Canadian Virtual Light has been a DJ & producer since 1999, with a true psychedelic style rangeing from twilight trance and forest influence, making it the perfect transition from night into the sunrise hours.
Psymedia : Hi Vincent, I hope you are well. Let’s start with a bit of your background. How did you get involved in psychedelic trance, transitioning from a blues guitarist?
Virtual Light : It all began when my friend Rocky and I started attending raves in Ottowa when we were 16. My first rave experiences were rather awkward, as I got really baked, and for the most part I fell asleep on the couch. I thought the music was rather obnoxious and way too corny for my taste. I enjoyed the drum & bass, dark techno and acid, however all the happy hardcore and booty house convinced me I was still a rocker at heart. I felt like I was just a visitor during the rave fad.
Then we attended a party called Kick It, a multi-stage outdoor rave. As usual, I spent most of the night bumbling around aimlessly, awkwardly, attempting to take part until around 6AM when I heard aliens somewhere in the distance. I immediately told Rocky we had to go check it out, and so we did! For the first time in my life I began to dance. DJ Quivering Virgin was playing a track called The Frog by X-Dream. If it was any other DJ playing when I walked onto that dance floor setup in a little forest clearing, it probably wouldn’t have had the same effect on me. He had a particularly mystifying style – dark, psychedelic and organic. I somehow managed to lose my Led Zeppelin shirt that day and went home with a Space Tribe shirt.
Psymedia : Who have been your main influences over the years?
Virtual Light : Well, to start, Quivering Virgin as I mentioned in the previous question. His sense of style as a DJ really shaped my perception of psytrance. Also, the parties they organized in Toronto were something else. They always invited the best painters to decorate their events (NOS, Maxi, Inga, Nagual, to name a few) and really set the standard as to what psy parties should be like. To this day, I use this model for my own events. As for the artists who have resonated with me over the years: Logic Bomb, Hux Flux, Scorb, Chromatone, Random, Earthling, Electrypnose, and the first Shpongle album.
Psymedia : What’s your involvement with the Canadian psy scene? What good festivals and artists are coming out of Canada at the moment?
Virtual Light : I’ve been throwing parties and DJing since 1999, so I think I’ve played a pretty major part in the development of the scene in Canada. It’s never really been easy to keep the scene alive, for many reasons. However, I’ve always worked my ass off and done everything I can to put the most amount of energy possible into every event. I like people leaving my parties feeling reminded about why they fell in love with psytrance in the first place.
These days, I feel more and more distanced from the Canadian scene as my goals are more fixated on an international scale. However, I’ll never forget all the good times and I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished with my work, inspiring true psychedelic music fans.
As for festivals in Canada, there’s Eclipse Festival which now happens every two years. As far as the big production and international style/quality, it’s pretty much Eclipse that takes the cake for me. The line up is well rounded with a variety of each style, in my opinion. Tech Safari really does an amazing job, despite the size of the scene. The organization is really solid – everyone is always paid and I’ve never heard a single horror story or scandal between them and artists. I think soon the festival will start attracting more international attention to the trance traveler scene. Some other festivals include Open Mind (Montreal), Motion Notion (BC), All Stars (Toronto) and OM Reunion (Toronto). Some Canadian producers include Zentrix, Kloud 9, Nailik, Dr Strangefunk and Spacey Koala.
Psymedia : It’s been five years since your last full length album, Illuminatrix. Do you see yourself putting together another album? Why/Why not?
Virtual Light : Actually, I’ve already started planning a new one. However, it’s a bit tough at the moment since I’m traveling around more. In a way I’m homeless with a laptop. I need to have a studio, with a year of free time and a pipeline straight to my veins with coffee to make an album. If anything, it will be an album with a bunch of versus tracks plus 3 or 4 solo ones that I will make when I get some solid studio time. It will be done when it’s done – no deadlines!
Psymedia : How did you get involved with the Zero One Music team?
Virtual Light : I invited Chromatone to play at one of my parties in Montreal. After that I met Celli (Earthling) at a festival in Canada called Shambhala. I guess there’s not too much of a story, but I can say for sure that Celli, Justo, Larry, Tron and K.I.M are just about the funniest trolls to chill with, and I’m happy to be a part of it!
Psymedia : Although you regularly produce it seems like you play a fair amount of DJ sets. From an artist perspective, how are you still able to put your own personal touch on a DJ set and keep them fresh from party to party?
Virtual Light : As far as I’m concerned, DJing is the best way to deliver psytrance to the crowd. A live set is limited to what the particular artist has produced, whereas a DJ can select tracks from anyone. My CD collection, in my taste, is the very best of the best psytrance I’ve ever heard, and to me this is bigger and more important than just me as one guy making music. Although I’m more confident than ever in my live set, I think I’ll always feel like my DJ sets convey my ultimate vision of psytrance.
Psymedia : Tell me about your work as a graphic and clothing designer?
Virtual Light : Ever since I started DJing and organizing parties, I’ve designed my own tape covers, flyers and other things. I just continued until one day I decided to attend a school for design and take it a bit more seriously. I’m pretty much more of a Photoshop junky than Illustrator.
As for the clothing, it’s pretty much psy t-shirts. I’ve worked in screen printing for many years now and I keep that as my focus. I don’t really have any experience with pattern making or any real fashion orientated things. I just take art or design art and slap it on a t-shirt. My main market is definitely more geared towards guys (although, I do print some stuff on girly things).
I like to do all the printing myself for quality control purposes, as well as to keep the costs low so I can sell them rather cheap. But right now while I’m traveling, it’s on hold until I find a more stable living situation.
There are some plans in the works to have my designs produced and sold in South Africa. Let’s hope the plan comes together!
Psymedia : This will be your first time in South Africa. What have you heard about our scene? What inspired your extended stay of over a month?
Virtual Light : It will be my first time and I’m very excited! I’m catching my flight in a few hours. Well, I’ve heard a few things for sure. One being, if the crowd doesn’t like your music they will throw beer bottles at you. Fortunately, I’m Canadian, and I’m well trained in the art of bear wrestling, so it isn’t much of an issue for me.
Other than that, I’ve heard it’s just a crazy scene and I’m going to have lots of fun. It still blows my mind to see such large psy crowds, and I’ve heard South Africa is one of the best in the world, despite how isolated it is (like Canada).
I’ve been in Europe for almost 3 months now. I don’t really have a visa to stay any longer, so I needed to think of a destination or escape plan to not overstay my visit. Everything fell perfectly in place to come to South Africa and perform. My girlfriend and I plan on traveling and gigging for the next year or so, and we definitely want to experience as much as we can of the lifestyle and culture of each place we visit before moving onto the next.
Psymedia : Any upcoming releases you want to mention?
Virtual Light : Yes. I’ve got a 2 track EP with Manipulation coming out on Zero 1 Music. It will feature a remix of Ajja’s track Ingrained, as well as a collaboration track between Manipulation and myself called You Have a Glitchy Face This Morning. There’s a few compilation releases as well. Virtual Light & Fungus Funk – Fur Bikini (Sangoma Records), Virtual Light & D-Ther – Crocodile Smile (X-Perience Festival VA) and a track with Scorb and Random in the works that will be released on Timecode Records.
Psymedia : Thank you for the interview. Anything to add before we finish off?
Virtual Light : Check out my girlfriends page, DJ Saru, she’s a killer DJ!