BusStop with Goa Gil 5/13/95

R: You're listening to Bus Stop at 90th and 3rd. Today we have with us Goa Gil, we are lucky to get him today. He has been off traveling around the world a lot, playing his music. Gil.

G: Hello

D: Hi Gil, How you doing? I'm Dave.

B: Hi Gil, I'm Bill. Welcome to the Bus Stop.

G: Thank you.

D: What have your latest travels been about?

G: Well, I was in, I came back from India in March and then about a month ago for full moon I was playing outside of Paris, 80 kilometers, for a big party in an old monastery and there was a couple of thousand of people there and a really great line up of different DJ's from England and Japan and France and some live backs also and it was a really kicking party.

B: Is this, this is how you live your life, going from place to place, party to party?

G: Sometimes I stay in India and do other things also, but , I always go back to India to recharge again. I actually have been living in India most of, I left here in 1969 and then I went to India. I learned a lot of things there so always like to go back and pay respects to my teachers and always just to stay in India and get the vibe.

D: What took you to India in '69?

G: In '69 the whole, I mean I was kind of hanging out on Haight Street when I was already 14 in 1965 and then I saw the whole scene happen and I was part of the family dog after that putting on shows at the Avalon Ballroom. Then when they moved out to the beach I started working for the Sons of Champlon where we toured around briefly with Jefferson Airplane. And then when I came back to San Francisco I saw the whole Haight Ashbury scene falling apart and I bought a one way ticket to Amsterdam and then kind of went overland to India and than I kind of got stuck in India.

B: Thinking about when the music kind of stopped for me too in '68, '69, everybody took off. I was on the East Coast and everybody I knew took off because they felt it was just going to be too heavy to make it through the next few years. But since then here a lot of my friends have come and gone back to a more mainstream way of making it. I mean that whole period of people talking about yuppies etc. etc.. Is that the same thing that happened with you guys when you left? Went to India and came back, did folks start slowly coming back into the system?

G: Well I mean see I stayed in India for most of the time for quite a long time. Some people did come back and they came more in the system. Me, I kind of stayed more over there I just came back sometime just to visit my mother who lives here still, and since she was remarried at the time, while I was in India and the guy she married didn't like me so much I stayed mostly in India and away. Now he died in 1988 and then my mother was all alone and she got quite old. So now I come back every year and stay six months a year to help look after her. That's the main reason I come back here, you can say.

D: You know, in the '60's it was it seemed that music was going to be a channel toward a higher consciousness, a different way of organizing the world, if, not mentally, if not materially. What did that mean for you in terms of your connection to music as a channel to consciousness?

G: Well you know here already because I was involved in the whole San Francisco scene I started to see a lot of things and see how music enlightens you and everything could change consciousness and then of course I went overland to India and we kind of. See the whole thing was, in the '60's there was this explosion of consciousness. By '69 Reagan was governor of California and Nixon was president. The whole scene kind of got clamped down on, not only here, but in Europe, everywhere too. So some people got out and it's amazing that a lot of people, even people I knew in Haight somehow like all of these people from different countries went half way around the world to the end of a dirt road on a deserted beach. And then they all kind of regathered there a bunch of people and took over these villages where the people were very very poor and the houses were crumbling. We fixed up the houses rented the houses from them and made our own kind of lifestyle there which was the best of the east and the west. It was the best of the east because of the simple village life and the best of the west because of our ideas, our art and our music. And there we kind of continued on what we had been doing here and in the beginning it was very similar to what we had been doing here and we made a stage on the beach, we got some equipment, we had like five bands or something. We'd play all night long and then as we went through all the kind of music from the '60's San Francisco sound and then through jazz fusion and then through reggae and all this kind of thing.
And then by 1980 me, myself as a musician, I was kind of running that whole scene and I had been a musician all my life, I started to get tired of that and I started to hear the first experimental electronic dance music coming in from Europe, that people started to bring me some tapes. And then I got so much in to it I started to make party all night long just DJing this kind of music and we put up black lights and make florescent paintings and have strobe lights. People would make all their own clothes, they'd paint a new t-shirt just for that party, all florescent and it was really a new thing. And then somehow this thing was going on and it got kind of famous and going and people started coming from Abissa and all over the world and they saw these parties and they wanted tapes of this music that we had been collecting and playing and then they took it back to Abissa, they started to make those kinds of parties there.
When people from England were coming to Abissa in the summers because it was really a happening scene for the summer to go down there, then they heard that music and saw those parties, then they took, wanted tapes of that, and took the same idea and exported that to England and they started to make those famous acid house parties of 1988 and then from there it spread all over the world.
But you know in India because we came over land and everybody was on a spiritual trip we kind of used the music and dance to evoke a cosmic shakti or a cosmic consciousness and try to bring that consciousness to earth through the music and dance. And dance is like an active meditation you see because with the fast beats, with the fast beats you become one with the music and you're dancing to those fast beats and than you stop to think. And if you have a good guide who arranges the night properly, the atmosphere and the vibe and evokes that power and can bring you beyond, you know beyond your thoughts because you know you become one with your body. You stop to think, you open up, he takes you beyond thought, beyond mind, beyond own individuality into an experience of freedom that is beyond individuality, It is a cosmic whole, a whole energy that everybody sharing together. And there is a sort of freedom and knowledge through that trans-dance experience.
It's nothing new. We did not invent it. It's something that been happening since the beginning of time, every tribal group has practiced this thing and we're just lucky enough to be able to have rediscovered it and kind of taken our music today and put it together. You know I mean taken the music that we were in to and put it together in another way and make this thing for this time for this space and time now.

