Skarab from The Village (RSA 🇿🇦) – Exclusive Interview
Skarab is Phill Waugh – A deadly smoothie maker and dance floor smasher also happens to be one of the guys behind next weekend’s The Village: Spiritual Synaesthesia outdoor party. We decided to find out how it all started, what can be expected of the brand new venue, the headliner Digital Talk, and his thoughts on Shift‘s recent comments regarding the scene.
The following questions were compiled on behalf of Psymedia by Evan Greenblo.
Psymedia : Hey Phill! How did The Village come about?
Skarab : Howsit, bud. The Village was formed as a collective idea shared between Carl Sharples, Will Wyness and myself (later joined by Lee Sharples). It all began with us sitting on Will’s couch in Somerset West one day, day dreaming of having our own events after experiencing our first party’s way back in 2002. We borrowed a small amount of money from our folks, found a venue and got stuck in. Our first event was held back in May of 2006 at The Hangklip Hotel. Since then we have been blessed with massive support from our ‘Psy-Family’ and loads of positive progression within this industry.
As the name states, The Village was formed through a collective consciousness based on the concept of creating a community of like-minded people coming together to host two events per season (April and October). It is through the many, many hours of hands on hard work from all our friends and families that we are able to produce the events we do. They are conceptualized, created and crafted with love by us for the people who deserve it most – the party goers! As without every single one of them none of what we do would be possible. This is why we do what we do! A party by the people FOR THE PEOPLE! GEES!
Psymedia : How did The Village Records come about (and your affiliation with Spectral Records)?
Skarab : The Village Records came about in an effort to promote our brand, our artists and officially give our fans something to bang in their homes, cars and pretty much anytime anywhere. Our collaboration with good friend Daniel – Menog arose after a tour to Portugal last year, where the idea was born to join forces to help broaden our audience and also shed more light on the existing Spectral Records label. It is an absolute honour and privilege to work with Danny and we are looking forward to our upcoming compilation release – Spectral Village to be released soon!
Psymedia : For those that have never attended a Village party, how would you describe the general sound and atmosphere?
Skarab Sjoe! The sound and atmosphere… well in a word… GEES! [Laughs] If this is your first Village event, you will probably have heard a thing or two about how we do things! Straight up – it’s full tilt, no holds barred, tear the roof off GEES! JOLLING! This is the event we want you to tell all your mates about, to dream about till the next one, to measure all other events by and to leave with a dusty smile strapped to your face begging for the next one!
Psymedia : And how did you come up with the name of the party, Spiritual Synaesthesia?
Skarab : The word synaesthesia literally means ‘with sensation,’ it is a neurologically-based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway, leads to automatic and involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In other words, people may hear what they see, or more commonly, see what they hear, in terms of colour, shape and form. Yes, they may even taste a shape! So we chose to combine this with the spiritual aspect of the journey we embark on as we enter The Village.
Psymedia : Tell me about the decision to change venues for the upcoming party, and what can be expected?
Skarab : [Laughs] I was waiting for this one. Well, due to reasons out of our control we have sadly had to leave Flenterskloof Farm and move on to greener pastures. To date, to my knowledge, there haven’t been any other events hosted at Wildekrans Estate. So we will be the first. We are hard at work as we speak with venue prep as this is a new venue we are completely re-sculpting the land to accommodate the jol! What’s to be expected? Well, loads of space, great camping, killer dance floor with all new shading concepts and layout.
Psymedia : And we’ve got Digital Talk headlining.
Skarab : Digital Talk – enough said! If you don’t know who Digital Talk is and aren’t shouting their name from the top of a building somewhere then you might be a little young for our event… just kidding! Digital Talk have been in action since 2004 (first release) and have set trends within the Psytrance music genre with massive tracks such as The Ultimate and Audio Extremists to name but a few. They have headlined events around the globe since then, and they have had many collaborations to date and have helped carve the path of so many artists we know and love today. They are foremost one of the main reasons myself and the others appreciate the music and the scene as we do. Their fluidity in production, the European flair and class combined with a solid, strapping bass line is enough to make any dance floor shake!
