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Redline Interview

Article posted by infinafta on 13th Apr 2004

Redline is 28 year old DJ/Promoter from Melbourne, Roy Lewis. Roy started his music career playing in metal bands in Melbourne in the mid-late nineties as a drummer and vocalist, before discovering psychedelic trance circa '98 and himself stepping behind the decks in 1999. In 2000 he got together with some friends and started the Ganesha Tribe collective, later renamed Imajica, which Roy now runs on his own in his spare time. The idea behind Ganesha Tribe was that the best way to get your sound heard is to put on your own events. This path has certainly paid off and Redline has since become one of Melbourne's favorite psychedelic DJs.

Now an experienced force in the trance underground, Imajica has evolved to a stage where Roy can bring his favorite international artists to Australia to play at Imajica events. Last year Imajica featured the South African artist Shift. In 2004 the Imajica calendar promises a number of major events, headlined by some top notch international acts as well as a few surprises in between. Firstly there is a joint venture with Earthcore, featuring Wizzy Noise and later in the year Imajica will be bringing out Damage and Broken Toy, two rapidly rising acts from South Africa. Despite all of this Roy is also keen to take a step back from DJing this year to focus more on producing and running his multimedia business.

Roy has just returned from India where he played at 9Bar and Paradiso in Goa alongside Melbourne DJ and producer Steve Barr, aka Psychoactive. Since his return to Australia he has played along side Protoculture in Melbourne and will be heading to Sydney to headline the Hyperborea party on the 17th of April, before heading back to Melbourne to begin residencies at Kaleidoscope and Somatica.

You've just returned from playing some gigs in Goa with fellow Aussie, Steve Barr. Is this the first time you've played overseas? How was your down and dirty down under style received over there?

The trip was supposed to be more of a holiday than anything, but Steve Barr who lived in Goa for 9 years, still knows a lot people over there so I was fortunate enough to able to play some gigs with him. My sets went down really well and I was told by many of the travelers who had been in Goa for a while that my style was refreshing. Yes, it was the first time I'd played overseas, but hopefully not my last :)

How do you rate the trance scene in the trance Mecca that is (was?) Goa? Has the community there still got the spark?

Although there were still a quite a number of large outdoor parties happening while I was in Goa, to be honest Anjuna and Vagator, the main trance areas in Goa, seem burnt out. Many of the locals I spoke too also agree that the trance scene in Goa is nowhere near what it once was. Police only allow a certain number of outdoor parties to be held and those that are allowed to run are shut down at around 9am. I still found Goa to be an amazing place, and psytrance is still a large part of it. There are plenty of beach shacks and bars playing Goa trance all day, every day, with many international artists and DJ's playing regularly all over the place.

You were mainly involved with metal bands when you were introduced to trance. Tell us about your first party experience and the effect it had on your life and musical direction and what it was like coming from such a different musical environment.

Looking back now, the transition from metal to trance seemed natural. Towards the end of my metal days I was already listening to artists like Lenny Dee and Honeysmack and I was introduced to some of the early Goa Trance compilations like Tantrance, Travelling and Dragonfly. While I was really fascinated by these sounds I still wasn't keen on the whole idea of bush parties and chemicals. In 1998 I was reluctantly dragged along to a bush party called Alien Nation by a couple of friends and the rest is history....

How do you feel your metal roots influenced your style now? Do you find yourself seeking the intensity and darkness of metal in psytrance? I noticed there a Megadeth remix in one of your recent top tens. ;-)

It's true to say that my favored style of psy is rough, raw and full on, which in many ways can be compared to some of the metal I used to listen to. Although I also very much enjoy listening to, and when I get the chance, playing, other styles as well, including some of the more saucy progressive stuff. I'm known more for my harder style though.

Tell us a bit about the music you have begun producing. Who have you been working with?

I'm still very much a novice when it comes to producing although I think I've learnt a lot quite quickly. Being a drummer and computer literate has certainly helped along with Steve Barr and Al Legohead who have given me some tips and info. The rest I'm learning on my own when I get the chance.

Your sets feature a lot of South African artists. What do you think draws you to the sounds from that part of the world?

Personally I think the South African sounds are where it's at right now. The powerful and raw sound combined with a reckless and kind of cheeky groove are what grab me with the harder South African stuff. It's fresh, without the fluff, but not too left of centre either.

What are some of the artists that you rate highly at the moment?

I'm really into Artifakt right now. This guy has tons of talent, and I like his clean production combined with his music's unpredictability. Obviously Damage and Broken Toy are also faves too. I've also been getting into some of the new Void stuff along with Hujaboy, Paranormal Attack, and some of the underground sounds from Israel like Winter Demon.

As a DJ, promoter and partygoer, how do you feel about parties that feature a mix of musical styles besides trance, perhaps on a separate floor or even on the same floor as the psy? Is there a line to be drawn as what other styles can be played at a party with a trance focus?

Personally I have no problem with larger parties and festivals having multiple floors with different styles, although I prefer to hear psy only on the psy floor with perhaps something chilled to start off. I don't think there are any rules when it comes to music at parties anymore, although I guess it's fair to say most psy lovers prefer psy only parties.

Coming from Melbourne, which has bigger trance parties than Sydney and a much bigger electronic music scene generally, do you feel that there is such a thing as over-commercialisation or do you think the greater the exposure the healthier it is for the trance scene?

It's a difficult question to answer really and I guess it all depends what is meant by the term 'over-commercialisation'. I think it would be fair to say that commercialising the trance scene has brought about a lot of positives for many. A lot of DJs and all types of artists and crews have had the opportunity to get their sound heard or their work seen by a much wider audience, punters regularly have the chance to see many big name international acts, and production standards at many parties have risen to much higher level. However I can also see some negatives associated with commercialisation and the impact it has had on the scene. Online forums for example, are a great idea and a very useful resource for everyone in the psy community, however misuse by some with there own agenda has seen many falling out's and nasty online brawling. Forums also offer easy access to authorities who are using them as place to gain information on where and when many parties are happening around town.

What are your long term musical goals and dreams? Do you see yourself focusing more on production and perhaps playing live, continuing primarily as a DJ or focusing more on evolving Imajica, or a combination of these? Or perhaps something completely different?

I've learnt a lot about psytrance as a whole in last couple of years and where I'd like to sit within it. Dj-ing and hosting parties are passionate hobbies of mine and I'm not really in the scene to make money or become one of the 'big boy's' as such, so no, there are no plans to evolve Imajica at this stage. I do what I do because I enjoy it and it's a great release for me. This year I'm going to focus more on getting my production up to standard, and I've made a big commitment to running my multimedia business which takes up a lot of my time and energy. I have decided from now on only to do parties when I have the right energy, time and resources to devote to them. I think its a lot fairer on the punters that you give 100% when putting on a party, that way they can be assured of a quality party and value for money!

Do you have any message for the Sydney doofers in preparation for the Redline sonic assault? What can we expect from your set at Hyperborea?

I'm very excited about playing in Sydney for the first time and I've heard a lot of good things about the parties up there. I've got a stack of new tunes I'm hanging to unleash including one of my own which I'm eager to hear on big system for the first time. There are quite a few Melbourne crew heading up for this one to so look out Sydney!!!

Redline appears at Hyperborea in NSW this Saturday 17th April