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Sofire - a new psychedelic force to be reckoned with
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 21-03-11 17:34
Sometimes a talent appears on the music scene that blows clubbers away in any place on the Earth. This talent came in a form of a newly-discovered progressive psytrance DJ Sofie Elovsson aka Sofire - a Swedish girl who found her sound only a year ago. However, within that short period of time she has already managed to establish a well-respected name for herself, playing alongside the biggest names on the scene such as Aerospace, Gaudium, Ace Ventura and Ritmo.
As label DJ at Digital Nature Records and with residency at cutting edge London events such as Acidmonkey and ChiChime, Sofire is today one of the leading progressive psytrance DJs in London. In a scene, primarily dominated by men it can be hard for any girl to find her way through. But Sofire has stunned many of her competitors with her incredible technical skills, musically trained ear and a genuine high level of energy behind the decks.
Personally, Sofire is the DJ who has restored my faith in the psychedelic trance scene in London. After a few years of disappointment with squat and warehouse parties where mostly dark and full on psytrance was being played, I gave up and moved to trance, progressive house and funky house. The psychedelic girl was still inside me, sleeping, waiting for someone to reawaken her. Then last year on one night in September I was dragged to a party called Acid Monkey where I was lucky enough to hear Sofire play for the first time. At that very moment I was blown away into another universe. It was the sound that I lost many years ago but I was craving for all that time. The sound that can be best described as beautiful joyful bouncy chunky stomping progressive psychedelic trance. The sound that makes you smile when you walked out from a party. In addition, it was all served up by a stunning girl. Some may say: a perfect combination.
Being a DJ is not only about being able to mix well, it is a performance and it is what Sofire does the best. Her contagious enthusiasm from behind the decks, her unique outfits and hairdo each time she performs, her excellent knowledge of each track and close interaction with the crowd, all add together to create a magical mixture that glows and sparkles wherever she goes.
I had a chance to sit down for a chat with Sofire to talk about her journey as a DJ ahead of her upcoming gig in Sweden at the Genesis Project where she will perform next to Ritmo and also the Halcyon event on 8th April where she will play alongside Ace Ventura.
Hi Sofire, thank you for finding time to answer some questions for the HarderFaster readers. First of all, could you please tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the psytrance scene in London?
I’m born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have always been interested in music and rhythm and I loved dancing and singing from a very early age. When I first moved to London I had already been involved in the psytrance scene for many years, both in Sweden and South Africa. It only took me one day from when I landed at Heathrow until I was standing in front of the speakers, stomping away at Jack’s Club at a Dream Temple party in 2007.
Do you remember the moment you heard psychedelic trance for the first time in your life? Did you fall in love with it straight away?
The first time I heard psytrance was back in 1999 and I remember feeling a natural connection to it straight away. I only had one CD and I remember playing it over and over again at home. I didn’t know anyone who was in to that type of music back then and I therefore didn’t know where to look for more or that psytrance parties even existed or what the psy-scene was all about.
With the psy-scene being so open and filled with outgoing people it doesn’t take long to make friends, I met some of my closest friends today at the first 2 parties I went to in London.
What do you like about psytrance parties and festivals?
What I really love about psytrance parties and festivals is the unique atmosphere and vibe that can be found there. It’s also such a great mixture of people and a lot of people with interesting stories and backgrounds.
How would you describe your style to someone who has never heard you play before?
I love to play powerful and expressive music, music that tells a story and has soul behind it but never loses its drive and edge. I want my music to be a journey, a journey with an unknown destination that I together with the crowd will explore and end up at a destination that could not have been decided beforehand.
Was there an event or maybe a person that drew your attention to progressive psytrance? Why have you chosen this path for yourself even though dark and full-on psytrance is more popular on the scene at the moment?
When Gaudium released their second album "So Called Life" the progressive psytrance really caught my attention. I was stunned by the power and drive behind their music and the unexpected development in the tracks. It was that exact moment when my passion for psytrance got taken to a much higher level and it became a very important part of my life.
I have never felt an attraction to dark music, it just never appealed to me. The music that I choose to play is the music that I would want to hear if I was on the dancefloor myself. I love seeing people enjoy themselves at a party and expressing themselves in movement.
You went to a musical school, could you tell us more about it. What kind of skills did you acquire during your study?
The musical school I went to is called Donner, based in Gothenburg. I studied there for three years, the school had a focus on Jazz, Pop and Rock. I did everything from taking piano lessons and playing in a band to studio recording and show productions. It was a very interesting time for me and it made my appetite for music and production even stronger.
How has your education influenced your decision to become a DJ? Did it help you with your technical skills behind the decks?
