After Antaro’s short visit in the mushroom headquarters and subsequently digging in our archives the treasure “mushroom magazine June 97” was found. We thought it has been a long time for an interview with the founder of VooV experience and Spirit Zone Recordings.
Antaro – the interview
What do you think about the scene‘s recent developments? After we had seen a peak of our culture around the mid 2000s, there followed the death of label and organizers, with a large decrease of visitor numbers at events and festivals. Today we seem to see a reverse trend. The GOA scene seems to experience some kind of renaissance.
It‘s a saying, „there‘s life in the old dog yet” which seems to apply here. I for one would not have thought, honestly, that I would answer questions from “mushroom magazine” in this life again.
Psytrance is kicking in again and the scene has become more lively recently. That is great news, that not many of us would have predicted a few years ago. There was a time when we thought the movement was dying out and the good times where over.
The mid 90s to the mid of 2000 were the golden years for labels, artists and festivals, then everything collapsed within a short period of time. The internet revolution had changed everything.
People stopped buying CD‘s and vinyl, distribution companies did not get paid by retailers, labels did not get paid by distributors and so on. Suddenly everything stopped. Today the music sales are still down and not relevant for the survival of (underground music) artists anymore. The only way to survive on music is by playing gigs at parties, but somehow the scene has managed to survive and that is the positive side of it.
More than 20 years ago you first released on Spirit Zone, what do you think is the difference between productions in the past and today? How do you see the quality of recent releases in comparison to the past? Everything was better then, or the possibilities today are staggering?
Today, music production is much better. The technological possibilities cannot be compared with those 20 years ago. Now there is killer equipment, available for everybody and it is non- expensive. The possibilities are mind blowing today.
Antaro: Mid of 2000, the collapse killed many labels
Antaro, why was Spirit Zone Records abandoned?
Spirit Zone went bankrupt. After the internet explosion the distribution network, the sales of sound carriers took a radical tumble. Although distribution (EFA Medien) did not pay us for one year, we continued producing and releasing and paying the employees – hoping that the situation would improve again – until all the money was gone and debts had accumulated. This then was the end.
Is it true that the Spirit Zone‘s music is at the ‚Goethe Institut‘ of Cambodia and will get digitalised? Do we see a renaissance of the label?
The last two years I have lived in Cambodia and been DJing at the Metahouse sometimes. The Metahouse is connected to the ‚Goethe Institut‘ in Phnom Penh. As there is la lot of pioneering spirit, in regards to music and parties, I thought it was a good idea to keep my Spirit Zone CD collection with them. Somehow it really is German culture, at least now I have turned it into that:-)
Antaro: No word about the VooV
Do you care to tell our readers something about why you left the VooV-Experience or even comment recent developments?
No, only this much: I left VooV Experience out of personal reasons in 2005 and I am not in any way involved since, and will not be in the future.
Antaro, you have called yourself “a global vagabond – single, no kids, lots of traveling”, a part of our edition, the „Trancers Guide to the Galaxy“ is dedicated to the topic ‚traveling‘. Do you have any advice or useful tips, like do‘s and don‘ts for our readers at hand, which could simplify traveling?
Nothing has changed up to today. For me, to travel is an attitude of life and what I like most. “Home is where the heart is” and that can be anywhere. If you are flexible and open, existence takes care of you and you can‘t go wrong. When you travel, you experience that it does not matter where you were born or what nationality you have. People are all the same, everywhere…just the conditioning is different. When you travel the world and mix up with people, you realize that we are all brothers and sisters on the same small planet, called earth. Division is man-made by religions, nationalistic thinking and so on. Really, we are all one.
Antaro: ZNA Gathering pulled me back into Psytrance
We are talking while you are in Portugal. The date for the ZNA 2017 has been set. Will we listen to you again, are you meeting the organizers?
The ZNA people convinced me to play Psytrance at their festival last year, after being on a different trip the years before. It was really great fun and I want to continue from there. I will be going for full on psychedelic trance and skip all the other styles for now. Lets see.
I will be playing at ZNA gathering next year again. ZNA is true underground spirit and the location is just amazing.
You have some very nice bookings for the summer in Germany and, as I have read, even one indoor event at the Grünspan. Is this something like a flashback, and do have any special ties to the Grünspan as a “Hamburg Boy”?
I am looking forward to this summer in Germany, playing some festivals and meeting old friends. I haven‘t been there for a while and I was missing the whole circus. Naturally the Antaris Project is the highlight. There I will meet everyone. I will play a full on Psytrance set on Monday and Electronica the day before at the Chill tent.
The New Healing sounds as well like a real good event, the concept sounds very interesting.
Another (personal) highlight will be the party at “Grünspan” in Hamburg. Grünspan was the very first club I ever went to dance in my life and where I had my first psychedelic experiences. That goes back all the way to 1969! Amazing that this club is still going and even more amazing for me that I will be DJing there, 45 years later.
What convinced you to dive into the Psy scene after all these years ?
I thought I was too old to continue and that it was time to do something different, but I have missed being an active part at parties and the whole circus which goes with it. I have tried to establish myself as a DJ with different music in Asia , but with small success. The good thing about our scene is that age does not really matter so much…so, here I am again.
What do you think of Proggy Trance?
Progressive trance is a northern European phenomenon and it first came from Scandinavia and Germany. I guess it is connected to a more dry mentality here. The progressive scene is very active and internationally very successful. The real Goa fraction does not consider this Psytrance , as it is very club oriented and features lots of vocals. Some of it should rather be called Psyhouse. I am anyway not so excited about it right, I prefer full power Psytrance.
What system do you use while djing? Are you going digital (laptop), or do you settle for CDs?
I started DJing with cassettes in Goa. Then it was dat’s. Then cd’s and vinyl. After that I used a computer and Traktor. When I got back from Cambodia now, i borrowed 2 Pioneer CDJs 2000, to test DJing with USB sticks as the technology is new to me. It works very well. So, in the future I will DJ with CDJs and only bring 2 USB sticks and headphones to the gig. great, I love it. Brave new world 🙂
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