Calvin aka Switchcache is the main man behind PsynOpticz Productions that is responsible for Jungala Festival taking place this weekend. We thought it was only suitable to interview him and give the public an inside perspective on organizing indoors and outdoors, how PsynOpticz Productions started, choosing international artists and all the effort required. Not only is Calvin responsible for PsynOpticz Productions, but you can also catch him behind the DJ decks as Switchcache and Broken Switch. We briefly discussed how hard it was to get started and his upcoming releases on {psyology} Records.

– The following questions were compiled on behalf of Psymedia by Evan Greenblo.

Psymedia: Howzit Calvin! Jungala Festival 2012 is a couple of days away now. Is everything on schedule and running smoothly?

Switchcache: Hey Psymedia, excited is an understatement! We have something really amazing planned this year and we’re all looking forward to another great Jungala experience. Everything is running like clockwork, the trance gods are definitely behind us on this one!

Psymedia: As an organizer how much time do you spend at the venue before and after the party?

Switchcache: Well, we work on site until the jobs done! Changing and adding to the dance floor, bar, camping areas. Anything we feel we can adjust or perfect in some way – like making the island bigger, burning big piles of wood that we couldn’t move, adding walk ways, a rad swing into the river and making the overall venue more beautiful. On the week before the event I am on the venue at least three days prior to the event, and then when the party ends cleanup usually takes up to one or two days. Then comes post production!

Psymedia: What critical planning takes place for a festival that party goers do not consider? You also mentioned it takes one or two days to clean the venue up. How can attendees help make your job a little easier?

Switchcache: Well, in the planning there are meetings with all local authorities showing your emergency plans, waste management, security plan and a lot more needs to be covered in order for your event to even get the go ahead from the local authorities. All structures needed to be cleared by a structural engineer on the day of the event as well. Our events in Cape Town are very well prepared and with regards to health and safety, I think any party goer can be assured that they will be safe and secure at our event and a lot of Cape Town events. This makes people feel a lot safer and therefore they can party with a clear mind.

What can partygoers do to help a promoter when they are about to leave the event? Well we give each car a black bag when they enter the event so people can full those bags with any litter they see lying around their camps sites and surrounding areas and drop the bag at the front gate or in a bin.

Also a big plus is for everyone is to have an hour chill session before they leave and sober up a bit so that they are capable to drive home safely. If they are tired they should even have a sleep, as sleep deprivation is just as bad as driving drunk.

Psymedia: I’m sure there is a larger amount of effort required throwing an outdoor party in comparison to an indoor. How long does it take to plan a festival like Jungala?

Switchcache: Yes, it is a lot of work but its work that makes me happy and thanks to my fiancé & business partner Romy, a lot of pressure is spread between the two of us J Planning to put smiles on people’s faces is what it is all about for us, as well as providing a platform for local and international artists to showcase their talent. We started planning the event about 6 months ago and then there is post production which is another month or two. A lot of people wouldn’t have a clue about the blood, sweat and tears (not to mention legal documents!) that go into an event! Most gets done in a month but things like the video edit, reviews, pictures, website and other little touches take that little extra time. If you are going to do it – do it right! That’s always been our motto when it comes to doing festivalsPsynOpticz will always put everything we have into our festivals.

Psymedia: It sounds like you’re very passionate about your work. It must be somewhat heartbreaking when an event does not get the support necessary…

Switchcache: Yes, I am very passionate about my work, and very glad that my work can be my passion as well. Music has always been a big influence in my life and will always be. Without it I would have no soul. With regards to an event needing to have enough support to allow it to grow, it does have to touch the commercial world in a way of not cheezy but a control of the quality of music being played, at least in my opinion of what we want to portray in our festivals. Without the word being spread about the festival through people being really amped about the party, the event will never grow. People generally want to hear that the party is going to be a great success through a lot of people otherwise word doesn’t spread enough and the party could fail. People in Cape Town are generally supportive and we’ve had an amazing response to everything we’ve done, we know our festivals will grow in size over the years and we’re excited! We put our blood, sweat and tears (literally) into our festivals, so when it pays off, it’s a great feeling! And again I would like to say, my main drive behind my events is my lady who is partner in PsynOpticz, as well as my fiancé. It’s true – behind every successful man is a woman.

Psymedia: PsynOpticz has been running regular indoor parties for some years now. Why did you decide to start throwing outdoor parties? Is that the obvious route to grow the brand name?

