Hello and I am happy you wanted to make this interview, now that the new compilation of Dark Prisma Records has been released. So what can you tell us about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Filtr0: My name is Nicolas Di Bernardo, also known as Filtr0. I am basically another agent helping the cosmos in its transition as safely as possible, using the psychedelic culture as the best way for the download and upload information process. I also do music by myself and with other friends, the most well known is my project with z1p called Megalopsy, I help run Dark Prisma Records and I make small parties here in Argentina under the name Ritual Alien.
How did you get to know psychedelic music? At what age you had your first contact with this culture?
Filtr0: We were very friends of the first live act of Argentina, a band that has disappeared that was called Mindprobe. They were the first ones to show us this music, basically old school goa like Hux Flux or S.U.N Project, and also we attended some free parties in a park downtown where I heard Astral Projection, Gms and Infected Mushroom for the first time. This was 2001 I think, I was 18 years old at that time.
In your way, whatís your interpretation of the word Psychedelic?
Filtr0: Interesting question! I have been redefining this idea since I first got in contact with it. Usually psychedelic means mind expanding, but what does mind expanding mean? What is the mind and why would you need to expand it? I believe that our ego is just an old structure that can be changed to a more flexible system, instead of staying with one personality and one way of being, you can use your ego as an interface to explore more possibilities of self. I think this culture is all about that! Unlocking doors from the present, dream new realities and make them come true.
Do you have any side project?
Filtr0: I have several side projects but none of them have been revealed to the public until recently. I have 2 solo projects, one is my downtempo one called Prisma, usually all the cds Iím involved with I make an intro, or an outro track, or small bits inside of it. I will someday, somehow, manage to do a full album on this style, hopefully soon. Also I have started recently a more experimental project under the name Zigurat, this is really unknown land, I felt I needed this space and I created it, letís see where it takes me. With other people I have Abyss Ooze, which is my collaboration with Pandoraís Box, this is more forest/fractal cowboys influenced stuff, dark humour, chaotic tracks, more fun than anything else.
About Prisma you can find work on the last track of The Abstract Machine, the last track on V/A Amalgama, and recently the last track on The Void : Disintegration one. Also there is one coming up on z1pís compilation for Dark Prisma called Bestiary. Abyss Ooze we have Para el gordo on Darklife Records, and Disintegrating Serapis on The Void. Also we are preparing a split between Pandoraís Box and me, that will have several collaborations between Argentina projects.
What gear do you use to produce music, and where do you get inspiration for creating it?
Filtr0: I use mainly my laptop, which is a Toshiba satellite pro that runs pretty good. I have an M-Audio Firewire 410 audiocard, an Access Virus B and Alesis 520 speakers. Anyways I use 80% of vsts/samples in my music, Iím not very hardware-based.
Inspiration of course always comes in a mixed process of exploration of inner and outer spaces. While I travel and I trip I get ideas from nature, cities, animals, plants, anything making squeaky, crunchy noises. But also I was very lucky to see amazing music such as Kindzadza, Alien Mental, Derango, Zik, Polyphonia, just to name a few, and this changed forever my concept of what this music can do. So when I sit down Iím not thinking, I feel more like Iím trying to re-create certain feelings and visions that I had, like trying to make it tangible, I feel more like sculpting than composing.
How it is to work with other musicians?
Filtr0: It all depends of course of the person. Usually if you really like his music, the flow will be immediate and you donít even need to talk or discuss it. If the styles are somehow different, it will always be a matter of who sits down more shaping the track. I have seen all kind of energies and ways of working, sometimes there is too much people and you donít get anything really good done, and sometimes you know completely well that something magical is going on and that a full connection is being made. I really enjoy it actually, I tend to always work with more people, here in Argentina and while I travel.
Having consulted your site: http://www.darkprisma.com..ar/thevoid/, I found that the first release Ė Disintegration Ė is the first of a series to come Ė the Void series. Can you explain the concept behind all this?
Filtr0: The Void series is my attempt to try to put in work a lot of ideas I have come across while I travelled both inner and outer spaces. I was lucky to meet Ghreg On earth on Boom 2006 and after contacting him over email and talking more deeply, he pointed me a whole universe of literature that I had missed, especially Grant Morrisonís Invisibles and the chaos magicians. I found the idea that altered states of consciousness can be used to change reality very interesting, especially after having the feeling that the universe actually wants you to hack it, to play with it, to change the code. So this is The Void, its actually a magic spell, I believe that the only way we can bring change, is by doing lots of small attacks, like psychedelic guerrilla warfare, and this is my specially constructed psychedelic Molotov, which does not kill the enemy, it makes them trip, it makes them find themselves, it makes them melt, it makes them laugh, dance.