D: Robert, that sounds like something you were doing in San Francisco during the last few years as well.

R: Yeah, but it never quite developed in to the way, in to the mindset that Goa started with, you know, the whole transcendental experience on the dance floor. You know, someone told me that what it takes a monk two hours to achieve, you can do on the dance floor within ten minutes with a good DJ. But, just like everything else in America, it just went overboard and became really commercialized and the whole essence of it was lost, you know. It was repackaged for America you know.

G: Well the thing of it is, in India, people were in this spiritual thing and they were trying to you know they had a spiritual mind so they try to find that thing. As it get further away from the heart of where it started or whatever, everybody tried to put it in a package and sell it and it became the latest fad or the latest fashion or the next thing or the in thing. And you know it's not all that, it's a way of life, it's a way of seeing . You don't just go party and then come back in to the world and do all kind of things that you did before. It's got to change your mind, it's got to change your, you've got to become more aware to it. That's the whole thing, that finding that, you know, through the trans-dance experience, finding that freedom beyond individuality than you become more sensitive, hopefully. It's not just a disco under the coconut trees, it's an initiation, and hopefully through that initiation a seed is planted in people's consciousness that makes them more sensitive and aware of themselves, their surroundings, the crossroads of humanity and the needs of the planet. And through that sensitivity and awareness comes understanding and compassion and that is the need of the hour.

D: That sounds like a form of yoga.

G: And it is, I mean we found out all these things through yoga. I mean it is through yoga that I found the power of using music as a vehicle or a language to transmit higher energy to other people.

R: Speaking of music, you know these people are from Israel right?

G: Right. Well anyway the first cut that we played on the show is from England from Tip Records and good friends of mine, the Infinity Project off of that song was Stimuli and that's off of the Tip Record Compilation, which is an excellent compilation and I highly recommend it. The next song is from a compilation from Israel, Trust in Trance II, and all Israeli groups, very good also, I highly recommend it.

B: Goa, how did people first come together around this?

G: Well, like I said when I went overland to India, I met a lot of other people who were going overland to India at the same time from many country, anywhere kind of thing and than that brought us together in one way. But the thing is, people went in, one guy Eight Finger Eddy, kind of discovered this place Goa where it was like nobody was there and it was all coconut trees and beautiful beaches. And he went to stay there and the word went out and other people were, one person would be studying yoga somewhere in the yogian Himalayan, another one would be with some guru somewhere else. Somebody was studying Indian music in Benars, somebody else was studying katak or Indian dance in South India, or anything, ...
All these different people were in India who met going overland and then it became this thing of Christmas in Goa. So Christmas everybody would meet in Goa and exchange all their tales and see each other and visit together for a month or so and party together and then go back and do their thing again. And then the word spread and this thing grew over years and years and years to like a whole scene where some people lived there all the time. But a truly international group of people, people from every country.

D: And so did the music that came out of Goa, did it emerge out of this interchange of stories, time shared?

