DJ Anti juggles various hats as manager of Spiral Trax and cutting-edge Swedish progressive label ACDC. DJ Neerav spoke to him to find out what’s coming up shortly for ACDC
Anti, a few years back at the peak of your career as a top global psy-trance dj (and label owner of Spiral Trax), you decided you'd had enough of the typical party sounds and suddenly switched to a more "progressive" style. What was the reaction to this switch?

Well, first of all you have to understand that for me this was not an actual switch. For me the progressive sound has always been there, I have just realised that the sound I like to play does not fit at your average trance party. I got into dance music in 1989, then there were no things such as progressive or psychedelic trance, it was all about acid-house. When I started DJ-ing the year after, acid-house was what I was playing. A couple of years down the line and after a few excursions into jungle and early British hardcore I first got in touch with German trance music (Dance to Trance, Eye Q, Superstition, Frankfurt Beat etc) and realised that this was the sound for me. At the same time I also went to my first “goa party” in Denmark. In those days you could still hear a variety of styles at such a party, something that made that whole scene very interesting then (and the lack of it being the reason why it is not interesting at all anymore). There were tracks from Underground Resistance, Prodigy and LFO being played next to German trance, early Dragonfly releases and a lot of stuff from the first wave of UK progressive house. Labels like Limbo and Guerilla and acts like Leftfield, Fluke and Spooky were a huge influence for me then. If you listen to really early trance (and psy-trance) releases the groove sounds surprisingly housey compared to today. Throughout the years this is the “soundscapes” I have tried to re-create while playing.
Even though some people might say that I have sold out, I can just say that I am going back to my roots and following the sound that I like. In contradiction to what some people might think, I make less money playing progressive house than trance since the competition is tougher.

You were considered one of the top representatives (dj wise and label wise) of the minimal "Swedish" sound, which was unique at the time, does that classic sound still exist, or has it mutated into a more "international" progressive style?

The “progressive psychedelic trance” sound or “Scandinavian trance” is more or less dead for me. All the artists that I respect have moved on from the stereotyped off-bass sound. Just listen to Son Kite, Ticon, Atmos, Vibrasphere and SBK, they are all making more or less progressive house-influenced tracks or have side projects for it. Apart from those there are only a very few acts that are interesting, such as Andromeda and the upcoming Spiral Trax act Gaudium. I am focusing on the ACDC label for now and at the moment there are only a very few releases planned for Spiral Trax this year. It could be everything from chill-out through progressive to commercial trance, but NO psychedelic trance.

With CD copying and sharing of music files being standard practice now, how is it possible for any independent label to survive? Or do you finance the label through your DJ fees?

No way! I have invested enough money in the company. My private economy is totally separate. I get my monthly wages like anybody else. If it does not work I will do something else; maybe a taverna on a Greek beach!?!

Can you tell us what's on the table for your upcoming releases with ACDC?

On the singles front we have heaps of stuff before the summer. First there are the progressive remixes of two of the tracks from the last XV Kilist album, a new single by Chris Pointdexter, then Saronida Sound System; my first venture into the studio since 1999 together with a Greek friend of mine. Of course, the much talked about remixes from the last Atmos album (by Hernan Cattaneo, Chris Fortier, ÷zgur Can, and Greed) and at last there is the Barry Gilbey remix of Kruger & Coyle.

I am currently working on a singles compilation CD with a bonus CD mixed by me that will be out in March. In April I am planning to release a double mix CD with a lot of unreleased goodies. I have spent a lot of time going through stacks of music for that one. And finally there is the debut album by Swiss progressive house maestro, Greed that also will be backed up by a couple of singles. Greed are also behind SOG Records that have been releasing one classic after the other, but still decided to give his debut album to ACDC. Much respect!

How do you decide who gets advance copies of your unreleased titles for testing and how did you decide on who to remix which track of your latest releases? How did Hernan, Chris and Barry get involved?

I send CDRs to the usual big name suspects, preferably the ones that have shown interest in the label before. Some of them I have email contact with and can get direct feedback, which is greatly appreciated. These quotes are of course used when it is time to sell the record. For most of the records I use Vision Promotions in London, they have been a great help from the beginning in getting the label known. I also use Balance Promote in the USA, which is also how I got in touch with Chris Fortier.
For remixes I pick artists that like the tracks and have been playing them, DJs that I meet when I am on the road or friends of friends. In some cases they might have been guests at the ACDC night that we are doing here in Gothenburg.

Who, in your opinion, are the up and coming prog house DJs and artists we should be keeping an eye out for?

In Sweden definitely ÷zgur Can (the most interesting Swedish producer since Atmos), Martin H, Inkfish, Parham & Dominic Plaza and heaps more. There is a new wave of Swedish producers coming now. Greece also have a lot of interesting acts popping up for example Andrew K, Nikola Gala, Kosmas Epsilon, Christian Cambas and lots more. Flash Brothers from Israel D-Formation from Spain, Kasey Taylor from Oz the list goes on and on.

Can you give us an overview of the scene in general as you see it at this point, where it is coming from, and where it might be going?

There is a lot of cross breeding, influences from tribal house, electro, tech house and breaks. There are no boundaries really. A lot of people actually stay clear of calling it progressive house since it is a dirty word linked with boring Djs, 15 minute tracks and long breakdowns. Many just prefer to call it tough house music.

Do you ever come across people that say: "I like progressive, just as long as it's not too housey!"? If so, what do you say to them, and what are your feelings on the topic?’

I would answer “The housier, the better!” People from the psy-trance scene think are spending their weekends listening to run-of-the-mill Israeli squeaky trance tracks and I consider the music that I play trancier than any psychedelic track that has been made for the last five years. Trance as in real trance music – not noise.

People here in Montreal are still talking about the set you played when you came to town several years ago. Do you get a lot of feedback regarding your work, or are you largely in the dark about how it affects people?

Well, after the break I had a couple of years ago, I am now playing a lot again. I am also playing a lot in Sweden and running my own night, which I really enjoy. So nowadays I get a lot of feedback from people and I am really happy with what I am playing and the reactions I get.

-Any last words for the people?
Open your ears…

Thanks Anti, and much respect as always!