Exclusive interview with TRIP: Something higher than materialism.

DJ Trip is Ryan Davis from South Africa. Growing up, Ryan says that he never envisioned becoming a DJ, let alone a successful one, but music has always been a part of his life. As a youngster, Ryan listed to heavy metal, rock, punk, reggae and classical; and spent hours in record stores at any given opportunity. He was also exposed to many musical genres at home. “There was always music in the background and I learnt to appreciate the value of music in my life from a very young age. I even studied piano for a few years,” he says.

After being introduced to psytrance by Moog of Mushroom Mafia in 2003, his life took an unexpected turn and changed forever. Ryan found himself hooked on psytrance and felt determined to get behind the decks as soon as possible so he bought his own equipment and started a collection of trance CDs which gave him the diversity to play any sub-genre of trance.

Moog instilled in Ryan the valuable lessons required in order to advance in his career such as how to read the dance floor and conduct himself as a professional artist. “Moog taught me to have fun with my choice of music and to express my passion for trance through my sets,” says Ryan. Indeed he was a significant mentor and inspiration for the up-and-coming artist who was just beginning to learn about the psy scene and the art of DJing.

Ryan’s first big gig was in Mozambique in the December of 2003. He later went on to play for a collection of production companies in Joburg and eventually started up his own production company called Psychotic Productions. Ryan’s lively sets invigorate and captive audiences of all ages and paths.

We chat to Ryan about his upcoming performance at Vortex Open Source 2015 ♩♪♬ Experience the Magic in an exclusive interview below.


*Questions by Brandon Menzies for Vortex Trance Adventures. Edited and compiled by Batia Efrat for PSYKED. 

Hi Ryan. Tell us more about a distinguishing moment in your life that led to actualising yourself as a psytrance DJ and producer

After Frozen Ghost and Hiyarant performed at one of my Psychotic Production parties in August 2008, they invited me on a two-week-long crash course in CuBase. Upon my return home – armed with a copy of CuBase, VSTs – I bought a kick-arse sound card and monitor; and the stage was set to start producing my own music as Synthetic Alkaloid.

TRIP dj vortex psyked in the city interview

How has your taste in music changed throughout the years?

I’ve always had a love of heavy, powerful music which I found in metal and dance genres. In fact, even today my music production is influenced by my exposure to metal when I was younger. In regard to taste, I have learnt to appreciate music that takes me on a journey across a broad spectrum of genres. As a DJ, I am into full-on night time trance but I appreciate the diversity of progressive and Goa trance.

You’ll be returning to the Circle of Dreams for your third Vortex performance this year; what keeps you coming back to this multi-faceted event?

It was an honour to have been given the privilege to play a night-time psy set at my very first Vortex in 2013. It was the biggest milestone event in my DJ career; it gave me a new perspective of the trance scene and the incredible appreciation and receptiveness of the Cape Town party-goers. It was a culmination of my efforts as a DJ over a period of 10 years. I felt so energised by the crowd and blessed to be a part of the festival. I felt like I had arrived.

To hear my music on such a big rig and to play for such an energetic and appreciative crowd was mind blowing.  The euphoria lasted for my whole set and beyond! The fact that Vortex is still going strong after 21 years says it all.  Grant and his dedicated team succeed in creating a better festival experience every year. The unique environment they create for party-goers is, for many people, life changing. The diversity of music, artists, décor and stalls sets an atmosphere that enriches the mind and soul.

TRIP dj psytrance trance

Moving forward, Vortex Open Source would like to become a globally recognised event, do you think we are evolving in the right direction?


I believe that Vortex has proven itself to be a force to be reckoned with. Vortex pioneered the trance scene in 1994 and each year, it has grown its brand to meet international standards. People from around the world know the name and come to South Africa to experience a trance festival comparable with the greatest festivals in the world. Vortex has hosted many international artists. Some coming back year after year; the word has spread exponentially by word of mouth. Hell yes, Vortex is more than ready to make its mark anywhere in the world! The brand, the team and the experience are all there.

What elements of the party do you look forward to the most apart from your performance?

Stomping to my favourite artists, taking in the Vortex vibe, experiencing the lights and décor in conjunction with an awesome sound system; re-connecting with old friends, forming new ones, savouring the variety of foods offered and networking with people who are like minded are on the agenda. I take delight in being around a gathering of people who come together as one. It enriches my life and rejuvenates me to move forward along my chosen path.

Which acts are you most excited to see play alongside you at Open Source 2015?

I am super, super amped to be on the same line-up as Moog; Tim Duster who blew me away last year – what a legend; Archive whose night-time sets are complete mind rippers and Zion Linguist. Wow, I love this dude’s music. Other highlights include Rubix Qube, Bim, SiLo, and the legendary Bruce.

TRIP dj psytrance vortes

How do you prepare yourself for your sets knowing that approximately 3000 people are counting on you to take them on a spiritual and musical journey?

My preparation for a set begins months before the event. I search for fresh material which will bring an intelligent and diverse dynamic to the dance-floor. I keep in touch with what is being released and played both locally and internationally. I piece together a track selection of dance-floor bombs and carefully select an opening track to launch the crowd into a sonic journey through the deepest spaces of their minds. I practice sets weeks before the event at my allocated time slot to get in sync with the night-time slot.

Prior to my set, I have a strict policy of professionalism and only start partying when my set is done and dusted. There are always moments of butterflies before I start playing. It keeps me focused of my responsibility as a sonic shaman to take the crowd on an epic TRIP. Once I get into the DJ Box I drop my opening track, read the crowds energy and take it from there. I do not have a pre-determined track list; I bounce off the crowd’s energy and become one with it.

Have you ever had a really bad “blooper” moment on stage?

No, nothing major. However, there were many occasions when I sat on the DJ desk to play my sets because the organisers hadn’t made provisions for me playing at their events in a wheel chair. I learnt my lesson eventually, and started bringing my own bar stool with so I could play on the decks more easily.

What words of motivation can you offer fans who want to become DJs themselves?

Never give up, follow your heart, have fun and don’t let anyone trample your dreams. Being a DJ requires hard work, passion, dedication and practice, practice. It’s not all glamour. Be totally professional when preparing yourself before your set. The FUN starts when you have played your set. Attend all the parties and be seen on the dance-floor, network with artists and party organisers, and be versatile until you have established your own style. Listen and collect a variety of genres of music and experiment with what works for you. If you don’t express a passion for the music when you play a set, the dance-floor will implode on you! Remember, you are only as good as the last set you played so make sure it’s epic.

TRIP dj psytrance psyked vortex open source 2014

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who are just beginning to experience the true nature of what trance stands for?

I think it’s important for younger party-goers to understand that these events intend to create a safe environment or sanctuary for people of all ages to express themselves without being judged. It’s an individual journey through music, electronics, visuals, décor and dance; each person experiences their own adventure. Psytrance is a portal to uplift the spirit and have fun. The next generation needs to know that it’s not just about partying, drugs and alcohol. It’s about an evolution of the mind, spirit and something higher than materialism.

vortex experience the magic open source psytrance 2015

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