Just what the hell is Psy Trance anyway? Giants of the genre, Infected Mushroom, explain
Like colonic irrigation or Nandos black cards, Psy Trance is one of those things that you've probably heard of, but you have so little real life experience of it, that you're not quite sure if it's actually 'a thing'.
We've been putting on Trance and it's various sub-genres for a while now and even we don't feel qualified to talk about just what exactly Psy Trance is, so we went and asked some experts to do our jobs for us.
Infected Mushroom are one of the biggest acts in the scene. They've been performing as DJs and a live act since 1996, have achieved a significant amount of crossover recognition and are one of the best selling groups in Israeli music history.
So who better to take us on a guided tour through the trippy world of Psy?
Footage from Ozora, a Psy Trance festival held in 2012
So what exactly is Psy-trance, how would you describe it?
Infected Mushroom: Psy trance can be characterized as quick-tempo, high energy (often 145bpm+), much of it uses trippy organic or mechanical sounds, with the intent to create a psychedelic atmosphere, where party-goers can get lost in mind-bending melodies. It’s basically the musical version of LSD.
Technically, how does it differ from other forms of trance and dance music?
It differs from typical Trance because Psy typically isn’t so fluffy or commercial-sounding. Also Psy can often times be a quicker tempo than traditional Trance. Whereas much Trance can be uplifting and euphoric, it lacks the heavy-handed nature of Psychedelic music. A lot of times Trance will use melodies that achieve a level of harmonious agreement with our minds, many times Psy uses melodies that can be characterized as more ‘sinister’ or ‘heavy’. To boil it down, Trance is like skipping around in a flower garden, whereas Psy is like jumping on all of the flowers in the patch.
Aside from the musical aspect, are there any lifestyle aspects to Psy Trance?
Sure, Psy tends to be associated with bohemian hippy culture, as it was born on the beaches of India & Thailand, and brought back to deserts near you... Psy fans tend to dabble in psychedelics such as LSD and Mushrooms (but not always). Other genres were born within the metropolitan confines of Europe and America. They represent a culture that lends itself to commercialization.
What sort of crowd does Psy Trance generally attract?
Generally... Lovers of nature, explorers, folks who have experienced discord in their life (so they are looking for a high-energy way to release their pressures). This isn’t always true though, there are plenty of privileged well-to-do individuals who prefer the mental nature of Psy music.
What’s the difference between Goa Trance and Psy Trance, when and why did the name change occur?
Psy Trance is a broad term and within it there are sub-genres of that sub-genre – but a lot of the dance music community use the terms “Goa” and “Psy” interchangeably because they associate Goa with the Psy community... Goa tends to be even quicker than other forms of Psychedelic music, and is often influenced by the sounds of the East, (including India).
It’s not that the name change ever occurred, it’s just that the popularity of Goa as a sub-genre has weaned out over time, as the hippy parties of Goa two decades ago have become less relevant to the electronic music scene (now people can go to their local desert or nightclub to hear Psy instead of travelling across the world).
Footage from a Goa Trance rave in Israel, 2010
What are the big psy-trance destinations, is there an Ibiza of Psy Trance?
Goa still has its share of Psy, so does Koh Phangan (an island in the gulf of Thailand). Those would be the Ibiza’s of Psy in our opinion.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at a Psy Trance rave?
You don’t even want to know. It would make this interview explode if we told you.
What do I wear?
A bow-tie... and that’s it.
What tracks should I listen to before going out?
Infected, Astrix, Posford, Sub6, Ace Ventura (the artist not the pet detective).
What dance moves should I go for?
The “Israeli” is a good option, that usually involves jumping around and dominating as much space as possible.
What should I bring with me?
Water and drugs (not that we are condoning).
Should I be tripping?
It doesn’t hurt (when safely done).