Monday, 01 January 2001
What a coup this article is for Implant magazine! Following a recent phone call with Eyal @ Hom-Mega Productions I met up with him and Xerox at Stables / Camden Market and over a cup of coffee at Adam Ant’s coffee bar we had a good old chin-wag. The result of which was Eyal offering me an exclusive interview with those Infected Mushroom boys, of course this was an offer I couldn’t refuse especially as Eyal said he’d also translate and write it for me. So Implant sends a very special ‘Thank-you’ to Eyal and Queen Limor @ BNE for making this possible and don’t forget to keep those eyes pealed for their hot new album “B.P.Empire”. Here we are then my psychedelic friends, the interview everyone wanted from two of the hottest artists around at the moment…
Infected Mushroom have been producing music together under this name since 1997. Since then they have become a major success story and are considered to be one of the leading Israeli trance acts around today. In order to explore the phenomena that is Infected Mushroom I put some questions to them and this is the result…
Who are you, where are you from?
Amit: I am Amit Duvdevani, aka Duvdev. I am 26 years old and I was born in Kiryat Motzkin, Haifa (north Israel).
Erez: I am Erez Aizen, aka I.zen. I am 21 years old and I was born in Kiryat Yam, Haifa.
Life before being “Infected”? Has your background influenced you in any way?
Amit: I learned classical music in the Conservatorium for 10 years. Between 1989-’92 I was a keyboard player in a rock band called Enzyme. In 1995 I had my first “Goa experience”. I then went back for more every year until ’98. I guess all those things are a part of my musical self today.
Erez: I played the organ for a long time (eight years to be precise) and aside from that I worked as a computer technician for a while. This helped me a lot when it came to handling the technical side of the Infected sound.
When did you start making music and what are your musical influences?
Amit: We started to make music under different names in 1996 (Duvdev & Shidapu). Infected Mushroom was formed in 1997 and has been our main project since then. We are influenced quite a lot by the likes of Thrash Metal, classical music, movie soundtracks and rock music.
What have you released so far and on what labels?
Amit: We have released three albums so far: “The Gathering” (1999), “Classical Mushroom” (2000), and now our latest “B.P.Empire” (2001). All three albums came out on the BNE/Yoyo label. Prior to and in between those albums we have released a whole bunch of tracks on many European and Israeli labels such as Dragonfly, Tip.World, 3D Vision, Hadshot, Shiva Space Technology, Distance, Nova-Tekk, Tsunami/Kinetic, Hom-Mega and MDMA.
What do you consider to be your most important releases?
Amit: The most significant album for me was “Classical Mushroom” because it had a very interesting concept a fusion between classical & electronic music. As for favourite tracks, they are “Psycho”, “The Fly” (Cat on Mushroom), “Gravity Waves” Remix (for Xerox), “Bust a Move”, “Wider” and “Synphonatic”.
Erez: I also hold a lot of credit for our second album, “Classical Mushroom” because we felt it had such a big impact on so many different people and the enormous feedback was very inspiring. As for favourite tracks, well they’re “Return of the Shadows” and “Tommy the Bat”.
Do you worry about how successful your releases are?
Amit: No we don’t, but we are very much involved in the promotion of our name and we do this by covering as many of the important aspects as we can: Public Relations, Internet and World tours of live appearances and DJ sets.
Do you think you acquired your own sound?
Amit: Yes, I think we have, but the ultimate judges of that are the crowd and the fans.
Erez: Yes, Infected certainly have their own unique “colour” of sound, but we always try to move forward and improve our sound production and set ourselves bigger standards.
Have you recorded under any different guises?
Amit: Our first tracks were under the name Duvdev & Shidapu. Since Infected Mushroom was formed we have kept pushing its name, but we have been involved in collaborations such as Cat on Mushroom, Infected Deedrah, and a track with Xerox. I’ve also recorded a new track with Psy Sex under the name Sex on Mushroom.
Erez: I first started making music with a group called Trip, then there was Shidapu and Shiva Shidapu. As for collaborations, I’ve recorded under the names Magic Mushroom and Domestic Mushroom. I’ve also recorded a few tracks with Yahel and also run my own solo project called I.zen.
Wow, quite a list! Are there any more highlights?
Erez: Well, we’ve just came back from London where we’ve recorded a track with Simon Posford (aka Hallucinogen, Shpongle). It was our dream for a long time and finally it happened! Simon is an amazing guy, with a very open mind and we learned a lot from him (he certainly shocked us with his way of working). In the beginning it was a bit hard for both of us, Simon had just finished his “Shpongle 2” project and we had just finished our latest album, so we were all suffering from a ‘producing overdose’. We didn’t finish what we started and it’s certainly not what you’d expect. It’s a totally different move for both of us and we hope that we will continue doing stuff together in the future.
What countries have you played in and what’s been your favourite place played?
Amit: We’ve played all around the globe: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Puerto Rico, London, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Austria, South Africa, Greece, Hungary, Ibiza, India, Bolivia and Israel. My personal favourites were the Solipse festival in Hungary and the A.C.A festival in Acapulco where we played alongside the likes of Moby and Carl Cox.
Erez: One of my favourite nights was at Mount Fuji near Tokyo, Japan.
Do you prefer playing live or recording?
Erez: I really enjoy recording in the studio.
Amit: I like recording in the studio, but I also like to perform live just as much.
Do you value/ believe in underground credibility?
Amit: Yes, I do, but I will always try to take the underground sound to the mainstream (without compromise on musical content or quality).
Erez: I belive in making music without definitions or classifications.
How do you see the psychedelic trance scene at the moment, do you think its popularity is fading, especially with the more progressive/ minimal sound becoming so popular?
Amit: We have become very disappointed with the psychedelic scene over the last two years. The progressive/ minimal trend has taken the soul out of the music and left only technical work. We still believe that technical ability PLUS soul is the winning combination although it’s worth saying that some of the progressive tracks are well done and always find their place at any party.
Do you look at your musical occupation as a way of life, or do you have any other jobs / interests?
Amit: Between 1998-2000 I managed to squeeze in a first degree in Industrial Management. Since then you can say that Infected Mushroom has become a complete way of life for me. I do try to keep things at a healthy pace and every once in a while I stop and relax together with my lovely wife Sharon.
Erez: For myself Infected Mushroom and making music in general is a 100% way of life.
What have been the highs and lows of being an artist and DJ?
Amit: The highlight of it all is to make music and to be able to experience its effect on people Live! It’s also very enriching to travel around the world and live the good life.
Erez: The lows for me are the way the authorities, (especially the police), are fighting the popularity of trance events and the “stigma” that has been put upon our genre of music.
What are your present and future plans?
Erez: Well, our new album “B.P.Empire” is finally ready and out, so we are currently getting ready for an extensive world tour to promote it when we will be going to places like Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Japan, Switzerland & Denmark. In the meantime we are moving our studio from Kiryat Yam to Moshav Mishmar Hashiva. Hanny my girlfriend and I have also moved with the studio and we are very happy with our new house. The new studio is a big investment for us and we hope to justify it in future projects and albums.
Amit: We have a new project name which is unreleased for now. With it we hope to make something totally different than trance. Just to make a change!
Anything else you wish to talk about?
Amit: No matter what direction we take from now on, we want our fans to know that we will always love to make trance music. It’s what makes us excited and gets us flipping out.
Erez: A dream come true for me would be to make a soundtrack for a movie.
Big thanks to Amit Duvdevani and Erez Aizen. Trance Testament by DJ Eyal Yankovich (HOMmega).
Interview courtesy of Implant Magazine - Issue 20
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