It’s been 1 year and 9 months since we last spoke with Lyle Jenson, also known as DJ Archive and co-owner of MMD Records. A lot has changed since then, especially for a Night Time Full On DJ, label owner and party organiser.
Psymedia : Howzit Lyle! It’s been almost 2 years since we last spoke. What’s been the biggest change for you as a DJ and a label owner?
DJ Archive : Hey lionbru, thanks for having me back. I think since we last spoke, the main change as a label owner has been that trend of following the slower BPM Progressive Trance by the local trance party attendees (and the international community still has that bug as well). It’s a sound that doesn’t particularly suit MMD‘s potential target releases, but we’ve managed to keep our head above water and continue to push a more refined style that still allows us to stand out amongst the ever-growing range of labels appearing in our sub-genre.
As a DJ, well in a way I’ve had to somewhat unexpectedly become a proud ambassador for Night Time Full On. As a result, my local solo gigs (particularly for the outdoor festivals) have lessened a bit because of the nature of the music attracting the crowds now, but this means I can focus on those particular gigs I’m booked for, and make sure I give 110% focus on providing the dance floor with an epic cutting edge unforgettable experience every time I play.
Psymedia : MMD Records so far has put out 5 releases this year, with last month’s Iron Assault – The Infected being the only release by a local. Has it become harder to find artists who reflect the MMD sound?
DJ Archive : To be honest, I never thought to myself ‘we need more South African acts on MMD’. I totally judge the music for what it is, and regardless of where the good beats are coming from, as long as they fit our style, that is what we will release. It’s just by some random chance the beats currently being released by MMD are from countries like Portugal, Mexico and partly South Africa, Israel and a few other countries. I personally put MMD on a high pedestal, to the point that I act hard on almost anyone that thinks they’re on a level to release with us. I believe it’s that hard-nosed mentality that’s kept MMD current in the Night Time Full On sub-genre, and forces all producers to up their game and deliver a quality product that we can all be proud of in the end. We do have a few more South African inspired releases coming up in 2014, it was just by chance that we released more international producers this year, for example the release of our Russian producer, Z-Cat’s CD album Reflected earlier this year, which was extremely well received worldwide almost selling out all our hard discs (a feet which is usually only reserved for the more Day Time Full On acts), so clearly something is working here!
Psymedia : You’re no newcomer when it comes to versus sets, but formed a permanent alias Archain, alongside Strain, last year. You’re signed to different labels and represent Global Army Music together. Does this help differentiate your sets?
DJ Archive : Well, this kind of relates to the first question. Like I said, the dance floor has slowly been moving towards a groovier psychedelic, less aggressive tone in the DJ sets. So myself and Strain, after our successful Psycho Stompers morning set 2 seasons ago, decided to get together and put together a unique, more versatile project focusing on the more melodic funkodelic morning sound. Our debut for the new style took place at MMD’s The Ancients in January this year, and the dance floor really responded well to the new vibe, so we were chuffed with the results. Although we choose to go slightly less aggressive, I would hardly say we’re lacking the power in the beats, just perhaps keeping it chunkier on the bass end and less crazy on the synthetic high sounds. The main reasoning behind the project though, is to mainly showcase a more playful, groovatious feel from the sets, giving a more moving emotional feeling on the dance floor to what listeners would usually be used to from our individual solo sets.
Subsequently, we wanted to jointly represent a label in the industry that neither of us individually represented already, and although for Archain, we don’t like to pigeon hold ourselves to a direct Psytrance style, and actually play many tracks from a lot of different labels such as Trick Music, Fractal Records and Universal Beats Records to name a few. Global Army Music from Mexico acted as a great catalyst to broaden our musical horizons, and the relationship we’re created with them has been a fun experience. We plan to have a fresh 1 hour mix exclusively of GAB tunes featured, so look out for that soon.
Psymedia : Electronic music has exploded in Cape Town, particularly Psytrance. Does anything about its growth, including the increased competition [as a DJ and organiser] make you want to take a step back, or does it push you to work harder and become better at what you do?
DJ Archive : There’s no doubt that there’s a lot more cooks in the the Psy kitchen now, that’s for sure. But, I’ve often said the local Psytrance scene is like a family, and sometimes in the family, you may have relatives that you can’t deal with, but in the end we’re all in this together spreading the psychedelic gospel so to speak, together, whether people like it or not. Now with all the new organisers coming into the scene, it does increase the risk of over saturation, but then again it also offers a lot of opportunities for our artists to play at different events that may bring a different market that may not be aware of Psytrance or the Psy scene, and that alone acts as a motivator for our acts to produce even better music, which in turn can only benefit the label. We love what we do, and enjoy releasing killer Night Time inspired music, throwing unique blasting indoor and outdoor events, and I really doubt that energized feeling will ever really disappear.
