Astral Projection – 25 years of Goa trance
With countless epic hits on their arsenal, adventures in Goa in the early 90`s and their own distinctive sound, Astral Projection are considered as some of the biggest acts on the scene. Astral Projection (Avi Nissim and Lior Perlmutter) are Goa trance and psytrance pioneer group based in Israel. They are considered as one of the originators of their genre and one of the biggest acts in the scene.
2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Astral Projection. During their 25 years of work, Astral have developed their own distinctive sound and style. They produce multi-layered melodic Goa trance, rich with sounds and colors. They have released some of the biggest hits of the 90`s like Mahadeba, People Can Fly, Kabalah & Dancing Galaxy, hits that still get remixed and played to these days. Nowadays they are signed on TIP Records and recently released a remix album.
Interview with Astral Projection
Check out the interview we made with Avi of Astral, including rare music releases from their first days, pictures from parties in the 90`s, and the special retrospective set and playlist they made exclusively for Trancentral.
Q: You are celebrating 25 years of trance music. How does it feel?
A: The revolution has only started! It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed, but as we look at the young generation we get filled with energy.
For us, having our daughters, Amit & Sapir, joining us at our shows, is the most exciting feeling we ever got on the scene. That’s as high as we can feel.
Psytrance music has its own energy, and it has the ability to magnetize the listener since the first beat. You can not stay indifferent when you listen to psytrance for the first time. There is no way back! Just few weeks ago, an 18-YO fellow came to me at an underground party here in Israel and told me that he is very proud to be here and listen to trance music live for the first time, after his father raised him on psytrance music. It really touched our heart!
Q: You were one of the firsts to ever produce psychedelic and goa trance. Can you tell us how did it all started for you?
A: Lior & I met at the Penguin Club (underground rock, punk, and new-wave club in Tel Aviv) in Israel back in 1985, 31 years ago. Each of us had his own band. We met at my parents basement in Tel Aviv one day, and soon started to produce electronic music on a daily basis, under no genre restriction. Only few years later we learned that the music we produce can be categorized under a specific genre. In 1988 we sent a track we made to a Belgian label called “Musicman” under the alias “SFX”. They liked it alot and decided to purchase flight tickets for both of us to NYC so we can record it in a professional studio there. We Recorded it, sent it to them, and about a month later we got our first “single pack”, with our first track – “Monster Mania”. We felt like our childhood dream is on its way to become a reality. In 1989 we recorded an entire album as SFX, an album we released only 10 years later, as a tribute to our fans. We recorded another album as SFX and sold it to a German distributor in 1990, and used the money we got to travel to Goa, where we always wanted to visit.
Check out “SFX – The Unreleased Tracks 89-94”, released in 1998:
In 1992 we met with Oren Kristal from Phonokol Records, and our project got galactic. He was the first to bring psytrance music to the label, and they distributed our music. Our first album, “Trust In Trance” was released in 1993, and it was a compilation of tracks we made together with other bands. “Trust In Trance 2” was released in 1994, and it featured our first huge hit, “Mahadeva”, which really paved the road for success for us. Booking requests started flowing from event organizers around the world.
For “Trust In Trance 3” we teamed up with Raja Ram and Rich Bloor of TIP Records, and produced it as “Trust in Trance- Astral Projection”, which was a fantastic idea. We continued compiling compilations for few more years, compiling tracks by young artists from around the world, but mostly from Israel. As the years went by we focused on the Astral Projection Project. 4 years ago we teamed up with TIP Records once again, and today they are our label.
Q: What were the musical influences and inspirations that made you go that way?
A: Back when we started, the scene didn’t look like it does today. In fact, the psytrance scene hardly existed. In the Pinguin Club we used to listen to dark 80`s music and industrial music by bands like Psychic TV, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, SPK, The Human League, Kraftwerk, Front 242 and many more. We can say that trance music is the reincarnation of new wave music and dark 80`s we liked so much.