I stood on stage behind them when the exact picture on our artwork was taken, as they opened the Dance Temple (Main Stage) at Boom Festival last year when they dropped The Ultimate to 30 000+ screaming fans at 20:15. Rocking so hard I could feel the vibrations in my lungs! I truly felt the pure raw power and presence of these true masters of Psytrance, if only for a second time stood still and I was cast back all those years ago to how and why we do this. That sealed it for me – we just had to have them!
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Sadly due to unforeseen reasons the one member of Digital Talk will not be joining us for the event as he has chosen to pursue family and other business avenues. Nonetheless Digital Talk is in full swing and we will be experiencing the full awesome power, track for track! We are treating you to 1 hour LIVE and 1 hour DJ set to top it off! Nothing less than the absolute ultimate Digital Talk experience at The Village! This will sadly be a kind of last hurrah for Digital Talk as after this season they are set to retire from producing. If you know them and love the music, get to The Village to experience them one last time on South African soil!
Psymedia : How will The Village give back to the surrounding community, and what have you done in the past?
Skarab : In the past at our previous venue we were sponsoring the community pre-school through the Pebbles Foundation, with donations, repairs and construction to their existing buildings. Setting up proper fencing, school desks, stationary and various other things. At the moment we are currently sourcing an outlet in which we will be able to assist in Botriver or the surrounding areas.
Psymedia: How long in advance do preparations start?
Skarab : Well, as this is a new venue, we are having to literally start over from scratch. Luckily with the positive support from our venue owner we are able to do as we please and things are well on their way to becoming our next Village venue. Usually with this kind of prep and a new site we need a minimum of 2 weeks prior for venue prep.
Psymedia : What are your thoughts on the recent increase in fraudulent activities surrounding outdoors, such as fake tickets and IDs?
Skarab : Firstly, I want to express my utter disgust and disdain on this subject! It deeply saddens me to think that no matter how or where or whichever event there will always be a bad element out to do nothing but create negative energy and selfishly take for their own self gain. I would love to catch one of them in the act… that is all! Or just sit back and wait for karma to rear her ugly head.
Psymedia : You’re also known for your banging Skarab DJ sets!
Skarab : [Laughs] Yeah! Well firstly (depending on set time) a few heavy hitters I never leave home without are Ex-Gen, Smashed, Rubix Qube, Biorhythm, Khopat, Brainwash, Iliuchina, Orca, X-Side, Wired, Remove, and Outer Signal to name a few. As far as set times go, that’s where the fun starts. I was bred from the twilight hours at our early events and have since then migrated and evolved into night time full on, ranging from 145-147bpm, usually no earlier than 11pm and no later than 02am. In the past couple of years exclusively at The Village I have moved my style to rocking it proper on Sunday day to close The Village in true Village style as we were getting a bit over parties ending on a wet fart! This year however we have decided to end with pure class courtesy of Nano Records big guns The Commercial Hippies! You can catch me smashing it from 01:00 – 02:30 Saturday night! With my boys Biorhythm feat Glacial, I got a little something to get your body rocking!
Psymedia : What does the name Skarab mean?
Skarab : It relates to Egyptian Mythology – Scarab with a C. The ancient Egyptians saw how these beetles lived and emerged from dry ground and used this as a metaphor for the entombing and resurrection of their mummies. In this way the beetle became the Egyptian symbol for rebirth, the ability to be reborn. The Egyptians also observed the beetle rolling its ‘egg ball’ along the ground, and the ball was identified with the sun and the beetle with the god Khepri who pushed the ball of the sun across the sky. Scarabs were worn as jewelry and amulets in ancient Egypt. The Heart Scarab, which had hieroglyphic inscriptions on the back, was often buried with the dead to ensure the rebirth of the deceased in the afterlife. They were placed over the heart of the deceased to keep it from confessing sins during its interrogation in the “Weighing of the Heart” ceremony. It represents resurrection, recreation & re-birth!
