made you become a VJ? Who has influenced you artistically?
a 3D animator and storyteller VJing is my outlet for presenting
my work in an appropriate context, parties. I was drawn
to VJing early on with my first experience seeing the visuals
at Pink Floyd shows and raves in the late 80s early 90s.
Hyperdelic Dave and Nick Phillip were doing the best visuals
back then and inspired me to make my first 3D animated trip
94 I had my first opportunity to contribute my visuals at
the first Cyberfest in SF. I met David Shultens and began
collaborating with Dimension 7 (formerly Cyberlab 7) the
first SF based VJ crew in 95 and started doing parties.
Around that same time I co-founded Minds Eye Media with
Sherri Sheridan a high-end effects boutique specializing
in 3D Animation for the music and entertainment industry.
We did some big budget gigs for Arista, Geffen/Universal,
Sony and even had some of our stuff on the 98 International
MTV Music Awards and on Amp.
We won awards and had our work in the world famous Cinema
Electronica segment of the RES fest. These indicators that
the world was getting ready for psychedelic animated films
drove me to focus on this as a niche. In 98 I helped with
the visuals at the legendary community dance party at Burning
Man (same year I started DJing) and in 2001 I hooked up with
VJ Arcane and VJ Omananda and founded the Chaos Consortium.
Other key artistic influences along the way have been Alex
Grey, Giger, Syd Mead, Moebius, Dali and the folks at Disney,
Pixar and ILM. Back in the 80s and 90s, musically Pink Floyd,
Depeche Mode, Front 242, Sepultura, Freaky Chakra, Orbital,
Young American Primitives and Dead Can Dance were among my
earliest psychedelic forefathers. My grandmother Therese Vogel
is probably the most influential person in my artistic career.
She literally put a pencil in my hand and taught me to draw
at the age of 2. So with that gift she jump-started my creative
spirit. Then my mom brought me to see Star Wars at the age
of 4½ and ever since then I was inexplicably drawn
to doing 3D Fx. As soon as I heard Serge (who was going to
become Total Eclipse) and Yayos sets at the Peniche
delos parties, I fell into the psychedelic side of electronic.
When he came to New York in 1998, there was a very small trance
scene, it had started a year earlier and Gilles decided to
throw parties. It seemed the perfect time, it was new in New
York City and there was the same electric energy there had
been in Europe six years earlier!
seemed the perfect time, it was new in New York City and there
was the same electric energy there had been in Europe six years
earlier! Since he had already a lot of connections from Europe,
it took a few months to put on everything and in January 1999,
Krisz and Gilles threw their first party with Flying Rhino. It
was an immediate success, 700 people came and the Sadhuss
did the Virtual Vortex DVD film project evolve? Who were the key
GEOSPIRIT compilation has been evolving for at least four years.
Way back in 2002 we had a solstice party with Deviant Species,
Lemurians and Scorb. They all expressed interest in the project
and we exchanged some ideas. Deviant Species made it on the first
dvd titled Magnus with the track Abyss and Scorbs track
Thundermental, one of his first tracks he wrote, got re-written
and put on Geospirit. I had been banging around with an idea to
do a themed dvd of 3D animated videos for awhile and around that
time the label started coming together and we did some collaborative
projects with other producers like Earthling, Altom, and CPU it
seemed like the vision for the film finally coalesced.
spirit that made the dvd/cd compilation come together was our
party collective The Phoenix Family. Wichdokta and the rest of
our amazing crew were the impetus for bringing out all of these
great acts which got the ball rolling on compiling the music.
My partner, Sherri Sheridan at our company Minds Eye Media also
gave me boundless inspiration and the moral support to hide in
my C.A.V.E.* and create the film from scratch.
