After the features Hamish and his label Furthur Progressions (10th anniversary next year) in the spring edition, this time the label boss himself took the time to talk to us.
more general Music Style
Music Style (in your words)
Clean, strong, psychedelic and emotive music, not tied to a genre or BPM but on what moves the dancefloor.
Do you have a special artist concept? If so, how would you describe it?
Not really an artist concept but more an ethos as a DJ. Life has taught me that the emotional response we have as humans to music and the positive effect of dance on the mind, body and soul should be experienced by as many as possible. Before I DJ I try and get a feel for the dancefloor – what kind of energy is there, are they on an upward trend wanting more power, or is sunrise coming and the need for more spacious, thoughtful sounds for example. From there I will plot a musical path for the next few hours and set sail, ready to adjust as needed.
Short Intro/Bio about you
My name is Hamish, 35 years old living in London. I’ve been a DJ for 15 years, label owner for 9 year, and lover of trance for as long as I can remember!
Your life-story and relationship with your work
Tell us a little about you and your work
I am 35 years old, married to the love of my life and living in London. Music has been ever present in my life and from the age of 16 psy trance has been my life force.
I started DJ’ing aged 19 while at University in the UK. Whilst studying history I also began putting on psy trance parties, making all the decor and creating a little piece of magic in an amazing West Indian community hall where they continued to play dominos while we raved around them. When I moved to London I joined Alchemy Records but always found myself playing more progressive psy trance than full-on, and with a couple of other DJ’s we started to forge a progressive psy trance path in London. In 2009 my love of progressive trance led to the forming of Furthur Progressions Records and an enduring DJ partnership with Mark Bedders. Nearly ten years later we are going strong!
The name of Furthur Progressions Records is a combination of two influences. ‘Furthur’ was the name of the psychedelic bus that carried Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters across the United States, often in the company of bands such as The Grateful Dead and flanked by Hells Angels. The bus was an artistic, sonic experiment that pushed boundaries, carrying some of the maddest and most creative people of the 1960’s through their adventures. ‘Progressions’ refers to the form of music that we love – that which progresses, builds and flows on a path of emotion and joy.
Currently what projects are you working on? And what future plans have you chalked out for yourself?
My main focus is always Furthur Progressions Records, continuing to release amazing music, support our artists and be part of events and festivals around the world. We are approaching our 10 years anniversary and want to bring the celebrations to as many countries around the world as possible so this is a big thing for us at the moment, finding the right people to work with. And of course planning the post-festival releases for everyone’s listening pleasure!
What influenced you to get into your field?
My first party. I was an innocent 16 year old taken to an underground party in a place called Tyssen Street in London, with no idea what I was about to enter in to, or the effect it would have on my life! My friend gave me my first pill which transported me to another world, and that was that. I was hooked. No other music gave me the entire-body & mind reaction that psychedelic trance did, and I made it my mission to find more of this music. After collecting tapes, then mini-discs, then CDs and vinyl the next step was DJ’ing.
As an artist, what role do you think you play in society?
This is an interesting question. As a DJ I am a conveyor of music, and hopefully those who listen to what I play are transported to a positive place, giving them enhanced joy, or respite, or a new experience. But it is the music that does that, not me. We need to be careful about placing too much emphasis on who is playing the music, instead of focusing on the music itself.
You obviously love what you do…but what do you love the most about your work?
Everybody has to start somewhere, usually at the bottom of the ladder, either as the bus-boy or the shoe-shiner. What was the very first job you had?
Working as a waiter for a catering company, long hours and low pay but rewarding work, and at 16 I had money in my pocket for the first time!
What is your second love? What’s the alternative career path you would have travelled if you were not on the one you are right now?
I also run a company that makes homes more environmentally friendly using smart technology and renewable energy. This and music compete for attention!
Party & Music experiences
What was your funniest party experience?
Probably the time one of the crowd decided he wanted to be inside the CD-J, vaulted over the decor and stage straight on top the decks. He had no idea why the music stopped or why we were looking at him slightly bemused. He just wanted to be one with the cd!
What was your best set you have ever played and why?
Fusion Festival 2009 – Markus and Katja got in touch with me and booked me to come and play the closing set of the festival, which was an incredible honour. I hadn’t heard of Fusion Festival and there was little information about it online, so I had no idea what I was about to experience – 70,000 people, 15+ stages, mind-blowing production, head-turning sights around every corner. The vibe on the trance floor was like nothing else, a spine-tingling experience for me, and I just went on and on at lest for an hour past finishing time, at one with the crowd.
What makes a (Psytrance) track great for you?
Something that tells a story with great production.
Your best release(s) – and why…
London Landscapes – the debut release on Furthur Progressions Records. We worked with artists who have all gone on to become legends, and it was as good as it could be in every respect.
Your best set on Soundcloud or similar website?
Why this is your best set?
I recorded this at an amazing private party in the UK – it is my favourite as it flows really nicely.
