Trancelife is no phantasm

Interview with John Phantasm

Author: Sam
Date: Dec 11, 2006
Views: 2716

Date: 11.12.2006
Text: Katja Turpeinen

Sam: Hey John how are you doing?

John: I’m good mate!

Sam. John, you have been an integral part of the scene since the very beginning, when exactly was this and how did Trance start for you?

John: Ohh, I think it’s about -92 but I didn’t really get releases until 93-94 and even before that I was a guitar player in rock and punk bands. Originally, to go back from the beginning of Phantasm Records, I had a partner that I worked together with, Simon that unfortunately died of Leuakemia in 1998. He was one of the original members of Mindfield, well actually it was us 2 and a couple of Djs: Mark Allen and Chrisbo.

Sam: So this group, Mindfield, was it a group for Parties or Labels?

John: No, it was a group for making music. We got together in a studio and through that, we started to go out on parties and get into the trance scene. And as we got involved we shrank from a 4 piece, to a 2 piece, to a 1 which is pretty much me, ha-ha so we put out our first 12 inch with a surprise that people actually went out and bought it. Then we did a couple more, then a cd and we decided to do it as our own going team, and that is Phantasm!

Sam: So how did Phantasm Records turn out in 1993, when it was really early in the trance scene??

John: Well actually I think it was 1994 and the first couple of releases we had, they were a little hard to put in a genre, they were more named as electronic music. I mean it was trance, and some were talking about goa trance but no one used the phrase “psychedelic trance”. And it took a couple of releases before we sort of hardened our direction, and the direction/style was formed with a pool of artists, taken from friends, people that we met on parties. So they were in the scene, and already early on we had releases from: Man with no name, Hallucinogen, Doof and the Green Nuns. I think that the only other label, that was slightly earlier with psytrance, was Dragonfly. As far as I can remember, T.I.P was a little bit later because the guys from T.I.P were originally working with Dragonfly, and then they split from that. So I think it first was Dragonfly, then Phantasm and then maybe Concept In Dance, T.I.P and Flying Rhino.

Sam: I remember meeting you in Mexico about 5 years ago; there you told me that your son just started making music. How has he developed since then?

John: Yeah, he’s developed pretty well actually! Now he produces under the name of Eskimo. He started to make music when he was about 7 or 8 years old. In the beginning he wasn’t really into trance, but more into hardcore, for example The Prodigy, Altern 8, people like that.. The first time I took him with me on one of my gigs was in Denmark where I played with X-Dream and that was around 7 years ago. This gig went really well for me and I think that he must have thought that “If my dad can do this, for sure I can!” ha ha ha
His first set was a chill-out set in Japan and with the money he got there he bought a mixer. Then when we came back home, he got a pair of cd players and things started to roll.

Sam: This is an interesting subject because it’s the subject of parties, kids, the scene “what are you doing with your children when they grow up…” How did you deal with this when your son grew up?

John: Well, you know, there is a lot of “not understanding” parents that are worrying about their kids going out on parties. Thinking “ oh now they are taking drugs” and so on. I mean, obviously not just the psytrance scene, but also all of the dance scenes there is some drugs involved. I knew that he was growing up in that environment and I always wanted to keep him as informed as possible and keep things open so that he could talk to me about it. So he grew up through that whole thing with the “you can take it or leave it” type. Most parents say: oh don’t do this. And the first thing that the kids want to do is try it. So we have been talking about stuff and he has always been very aware about it.

Sam: After I met you 5 years ago, it has been a little bit quiet around Phantasm. But this has changed lately, with album releases from Eskimo and some compilations. Could you tell some words about that?

John: Well I kind of took some time off when my second son Jack, was born 5 years ago. So everything slowed down a little bit for a couple of years. And then we got fully back into the scene with the release of the first Eskimo album in 2004.

Sam: This year, since the summer we’ve released Eskimo’s Ballonatic and in October will release the Strange Frequencies compilation with names like Oforia, X-Noize and Sirius Isness is coming out. In November the new Sirius Isness album is being released and I’m very excited about that. Then in Dec there will be a compilation put together by Sirius Isness “Mind your Own Isness” with tracks by Talamasca, Absolom, Alien Project, Bliss and Eskimo among others.

Sam: I think I have asked all my questions, is there something that you would like to say to the public?

John: Yes, thanks for still being there! For me it’s still really good. I’m having a very lucky life and doing something that I really enjoy so I’m happy where I am right now.

Sam: Ok, thank you for the interview and good luck in the future!

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