What has inspired this whole of this CD?
Filtr0: Well The Void : Disintegration is actually the tough part. Itís the initiation, the rite of passage, and this is something not easy to go through. It means leaving behind everything you are and meeting your real self for the first time. Disintegration is not something negative, itís not death and suffering, but it is being reborn, and of course it includes your ego being melted, torn apart, mutated, changed, re-arranged. This happened to me in a very particular experience in Boom 2006, they really know how to create a context where you can feel illumination in bits and pieces, or I should say beats and pieces :P.
The interesting thing is what happens after you have your ego melted, the states you enter, the places you visit, the information you get in contact with. The cd starts with Grant Morrison saying Ďwe come to tell you this stuff so you can put it in your work and explain it to the worldí, this is the typical thing that you hear when you have a full psychedelic experience. So here I am, trying to explain it to the world, and anyone who wishes to access this information, can do it, at anytime, anywhere, if you really put into practice what all this crazy people we read say, it really works!.
We actually created a map of the psychedelic experience, the disintegration part is the process that takes you from Earth through The Void, as they say somewhere, the path to Heaven is through Hell.
It has an interesting cover, what has been the inspiration for such piece of art?
Filtr0: The cover was the cornerstone of the whole design. About the background, my first vision was the idea of doing a reptile style holographic plate, where all information is stored, this was also based on the bracelet Iím still wearing of Boom 2006, where they used this Australian aboriginal art, which for me is one of the best ways to represent patterns of energy. This was done by Diego from Boogieman Media, he was the graphic designer tying the whole thing up.
The symbol in the cover is actually a veve. A veve is used in voudoun ceremonies to call an entity, the shape represents the energy of the entity, they usually draw it in salt in the dirt and itís used to summon a LOA and trap it inside the symbol. My idea was that this veve is actually not for an entity but for a whole dimension, which we call The Void. This was designed by Martin Barbero, a visionary artist from Argentina and a very good friend, he is very influenced by more organic kind of style, for me it almost like flowers made of jewels or vice versa. Also below you can see some of the alien alphabet he designed, the idea is to put hidden messages and let listeners go discovering it as we continue the series.
I also read in the site, a reference to Robert Anton Wilson, and I quote: ďThe map is not our territory, we came across the same questions and our post-post modern minds simply do not trust one answer, we want all of them we will look for all of themĒ Ė what do you mean with this reference? Do you identify yourself by this ďhungerĒ of answers?
Filtr0: I really like the idea that the universe fits to any explanation you give to it. I think itís all about trying different perceptions as different lenses and trying as many as you can. Of course you always have the danger of loosing yourself in so much information and answers, but well maybe sometimes you need to loose yourself to find yourself, and sometimes its better to keep the boat steady in the sea of questions. When I first heard people talking about aliens, my doubt was always how they think? How they feel? How do they relate to what they perceive? How do they perceive? This whole reality that is happening right now seems to create itself every second, I sometimes joke that I see the fresh paint on it. So this is what I look for, many answers, but not as fixed ideas, but to have a nice tool box to surf time and space.
All of your track names have some meaning, care to give some lights on this?
Filtr0: In this V/A, I participated somehow in 4 tracks. The cd has 4 sections, so I did one track for each section. The sections are Invocation, Disintegration, Illusion and The Link.
The first one is a solo track as Megalopsy called Zazas, Zazas, Nasatanada, Zazas, this is used in magickal circles as the traditional way of opening the gates of The Abyss. So basically as soon as you read the track name, you are opening The Void, the idea is that by being in contact with this cd, you are being in contact with information that will transform you. This track starts with Marvin the Martian, who is a character obsessed with destroying the earth, this is a joke to all the apocalypse culture with this idea that the only change will be total destruction. And then follows with a mission statement by Grant Morrison explaining what happened to him in his alien abduction in Katmandu in 1994. He was taken to the 5th dimension where he learned how time and space works and how he was assigned the mission to tell everyone about this. Then you have my magickal poem to open the gates, my contribution to the vast methods of going to the Other Side.