(*C.A.V.E. = Computer Assisted Virtual Environment)
software did you use to make the DVD and how long did it take
Primary 3D software is Alias, MAYA (recently acquired by Autodesk)
and the compositing/FX software Adobe After Effects. Imaging was
done mostly in Adobe Photoshop with a few animated fractals coming
out of Artmatic Pro on the Mac. Editing was accomplished in Adobe
Premier and Final Cut, web work with Dreamweaver and the organizing
with an Excell spreadsheet, Contracts written in Word. Authoring/Encoding
was done in DVD Studio on the Mac. Additional programs used as
resources: xFrog for plants and abstract life forms, Particle
Illusions for additional particle effects, Poser to help with
3D humanoids, Bryce to sculpt landscapes.
of these programs enhance the main 3D hub, Maya to make each process
a specialized and efficient component to creation. I spent about
4 solid months creating Virtual Vortex the film, December through
March of 2005. I used the following time to get some paid work in
and author the dvd and, with some help, finish the interface and
bio sections thanks to Sherri Sheridan and Guillermo Alacron. Then
on to cover art for both the DVD and CD and get the final mix for
the DVD done, thanks to Ross Dubois engineering and both the
CD and DVD masters done and encoded then shipped out.
finally finished everything the day I left for burning man 05
dropping of the package to DHL and off to my manufacturer/top
level distributor over at Saiko Sounds in Hong Kong, big thanks
Rob!!! So total December through Mid August, half of it 16 hour
days doing art (the best part!!) and the other half slogging through
the necessary evils!
how you went about making the images fit with the music and come
up with the ideas for a few of the scenes?
of the time I use my dear partner Sherris brainstorming
and story telling techniques that she clearly presents in her
book titled Developing Digital Short Films published
by NewRiders/Peachpit and easily found on Amazon. I also spend
a lot of time visualizing while listening to the music and making
lots of sketches. I usually try to use a visual metaphor from
the song title and artists names and some times integrate the
existing art direction the artists have established.
instance the Scorb track featured a charcter The Scorb
that Ady Conner originally designed for his album cover. I re-created
the character in 3D and brought it to life. In the Neuromotor video
the name Danger High Voltage I literally took the words and made
visual motifs for each of them. Danger = Skull, High Voltage = Exploding
electrical arcs and giant electrodes, Neuro-Motor = A giant Engine
powered by a little crazy head in the middle zapping it self gleefully.
In Chromatones video Mitochondria my goal was
to tell a mysterious tale about how alien cells inserted themselves
into our distant ancestors and in doing so created the impetus to
kick start complex life
to complement the samples in
the song and interpret into a visual narrative.
does the film mean as a whole? Who is the purple figure at the
and Virtual Vortex each have their own message. Geospirit as a
concept for the series is a global vision of harmony through joyous
celebration. Our music, this global psychedelic trance is a unifying
bond that is quickly forming networks through every country imaginable
on this planet and this compilation is dedicated to that mission.
Virtual Vortex as a film is a series of various stories all loosely
woven together into a metaphorical and visual narrative. Each
vignette seaks to stand on its own as an individual adventure
and then as a whole by the end the audience is revealed how each
story weaves together to integrate with the others with a wild
dimension warping experience where the virtual meets the physical.
My goal was to transcend mere trip visuals and take the audience
on a continuously changing experience while giving the mind more
to do than be dazzled with mind mending visuals. The purple figure
in the beginning is named Altron and was designed to look like
a mix between the manga-style 3D graphic on the cover art for
Altom's second album Groove Control and the Sutro Tower, the giant
tower that is a landmark in San Francisco that happens to be above
speaks with the modulated voice of Alex Grey that I sampled from
the interview in Liquid Crystal Vision, a landmark film for our
community produced by Omananda and Tantric Billy. He says, What
I try to do with the work is to show the interpenetration between
the physical dimensions and the more meta-physical
is the message and the theme for the film and I try to stick to
that from beginning to end.
did you get the artists on the CD and the DVD involved? Who are
they and are any of the tracks especially written for the project?
musical artist visited us inSan Francisco for a Phoenix Family/Geomagnetic.tv
produced event. I integrate storytelling elements into all of
my VJ sets and the guest producers get to visualize in the actual
party environment what a short film created with a synchronized
sound track that they help produce could be like. I am sure its
a compelling experience because everyone we have ever done parties
with wants a video. With the exception of the Neuromotor video
where I integrate some designs provided by a colleague, I was
the solo artist involved with making the film. I had some help
in the final stages of designing the interface and finishing the
bios sections. Musically the folks involved from top to bottom
are Altom, Chromatone, Random, Desert Dwellers, Mr. Peculiar,
Scorb, CPU, Neuromotor, Rastaliens, Earthling, Nomad and Jeremy
of the tracks were written or re-written specifically with a video
in mind. With the opening track METADIMENSION, we (Tom
from Altom, Chromatone, Random and Myself aka Phoenix Family) created
the track with a theme of magical mystery and artistic exploration.
