Portal debuts LIVE set at Earthdance this weekend [Interview]
From winning the Equinox New Guy competition back in 2012 to playing at festivals all over the world, living in Berlin and producing bouncy and fun progressive psy-trance, SA expat Daniel Portal will debut his LIVE set at Earthdance Cape Town this weekend and we are mighty excited to hear what beastly tunes he has in store for us.
Contrary to a lot of things I’ve been reading on social media – we have one of the world’s best psy scenes…”
If you love something you will do what it takes to nurture it; this is the attitude Portal modelled when he decided to move to Berlin to grow his sound, and that leap of faith has paid off tremendously in his music career.
He has played at major festivals like Universo Paralello in Brazil and Halfmoon Festival in Thailand, performed in Israel, Mozambique and of course in South Africa; and is a regular feature on line ups across Europe, but this edition of Earthdance Cape Town will be one for the books.
Firstly, welcome home! Sorry we can’t give you much sun right now but hopefully she’ll shine soon again. So, major happening as you’re debuting your LIVE set at Earthdance this weekend. How are you feeling about sending your pride and joy into the ether?
Portal: Thank you! I always look so forward to my trips home, although I have definitely gotten used to living with less sun :p I am super excited for the Earthdance live set, albeit a bit daunting, it has been both a dream and the goal for me since starting out on my journey in music.
You’ve obviously been ‘test driving’ your tracks abroad. How has the response been and have there been any necessary adjustments?
Portal: Indeed! I have been lucky to have the chance to test drive some of my favourites on the European crowd, and even once or twice in SA to an awesome response, the feeling of seeing people dance to your music is hard to put into words so I am very grateful to have that opportunity. As for adjustments, I am constantly evolving my sound and knowledge and making changes as I grow and learn.
You’ve collaborated with some well-established producers like Sawlead Ground, Onero and Effective. How important is writing music with others to one’s growth as a producer?
Portal: I love collaborating with other artists, we learn so much from sharing knowledge and techniques in production that one session with the right artist can propel you forward in a much shorter time had you gone it alone, working with Sawlead and Effective was a truly eye-opening experience for me.
Open Bookings has been a journey in and of itself, speaking Hebrew gave me the chance to get to know a lot of the artists SA loves on a very personal level”
You took the leap and moved to Germany to further pursue your music career. Can you recount the moment you made the decision?
Portal: Sure! I initially left Cape Town for Tel Aviv both to work and grow musically, however Israel is not a cheap place to live and upon hearing of the affordability of Berlin as well as the city’s open attitude toward freelance artists, it seemed like the no-brainer choice and I haven’t looked back since; LOVE this city!
How has the move paid off and what are some challenges you’ve encountered (if any)?
Portal: I’ll start with some of the challenges: the language barrier makes it tough, learning German is not easy although I can thank my 10th grade Mevrou for all the German I’ve picked up thus far!
The culture is also so different to anything I am used to which has taken some adjustment, but it’s all lessons in growth and adaptation, something us humans are good at! As for the pay-off I am reminded every day how lucky I am to live this side of the world and be exposed to the scene here and the high level at which it operates, it is inspiring.
Not to mention being much closer to the global scene and being able to travel shorter distances for gigs.
What do you miss most about South Africa and how do you combat it?
Portal: I’d have to say I miss my friends and family the most, but luckily I am blessed to have the opportunity of travelling back and forth to play at epic SA festivals whilst visiting my favourite people 🙂
You also run Open Bookings, with a roster that reads like a psy-progressive, and even Techno dream. What made you decide to get into the bookings game and how has the journey been?
Portal: Open Bookings has been a journey in and of itself, speaking Hebrew gave me the chance to get to know a lot of the artists SA loves on a very personal level so it made sense for me to start facilitating their bookings in SA and so Open Bookings was born.
We have some incredible announcements for the agency coming up that I think is going to get our scene pretty excited! Look out for it 🙂
For young producers starting out the best advice I could give in would be to spend as much time as humanly possible making music…”
Where do you draw inspiration from to write music and what advice do you have for producers starting out? After all, you were once the Equinox New Guy (back in 2012.)
Portal: I would have to say my biggest inspiration is the feeling that good music gives me, I find myself constantly striving for the hair-raising goosebumps-inducing vibe – I think that when music has that physical effect on us, for me it’s the ultimate high.
For young producers starting out the best advice I could give in would be to spend as much time as humanly possible making music, try, fail, try again just keep making music from the heart and the rest will follow
Do you have any announcements to make regarding an album, tour dates or anything else?
Portal: I do! I have some fantastic tours coming up in Germany, Switzerland, India and of course back home (details soon!) as well as a new 145bpm psychedelic inspired project to be announced soon!
Final shout out to the Earthdance massive ahead of the weekend festivities…
Portal: I can’t wait to see and party with the Cape Town massive again! Contrary to a lot of things I’ve been reading on social media – we have one of the world’s best psy scenes, eye-candy venues and some of the most epic decor across the globe, not to mention world-class DJs and producers. Long live SA psytrance 🙂
Thanks and see you soon!
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