Captain Hook Interview ahead of his SA Tour
…I felt that in 2014 I wanted to keep it fresh and start kind of a new style of evolution and yeah… it felt like a huge weight lifted, both spiritually and physically.”
Captain Hook will be back in South Africa for 3 gigs starting with Alt Productions in Joburg on the 22nd of November, New School Productions in Durban on the 28th November and his last stop, Sirius @ Synergy Live on the 29th of November.
This will be his third visit and certainly his longest one so far as he intends to spend 10 days here with his girlfriend site-seeing and finally getting a chance to absorb our local culture.
Dave Mac chatted to Captain Hook – Reshef – about the state of psy-prog, why he cut his dreadlocks and when we can expect another album…
Hi Reshef. Thanks for taking the call. Where are you at the moment?
Captain Hook: I am sitting in my Booking Management office in Tel Aviv. No problem man. Let’s chat.
You grew up in a real golden era of Israeli Psytrance when there were so many different labels such as BNE, USTA, Phonokol, Hom Mega, Doof records etc at the time. How do you think the scene differs now for young Israeli teenagers to back then?
Captain Hook: When I grew up it was very spiritual. It was like a sacred ceremony. I grew up with my brothers throwing parties with USTA and Krembo Records. As a kid I used to listen to Quirk and X-Dream and I was intrigued at how they were getting these sounds and the elements they were using. How they were getting this information to create these patterns of music. It was all very mysterious and otherworldly back then.
These days if you are connected or have a big brother or mentor, because there is so much music out there, you can get the right sounds and the right frequencies quite easily and it kinda helps people grow into it. But at the same time these days kids can also just go to a commercial rave and hear banging triplets with guitars or something… and breaks every minute with wind ups and then they think that THIS is trance so it all depends where you’re getting your information from I guess. ‘Cos there is really good music in trance but it’s really hard to go to an underground party today unless you know where to find it in Israel.
The first time you played in South Africa was at Alien Safari which is one of our oldest and respected event promoters. Then you came back two years later for the Sunflower Festival, a much newer crew. After your first memories of SA, did you notice anything different the second time – other than the fact that you are even more popular here now?
Captain Hook: It’s hard to say, to be honest, because I was only there for one day each time and you can’t really get much of an impression if you only spend five hours at a party. But what I can say is that the South African crowd is very colourful and funky, man!
Well the nice thing is this time you will be here for longer…
Captain Hook: Yeah! I’m coming with my lady for ten days and it’s my birthday on the 29th [November]as well so I’m really excited to be able to travel a bit and to go to Table Mountain and see the penguins and just hang out, taste the local culture. I’ve heard it’s an amazing land so I can’t wait!
…wow this guy is really making it and is out there getting booked and, fuck like I wanna be out there too,”
The last time we interviewed you in 2011 we chatted about the new sounds of progressive psytrance – you said the full on scene back in Israel was almost dead. Is it still that way?
Captain Hook: Well the thing is progressive really exploded [in 2011] and when any genre explodes then you get a lot of producers thinking ‘wow this guy is really making it and is out there getting booked and, fuck like I wanna be out there too,’ so they start making the same music but they have no idea of the roots of the music. For example they don’t know Paste or XV Killist or Haldolium so all they’re doing is cutting the groove and pasting it and making their own copy. So there’s no soul in the beats and then you see the genre start to bite its own tail.
Then also because it exploded in 2011 lots of producers of full-on started to create a second project to do progressive but all they have really done is basically create full-on with a lower bpm and maybe less channels (layers). But now full-on is coming back in Israel and in Europe the festivals have done well to keep it underground which is amazing and I really respect that. But yes, psytrance is coming back because people don’t want to hear all these copies with the same patterns all the time. There are still the original guys who have the source info but there are a lot of soulless copies too now.
Your ‘Best of My Sets’ release on Iboga was really interesting ‘cos it showed a different side to what people may expect from Captain Hook. Some more techy based tracks and not all just big kick and bass bangers. Do you find that when you DJ people are expecting the Captain Hook vibe all the time?
Captain Hook: Actually yeah, that’s the beauty of it. I think when you go to a club or a party you get the vibe of the people and you feel the dancefloor and you go with them. I mean sometimes you go with yourself but it doesn’t mean the whole dancefloor is going to follow, but each dancefloor has different colours, a different flavour to it, and sometimes I get to play really deep trance with no breaks and no wind ups and I can just keep it tribal – when people are in a higher state of consciousness and then some places all the crowd wants is [for it to be] it really instant and you gotta like ‘fuggin’ drop your biggest bits with big drops and bass.
