Precipitating the future of trance: interview with Liquid Ross
Reported by Tara
Submitted 30-07-08 18:06
As documented on these very boards, musically one of the best areas at last weekend’s Glade Festival was the Liquid Stage. With Liquid Records’ Trance A&R Liquid Ross playing at this weekend’s Offworld Festival then helping promote September’s Waveform, we tracked him down at yet another festival in a field — the Wickerman Festival — to find out more about this trance phenomenon….
You started DJing in ’98 at warehouse parties around South East Kent. How did this all come about and what inspired you to first start mixing music?
I was attending a few of the warehouse parties in Kent in the mid to late ’90s as there were quite a few round my hometown of Rochester. I was already running events at my student union, and soon started helping with the raves, driving and loaning record decks and so on. I was already mad into trance music and the Goa sound, and also doing chill out nights in Rochester. SO one thing lead to another and I was asked to spin some tunes at the first rave. I didn’t know how to mix properly but people were very enthusiastic about the tunes I’d drop.
You’re known for playing full-on psy trance. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of hearing you play yet, please describe the Liquid Ross sound.
The psy trance sound would be full on, deep and funky, a non-oppressive night time groove, with some signs of daylight creeping through. But again it does depend on the time of day I’m playing, as this might change if booked for a sunrise set in Oz for example…
What have been the highlights in your 10 years as a DJ?
Meeting some of the funniest and nicest characters and people on my journeys — soul mates, lovers, best mates and more. Also seeing some of the most beautiful countries and places and having the most full blown cosmic experience on the way with some very special people. And of course the natural high of a killer party, playing a beautiful set at the right moments and inspiring people and changing lives for the good.
And what goals do you have for the next 10 years?
To calm down a bit in my own life, but carry on with the music and develop it better. Also to make the whole music thing in my life more of a sustainable entity, but increase it for the better.
You’ve played all over the UK and the world at some of the top events and festivals around, including Glastonbury, the Glade, Wickerman, Little Green Planet and Liquid Connective here and places as far away as South Africa, Australia, Mexico, USA, Japan and throughout Europe. What’s been your favourite gig to date? Is there anywhere you haven’t played yet that you’d like to?
Although I had to cancel my Japanese gigs ’07, I look forward to playing there at Solar Eclipse party in ’09. And it’s on my birthday!! Woohoo.
I really want to go back to South Africa, as I fell in love with it many years ago. My favourite gig to date might have been Exodus Festival 2007 in Australia, due to the DJ set combined with the vibe of the party. Wow. Also one of the Liquid parties in Guildford 2002. This party was just perfect — for me that is!
A few places I’ll like to visit would be Chile — I’ve heard wonderful things about the party scene here; whether it’s a reality I do not know yet. I’d like to make it to Antarctica in my lifetime, but I thinking playing a fat trance party there is a little bit unrealistic. And Iran I would to visit but uuum yeah I have no idea of the music scene there and if I should be going there at this point in time.
Your website says that Liquid Records is: “more than just a record label, its long awaited launch will provide a unique platform on which both up-and-coming artists as well as established names in the music industry will be brought together… with the aim of pioneering a new wave of creativity within music and multi-media arts.” That’s one hell of undertaking! How is the label going so far and are you much closer to achieving your aim?
The label has always been a catalyst for so much more, and certainly it has been a great platform for all the artists involved. The music scene and shape is really changing and arguably this is the wrong time to be setting up a trance-related record label — but from this label we have been successfully getting many great gigs all over the world and extensive tours.
This year was better than the last, and I expect the next year to be better than this. Our ‘mates’ who started out with us at the beginning are now working as the world’s leading producers and playing far off lands. And many of the events we are working on as Liquid and our other identities are earning the respect of many people outside of the music industry; awards are being won and other industries are requesting our work. Exciting times but very hard work!
As A&R of Liquid Records you’re constantly exposed to some of the best DJs and producers around. Who’s been bending your eyes and ears lately? And what DJs and producers have had the most influence on your own music?