Psymedia : Has the direction of the local Psytrance community changed since we last spoke? Where do you think it’s headed?
DJ Archive : I was discussing this recently with Dale Byl of db Mastering (and Smugg Juggler) funnily enough. He said, because there’s so much chaos in the world and in peoples’ personal lives nowadays, that translates directly into the music they listen to, which has in turn lead to a lot of people attending the parties now, who actually don’t want to have chaos in the music they listen to at the events. Obviously with the bigger the scene gets, and more genres that bleed into it, this will obviously bring a lot more cultures and different musos out of the woodwork, and probably what will happen is that either the Psy scene will somewhat implode from the over-saturation of parties happening and just go back to its underground roots, or the scene will expand and grow, and become a more varied EDM type festival catering more and more to other genres. But I truly feel that the true Psytrance followers will follow regardless of the changes that could happen, whatever they may be.
Psymedia : Recently we’ve seen a few parties either be cancelled or change venues at the last minute. Has it become harder to throw outdoor parties?
DJ Archive : This is definitely a hot topic as far as organisers go at the moment, but I’d rather not go into the finer details around this. What I can say about all of the recent government and community intervention, is that essentially if the local municipality and government plan to rid out larger festivals in the Cape Town region, the reality is you’re either going to have to be one hell of a professional sweet talker with all the authorities, land owners and neighboring land owners, with all your paper work in order, a back up plan venue (and back up plan for that just in case) to stand any chance in maintaining a local venue for the full duration of the outdoor event. Or the simple realization could be that parties may just have to move further out of the 021 area code to guarantee a smooth uninterrupted event. It’s all very touch and go now, but we will have to wait to see how it all pans out.
Psymedia : This weekend’s Remanufacture marks the fifth collaboration between MMD Records and Beartrap Productions. Are collaborations beneficial?
DJ Archive : I personally enjoy collaborations with other organisations. In the past MMD has collaborated with companies like Ultranoize, Timecode, Disasterpeace, Psynopticz, and obviously over the past 6 years Beartrap Productions. It brings in a joint energy into the production, and usually brings in a lot more input, assets and resources into the party itself, from the logistics, to the decor, to the lineup. MMD has enjoyed every collaboration event we’ve been involved with over the years, and specifically with our De/Remanufacture events. Those have truly allowed us to promote some of our favorite local and international acts within a huge scale production, getting bigger, better, and way more epic over the years. For that we are grateful – the fans agree with us and continues to support. As far as other organisers following the trend of a collaborative event goes, honestly I say if every partner in that event can see eye to eye on what the actual goal of the collaboration was in the first place, then by all means throw the party. I know I’ll be there to support for sure, regardless!
Psymedia : What can the dance floor expect from your set?
DJ Archive : Remanufacture is technically my first official solo Archive set for this summer season, so my plan is very simple. If I play in the night, and that is to decimate and destroy brain cells, I’m basically out for blood! [laughs] I plan to bring some of the hardest, freshest, most high tech Night Time Full On the dance floor has heard this season so far, along with some really old classic personal favorites from years back. I totally accept the fact that some will love it, and others will hate it. Some may find it a little bit scary and abrasive, whilst others will completely lose their minds to it. Either way it’s going to be one hell of a trip!
The 30 minute B2B session between acts was actually an idea sparked by Laura (Sway) and when she told me that was the backing idea for the event, I totally loved it and we broke down a lineup to fit that flowing theme. The concept of each act flowing into the next without a break between sets is a process used many years ago (and organisations such as Vortex still apply this method even today). Basically, having no breaks between sets (except live acts) allows for a deeper uninterrupted flow from DJ to DJ, without creating a break in silence between sets. It also brings in a lot more spontaneity into the DJ sets, as DJ’s don’t know who they play before or after, until the day before the party happens, so they must be able to mix with the style of the next act, while still reading the crowd and maintaining a flow in the music. It definitely will add to the rhythmic journey within the party, and should make Remanufacture a stand out event in the minds of the sharp listeners attending.
Psymedia : Thanks for the interview! Anything to add before we finish off?
DJ Archive : Thanks for the grilling interview once again Psymedia, and a personal thank you to all the spawn for all your continued support. Without all of you, the scene would indeed disintegrate, so keep supporting this amazing scene! Spot you all at Remanufacture!