Switchcache: PsynOpticz Productions has been throwing events for a little under 8 years now. In the beginning I started doing events because I wanted to get booked as a DJ. Every DJ knows how hard it is to get booked, the best idea I ever had was to start doing events. You book the other promoters and artists and then people recognize your events and you, and in turn they start to book you. I also had ideas on décor, themed events, music that has progression and always wanted to create what I have seen in my mind for all these years. Gathering ideas from events all over the world I have been to and seen and make my own. It’s a dream come true for me to make my passion my work as well.  It was a natural progression as after all the time of doing indoors we were out growing the weekly event and wanted to give our fans and followers more, bigger, and better experiences – what they deserved! And so we found our true home, the great outdoors.

Psymedia: You mentioned PsynOpticz was initially born to help you get bookings. Are things a bit easier now for new artists?

Switchcache: Yes my intention in the beginning was to get more gigs but then grew into something much greater. I think things are still difficult for new artists, maybe even harder than when I started, as now anyone can DJ with programs like Traktor around. Things like auto-sync make it so easy to DJ and affordable. We try our best to give a lot of newcomers a platform to showcase their talent. We are very picky when it comes to choosing new DJs to play as we want people that have made an effort into researching music, DJing as well as the scene they want to get involved in. All this contributes to how you are passionate about your music and DJing.

The internationals we chose for JungalaFestival 2012 showcase what we have been listening to and find to be very influential on my music collection. I have always been a fan of psychedelic, and I mean music that takes your mind on a series of kaleidoscopic journeys. A lot of the psy-trance that is being released at the moment is not psychedelic; it’s high energy, hi-tek, bouncy & groovy but has lost the sound of psychedelic. We always want our festivals to portray the psychedelic sound with every act that we book and these internationals have taken us on that journey and we know they will take you all on a journey as well.

Psymedia: Let’s chat a bit more about the internationals. Jungala Festival 2012 will mark the return of Orca, alongside Anestetic, Stereo Plug, Twisted Reaction, Zorflux, and Blazed. Anestetic is pretty much a local nowadays and I’d be glad to have him at every party! Tell me a little bit about the decision on which internationals will best suit the party, and what the new guests will bring to the dance floor.

Switchcache: Yeah Anestetic is a local pretty much. We love having him here. Stereo Plug for me, I have been following for a few years now and I have really always loved his tunes and think he can really rock the South African dance floor. Not a lot of people have heard about him, but one of my aims is to always bring a big international and also bring someone that needs to get exposed for the quality music they make and haven’t had the break yet. Blazed, well these guys have been releasing so many tunes at the moment that they are rocking the Beatport charts. This is a sound that South Africa will love – Full power, bouncy, psychedelic and definitely worth having them here. They have hit over 3000 downloads on their track on the Jungala Soundcloud so this shows how people love their sound. Twisted Reaction, I have been listening to for years now, 1 half of Blazed and you can hear his influence in the project. We have been chatting for ages now and I am glad that I finally got this opportunity to bring him down. Zorflux, the other half of Blazed, who has an insane DJ set, one that people will recognize as it is a sound that is played at all Origin Festivals and Earthdance Festivals – A very UK sound. I love it as it is a very psychedelic sound for the dance floor. Cape Town seems to love it as well so he will rock it! Finally we have Orca, one that can’t be forgotten his rolling bass-lines, crazy melodies and awesome samples. He has hit South African dance floors hard over the last year at Remanufacture III, and Frostbite II. People love his music, his vibe and his energy. He is going to make SA go crazy one more time!

Psymedia: Jungala Festival falls right at the end of the season as things are getting quite a bit cooler and the party people are quieting down. Is it somewhat riskier throwing an outdoor around this time? Was it done out of respect for all the other parties?

Switchcache: Well, all the promoters have a weekend, maybe two or three. And most of them have had them for a long time. Out of respect when we started coming into the outdoor scene, we chose the only open weekends that weren’t in between the biggest events to give us a little chance of throwing a successful one of our own. It happened to be at the end of the season. It’s also a tricky time of the year because Easter weekend moves about 25 days every 4 years. So sometimes we will be at the beginning of April and sometimes at the end like last year we were on the 8th April. This time of year is also a weird one cause sometimes it can be 35 degrees and other times it can be raining. But we hope for the best and so far the weather has been great to us.

Psymedia: Jungala Festival happens in April whilst Zone Festival (with Nexus Media) will take place later this year in November. What makes these festivals unique from each other?

Switchcache: My main direction with Jungala is a daytime event. Not too much hard music and rather more phat groove and very psychedelic beats. Jungala also has a daytime feel, blues, greens, yellow and white as you see on the flyer.

With Zone Festival, the aim is to be slightly more underground. Digital, industrial, mechanical and more of the twilight sensation. If you went to Zone Festival last year you would have seen the difference to Jungala Festival. For me both of these events allow me to express both sides of what PsynOpticz is about.

