U-Recken wowed the psytrance faithful a few years back when he played at Vortex in Franschoek. He’s been a busy guy since, though, having set up his own festival in Turkey called Tree of Life and continuing to ply his trade globally as a producer and DJ. He returns in December for Vortex Open Source – a 5 day festival intent on bringing back that ‘oldskool’ psychedelic vibe that U-Recken reckons (excuse the pun) will get people “TOTALLY LOOSE!!!” We found out more…
You were last out here several years back. What are your memories of both our country and our dancefloors?
U-RECKEN: Got only good memories from that visit! Grant [Vortex] and the crew made sure I had the best time- go to see many places and got to enjoy life as a tourist for a change. When I arrived at the venue on the first day I met loads of good people and the day after I played 3 hours from midday and it was really amazing to see the people jumping up and down; I’m truly exited for round 2!
Whilst many of your compatriots and fellow countrymen have opted to produce progressive trance – what we call ‘psy-tech prog’ here in South Africa, you’ve stuck with your day-time full-on sound. What are your thoughts on the massive progressive movement and how full-on has become less popular?
U-RECKEN: Actually from what I see and feel nowadays, it’s the Prog that is becoming less popular…it’s inevitable when so many artists worldwide do the same exact thing – people get bored. It happened before with ‘Isratrance full on’ back in early 2000… As for me I try to make interesting music regardless of the IDM.
“I just love James AKA Broken Toy- both personality and music!-Also Headroom’s first tracks were insane- South Africa is well known for good quality production.”
Your new EP, Symphony Disorder, is a really good example of phat, juicy full-on music with melody. 5 years ago this would have been perfect music for 11 AM in the morning (in South Africa at least) – but with psy music either getting really fast (150 IDM+ night time) or quite slow (135 IDM) do you find yourself playing earlier in the morning at parties now?
U-RECKEN: It changes from country to country…normally I trust the promoters to know how to set their timetables. In my opinion my genre is a perfect crossfade between fast and proggy… But in the same breath I can play any timeslot of the party since I have enough music that does the magic.
Tree of Life – from all the reports we received back in SA – has proven to be a great success. Moving into the world of event organizing – what has been the biggest challenge for you personally from stepping out from behind the decks to front of house promoter?
U-RECKEN: Building this massive scale production is in general one hell of a challenge…we are talking about 7 days in a foreign country, handling loads of artists and guests from practically all over the world.
For me it’s not that far from making music…also here you need to go into detail and this festival reflects, like music, my taste in music flow. I gotta add that the feeling of satisfaction is 1000 times stronger than any gig out there.
Your line-up for 2013 was a great mix of progressive artists and full-on artists – the way it should be I guess. But nobody from South Africa?
U-RECKEN: It’s mainly due to financial decisions. For example flights for Broken Toy cost us loads in 2012, so I decided to stick with our region and to bring only artists who stay in Europe- I might bring Deliriant for 2014… our door manager Jamie (Vortex) will be happy, heh-heh.
Sustaining a career in the world of psytrance is not easy. We have seen many producers stopping and moving onto other stuff, or alternatively still working in the music business but doing other work, not DJing and producing as their primary career. What has kept your faith strong and have you ever considered moving on?
U-RECKEN: True that-not easy being on the road and I’ve been on it for years… still, I feel blessed to be invited to play in both Israel and internationally so often, that I can call it my career. Luckily I do a lot of other things in my life: besides the festival and music for films, (won two awards for best film music for students last year.)
I’m starting to get more and more interested in the spiritual kabalic world, and I’ve been thinking about changing my lifestyle a bit and studying acupuncture and kabalic healing, charity and helping others in something that I hold a great deal of value in.
In Cape Town, psytrance is the single biggest scene, rivaled and surpassed only by Israel probably in terms of ratio. Now I know there are many strong music scenes in Israel, but is psy and/or psyprog still the dominant force?
U-RECKEN: Yeah it’s becoming bigger and bigger- so big that the government has started to hassle promoters like in the old days. Definitely a dominant force.
Which South African producers have impressed you over the years?
U-RECKEN: I just love James AKA Broken Toy- both personality and his music! Also Headroom’s first tracks were insane- South Africa is well known for good quality production.
You’ll be playing at the VORTEX – SA 2013 – OPEN SOURCE event from 5-9 December in Cape Town. It is an ambitious project for them to go back to the 5 day festival format. Other than more music and more partying, what do you feel longer events like this can offer that one does not get at a one day party?
U-RECKEN: You can go TOTALLY LOOSE!!! 5 days??? Wow I can’t wait!!
Final question: What takes a party from good to awesome?
U-RECKEN: The party starts and finishes with the people…be good and respectful to each other and then it’s bound to be awesome.
Lots of love from Israel.