IDM: What’s your earliest memories of electronic music?
Jez: Probably the strange soundscapes of Pink Floyd who were a huge influence on me as I was growing up.
IDM: Were you a Raver first who discovered Goa trance, or was Goa-trance your first foray into dance/electronic music?
Jez: Although I just missed out on the whole rave scene of the late 80’s, I used to go clubbing a lot in London at places like the Limelight and Borderline where I heard a lot of dance anthems like Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time’, that kind of thing. I was playing guitar in bands at the time, ’till a good friend of mine came back from Goa in ’91 and took me to some of the reunion parties in London, like Ahimsa, Gumbo, and Little People, and that was it – no looking back!
IDM: You still play guitar?
Jez: From time to time, just for the enjoyment of it! I will be getting into a new project later this year with Tristan and Merv Pepler from Eat Static which will be more of a live band/electronic project for festivals – so I may get the chance to bring it out again along with my ‘cello!
Jez: We were just heading in different directions, so going our own way made sense. We are great friends and I love to catch up with Bill whenever I can.
IDM: Cosmosis was a BIG name already whilst you were a part of the project… letting go of the name must have been a bit difficult?
Jez: Not at all, I was quite happy to take the name Laughing Buddha. I was proud of the releases under that name on T.I.P. Records and felt it had underground credibility. I also relished the chance to start off with a relatively clean slate – people had certain expectations from Cosmosis, so I had more freedom to go where I liked with Laughing Buddha.
IDM: Psy-trance today is a far cry from the Goa sounds of the mid 90’s and whilst your sound is very current in a lot of respects it still has some distinctive Goa undertones. Is this simply part of your DNA when making music ?
Jez: I believe something very special happened in the early days of the trance scene both creatively and culturally, so although I always try to find new ways to push the boundaries, I do like to try to keep a connection to the original magical energy.
IDM: What appeals to you the most about the Global Psy-trance scene?
Jez: It’s the sense of community – all these amazing people around the world from different backgrounds and cultures coming together with a common vision of music, art, spirituality and philosophy. There’s nothing else quite like it on the planet.
Jez: I’ve heard the rumours….and now I get to find out the truth!!
IDM: If you weren’t producing psytrance what styles do you think you’d be plying your trade in?
Jez: Well, I am really looking forward to the new project with Tristan and Merv as it will allow for a lot more room to experiment with styles and different flavours. Watch this space!
IDM: And… if you weren’t producing music at all what do you think you’d be doing for a living?
Jez: I’d probably be a tree surgeon or doing something close to nature. Either that or a full on technology developer!
IDM: You’ve always made full-on psy (well friendly full-on compared to some of the stuff out there, heh, heh) – SA is known for full-on (hard) and very little prog. What’s your take on the whole prog. vs. full-on debate?
Jez: I think everything has its place – especially when you’re at a festival for 7 days. You don’t want full on all the time. I love to hear great quality prog in the afternoon sun with a cool drink, as much as mysterious, twisted sounds in the night…
IDM: Other than psy-trance – what artists are currently floating your boat?
Jez: It’s very hard to single out particular artists – I just love listening to as much music as possible from Radiohead to acoustic African Music, Gorillaz to Folk, Reggae to Techno….It’s all inspiring!
IDM: And current psy artists?
Jez: Obviously I love what Tristan is doing these days, also Avalon, Dickster, Sonic Species, Master Blasters, Zen Mechanics, Burn In Noise to name but a few.
Laughing Baddha plays his first set on South African soil at Earth Dance, Nekkies Resort, Cape Town, September 17- 19th. More event details here.