Eli Biton, more commonly known as Pixel, is back in town. The Israeli artist started producing at the turn of the millennium, yet only had his first visit to South Africa last year for Earthdance. He’s been back since then too, for New Years, and now we’ll have him for a third time this weekend at Alien Safari Sprung. Pixel will play second-to-last on Sunday, just before Psybreaks master Hedflux takes over to close the party.
Psymedia : Hey Eli! To kick things off – tell me about your earlier years [being introduced to the psychedelic scene], and learning from Domestic.
Pixel : That was around 1999-2000. We used to live together – parties back then were magical. After DJing for a bit, I felt the need to make my own tunes, but I didn’t have any musical background. Learning was kind of fascinating – I really had to learn from the ground up. After a year or so, I released my first tune Black In Black Out which surprisingly became quite a hit. With only one track made, I started to get international gigs. My first one took place in May 2001. Moved by all the feedback I received, I decided music is what I want to do.
Psymedia : It’s been almost ten years since you released the full length Reality Strikes Back. Are you looking to do a follow up? Are full lengths still a viable choice?
Pixel : I would very much like to do another full length album. But it’s not easy since I’m kind of a slow producer. Travelling a lot makes it even harder. Anyways, I guess nowadays, 3 EPs spread throughout the year would make more sense than a full length. We are in a very fast consuming time these days, lots of information flowing in, which leads to short attention to things.
Psymedia : How has your sound [and production skills] changed since Reality Strikes Back days?
Pixel : Well, that has changed quite a lot. First, I acquired new skills and experience over the years. Naturally I’m always looking for the next tricks and techniques for my productions. Secondly, technology has seriously evolved. The software is way stronger, offering much better tools for us, and also expanding my studio over the time, buying some nice hardware units made a significant impact on my sound.
Psymedia : You mentioned you’re a slow writer. Do you think artists are releasing tracks too often, with the intention of merely using their tracks for advertising purposes?
Pixel : Yes, as I mentioned before, I’m kind of a slow producer. I like to pay attention to the tinniest details – that just takes time. Fortunately in the last few months I’ve managed to finish quite a few tracks, so I guess you’ll be seeing more releases soon. As for other artists, well, I’m up for producers releasing a lot of music. The only thing that bothers me is that a lot of the tracks sound too similar, made from the same sounds and techniques. A little more diversity would be much appreciated!
Psymedia : Many of your recent releases [over the years] have been collaborations. Do they mainly take place in studio or over the internet? How does the end result differ [if at all]?
Pixel : All of them were made in the studio – either my own or others [friends]. There is something about sitting together at the same place, brainstorming with each other and feeding ideas.This couldn’t happen over the internet.
Psymedia : Your latest track with Spacecat called The Experiment is the slowest track that you’ve written. Personally it’s my favourite track on the Captain Hook compilation. Was the track an ‘experiment’?
Pixel : Firstly, thank you. Well, I guess it was kind of an experiment – just not a planned one. We sat at the studio and came up with the bass and main sound, then the track just kept going in its own direction. It was real fun to produce as it has very little sounds, so lots of attention to detail.
Psymedia : You’ve got parties lined up before and after South Africa [in Brazil]. Do you end up staying [in Brazil] for the whole period? Do you spend the time writing tracks?
Pixel : Yes, I’m on a 5 week trip this time. I was just in the United States for Burning Man Festival. Now I am in Brazil for a week, then South Africa for Alien Safari’s Sprung, and then back to Brazil for another 2 weekends. I plan on making music in Brazil, I’ve been talking with Gabe (Wrecked Machines) and it’s definitely time to make some new tunes!
Psymedia : You’ve been to Cape Town twice in the last year – for Earthdance and New Years. What were your thoughts? Will your set differ this time?
Pixel : I just loved it! Such lovely people, everyone smiles at you, and the dance floor is responsive. People seem to really follow the sound which is something I liked a lot. My set may differ this time as it seems the party direction is a harder sound this time. More Psy in a way. I guess I’ll know once I’m there. Playing a DJ set gives me the chance to go in different directions through the set. I’m kinda looking forward to it.
Psymedia : Any upcoming releases you want to mention?
Pixel : A remix collaboration with Domestic and Freedom Fighters for a classic old school Goa tune (Union Jack – Two Full Moons and a Trout). It will be out on Platipus Records in a few days. Astrix vsPixel – Roll Over will be out on HOMmega at the end of September or beginning of October. I’ve also got a Pixel EP that I hope to release around November, featuring a versus track with Captain Hook and a remix of Cosma’s Yok Yok (together with Silent Sphere). I’ve also started to put together a compilation for HOMmega and Playground Festival [in Brazil], planned for early 2014 that will feature a couple of tunes of mine, plus GMS, Astrix, Vertical Mode, Freedom Fighters, Sub6, Skazi, and a few more which I am still planning.
Psymedia : Thanks for the interview! See you at Alien Safari Sprung 2013! Any last words before we finish off?
Pixel : You’re welcome. I’m really looking forward to being there – lets have a blast!
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- Alien Safari Sprung 2013