Tristan Interview #2023
Q: We hardly doubt there’s anyone in or around the psy scene who doesn’t know you by now but still, do you want to give an intro for yourself?
Tristan: Hello, my name is Tristan and I’m a Psytrancer! I’m from the UK, married with one daughter.
I discovered raving whilst on my first major traveling trip around the world in 1988, which is when the dance music revolution happened and blew the lid off the entire music industry the heads of a whole generation of young people! The first-ever dance party I went to was in Sydney before there were really any genres of dance music: there was acid house, hip-hop, trance, breaks, all in the pot. And everyone going absolutely MENTAL!! Having my first psychedelic experiences around that time, on the road away from my family, traveling in new cultures, and seeing the world: obviously, things would never ever be the same again in my life. I returned to England evangelical about this music and raving, and of course, all my friends had been doing the same thing back home!
Q: The British scene is amongst the pioneers in the formation of Psytrance. Why do you think was that?
Tristan: British culture simultaneously has a forward-looking, progressive, rebellious nature whilst somehow being very repressed and emotionally retentive! Perhaps it is this dichotomy that produces the creative effulgence!! I think since the 1960’s British music has been on the global stage musically, and there certainly has always been a massive sonic output from here, from Dragonfly, TIP, Twisted, Nano, Boom Shankar, Wild Things, and so many more amazing labels and artists.
Q: Which artists influenced you in your career?
Tristan: Working with ManMadeMan and Process in the mid-nineties helped me mature as an artist and taught me so much; more recently collaborating with Laughing Buddha and Avalon resulted in two side-projects: Fearsome Engine and Killerwatts with several albums and countless hours in the studio which have been both enlightening and amazing fun! It’s an incredible experience to write amazing tracks with your best friends.
Q: Last time we did this, it was 2014. It seems like half a century ago! What changed for you these 6 years?
Tristan: Does it seem like a long time?? It seems to have gone in the blink of an eye for me! Time passes so fast I can’t keep up. “Time keeps on slipping. Into the future.“ [Magazine Note: Refers to the song Fly Like an Eagle by the Steve Miller Band] Paradoxically everything and nothing has changed. I think in roughly 7 years the body replaces itself with a completely new set of cells, so that makes me a completely new person! if only. (laughs) Well, my daughter has doubled in height, I have moved to the countryside out of London, built a new studio, and created a new life really. I must have traveled enough air miles to go to the moon and back, written 3 albums, and tried to love my friends and family as much as I can and have as much fun as physically possible! They say life is too short, but it’s also way too long not to find fulfillment.
Q: We couldn’t go any longer without mentioning the label, NANO Records, which celebrates its 20th anniversary! Regan & the label have given a lot to the scene. What makes NANO distinctive?
Tristan: Firstly I gotta say Regan and the folk at Nano really are like family to me. We live very close by, our daughters are best friends and it’s a relationship that transcends work and business. We all live and breathe psytrance and their commitment to the scene is huge; you can feel that in the music, and the way they present themselves both online and in the events they do, Origin Festival amongst many others. It’s simply the consistent quality and positive vibes that have made them and the label one of the finest in the world. And just going from strength to strength.
Q: Another project of NANO Records we’re interested in talking about is the Killerwatts! What this duo is all about?
Tristan: Killerwatts is a project of myself and Leon Kane AKA Avalon. It’s about high energy, psychedelic fun-loving music for everybody! We want to make music that makes everyone dance, jump, and scream with a huge smile on their face and experience the euphoric states of consciousness that we are all striving for on the dance floor.
Q: Hit us with exclusivities! (laughs) When should we expect the 3rd Killerwatts album?!
Tristan: Leon has just relocated to the sunshine in Portugal, lucky guy! we’ll have to see how that affects our writing schedule; although I can definitely see myself spending some serious time at his place working on the next album (as we have written all previous albums at mine!!) We did just release the remix album which featured so many great artists and tracks, so I think for a while we will write singles and EPs to keep things ticking over.
Q: We Are Psychedelic! You are Psychedelic! We’re all Psychedelic! What’s on with that remix contest we saw you two running on social media?
Tristan: (laughs) Indeed we are all Psychedelic! Well, the response to the competition was ENORMOUS! It completely exceeded our expectations and we received nearly 600 tracks. Unbelievable! That is a hell of a lot of hours of the same track to wade through, but we have whittled it down to the final few. The quality throughout has been outstanding. I’m honored and proud that everyone put in so much to their projects!
Q: Good pass to get on with production! Last time we visited you were up to Ableton. Did anything change since then?
Tristan: Ableton is an amazing program, so versatile and dynamic; perfect for me to get those weird otherworldly sounds and landscapes that blow your mind on the dance floor! So yes I’m still with it and becoming more and more immersed in its world. There is so much other software (and hardware) out there though it can be daunting to know what to buy, but my advice is to get to know a few tools REALLY well, rather than have loads clogging up your hard drive that you’re not that familiar with.
Creative comes through hard work and honing your craft. – Tristan
Q: What do you think is the biggest mistake new producers are making and how to avoid it?
Tristan: In my opinion, there are no ‘mistakes’ to be made, in that everything you do, right or wrong, is an opportunity to learn. What no one wants to do though is waste time making the same choices that stop you from moving forward as an artist: that could be never finishing a track, feeling underwhelmed by your work, and thinking it’s ‘not good enough, aiming too high too soon. However, all these can be tackled: perhaps writing shorter tracks setting time limits before ‘committing’ to a mixdown; or getting feedback from friends (who have your best interests at heart!) Everyone has to start somewhere, and even after 20 years I still end up banging my head against the desk sometimes!! Persistence pays. Creative comes through hard work and honing your craft.
Q: Can you name your 3 favorite producers right now in the scene? “Tristan” doesn’t count! (laughs)
Tristan: Mandala, Ingrained Instincts, Aardvarkk.
Q: If you could remix one track, any track, Psytrance or not, which one would be and why?
Tristan: Generally speaking the better the original track harder is to do it justice so I find remixing quite a difficult job; however, if I had to choose I’d say Aphex Twin’s “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball”, simply so I could find out how he engineered all those crazy sounds.
Q: What’s on with the Tristan project, Is any work in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a new album! Got any good titles for me? 😉
Q: Do you want to send any message to our Tribe before we wrap this up?
Tristan: Yes, I’m missing everyone and the dance floor so much it hurts. Hang on in there though as we’ll all be back together before you know it!! Big Love to all you Psytrancers out there.
Thank you for talking to Psychedelic Magazine. We love you six hundred million five hundred thousand times!
Tristan: Believe me, I love you too!