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Talamasca An Interview with the Psytrance Legend

today14/01/2023 13

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Talamasca is a legendary group in psytrance, producing and playing music around the world since the mid 90`s. The band consisted 3 members back then: Cedric Dassulle,  Steve Eli and Xavier de Galloy, with the first remaining solely  in the project to these days.

With an impressive 15 year legacy of quality tunes, Talamasca has now released a new killer album on Belgian label Dacru Records. It is Talamasca 10th album, and it is jam-packed with powerful grooves and inspiring melodies, as you should expect from a new album by a Goa trance legend!

It is a GOA trance at its best!

Check it out here, with a great interview with one of the funniest persons in psytrance.

Check out the interview:

Q: With over 20 years of producing dance music behind you – can you tell us how it is really like? Is it all fun?

A: Ahahah… Well, there are good sides and bad sides. Sometimes people come to me and tell me that they think I have the best job in the world. Well, I don’t want to disappoint them so often agree with them at the moment, but it is really a hard life. Of course when i was 20, to travel the world for free, to stay 1, 2 even 3 months somewhere for fun was super cool, and i was even paid for it! But when you are 40, married and with two kids, to go 51 of the 52 weekends in another country is really hard, both for me, and for them. So to answer your question is: NO, it is not ALL fun… But come on… it is still cool. My goal was to travel the world and to meet friends everywhere on this planet, and i think this is one of the only jobs where you can really achieve this. I don’t have “colleagues”, i have friends all over. Anyway, even if airports, flights, or days of doing nothing in hotel rooms, are boring like hell, it is still better than to go everyday to the factory.
Money speaking, I consider myself completely average in my country for a family of four people, and i am quite successful in “my world”, so this is a fact better to be known to those who want to give it a try: You have to do this for passion, not for money.

Q: Do you remember your first gig? Do you remember how you felt?

A: 2nd of February 1992, a party called NOSTROMO, and it changed my life, Completely!!! Within one night, I was converted from heavy metal to electronic music!!!

Q: Do you remember your first meeting with Steve Eli and Xavier de Galloy? Did the idea of forming Talamasca and producing music together come out quickly?

A: This was exactly the purpose of the meeting. I was becoming more and more successful as a DJ, and i really wanted to make my own music. But i was a young kid, i didn’t have my own studio, I didn’t have any knowledge about how to make music with a computer, I was a piano player. But a friend of mine told me he knew 2 house producers who were quite interested to try a new style, they came to listen to my set in the Rex club in Paris and we agreed to give it a try. The first track we have made have been immediately released by Krembo Records in Israel as Zoo-b came to play in the Gaia party in Paris and played it… This is the moment I knew this gonna be my life !

Check out one of the epic tracks of Talamasca, released in 1996!
Talamasca – Jungle Storm

Q: You teamed up with 2 house producers back in the days to create Talamasca. What are your thought about the influences of both genres on each other? We can hear a psytrance tracks with House-music rhythm or beats. Do you have any thought about it?

I think that the more you grow up, the less close you become. When I was a teenager, I was listening ONLY heavy metal and was convinced I would listen this genre all my life. Then came electronic and parties, and more specifically the “Goa trance”, and again, I was convinced that this was the only music that deserved to be listened. And then I grew up, and now I know and understood that in any music there is good and bad tracks and, beside “darkside forest shit” who completely ruined the scene for a while and who, thanks god, will disappear as fast as it appeared (hard core and gabber are soooo muuuuch better produced…) , that every style is respectable. So to combine different style together is evolution, and every music genre needs to evolve. If not, it dies. So it can evolve inspired by any other genre, house is only one of them…

Q: The name you picked for your aliases is talamasca (society of psychic detectives in the books of Anne Rice) references an unknown phenomena, a psychedelic experiences, relating to the outer world. Do you still feel that these terms still represent the scene today? Or is it less about it and more about brands and new media marketing?

A: First, Talamasca means “animal mask” in latin language. Then, it means also what you mentioned upper, but when i have chosen it, i didn’t t care much about the meaning. I wanted to find a name that sounds French and that would be pronounced everywhere in the world the same way. And beside this, many people know that my second hobby beside music is to be an illusionist and an hypnotist for many years. So the name fits perfectly, as the Talamasca members, in the order mentioned in the anne rice’s book, have psychic powers…

Q:  Can you describe from your point of view some of the changes in the scene throughout the years?

A: Well, again, a music needs to evolve to live, so it changed, yes, but it doesn’t t mean it is worse. I regret the fact that the music is not as “friendly” as it used to be. If you remember “Goa parties”, you could arrive at 3am and it would still be “happy vibe” music… Now, the sounds are more sharps, aggressive, powerful, which is good in a way, because the production is much better nowadays, but maybe we lost a bit of the spirit in the process. But it is like a wheel, and wheels go round & round.

Here is a set mixed by the Goa trance master:

Q:  What can we expect from your new album “Time Machine”?