In the last year or so young Beatnik has convinced me that his sound is one of the best in the world, and it just keeps getting better. Module, Braincell, Tron, Mood Deluxe and Avalon are also who I consider to be the best of the nu-trance.
Out of the trance realm I would recommend Capsula — wow his music is like nothing else, influenced by psychedelic culture but genre-bending genius stuff. Rex and Far Too Loud of the psy breaks, but also Atomic Drop for their elite capture of house, electro and breaks while keeping a sensible psy tone.
Kana @The Glade 2008 by Sarah_G
Liquid DJ Kana is by far one of the best DJs I have heard recently, but also DJ Moon I met in Mexico, she is very young but a shockingly talented DJ. D-Nox over the last couple of years has probably been responsible for my most enjoyable dancefloor experiences. Dick Trevor has always been a top favorite of mine and still is to date.
What new productions and releases do Liquid Records have in the pipeline?
The next year will probably see us with a roadblock of releases, with new albums from Tron, Slackbaba and Mood Deluxe, a breaks compilation from Liquid Djems and a trance compilation from Jeremy. Morph is spear heading the progressive aide with his debut compilation ‘Harmonia Ibis’. I’ve almost finished another trance compilation that will be released alongside the same titled event. Aliji will be releasing Soul Vibration 3, with a more minimal glitch sound on that. The second studio album by Israeli prodigy Capsula, also a psy breaks from Rex… but he/we may have to change his name for legal reasons. And eventually the debut album from our champion Beatnik. A couple of vinyls are on the press for Nagual Sound Experiment and also Atomic Drop. So yeah it’s busy busy, and well we are still trying to keep up with the recent releases.
Earlier this year you were part of the awesome Alpha Omega event and I hear there are plans afoot for another later this year. Do you have a date and any acts confirmed yet?
Yes — wow, what an event! The next one will be on the 7th November. The smashing line-up is pretty much finished already and includes Zen Mechanics, Double Dragon, Logic Bomb, Symphonics, DJ Pena, Citizen, Bonze, Culprit #1, Puff Dragon, Hybrid, Far Too Loud, Atomic Drop and loads more.
Changes in technology have affected the way music is played, made, distributed and promoted. How has this had an impact on what you do as a DJ? And as a record label and promoter? Does Liquid Records actually made records or is it all purely digital now?
Yes, we have pressed and released vinyl — and we will do more! ‘Liquid Records’ refers more to recordings rather than records. But the name sounds sweeter to us if it’s shorter. I think that was the idea?!
As a DJ I guess things are much easier now with the change in technology, as slowly more music is becoming digital, faster to transfer and better quality for smaller work. And more and more advancements in hardware mean you really can just take a data stick with you as your records box. I’m still burning CDs at the moment, but I can see this changing quicker than we might think.
The colourful art of flicking through vinyls on the high street or the next town is lost, but there’s always online for this. If you are a materialist and love an actual original copy of the music you like, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Well, again you always have online, but browsing a shop for a random CD that might catch your eye is gone in my opinion.
You’re involved with Archangel Records. When did you first start working with Bruce and Andie and how did this come about?
Bruce is a very hard figure to avoid if you are putting on good parties, hehe. We met through the Synergy events (I think) and mutual friends. Earlier this year myself and Bruce munched sandwiches and exchanged ideas on how we could both mutually help each other’s work better, and so far we are succeeding, but I think the best part of our plan is yet to come. Bruce and Andie are lovely, with a solid idea and brilliant artist roaster, amongst other pies.
You’re also promoted by Robin at Triskele Management. How long have you been on the Triskele books and what’s been happening in the Triskele camp lately?
I began working with the Triskele team about four years ago. Although now I manage most of my and Liquid’s bookings, we still work together on networking releases and exchanging support for booking new artists and getting their music out there to promoter lists.
Over the last few years you’ve helped shape the UK trance scene into what it is today. Where would you like to see it go in the future?
I think continued genre blending and more state-of-the-art technology at the parties. Louder music at the festivals, and more live performances included in electronic performances.