Psymedia : It’s great to see Shift on the lineup for The Village! What are your thoughts on his recent comments, particularly about short sets at outdoors and stale lineups?
Skarab : Yeah man, it’s awesome to have Chris back on board. He is one of the true legends of this scene and is testament to the theory of longevity within the music scene and especially in the South African Psytrance scene. He has been rocking dance floors since most of you were still gelling your hair and popping pimples. It’s through him and others such as The Skragg, Artifakt, Phyx, Slug, Xatrik (to name a few) that we are blessed with the music we have and the scene we embrace! The legends live on!
With regard to his statements in BPM, I must sadly agree but I also see the other side of the coin here. I 100% agree that short 1 hour sets are a joke and that there most definitely is a massive lack of originality in a lot of the line ups of today, but a point to be acknowledged here is that even Shift was a noob one fine day way back when and someone gave him a chance. This is by no means an excuse for overcrowding! That is unacceptable and unprofessional that purely comes down to bad organizing!
Another point here is that each event has its own specific style, pace and desired line up. With the massive influx/congestion of new artists and DJ’s on the scene it’s almost impossible for everyone to get a slot, this is where over crowded line ups happen and dissatisfied party goers and disrupted music flow occurs. All this comes down to proper planning, respect for your headliners and a solid understanding of to structure a line up to achieve the best all round results while insuring consistency.
Psymedia : What changes would you like to see next season?
Skarab : As a promoter the changes I would like to see… greater diversity. In terms of acknowledging the true legends or forefathers of this scene (that is, Shift, The Skragg/Rabdom L, Xatrik to name a few. Phyx, Slug, and Artifakt are from what I hear retired, but you get my drift). We need to embrace and promote professional, well structured attractive line ups, so the people paying their hard earned money to come to the event get what they paid for and leave with one hell of a jol under their belt. We need fresh, diverse, well structured, proudly South African line ups and events full stop!
The overseas/EU market is killing us in terms of large scale Psytrance events. We (as promoters) need to cut the bullshit, step up and give the people what they want and deserve as without them none of this would be possible. Unfortunately with our beloved scene absolutely saturated and congested with fly-by-night productions and promoters giving the majority a bad rep, natural selection will slim the herd, leaving a gap for the organisations who have been here for many years to uplift their game and give the people what they want and rightly deserve!
Psymedia : Tell me a bit about the newly launched Cold Fusion nights.
Skarab : Ah yes, Cold Fusion! This is something exciting we have just launched for winter, based in Somerset West. As I’m sure you know we (me, Lee, Carl, Will) are all from Somerset West. Over the years we have seen the odd indoor come and go in Somerset West and eventually decided to step up and do it proper. There is a massive Psy-Family out in Somerset West, Strand, Stellenbosch & Gordon’s Bay and we think they all deserve to come and share in on the magic. If you can’t make it to an outdoor during the season we aim to give you an indoor experience with Village flair in a centralized location. We will be hosting them monthly through winter and will be advertised through our various Village online outlets.
Psymedia : When are your smoothies going to make an appearance at The Village?
Skarab : [Laughs] How did you know about that? Damn man, that caught me off guard! Not too sure bud. But I can promise you when they do it’ll be awesome!
Psymedia : Thanks for the interview! Anything you want to add before we finish off?
Skarab : My pleasure Evan, thanks for your time. Get ready for a Village like no other! We have a brand spanking new venue; in a new area, fresh line up, our first international – Digital Talk and a whole lot a GEES coming your way on the 13th April 2013. We hope to see all the beautiful faces coming out for this one. We love the support of every single one of the fans, friends and family who make what we do possible! Mad Village GEES and love to you all, please travel safe on route to the venue. We can’t wait to share this journey with you all!
PS: Please take note that the venue directions (flyers, pre-solds only) have a typo: the exit off the N2 is EXIT 92 not 62!!!
- Skarab on Facebook
- Skarab on Soundcloud