Giampiero Mastino began his musical journey before the turn of the millennium, playing German Trance on vinyl. In 2002 he made the transition to Psytrance and has never looked back. Whilst managing Free-Spirit Records, Giampiero performs under a plethora of aliases, such as his main project Journey, and side projects Omsphere and Sonic Wave Control.
Hey Jay! So from what I know you’re originally from Italy but made the move to the United Kingdom in 1998. You weren’t originally aware of the psy scene in Italy but have returned numerous times since. Was it kind of surreal returning to a flourishing scene?
Hiya! Yes, that’s correct, I moved to London in 1998, and at the time knew nothing about the burgeoning scene in Italy until I went to play in Milan for the first time in 2005. I was very impressed and surprised by the amazing scene down there and also surprised by the fact that the Leoncavallo venue was just around the corner from where I originally grew up – amazing!
Psymedia : You studied Sound Engineering and Music Technology at the Islington Music Workshop. What’s your take on technical ability vs creativity?
Jay : Both are very important, but I quickly found out that I needed the knowledge to make my creativity happen. That is why I went back to school and that is why I chose to go to the Islington Music Workshop.
Psymedia : You’ve witnessed a great deal of the ever evolving equipment available thanks to technology. Do you think most of the hardware will naturally fade out considering the software available today?
Jay : Absolutely true, over the years I have seen lots of changes in the equipment, and software is definitely getting stronger largely because it is cheaper and easier to use. Personally I feel that hardware will always have a better sound, so no I don’t think hardware will ever fade out completely. I use a hybrid of software and hardware in my studio where I can and am very happy with it.
Psymedia : What are some methods do you use to create chord progressions and melodies?
Jay : I use a variety of different methods. The classic is to follow the bass line and drum grooves, then I fill it with melodies. But I make psychedelic music so I don’t always follow the rules.
Psymedia : How does one maintain a signature sound?
Jay : It takes a lot of hard work and a good ear to ensure that your signature sound is really your own. Passion for the music is essential and I think it is very important to find something that truly comes from your heart. I am and will always be an artist at heart, follow this and never be tempted to copy.
Psymedia : You released the album The Man Who Sold The Time early on in your Journey career. I feel like most artists I chat to would rather have their tracks out quicker on compilations and EPs, especially in the digital age. What’s your take?
Jay : Yes, I am also aware of the fact that some artists want their music out straight away and the quickest and easiest method to do this is in compilations and EP’s. Making an album is another story – you are telling a story and it is more complex than just making a working dance floor track. The advice I give to our artists is take your time and let the music flow, nothing happens over night – this is my take.
Psymedia : You also founded Free-Spirit Records, which must be a big responsibility.
Jay : My wife Bridget and I founded Free-Spirit Records in 2005 . As we have grown so too have the responsibilities. The more artists we get the more responsibilities we truly believe that we have to nurture each and every artist as if they were the only one. It is not just a case of the music is written and it is released, there is a lot of promotion, work and energy that goes into each and every release but we are coping very well and I think that is largely down to taking one thing at a time.
Psymedia : And you’re the man behind the label’s compilations.
Jay : I compiled almost all the compilations, except Free-Spirit Vol 4 which was compiled by DJ Marchello aka M-Theory aka Cimi. When I compile a compilation I work in the same way as when I make my music, I take my time and I listen to all the music sent to me and pick the ones I like and the ones I think follow my flow. It is not necessary for me to have big artist names in my compilations, I just want good music.
Psymedia : Tell me a bit about your side project Omsphere. Do you think slower, progressive beats have picked up in popularity recently?
Jay : I started Omsphere in 2009 while I was doing my second Journey album ‘Through The Mirror’. I felt my creativity needed some variation, and so Omsphere was born. I loved it straight away and noticed that people reacted very positively to my new side project, so I just kept on doing it. I definitely feel progressive beats are getting stronger and becoming more popular and that is fantastic. I believe trance music is not only psychedelic full on, but also progressive and down tempo, that is why Free-Spirit Records follows all genres recently – fantastic hey!
Psymedia : Then there’s Sonic Wave Control. You released a debut album last year right off the bat. How long did it take you to write the album?
Jay : I started Sonic Wave Control for the same reasons I started Omsphere. I need to have variety when I create my music. The first Sonic Wave Control album was a very intensive process and the album was written, produced and mastered within 2 months. I am already working on new Sonic Wave Control material and plan to start working on the next album straight after finishing my first Omsphere album in May this year. After that I will start on Journey again and who knows maybe another project. We will see what will happen in my studio.
Psymedia : How has Cape Town treated you?
Jay : No it is not my first time and I hope not the last too! I love to play for the Cape Town crowd as they are always so up for it and full of joy and energy. My experiences have always been ‘lekker’ hey!
Psymedia : Thanks for the interview. Anything to add before we finish off?
Jay : Thanks to you too for the great interview. Keep on grooving, keep on dancing with such wonderful smiles and remember I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you! One love, Jay.