My musical education has taught me more about music in general and also my musical capabilities. By learning how to listen to music and how to analyse and understand what it is I’m hearing, it makes it easier for me to DJ, to read the crowd and also to decide what to play next to go with the flow. On the technical side, it has helped me understand what music is built up by of and according to that adjust frequencies and levels to get most out of the sound I want from the equipment I’m playing on.
Did you learn how to DJ on your own or did someone show you the way? When was it and how long did it take you to collect your records?
I was shown the basics by a friend and after that it was a lot of practice and frustrating evenings by the decks until I managed to get a better understanding of how it all worked. Since I first started learning I have always been trying to watch other people mix and learn from their techniques but at the end of the day you develop your own style of mixing. When I first started mixing I bought my first CD case and started collecting CDs, at that stage it was any CDs I could get my hands on – I just wanted tracks to mix. My current CD collection is constantly growing but it has taken me two years to get it to where it is today.
How did you come up with the name: Sofire? Is there a story behind it?
When I was deciding what name to DJ under I wanted something that was symbolic and relevant to me and my personality and the music I love. Sofire felt like something I could relate to and as soon as I thought of it I knew it was the right name for me.
Do you remember your first gig, when and where was it? Were you stressed, thrilled or maybe terrified?
Of course I remember my first ever gig, it was not that long ago! It was on the 12th December 2009 at ChiChime, London. I was really excited of course but also very nervous as I didn’t know at all how it was going to feel to stand behind the decks in front of a crowd. But as soon as I started playing it all came very naturally and the set went very well. It was an amazing experience that I will never ever forget!
What is your favourite moment during a party?
My favourite moment during a party was at Acid Monkey New Years Eve during the peak of my set. The vibe was just amazing and the energy on the dance floor was so powerful I just couldn’t stop jumping up and down. I loved every moment of it!
You are known for your passion, amazing energy behind the decks and stunning outfits whenever you perform. What makes you have so much drive for the psytrance scene?
My drive for the psytrance scene is not something I have ever reflected on, it’s just a natural part of my life and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Which label are you sign to and how does it help you progress your career?
I have been signed to a label called Digital Nature Records since the beginning of 2010. I’m very blessed to have been chosen by such a respectable label and to be associated with big names such as Aerospace and Etic. Being a part of Digital Nature has helped me develop my network within the scene and to get inspiration and feedback from other artists from the label. All artists from the label are like a family and we always help and support each other in every way we can.
What do you listen to when you are at home and what other music styles apart from psytrance do you like? How do you think this affects your own music?
I love listening to different styles of music: Hip-Hop, Nu Metal, Break Beats, Classical Music, Jazz – You name it! I try not to listen to psytrance during the weeks to keep it fresh and interesting. There is nothing better than to get up behind the decks and play some of your killer tracks together with some of your newest material and experience it for the first time.
By keeping my mind open to different types of music and letting myself get influenced by different styles I keep expanding my musical knowledge. It also allows me to take a step back from the psytrance and explore it all over again after a short break.
Do you play any instruments? Have you got any other musical talents apart from DJing?
I’m a vocalist and my main instrument is piano. I also play guitar, drums and bass.
Where is your dream place to play?
During your career as a DJ, what is the strangest request you have ever received while DJing? And what strange things have you witnessed out and about?
The strangest request I ever got must have been when a guy offered to teach me Tantric Massage during my set. You witness a lot of odd things being out and about (as I’m sure the Harder Faster readers are well aware of), I have witnessed a lot of spontaneous nakedness and madness at the parties!
What would you like to achieve in your career? What are your burning ambitions, waiting to be fulfilled?
I want to learn enough about music production to be able to write the music I love and share it with the rest of the music lovers out there.
You are going to play in Sweden at Genesis Project next to Ritmo on 26th March and then on 8th April at Halcyon next to Ace Ventura. Are you more stressed or excited about playing alongside such famous names? What can we expect from your sets?
I feel very honoured to be playing alongside these great artists, it was never something I expected when I started DJing. I don’t feel any more or less stressed about these gigs, all I feel is excitement as I know the vibe is going to be great and I’m excited to see where that will take my set.
To finish off, some quick questions:
If you where not DJing you would be . . .
On the dance floor
Your favourite pastime activity is . . .
Your perfect party would be . . .
With all my friends, outdoors in the sunshine
The best venue to DJ . . .
The thing you cannot live without…
It was an immense pleasure talking to you. Thank you for your time and see you at the next party.
For more information about Sofire and to find out about Sofire's future gigs click here
All photos courtesy of Janio Edwards, Graham Stannard, Cohesion crew and Sofie Elovsson. Not to be reproduced without permission.
HALCYON - Featuring Infected Mushroom
Friday 8th April 2011
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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Other Features By Agnes Klos:
Back2Basics - 10 Years of Party Productions & Tomorrowland Stage Hosts
Atmosphere Records - The opening of IBIZA 1936
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.