Perfect Stranger (AKA Yuli Fershtat), is one of the foremost psy-trance producers on the planet, and this Monday sees the release of his latest artist album, the stunning 'Free Cloud'. To celebrate the release of the album, Trackitdown managed to get hold of Yuli and get him to give us the lowdown on his latest album, his native Israel and where he thinks the psy-trance scene is going! Read on...
1. How did you end up in this world of Electronic music?
Well my friends back at 1997, after years of partying, were somehow sure that I should make music.. So they surprised me with a Yamaha CS1x synth for my 27th birthday.. I had my musical roots planted beforehand ofcourse, since all the females in my family were pianists, and musical teachers, and I played the piano and guitar, but never I thought of making electronic music ( or any other kind of music actually ). Since I got that Yamaha, I started fiddling with the Cakewalk software, and bought one more synth ( my favourite ever Roland JP 8000 ) and I was hooked in matter of couple of months.. I think I didn't leave my home for a year from that moment heh..
2. Tell us a bit about your “sound”, you are one of these artists that managed to get a unique sound to your production, whats the trick?
It was not done intentionally ( at least not the beginning of it ).. I think it has to do with one's personality basically. I am an "outsider" type if I must generalize, and most of the things I do in life are a bit different than it's expected to be. Non conformist? Yeah!! I am greatly influenced by many artists, but I must make it my way. Hence my sound of today consists of my love for psychedelic sound, Techno grooves and backbone, and monotone deepness that resembles to a kind of Mantra / Chant. I think it goes together well, and it's special and different from most that is heard today. So I feel content ;)
3. Israel? Whats up with all these producers from there? Why do you have such a big concentration of artists coming from this small country?
Israel is a very special place, with a lot of things that happen daily and a very stressful life style for it's citizens, not only because of the region we are situated in, but also because of the Israeli so called Mediterranean way of life and unstable economy. Israel is a core for many different backgrounds, since Jews from all over the world had migrated here for the last 60 years.. It is multi cultural and very young society. That is why many young people turn this energy towards the creation paths, and music is defintely one of those paths. In this way some "mega bands" were created in the Trance Scene for last decade, groups such as Infected Mushroom, Astral Projection, Skazi and Astrix with a great undisputed international success, were a big inspiration for those that were kids @ the time of their break through. Add to it a definite "easiness" to create a modern studio ( 10 years ago one had to invest much more money in hardware, today all you need is pair of active Monitors and a decent PC computer ). All this bring us to Israel of today that boasts hordes of young ambitious artists, some of them are into the music creation because of passion to the music and some because they want to have themselves some of the glory and success of the bands I named beforehand.
4. Tell us a bit about the tendency with the full on artists starting to write progressive and minimal tunes. What happened the last two years?
It's a tricky question, since my answer my not be to everybody's liking, but I believe that there are 2 major groups here. First group made the change towards the progressive sound, just because their taste has changed, it might have come with the age, or with the realization that something very cool happening just under their nose, and maybe this is cooler than what they have been doing up till now. So it took a lot of guts to leave something you know and jump into that pool of the unknown, but it was done because of passion and love for music and innovation. The second group did/does it because it is trendy today to make slower tunes, and electro and techno sound is very popular ( add to this that the Full On itself, is very far from it's "glory days" and I am doubted it will get back the glory days anytime soon unless something drastic will happen ).
5. Where is you favourite scene located and why?
I would say that I am a die hard fan of Techno for 2 years now. This is what I mostly play as a DJ. I would mention the German based producers Stephan Bodzin and Oliver Huntemann as the "core" for that passion, but there are a lot more out there believe me ( it looks like we gonna hit this question very soon actually ). If I need to concentrate I would say that the most I like today is the CROSSOVER that happened to come to life through last year, between the Techno, House and the Psy scene. There are many super killer producers and tunes being made, that are simply a totally fresh blood, very dance floor friendly and high octane psychedelic. I just couldnt ask for more actually ;)
6. Give us 10 of you favourite producers and influences.
Two of them I just mentioned above, but I will mention them again – I must stress out that 10 is not enough though but I will try ;) Stephan Bodzin, Oliver Huntemann, Dubfire, Popof, Fergie, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Miki Litvak & Ido Ophir, LOUD, Ace Ventura and Simon Posford in his many guises
7. Tell us about your new album “Free Cloud”, you inspiration, the process, the remixes etc etc.
Well "Free Cloud" officially started march 2008, when I realized that I need to release an album, and had already 2 or 3 tunes that I made back in 2007... Then I started thinking about a concept, and it was obvious for me from the very first moment that I am into making a crossover album, that will try to embrace the good things of the two words that inspire me ( i.e Techno and Psy Trance ). I was touring pretty hard before march 2008 and had no real time to go into the studio, and we just made a break in touring for the spring time, I spent a lot of time in that studio and worked on making new tunes done for the concept, and creating this hybrid sound. I think in these 5 months I have learned and progressed with my sound and ideas more than I did last 3 or 4 years. It wasn't an easy task, but we over it by now and in my opinion that struggle was worth it big time!! Add to all of this that the album is mastered by one of my favorite Sound Engineers ( i.e Ido Ophir ) and there will be a bunch of remixes coming from bands such as Moonbeam, Fiord, Miki Litvak & Ido Ophir, Maelstrom, Dickster, Eitan Reiter and more, so we are definitely "in the Zone"!
8. Where is the trance scene going? Have a look five years into the future and tell me what you see...
I think this is the time of something new that is upon us. It seems to me that since the Internet is so strong, and ever growing stronger, the amount of data we need to consume every day is just immense. We are open to so many different music genres and styless at once, so it's just impossible to hold on to one – in the world of today it sounds so "small" and narrow minded.. I think we are already now in the age of the "Crossover Music". Take a little bit from everythning and create your own. The better you mix it, and re arrange it and make it "yours" the better the reactions will be. Those that are better "composers" will shine out through.. So if we continue with this line of thought, in five years from now, the borders between genres, will gradually disappear, new sub genres will appear, and the dance music will have a very wide spectrum of influence all over it.
9. Whats is your favourite saying?
I have three:
"Be the change you want to see in the world" by Mahatma Ghandi
"A man with a 'master plan' is often a woman" seen it in Amsterdam Airport last year on some add, and it's so accurately stated that I simply have to quote it again and again..
"It ain't over till the fat lady sings" do I need to say more? ;)
'Free Cloud' by Perfect Stranger is out now, download it here: http://www.trackitdown.net/genre/house/track/757234.html
Download Perfect Stranger's November Trackitdown Top 10 here: http://www.trackitdown.net/genre/trance/track/757272.html
Download Perfect Stranger releases here: http://www.trackitdown.net/artist/2366/perfect-stranger.html
Download Iboga Records releases here: http://www.trackitdown.net/recordlabel/100879/iboga-records.html