How did you discover music? What was your first record?
I come from a family of musicians, Classical music and singing. Starting with my grandmother and her brothers to my father and my brother who is a drummer, and so on. I studied piano 15 years ago. I always liked music of all kinds. I like many thing which are connected with music and art. I think my first record was Lou Reed or The Velvet Underground, I don't remember exactly. I used to buy a lot of records when I was at school and to collect many tapes, it was an obsession with me to find new groups, new music. I had a lot of music of David Bowie, Lou Reed, stuff from the sixties, Heavy Metal and for a few years got deeply into punk music, new age, a lot experimental stuff, and classic music as well.
When did you first encounter electronic music?
When I was about 17 years old I started listening a lot and to collect punk and alternative new music. I spent a lot of time in the old Penguin club in Tel Aviv to look for this music. The group that affected me most then was the Bauhaus of Peter Murphy. Many groups at this time started using new synthesizers and new sounds like Front 242 for example. It was very interesting and new.
How did you discover trance? Do you remember your first party?
I think my first trance party was in Nizanim beach 91'. But I really got into it in Goa, India one year later, in 1992. I went travelling to the far east like many people do and went to Goa to see how is it there, but not for the trance, it was more for the sixties atmosphere people talked about in Goa at that time. Only when I came there I saw that it is full on trance parties time. It was great !!!! I remember my first partym there, it was amazing, since this party I never stopped going to parties.
What do you remember as best from the hard partying era?
The best thing I remember is that in the parties I used to dance from beginning till end, I did not know for long time who were the DJs, sometimes I never saw them, only the speakers I really saw, many people were like me. It was very unique, the sounds were totally new, it was like a new discovery.
What was the spirit of it all then for you?
First of all there was a spirit !!!! Today it is not like this always. The spirit at this time was that we the people who participate in those parties are together in the same feeling, we all felt like "wow, did you hear that, saw that ??". We felt all like one, maybe one nation or tribe, a new one, alternative to all what is going around in this planet. It was pure joy, totally anti-pose, total freedom of the mind. I fell in love with this.
Can you remember what were the first tracks that made you find out who are the artists?
For a period of time I collected this music on tape cassettes and never care about who made the music. Only after a while I started to recognize the different styles in the trance music and started wondering who are the people behind the music. I remember mostly names like Juno Reactor, Koxbox and Etnica.
How did you become a DJ?
I never planned to be a DJ, it was more like the step for me in this way that I was going till today. After that year in Goa, I came again in 93', this time especially for the parties, I was for two years in Germany and went to many parties as well. When I came back to Israel I went to partying a lot, every weekend, and suddenly I had a large trance music collection and in the parties I knew a lot of the music. My house became one of the trance centers in Israel, many people were in touch to know where and when is the next party. Then, one of the first trance DJs in Israel, Eitan Mahleb, asked me if I want to try and play my music with him in a party. I brought from The US a DAT player, recorded music on it, some from my cassettes, and invited all my friends for the party. It was a very very nice hardcore party. I enjoyed it a lot, the people too. I played after him from 5 am till end. Since then I did not stop playing and it became my profession and my life.
How did you get hold of the music then?
In the beginning there was no shops, and very few labels. I got music from DJs from Israel and Europe and from music fanatic collectors which are still around these days. I used to send music to Europe and to get back DAT tapes with more new tracks. A lot of my music at that time came from Germany because I started playing there very often. It was totally different from today. Today you have distributions, radio shows, labels, many studios, DJs, promo lists and so on.
You are to all "Gidi Hovek Olam"- what is Hovek Olam, how did it start, and does it really still exist?
In the beginning it was only Dj Gidi, then "DJ Gidi- Outrage", Outrage was the name for my party organization with DJ Eitan Mahleb, Ronen, Amir & Ivon who were making decoration. After a while this organization stooped working and I continued playing. A very good friend of mine, an artist who's work I love, Ran Mor, an Israeli who lived in Germany and now lives in New York, started this organization called "Hovek Olam", and I started representing Hovek olam in Israel. The Hovek Olam organization is a collective of independent artists, painters, performers, DJs & visual artists who create visionary artwork of hallucinative images & healing environments. The artists come from all over the world. Today Hovek Olam is part of Mor Visual organization working from NYC, and Ran Mor is the head of that, it is involved more in many different style of parties and events, big and small ones, also trance events but this is not the main thing, it is only a part.
