Exclusive Interview with Tune Raider (Twenty4Seven / Spectral Records)

Tune Raider AKA Pamm Legg is one of South Africa’s most prominent female DJs. With thirteen years of experience behind her name, countless dance-floor hits, a radio show on Mutha FM and a documentary entitled “Under the African Sky,” Tune Raider is no stranger to the world of psy. Signed by Twenty4Seven Records, Spectral Records and Magnetika, her dynamic style ranges from night-time full-on to psychedelic morning beats. And Cape Town just can’t get enough.

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These questions were compiled by Batia Efrat on behalf of
Psyked in the City.


Psyked:
Let’ start at the very beginning; what initially attracted you to the psy scene all those years ago? Apparently you were inspired by Tsuyoshi Suzuki’s performance at Vortex back in 2000, is that correct?

Tune Raider:
Back then, I was a fresh 17-year-old country bumpkin, all I knew about dance music was commercial house and raving indoors. Then I experienced a small party on the garden route for Millennium. It was only in January that year, when I moved to Cape Town to study, that I got to go to my first Vortex. When I arrived, I was blown away by all the colourful, crazy and extroverted people, who had a sense of freedom of expression which I’d never experienced before.

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I lost my friends as soon as the sun went down so I had to make my own way around. I loved the energy of the party; with everyone’s excitement and smiles all over, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, discovering a new world within our world. I just knew I was home. When Tyoshi Susuki played, his set seemed to transcend our minds. I have heard many people say that set converted them to psy trance. I can’t explain it, that guy is a master! He knew how to get all the ravers to start charging! It was my first time hearing music like that before and, from that moment forward, I was sold.


Psyked:
In 2008, you directed and produced “Under the African Sky,” delving deep into the heart of Cape Town’s trance culture. What provoked you to take this journey, and can we expect any follow-up documentaries in the future?

Tune Raider:
When I decided to make the film, the scene was going on ten years old. And from conversations with people at parties, we felt that the scene was beginning to change, and that someone should document what we were creating and experiencing. So I took it upon myself to do just that, I started networking with people who had been collecting photographs or video footage, and then I created a script and went off to interview everyone and anyone who had something to say. I have no film making experience but I am a trained actress/ presenter and I did a short script writing course, so I figured I could work out how to write, produce and direct this little documentary- I mean “how hard can it be?” Blood sweat and tears, my friends, that’s how hard! I was fortunate enough to have met the right people to help make it happen; Hemporium was the main sponsor but Alien Safari and Vortex were also involved in helping with the project.

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I feel that the documentary has done its job and has become timeless over the years; it really is a piece of our history. There were times when I thought completing it was crazy but I’m so happy that I actually managed to finish it in the end. Today people still mention that they have seen “Under the African Sky” and that they love it. Will I make another one? Perhaps. I guess you will have to wait and see. I prefer to say that I’ve done something, and show you the results, rather than saying that I am going to do it. You never know how plans may change.


Psyked:
Do you think that the original principles of Peace, Love, Unity and Respect are still present in today’s more “mainstream” psytrance culture?

Tune Raider:
If we consider the fundamental reason as to why we congregate on these dance floors – i.e to release and express ourselves and to dance under the open sky and be happy –  if we don’t have the basic principles, such as peace, love, unity and respect, these events wouldn’t happen. So if I look at our scene, I think these principles do exist. And thanks to the hot promoters and tight security, we luckily don’t see much of the retards who don’t get what PLUR means.


Psyked:
Would you say that the electronic music industry is still a male dominated one? And what have been the greatest challenges and achievements for you thus far?

Tune Raider:
When I started playing, it was hard to be taken seriously. I guess it takes time to build your credibility and prove that you are serious about the music and being an actual DJ. My most challenging moments are when I travel; it’s a lot of pressure to step onto a stage in front of a foreign crowd and it’s hard to know what they like. I suppose one plays from the heart and hopes for the best (but it’s still stressful!).

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I think an achievement of mine is being the first South African female to tour overseas and represent my country and local psy scene. Also the fact that I managed to produce and release my documentary, which took me 4 years to complete, and I did it all before I turned 25. I was a determined little lady back then.


Psyked:
Let’s talk about your upcoming tour to Portugal in March. How long will you be gone and where are you performing?

Tune Raider:
This trip is a quick one, I will be going for just one big party. I love playing in Portugal, the vibe is so energetic and it’s a really fun crowd to play for. This time I will be performing an event called “Amazons 2 – Astrologic Party.”  It’s an all-female line-up to honour Woman’s Day (European Woman’s day is different to ours). I have the pleasure of connecting with my Foreign Sistas again; Raquel (Ganeisha), Susana (Guappa – Lee) and Nica (Illuchina).