While the track was being composed I was also designing the key
elements in 3D and synchronizing the animation movements.
I planned motion on the bullet shaped mega-structure to move with
the bass line in the track with Tom, actually sketching out animations
to match the notes. Mitochondria, Higher Sensory Perception, Killer
Dope and Thundermental were all re-written or remixed with the
video in minds as well.
is the Phoenix family and how did you come together?
Phoenix Family as a party collective came together after a few
key parties, the first was a free gathering at the Golden Gate
park Bandshell titled The Phoenix Gathering. At the
legendary event and the afterparty many of the key members for
the crew all met and started planning the now legendary and infamous
NYE 2000 outdoor/indoor event Escape to Trance Mountain
in the trinity alps located at Area 101 3 hrs North of SF in Laytonville.
For three freezing days several hundred nutters had the time of
their lives on 3 epic continuous sounds sytems provided by TAO,
Full Circle and Amalgam, the three founding groups behind the
Phoenix Family. As the years went by some of the talented crew
of djs and musicians started producing killer tracks. When the
time was right we banded together and formed a collaborative studio.
with Arcane and Omananda during the production of Magnus, then later
reformed in its current iteration as both a high end 3D special
FX lab and several fully featured audio production creation stations
with all the modern trimmings. So the Phoenix Family as a music
production group formed by the creative union of all these proactive
and creative minds living and working under the same roof consisting
of Lawrence HoffmanChromatone, Ross Dubois Random,
Myself and some of our other talented producer friends like Rob
Watson Rob-Ot, Raphael Pepi Helios, Aeon
akaAeon, Greg Farley Mubali, Aaron Peacock
Ocelot Moontribe Treavor and Kepi Desert Dwellers
as well as more and more others. Look out for other rising stars
the Loomi brothers, Quasar, Alien Mental, Greg On Earth, Viral,
Infinite Web, Miranda and More!!!
have also been making music for many years and Djing as we see
in the last scene of the DVD. What music style do you make and
in the 90s my music style was very 303 and 808 based as I was
passionately inspired by the program Propeller Head - Rebirth.
I also bought a killer synth in 95 called the K-2000 by Kurzweil.
With these tools and some old mac hard disc recording gear I put
together an album of tracks and even played at a couple of parties
with this music. At Burning Man 96 I first encountered goa-trance
at the CCC camp, 7 miles away from the rest of the event.
couldnt tear myself away from the party for 3 days gleefully
watching the sunrise over the mountains surrounding the dusty wasteland
dance floor of Black Rock Desert where the unique festival takes
place each year. I I finally found the music I was still hearing
echoing in my head on a trip to London and then came back and happen
to have my new cds with me began djing at Burning Man 98 almost
by accident when my friend Michael Gosney was leaving a killer party
with no DJ! He said go get your new music man! and when
I came back he had left and X-Dream's "Radio" was on half
way through the CD. I jumped on to the decks and I guess the rest
is history. Incidently my birthday is Aug 31st, smack dab in the
middle of Burning Man each year, so the festival has influenced
my music style and direction in many ways. Now, years later I am
finally starting up producing music again after focusing on VJing
and DJing for the last 8 years, all the while making 3D animation.
musical tastes are diverse in the psy-trance genre. I have often
been dubbed a fluffy dj for my love of melodies (it
is still trance music right?) but as any one on the dance floor
knows that only means my range is vast and you never know what might
come next. The deeper dark sounds I believe strongly compliment
the full on Power Fluff that is basically refined Cyber
Trance with 145 BPMs (I still love it =). I also know that as the
trauma trance side of dark psy comes of age and evolves higher levels
of production and mastering techniques the style will mature and
takes its side squarely with more poplular and main stream psy-trance.
