DJ Abstract on RadiOzora-Ozorian Prophet

Thoughts by Waham aka Abstract, words by Marge & Suddha

To go with his special Indonesian-spiced psy soundscapes on radiOzora’s Purple Hexagon Records series, Waham aka DJ ABSTRACT has also answered The Prophet’s questions, which, as you know, is best read audioillustrated…

How does your story with psytrance begin?

– My first contact with psytrance music was in 2007, when 2 guys from Switzerland, Babacool & Gabi, arrived to my home island Gili Air in Indonesia and started organising psytrance parties. I immediately got fascinated by that sound and I asked them to teach me how to mix. That was the beginning of a wonderfully unexpected journey of discovery and friendships that continues to this day.

What were some of the key events that got you involved in psytrance?

– I have been actively involved in the development of the scene since psytrance landed on the island, and I am now one of the main promoters here. I learnt a lot during the years organising parties at Space Bar, and five years (and counting!) of Burning Island Festival gave me a bigger picture, with the opportunity to collaborate with different crews. Being part of Purple Hexagon was a key development and has allowed me to travel abroad, play at festivals and parties in Southeast Asia and feel part of a much bigger family.

How was your alter ego born? What stands behind the name of your project? 

– The name Abstract comes from some abstract psychedelic visions experienced during parties.

Who have your greatest teachers been? 

– Purple Hexagon founder Kikx taught me to develop my mixing style and really influenced my sound, while each and every one of the artists who have visited Gili Air and performed at our parties have been a great inspiration for me. Thanks to them, I was exposed to a lot of good music and could develop my taste. In Gili Air internet was not reliable until recently and it was not easy to have access to psytrance music unless personally spread by passionate djs and artists coming from abroad.

Your most ‘psychedelic’ or life-changing experience so far?

– Playing outside Indonesia has been some of the best experiences of my life. I had never been to big festivals and it was great to see all these happy people dancing together on huge dancefloors and to share the decks with international artists and friends. Taking part at events such as The Experience and Moon Mountain in Thailand, Belantara in Malaysia and Om Project at Home Club in Singapore have shown me a bit of the international psytrance culture beside Indonesia’s small but vibrant island scene and also gave me great ideas for decorations on dancefloors of all shapes and sizes.

– Can you tell us a bit more about your passion for party decoration?

– I have always worked with bamboo and natural materials; I built my bar and my own house this way and have experimented with these techniques ever since I was very young. Here, we traditionally build our houses with natural materials and we are used to transforming spaces to our own needs and taste. What I really love about setting up and decorating a dancefloor is to do this in a situation of art and music, adding colour and decoration for a specific event. For psytrance parties, I learnt to make use of lycra and string art as well as of lighting effects, which I use a lot both to give character to the booth and to create a peaceful and deeply psychedelic atmosphere in the dancefloor. I believe that decorations are another way, alongside music, to set the mood and influence the way people feel within that space while dancing and having fun. Setting up the dancefloor and making decorations is another way I give my creativity to the party.

– Who do you think are the most cutting-edge, newest sound makers in the scene? 

– I would say Nukleall, Hanuman and Nocti Luca, but specifically for the unique context of Gili Air. Here, we are surrounded by the ocean and still influenced by the rhythms of nature. These artists make use of psychedelic sounds which really suit the tropical vibe of the open air parties here in Gili.

What are some of the greatest challenges you face? 

– The greatest challenge is to keep up the spirit and the parties in a place which is developing this fast. Gili Air is a very small tropical island where the only means of transport are bicycles, horse carts or your own feet. Tourists have always appreciated the special energy of this place, its tropical nature and the relative freedom compared to other islands in Indonesia. Between 2008 and 2013, Space Bar became a meeting point of international psytravellers and a legendary location for amazing free parties on the beach, full of smiley people from around the world. Along the years, many renowned artists came to play, and some people even moved here because of the psytrance scene. Passion for psytrance spread among locals, who have always been great supporters, helping in the organisation and dancing until the very end. Changes have been fast though. Since Space Bar closed, we had to figure out how to keep going. More tourists and more money have completely changed the way psytrance parties are organised and welcomed by the community. It was hard to accept it at first, but I kept smiling…

What are the rewards?

– The reward is seeing that we managed to keep our passion alive and continue to celebrate the special energy of this island. We regularly organise free parties and festivals on the beach, with the support of many local and international friends who help make it happen with their time, energy and passion.

If it wasn’t psytrance, what would it be?

– For me psytrance is not a 24 hour job, but a 24 hour passion that I live everyday in my daily life, while I take care of my family and do other things. It means music, art, connection, exchange and much more that I try to transmit to my kids and I share with friends from all around the world. There is no substitute for it.

What is ‘just a perfect day’ in your version?

– For me the perfect day is the party day, when we are all together dancing and sharing happy times on the beach.

What style of psytrance do you prefer?

– Purple Hexagon is my favourite style, and I play quite upbeat, positive psytrance music in general. I also love to play downtempo music at sunset time and to explore different styles in different moments of the party, according to the mood of the crowd and to what I feel in that moment. I have been lucky to have been influenced by so many people with such diverse tastes that I can now play a wide range of styles.

What are your projects for the future? 

– I want to remain focused on the scene on my island, but I also dream to play on more dancefloors and continue to meet more people from across the global scene. I have never been to Europe and heard so much about Ozora that one day I will have to go and have a look 🙂

Can you tell us something about the mix you prepared for Radio Ozora?

– This mix is a short message of love, light and powerful tropical vibes to radioOzora followers, straight from my heart and from Gili Air psy-family!

Published on the Ozorian Prophet

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