G: Well, I mean sure, the whole thing did emerge because well in the beginning it was more kind of American styled because in the end of the '60's of course everything was more based on that. And then it went as I said through the fusion and then the reggae and this and that. By 1980 the European sound started to come in to all this kind of you know post punk, technological, experimental dance music and then that kind of mixed with everything. And we used to get some songs, and then we had a whole concept about making a party and we'd trim the songs to fit our concept and placed them in such a way. Placement is set so important so as to make a kind of story with the music from the first song to last song through the whole night and paint a kind of picture you know of our times you know. And yeah, then people who heard these, sometimes like a Depeche Mode or a New Order song we'd cut out the singing or repeat some parts two and three times or whatever and make our own mixes and whatever. Then a lot of people heard these, would go to the parties, dance all night and they started to go back to Europe and make music which fit for our party completely. And in this way the whole thing has expanded and grown to where you have the kind of what you call Goa trance music today.

R: So in turn, these people would go back to Europe or wherever they were and bring their music.

G: And now all this Tip Records, these Israeli Records, all these Dragonfly Records, all these people have been in Goa. Even I have my own group now, Code Four, I mean I did some remixes for them a few years ago. They were a San Francisco industrial group before and I did some remixes for them from their second album and them one of the guys died and the other guy asked me to join the group and we have our new album out now in Belgium on KK Records Code Four Silicone Civilization doing very well. And we are about to go on a tour in Europe also too.

B: In trying to talk about where people go. I mean once their, once the music starts, when you watch people starting to move, I know that probably effects what you choose next, you probably don't have a script going, you just have this resource in your head, I mean in terms of all the music available. Where do you expect people to end up?

G: Me, I'm always trying to create an atmosphere with the music and first I play some stuff that might be a little more accessible to them that might be something like the kind of beats they might be used to, to draw everybody in and just to get them dancing is the first thing. And then I make it more and more intense until when in the late night different samples come in and out and it goes through almost an apocalyptical thing. And then when the first light of dawn comes in the sky then it comes with this whole spiritual thing also and I'm just using the music and the party situation to try to evoke the cosmic shakti and bring that energy to earth and bring it within all of us. You know I'm also forgetting myself and just being a kind of channel for this thing to come or whatever. You know it's, to go beyond individuality into a common whole.

D: You know you talked about bringing the best of the east and the west together, the west being these apocalyptic images that we have so strongly within Jewish-Christian-Muslim tradition.

G: No, but in every tradition they had an initiation, you always went through a dark thing before you got the light. So I based the party like on an initiation concept, that's the whole thing. It's in every tradition.

D: I was wondering what you're studying with the gurus in the Himalayas, what did that show you? How did that fit in to what you had learned?

G: Well that showed me something else. At that time I left everything behind. I was living either in the temple with all these sadhus or else sometime by a river under a tree by a fire with virtually nothing but a blanket and you know just cooking food on the fire and doing my tapasias and my asanas and pratayanas and meditation. And by their grace I got to see many many things and learn about that underlying power which exists within everything and how to turn myself off and kind of merge back into that thing. You know forgetting everything and merge back into that thing and recharge with that thing, very important thing. And everything that I am doing is only by the grace of God and my teachers because it has nothing to do with me. Everything is by their grace and without them I would not be what I am today or where I am today. That is for sure.
And also if people like this music, every year I make a set of tapes. This year's set is five tapes, Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, and they are available on Haight's at rave shops like Housewares and Amoebae on Haight Street and I'm sure you will love them. It's kind of like a Goa party. Earth is early night. Water is middle night. Fire is late night. Air is first light of dawn and early morning and Ether is later morning. So it's like from one o'clock in the night until 8:30 in the morning kind of like a set you know, you can play one after the other. And then so I guess we are going to close, is that is then?

R: Yeah, our time is up.

G: We were going to close the show with one song from our Code Four Silicone Civilization album and that is called Near to the Divine and all roads find their end in knowledge.

D: This has been the Bus Stop at 90th and 3rd. We want to thank Goa Gil for riding with us on our trip today. We look forward to bringing your music with us on future journeys. We want to thank Jim our engineer today. This has been your hosts Robert VanGool, Bill Smith, and David Batstone. We do want to thank the Religious Studies Department at the University of San Francisco for fueling this trip. We'll see you one next weeks ride.

BusStop Internet Radio!
ur engineer today. This has been your hosts Robert VanGool, Bill Smith, and David Batstone. We do want to thank the Religious Studies Department at the University of San Francisco for fueling this trip. We'll see you one next weeks ride.

BusStop Internet Radio!