Psymedia: Can we expect PsynOpticz indoor parties through the winter?

Switchcache: PsynOpticz will be a doing a couple indoors this winter so keep on the lookout. The one event is called Frost-Bite which is an event we collaborate with MMD Records. We have had 2 so far and both of them highly successful. The last one we had with Orca at the Fez and that was insane!

Psymedia: Let’s talk a little bit about your upcoming Switchcache compilation entitled PsynOpticz Collections : ONE. It’s great to see a compilation showcasing some of the newer guys. What’s the track selection process like for a compilation?

Switchcache: My first compilation I am doing is called PsynOpticz Collections : ONE with artists Sub-Zero vs SwitchcacheSolar Axis (Bruce), Iliuchina, Shockwave, Zezia, Bernz, and Stereotype. This compilation has a range from psy-tech to twilight and covers all the genres of psy trance. It is one amazing EP and I suggest everyone to go and join the event release page. It will be released on 8 May 2012.

To select these tracks I go through a few tracks that artists send me over time until I compile an awesome EP that has energy, progression and character. Then it goes off for master by the one and only Artifakt. Then of the remaining tracks I have from the artists, I either put into an artist EP if they are all the quality that we want to release as a label or they just keep sending me tracks until we have the EP ready again. I also spend a lot of time chatting to new artists and creating new networks and contacts so that I can get my PsynOpticz artists music released on other labels as well.

Psymedia: You must have tons of work trying to balance PsynOpticz artists, your projects Switchcache and Broken Switch (which just signed to Teknotribe Records) and all the other things you do…

Switchcache: Yes, PsynOpticz Productions has quite a few artists worldwide and not only in the psytrance sound but also with minimal psy, psy-tech, progressive, full-on, twilight and a little dark. We love all our genres and want to have artists representing all the sounds. If you would like to see a list of our artists please go to the about section on our PsynOpticz Productions Page.

My Switchcache project has 2 styles that I play. Twilight and full-on day psychedelic. Both sounds I am very passionate about.  I produce as Switchcache as well. Broken Switch I DJ psy-tech and techno. To balance all of this just comes naturally as I have always played various projects and have also done events at the same time. Since we stopped doing our weekly indoor events, it has freed up more time to focus on my production, events and DJing.

I also have a company with a friend of mine, Mark aka Stereotype, called The Mix Room, where we do sound, lighting, staging, AV for any type of event. Our main target is clubs, weddings, birthday events and so on. I also freelance for a couple AV companies doing everything mentioned above. So things are quite busy. It’s great.

Psymedia: Tell me a little bit about your relationship with newly launched Johannesburg based {psy.ology} Records and your decision to release your debut compilation on the label…

Switchcache: Well, myself and Nick Grater (Teknotribe), formed a label called {psy.ology} Records, where we aim to release a wide range of psychedelic music. We both love psy-tech, progressive, full-on, twilight and a little of the darker side as well as electronica and chillout. So we aim to release a lot of music. We have my compilation EP coming out, then it will be a Zezia EP, then an EP from an awesome musician from Finland will be releasing with us, Soladria, some guys from the UK called New Life Form as well as my second compilation called “PsynOpticz Collections : TWO” followed by more artists EPs and so on – Lots and lots of music to be released.

Psymedia: I believe at some point you were considering launching PsynOpticz Records. Are you still looking into that?

Switchcache: Well that is a decision I still need to make. As we are releasing our PsynOpticz compilations on {psy.ology} Records I think it is better for now to focus on building our label to be recognized around the world rather than spread myself thin. PsynOpticz is still getting the exposure as a production company through doing the EPs and our events and that is my main aim – to show that we can cover all aspects of music and entertainment as a production company.

Psymedia: Tell me a little bit about PsynOpticz Design and what you guys offer…

Switchcache: PsynOpticz Design is a shoot off of PsynOpticz Productions working mainly in design of décor, lighting, sound, rigging, stages and all the visual aspects of an event. Contact us for anything you need for a 16th birthday party to an outdoor festival. We put the same amount of effort, love, creativity and attention to detail into any project we undertake. And it always comes out looking sick!

Psymedia: Thanks for the informative interview Calvin. I think that’s all I have for you. Any last words? Check you this weekend!

Switchcache: Thanks so much Psymedia. It was great to chat. I hope that more people know a lot more about PsynOpticz Productions and our events and our goals for putting together professional events. We want everyone to have the time of their life and always bounce to the beats of the psychedelic world.  See you this weekend at Jungala Festival for an experience never to be forgotten

CHECK OUT:

  • Switchcache on Facebook
  • Psynopticz on Facebook