The one thing I love about this life as a DJ is getting to meet other girls from overseas who are doing the same type of work that I’m doing. We never experience jealousy or silly ego nonsense, we respect each other’s work and give each other support. If one of us travels to another country, we offer a place in our homes and take care of the girls when they on tour. I always get taken care of and spoilt when I travel, so it’s only fair to respond with the same hospitality.

Plus, living together is the best way to get to know people and all the DJ girls I have met along my travels have become a sista to me. All my European tours happen thanks to Raquel, who owns Magnetika DJane agency, and supports and promotes female DJs and artists. Please check out the website and see how many girls are rocking it overseas.


Psyked:
After playing in Spain, Brazil and Australia, would you say that South Africans have more or less “gees” on the dance-floor?

Tune Raider:
I guess I’m naturally bias towards our dance floors and the energy that we have. I think that the energies are different everywhere, around the world-  and it has a lot to do with how people live and their surroundings and daily life. Plus, the level of freedom they have to conduct the trance parties.

I also think the fact that because South Africans are really friendly people, and Cape Townians are generally very carefree and nature-loving, we seem to have different types of sub-cultures gathering on our floors; the flower crown hipsters, the hippies, trancers and rastas, the people who are experiencing the parties for the first time because their friends dragged them there, the older veteran party-goers and, of course, the jocks. Yet we party very well together, it’s one of the reasons I love our parties because you can really feel the freedom of expression.

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It doesn’t matter what you are into, when we come together to dance under the open sky, that’s all that matters- not what you are wearing or if you fit in. That’s not the point of a psy trance party, in my opinion at least. When it comes down to comparing the different industries, it’s nearly impossible. We share so many similarities and yet, we are all soooo different. At the end of the day, we are at the joll for one reason only and that’s to party (as cheesy as it sounds)!


Psyked:
Tune Raider is known and loved for a magnetising and energetic stage presence. That being said, has confidence always come naturally to you or is it something you’ve had to learn over time?

Tune Raider: 
I have always been a pretty confident person. When I was a kid, I would find any opportunity to be on stage, I acted and sang in the school choir (soprano, I might add), I danced and did competitive horse riding as a sport.  Later, as a teen, I sang in an all-girls rock band. I, unfortunately, was a bit of a dork and I expressed myself in crazy ways until I found DJing as an outlet that could embrace my freaky-ness. I somehow could express my love of music and I learned how to sew together the right sounding tracks to make people dance. I love psy trance and I soon figured that, if you as the dj are enjoying your music and having fun, your dance floor will do the same.

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It helps that  I feel comfortable behind the decks after all these years, it’s a form of kinetic energy that an artist or sportsman gains over time by perfecting their craft and that is why it becomes natural extension of yourself. But playing on a big rig is still nerve wrecking, until I get to relax and enjoy the experience, for which I am very grateful for.


Psyked:
Right now, who are your main mentors or inspirers?

Tune Raider:
Shew
, that’s a hard question because I don’t have one. I hope that doesn’t sound bad. I will tell you what inspires me, though; people who are out there doing it for themselves, building their careers and taking every opportunity to better themselves. I feel that we all have the power to be the best we can be, it’s hard work, but it’s the only way to be successful and happy.

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I love to meet people who are pushing their products or art, and I feel that, here in South Africa, we have the space to do just that. We have a sense of freedom where we can express ourselves and hopefully turn that into making a decent living. I feel it is important to do what you love, we can always make money but how you do it is what counts.


Psyked:
If you could travel back in time to one festival, which would it be and why?

Tune Raider:
I think the 2002 Solar Eclipse Festival. I just wish I could be there as I am now because back then I was so young. That festival was 5 days long and it was such a journey, all the way to outside Limpopo, where the full solar eclipse was visible. People travelled from far and wide, the event was epic and, on the day of the eclipse, the clouds had gathered above us so there was no way anyone could see the total solar eclipse! Strangely enough, the combined energy of the full dance-floor and the cloud cover made everything more intense and people were freaking the fuck out as the eclipse hit total coverage and the music peaked. People were jumping sky high, I will never forget it! Please check the video from my docci (5:40).


Psyked:
When is your next big event?

Tune Raider:
I will be jamming with DJ Satori (Jeanelle) at this year’s Alien Safari- Masqued Ball. We will be playing a back-to-back set. I must warn you, we will be putting on quite a show, and have a killer and very powerful set planned. As always, Alien Safari will be putting on another epic festival which is not to be missed. I will also be playing at Easter Vortex and Jungala Festival. See you all there!

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