Reported by Tara / 15-12-12 15:27
Journey, Omsphere, Jay OM, Sonic Wave Control and Crocodile Rangers: Free-Spirit Records’ main maestro Jay Mastino has more musical projects on the go at any given time than many musicians will have in a lifetime. The international jet-setter has just got back from playing at the first trance event ever in Guatamala, Mayan Soul Festival, so is now safe in the knowledge that the Mayans didn’t actually predict the end of the world later this week – surely good news all round there?!
Having been around the London psy trance scene for well over 10 years, Jay certainly knows how to put on a good party. So when we found out about the launch of his new event, Tribal Village on Saturday 12 January at Crucifix Lane, we definitely wanted to find out more…
When I last interviewed you on here in 2009 you’d just got back from a tour of Brazil and had been working very hard. Three years on, things seem to have only got busier for you! What have been the highlights of the last three years?
Wow, three years already! Time sure flies when you are having fun!
Since the last interview in Jan 2009 I have had loads on the go. I released the second Journey album ‘Through The Mirror’ in October 2011, two Omsphere EPs, one in 2010 and one in 2011 in collaboration with Solar Spectrum and I started a new collaborative progressive project with Steve Morley called Sonic Wave Control (SWC) and we released our debut album in March 2012.
Alongside all of this I am constantly working on various Journey and Omsphere tracks for different compilations and EPs and also a few Journey, Omsphere and SWC remixes. In 2010 I also started another collaboration project with Braincell called Crocodile Rangers and we have released a couple of tracks. I have also been very busy touring during all this time with four tours in South Africa and one in Central America…
And of course alongside all of this there is also the general running of Free-Spirit Records and the release schedule of all the other artists on the label, so in short, busy, busy, busy!
In that time the number of musical projects you’ve been involved with has only multiplied! Could you please tell us a bit about each of the projects you work on and describe the ethos and sound behind each?
I am now involved in some way or form in four different production projects. They are all completely unique in their own way and I think having this diversity helps stop me from stagnating in what I am doing and it is always good to have influences from other sources!
Journey is psychedelic driving and takes you to different dimension… time of day is not of importance to me, dusk to dawn or vice versa I am equally at ease and happy to take the dancefloor on the ride of their lives.
Omsphere is psychedelic progressive, pumping, groovy, morning and afternoon in the open air festivals and anytime really in a club… it never loses the groove.
SWC is tribal progressive… dancefloor proof!
Crocodile Rangers is a psychedelic travelling music… slower BPM than any of the other projects, 140 to 142 max with lots of space around and phat synths and intelligent melodies.
With so many projects on the go, how do you manage to prioritise things? Do you wake up one day and decide you’re feeling in more of an Omsphere or Journey mood, or do you look at the production deadlines and gigs you’ve got coming up and take it from there?
I try to take one thing at the time, but tend to work best on more than one track at a time in my studio. I am often working on at least to six or seven tracks at once, putting down lots of ideas and when the time come to finish them or at least when I feel a track is almost done I concentrate on one and get the job done. For sure upcoming gigs also push me towards the end of at least one, as I always love to play something new in all my performances.
You come from a musical family and this no doubt had a big influence on you growing up. What else do you consider influences over the years? And now?
Yes, music has always been a part of my life. Since getting into electronic music I have always been very aware of the fact that music has a constant evolution. Many years ago Cosma and Son Kite, particularly with the album Colours were both big favourites of mine. I also think Astrix up until 2000 was a great pioneer of psychedelic trance and I loved his old stuff.
These days it is very difficult to keep track and to feel who is actually doing music or who is just copying and pasting in a project… or just using a default track given to them someone else.
Right now I think Solar Spectrum and Techyon are giving the maximum production using hardware and from a musical point of view are at the top of their game at the moment.
You first bought turntables in ’98 and started Djing for fun, then got into producing in 2003. How has your approach to music changed over the years? Do you miss vinyl?
I am not sure if it was only for fun in the beginning as right from the start I have always been very focused on trying to make the people dance. I wanted to break into the DJ market with my own style which at the time was mainly German hard trance, which was way slower than the others and probably helped give me a kick into the market… diversity is key I think.
I definitely do miss vinyl… I miss touching and launching the records on a turntable, it’s a unique feeling. I actually still use the same techniques when playing with CDs. I am definitely not a computer or software DJ.
You’re about to release your third Journey artist album, is there any truth that the third album is the most difficult one of them all? How has the Journey sound evolved since your first album, The Man Who Sold the Time?
I wouldn’t say I was that close to releasing the third album at this stage. I am only aiming to have the next Journey album out in 2014. At the moment I am pretty concentrated on releasing my first Omsphere album, which should be out around May 2013 just after my birthday.
As for the evolution of Journey’s sounds since my first album, wow, lots I guess. I go back in time every now and again and listen to my first tracks back in 2003/04… for sure there has been evolution. I think my sound is much more evolved… better me thinks, lol!
Does your new Journey album have any theme or concept, or is it more of a collection of your latest productions?
I have a concept for sure… after selling all the time I had to go through the mirror to find another dimension. Just playing with words, I’ll think about crossing that bridge when I get there. It will definitely not be a collection of latest productions, but that might come after the third album. A remix of fans’ favourite tracks.
Your label, Free-Spirit Records, is getting bigger and bigger with so many incredible artists involved and a hectic release schedule. How do you and Bridget manage to run the label on top of everything else?! And what releases do you have coming up?
