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June 27 , 2019
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Interview with BLT

Who is BLT?

My name is Yuli, born 1970 in Moscow, Russia known also as Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato club sandwich, preferable with some mayo.

Why BLT?

Because the name (at least how I see it) is the least important thing... And this sandwich was at the time my no.1 in the sandwich department.

How did you start making music?

I was drawn towards the trance making by my friends that bought me a synth on my 27th birthday, I believe that otherwise I wouldn't go to this direction.

So, why did you start making Psychedelic Trance?

Because I like this music a lot, and feel very close to the rhythms and the atmosphere that it might produce. I believe that in these times especially, tribal music such as this is essential for us to unite without too much slogans and gimmicks.

Let's talk about your 3rd album- God is Love. What can you tell about this album?

Quite hard to talk about what it is after I played it over and over, and mixed all these tracks... But basically it is trance and more downtempo beats, that reflect the trance of today from my point of view- more groovy, more complex on its rhythm and its transmissions to the listener's subcortex ;) All arranged with good taste ;)

There is a 'fashion' in trance today, of creating more downtempo tracks as a part of trance albums. It seems that lately more and more artists are trying to create chilled-out music just for the sake of it being slower than their other creations. Sometimes, the listener (in other words: the customer) expects a full "kicking" trance album, but his wish is not being granted. What do you think about it?

I think that this is a very good tendency. There always will be people that will be happy and people that will be unhappy about certain genres and developments in every aspect of our life. There is no possibility to keep everyone satisfied, no matter how you try. So to answer your question, I like it- it gives me more feeling of an album, a concept creation of an artist, on the contrary from compilations that are a showcase of latest trance productions, albums measured differently.

Talking about a concept album, your album has a very strong story feeling in it, I understand this is very important to you. Did you make the tracks by the same order as they are arranged in the album or otherwise?

Nope, the tracks were made in different order to the album, but (at least on the second half of the set) with a strong knowledge of their place in the sequence.

Lately you've been working with the Danny Makov- Nikmat Hatraktor's former drummer. Tell us a little bit about this special collaboration.

Well we started working more in a way of jamming session in couple of parties last winter. There was certain good feeling about that and seeing the potential in such a collaboration we started to plan/make a live show where the drummer plays part of the set and I remove those parts from my set that makes the live much more alive. Afterwards we extended our work to remixes (one of which appears on my album) and these days we work together on whole length new tracks, and I can say that we both quite satisfied from the outcome.

Can you elaborate on how your live with Danny is done?

Performing live in my opinion demands from the performers to give a 'different' experience to the listener, from what the listener/dancer was used to from the trax heard on the CD and also human presence of performing on the stage gives a definite power to the show. Technically what we try to do is to make really thought over parts for Danni, so it won't be another 'jamming session' when he drums along with a track. When it becomes such a 'drumming session' we believe (though its fun anyway) that it is kinda stupid to play more drums on already performed parts- many times it creates just mess and therefore unnecessary. That is the reason we try to adjust the trax we put in our live to be played with a live drummer- we take out certain percussive parts, drumming parts, many times very important ones and Danni just plays them live. He can do that in couple of ways- the first one is standard percussion set (bongos, timbales, cymbals and more). The second one is the electronic kit that we connect to the PC through midi and he plays sounds taken from the track or specially designed for the show. On the percussion set I apply & control effects through Ensoniq dp4/+ and for the electronic I create special virtual FX rack in the PC so I can activate each one of them at the right time and thus to have total control over the sound we produce. Musically, the connection is through motions, signals etc. With the time we learn to know and feel what is needed and the communication becomes smoother.

How does Danny feel about going from rock to electronic music?

Well first I am not the first trance (or other electronic) artist that Danni co-operated with. He did some live gigs with Astral, and does that from time to time these days too. Secondly, he is very open minded about everything and (and that makes two of us) knows to appreciate quality in everything. Third, I don't think he neglected rock, and I believe that you can fuse basically anything these days, as long as you are willing to and have a good taste for it. I think that certain tracks I made in the past are not less rockish than rock that is made today ;)

I heard you are a graduated acupuncturist. The theories of Acupuncture are based on thousands years of experience (you probably know this more than I do...). How do you see the importance of experience in music making?

It is very important of course!! As one progresses, his productions become more fluent- in all aspects- sound-wise, idea-wise. Also it takes times for artists to stew in their own creation to find their true path/talent so definitely time is a very important factor in creation.

Are you going to turn your acupuncturist skills to a source of income or stick to music making as a main occupation?

I wouldn't count on music production as something to make too decent living (especially with a little thought for the future) but still I do what I like most... it is studio work. Acupuncture will definitely be used in the future, and I really wait for it, 'cause it will give me a chance to make music my hobby again- it is much nicer this way.

Some people say that if an artist turns his hobby to a main occupation he is not "underground' anymore, because he has to respond to the "market demands". What do you think about it?

It is a very correct assumption.

Talking about underground and mainstream, would you ever see yourself in MTV Top 10?

I wouldn't mind of course ;) but I don't believe they would... It is one of the greatest goals in life IMO to do what you love and make good paycheck of it... So little succeed in it, I would love to be one of those.