When did you decide you want to compile a CD, why, and what passed till Voojoo Rituals came out?
After long time of playing I realized that the thing that I want to do most is music myself, and that this music and DJing and electronic music industry is my life. So first I decided to compile my own CD, and it was for Hovek Olam with Cosmophilia- Voojoo Rituals after the name of my cat- Voojoo. In this compilation came out the first track I was involved in making with Satlanation- Bassology. It had totally new tracks, very powerful and successful.
This CD did not change a lot for me, I was still playing a lot. I learned more from this CD how things are working in the labels and the distribution, all the contracts and all this business, which is very different than the music side. There is not much money in this industry but the money plays a big roll in making the CDs in all the aspects- cover, tracks, etc. all the way to the mix.
What are your thoughts on that CD after a year and a half?
I am very happy with it, I would only make the mix different. It was because of beurocracy, and not enough thinking and caring from people involved, and money problems, so I did the mix on the computer in very short time. But still I love that CD, and people who bought it like it very much. The cover was different and the music is good.
People that remember your old DJing days remember you used to play experimental stuff. The last few years you became a full on mainstream DJ- Why?
This is not true. You can say I became very popular, maybe I play the most in Israel but not exactly full on mainstream. When I started playing, it was for my friends and a few hundreds more, that's all, it was alternative people, different time and so on. My playing at that time was still not in one line. It was strange, more alternative, more anti…. After a while I began to play for many different people, thousands of people, and also very young new people. Suddenly, there were different groups of people in the trance scene, a few styles of music, of parties, of atmospheres. I am playing in all kinds of trance parties. I listen to all kinds of trance music from the most twisted psychedelic hard core to the full on melodies, from low tempo to 145 bpm. I like all, but it must be serious, serious melody and harmonic not "la la la", if it is low tempo Scandinavian style it must be interesting, sophisticated, atmospheric and groovy. When I play I mix all styles to one story, I take the dancefloor to one trip. For many parties I am invited to play in the morning time and in Israel there was a time when full on music was very popular so I had to play a lot this kind of music, but always with my own way, my style, with a twist also for full on mainstream audience. I play a lot also for more underground people where I can play more with the music, it is more crazy and fun sometimes. I am very open for all types of music and if I feel that the audience in the dancefloor are open minded like this too so the music would be more twisted.
What makes a good DJ?
There are a few things together that makes a good DJ. Some things are less important and some are very important. I think it is very important that the DJ will "read" the crowd on the dancefloor, will feel the people. The DJ must know how the people feel, what is going on in the party. The DJ has to live the dancefloor. I think he must dance and experience the parties before he starts DJing. A DJ must bring to the party his own energy and thoughts, his own style, not to fight with the people, to give them what they want with his own style and direction. He must find this balance in every party between the average people on the dancefloor and his style. If a DJ knows this he is already in potential a good DJ. Now, if he mixes good he can make the entire story much more interesting and the change between the tracks would come smoothly. Many DJs, specially new ones, mixed a lot in their bedroom and they think they can easily be excellent DJs but they do not know exactly what is the whole story, what is the point of it all. I think they realize it when they play. Nowadays it is much easier to mix the new tracks with the CDJs and every DJ should know that. This is good and the standards are getting higher, and the people enjoys more when there is a good mix but for sure it must be good music in a certain direction, certain interesting line. In every party to all kinds of people, I try to get to that point where I can play with the people with all kinds of music, when I get this level than I am sure the party is good and the people enjoy. In the trance parties the pose of the DJ is less important then house parties, for me the party is important, the vibe in the party, in the dance floor, not all that is around it.
OK, the occasion that brings you here is a new CD- New Frontiers- tell us about it.
Well, I think the name says it all- this CD is mostly about new artists and new tracks. I always try to promote new artists and like in Voojoo Rituals, you can find here some new artists that release here for the first time, like PPS Project, Sesto Sento, and Boiling Point, all from Israel. Lish from Israel are also newcomers on their way for debut album. Inoxia is a new artist from Mexico and the rest are more established artists like BLT, Human Blue, Alien Project and PsyCraft. In three of the tracks I also took part in the making.