So my compilations will reflect these amazingly passionate styles
of trance and new styles like the Phoenix Family crews Maximal
Trance, Full On and Driving with dynamic melody, groovy funk
and bathed in deep soul pounding rhythmic delights. I want to range
from moody melancholy flavors through powerful and uplifting anthems.
I see the range as a necessary component to most psy dance floor
has the San Fran scene evolved, what do you think it needed for
it to grow?
SF started as the home of the psychedelic revolution and by the
early 90s underground psy parties liked Club Floppies at an abandoned
apartment building in Oakland were happening and full of the depth,
flavor and mystery that we see still blossoming today. Trance
and ambient events at the King Street wharehouse, the old Cannabis
Buyers Club, The CCC, The Cookie Factory, The Noodle Factory,
The Book Factory were the predecessors to all of the big and small
trance parties from the beaches to the bars, from the rivers and
forests and deserts to the mega and mini clubs and now legally
on SF owned property thanks to efforts from the SF Late Night
Coalition headed up by Trance Politician John Wood at the legendary
SOMArts Gallery. Burning man and the numerous legal and renegade
street parties continuously helped expose psy trance to the
rest of the world. These annual events like the SF Love
Parade, the Howeird Street Faire, The Castro Haloween ultra freakout,
and the big Peace rallies served to give all sorts of non
trance people a chance to hear the music and look forward
to finding a fairly regular outlet for the events and music surrounding
this psychedelic trance phenomenon. When I have seen people who
have never heard the music who are not on any drugs who wander
up and start to go crazy and really feel the vibe I know that
what we are doing is special, unique and truly a blessing to the
people who are touched by it. It actually changed my life. In
a wonderful and all consuming and yet completely complimentry
to my dreams and aspirations way psy trance seems to offer a similar
bliss to many others that it reaches as well. I long ago stopped
being attracted to doing any psychotropics at events as I have
found that the experience I have being lucid then entering the
trance state via the music and visuals and party environment and
dance-floor vibe are just as or even more powerful, and as a bonus
you can clearly recall the whole event as well! The music is starting
to reach other audiences of the night life community like the
goth/industrial scene and the jam/reggae band fans. Also I think
the roots of psy parties, integration with various genres, needs
to be focused on. I see parties with two rooms of trance, dark
and light, happening, as well as parties with Breaks and other
urban sounds being integrated on the same dance floor. I mean
why does a psy party never really get going till 1 or 2 am? And
the breaks parties are over around 3 or 4. So there must be some
happy medium and I believe the vast non-genre denominational
types of people will embrace whatever phat beats that a skilled
dj provides for them.
was it like VJing and DJing at the Burning Man?
Man is the annual art capitol of the cosmos as well as the third
largest city in Nevada. The big events at Burning Man used to
be more focused as they were fewer and farther between. Often
the Community dance after the burn was a focus for many of the
revelers. Now everyone and their sponsor has a giant stage and
is vying for a spot on the corner of the esplanade and the 2 and
10 streets the are the location of most of the big sound installations
(read mega parties) that go on all week. The corners always get
the best turn out and the unlucky ones at the edges have to hope
that a few of the nearly 50,000 folks who are turning out will
drop by for a few minutes.
short-attention span theater at all times on the edges and at the myriad
mini-parties (if even 1% brings a sound system the is still 500 separate
amplified parties in a several mile area. VJing is actually a real challenge
as the gear is dust sensitive so its best to have the projectors and
mixing gear some how protected (inside a motor home!!). Djing is an
amazing pleasure at Burning Man. You inevitably turn a lot of new folks
on to the music and save others who have been searching for good tunes
all night. Once in a complete white-out duststorm a party I was DJing
at on the last day was the only source finding their way for people
lost in the dust. Then later the giant dome that had been carried out
in front of the dancefloor (but not staked down) vanished in the dusty
windstorm, to be found rolling 35 feet straight up on its side down
the street (luckily it didnt hit anyone). People thought it was
a huge art car as it loomed at them through the 10 foot visibility dust.