Speaking of paychecks, recently you released the God is Love EP on Iboga Rec., which was very successful in the sale charts. What can you tell about this partnership?

Well first I have to admit that 'successful' is quite an assumption, since only the real numbers are counted when you go to collect your paycheck. But I do believe that the EP went good especially due to the fact it wasn't unreleased stuff on it but licensed tracks from the album. I think that the co-operation with Iboga was fruitful to both sides- it brought me closer to European audience by releasing on a respected European label, and brought Iboga closer to the full on Trance heads after making quite a lot psy-progressive releases in the last couple of years.

Lately you've joined the Domo Records crew. What can you tell about this partnership?

Well, Domo are people that I know for a very long time. Actually, as a piece of history (at least for me it is ;) ) I was kinda 'resident artist' in the amazing parties arranged by these guys in the desert and north of Israel some 3+ years ago. These were wonderful times, extremely good vibes. And they are firstly my friends and that is one of the most important things for me. It is by the way quite necessary here to pass here too, my condolences for the great loss of my friends. This summer Itzik, who was fighting a horrible disease, passed away and it was a great blow to all of us, and only now I feel that things start to come back to normal.

How do you see the future of the Israeli trance scene? Do you miss "the good old days"?

I miss the 'good old days' but I want to tell you that you will too miss the 'good old days'. Everyone eventually misses the 'good old days'.. ;) I am trying to pass to people my vision of the 'good old days' in each and every track of mine- that is what I do about it. About the future of Israeli trance- there are more than a few very talented groups around, and the diversity of creation never been as wide as today, so it is possible to say that things are developing nicely - we need some more time though.

What about the parties? Do you see a change in the quality/quantity of parties in Israel in the last few years?

There were definitely more parties this summer than many summers before it, but to tell you the truth quality wise I wouldn't say we have progressed ;) Trance in Israel is extremely popular these days and with the popularity come crowds that not exactly fit the psy scene and also the money making is much more tempting then before. The outcome is in the most of times loss of vibe / underground feeling for some other kind of party that may appeal to some, but not to me.

You have been performing live for some time, what do you think about the Israeli crowd?

It depends. Israeli crowd (and many may not agree here) I can divide it into two. Be'er Sheva (southern city in Israel) and rest of it... Maybe it is because I am from there in the first place, but they seem to LIVE the party, they show their emotions and much more open to different music then all other crowds in Israel, with a few very underground exceptions. I would say that average Israeli trancer is more interested in how he/she looks like on the floor than what they feel in the same moment. And it shows.

Do you have fun performing in front of a crowd?

Mostly yes.

It depends on what?

On the general atmosphere at the time. On the other hand I am totally aware of my power as a performer to change it. But sometimes (rarely, to my great luck) things are rather unchangeable.

Did you like performing abroad?

Yep, it is very nice and even if the event is not a total blast it is always much more interesting and different, so you can always meet new people and absorb new things.

What was the best party you performed in?

From the commercial kind most definitely it was couple of months ago in London with Infected, Astrix and Eyal @ the Astral Phoenix. From the underground point of view there were more than a few... I would say the Yom Ha'azmaut 1.5 years ago that Gabi & the Twins produced in the near Tavor, and some years back in Nahal Heimar where Nadi, Itzik and David made one of their best desert raves.

How do you see music, DJing and trance parties in... 10 years?

Well that is a LOT of time from now. I don't see that far ;)

What is good music for you? Has your definition of good music changed over the years?

Good music is anything that manages to make me say 'wait a sec.. can you roll it back please?' and this definition didn't change at all. Pity that not that many things draw this kind of attention nowadays.

What is spining in your CD player nowadays?

Since I am part of the Domo distribution now, there ere quite lot of things spinning in my CD player... But of these that I really like I would mention Genesis- Trespass & Nursery Crime and couple of different Shakti releases (wonderful Hindi/Jazzy connection)- that is non trance, non electronic. From the electronic part- Digital Emission from Digital Structures is a very good one indeed, and so is Psybration from the Analog Pussy label. From the more chilled stuff I have to mention the amazing 'Prooved' comp from Sha-Ka-Ree label group and every thing that is done by DJ Shadow. Of course there are more to it, but that is enough for now.

Many "big" artists today are using almost no hardware or no hardware at all. What do you think about this trend?

Well, first of all I believe that there are people that can make a total awesomity using a Pentium II, 450 while there are those that have 100,000NIS studios and don't even come close to what the first ones can do. To sum it up- this is not who has the bigger XXX contest. And the main difference between the two contests, is that in the one you pointed out in your question the technique and the heart are much more powerful than another piece of machinery. PS btw in both cases eventually the size counts ;)

The year 2002 has ended. How will this year affect the future of Psychedelic Trance?

The full on genre made a huge come back this year after the progressive ruled for couple of years. But I believe that the future is about combining all-in-one and that's what I do for a while now (even in God is Love you can see it). My general belief is that there is no future without joining forces and melting boundaries between so many different styles in such a small scene as ours.

Last question- God is love? :)

I don't think so- but I wish so ;)

Thanks Yuli, for the patience, the thoughtful answers and your music of course. Keep rocking our world 8-)

I will try to, and to you for your thoughtful questions Bom Bom.

BLT on the web: http://blt.isratrance.com
 Interview by TiMMY
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