This CD is my first cooperation with USTA, and the direction of the music in it is between full on psychedelic fast tracks like the track I did with Alien Project and more progressive and minimal tracks. I tried to compile a CD that can also be listened to a lot at home, but that the listener can still enjoy and to feel also the party spirit from the weekend.
Well, my dream is to make good music myself and I already started doing so under the name Spok. But it was not ready for this CD. Meanwhile I make also tracks with other artists, like I did before with Satlanation. For me it is a great opportunity to work with these artists and learn from each his different technique, it makes me much better and faster and more professional when I'm alone in my studio later. With BLT this is my second track. The first one was called White lotus and was released in Rolling Synthochords from the Dutch label Uphonic.
Now we made Purple lotus which was made at BLT studio and it is more groovy minimal track with a touch I think of jazzy French house, I like it a lot and like working with Yuli Fershtat. The next one for this CD I made in my studio with newcomers Felix & Samuel from north Israel- the PPS Project. I like these guys who makes more techno crazy hardcore psychedelic music, soon we make another one. With Ari, Alien Project, working together was a nice experience as well and what came out is a dancefloor hit. These days I am working alone on new tracks, new project with my wife too and I also started a new track in my studio with very talent new artist- Astrix from Hommega.
You've released two CDs, why didn't you open a label like everyone seems to do these days? I was and still thinking about something like this, but I'm not sure I'm thinking about a label exactly, it can be other corporations between me and some labels or something else.
I think it was very good for me first to make these two CDs and in different labels I got to know all the aspects of this industry. I like to do everything in my life the best and relaxed. I am not in a competition with anybody, especially in the trance scene.
What do you think about the fact that there are labels popping up everywhere?
I can understand some of the people opening a label, but not all. It is much easier to do it nowadays especially with electronic music, but there are also bad things about it. If the label has high standards and has patience and time for achieving them, it is a good label and it's good that it's there, but some labels are more like factories and care less about the quality of the music, they are more into public relations. Usually it is public relations for the label manager or owner, I think that can be OK if we're talking about a really good DJ and the music of the label is good but in some cases it is not like this. Maybe because of too many labels, we have many CDs out and some are not good cause there's not enough good music for so many CDs. I think this is a time when the trance scene and industry are developing, and nobody knows where it all goes, so many labels open and closed, and same distributors and so on... If somebody opens a new label for the love of this music and he is in focus on what he is doing so it is good for him and for everybody in the scene.
What do you think about the way world trance music is evolving- three things you would change?
I think trance music is evolving fine and in a good direction. Of course there are a few problems. There are some good new artists, but they usually come from the places where the parties happen a lot, and it's sometimes hard for artists in other places. Also the money that a lot of artists earn is not enough because of the many labels. The scene may be bigger, but it's still alternative. It is hard for people to continue and give all their time to make better music, to buy better equipment. I do not know if there is something to change now, artists should just try and continue making music that they like. If you make good quality music, your music will be published and success would come to you in most cases. I also recommend new artists to always check and have advice before they sign contracts.
Do you think Israel is different? What is different here?
There are a few things different and unique in the Israeli scene. First of all this scene evolved almost only from the Goa scene, unlike in Europe where many influences came from the techno and house scenes. This affected the music very much. The mentality and way of life here are very tense and hectic. There are a lot of problems in Israel, people have no patience, it's all here and now. A lot of people come to the parties very late and not from beginning, they want immediately something and to go, this I never understood because anyway you do not know what will happen, so it is better to come early, like in Germany for example.
On the other hand there are less police raids than there used to be, and still there are many many parties in Israel much more then in other places compare to the size of Israel and its population. The people here have full on power. There are now people who like to listen to all styles of trance, there are full on parties and there are more low tempo Scandinavian progressive style. Some people opened their minds more. I also think that some parties became too commercial and the organizers take too much money in the entrance and do not really share it with the artists or the DJs in a more proportional way, it's not all of them, but quite a lot.
You have a weekly radio show for a long time- tell us about it, how did it start, what are you doing there?