Our musical concept is to create music that both danceable and something you can really listen to. We are looking to preserve the concept we came from in the end of the 80`s and early 90s, and build on it. In the early 90`s the musical revolution started with Acid, Acid-house music, Techno, New beat and more, until it was fixed to where it is today: Trance music, with its sub-genres like Goa, Psy, Progressive etc.
Check out a mix Astral made exclusivly for Trancentral, featuring music they were inspired by in their early days and other tracks they just enjoy listening to:
Q: In 25 years, what was the most negative experience you had and the most positive one in connection to your music?
A: We love to end in a positive note, so the most negative experience we had is the establishment rejection, and it’s inability to accept this new phenomenon, but we got over it…
And positive: we saw this scene we love so much rising and taking shape in front of our eyes, to a point where it is inside the consensus of the electronic music scene, both in Israel and worldwide.
Q: Musically, the scene have has been going back to the roots during the last few years, in the sense that the old school & Goa style and sounds are gaining popularity again. Why do you think this happens?
A: Old school is a blessing! Many artists try to imitate one another and end up producing more of the same, and that`s a huge mistake. Once you do that, you’re doomed for failure. Music is all about innovation and creativity. In that sense, going back to the roots is a natural process. people get sick of monotonous sounds, so they look for other ways to enjoy the music, and that’s where they find the old-school trance. They are looking for the real deal, for authentic trance music, and that’s what Goa trance is all about: Melodic and free from patterns and rules. Even if they never heard it before, their innerself is looking for something more powerful, more exciting, deeper and more intelligent than just another trend.
Q: There’s no mistaking the Astral sound. Nothing else sounds like Astral Projection and you don’t sound like anyone else. Why is that? Don’t you sometimes feel “trapped” inside that unique sound?
A: First of all, thank you for your compliment. The word “trapped” is not accurate. We have every possibility to create any kind of music that we want. We have a natural draw towards our musical style, and producing it makes us happy and feel good inside. We meet every day in the studio and start producing new tunes in countless ways, but in the end of the day, we always get to a track that is filled with sequences and sounds. It`s just doesn’t work for us, the minimalistic approach. We work on tons of channels in every track we produce, and we leave some of them mute. It is always a long process to produce like that. It`s hard and intense work, but one that carries many purifying moments.
We are aware of the trends in the scene, and we listen to a lot of music, from classic to avant-garde. But that’s what draws us, our music. We live in full integrity with what our heart chooses, and that’s what excites us. We don’t follow trends, we are here to enjoy the music, and then to pass our feeling to the audience. For us it is the only way it can work.
Check out the exclusive RETROspective mix Astral Projection mixed for Trancentral:
Q: Can you share an interesting story about the very first days of Psytrance?
A: Around 1990 we played at an underground party in a forest somewhere in Israel. It was winter and it kept raining. We didn’t have a car back then, so I borrowed my sister’s car, a small Autobianchi… What I didn’t know is that the car’s windows were broken, and just can’t stay up, so we had to drive while holding the window and with rain splashing us all the way. Eventually, we got to the party and even played. When we went back to the car to drive back, we found out it was soaking wet inside, and it was stuck in the mud… We left it there and got back home with some good people. This is the place to say: “Varda, we are sorry for your Autobianchi…” (:
Q: Tell us one thing that your fans will never guess about Astral Projection.
A: We are fathers. Both of us. My Daughter, Amit, is already 17 years old, and Lior`s daughter, Sapir, is 8 years old. We live an everyday life like most of the people in the world, with a daily schedule. I drive Amit to school every day, go workout at the beach, and later meet Lior in the studio, where we work until evening time. We work every morning, live quite an ordinary lives, despite what people may think on our “wild” lifestyle. We are family guys…
Q: What album (one psytrance one general) would you take on a deserted island?
A: “Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygene 7- 13” and “Man With No Name – Moment of Truth”
Follow Astral Projection: