Author: Damion Brown
Date: Dec 9, 2004
Views: 7359

Date: Dec 9, 2004
Interview: Damion Brown

Nate Raubenheimer is one of the hottest properties in psytrance today, playing gigs all over the planet to packed-out indoor and outdoor crowds. Who foam at the mouth. Literally. I\'ve seen it. Protoculture makes the kind of trance even your mum likes. It\'s got melody, it\'s got drive, it keeps pumping and never veers into cheddar territory. In short: credible, smooth, flowing trance with melodies.

One year after the release of the critically-acclaimed album Refractions, Nate has compiled Natural Selection for Nano Records, a stonking collection of some varied and powerful trance from around the world, which ought to be in everybody\'s Christmas list.

We caught up with Nate to talk about the year just gone, and the year about to happen; the first album, and the tracks on this compilation; and what he\'s got up his sleeve for next year.

Okay, first up – where are you and how are the vibes?

Cape Town, South Africa, and the vibes are just perfect...

Since refractions came out, have you had a good year? 

Yeah, been really busy, and I’ve been to some amazing places.

Plenty of travel this year – where are you based now and where did you get to go this year?

My home and studio is in Cape Town, in South Africa. This year I’ve been to countries including Australia, Mexico, England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Holland… pretty much around the world.

Why did your set at the Glade get moved?

Junya (Eskimo) apparently had a double booking for the same day he was supposed to be doing the Jumanji live set. I was asked to change to the last day, which was great. It was an awesome slot to play…

What was your favourite outdoor gig this year?

It’s a toss up between a few festies such as Glade, Origins, Earth Dance, and the Nano Records tour in Japan, but I’d probably have to go with Universo Paralello down in Brazil. 

Any absolute nightmares that happened?

Got totally screwed over in Denmark by an Omid from Conzzept Records (I’ll mention the name for the sake and safety of others). Had serious problems, being stuck in Denmark with no money and all… and on top of that, some arsehole unplugged all my gear from the mixer while I was mid set.

And what about 2005 – is it true that you’re playing at Rainbow Serpent in Australia in January?


(you heard it here first folks -- enjoy, and curtis don\'t forget your monkey)

Refractions has been a lot of people’s most-played albums of the last year; and a lot of people have said to me that it’s something they listen to all of, not just stick on a few tracks – which is rare with psytrance albums. Was this a goal in making the album?

I have to confess, it was not entirely pre-meditated when I began to write the album, at that stage I was just making noise and having fun. I did get to a point where I realised that it’s a good idea to make the album a “listening” album, by, for instance putting the down tempo at the beginning. I also think the sound of the album is not too complicated which makes it more acceptable for a wider audience.

One of my favourite tunes off that album was Homeworld – do you like working at that lower BPM? Will you be working on any more downtempo tunes?

Yes, Homeworld is my favourite on the album and there will defiantly be more of that on the way.

One for the producers out there – what’s in your studio, what’s your favourite bit of kit? And when you play live, how LIVE is it? =)

On the hardware side of things, I’ve got a Roland JP8080, Waldorf XTK, FAT Freebase 383, Roland XV5050, Steinberg MIDIEX 8, Novation REMOTE25 Audio, Roland VS880, an old Mackie 16 Channel desk and two pc’s. Im using Cubase SX2 at the moment for sequencing, and few plugs from Native Instruments along with selected others. My Toshiba Dynabook laptop along with the Novation has got to be my favourite piece of kit at the moment. Its what I use for live as well, and I can take it anywhere. It’s literally a studio in a box. Electronic music is never gonna be as “live” as rock or pop or whatever, but I am doing a fair bit of adlibbing on top of mixes that I’ve done. I also, on most occations, pre-mix the backing tracks for a live set specifically for a certain gig, so usually people do get something a little more special.

So the new album then – Natural Selection – what was the vibe in putting it together? Is it representative of your DJ set?

I don’t think of Refractions as being representative of my dj set, probably the other way round, although,  I don’t think about the dynamics of it to much. Putting the album together, I always say, was more like a mindless, fun, session of me just doing shit that made me smile. There wasn’t really any serious intellectual process going on and I think that’s why it works so well.

Think it’s very nice to get the Nexus 6 remix out – which totally rocked the Glade – how did this remix come about?

Firstly, the version that was played at Glade isn’t the finished track, its been redone for its release on Natural Selection. I was actually asking Silicon Sounds for a track for my compilation, and just thought to ask about doing a remix. He said yes and that was it. The finished version of the remix caused me a huge headaches though, the original track was so damn classic that it was really difficult to make a remix that would do it justice.

And the Magnetic remix too, one of the standout tracks from Refractions – how do you feel the vibe has changed with the remix?

I always loved the original, but it was quite different to the rest of the stuff on refractions (it was one of the first tracks I did for the album). I’d just learnt so much over the last year and just decided it could use an update. Hence, it’s a little more full power and the production and mix is more pristine and defined.

I’m very excited about the Silver Surfer’s track, and caned the one off Wind Up this summer ;-)

Who’s DJSim1? And how does that collaboration work?

Sim1 is Simon Malherbe, a really good mate of mine from Cape Town. He’s been djing for quite some time now for Nano. He’s doing a lot of ideas and sketches for tracks and bringing them round to the studio. The two of us then get stuck in and bang out the tracks. I think they’ve also got a really good mix of both of our styles.

Do you get more of a kick out of collaborations – with Pogo, Sim1, or Tristan on Natural Selection – than you do from working by yourself?

I’m a perfectionist and a control freak, so I usually prefer to do stuff by myself, but at the  same time, there are some amazing artists out there and the ones I have worked with I’ve had a lot of fun with.

Nice one on getting Allaby released – I think the last time I heard anything by him was on Tristan’s mix CD on twisted a couple of years back. Are we going to be seeing more from him on Nano?

Mmm, can’t speak for Nano Records, but I will say that he is an awesome producer and I’d definitely like to see more of his stuff soon.

And any personal favourite tracks off this CD?? 

They’re all fantastic.

Okay, now for the serious stuff. One: How many trance DJ’s does it take to change a lightbulb?

None, we leave that up to the lighting and stage crew.

Good answer. Two: What’s the most random thing a trance chick has said to you at a party?

Hong soo Chong wow Ching Chang! (at a gig in Japan)

...and bloke?

I always get some guy that comes up to me and says… “hey, so whats that track you played, you know the one that goes eeeooowwwww shhhwwiisssh doof doof doof doof…?”

Three: Which country has the maddest trancers?

Definitely South Africa and England, and the Aussies come in close behind.

Four: Which country has the best chicks at parties?

Probably Brasil, Japan and South Africa.

And Five: The best scenery for outdoor parties? (I hear south Africa is pretty unbeatable…!)

You heard right, there is no place better for venues, except maybe Brasil.

Would you rather be run over by a steamroller on fresh tarmac on a cold day, or on old tarmac on a hot day?

No, I’d like to be run over by tarmac on a cold steamroller on a fresh day.

Would you rather take a bath in bongwater, or in someone else’s saliva?

Depends whose saliva.

I’m going to the bar, what are you having?

Double Jamesons on the rocks

Ahhh, an Aristocrat =) Do you have anything else to say in your defence?

No, guilty as charged.

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