Summer 2008 appears to be the summer of festivals for you, with you already having successfully run a Liquid Records stage all weekend at the Glade, currently working Wickerman, Offworld next weekend then Waveform in September. What do you think is the secret to a great festival?
Great music, great production, great UK locations and most certainly the people. Madness, chaos and random stuff also help.
The Glade 2008 by Sarah_G
The Liquid Stage at the Glade was a favourite for many festival-goers with the closing set by Kana getting a great response on the message boards. What were the highlights of this year’s Glade for you?
Yeah Kana was pretty amazing and a perfect close to the festival! Other highlights for me included Slackbaba’s opening set on the Origin Stage, System 7 on the G Stage and ILS on the Liquid Stage. Ajja was brilliant despite the low volume on the Friday night.
You’ve described this weekend’s Wickerman Festival as “going home”. Why is Wickerman so special to you? How did this year’s festival go?
Hehe, I think that description was misunderstood but yeah Wickerman Festival does have a back to basics feel with a noisy presence!
Next weekend you’re going Offworld, where you’re playing on the full-on Avalaugh Stage alongside fellow Liquid DJ Kana and Liquid live act Zubzub, plus Morph is on the prog stage and Kuba, Luna Lis, Tom Fu in the Spindrift chill out. Why should anyone reading this come along to the party? What can we expect from your set?
I have never been to Offworld, but I already know it’s going to be a blast. Every good mate I know who likes trance seems to be going, and Ben — one of the chaps who runs the festival — is one of the loveliest pure spirits I have had the pleasure to meet on my travels. I met him one magic night in France a few years back. Anyhooo I reckon it’s going to go Off! And for sure check Zub and the other gooduns there.
As for my set, I think the bit from just before 10pm will really get some heads spinning and the news tracks I have that I’ll probably play towards the end of the my set are wonderful and very psychedelic! Banging I think will sum it up!
You’re also helping organise the Waveform Festival September 12–14. What plans are underway for Liquid at Waveform?
Apart for the bookings if Liquid artists at Waveform, I’m only helping the sales of tickets alongside Bruce, and a few artist recommendations. My main organising will be how to get there without it costing me the world, hehe.
What do you say to purists who reckon psy trance has become too commercialised recently? With the likes of Astrix and Infected in the DJmag Top 100 DJs list and more established DJs like Christopher Lawrence playing psy tracks, do you think it has outgrown its underground roots?
I think it always was commercialized — maybe more so back then. With peak time psy trance shows on Radio 1, the biggest venues in London blocked out with the UK sounds, larger sales, chart entries by the leading names and every Our Price shop on the high street selling Goa, and Simon Postford and the trance phenomena on the Channel 4 news, hehe. I think its shape has changed and it has expanded and contracted a few times, but I don’t think it’s more commercial than it used to be. I think it was bigger then, but a lot cooler! Anyone who says it’s become to commercialised recently needs to re-study the history books!
Just for the record, what are your favourite liquids?
I like a glass of rosé, a nice pear cider, a Guinness with my mate Dan and well if I am far away from my worldly worries I love psychedelics!
What advice would you give up and coming DJs and producers reading this who would like to get more involved in the music scene?
Do it. It’s probably easier now than ever to get involved and do-it-yourself and learn from the internet and network with the whole industry. Downloading software and cheaper computers means your poorest can squeeze out a fat tune. And music is simply amazing.
Finally, are there any other forthcoming events or productions you’d like to plug?
Certainly Alpha Omega on 7th November. I’m also working on the Shpongle afterparty at Scala 31st October — real fat lineup at this. Conscious Monkeys in Newcastle coming up at the summer is worth a look. I reckon Waveform will the perfect end to the festival season. A scorcher too!
Liquid Stage @ Glade 2008 by Sarah_G
**Offworld are offering a 20% discount for HarderFaster readers. Call Ben on 077 1778 7332, say you saw this on HF and pick your discounted ticket up on the gate at the festival.**
Photos courtesy of Liquid Ross and Sarah_G. Not to be reproduced without permission.