How was Love & Light in Ibiza?
Captain Hook: It was awesome man. First of all the people – the organisers are amazing. The whole crew of these guys are really cool. They put lots of heart and soul into the project and the hospitality was amazing, the party was really fresh with a Funktion One sound so yeah, I really enjoyed it and I felt that all my colleagues that were there… they also had a blast.
Two of your SA gigs coming up are multi-genre. In fact Synergy Live has a rock music floor as the main stage. How often do you get booked to play at events that are NOT just trance parties and do you enjoy mixing it up at these type of events?
Captain Hook: Well in Brazil because the scene is really diverse now they puts lots of EDM and sometimes groups like The Prodigy or the big names in house on one bill. Also sometimes in Israel they will have like a students’ day in the ‘yard’ at the City Hall or something like that and then there’s like 10,000 people and you play with rock bands etc and I think it’s quite funky, man.
I play music, I don’t care about the way I look, if I have dreadlocks or wear a hat or whatever man, it’s actually all about the music,”
What made you lose the dreadlocks?
Captain Hook: [Laughs]. Well I had them for 15 years and there’s a lot of energy that stays with you inside the hair because you can’t really comb them – I mean I used to maintain them a lot with shampooing and conditioning – but it was like energy I wanted to release and I felt that in 2014 I wanted to keep it fresh and start kind of a new style of evolution and yeah… it felt like a huge weight lifted, both spiritually and physically.
Actually when I went to Brazil after cutting my hair – there is a very commercial scene in Brazil so you’re like a pop star there. I mean if I’m walking down the street people recognise me and I’d get like VIP treatment wherever I go because I’m like a known figure there. But then when I cut my hair my local booking manager [in Brazil], he was like ‘You’ve broken your image now – it’s now going to be hard with the bookings and shit,’ and I told him ‘hey man I don’t play for image I play for music and you can tell anybody that doesn’t want to book me because I cut my dreads, that’s fine with me. I play music, I don’t care about the way I look, if I have dreadlocks or wear a hat or whatever man, it’s actually all about the music,’ and he didn’t quite understand, but when I played for my first set there after I’d cut them, he was with me and it was one of the best sets of my life and he was like ‘hey Resh, you were right man it doesn’t matter!’
Your latest track DNA Activation is quite techy and minimal. Do you listen to a lot of techno?
Captain Hook: Well I listen to techno like I listen to trance. All the vinyls I have in my home like XV Killist, Paste and Paps and Yumade is all more like techno-trance. I also had Sheff which was my techno project from 2009 up to about a year and a half ago and I released on an imprint called 1605 which is Umek’s label and it’s quite a big platform for techno. I think most of my tracks of trance and progressive and also when I was in Quantize, specifically the DMT track which was the first time we moved the rhythm from regular 16 into swing – most of my tracks have a techno groove. So DNA Activation is the outcome of this last summer season and I just felt people are tired of lots of breaks and wind ups (builds) and the sound has been done to death now, so DNA Activation – it just kind of wrote itself and it’s all about the mantra of bio-transmitting your whole being – this track for me was more like channelling then having to sit and plan it. I do think it’s one of my most minimal progressive tracks for sure. I was really surprised that it was No. 1 on Beatport because it is a bit different.
When can we expect another full EP or even an album from you?
Captain Hook: I’ve got several tracks and collaborations. In Ibiza after the Love & Light Experience Raymond (Bloom, Love & Light and Sirius Promoter) said to me ‘Hey man, what I like is that when I host artists that they leave inspired and make music afterward,’ so right after I left the Villa I went to my friend Riktam (GMS) and we sat there in his studio with Celli (Earthling) and Chicago (1200 Mics) and it was so much fun. We made a new track so I have this track plus another one with my mate Morten Granau as well as tracks with Pixel – they’re all like half done already.
I also have the remix files to ‘The Only Process’ from Atmos from back in the day – it’s a legendary track and I’ve had the files for over a year and I’ve been going around it like a cat trying to figure out how to even approach it as I have such respect for him and for this track.
But my next release is going to be a single I did with a very good friend of mine – a DJ and a producer, a girl named Gula K and we’re releasing a single on Iboga [Records] called ‘Consciousness.’ So I’m not sure if all the tracks I’ve mentioned will be released in singles or an EP or if I’ll save some for the album because I want to have a new album out in 2015.
Yeah, looking forward to a new full album for sure. Any final word to your SA fans?
Captain Hook: Keep it real and see you soon!
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