Interview by Chaitu of www.goatrance.free.fr
1. Gil, how do feel about the progression of Electronic music, from the early days when you relocated fromSan Francisco to goa, to the millennium and times when there’s new trance releases every other week? Gil: Having been a musician all of my life and having gone through about every kind of music to get here, I must say that the evolution of our music and how it has slowly mutated with new sounds, new beats, new little twists, and new ideas over the years, has been a very exciting journey; interesting, uplifting, and delicious for the psyche!!! And it just keeps on growing and mutating…. Spiraling up, up, up, up, and away!!!
2. What kind of music were you listening/playing in those days. Did you see the forthcoming trance scene in Goa? How did it come about? Gil: When I left San Francisco in 1969, I was of course heavily into the San Francisco acid rock sound of the 60’s... when I arrived in Goa in Feb. 1970 I had my guitar and used to write and sing many spiritual songs which I would play on the beach by the fire (or anywhere else!)... Songs like "Mother Earth", "Towards the One", and "God’s Children are Everywhere", and there were many, many more !!! We then got some equipment and started djing all night on the beach after the flea market each week and we had our bands, The Anjuna Jam Band and The Big Dipper Band, just to name a couple. I was djing any kind of music at that time, in the mid-seventies, but I still tried to use the music to make a story from first song to last song. In the end of the seventies some of the first "new wave" music with synths and drum machines, like Kraftwerk, started to filter in, but it was in the early eighties when it really started to happen with the new music, and then I went to the west and started to find more of the new sound.... groups like Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire, Tackhead, Yello, Portion Control, Chakk, Laser Cowboys,... There were so many good projects!!! There was so much great music!!! Music that reflected the times we were living in perfectly!!! The combination of the tribal drum patterns with the almost alien sounding synths and samples... it was kind of like... Ancient + Future = Now... so we collected as much of that kind of synthesizer-drum machine music as we could, as we went crazy for that sound!!! But in those days we collected even from Hi NRG, future dance, also stuff like Depeche Mode, New Order, etc., anything that had some good synth & drum machine parts, but we would cut out the singing, take the good parts, and put the tracks back together repeating the different instrumental parts in different sequences to make our own instrumental "Goa" mix that would fit for our party concept and what we were trying to say and do with the music. We did all that with a couple of Walkman professional tape decks!!! Then after some time, some of our friends who visited Goa went back to the west and started to make music that fit our party concept and what we were trying to say perfectly!!! And it has been exploding ever since!!!
3. Can you talk to me about the whole vibe, the transcendental experience? Experiences that people are looking to have at parties. Do you feel religious and spiritual elements are involved? Gil: It’s probably all how you look at it…. Everyone seems to have a different motivation and concept according to their understanding and programming. For some it can be a spiritual experience, for others they just want to have fun…. So I can only really speak for myself. For me it is the old time religion!!! Since the beginning of time mankind has used music and dance to commune with the Spirit of Nature and the Spirit of the Universe…. We are using Trance music and the Trance Dance Experience to set off a chain reaction in consciousness…. This is what we call "Redefining the Ancient Tribal Ritual for the 21st Century". When I come to the party and set up my alter, sprinkle the Holy Water, recite the Holy Mantra, and make the Offering to the Cosmic Spirit, and then start the music… The music and the whole party becomes an offering to the Cosmic Spirit… May Lord Shiva, Nataraj, Lord of the Dance come to this place and bless everyone. Then the dancers, the music, the dj, the Spirit, all become One. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA !!!!! HARA HARA MAHADEV !!!!! Dance… …dance is active meditation…. ….When we dance, We go beyond thought, beyond mind, and beyond our own individuality… To become One in the Divine Ecstasy of union with the Cosmic Spirit…. This is the essence of the Trance Dance Experience.
4. What exactly is ‘Shamanism’? Its been practiced since ancient times, in the form of dance and devotion to tribal drums, rhythms and percussion. Today it has been transformed into ‘techno shamanism’ with analog synthesizers capturing all those old vibes with spacey transmissions and visions of the future. Can you enlighten me on this subject? Gil: Well according to the encyclopedia, here is the definition of the word "shaman": Shaman «SHAH muhn», is a person considered to have powers that come from direct contact with the supernatural, often in dreams or trances. The term shaman came from a Mongolian word. However, peoples in many areas have shamans who they believe cast out evil spirits or bring good, especially by curing disease. Shamans may be found among the Inuit (sometimes called Eskimos), Maori, Mongolians, Polynesians, and other peoples. American Indians had similar beliefs. Gil: By having direct contact with the supernatural, the shaman becomes a channel of the Cosmic Spirit, and uses the music as a vehicle of transmission of Shakti (Cosmic Power and Grace). I have always said that the Goa party is not just a disco under the coconut trees… it is an initiation. But again, it is all how you look at it… And here is where I take the opportunity to suggest to all those up and coming dj’s out there that one of the tools that will help you to be centered and focused and help you to do your job much better is Dhyana or Meditation. I feel this is very important!!! If you want to be a shaman (or techno-shaman), then self surrender and some sort of spiritual discipline and practice is necessary. Otherwise you are just playing.
