Metal to Psytrance

Where do you see differences between forest, darkpsy and hi-tech? What are your definitions of these genres and where do you see your own style?

Antagon by - StrohwasserlichtThat´s a good question, to be honest, personally I don´t care that much about those categories, I like psychedelic music and being too specific with these kind of definitions limits you as an artist in your creativity. To answer the question briefly I´d say a good definition of forest Psytrance is everything Parvati Records released in the last 10 years. When it comes to hi-tech you should probably listen to some of the Noise Poison Records artists. If you ask me about Darkpsy, that´s more a collective term of extreme forms of psychedelic trance.

How would you describe your music? How do you tell a story in your tracks? Do you follow any special rules or is it just an intuitive workflow that leads to your special kind of style? Do you have any special sound one can hear in almost every track to immediately identify your music?

I would describe my music as psychedelic trance somewhere between dark and hi-tech, with some experimental parts from other genres, drum & bass, dubstep or hardcore techno. When I start a new track I usually use a kick bass loop and program a groove or use a pad sound playing a chord instead of the groove. Then I record as much synth sounds as possible. It´s pretty often a trial and error process. After the recording session I start to arrange the different audio files and that´s where the storytelling starts. In general, I use a typical technoid concept. I start with a few sounds at the beginning, sometimes just kick and bass adding more and more sounds, grooves and atmosphere until it culminates finally in a break or in a break down, a reduced part just with kick and bass. In my opinion it´s a well working and generally used concept in electronic music to make it interesting, danceable and intense. Sometimes I like to use the typical progressive trance structure where you have a build up in a break, and when the track starts again it´s completely reduced to kick and bass for a while. Usually that works pretty well on dance floors.

If you ask me to describe some special sound, the listener can always recognize me on…that´s probably a special kind of FM sound I usually use in all of my tracks. Additionally, when you know my sound, I guess you can hear that it´s me because of the structures of the tracks.

Antagon Can you tell us more about your new album?

My 4th solo album is called “Moksha” and it has been again released by the Hamburg based label “Damaru Records”. The cover artwork is an image from Android Jones and the layout was done by a friend of mine, Alex Parsec from L.A.
I´m very happy that I was again allowed to use one of Android´s amazing works, because I really admire his work. In my opinion, it´s real art and fits perfectly to psychedelic music. The mastering was fortunately done by Tim Schuldt at 4CN-Studios. We usually work with him when we need a good mastering with a lot of pressure for my solo project or –Z- (alpha & antagon).

To come to the musical side of the album, “Moksha” contains 10 tracks in a bpm range from 160 – 190 with a focus on the 170s. I haven´t tried to reinvent my style totally new, I just tried to develop it further, adding more groovy and atmospheric sounds, covering a bigger variety of different sounds and feelings.
“Moksha” contains 2 collaborations with other artists and a remix from an older Paralocks track. One of the collaborations is a track written together with Nocturne´s Creatures from Vienna. Two younger guys I met a few years ago when they booked me for a gig. Nowadays they are Damaru Records as well. I think the track called “Progress” is a very nice collaboration between the two projects.

The other one is the latest track I wrote together with Limbertimbre when I visited him last year in San Diego (USA). We know each other since my first USA Tour in 2012. Since then I stayed a few times at the place, where he lives together with Tom (Arahat). Over this period we wrote about four or five tracks together. Most of them are already released by Damaru Records, one as part of my last album “Belief Engine”, and the other one on Damaru´s latest compilation “Flashnizm”. I feel that our styles add up very well to something weird and very psychedelic, and it´s always fun to work with Limbertimbre.

When did you get in touch with psychedelic Trance the first time in your life?

The first time listening to psychedelic trance was around 96 at a friend´s place. He was already into techno and house, and I bought, just coincidently, one of the famous “Goa” compilations of these days. I think, it was as “Tantrance”. Listening just blew me away and I was curious to find more of this. A few months later I attended the first small party in Peine, in a small club which still exists today and later in Hannover. My first big festival in 97 was the VOOV, and afterwards I went to FUSION Festival in Northern Germany. I bought my first CDJs in 99, and a few years later in 2005
I started ­to write my own music.

Before you came to trance music you were a metal head. Do you think it´s still possible to discern your musical roots in your sound ?

Yes, I think so. When you compare some of my tracks to the atmosphere black metal bands create with their sound it´s similar. It´s melancholic and pretty dark here and there. Additionally, those typical FM leads I use work as a substitute for guitars in my opinion.

What kind of music do you listen personally when you are alone or at home?

I listen to a lot of different styles. I´m back to more extreme metal stuff where I started from 20 years ago. But I also listen to IDM, some Hip Hop, or EBM, everything that touches me emotionally.

Can you tell us about your experiences as an artist in the Psytrance scene often travelling and playing gigs almost around the world? What do you wish for the future?

Well, on one hand you have really nice, on the other hand very disappointing experiences. It depends on the crew and the promoter. Some of them are very nice, treating you very well, others don’t respect you at all, just want to rip you off or let you wait for 10 hours at the airport. That definitely feels like shit, kills your nerves and your motivation to continue with the music. What I wish for the future is just a little bit more respect and a reliable communication and working style. Treat artists you book like friends and not like assholes, be nice, fair and try to keep everybody in a good mood. That’s probably the most important thing for a good party.

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