The second track is my collaboration with a very good friend from Mexico called Xikwri Neyra under the name Shapeshifter. This track belongs to the disintegration phase, when your mind is turning up against you, and you are confused, itís the moment of going through the threshold, your ego being melted, time and space being torn apart. It has a speech which is basically like a dust devil from The Abyss playing with your mind, ĎIíve taken this form in order to talk to you, but I can take many forms, does this suit you better?í. But we are always smarter than some devil, so thatís why everything breaks and we get down to the real core, thatís why the sample says Ďn0o0o, what have you done! Now you shall see my true form!í. You never get lost in the trip if you keep a clear mind and a good sense of humour.
The third track belongs to the illusion phase, a true danger while crossing The Void. Aleister Crowley talks about Choronzon, which is the dweller of The Abyss, a devil that will always try to make you stay in your ego, it will show your deepest fears, your deepest desires, it will tell you anything to make you change your mind and go back. We called it Serapis, based on the lord of the Apsu, the Babylonian Abyss, which I think is the oldest name for the concept. And our track is again the idea that we have crossed it and we have been smarter, thatís why we called it Disintegrating Serapis, we are disintegrating the disintegrator, turning his magic against him.
The last track belongs to The Link, this was my idea of using this track as some sort of membrane keeping connection with all the different directions this series will explore. We are slowly trying to build a sort of patchwork universe, constructed with pieces we go finding as we explore the depths.
I saw that you also refer to the information, coming and going, uploading and downloading, sharing the information, what is our role in all this?
Filtr0: This is really something that I cannot figure out, as Paul Laffoley says ĎI have also received information I cannot understandÖit must be communicated to others, many of whom are better prepared that I to receive itÖí I think this is exactly the idea, through artistic expression and through scientific and magical methods we can access the 5th dimensional pool of information where we can know how adapt to the changes in the universe as its keeps flowing towards infinity. I think that humans have a crucial role in the development of the universe, well actually I think that everything that exists has a crucial role, but we definitely are a curious thing and the fact that you have to weave your own meaning is simply amazing!
How do you see the connection of technologies and nature?
Filtr0: We are nature, so cities are nature, technology is nature, and in more subtle levels of reality you can see how things are really one. Iím inclined to the theory of Grant Morrison that says that now we are a caterpillar, devouring everything, but that soon we will pop out of our chrysalis and we will be born as what we really are in the 5th dimension.
All the psychedelic trance culture for me is nothing more than a wonderful example of how capitalism and technology can be used for positive and creative purposes. We are the living proof that past and present can be synthesized into the future. Anyone that attended Boom 2006 saw this happening, the idea of an ecologically sustainable festival done with freaks who make insane music with computers and dance all night, its not only incredible, but feels right!
How it was to find artists that fitted in your ideals of the Void series?
Filtr0: This was a difficult process actually, and as the cd took a long time to be finished, it became even more difficult. On one side as we have no budget it was difficult for us to convince artists we were actually doing a good thing. Itís not very easy for a small label to start. In the beginning I wanted to be half Argentina and half from outside, but this made no sense when I started to look for music and most of it was not very interesting. So in the end I kept the tracks that I really liked and the rest we decided to fill in with Argentina stuff, which for me is interesting enough to deserve at least more exposure, one of the main reasons why we started Dark Prisma.
Two and a half years have passed since the release of Abstract Machine, but I have heard that a new album of Megalopsy is on the forge. What can we expect of this new material? And how did the name Megalopsy been found?
Filtr0: Megalopsy is taken from the word Megalopsia, which is a condition in the eyes that objects are larger than what they appear. I stretched this idea to the concept of psychedelic trance distorting your perception.
About the album, we are working on it slowly, we have an idea, it will be part of The Void series and it will go deeper into the story as it evolves. After travelling so much and hearing so much good music our concept of psychedelic trance changed radically, so now we are slowly doing our download, our gift for all the psychedelic culture and the incredible experiences we were lucky to have. Hopefully it will be finished this year, but the idea is to let it flow, give it enough time to be fresh and authentic, letís see what happens.
Since the birth of Goa Trance, a lot of new styles derivate from it. How do you see all this new styles that appeared after, and certainly will continue coming? What direction do you think psytrance is taking? What are your expectations for the trance culture?
