Brainiac returns to Cape Town next weekend after his first taste at Alien Safari Sprung in 2011. With releases across Grasshopper Records, Solar Tech & 24/7 Records, the UK based artist is welcomed back to Cape Town for Organik Gaian Dream 2016 alongside Vini Vici. We had a chat with Brainiac, to find out his history, his love for Japan & why he’s excited to return to South Africa.
Psymedia: Hello Philipp! Can you tell me how you got involved in the psychedelic trance scene, how Brainiac came about, and what inspired you to perform?
Brainiac: I have been messing around with music since my early days as a child, as I kind of grew into performing. I played in bands and had some stage experience prior to my Psytrance life. As I got older, my interest in electronic music grew. I explored various genres and immediately fell in love with Techno & Psytrance. In 2003, I decided to try and write some of the music I was listening to. And here I am, over 10 years after my first release, still learning every day.
Psymedia: How did learning the guitar and organ benefit your electronic music production?
Brainiac: This will be a yes & no answer. Music theory helps to understand the parameters music operates in. I soon realized that it might not be needed so much as I was expecting. For me, Psytrance is about repetition in a way. Intelligent looping can bring you right into a meditative state and catapult you into a real trance experience. In my opinion, there is not much space for melodies in 4/4 tracks, without becoming cheesy very quickly. I’m not saying using melodies is wrong, I love and use them too. Too complex melodies on the other hand distract from repetition and therefore don’t let me trance/dance. I have learned the drums as well and found much more use of this instrument in my electronic music endeavours as rhythmic content is what makes us move our butts. In the end, it’s also a matter of taste.
Psymedia: You’re originally from Germany but have since relocated to the UK. Why did you decide to move?
Brainiac: I was born in Germany but originally I am from Croatia. I have lived in the UK for 3 years now. A bit confusing, I know. I was invited to play in the UK a few times and I really loved the vibe and the people. It happened that I met my girlfriend at one of the parties in the UK, so I stayed. The UK, especially Bristol, is a fantastic hub for music people. There are a lot of subcultures coexisting and thriving, so its a very vibrant and alternative place to be. Many different kinds of music, events and concerts are happening that I could only dream of in the very conservative city in Germany I was living in before.
Psymedia: What’s the scene like in the UK at the moment?
Brainiac: The scene is great. We just had a magnificent summer with all those high grade festivals like Noisily, Boomtown, Nozstock, Triplicity, Life Festival, Elixir of Life, just to mention a few. The people are incredibly friendly and caring. Reminds me of the earlier days in the scene where everything was more flower power if you know what I mean!
Psymedia: What has been your most memorable gig this year and why?
Brainiac: That must have been Atmosphere Festival in Mexico. Great organization, really good production and a vast amount of national and international artists. It was great to play along heroes like Astrix, Alien Project, Loud, Bliss, Protoculture and Vini Vici with whom I will share the stage again at this years Organik, which I am very excited about.
Psymedia: Take me through the process of a typical Brainiac track?
Brainiac: There is no programming in a Brainiac track. The only thing you can be sure of is, that it takes time. I’m not a fan of banging out tunes in high frequency. There are people who are able to do it and all power to them, I greatly respect that, but I need my time. For me a track is like a good wine, it takes a while to ripen. I’m sure there are many people disagreeing, especially nowadays where tracks become disposable so quick and its just about consuming new stuff. In my sets I can play music that is 6 years old or 6 days old as I am putting lots of effort in each track so at least in my mind it becomes timeless. Hope that makes sense.
Psymedia: Tell me about your EP series entitled Japanology. Are there plans to continue it? Why Japan?
Brainiac: I have completed 2 editions of the series and I strongly assume there will be more of it. Japan is one of my favourite countries in many ways. Culture, food, architecture and the list goes on. Very fascinating place. I have had a connection with Japan since I was a kid. I was doing martial arts for a big part of my life which had its roots in Japan. When I was on one of my Japan tours I had a lot of time on my hands. I decided to write some music with my buddies Spectra Sonics, Cylon and Mirok. The result were 3 beautiful tracks that were different but fitting together very well. I wanted to capture this wonderful time we had writing the music and being together on an EP. I really enjoyed working on this project and since the first and second edition were such a success there might be coming more of it.
Psymedia: You’ve also got a side project, Mindfold (alongside Materia). How did the two of you meet? How does that differ from Brainiac?
Brainiac: Andi wrote to me on Myspace (remember?) and wanted to make a track together. I was keen on doing so and I drove down to Austria. We locked ourselves in his studio and we came out with a few tracks that we really loved and to this date are very special for us and we still play them. We quickly realized that we can work together really well and also the chemistry between us is just right, which is very important if you create music together. The symbiosis between us works because Andi is more on the dark side (of music) while I am often on the brighter side, so we complement each other and the end result benefits from it greatly. I would say that together we are more ready to go out on a limb and try out new things which we would not necessarily try ourselves alone. Shared risk/fear is only half of it right? Through those experiments we achieved great results that surprised even us and we wont stop.
Psymedia: This won’t be your first time in SA. Why are you excited to return for Organik Gaian Dream 2016? What can the dancefloor expect from your set?
Brainiac: I am extremely excited to be back because I know what expects me: wonderful people, a superb vibe on the dance floor, highest quality of production, a fantastic sound system. Who would not be excited? You can expect to listen to a delicious concoction of some fresh unreleased stuff that is a bit different from the music I usually write, some well-known “classics” and a bit of the in between so I hope there is a little something for everybody.
Psymedia: Any upcoming releases you want to mention?
Brainiac: At the moment I am looking for a label that wants to release a rather different track I wrote. I am not rushing with releasing new music as I am trying to reinvent Brainiac a little bit at the moment, so keep an ear and an eye on my Soundcloud and Facebook pages in the next few weeks.
Psymedia: Thanks for the interview, see you at Organik Gaian Dream 2016! Anything to add before we finish off?
Brainiac: Thanks for having me, I really appreciate that you guys are bringing me over. Can’t wait to smash it with all of you very soon!