Contra is the latest project by Vaughan De Ville. He’s put EMP on the shelf for now and created a beast at a slower BPM. Vaughan’s signature sound is easily identifiable in Contra, yet with a twist. His inclusion of eery psychedelic night time sounds coupled with fun day time bounce is sure to rock our outdoor parties this season – whether day or night. Enjoy this first mix and interview of Contra, and don’t forget to catch him at Alien Safari Sprung 2013 next weekend on Saturday night from 22:30 to 23:30.
Psymedia : Hey Vaughan. To kick things off – tell me a bit about yourself, and how you were introduced to psychedelic trance?
Contra : Ahoy, well my name is Vaughan de Villiers but my friends call me V de Ville. I fell in love with dance music the first time I heard it – there’s something about a 4/4 beat that just syncs with me. I went through a stage of listening to pretty much all of its genres but was always looking for something more twisted. Around 2000 someone gave my friends and I a copy of The Gathering by Infected Mushroom and we were proper hooked.
Psymedia : Your EMP project has a distinct sound. How will your signature touch translate to Contra and where does it fit in at the party?
Contra : I was feeling a little lost with EMP towards the end of last season and wanted to take a break from it and come back with a fresh concept, so I decided to work on a 138ish BPM set in the meantime. I was digging quite a bit of the slower stuff last season and was pretty amped to give it a bash. I didn’t really know what I wanted to write so I just went with it and wrote whatever came out and that’s what it is now. Its somewhere between Prog and Full On with a mix of darker and lighter moods and as usual a strong focus on melody. I reckon it would work well pre-midnight at more chilled parties and during the day at the harder ones.
Psymedia : Are you looking to primarily focus on Contra or EMP this season?
Contra : I’m going to play Contra now while I write new EMP then just take it as it comes. I have 8 tracks done and dusted for Contra. By the end of the year both of them should be jacked, racked and ready to crack.
Psymedia : So you’re writing an entirely new EMP set?
Contra : Yes, I want to do a full new set with maybe a couple of classics revamped. The concept I currently have for the new EMP is big rolling bass, lots of techy percussive vibes and that old school super tweaked melody. Last season had some cool tracks but I kinda lost direction and want to bring back the Psy.
Psymedia : Does designing your own artwork allow you to extend the creative concept of your music? Who else [in the scene] have you designed for?
Contra : I actually first got into design because I wanted to be able to make my own artwork and logos among other things and never really stopped messing around with it. It is nice to be able to extend the concept of my music into other art forms but its really just another creative outlet. I’m working with a visual guy at the moment though called RAIDO and we’re gonna be doing some sick cross media stuff very soon for stuff like Youtube and projections. I’ve done lots of flyers for various local promoters and album art for various people mostly from Replicant Records and MMD.
Psymedia : You’ve also studied Composition and Arrangement. How does that benefit Psytrance production?
Contra : It’s probably not as beneficial as it would be to some other styles of music but it does allow me to maximize melody usage pretty effectively. I’ve arranged for full orchestra before and doing a solid Psytrance track is a similar experience if not a more challenging one. With an orchestra your instruments are pre-defined and they have limits with what they can play, the focus is mainly on harmony. Synthesizers have a limitless range of sounds they can produce so your canvas is virtually infinite, the only thing you are bound to is a general kick and bass sound, and who doesn’t love Psytrance bass. It’s delicious.
Psymedia : You’ve ocassionaly incorporated violin in your EMP sets. Will you do the same somewhere down the line for Contra [live or productions]?
Contra : I don’t think so, Contra is more of a one-man-pilot kinda ship. But I‘m thinking of using quite a bit more violin in EMP’s new set. We jammed it at 6th Sense recently running through some live FX in Cubase and it sounded rather beastly.
Psymedia : What are your thoughts on the influx in Progpsy, and Full On guys making the transition?
Contra : Well I’m digging the slower stuff, I mean in the early 2000’s we would have Flying Rhino stuff at 9 in the morning so in a way its just going full circle. But it’s also become quite easy to put down a basic track these days and so there are a lot of new acts sounding really similar. The ones that embrace originality will survive however and hopefully find themselves a place in the scene. One must always be mindful of why we do this though, it’s about expanding consciousness. Everything else is just collateral.
Psymedia : Can it be as challenging to write Progressive [as Full On]?
Contra : Completely, but in totally different ways. Full On is more about micro production, setting up tight grooves and beast breaks. Progressive is all about creating and playing with spaces.
Psymedia : Any upcoming releases you want to mention?
Contra : Nothing specific to speak of as yet, but a lot stuff on the near horizon.
Psymedia : Thanks for the interview – see you at Alien Safari Sprung! Anything to add before we finish off?
Contra : Aweh.
- Contra on Facebook
- EMP on Facebook
- EMP on Soundcloud
- Alien Safari Sprung 2013