Has the Spirit of Goa given away to a simple culture of celebration and only illusion and marketing?

The question of the lost spirit is probably at least as old as the Goa scene itself. Reason enough for us from Mushroom Magazine to be investigative and to go in search for the Spirit. Has the Spirit really disappeared or must one simply look for it better in these days of commercialisation and an oversupply of parties. With these basic assumptions we turned to various artists to find out their opinions on the subject of Spirit. As expected, opinions differ widely, as is actually true with any discussion on this subject.


Y.S.E. rec
In general, the first question is what is Spirit? In conclusion, it is a form of inner energy that everyone is aware of in his own way. If you then connect this energy with that of others, there is a collective spiritual effect and this is the root of our party culture. Certainly, musicians like Vidi Vici, Blizz, Neelix and many DJs have changed the parties with their music. Because nothing is as far away from Goa trance as they are with their music.

“It is always a question of taste and one‘s own perception.
As a result, the audience – their dancing behaviour and festival culture – has changed, economically to the positive „for our original party culture“ to the negative. Soon you will find real spirit in a shamanic sweat lodge, but not at many of our parties anymore. But each of these producers brings thousands of people on the floor to mass hysteria and that‘s a form of spirit, isn’t it? It is always a question of taste and one‘s own perception.


A spirit debate? Who had the idea this time? Is it summer slump again? Every person creates their own spirit, every party forms their own spirit, each generation creates its own realities. Meanwhile one must distinguish between Goa-parties and parties where Goa music is also played.
But they can still be found, the small, intimate, skull-blasting forest festivals that last until Wednesday and can change a whole life.
They just don‘t get listed on Facebook or in the mushroom anymore.

“Every person creates their own spirit
Of course, the more you add from the outside, the more atmosphere changes, but this whole debate here is led by over 30 year olds, who haven‘t felt any effects for a long time and who are surprised that party number 250 is no longer as intense as were the first 20. These are often people who don‘t go dancing anymore.
You know what we used to do with people‘s opinions on parties who were over 30? Right, we‘ve never registered them. They just stand there and complain that it isn‘t like it used to be when they were young.
The youth does everything right, if old farts grumble!


Xonia Records
My retrospective: The term „Follow the Signs“ had another (added) value. Gathering information about the next OA was teamwork and part often the lovely game.
The mushroom „Klo-Report“ was compulsory reading and Goabase.de was called „Mama“! The car ride in a convoy to the next OA was not a necessary evil but foreplay. The police smiled at us – and

“Spirit wasn‘t ‘Spirit’ but ‘I want to stay here!’
we smiled back. We danced together – not for the DJ. Breaks between the acts were avoided – you could clap your hands even during a track. Spirit wasn‘t „Spirit“ but „I want to stay here!“ We had no expectations – we had unplanned fun! But then came Steve J. and Mark Z…


First of all I would like to find out if the lost spirit mentioned here seems lost only in the view of a certain age group? Are we talking about people who accompanied the Goa movement through the‘90s? Or are we talking about young people here?

When bebop came up, it drove the spirit out of jazz. When rock became bigger and bigger, it drove the spirit out of bebop. When pop started, it drove the spirit out of rock and so on. The old generation will find the new difficult out of habit. So it could simply be that we are talking about a particular age group, which cannot quite understand the new.
Furthermore, I would like to point out a phenomenon here. Isn‘t it so that if I now show you a
“When we look back, we usually see the good things. On the other hand, today feels a bit too real
picture of you from 20 years ago, that you think of this time as depicted by the photo, as particularly beautiful? „Oh, look how we all sit together, what a great time that was.“ Most of the time memories are very nice. If someone takes a picture of you today, in whatever situation and you look at it in 20 years, you will say „What a beautiful time“ again. Why don‘t you say that with the same conviction about the present time now? When we look back, we usually see the good things. On the other hand, today feels a bit too real, all worries are in the now. This is not the case in the picture from 20 years ago. Well, we usually just feel a little better about the past.

