Daksinamurti interview: psy trance's resident ethnologist comes to Tribal Village
Reported by Tara
Submitted 05-01-16 19:20
It’s not every day you manage to speak with an artist who, as well as DJing under his Daksinamurti guise, producing and performing as one half of live act Android Spirit, and managing two of psy trance’s most happening labels – Timecode and Sangoma Records – is also a fully qualified ethnologist, but Daksinamurti Till is one such rare virtuoso.
With the man himself coming to London from his native Germany this weekend to headline Tribal Village – A Psychedelic Adventure at The Steelyard on Saturday night, we ambushed this international jetsetter just as he got off the plane from a long flight from Brazil, where he’d brought the New Year in at psy trance institution Universo Paralello…
Boom Festival, Portugal, 2012
You’ve been DJing for well over a decade, can you remember what first made you fall in love with psychedelic trance and inspired you to make it your calling?
Well I came across Goa trance back in 1996 when I was in London for the first time and got handed a flyer for a Return to the Source Party (which I didn’t attend). I had some CDs back then but it took me till 1999 to full discover the potential of the music in all its glory at the beaches of Goa in India. Since then I’ve collected music on vinyl and CD and soon started playing my first parties.
Your FB page says that you’re an ethnologist, is this true in the classical sense of the word? Does this give you a broad perspective when dealing with some of the more interesting characters in the psy scene?
Yes I am. I studied cultural anthropology and the science of religion for over nine years for my degree and did my thesis about shamanism in Nepal. And yes I often feel surrounded by interesting unique characters in various countries. The psy scene for sure would be an interesting field because it’s a global phenomenon and very diverse musically and culturally. I’m happy I’ve got to see many parts of the world which I otherwise would never have visited and made friends at various places. At the end of the day and despite all the problems I do believe in mankind – guess it’s an occupational disease hehe.
What is the significance of your DJ name (if any…)?
Yes there is a whole philosophy behind it, which I’ve found out more and more about over the years. To make it short Daksinamurti is an aspect or form of the Hindu deity Shiva, a personification of the ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge (jnana). Daksinamurti represents his aspect as a teacher of music, yoga and wisdom. The name is Sanskrit and means the figure facing the south. In Hindu mythology, death and evil comes from that cardinal direction and therefore he is also a guardian deity. He is often found on temples especially in Southern India and is shown sitting under a banyan tree, seated on a dear throne and surrounded by sages. The left foot lies folded on his lap and with the right foot he crushes a demon that stands for ignorance.
How would you describe the Daksi sound?
Deep, groovy, atmospheric, tribal, full of surprises and humour and direction-wise forward with a pinch of melodies from the golden days of Goa trance.
You prefer to play longer sets that tell a story and have said in Mushroom mag that you never plan your sets so each one is different. Does this mean you have to carry a shed load of CDs around the world with you, or have you now moved to digital formats like USB or laptop DJing?
Yes I indeed carry a big case with me. So far I don’t think my laptop really belongs at parties (unless it’s for live acts) and I like the handling of CDs – having something physical in your hands. I’ve come across situations where other artists had issues with USB so I guess for me CDs work and why change a winning horse?
And yes, I love long sets because that way I can tell my story and connect better with the audience. When playing 1 or 2 hour sets it feels compressed and not showing the full picture – but it kind of works also.
You also produce for you live project Android Spirit with Josef Tickets. How did this first come about and where is Android Spirit heading at the moment?
Yes Josef and I started to work on tunes a couple of years back while in South Africa. Since he moved to my city in Germany we decided to do this project together and it gave me a new perspective on the music itself. We have just released an album 2 years back and an EP recently for BMSS Rec. Since we’re playing at Ozora my goal is to have a second album ready by then. Also we have to finish a couple of compilation tracks. I think since the album our production and studio setup improved a lot. It’s just sometimes hard to find the time since he is also touring a lot.