My radio show is already running for three years. It is in Tel Aviv area, in the Campus Voice 106 FM. This station is the real alternative station now in Israel, a lot of electronic music is broadcasted over there. My show with Guy Etingon of which I am the music editor, is called "Tranceformator", every Wednesday 21:00-23:00 and soon it will be on cable TV as well. It can be reached now also in the internet www.106fm.co.il. The show started in a smaller studio, now it is a big new studio and we have now many listeners every week. This station is not commercial, so there are no commercial breaks at all. I try to host every second show another artist and to give the listeners CDs. I talk in the show about the music and the parties and sometimes it is a pure two hours set. I love this program, and love this radio station, it is for me like meditation almost, freedom, like playing in a party. I try to promote the trance music through the program as much as I can.
You also started Newzeek, an Israeli elecronic music magazine. You're no longer there- do you think trance can make it to today's media and keep its spirit? I started Newzeek magazine about three years ago. I had this idea for long time. Today I own part of it but I am not part of the system. The purpose of this magazine from my point of view was to promote the trance music and to be a small business. Things did not go like I wanted because of many reasons, and Newzeek became partnership with other friends and company like Medium. These changes made the magazine more professional, with better writing, and much better graphic work, but it also became much more expensive, and so much more commercial. Because all of that Newzeek magazine and also the other electronic magazines who came after like DJ Ha'ir and Layla are focusing today more on the house and club scene, where the celebrities go, and you get the picture. I think it is OK and maybe nice but it does not make much good for the trance scene and its music. The trance scene looks bad in the media and not from an objective point of view. I do not see any photographers in the trance parties or people from the magazines to write about them. They write about trance only if it is full on commercial, not much about the DJs in Israel or new artists, that is a shame. Another problem is that some of the writers do not really know the scene and the music they write about. I think it's OK to write also bad things about music or a DJ, but the writer must must must do it in a professional way, with professional words. The words should help to make things better and not worst, we are talking about music, about art, way of living... On the bright side, we have at least today magazines that let people know that trance exists and about new music and DJs, in this we succeed. I learned a lot in the media business, it is a very crazy and fast-evolving world, every day something can change and some people do not care about nothing except money and themselves, they do not want to hear other people's opinions. The spirit of trance in media is sometimes just a word for some organizers or a pose, and that's all. For me the spirit is not just coming for party and go home, but it's also to know some of the people, not to be with your head up in a big pose, to communicate with each other.
Does trance still has that spirit today at all?
I think it is different now because for many people it is not new anymore and some got tired on the way. But still if you come to parties with an open mind, with the will to free yourself from everyday's life and thoughts, you will feel this spirit once more- this depends in the party itself. All the people coming to party should know for what they are coming. A trance party is the place to let your mind be free, to dance and enjoy yourself, not to pose or to stand aside and complain- this we have enough in our daily life. I see in parties today also a lot of new young people all over the world that come and enjoy, so why not everyone do it ??
What's the last trance CD you really liked?
There are a few. I liked the last Psysex album and Cosma's album from Israel, from Scandinavia the first Atmos album and some compilations from MPDQX, also Medium stuff. Very good full on music I found on the Demitri's DAT Bag from TIP World. There are more artists which are becoming very good like PsyCraft and BLT from Hommega. The good music is still coming...
What's the last CD you bought?
The last one is more chillout- Ooze from Spirit Zone which is excellent. I also just bought again the first Juno Reactor album- Transmisions, which is a classic piece of art. Also got the Moby CD and Macy Gray for my house. I do not buy a lot of CDs because I am lucky now and I get a lot of them for the radio and for DJing.
What now? Future visions?
I think now I rest a little and then I just continue with my life. I work now on my own music alone and with other people, hope to release some tracks and maybe doing something new in the electronic scene. Another compilation of mine will come out in the summer for USTA or another label, maybe I will also compile Voojoo Rituals 2 for Hovek Olam and Hadshot Haheizar. So I have a lot of things to do now and in the future, I hope all people would have many things to do like that. I hope to continue and help new artists in the future and the entire party scene. I wish more people would come to the trance parties all over the globe. I Hope people would not talk so much but do much for the trance scene !!!! My most important vision and hope is for world peace and love all over, it may sound today a bit ridiculous but I still imagine like John Lenon did...