This year when our 30 foot scaffolding blew down narrowly missing
some dear friends I yelled out we have been blessed, No one was killed!!!
It can be dangerous and mind blowing, full of surprises and it can dash
your expectations, new friends are found, old friends are put to the
test. But Burning Man is not just about the parties. It's about the
art and about making art and sharing it and participating in it. It's
about Community and togetherness and expression. Psy-trance communities
all over the world embrace this common ethos and that is why I am sure
that Burning Man and psy-trance will continue to evolve hand-in-hand.
did the audio mastering on all of your releases and he co-produced
4+ tracks with you and Random. What's his musical history?
Hoffman aka Chromatone psytrance project and Morphonic downtempo/Breaks
project came from a lead from one of the early Phoenix Family
Producers, Wormfood and praised by Phoenix Family collective co-founder
St. Carl. I checked out his album length promo cd and was totally
blown away back in 2001 or early 2002. He started making goth/industrial
music before that, then heard Simon Posford and X-Dream and was
he is the Mastering Engineer at Geomagnetic as well as one of the
flagship producers for the label. His new fusion with Geomagnetic
recording artist Random has become an international phenomenon.
He released a compilation on his co-owned label Vaporvent called
Vaporize (2 is on its way!) and basically created the whole Mechanic
Castle 2 Disc CD by moving to France in a castle with Fred and Gilles
and some other lunies and collaborating on 10 of the tracks on the
comp and heavily engineering and mastering all the tracks. Now he
is ready to release an album is currently being wooed by several
major labels so look out for his new artists album coming soon.
Geomagnetic is also proud to announce the highly anticipated artists
album Random available early spring. Random has been creating psy-trance
since 2001 and DJing goa/psy since '96.
would you like to say to the world scene?
want to thank the local world scene first starting with the SF
labels like Cieba, Soular, Mistress Of Evil, Drop-Out, PsyBooty,
Monad Nomad, Aura Quake and some new ones that are in the works
as we speak. To the SF collectives and promoters who have kept
great events and musical magic flowing CCC, Koinanea, Love Projecors,
Community Trance, Fusion, Thump, Tantra and the new ones starting
up, and the LA/SoCal scene with Psytribe, Green Sector, Moontribe,
DeserTrance, Kagdila and the ones I surely forgot. To the Oregon
and Seattle folks. Many Thanks go out to the New York crews Alladin
Project, 28th Day and John Tsunami. To the Midwest blessings and
much love to T.O.U.C.H. Samadhi and P.S.I. and Texas the great
crews in Austin. To the best Mexican collective by Acidize and
the Ambivalent Systems crew in Guadlajara. To Diogo in Portugal
for always having a great selection of San Francisco talent at
his amazing BooM parties.
the psy-trance music and visual producers and independent crews/labels/collectives
scattered all over the US and other American continents and all
over the globe: Here is the call to action to band together to
create even tighter networks and gig sharing/artists sharing communal
projects and festivals. We are actively seeking submissions of
music and visuals for our regular upcoming releases. We offer
mastering and publishing, manufacturing, distribution and promototional
and web hosting services complete with streaming bandwidth. We
create music/visual/online packages for other labels as well.
US is a community of very good people (almost too good/naive in
that we are letting our corrupt government walk all over us).
Dont give up on us. The tactics that our country is pioneering
to inflict mind control and mass hypnosis is a highly engineered
art form that has been scientifically perfected over the years
to cause exactly the reaction that is happening. It is up to us
conscious folks to expose the illusions and double speak that
is so plainly enforced on the mainstream people in such an all
pervasive way as to appear to be reality to more and
more of the good and honest folks who are inadvertently paying
for this international holocaust that is our media coup controlled
quasi-dictatorial scoundrels that have usurped the power from
the people in this country. The US has troops in 90% of the world's
countries and uses their influence to force these smaller governments
into puppet mode with regards to policy and technique for influencing
the populace. So learn from what is happening in front of everyone
here and try to thwart the tactics in your countries in any way