OFFWORLD - UK PSY TRANCE FESTIVAL
Thursday 31st July
Liddington Warren [map]
Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 12:00pm - Monday, August 4, 2008 at 2:00pm
7th APR - 31st MAY - £60 + B.F.
1st JUN - 30th JULY - £70 + B.F.
AT THE DOOR - £80
GROUP BOOKINGS - 10 TICKETS + 1 FREE
UNDER 15 YEARS OLD - *** Free *** -
*** but must book a Child Ticket***
UNDER 18 YEAR OLD - must be accompanied by an adult
CAMPER VAN PARKING - £10
CAR PARKING - £3
Click here to buy tickets
OFFWORLD UK PSY TRANCE FESTIVAL 2008
PSYTRANCE / PROGRESSIVE / CHILLOUT FESTIVAL
After the phenominal success of last years festival,We are back with more fun coming your way in 2008 for the second edition of OFFWORLD festival. We had such a great feedback from last years festival, thanks to you all - this year we get to do it again, only better.
THEATRE & CINEMA
There will be things to watch, things to make you giggle, things to bemuse you, and things to relax your spirit.
You'll be happy to know that slapstick magic and movies and clowns are all being disorganised!
Also, bring your ridiculous costumes 'cos we will be having some fun 'themed days', with PRIZES!
Thursday = Sci-Fi
Friday = Pirates
Saturday = Cowboys'n'Mexicans (bring a gringo!)
Our main aim is to suprise, amuse and entertain you!
It's our pleasure to keep the rest a secret for the moment... come and discover!!!
Don't forget to bring something resembling a mustache.
STALLS & WORKSHOPS :-
We do like other people to get involved with us in any way possible. If anyone is interested in having a stall or workshop, at the festival.
contact : email@example.com
Contact Information -: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Inquiries -: email@example.com
Artist Inquieries -:
Psytrance -: firstname.lastname@example.org
Progressive -: email@example.com
Chillout -: firstname.lastname@example.org
* OFFWORLD - yes please - as soOn as possible! *
Trance. Psy Trance. Dubstep. Soul. Jazz. Chillout / Leftfield.
LINE UPS -:
AVALAUGH ARENA (PSYTRANCE STAGE)
LIVE ACTS -:
ZUBZUB (LIQUID RECORDS – UK)
DEVIANT SPECIES (AMBIVALENT RECORDS – UK)
FLIMSY WING (MEDUSA RECORDS – UK)
VOICE OF COD (ORGANIC RECORDS – UK)
NOCTEM (OFFWORLD - UK)
PRADOX *** UK DEBUT ***
(ARKONA CREATION RECORDS - Netherlands)
DJ CRISPY a.k.a FlipFlop (ALCHEMY RECORDS – UK)
Beardy (WILD THINGS RECORDS – UK)
CHRIS ORGANIC (ORGANIC RECORDS – UK)
LIQUID ROSS (LIQUID RECORDS – UK)
SINEWAVE (ALCHEMY RECORDS – UK) http://www.sinewave.tv/ - http://www.myspace.com/djsinewave
ZORFLUX (Enzyme/Phantasm Records - UK/Brasil)
PSY-CLONE (HYPERTRIBE – UK) http://www.psy-clone.co.uk
NEUTRAL MOTION (Japan)
KANA (LIQUID RECORDS - Japan)
ZOOCH (ARKONA CREATION RECORDS - Lithuania)
MOONQUAKE (CHRYSALID / HADRA RECORDS - France/UK)
THE Fordy & FEDRO SHOW (PSYCHEDELLIC CIRCLE / BRAINWAVES - UK/Portugal)
LIQUID ELF (LIQUID LGP – UK)
Andi Leppard (JARRED Promotions - UK)
JAL JAL (PLANET BOB/ SAUSAGE - Deutchland)
FORDY (PSYCHEDELIC CIRCLE/MEOWMIX – UK)
FEDRO (BRAINWAVES – Portugal)
MAGHINA (Domo Records/Nomads - UK)
NICK TOADSTOOL (Toadstool - UK)
+ More to be confirmed.................
