Interview with Ace Ventura ahead of his return to Halcyon
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 30-03-11 16:46
Yoni Oshrat is a name that doesn’t need an introduction on the psychedelic trance circuit. He is one of Israel’s biggest talents in the electronic music world, with a career stretching back over a decade. After dropping his original calling as a sound producer in the TV and movie industries, he teamed up with his friend DJ Goblin, forming the psychedelic trance project called Psysex. Their three critically-acclaimed albums on HOMmega Records played a big part in establishing Israel as one of the most important trance countries on the globe. But it is Yoni’s two solo projects, Schatsi and Ace Ventura, that have cemented his position as a top producer on the progressive trance scene.
Ace Ventura’s sound has reverberated in the four corners of the world, at all major psychedelic events from Boom in Portugal, XXXPerience, Tribe and Universo Paralello in Brazil, Solstice in Japan, Glade in the UK to Indian Spirit, Tshitraka, Antaris and Full Moon in Germany. If you’ve ever seen him play live and experienced his incredible energy behind the decks, it would come as no surprise to discover that Ace Ventura won ‘Best Psy-Trance Artist’ at the Beatport awards two years in a row in 2008/2009 - we’re still waiting for the results of 2010 voting, which are to be released on 27th May 2011. With two successful albums under his belt, Ace is working these days on his second full-length album (the sequel to 2007’s ‘Rebirth’ and to the 2008 remix album ‘Re:Boot’), as well as on the debut album of his new project, Easy Riders, with Rocky.
Ahead of Ace Ventura’s first UK appearance in 2011 at Halcyon on 8th April – where he’ll be playing in the room hosted by ATARI Project – Agnes Klos met with Yoni to find out what psychedelic trance truly means to him.
Your last interview on HF was a year ago, just before your performance at the smashing Crystal Experience event put on by A.T.A.R.I. Project and Synthezion Rec. Which events have been embedded in your memory over the year? What significant has happened in your life?
One year is a long time and there were so many events during it, but I reckon the one that stood out the most for me was Ozora 2010 in Hungary. It was my first time at that festival and I was blown away... I had one of my best gigs ever there and am looking forward to return this year. Other highlights were Boom 2010 in Portugal, an Iboga label party in GOA and Alien Safari in South Africa a few weeks back from now. As for significant events – other than spending time with my almost two-year son – nothing stands out, except maybe for lately being asked by Juno Reactor to remix one of my all time favourite tracks, ‘Conga Fury’. I consider this a nice milestone in my career.
As the son of a famous Israeli composer and songwriter, did you feel loads of pressure as a kid to succeed in the music world, or were you given freedom of choice when you were growing up?
I was given freedom of choice and frankly was more into movies and cinema, and that was my career path for a while, in the sound post production and FX work, before starting producing music full time.
Can you remember the first club/party that you went to and how did that experience influenced your life and choice of the career?
Yes I certainly remember it; it was around 1995 in a dark underground club in Tel Aviv called ‘The Turtle House’. It was owned by Moshe Keinan aka Xerox and it was a weekly party by Krembo Records and DJ Zoo-B. It was a totally different experience than any other club party or event I’ve ever been to before. I started going there every Friday, discovering the fresh sound of psy trance and listening to worldwide artists who came to play there. It was pure bliss, strong and fresh feelings which I had not know before! The scene was just starting in Israel and it was a magical era for psychedelic trance lovers. After a few years of partying, the next natural step was to try and make these sounds myself.
Who did you take inspiration and influence from when you started out and who inspires you today?
Back then the main inspiration was from the old school trance greats, such as Transwave, Deedrah, Etnica & Pleidians, Quirk, Juno Reactor, Man with No Name, Total Eclipse, Oforia, Astral Projection, Sandman and the likes. Later on proressive influences came from FREq, Son Kite, Ticon, Sensient and Atmos. Today I get inspiration from the likes of Trentemoller, Royksopp, Amon Tobin, Ulrich Schnauss, Isan and other obscure electronica.
Most music-lovers know your story: you started off as Psysex with DJ Goblin but after several years of intense touring, playing at some of the biggest parties and festivals worldwide, your taste moved towards the slower, groovier side of music. In 2006 you made the decision to leave the Psysex project and form the two solo projects: Schatsi and Ace Ventura. What was the reason behind that decision? Did you suddenly fall in love with the progressive beats?
We were doing Psysex for many years and it was starting to get old for me; I found myself bored at parties and without a passion to go into the studio. Full-on had reached its peak by then and progressive was getting bigger and bigger, with many interesting sounds coming from Scandinavia. I got a lot of good music from a good friend and another artist, who was undergoing that change at the time – Yuli fershtat, who was changing from BLT into Perfect Stranger. He pushed me into trying to make a proggie tune which turned out to be the track ‘Cardiac arrest’, and was immediately signed to Iboga. After getting very good feedback to this tune and a few others, it was time to go solo and start a new phase as Ace Ventura.