As manager for Sangoma and Timecode Records you’re constantly exposed to some of the best music around. What up-and-coming artists have caught your interest lately?
Well we also have to go through a lot of not-so-good music to find some pearls we like but yes I think we have a strong roster. My label partner Emiel sometime surprises me with some really good music he finds. We just signed an awesome project on Sangoma called Ingrained Instincts who are Greek but based in London and do very good organic-sounding music with the help of modulators – a good mix of music that really works and we are happy to have them on board. Keep an eye out for music from Greece it is really, really top notch. Also in Brazil there seems to be a new school of psychedelic artists evolving, some we signed on the label.
Other artists who’ve caught my attention lately are Virtual Light, Manipulation (now renamed to Ninesense), Hypereggs, Obliviant, Confu, Dsompa and Headworks among many other artists. At the end of the day it depends on the track.
You’ve played at some of the biggest psy events and festivals on the planet such as Boom, Ozora and Universo Parelello, travelled the world from Sweden to South Africa playing your music and have released tracks on a number of top labels and compilations. What would you say the highlights of your musical career have been so far?
Festival-wise for sure Boom, Ozora and Universo Paralello, Fusion Festival and Fullmoon Festival 2006 were some of my best moments. Also my travels down to South Africa to play at Alien Safari events were some of the best times I’ve had. I really enjoyed Japan a lot, it gave me so much inspiration and opened many new doors. The same goes for Universal Religion Festival in Nepal, various events in Finland, USA, Dubai and many, many more.
I’m grateful and thankful that I get booked internationally and organizers trust in me and my music. It is not easy as a DJ to get to that point. Each release we have is a little highlight for me when I get to see the final result printed in my hands, especially with my first compilation on Shiva Space Technology in 2006.
Daksinamurti @Waldfrieden Hai in den Mai Festival, May 2015, 3-hour set
And are there any goals for the future that you still want to achieve?
That’s a tough one. So far for myself I think I have already achieved what I dreamed of – sure there are always new places to explore. It would be nice to play more sets and events with my label partner Emiel, we only did once so far in Nepal but it worked very well – he’s a brilliant DJ but there is no local scene in Doha where he lives so he doesn’t play too often. In general I would wish we could use the creativity of this scene for the benefit of the society as a whole. Psychedelic trance music shouldn’t be the privilege of a few fortunate ones, who can afford anything with it just adding a bit of spice to their hedonistic lifestyle.
I think maybe it’s better to sometimes keep things underground, healthy and democratic than copy developments from the EDM scene. Our scene is so full of creativity and undiscovered art, which deserves to be shared with an audience, and shouldn’t be left to those artists who have the best marketing skills or social media output. Psychedelic culture of the 1960s changed the lives of so many people and set the foundation for the freedom we enjoy today. Who knows maybe the second Psychedelic Revolution is just around the corner!
I know what goes on tour is supposed to stay on tour, but what’s been your craziest story from life on the road that you can share with us?
Well so far I have never missed a flight for a booking and I hope it stays that way. Sometimes if the shit hits the fan it can be heavy. So far I’ve survived a few bad situations I don’t wish on anybody, like a 7.8 earthquake in Nepal or 3 weeks in an Indian jail because of corrupt cops who put fake charges on you. Life as a travelling artist can be far away from being fancy and can be tiring, especially if dealing with bad promoters, superficial people and blown up egos. After more than 16 years in the scene these species are far from dying out.
A memorable funny party I remember was a festival planned in Iowa which lost the venue and ended up being a party at various locations, like a bar, the cellar of a private house and the grand finale at the Iowa University’s hall of fame with an epic sunrise set I played being all visible through the glass windows for everyone passing by on their way to Sunday church on the main road who must have been wondering what on earth is going on in there.
You evidently have a love for diversity and mystical themes – how does this come out in your music?