5. What about your travels. Did you learn much from the Kumbha Mela Darshan in India this year? Can you reflect on your time in the Motherland now that you’re back in California? Gil: My first Kumbha Mela was the Ardh Kumbh at Prayag in January 1971, (please remember that I was Baba Mangalanand even before I was Goa Gil), so it is not new for me, but it is always very, very, very inspiring and uplifting!!! These are the things that we live for!!! We love our time in India, having holy bath, sitting by the holy fire, frequenting ancient temples and tirthas, and having the darshana of the holy saints and sadhus. These are the things that keep us inspired, uplifted, and help us to complete our mission here on this planet. We love Bharat Mata and Ganga Mai, and we are always sad when we must leave that life, and we are always happy when we return. Jai Ma !!! OM NAMAH SHIVAYA !!!!! HARA HARA MAHADEV !!!!!
6. Getting more into the music side of the culture, what kind of stuff do you prefer to play in your sets? Who are your favorite artists? Gil: Since I play such long sets, I play quite a variety of psychedelic trance… Early night is a little slower & minimal psychedelic, sometimes even starting ambient, and slowly building up to middle night where it starts to get a bit fuller, harder and faster building into late night… the intensity grows until the last dark of the night where it becomes almost apocalyptical and then when the first light of dawn starts to shine I start to lead it into the full power morning music and then depending on how long the party goes there are a variety of morning and daytime sounds to choose from…. I have always based my trance dance party concept on traditional initiation concepts where, in most ancient traditions, you must first confront the Dark in order to be lead into, and shown, the Light. As for our favorite artists, it changes all the time… one of our favorite artists, who is consistent and has the combination of sounds and beats that we really like, is Hux Flux for example. We also really like the sounds that our friends in Goa, Made in Chapora, have been making in their studio down there… we also like the music of Absolum, Wizzy Noise, Bamboo Forest, Toi Doi, GMS, and Parasense just to name a few. Here is my chart for April 2001: Goa Gil’s Divine Dozen for April 2001
1. Made in Chapora - Mahakumbha / Electrojump (DAT)2. Hux Flux - Lex Rex Perplex / Errorhead (Spiral Trax) 3. Color Drop - Jazz is Dead (DAT) 4. Wizzy Noise - Devils Night (ZMA) 5. Psycho+Trolls - Space Pigz (DAT) 6. Droidsect - Invasion from Outer Space (3D Vision) 7. Parasense - Are You Cloned ? (DAT) 8. Peace Data - Peace Depth (Eskimo)9. Digital Separatist - Essence (DAT) 10. Hux Flux - Bring Your Own Bios (Creamcrop) 11. In-R-Voice - Mahakala (DAT) 12. M.O.S. - Komm-Das (Atomic)
7. Since you play non-stop all night. Can you tell me how you start your set and progress into the depth of the night, those spacey pre-dawn hours and of course, when the glory of the morning is up, and the sun is shining. Gil: Well I think I answered that in the last question already, but let me talk about what I think is a good party: When, after the Offering, everything starts to move in One Vibration, and it is as if a Cosmic Mind has come over the party and everyone becomes a part of It…. And everything becomes so perfect in the moment that you start to feel chills up your spinal column…. And it continues to be perfect in the moment…. And that feeling continues and intensifies until it feels like a cosmic orgasm!!! And then, in the best parties… Boom!!! It comes like a supersonic electrical current of Light that flashes Through everyone simultaneously!!! That is when the Seed is planted!!! It is then up to those who have received it to nourish it and make it grow. In most, it will just disappear as they return to their normal life. But there are a few who will "get it". Jai Ma !!! Of course these things happen during the course of the whole night and day slowly, slowly. Sometimes it takes a long while to exorcise all the demons and get the people moving together in One Vibration. When it happens it is as if time and space have disappeared and there is only Being Here and Now… And it is as if my Heart is communicating directly with the Hearts of the Dancers each one individually yet all at once. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA !!!!! HARA HARA MAHADEV !!!!!
8. Is psychedelic trance, a ‘tool’ for higher states of consciousness, comparable to other forms such as yoga and deep meditation? How do you look at it in this aspect? Gil: Well, I think that we lived in India so long and did so many practices that we started to see in another way…. We became so Tantric that we even made partying a valid spiritual path…. Although it really is nothing new, as every tribal group since the beginning of time has practiced this ancient ritual in order to go into Trance and commune with the Spirit. We have only redefined it for this age. OM Shri Guru Dattatraya Namah !!! With so many negative roll models all around… on the TV, in the movies, newspapers and magazines… everything glorifying Babylon… we needed to come to the world and speak to the youth in their own language… so that there can be a direct Transmission and another Vision and Vibration be known. Through the Trance Dance Experience hopefully people will become more aware of themselves, their surroundings, the crossroads of humanity, and the needs of the planet…. With that awareness comes understanding and compassion!!! That is the need of the hour and the true Goa Spirit.
9. Any projects your working on this year you would like to talk about. Perhaps a new mix cd, or maybe even something in the production line? Gil: We are just back from our winter in India, and we are just organizing our summer tour of Europe (see tour dates at www.goagil.com )… no plans for a CD mix at the moment, but maybe later in the summer…. We would love to get into a studio with Ariane to make some more Nommos tracks, as it has been a couple of years, but the DJ schedule has been so busy that it is hard to find the time in between!!! Let’s see what happens as the summer progresses. We’ll just leave it all in the Hands of Lord Shiva !!!!!
OM TAT SAT !!!!!
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