Chemisphere in the atmosphere

Interview with Tristan

Author: Charles De Ledesma
Date: May 22, 2007
Views: 2595

Date: 22.05.2007
Text: Charles de Ledesma

It has taken British producer Tristan quite a long time to finish his third album Chemisphere, but it is most definitely worth the wait. This is a psychedelic tour de force, immaculately produced, vibrantly colourful and filled with powerful trance beats. From the opener, It Depends On You, which is currently rocking dance floors around the word, to the closing track Suriname’s down-tempo beauty, the album shimmers quality and positive energy.

Catching up with Tristan in his local park, he suggests that there is a niche in the trance genre beyond the full on sub genre, typified the generic Israeli sound, and more minimal progressive oeuvre. And that there aren’t so many producers doing deep, funky, and still sexy, havin’ it grooves.

“Since I gave up DJing, because of my ear problems, I’ve been focusing more on the live set. The album then builds on this, and aims for a self-contained version of what I do live. An all-in-one trip which, if not the whole journey, is certainly part of that journey. The bit of the journey that is deep and full on.”

Tristan says the aim has been to produce music that is big, psychedelic and funky, something that can be played earlier in the night or from the morning onwards. His aim then to create a definitive album. “While experimenting within the confines of a psychedelic, electronic vision.”

So what lies behind the menagerie of sounds, beats and colour so lusciously evoked in Chemisphere? Tristan is fascinated by the cusp of things. His favourite time at parties is sunrise and sunset, the cusp of night and day. Making psychedelic music is being on the cusp of consciousness, at the cutting edge of new and alternative ideas.

“Psychedelic music can trigger unusual experiences and unlock certain kind of archetypal memories in your mind through electronic and synthetic, as well as organic and human, noises. I want to use the whole panoply of textures and sonic experimentation to provide an experience for people. Psychedelic music is mind expanding, or should be.”

So what has specifically inspired the huge, outdoor magic of the new set? Tristan says the main trigger comes simply from partying and playing out. In Brazil he may play for 20,000 people who want it full power, blasting and riff-led, and then he’s in Germany where the style required is more repetitive, heads-down and minimal. Those experiences affect him in different ways.

“When I’m gigging all around the world I want to have the right music ready to play. So not only do the parties inspire me when I am there but they also prepare me for playing when I return to those places. Therefore, thinking of Brazil, I will write a Brazil-mood track especially for an upcoming gig, conjuring up in my mind what I think the right vibe is - bikinis on the beach, for example. Alternatively, if it is a club in Japan, I may think fluero, psychedelic cowboys. It’s the multi-cultural nature of the trance scene that inspires my music more than anything else.”

One of most hypnotic sonic threads running through Chemisphere is discordant sound, lines of static zipping around the wave band, rushing across and in between beats, percussion and fraying melodies. Tristan thinks that much of the interesting sounds in music hide at the edges.

“I’m always trying to break it up and get those sub frequencies that you can feel, but can’t necessarily hear. I want to make music, which can suit wherever my mind wants to wander and that is why psychedelic music is so rich and full.

I don’t want untoward gaps in the music. If I need the nice, warm, sub bass line for my body, it’s there, if I need a tingly sound for my top end chakra, well it’s there too. In addition, if I need to swing my hips, there are the right sounds to support me. Overall, I want the music to be uplifting and buoyant.”

By the time you reach the closing track, Suriname you have been buffeted centre, left, right, forward and backwards, and through a number of dimensions. It comes as a revelation to relax along with guitars strumming lazily over a cantering beat, perhaps with a refreshing Goan breeze to cool you down.

“What I am trying to evoke (in Suriname) is sitting in a hammock on a beach, watching the waves lapping onto the white sand. Or, sitting by a bonfire on the top of the hill with the new moon rising over the forest. While that’s what I want to provide for other people, these experiences are exactly the kind of creative stimulus that helps me write. I’m filled with an unbridled urge to create music from these experiences I have.”

Chemisphere’s overall large-scale sonic character reflects how far Tristan’s production skills have come in recent years.

“I’m after a big sound; an epic kind of psychedelic experience wherever possible. I want people to think on a planetary scale… let’s colonise elsewhere through this music! But the big isn’t the same as full on. You can be as big as you like but you need attention to detail because that’s what psychedelic is: it’s not some huge, hollow cathedral sound, it is everything from the atomic to the cosmic.”

Tristan says the album has taken about a year to make - longer than he had anticipated. A lot of heart, blood, soul and tears have gone into it but, he adds, anything worth doing requires that kind of endeavour and persistence.

“Not only as you are doing it you receive but later on when you’ve done the finished piece, and when people are appreciating it at gigs and the feedback you get, yes, you get a huge amount back.

It’s quite hard to have a vision in the head and then convert that into sound waves. I think with this album I’m closer to realising that vision than ever before.”

Chemisphere is out now on Nano Records (nanocd017). Tristan is playing at a number of European festivals this summer including Glastonbury, UK, June, and Sonica, August, Italy.

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