Psyked in the City

Exclusive interview with DJ Bruce: With imagination and intention, we can create magic

Bruce Abrahamse is signed to Nexus Media. Although he goes by many names, including Solar Axis, Spliff Politix and Synchronist, he is more commonly referred to simply as Bruce. The respected DJ is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s psytrance greats with almost two decades of experience behind him. Known and loved for his humble approach to life, Bruce can be described as somewhat of a guru in the local psy scene, inspiring beats as well as brainwaves. Catch him later this month at Vortex Phoenix Festival of Fire.

Psyked in the City

Psyked:
Hi Bruce! It’s a an honour to chat to you today. Tell me, what originally influenced you to become a psytrance DJ and producer?

Bruce:
Playing and making music has always been my favourite form of expression. My dad played guitar in bands professionally for twenty odd years and had an incredible vinyl collection that I immersed myself in as a kid. It gave me a deep love for a very diverse range of musical styles; as far back as primary school, I was frequently asked to DJ for friends parties. I think I was twelve or thirteen when I played my first ‘set’ on two tape decks and a guitar amp busting out Snap, Metallica and The Time Warp in the same hour *laughs.* As a teenager, I used to play guitar in little garage bands and then, once I got bitten by the goa bug, I guess it was just the next natural step to try mix and make this music myself.

Psyked:
Which festivals did you attend in your early days, before entering into the DJing and production scene?

Bruce:
I’ve always been more into rock and bands than raves. It was only when I first attended a place called Logos (CT’s original psy temple) that I fell in love with this music and let go of my previously-held belief, that electronic music had no soul. After spending years in dark, smoky beer stained metal clubs, the colours and sounds of a psy venue were a welcomed change.

Psyked:
How long did it take before you landed your first gig and where was it? Did you receive the reaction you were looking for from the crowd, at the time?

Bruce:
I think my first gig (outside of small gatherings with friends) was at Logos in 1997. It was a while go so specifics are blurry, as for reactions, I wouldn’t know; I spent the entire set staring at the decks in front of me, but I didn’t clear the dance-floor, so that was a relief.

Psyked in the City

Psyked:
During the early days, did you have any mentors who influenced your musical style? If so, what caught your attention about their music?

Bruce:
We didn’t really have much info in those days (‘96 – ‘97) about the people who made the music, so it was more about the music than individuals, therefore I can’t really say that there was anyone I idolized, but the few who stand out most are Simon Posford (Hallucinogen) – still my favourite psychedelic producer, Juno Rector, X-dream, Delta, Total Eclipse, Sandman, Cosmosis, MWNN and Astral Projection.

Psyked:
Was there ever a time in your life where you felt like pursuing a passion apart from psytrance?

Bruce:
Yeah for sure; when I was younger, I either wanted to be an artist, a writer or a musician. I loved all three, but music ended up being the closest to my heart.

Psyked in the City

Psyked:
What record label first assigned you and how did they approach you?

Bruce:
It was Afrogalactic Records, run by Colin from Alien Safari. It was an absolute honour to be asked to join a label that was the first home to many great SA artists.

Psyked:
Tell me a bit about your first big gig?

Bruce:
I think my first big outdoor was somewhere on the West Coast and was called “Orbreeze Earthdance.” That was a good couple of years before the Earthdance that we know now.

Psyked in the City

Psyked:
Let’s back-track to your first-ever performance at Vortex; what thoughts or feelings channeled through you as you stared out from the DJ box?

Bruce:
I think it was a little prayer which included the words “don’t f*ck up Bruce!”

Psyked:
Have you ever had a blooper moment on stage?

Bruce:
One that sticks out in my memory was sometime in the late 90’s at Getafix; I was in a super altered state and I got so lost in the track I was playing, I thought it was going to go on for eternity. It didn’t, and with the sudden realization that all was quiet, I scrambled to find another song to play.

Psyked:
Vortex has provided the foundation for many upcoming DJs in the past. Has Vortex shaped your career in any way and how?

Bruce:

The Vortex family is a very dedicated bunch who carries the original ethos and intent of the culture high at the forefront; this has been a huge inspiration to me to keep on going, even through the tough times when nothing seems certain except for our love of what we are doing.

Psyked:
Was there a specific Vortex party that you can recall which absolutely blew your mind, being on stage or in the crowd yourself?

Bruce:
Every single one of them.. There is always a moment where it feels like we have captured the magic, perfection in a frame of eternity, a still life of heaven, yet in constant motion.

Psyked in the City

Psyked:
Having performed at numerous Vortex events in your time, what are your feelings or expectations pertaining to the upcoming Phoenix Festival?

Bruce:
It was a brave move for Vortex to attempt a party in the middle of winter and last year, it really worked out well. Having this hub of warmth and energy and love in the dead of winter really brings out the warrior spirit and makes anything feel possible. There is nothing like it.

Psyked:
In your eyes, what message does Vortex convey to the public? Is there a deeper meaning that goes beyond the music?

Bruce:
The message that I get from Vortex is that the power of community is stronger than the power of acting only for oneself. The power of love overcomes the power of fear. With imagination and intention, we can create magic, we can share experiences and we can grow together towards a more holistic and life affirming existence.

Like this interview? Share it with your friends.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s