I guess that lies in the eyes of the beholder and in the magic of the moment. The music is out there, what it does to the people has a lot to do with how people receive it and how sensitive they are to certain things. Music is the soundtrack for inner landscapes but not everyone is willing to go there. Diversity for me is also the flexibility of a DJ to read the crowd and attach to the moment. I do have influence on certain moods and atmospheres, the kick and bass gives the direction kind of like a horse and its rider. Where it is going to take you is up to you.
You’re from Marburg in Germany. How is the scene in Germany these days? If I came to visit, what parties and festivals should I check out?
The scene in Germany is very alive and kicking. During the winter months you find parties in many cities almost every weekend, but people stick more to their local scene and don’t travel too far for parties. During the summer the festivals host a lot of international travellers and we have some of the oldest running festivals like Antaris or Vuuv, which been going on for over 20 editions now and are mostly organized very well and keep to what they promise. I can also recommend the Fusion festival, which is very unique and offers a lot of quality music outside the trance box.
Compared to Eastern Europe there are lots of laws and regulations and the police do check cars with roadblocks, but on the other hand it’s easy to access via train and local transport, so one can leave the car at home. Freqs of Nature is another nice festival I can recommend. It is the evolution of the former Fullmoon Festival and is very arty and psychedelic in many ways. So yes, come visit there is a lot to do here.
You recently brought in the New Year in Brazil at Universo Paralello. How was the festival for you? Have you made any new year’s resolutions?
Yes I just came back from Brazil today – I just had a long travel and an intense week in Bahia. The dancefloor was amazing. The stage was a pirate ship and the crowd was wild and party hungry. It took a bit to get used to the heat and humidity but the beach helped.
My highlight of the festival was the ManMade Man set. Sonya and Paul rocked it big time and I think their music works so well and sounds so fresh after all those years; the right balance between driving grooves, pounding kicks and intelligent Goa melodies. New Year’s resolutions I don’t really have, but I come home fully inspired.
You’re coming to London to headline Tribal Village this Saturday night, one of the UK’s most colourful and high energy psychedelic parties. Are you looking forward to your set? Why should readers come and see you play?
Ohh yes I am really amped for this one! It has been 5 years since I’ve been in London and I always had a good time there. I’m coming for a long weekend and hope to meet some old friends and check out my favourite museum, the British Museum. The party is not really about me. I’m sure it will attract the right crowd and yes it’s always nice to meet nice new people and share the dancefloor. I will be doing my best so people have a memorable night.
What’s on the agenda for the rest of 2016? And beyond?
Well I am looking forward to be playing again at Ozora and Antaris festivals as well as a few new ones like Second Horizon Fest near Berlin and Solstice in Amsterdam. In June I will be going to New York for an outdoor party by Radical Engine Tribe and I’m especially looking forward to being back in Japan with my friend Buzz most likely in October for a month… Currently there are a lot of maybes, so let’s see how 2016 will turn out. For 2017 we are planning a Sangoma Gathering in Finland, which should be something very special.
Finally, for the up-and-comings reading this, what piece of advice do you wish youd been given when you started out as a DJ?
Be patient, be as professional as you can, be on time, stick to your word, stay humble and work hard. Don’t get let the ego drive you rather the love and passion for the music. There are no short cuts. Every event you play has its lesson for you.
Many thanks for your time! Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday night!
I’m looking forward also… thanks for the great questions. It was fun to do them! Best wishes from Germany.
Don't miss Daksinamurti and FlibbertiGibbet at Tribal Village - A Psychedelic Adventure this Saturday 9th January.
Daksinamurti on FaceBook
Daksinamurti on Soundcloud
For more info about Tribal Village - A Psychedelic Adventure, join the FaceBook event page.
All images courtesy of Daksinamurti Till. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Tara:
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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.
| From: Tara on 8th Jan 2016 19:19.13|
Big thx to Daksinamurti for a great interview!
Unfortunately due to a flood at The Steelyard, Tribal Village has been postponed until next Saturday 16th January. Hope to see you there! If not, all tickets are fully refundable. Please see the FB event page for details.