*** PLANET BOB CHAI EMPORIUM (PROGRESSIVE)
Live Acts -:
FRECHBAX *** UK DEBUT ***
(AJANA RECORDS -.Deutschland)
PRADOX *** UK DEBUT ***
(ARKONA CREATION RECORDS - Netherlands)
BASSID *** UK DEBUT ***
(ARKONA CREATION RECORDS -.Netherlands)
LIFTSHIFT *** UK DEBUT ***
(ELECTRIK DREAM RECORDS - Netherlands) http://www.myspace.com/liftishifti
ROOBIX Q-BIT (FURTHUR PROJECT - UK)
UNITONE *** UK DEBUT ***
(SUNSTATION RECORDS - Russia)
FILIN & ZOOCH *** UK DEBUT ***
(ARKONA CREATION RECORDS – Lithuania)
ALEX SENSE (ORGANIC RECORDS - Greece)
UNITONE *** UK DEBUT ***
(SUNSTATION RECORDS – Russia)
(LIQUID RECORDS - QUICK FIT CAR MAINTAINENCE)
NONSENSEMIESTER *** UK DEBUT ***
(PLANET BOB / SAUSAGE - Deutschland)
NADI - (DOMO RECS - ISRAEL/UK)
OTEZUKA - (DOMO RECS - FRANCE)
SINAN (ATLANTIS / MOMENTOM - Turkey)
DISCO STU ( RADIO WITH PICTURES RECORDS - UK)
BEDOUIN & HAMISH
(DOMO RECORDS / ALCHEMY /PLANET BOB / FURTHER PROJECT / Mine's A Shandy – UK)
INTELLIGENT IDIOT - (FURTHUR-PROJECT - UK)
MISH MASH - (FREE-SPIRIT RECORDS - UK / FRANCE)
SPOONA (PLANET BOB - UK)
NOLAN SHMOLAN (ARKONA CREATIONS RECORDS - UK)
MALANKA (ARKONA CREATION RECORDS – Lithuania)
GIDO (SILOKA – Lithuania)
PAUL (PLANET BOB – UK)
SUPER MARIO (PLANET BOB – Italy)
RELAX BESERKER (PLANET BOB /BREWERS DROOP – UK)
MOHIT THE HANDSOME (PLANET BOB – India)
THE CLOWN CONSPIRACY A.k.a Trumpet Newton (Planet Bob/Back Of The Net.com – UK)
DUBNAH (FRED DIBNAH APPRECIATION SOCIETY)
THE PORTUGESE PIRATE (The Guildford Massive)
& of course
THE POLITE BIKER
+ more to be confirmed.............
*** CHILLOUT AT THE CHANDLERY with The Spindrift Sessions: (CHILLOUT)
PERPETUAL LOOP (ORGANIC RECORDS - UK)
SOLAR QUEST (ENTROPICA – UK)
PAUL DIDGE (EARTHART – UK)
ORCHID STAR (LIQUID SOUND RECORDS/ARCHANGEL - UK)
LEMON TREE *** SLIGHTLY LIVE**** (PLANET BOB/ORGANIC RECORDS – UK)
NATIVE HORIZON (ONE TRIBE – UK)
G DELIC (DREAM MACHINE - UK/Italy)
MOCHA MAFIA (FREESPIRIT RECORDS – UK)
BOBBY (LOOP GURU – UK)
TOM FU (LIQUID RECORDS – UK)
SPINDRIFT (PLANET BOB/ONE TRIBE – UK)
MOHIT (PLANET BOB – India)
TAMARA (KAROO – UK)
AVIVA (ENTROPICA/ EARTH TEMPLE)
INCREDIBLE TIDE (Peak Records - Looney Moon Records- GanjaTree (Italy)
RODRIGO ( PsyDMT – Portugal)
POCKET DONALD (PLANET BOB – UK)
+ more to be confirmed...............
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.