Which track(s) of your collegues you would recommend?
Is it too obvious to say anything from Furthur Progressions Records?! If I was to recommend tracks to someone who had never heard progressive trance before I would suggest listening to all of Vibrasphere – Archipelago.
What music do you listen to besides Psytrance – and why?
A lot of 60’s due to my parents, and a lot of funk and soul due to it just being such positive entertaining music.
Share your experiences and your characteristics/personality
Yeah, no one’s perfect, but there’s always something we really like about ourselves…what quality do you like about yourself the most?
Sometimes life can be quite a – insert word that rhymes with witch. Which phase was the hardest/scariest in your life?
After my dad died from pancreatic cancer when I was in my early 20’s. I can only now realise how much that affected me.
Any embarrassing moments? Yes, you’d hate to disclose your secrets but we’d love to hear.
There are so many to choose from! Many hazy memories of having one too many beers or the such like. Probably the best one is my mum coming to watch me perform when I was first talking about music being a career – she came to the wettest festival I’ve ever been to (Glade 2007 in the UK) to see me in my new career DJ’ing to a mud-filled tent with 5 mud-covered people in it. She was supportive but also insistent that this wasn’t going to be a long-term career hehe.
Everybody’s got favourites…so what’s your favourite work/piece among everything that you’ve designed/produced/dj-ed/created? (Link us up!)
My last gig (cheesy) – or the link I shared before.
When have you been most satisfied in your life? Care to share one of your happiest memories?
When I married my wife Annabel. We met at Burning Man and it was an instant connection – I knew I was going to be with her for the rest of my life. And last year it became official!
Habits die hard. Which one word always creeps in your speech?
I say ‘like’ far too much.
Knock, knock, we want to hear a good joke.
How do fish get high?
There’s a book on the shelf. It’s your autobiography. What does the title say?
Variety is the spice of life.
Flash-forward in time. You are now really old. What would you tell your children/loved ones?
Treasure your time on this earth. Seek happiness. Learn from others. Love and care for the environment.
Into the time machine again. What do you miss about being a kid?
Innocence. And the ability to heal quickly!
Your hobbies and other fun questions
Excessive chopping dulls the axe. Time-outs are a must. What do you do when you take time off from creating? Got any hobbies?
I play a lot of sport, and love the countryside so when I am there I am chilling out.
What’s the last movie/T.V show you saw or book/magazine you read?
We’re just finishing the Sopranos (amazing) and the last book I finished was by Philip Pulman – The Book of Dust.
Name your all time favourite movie/show/book.
Book – Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. The most amazing story crossing 1000’s of years.
With all the X-men and heroes running around. Us mortals would like some powers too. What one superpower would you choose?
It’s gotta be to fly.
The genie comes out of the lamp and grants you one wish that will change the world. What would you wish for?
To have us (humans) in balance with the ecosystem and sustain it.
Your opinions and viewpoints
Got any theories on how the universe blossomed into existence or on the rationale of life? Are we in the matrix? Did god knit a hologram?
Evolution is the way.
In an era where most people bear a close resemblance to sandpaper, it’s easy to snap. What are your dislikes/pet peeves/frustrations?
Pollution, consumerism and over-population.
How do you connect to the spiritual side of yourself?
I was raised a Christian. My Dad dying raised a lot of questions which religion couldn’t answer. Then I discovered buddhism and the good it does for the mind.
Your relationship with psychedelics
Creativity and psychedelics work together. Do you agree? Why/Why not?
Certainly – psychedelics open up different parts of our mind, help us think and analyse in very different ways. The scans of the brain on LSD show huge activity throughout the cerebrum that is not achieved any other way.
Are you pro-weed culture? Why do you think the majority of the population goes against the green?
I think the majority of the population supports legalisation now. It is governing bodies who are resistant, and that is due to several influences, some mis-guided and some ulterior. It is a matter of time until marijuana is widely legal around the world.
Any ideas to rectify this mindset?
More research into the benefits, and for everyone to vote!
Advice for the readers and fans
At the end of the ride, everyone’s looking for some form of success (tangible or not), what does success mean to you?
Success means happiness. If you are happy with what you have achieved then you can rest, or do something else, or more. If you are not happy with what you have achieved use this as inspiration to try again.
Give us a nutshell of you the life philosophy/motto/mantra that you clutch close to your heart.
Seek happiness. Embrace it. Provide it to others. A smile is infectious – share it.
Cherish your family and friends. Make time for them. Talk to, ask questions of and listen to those older than you. They have inspirational stories which will amaze and delight. They also have experience and perspective that will be useful to you in so many ways.
Have goals in life, however small or far reaching. Share these with your loved ones as they will help you achieve them.
Contemplate. Meditate. Spend time with your own thoughts.
Look forward, don’t worry about what is past. You can’t change what is behind you, only what is ahead.
Treasure what you have, and don’t yearn too much for what you don’t.