Our Artist of the Week reveals why this intense electronic movement hasn’t entered the commercial electronic domain -- yet continues to move thousands of fans.
Most mainstream outlets avoid electronic’s headier, more intense underbelly — like psy trance and progressive techno — like the plague. Regardless, the scene has been thriving for decades and continues to flourish all over the world. India is the birthplace of a particular strain and culture surrounding psy-trance and other trance subgenres, so it’s little wonder that Audiogramme, a Delhi DJ veteran and a strong trance proponent, slaughtered the competition in MTV Iggy’s Artist of the Week. We asked him all about living in the paradoxical underground/popular world of trance and progressive techno.
Admittedly, I know less about progressive trance/techno/psy trance than other electronic genres, and I probably speak for a good portion of people interested in mainstream electronic music. What do you think accounts for the disparity? How can a scene be so popular and so underground at the same time?
It’s so true what you said here. We live in a world where what you see is what you’re gonna go for (90% of the time at least). Mainstream EDM, like vocal house/club music and electro house for example is now quite popular on MTV…and all international music channels and radio. They’re hot tracks (not always though), because people have easy access to them. They see it everyday on TV and stuff, and they tend to like it more cause they have more knowledge about it. They just hear and they see their artist live on TV so the bond is made.
However, you don’t have psy-trance or techno or tech house going on TV or people making music videos of them, hence it is seen very rare. But yes it’s heard everywhere, and that’s what makes it popular yet underground….hence the disparity. But both forms of EDM has found their own place to breathe, and the audiences for both underground and mainstream have grown and grow. EDM is taking over the masses…it’s been there since the 70s really.
How has the scene in Goa evolved over the years? Notice any changes in the crowd?
Goa started as the hub for all travelers who thought alike and wanted to experience freedom and beauty with low cost of living in the 1960s. The true hippie and Goa were synonymous, and psych rock was really popular….By the mid-90s, Goa trance had its own recognition, and then artists from other European countries started to come and play and the family grew bigger. It was only in 1993 that the first Goa trance album called Project 2 Trance, which had tracks like “Hallucinogen,” and “Man with No Name” to name a few. Now in 2012, it has changed and evolved, but the true hippie culture and soul is missing from Goa. Music has become more sophisticated and loud, and the music is totally electronic in Goa now. But, it has survived, though it may be taking a different shape.
What is the music scene in Delhi like? Is there a lot of electronic music to choose from?
Oh yes. Delhi is growing so fast from what it use to be in the early 2000s. You name an artist in the world in dance music and he/she has already performed in Delhi, if no where else in India — be it psy-trance, commercial house, techno or electro, all genres have their share in Delhi and India now. People are more aware of what the EDM market and music is all about. It’s great for artists like us who produce and perform EDM music.
There seems to be a majorly spiritual aspect of psy trance and the like. Would you say that’s accurate?
Well yes. It is a known fact that psy trance stimulates a certain part of your brain which helps you to relax and opens up the subconscious, and even hallucinate or go in a state of trance. There’s a reason it’s called trance music. Music like hip-hop, or house cannot induce such an effect. They have their own effect on you and it’s equally good, but different. I guess one has to see for himself what works best for them.
Can you describe your different monikers? Do you feel like a different type of DJ under each moniker?
My project or artist name Audiogramme has just got a new avatar. It’s called Vial. As a producer, I wanted to make both psy-trance and tech prog/minimal sounds, since I’m in love with both. So, I came up with Vial as my alter ego to produce morning psychedelic music, whereas Audiogramme is producing more tech/prog and minimal sounds. It’s good for my audience to know what to expect if I am performing as Vial or Audiogramme. Everyone goes home happy then. Whatever I am playing as, the only thing constant is my joy and energy that I share with my audience.
What do you like the most about performing live?
It’s the ultimate high when you’re live. Especially when you’re doing a live set. You have all the control over your music and you can really make an emotional bond with your audience.
When you were growing up, how did you get into electronic music?
I was 15 years old when I first saw a DJ, and saw what can be done to music with this huge amount of buttons in front of you. I was so hooked. I come from a musical background, classical to be precise, and I grew up listening to a lot of rock and punk. Anyhow, the journey started from there and I slowly got too involved with this passion of mine. Now I’m 31. When I was in London studying music production in 2002, I found my love for electronic dance music and its various forms and started to explore more of it. It was such a growing experience with it and still is a long journey and a very fruitful one. I love what I do.
What is next for you?
I am focused on producing more quality music and getting it out globally. I’m looking to take it to Europe and some big festivals as a live artist. As of now things are good and the gigs are keeping me busy, and I’m traveling a lot by the grace of God. next up is my debut album in 2013. Watch out for that.