These are the first thoughts I have on this question. In general, however, I wonder what effects digitalisation has in our time. Today very often people only see the world through their mobile phones. When I was playing at a party 15 years ago, many eyes looked at me, today I see many mobile phones, eyes now look at a screen. I don‘t think it‘s bad, but I wonder if a moment without a mobile phone is perhaps more intense and also more real and beautiful? Simply
“When I sit on the beach in the morning somewhere in the world and watch the waves, this moment has perfection.
experience the moment without digital capturing. Today, people are directly connected to social media platforms. It is no longer enough to experience something just for yourself. It has to be filmed and shown. I was there, I saw it. In the past it was enough to just tell it to someone, today it has to be posted. I can‘t absolve myself of that either, because it‘s no different with me.Therefore I can say from experience that when I sit on the beach in the morning somewhere in the world and watch the waves, this moment has perfection. When I take out my phone to create a story for Instagram, that perfection is gone. I find this development difficult, of course, but I am also of the old generation and perhaps simply do not understand it.

But I don‘t think that the scene will continue to develop towards mainstream or lose spirit. From my point of view, big mainstream festivals will simply have a psy-floor in the future, some psy DJs and artists will go for mainstream, and that‘s it. The old parties will stay the way they always were. Every small forest Goa will always have the same good spirit as before. This family atmosphere is just hard to create at big mainstream festivals, but that’s no must anyway.
Today, rock has exactly as much spirit as in the past. There were times when it may have been a little undefined, but now everything is back in balance. It will be the same with our scene. I just hope that digitalisation will someday lose some of its importance and that it will suffice for people to experience something just for themselves.


Iono Music
The reason I fell in love with the Psy-trance and Goa scene was not just for the spiritual, uplifting and powerful music but also the spiritual, liberal and uplifting vibe of the people that encompass the scene. A scene that seemed pure and unspoilt and really was about the honesty of the music and sharing that experience together. The sounds used in Psy-trance often evoke a very tribal feel on the dance floor – fuse that with the emotional melodies and that trance really unites everyone. Our parties and festivals are often a utopian escape from the often cold, commercially money driven world we live in, where there seems to be so much despair and disdain currently. Psy-trance and Goa parties counter this for me with hope and joy and love.
It’s undoubtedly the case that for the last decade or so; what appears to be popular ‘Psy-trance’ is actually quite far from Psychedelic and Goa Trance. Many of the online music stores Psy-Trance charts have their top tens filled with music which only contains a bassline resembling a psy-trance bassline, but the rest of the track is not psychedelic. I don’t like to knock any music, as all art is subjective – however every genre has it’s unique traits. I also

“Often the tracks labelled as ‘psy-trance’ in the current online stores, to me do not represent psy-trance in any shape or form.
don’t like pigeon holes and genres, but feel genres are necessary in music order to group certain similar styles together – this is effective for the listener and buyer. Often the tracks labelled as ‘psy-trance’ in the current online stores, to me do not represent psy-trance in any shape or form. If artists like to make this music and audiences like to hear it that’s great, but I feel it shouldn’t be labelled as psy-trance as these tracks totally lack the key ingredient to psy-trance – the trance!
There’s also many tracks now which are collaborations between psy-trance artists and uplifting trance or edm artists. I have a mixed feeling about these collabs; as personally for me they are not to my taste. However I do believe in freedom of expression and in music evolving and keeping it fresh. Merging artists from two different musical genres can often bring some really fresh and innovative sounds and can introduce other fans to each others style. On the other hand, often these efforts result in something watered down which in my opinion harms the scene and alienates people even further.

However, reality is that people who work in the music industry need to be paid for the work they do. Whether it’s as artists, promoters, label owners. Nobody can survive on fresh air. Marketing is a necessary tool to spread the word in this global scene – to keep people engaged and attract a new generation. Of course we do it for the love and the passion, and sacrifice a regular salary with the benefits of holiday, sick pay and unions – we do it for the love and because we believe in the power of music so much. But if everyone rips our music for free, and people don’t pay for tickets to parties, then the reality is we can’t afford to eat and pay
“We do it for the love and because we believe in the power of music so much.
bills, let alone maintain our studios, so we’d eventually be forced to quit. Being part of the psy-trance family has helped me no end and helped shape who I am – teaching me so much about the human spirit. I feel both blessed and proud to be part of it and of course; would like more people to enjoy the fruits of this amazing family.
In my opinion the spirit of Goa hasn’t disappeared; but in some instances perhaps become slightly tarnished. When people from other scenes come to psy parties and festivals, they might appear less spiritual and different and perhaps make us feel less at home. Similarly they may feel slightly alienated by our ways, unfortunately resulting in a lack of unity which reflects the state of our society at present.
Essentially we are all fans of music for the same reason – we love the joy, the happiness and the escapism it give us when sharing this gift. We should all be equal on the dance floor, with no judgement or preconception. I have hope that the spirit of Goa will be as infectious for this newer generation as it was for all of us. I believe in the power of music, and the power of our Goa spirit and I think this will rub off onto a newer generation and hopefully together bring an even bigger Goa spirit – as we are all one.


Sangoma Records
Well, first of all, what do we refer to when we talk about spirit? For sure not a supernatural being or non-physical entity like a ghost. Still it feels like a presence without a body. When we use the term “Goaspirit” we might tend to refer to this definition:
The spirit is a synonym for a particular way of thinking, feeling or behaving, especially a way that is typical of a particular group of people, an activity, a time, or a place.
Maybe it reminds us of the good old days and times. Often the term spirit is used to refer to a sort of golden past – in our case maybe even the early days when Goatrance started to take off

“Often the term spirit is used to refer to a sort of golden past
from the beaches of Goa and became a global musical and cultural phenomenon. We speak about a spirit of the age, for example the 1960s, that had a great impact on society in general and strongly influenced the Psytrance culture and might be even a continuation. When we refer to the “Goaspirit” it might be something that was influencing us, that is not physical and which can appear or might be lacking in certain moments.
So far, so good. So the big question seems to be where has that particular spirit gone? I can understand some people who claim it has vanished and that it seems absent in many events these days. Some people dwell in nostalgia, and for a fact, things are not the way it used to be – especially in Goa, India where the scene originated but that’s a different story.

Number one reason, people see a lack of spirit could be “Commercialization” of events and in musical respect. Sure it’s awkward that you find something for yourself, and now mainstream society discovers and in some respect even exploits it and brings in all its consumerism
“To some extent also our long established scene got diverse in monotony, split in it’s different subgenres.
including people you would normally avoid. It may even attract some who might not understand the fundamental values of electronic music and to whom P.L.U.R (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) is a foreign language. But it is also a chance to reach new people and maybe change their life the way it changed yours. To some extent also our long established scene got diverse in monotony, split in it’s different subgenres and many events go only for one particular musical direction – sadly only a few festivals catch the momentum of uniting the different musical tribes and it’s followers on one dance floor.

People become more and more stubborn, closed minded, bored and too cool to dance if it comes to music. Some have lost the ability to listen to anything, that is not on their ipod or music collection. Supporting music, artists and labels especially through buying music seems to be a relict of the past. Instead of helping artists they like, many loudly bitch about stuff they dislike – giving bad music even more attention than it would deserve. Artists spend much time in
“Instead of helping artists they like, many loudly bitch about stuff they dislike
developing a topnotch production, labels pay good money for high quality mastering and paradoxically in the end of the day people listen to (or even worse play) the music on lousy mp3s. One popular but false argument is that artists make money through their gigs – well the downside of things is for many artists this doesn’t work and I have seen enough great musicians going down the drain and stopping to write music because they cannot support a family or continue to live this way – and these people sadly leave a gap which is hard to fill. On top of that there are artists with blown up egos who act like divas but rarely sell a few hundred units of music. Sure, all this might be a different topic but this is a synonym and just one of many examples of where the so-called “spirit” got lost.

But they still exist, these particular moments where magic happens on the dance floors. Time, place, age, race, and borders become irrelevant and people get lost in Trance. The more commercial things may become, the more the spirit draws others back to the underground. Maybe not only the parties have changed, maybe it’s you who has changed as well. Maybe it’s other people who have the time of their life right now. Maybe people tend to look for reasons outside when the answer has to do with themselves and their perspective on things. Some people leave the
“II found the answer for myself within the music.
scene disillusioned while others come back because they can’t live without it. Some festivals have the ability to bring lost memories back, or can be a nightmare, others can be a true revelation and some can be even considered as an evolution of what was in the past. Some people prefer smaller, more familiar events while others prefer big festival far away from home. On a global scale, in some places, the scene is booming, in others it’s on decline. Whatever the recipe may be depends on the individual and his attitude. You have to go on the quest yourself. I found the answer for myself within the music. Luckily the music from the early days is still around for those who depend on it, but in many ways it has progressed. There are still plenty of great contemporary artists and musicians out there – some still need to be discovered, so after almost 20 years it is still exciting. Let me assure you, for me, the spirit is still there, otherwise I wouldn’t do what I am doing, with all my heart, love and passion.


Zenon Records
Well, I wasn’t around in the very early days therefore its hard for me to say. Its a relative perception. I found Psy Trance culture relatively recently in 2004. Even then there were some people that held the opinion that the spirit had been lost since the days of Goa Trance. But to put it simply. No, I don’t believe the spirit has actually gone anywhere. It has however become harder and harder to find as the music gradually has reached the fringe of the mainstream.

But the original, authentic Psy Trance and related sub genres definitely are still thriving.  It can’t be ignored that there exists some issues with the commercialisation of the genre. This has led to a large percentage of the audience at festivals that do not hold the values that some veteran Psy Trancers hold so dearly including respectful attitudes and awareness ect. But we can not and shouldn’t exclude anyone from the scene. I personally find it hypocritical when I hear people say that this person or that person shouldn’t be at this or that festival. Instead of complaining, take action and educate those who could do with more awareness. Thats the spirit of
“If it wasn’t for Infected Mushroom, I and countless others never may have gone on to find other, more underground artists.
Psy Trance culture. Many new Psy Trance fans initially discover more mainstream or popular versions of Psy Trance before they encounter other, more underground styles. If it wasn’t for Infected Mushroom, I and countless others never may have gone on to find other, more underground artists. So for example, there will always be a percentage of the Steve Aoki fans that will go on to discover Vini Vici and then reveal to themselves the rich and diverse range of Psy Trance sub-genres, labels and artists that are not considered mainstream. So personally, I see the emergence of Psy Trance sounds into the mainstream (weather they are considered actually considered psychedelic or not) as a positive thing that can lead more and more people to the original culture that has always been intimately connected to the music. A culture which has the ability to open minds to better ways of living and treating each other. I really feel that if you don’t like what your hearing or seeing, then consider finding a festival scene or style that resonates with you more. If it doesn’t exist in your area, then create it.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” is what they say right? Just as the mainstream version of Dubstep was a suddenly huge, albeit temporary trend in EDM, so too will the mainstream version of Psy Trance appear and pass away relatively quickly. And when it does, all the authentic, deep and meaningful Psy Trance will still exist outside of the spotlight as it always has done. Also something that seems to be happening is that more underground Psy Trance festivals showcasing the harder, more psychedelic / night time sub genres are appearing almost as a retaliation response to the commercialism. And that has the potential to balance things out to a degree. Certain Psy Trance festivals in recent times have been criticised for attracting
“As long as the rate of growth of the positive aspects of the underground is faster than the rate of the growth of the negative aspects of the commercial scene, then all will be ok.
the “wrong” demographic or crowd to their events along with police presence and negative attention from the media & local councils. The outcome of this includes an emergence of more smaller events with increased focus on awareness around safer substance use, ethics and positive values and a focus on “alternative to the mainstream” music. This is great. As long as the rate of growth of the positive aspects of the underground is faster than the rate of the growth of the negative aspects of the commercial scene, then all will be ok. But for that to happen the people complaining need to begin to take more action. Take action by educating those which they are complaining about. This would include encouraging new-comers not to take certain substances & look out for each other, encourage them to respect the earth on which they are dancing. They could also take action by starting their own festival based on the values they want to see more of in the scene. How about start Dj-ing / promoting or even producing the music that you believe sends a better message? So to conclude I would encourage people to remember that change is the only constant in this universe and that if Peace, Love, Unity & Respect is your chant, then practise what you preach. That would be the spirit of Psy Trance.

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