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June 27 , 2019
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Interview with Astrix

Tell us a little about yourself and the new album.

My name is Avi Shmailov, 22 years old, born in the former USSR, and currently living in Tel-Aviv. I'm very happy with the new album- Eye to Eye- I've been getting very good feedbacks on it, and I have now aspirations for more.

How did you start making music?

From the age of 12 till 14 I was DJing 80s music. I used to live in Bat-Yam and started DJing in local clubs. Then I moved to house music and bought a computer. I started making music using Impulse Tracker. I was making commercial nitzhonot music together with Eyal Barkan. I grew up since then and moved to more advanced music, more psychedelic.

What was your first release?

There were actually two releases, in the compilation Ptatzot 3- Eakis World & In Peace, released in Krembo's sub label Kajoonk about 4 years ago.

In Eye to Eye you also combine some ethnic elements (in Life System for example). Where does this come from?

I don't create trance only. I also make ambient and house. I work with Lior Miller under the name Private Taste. The styles effect each other. I hear what sounds good and it comes out in my music. I also have a samples database I use and it has ethnic sounds.

Tell us about your collaborations.

Actually the collaborations where made because I didn't have a studio, so to create music I went to other people's studios. That's the only reason for me having so many collaborations. This is also my answer to people who say that the tracks on the album sound more like my collaborations than Astrix's own tracks. Every of the other artists studios have their own sound, their own method of work, and their own sounds, and from this comes the similarity.

People say that your music is repeating itself and doesn't bring anything new. What do you think about it?

This question relates to the previous one. I was a part in albums and tracks of other artists, especially Alien Project. I took part in all his three albums in his studio, but Ari Linker went his own way and didn't mention me. So people say we have the same style. Apart from that, I do what the audience likes. I also make other styles, but I noticed that the crowd likes this style. That what is working in parties, you play a full on track in a party and the whole party turns around. I went with the taste of the audience and made the whole album in this specific style. I don't understand people's overreaction. It's not like I made four albums, which are all the same, it's just one album. Anyway, I don't really care what people say, success speaks for itself. The sales of the album and the many shows I play are a result of the music I make.

How would you define innovative music?

Even music which is repeating itself has innovation. The innovation is in the sound and production. Every track is a step up in sound. I personally listen to the sound techniques of the track, like any musician. The advancement in music is also in the quality of sound and production. A painter advances in the level of technique and not only in the style of his painting.

Do you think there's commercialization of music? What do you think about that?

Of course there is. With me music is in first place, but of course money matters as well. You need food at the table. There are people that do net commercialization, make tracks for money. When I make music I have to love what I create, otherwise I won't be able to crate it. So of course music is the main cause. It's like art, a painter painting. He does it as a job but he can't create something he does not like. I also make "lower" music. Less popular and darker, if to call it like that. The problem with this music is that it doesn't catch, there's no sales and there's no food coming. If you take for example Infected Mushroom which I really appreciate. Their music is commercial, but it's excellent. Every track they make is a hit. The commercialism doesn't make it less good. You always have to think of money. Do you have another job besides music? I don't.

How is it to be a trance artist as a job? How would you compare it to another job?

I don't have regular hours. My working hours depend on my muse. Sometimes I switch the night and day. I can get into it at midnight and bombard the house and in the morning to sit and watch a movie on TV. I can also go on vacation whenever I want, and sometimes I take the week off. Some artists say that trance music is a hobby, that's its not enough to keep you going and you need another job. They don't make commercial music. Their music is more underground. People should understand that putting melodies into tracks is not necessarily bad and it can help both with the music and the financial situation.

Do you perform live as well?

Most of my shows in Israel and all my gigs abroad are live. Sometimes I do a DJ set before or after the live set.

How is your live set built?

The set is about an hour and a half, and it has about four tracks from the album and seven-eight unreleased ones. I bring with me a laptop and ask the organizers to supply me with equipment, as I can't take mine everywhere. I plug the computer into the console and build myself a studio on stage. The tracks are on the computer in pieces and during the show I just give any part and piece a different order.

Do you also go to parties to dance?

When I have time. Usually most weekends I'm busy and playing so I don't have time. When I'm free I also go to parties. Usually after I finish my set I go to another club near or stay in the same club to hear the next DJ, sometimes I come earlier. Dancing is not a must, you can also sit with a bottle of beer and listen to the music.

What was the best party you where in? What was the best one you've played?

You can combine the answer to one- The Gathering few months ago in Japan. It was a three days' festival and a lot of artists from all around the world played there.

What does your family say about what you do? And your friend?

My family supports me of course. They see the success, the articles in the newspapers, and they encourage me to go forward.

Are you in a relationship? How does it affect the music?

I have a girlfriend and we live together. It doesn't really affect the music. Of course it doesn't distract me as well, I can get up and make a lot of noise in the middle of the night, and she wouldn't object, as after all, the music is providing for us.

Which artist and album you appreciate?

I really appreciate Infected Mushroom and their amazing production. In my opinion B.P.Empire is their best album, though other people don't like it. I look at the production and it's just excellent. I especially await their upcoming double album that is soon to be released. I also love the second Shpongle album, Tales of the Inexpressible. It's important to be open minded and not to listen only to trance, but to other styles as well.

So you say that what is important to you in a track is the production more than the music?

That's true. Come to any trance artist and play them a track. They will break the track to pieces in their head and tell you first what they think about the production. Bad sound, wrong bass. It's the same if you'll show a painting to a painter and he will tell you what he thinks about the technique of the painting.

What are you future plans?

I want to evolve in music and to open up to other scenes. I'm also working with Lior Miller under Private Taste. A house piece we did was a big success, also in Europe. Paul van Dyk took it to one of his compilations and John Digweed plays it regularly. It's important to stay open to other worlds. I don't want to get stuck in the same thing all the time. You need to aspire for more, and to want to succeed. Music is probably not gonna be my career for life. I guess I'll always deal with music, but not as a source for income. I want to study designing and computer graphics, so I can create animation, Manga style.

Thanx to Avi for the interview.

 Interview by Mike A
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