We are definitely growing, more releases, more artists and most of them are playing in the biggest parties and festivals around the globe. Yes, schedules are hectic, but not impossible. Bridget and I take one thing at the time, we get it done and then we move onto the next.
Working together as a team makes things a lot easier and we have been doing it for a while now, so some things become almost second nature. Not that I am saying it is easy. We have worked very hard to get where we are today and we are just as passionate as we were in the very beginning about our artists, the Free-Spirit family and the music.
Coming up from now till June 2013 we have a whole host of releases including: Techyon album, Land Switcher EP, Shalys Album, Solar Spectrum EP, Twelve Sessions album, Omsphere album, Tron EP, Land Switcher album, Cosmic Warrior album and more… watch this space!
What does the ‘psychedelic’ in psychedelic trance mean to you?
Psychedelic for me means unexpected… psychedelic trance means an unexpected travel that takes your mind and body somewhere else.
Having played all over the world from Brixton to Brazil and Camden to Cape Town, do you have a favourite event or festival that you’d love to go back to?
I think there are too many to narrow it down to be honest. I would love to go back to all of them, but in the mean time I am also relishing discovering new ones too!
The Mayans have been interpreted as predicting the end of the world later this week on 21 December. If that’s indeed the case, what are the three things you’d do if you only had one week to live? How was the Mayan Soul Festival in Guatemala?
Well, in Guatemala I actually learnt that the Mayans did not in fact predict that the world would end but rather the prediction relates to the end of an era which in Mayan is called b’ak’tun. After the 21st December another b’ak’tun will start and it will end sometime in 4000 something. It is more to do with a great shift in consciousness. If however I only had a week to live I don’t know if I could choose only three things before I die… I need more time to think.
Mayan Soul Festival was great, it was the very first trance party ever there and for sure they will rock in the future. It’s an absolutely awesome place and awesome people and I am very happy to have been the trance pioneer in Guatemala!
Touring the world and running a label, you’re constantly hearing some of the most cutting edge music around. Which up-and-coming DJs and producers would you like to see do well in 2013?
Techyon, Twelve Sessions, Shalys, Land Switcher, Moka Mafia…
Speaking of 2013 and assuming the Mayans have been misinterpreted, will you be making any new year’s resolutions?
I don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions to be honest. If you feel there is something in your life that needs to change don’t wait, do it today!
What’s your current top 10 to get a slow dancefloor moving?
In no particular order…
· Journey – ‘Sonic Backbone’
· Shalys – ‘Chilly but no Spicy’
· Twelve Sessions & Journey – ‘Twelve Journeys’
· Liftshift & Journey – ‘White Light’
· Braincell – ‘Kundalini’
· Tron & Journey – ‘Sounds Vortex’
· Holographic Brain – ‘Eternal Life’
· Omsphere & Techyon – ‘Earthship’
· Techyon – ‘NG-101’
· Solar Spectrum – ‘Tripled Wizardy’
You’re launching a new event, Tribal Village, on Saturday 12 January at Crucifix Lane (formerly Jacks Club) with the aim of adding some life back into the local London psy trance scene. Having been around the psy scene for well over 10 years now, do you reckon it has lost its way a bit lately?
Yes we are launching a new idea, which is actually very old in my point of view. I definitely think the London scene is kind of getting lost somehow for many reasons but there is not enough time or space for me to explain them all now. The last rocking parties where all the tribe was going and was merging was perhaps Synergy Project, after that I don’t think anyone in London managed to bring back that 3000/3500 people that were going there every month. There have been lots of nice attempts with some good parties, but there is still something missing – the vibe. For me, the London vibe was always the best I had ever seen and it was what made me do what I am doing now.
Tribal Village is an attempt to bring the people and the vibe back. All the elements are equally important, music, production, people, décor, sound and especially good vibes and smiles…I think London at the moment misses the happiness of going back home thinking, ‘When is gonna be the next one?? Cos I loved it and want to experience it again!’
And how do you envisage that Tribal Village will help put London psy trance parties back on the map?
I am a dreamer and I pursue my dreams… I dare to dream and let’s see what happens hey.
How did you put together the line-up and production crew? One DJ messaged me on FB as soon as I sent him an invite to the event page to ask me who had done the line-up!
One at the time and without stress… lots of meetings and lots of talking about my vision of a party with artists and production crews. This event has been a long time coming, we have been working on it for months and here we are now, waiting for the first event in just a few weeks!
What else do you have planned for the coming year?
Oh wow, there so much coming on…Tribal Village will be back on the 9th June. Label-wise we have so far 14 releases piled up and coming out soon. Artist-wise, I have a NYE gig in London at Boogie Woogie Fest, a tour in South Africa from the end of February till March the 20th, a tour in Brasil from the 26th March till 30th April, some festivals in Europe already confirmed including Life Celebration Festival in Croatia in July, Sonica in Italy in August and Cosmic Gate in Portugal in September… and many more!
Finally, what’s the one piece of advice that you wish you’d been told when you first started out?
I have been very lucky and most of the artists I actually loved and continue to love gave me the same advice… there are no shortcuts! It’s hard work, but keep at it and in the end it will pay off! To this day I still follow that advice.
Many thanks for your time Jay and looking forward to seeing you on January 12th!
Many thanks to you Tara for your lovely interview! Looking forward to dancing together at Tribal Village on January 12th!