Oct 4, 2016 7:15:52 PM ⋅ Shanghai
By Sebastian David
It’s not all about EDM, house and techno. There’s another electronic music movement out there slowly but steadily gaining popularity in Shanghai and around China; Psytrance!
1AMJOY met up with Shanghai Psytrance pioneer, PsychicNova, to discuss his journey into and the rise of Psytrance.
How did you first experience Psytrance?
A long time ago I went to Shelter and it was great, I didn’t know it was Psytrance but that’s when I knew I loved this music. In 2013 I went to Shalanaya festival, I found the information on Douban at the time and started to really get into Psytrance.
What happened in the 3 years from then till now?
I fell in love with Psytrance at Shalanaya. I realized respect, love, peace, and kindness to people. I gained this experience at the festivals and wanted people to also share this insight. I wanted them to realize the real meaning of Psytrance; not just the dance music aspect of it. It makes you think about your life, your past.
Right now the big trends are EDM, house, trap, and techno but the Psytrance crowd is very different to all that more mainstream electronic music. They talk about love, respect and related ideals rather than just having a good time which is more associated with the other genres mentioned. Why is that?
In house and techno music for example, the melody might be more straightforward, but in Psytrance the music is very different because it comes from Goa trance and the hippies’ movement. That culture engulfed Zen and spirituality and mixed it with this music.
If someone goes to a Psytrance event for the first time will they have a spiritual experience from the music itself, or do they have to study the culture of Psytrance?
Psytrance parties are very colourful, the decoration is different, so just looking at the venue will make you understand this is something different. Then, listening to the music, you might feel it’s too fast and strong, but that makes you want to come to peace with yourself and focus on the melody to appreciate the music arrangement. It’s this beauty that made me want to create my own Psytrance music. I made techno and trance music before but Psytrance confused me. I didn’t know how to make the melody beautiful in the Psytrance way but also make people dance. The challenge with Psytrance is that it’s like a trip; it takes you down one road, then in a totally different direction. It’s like a film; you feel everything is going smoothly, and then the plot twists suddenly into a dangerous event, which then calms and then changes again. So, to answer your question, it’s the nature of this kind of music that makes you think about and question your thoughts, your feelings, your life and your relation to other people. It helps you drop down your work, frustrations and everyday issues to transcend to another place of peace.
What if someone just wants to have a good time a Psytrance event without getting into all the deep culture associated with it, then is a Psytrance event a good place for them?
Of course, they can just come to relax and let their work and social related problems go, or those things that trouble them. Some people might like or not like their social life, but at a Psytrance event no one is judging the colour of your skin, where you come from, what you do. Everyone is welcome in Psytrance, every human, everybody.
How often do you DJ or do events?
At first I was involved with a label called Goa productions, and later I joined Goa productions. I learned how to do the decorations, how to prepare the events. Later I made a label (Dark-Moon Tempo) with some friends. I wanted to find Psytrance parties but there weren’t many so we created Dark-Moon Tempo to create our own parties for everyone who wants to enjoy Psytrance. We’ve cooperated with the Mansion and Shalanaya festival where we provided some ideas for decoration and stage set-up.
What does Dark-Moon Tempo do?
We do DJing, decoration, design, and everything and anything that one can bring to a Psytrance event. Our crew wants to create Psytrance party experiences. Just like a Shalanaya, we wanted to introduce the culture and history, not just to play party music. We want to introduce the whole scene of Psytrance which will allow people to reach realizations they normally wouldn't. Some people might come and see the whole set up and listen to the music and feel like they don’t like it and leave immediately. Others might see the friendly atmosphere and feel the music inviting and really get into it.
What event did you do at the Mansion?
We did “Synesthesia” which was quite successful. Mansion doesn’t normally do Psytrance events so it was something different their crowd appreciated; so soon after we held a second Synesthesia.
When can we expect to see the next Synesthesia / Dark-Moon Tempo event?
It will be held at a new location in December, but it won’t be called ‘Synesthesia’.
Thank you very much!