DJ Astrix aka Avi Shmailov, one of the most prominent global figures of psytrance, will tour India this month
DJ Astrix is distinguished by his sublime live sets. He has brought psytrance to the realm of global appreciation, and in the process, has made the following crystal clear – If Goa Gil is the father of psytrance, Astrix is definitely the prodigal son.
Currently positioned at number 18 by the celebrated DJMag rankings, Astrix is expected to display his talent in India this month. Excerpts from an interview:
You’ve observed the birth of Goa trance and witnessed its transformation to full-on trance. Do you think psychedelic trance is the sound of the future?
For me, the genres of Goa trance, full-on trance and psytrance are the evolution of the same stream of trance music — uplifting and powerful. The uprising of this music comes from experimentation where psytrance has been fused with other elements taken from musical genres like rock, pop, club and so on. These actions took psytrance to a whole new level of exposure and the future is already here with regard to psytrance — it is being heard by various people from kids to elders and being respected and acquired for all kinds of uses like movie soundtracks, commercial compilations, jingles and advertisements which is what I always wished for trance and for my music in particular.
What do you have to say about the growth of trance in developing nations?
The internet has made trance (among all genres) a truly global phenomenon by making it more accessible. I see no difference between parties in developing nations and parties in a developed nation. Same energy, same vibe, and very frequently – same demand.
What’s the concept behind your album Red Means Distortion that releases this year?
My tours take me to many different kinds of events and crowds. As a result, I find myself under different musical influences and inspirations. The new album is a showcase of this global experience as I have tried to produce various kinds of tracks, going from the psychedelic to the more euphoric in search of new dance floor anthems. All this without losing my trademark groove and sound that my followers expect from me. My plan is to try and please my followers by trying to blend the main elements of both my previous albums in the same production. My fan base is increasing every year so I guess the fans are happy to stay with me on my journey into global trance music.
You’re visiting India after a gap of five years. What are you expecting from the land where Goa trance originated?
For me, it’s a kind of closure. I had wanted to return to India for a long time and now that it is planned, there’s no one happier than me. There is a certain feeling in the trance world that psychedelic trance is going back to its roots, to its old school, only now it has better production values. And with the vast knowledge of artists concerning the influences of the new high-tech elements into the old Goa vibe I expect my visit to India will be a ‘return to the source’ experience. I have faith that it will breed some great new Goa trance anthems in my studio towards and after my visit to India
A trance event has an array of parameters that appeal to the audience. For some it’s the sound system, others appreciate the location while the remainder values the vibe. What makes a great party for you?
All the elements that you mentioned are an essential part of creating the ultimate experience in any event, trance or otherwise. But I think the true factor for an outstanding party is the audience itself. If they generate that positive vibe all around the dance floor then the party will be ‘alive’ irrespective of the other conditions. The energy of the crowd will control the frequency of the whole event…positive or negative.
Will you continue your live sets, or do you have other plans in the pipeline?
My career as a successful international DJ/producer is the main achievement of my life. I plan to keep with it for many more years but you can say I am planning to expand the ‘Astrix’ experience after my new album is out, in terms of my live show and the musical explorations I want to experience. I want to evolve so that people will always look for the last word from the ‘Astrix chronicles’.
Lastly, a day in the life of Astrix?
I spend almost all my time either locked up in my studio with my music or travelling around the world. Not too many ‘off’ days for me lately since I am working hard on delivering my new album soon. In the time that I get for myself I like to play a lot of Playstation. And did I mention I’m addicted to the TV series Lost? Man, I am so hooked!