A: Well, there are 2 explanations for this name :
1 – the first track of the album, called itself the “time machine”, is a tribute track to those i consider as the 3 fathers of “trance” as we know it today: jean Michel Jarred of course, from whoim, I m the biggest fan since i m a teenager, Giorgio Moroder and the music of the “midnight express” movie, and Gershon Kingsley who did the track called “popcorn” that everybody know, in 1969 (!!!) And i used short samples from “back to the future 1&2”. So, clearly, the goal of the first track is to make you travel in time…
Now, for the rest of the tracks, they are all of them connected to “time” by one way or another…. for example, in the remix i did to U-Recken – Carol Of The Bells,the middle part is in ¾ (which means, for those who don t know, that everything is looping on 3 kicks and not 4) u have to count 1,2,3…1,2,3..and not 1,2,3,4 ….I might mistaken but i think only hallucinogen tried this already in trance…. Or in the track called “take less disorder” (yes, it’s an order…) I slowed down the track from 142 bpm until 94.666 which is exactly the 2/3rd of the speed. By doing this i could transform triplets into offbeat, so i played with time mathematically in this track …
The track called “Raj against the machine” is a tribute to the “pope of psychedelism as we know it”: Raja Ram! I found an interview of his made in 1969 by BBC, when he was the leader of his band called Quintessence. I realised then that this guy, let s say even this sir, dedicated his all life to psychedelic music! So i wanted to use his voice and make people understand that he deserves all my respect for what he achieved.
I will not describe all the tracks here and all the ideas behind, but as you see, every track was thought to be connected by a way or another with time, so it s the time machine 😉

Check out the track No.3 on the album and probably the track  with the coolest name ever…
Talamasca ft Raja Ram – Raj Against The Machine

Q: Any plans releases planned after releasing “Time Machine”?

A: Of course! I m already working on my 2016 album , that will be called “A brief History of Trance (part 1)”, where i will make “tributes” tracks to those who, at least to my eyes, have changed this style and who have printed it with their marks ( Astral Projection, Man With No Name, Etnica, X-Dream, Juno Reactor, Transwave, Oforia, Electric Universe, and maybe myself if I have enough room on the cd…) by making “megamixes” of their best hits mixed together in one track . I think this is the best way to show the new generation what was the spirit of the music before, but also to please the old school lovers. it is a bit like the logical following of my “time machine “ track …
I am also working on my second new project called “Check-Mates”, project done with a guitar virtuoso from Argentina, and we expect to release the album in the very early 2016.

Q: Any plans for the far future?

A: Of course!!!!! After all of that I will make an album called “A Frenchman In The World” where I will make tracks related to countries I have visited and enjoyed the most. But this would be for end of 2016, maybe even 2017. And I also intend to make an ambient album, but better to talk about it when it will be more than just a nice idea.

Q: What still excites you in the scene (parties, festivals, making new music, producing the next sound)?

A: Listen, I love my life and I love my work, so yes, it is pain in the ass to go out of my family and home every weekend, and I am rarely enthusiastic when i have to leave my home, but once I am on stage, I forget all of this. It is a bit like the UFC fighter who always say they are nice guy until they enter the cage. Well, same with me. I’m a normal person until i go up on stage. Once i m there and once I start playing, nothing can stop me. I remember sometimes refraining from crying when people shout a lot of a new track, but I couldn’t 😉 People would think I‘m still human if i do 😉

cedric talamasca Shoot Your Shot photography

Q: What is new with the label and what are your future plans there?

A: With my own label, “mind control records”, the only thing that will happen is that this year i will finally close it! I am not a label manager, I am a musician .So few years ago, i went to Dacru records in Belgium, and this was the best choice i have made for a looooooong time as I`m super happy with them. So the only plan for now is to stick with them and release more and more music!

Q:  You have worked with psytrance legends like Nomad, Oforia, Space Cat and more. Which one did you enjoyed working with the most? Any special memories from your collaborative work?

A: You know, when we decide to make tracks between producers, it is first because we are friends. I mean, at least for me, this is how i work. It would be a nightmare to be hours and days in the studio with a guy you don’t like! There would be a murder in the end of the week! ahahaha.. So as I have done music only with friends, we had only good times in the studio and i have good memory with all of them . Of course some of them are my very close friends. For example, I have an excellent memory of doing music with my friend Skazi (anybody can see a video of our studio session on YouTube just by typing our names together there…) even if we have kind of opposite styles. But it was a lot of fun! Also, I have to admit that by working and making an all album with XSI, and specially recently by working with Bart who is now playing under the name of Stryker, I have learned a lot of things regarding sound engineering. I was quite afraid of not being updated in my sound production, because I have seen this trap few times in the past. I know some projects who were on the top, and because his sound wasn’t updated, it become a “has been” project. I am not worried of that anymore since i work with those guys!

thanks alot Cedric, was a pleasure talking to you! 

Written by: Richard Archer

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