Why do you have two names: Schatsi and Ace Ventura? Do you play different styles under each name and is it not enough being just Ace Ventura?
Ace was my progressive project and Schatsi was my freestyle project for anything from downbeat and chillout to electro and techno. I was releasing a lot of Schatsi tunes a few years back but at some point decided to focus only on Ace Ventura, and tried to make the best out of one project. I still play techno sets in Israel under the Schatsi title sometimes though.
Also, I am curious to know why you chose such an unusual DJ name for yourself: Ace Ventura? Is it symbolic in any way and is there any connection to the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, starring Jim Carrey as the main character?
Obviously credit goes to the character, but it ain’t the main reason. My father’s original last name was Ventura. He is a music composer and producer and in the 70s he changed the name to ‘Oshrat’, as that (go figure) sounded more commercial-friendly back then in Israel. After producing my first track it very quickly signed by Iboga and was about to be released – so I had to choose a name in a short time and Ace Ventura was the first thing that came to mind so I went along with it.
How have you as a DJ grown over the years and what achievements are you the most proud of?
I think one of the reasons for my frequent global and domestic bookings is my DJ skills and not just my productions. After playing at so many parties, you learn what makes the crowd tick, how to build a set and how to keep a dancefloor burning – and this is something that always grows and improves. I’m always proud whenever a really strong moment comes in a set, that moment where the music, the lights, the DJ and the crowd are all synchronised – hands in the air, smiles on each face and shouts among the build-up in the track – now that’s a moment a DJ lives for.
Would you say that being a psychedelic trance DJ has changed you as a person? Are you perhaps more spiritual or maybe more involved in the environmental issues that are very often intertwined with the psy trance festivals?
Being a part of the scene definitely changes you for the best, it is a scene based on friendships and travel and tribal experiences and you are not the same after dwelling in it for a while. I am definitely more spiritual as time goes, but to be honest my wife is the environmentalist of us two, being vegetarian and eco-friendly, but I too aim to achieve a higher status in that field as well in the near future!
Which of your tracks have you got a soft spot for and why? Is there an interesting story behind it?
I guess it would by the track ‘The Light’ with Lish from my 1st album. We started a track which was OK, but nothing spectacular after two sessions and left it alone. After a while we decided to have another go and started a new track and this time ‘The Light’ was created and we immediately knew we had something special. That track became quite an anthem in Israel and abroad and I’ve had some really strong dancefloor moments with it!
How do you relax?
Unfortunately I don't have much time to relax these days but when I do, it’s mostly about kicking back with a movie or a PS3 game. In the past I used to just lie down and dive into a CD but that doesn’t happen anymore.
While touring around the world with your powerful sound you have visited such countries as Brazil, Australia, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Hungary and many more. Where in the world do you enjoy playing the most? Have you got your favourite venue that you simply love coming back to and why?
One of my favourite countries to play in would be Switzerland. That place is just special with its vast nature and mountain top raves and has one of the best party crowds worldwide. Australia and South Africa’s party people are also top notch and actually share a lot of similarities and it is great fun playing for them. Other highlights are Universo Parallelo in Brasil, Glade in the UK, the 2006 and 2010 Boom editions in Portugal and too many others to mention. By the way, I had a great experience last time I played at Matter (today Proud2) and I’m looking forward to get back there as well!
What do you personally think is so special about psychedelic trance music? What distinguishes it from any other music genre?
As I’ve said previously, it’s not just about the music, it’s about connecting with people from all over the world and meeting them each summer on the festival circuit. The music is instrumental, thus knows no language or boundaries, and that's why it’s still going on strong in so many parts of the world. It’s not a fad – it’s a way of life and I don’t think there is any other genre like it.
If you could organise a festival on your own, where would it be and who would you include on the line-up without a glimpse of hesitation?
It would be here in Israel so I don’t have to take another damn flight hehe! The line up would include FREq, Hallucinogen and Shpongle in concert, Juno Reactor’s live African show, Liquid Soul, Zen Mechanics and retro sets from Pleidians, Transwave and Atmos.
What are your top 5 tracks of all times that would rock the dancefloor at any place in the world?
1. Juno reactor – ‘Conga Fury’
2. Transwave – ‘Land of Freedom’
3. FREq – ‘Strange Attractors’
4. Hallucinogen – ‘Jiggle of the Sphinx’
5. Atmos – ‘Klein aber doctor’
Your long awaited second Ace Ventura album is to be released on Iboga records by the end of 2011. What can we expect from it?