Filtr0: I think that psychedelic trance is really an infinite platform, you see this for example in many tracks that are able to mix completely different styles, sometimes not even from electronic music, you can make a hip/hop, reggae or idm break and you can still fit it with the trance structure,. So naturally this also happens with all the spectrum of human expression, from the 170 horror/death stuff, to the cheesy/commercial full on stuff, and everything in between, and also every direction possible stretched to the limit. Psychedelic trance tends to amplify its possibilities, is so easy to mix with anything and you can give it any feeling you want, dark, happy, freaky, groovy, etc. I think that we will see more and more combinations and directions, it is already happening for me, in every style you find really innovating music, Sonik Scizzor or Furious on the fast stuff, Sensient on the progressive side, or even suomi stuff like Texas Faggot, there is always a limit to stretch and as tools get better we will be able to take really go deep into this viscous stuff we call psychedelia. Iím really excited about the future of this scene, specially I like this tendency I see of doing really hardcore psytrance festivals, like what Forgotten Ritual did or like the Boom 2006 line up, or even as Goa Gil does, the feeling of listening to so much good music for so long is really beautiful.
When you play, live or mixing music, what do you try to offer to people? Do you try to pass any specific message to the crowd?
Filtr0: Well we really are not able to able to make a living completely with psychedelic trance, so we see it mostly as holy work, we like to travel spreading good vibes and good company, we like to play good music as loud and as long as possible, we were very lucky of getting out of Argentina and having these incredible experiences, the best we can do is offer music that will make you trip. Usually when we play live is nice because we try to play as much unreleased stuff as possible, so you get to hear a lot of collaborations or solo tracks or strange experiments, we always play a few recognizable tracks, but for me its always fun to play fresh tracks, its always more psychedelic in my opinion.
During your travels, and having communicated and seen so much people abroad, what do you see and feel of the global tribe? Are we moving towards a global consciousness, or are we splitting apart? Basically how do you see the actual state of trance these days? Do you think that people are looking for a meaning living in this culture, or it is just another musical genre?
Filtr0: I have not been in all places, in all festivals, so I really donít know whatís going on. My impression so for in what I was lucky to witness is that I see one very strong and pure direction which I saw in events such as Boom 2006, Psycrowdelica or Forgotten Ritual, or people like the Noise Poison Camp in Berlin or the Lysergic Asylum crew in Belgium, or the vibe in Goa Gil Parties, there I see something that is really growing and evolving and mutating, and taking a very interesting shape. Always the thread joining everything is good music and good vibes, but not only good music, psychedelic music, revolutionary music, things that really surprise you, music that after the party you have a feeling that is impossible to describe, like forced/prolonged meditation, like a cleaning process.
I see future in all the pure and true things, and I see no future for the commercial part of the scene. The ones that are looking for global consciousness are already starting to experiment it, the ones that still wish to stay apart, are more far away than ever. I really believe that in this moment, everything is just a matter of perspective, the whole world is in the same state and the psychedelic scene is a microcosm of it, there are positive and negative people and you can decide at any moment what kind of person you want to be. The crazy thing for me is that the most colourful and cheerful people I met are very big fans of what is called Ďdarkí trance. I see people not only looking for a meaning, but already finding it and developing it, especially in Europe I really saw the psychedelic dream come true, maybe itís for a few days, but I think this is a necessary exercise for the upcoming future. I cannot avoid talking about a change that is coming soon and I cannot avoid having the suspicion that trance is a very good vessel to travel life and its changes. I completely believe in this scene and its intention, many things have changed but I think the original idea is still very present. Iím still very new in what is really called the scene, before it was only us in Argentina, when I started travelling everything changed for us.
Which was the most intense party you have ever been? Which was the party you felt more connection between the crowd and the music?
Filtr0: Oh impossible to pick one! Apart from the ones I mentioned already, if I have to pick one, it would be the Mayma Festival in Misiones. It was a festival we helped organized in the middle of the jungle in Argentina, in the north part, 150km from Brazil. It was very difficult to do it but it was the most amazing experience I had in my life, we stayed like 15 days working there in the jungle, but the day of the party it ended up raining for 3 days. The whole adventure of trying to build it and do it was really enough for us, being so close to nature its always powerful. You can see some photos in the archive of the blog, its http://megalopsy.blogspot.com
The party I felt more connection with the crowd I think it was Sibu Pachamama made by Ajna crew in Costa Rica, they really treated us like aliens from outer space that were coming to blow their heads. They made an amazing party in a beautiful place near an active volcano, the crew and the crowd had amazing vibes, one of the best parties in my life.
Any last message you wish to transmit to the people out there that love psychedelic music?
Filtr0: I really hope we one day find ourselves living in the alternative lifestyle we are building, I really hope the whole planet turns into a psychedelic village filled with music and art and good vibes, just like a festival, but our whole lives...
Once more thank you very much for the interview, the updates on the Dark Prisma music, and your vision of things.