I’m working hard on the next album as I know there are lots of expectations; it has been a while since the last one! I took my time with so I would be happy with each track, no fillers! Trying to mix in various styles, from dubstep to country music and other surprises... trying to be as fresh as possible within the genre limitations. I have been doing some very interesting collaborations with Zen Mechanics and some of them will go into the album, as well as other possible collabs. I hope you will like it.
This is the place to also mention the upcoming album by Easy Riders – my new project with partner in crime Rocky – it’s almost finished and will be out soon on Echoes Records, I’m very excited about it!
Last but not least is a double CD compilation I’m making for Iboga... good stuff is coming!
With such an overwhelming biography, have you got any burning ambitions left to be fulfilled?
One of the things I’m very happy about is that nowadays I’m being offered to remix some of the tracks I grew up on and worshiped when I was younger, namely that Juno Reactor track, and also the synchro classic ‘Z to A – Next Stop Oblivion’. So it’s great fun and a privilege to do this kind of stuff now. After completing the album I would like to do more collaborations with other artists and produce different kinds of electronica. But I would say that the main ambition is just to keep on making a living from what I enjoy most and as long as I am able to do that then I’m a happy camper.
What surprises have you got up your sleeve for your first appearance in the UK in 2011 on 8th April at Halcyon party featuring Infected Mushroom?
I've got many new tunes to play and I recon there will hardly be any released tracks in the live set. There are fresh bombs I made with Captain Hook (Reshef from Quantize), Egorythmia from Maccedonia, Zen Mechanics from Holland, and Rocky & Loud from Israel. There are also new remixes I produced for Loud and Juno Reactor. I look forward to dropping some of these for the first time .... so see you on the dancefloor.
It was an immense pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much for your time.
Likewise Agnes, thanks again for your ongoing support! See you soon.
Photos courtesy of Taguro Izumo, Estaben Soto, Pierre Ekman, Jonas Berre Anderssen, Sid Scott and Noam Levkovitz. Not to be reproduced without permission.
HALCYON - Featuring Infected Mushroom
Friday 8th April
22:00 - 07:00
£10 advance/£15/20 standard tickets
£10 advance/£15/20 standard tickets
Friday 8 April 2011
10pm – 7am
@ PROUD2 (formerly Matter)
The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 ODX
...£10 advance/£15/20 standard tickets
Halycon returns to the club formerly known as Matter — 'Proud 2' — with their most eclectic line up yet. From the unique live psychedelic rock of Infected Mushroom to the sublime proggy sounds of Ace Ventura, the classic euphoric full-on of Tristan to the techier and electro-driven Dejavoo, this Halcyon has got all bases covered.
Headliners Infected Mushroom definitely need no introduction: the psy trance pioneers have evolved into one of the dance scene’s biggest live acts, reflected in their DJmag Top 100 rating several years running and sell out high energy shows all over the globe. Recent collaborations with the likes of Korn’s Jonathan David (‘Smashing the Opponent’) and Jane’s Addictions’ Perry Farrell (‘Killing Time’) have only made their sound harder and faster. Be warned — their live act is not for the faint hearted!
Living legend Tristan is one of the instigators of what we now call the psy trance scene. However he’s not content to rest on his past successes, continuing to progress his sound, reflected in his signing to Nano Records and incredible live sets at festivals all over the planet. Despite being based in London he rarely plays out in clubs here, so this is an opportunity not to be missed.
After their epic launch party last year we’ve asked A.T.A.R.I. Project to Room 2 and they’ve put together a delectable lineup. Yoni Oshrat aka Ace Ventura headlines, playing alongside Future Progressions Records crew Neutrino and Hamish and Swedish prog chick Sofire, currently the darling of the London psy squat scene thanks to her impeccable tune selection and dynamic energy behind the decks.
Global Village Productions are currently top of their game, weaving magic at psychedelic festivals and events like the main stage at Ozora Festival. We just can’t wait to see what they can do with a superclub like Proud2.
Check out http://www.globalvillageproductions.co.uk/ for a taste of their incredible décor.
Finally, as part of the superclub’s relaunch, owner Alex Proud is promising regular buses between the O2 and central London for just £1. Now there’s no need to worry what the tube is or isn’t doing as you won’t be left waiting in the cold.
Price: £10 adv./ £15/20 standard tickets
Tickets: http://ticketweb.co.uk/ / http://accessallareas.org/ / http://moreonethedoor.com/ / http://www.viewtickets.co.uk/
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org / 078 1417 9946
Trance. Psy Trance. Deep Techno. Techno.
INFECTED MUSHROOM LIVE
Phil Lankester / LIBRA 9
LIQUID ROSS B2B Zeus
MATT LORRAINE B2B Andi Leppard
ROOM 2 — HOSTED BY ATARI PROJECT
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Entering the world of Waldfrieden in Germany with DJoanna
Piracy is not a crime – sail away with Feestgedruis!
Progressive flavours with DJ R'Deem ahead of Neelix party
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.