Exclusive interview with Bim: True DJing is kind of like magic

Andreas Binotsch, more commonly known as Bim, was born in Germany and has been mixing music since the 90s. Having been a frontrunner of the original Goa trance movement, Bim has released countless tracks over the years through labels such as Millennium, Sony Music, ID&T, Arcade, Time Warner, Universal, Nova Tekk and Beluga. Bim is famous for leading the listener on a sound journey deep into the heart of psychedelica. One thing’s for sure: he’s no press-and-play DJ but a true a master of his art. This year, Vortex welcomes Bim back into the Circle of Dreams for Open Source once more. We were lucky enough to speak with him one on one before the big event.

bim psyked vortex psytrance

*Questions compiled by Batia Efrat on behalf of Psyked in the City

PSYKED:
Hi Andreas. It’s such an honour to have this chat. Let’s start at square one: Have you always been musical? What genres of music do you listen to outside of psytrance?

BIM:
The honour is mine. No, I can’t even read notes but ever since I was a boy, I’ve listened to music on the radio or in my older brother’s room. I am very old school. I started buying Vinyl when I was fourteen and still do, collecting records from Clapton, Neil Young, ZZ Top, Bowie, Floyd, Supertramp , Genesis (with Peter Gabriel) and rock; Judas Priest, Metallica and so forth.

I know all the record stores in Cape Town and other cities across the globe. I find them at free markets and sometimes buy presents for friends. Grant [from Vortex] gave me a huge collection from his parents one year with some real gems like old tracks from the Stones, Cosby, Still Nash and Young. But I enjoy listening to music in my car on the radio because there are some good bands on the market.

 

PSYKED:
Tell us a bit about the essence and roots of Goa trance and what it means to you. How did you discover it?

BIM:
In 1992 I was in Goa/South Anjuna; at that time I listened to heavy metal but it started boring me. One day I went to my first party in Disco Valley. Mike Maguire played some tunes from Juno Reactor -The Killing Joke remixes and he blew me away. It was metal-meets-electronic kind of music that awoke my interest. In the end, trance music is only an evolution of our native tribal music.

Did you know that the rhythm to fall into trance is 138 bpm ? Many natives use this speed for their ceremonies. The base of our music is kick drum, percussion, melody much like all native music. All we did was add some other sounds and vocals to it and trance music was born. One of the real founders of this Goa music is Goa Gil; he was one of the first who played electronic music at the beach parties in India. And from there it spread all over the world. In the beginning, we had no progressive or psychedelic trance – all music was one.

dj bim holographic

At first there was only the Detroit Techno from Djs like Jeff Miles or Dave Clark or the trance music from the Art of Trance – Juno Reactor and Sven Vaith. Years later came Antaro (Spirit Zone) , Anti (Spiral Tracks) and myself with Medium Records; we found progressive sounds through artists such as Atmos, Noma, Human Blue and later, Neelix. From them, our music broke into pieces and went in a different direction. Today we have no real Goa trance apart from a few artists like Tristan, Space Tribe or Talamasca who keep a piece of this spirit alive. What we create now is modern electronic music but the party culture is still alive and sometimes even the spirit of it.

This music steered my life in a different direction; it changed my life from the ground up and there is also no way back to leading a “normal life.” Before I went to Goa, I worked as an electrician; I had a good job, money, a protected life. But I knew at that time that it was not the end of my journey. Now I am 51 years old and I know that there is no other way I want to live until my life is over. I think it is good because I have the opportunity to make some more people happy nearly every weekend and this certainly isn’t just a normal job.

dj bim vortex open source

I still love the Goa vibe at a party such as at Vortex because for a few days, we are all one and we can be what we want. We are free. But if you ask me, if I had to live again, would I be a DJ? My answer would be no, never again would I choose this as my profession. To be a real DJ you have to devote a huge portion of your life to it and it’s difficult. When someone says “that’s a cool job,” they can forget it. It’s a hard job and most of the time, you are alone. Even when you are at a party with 10,000 people, you can still feel very alone. This life is like ying and yang – light and dark.

There are plenty of upsides though. Without this job I would never have met the people I have such as the Vortex crew or my large Cape Town psy family. I have never met such fantastic people in the world or found friends like I have at Vortex. This enriches my life.

PSYKED:
Every time you return to Vortex, your set is better than the last. How do you keep improving?

BIM:
The DJ is only as good as the audience. My set grows with the people on the floor. Every year when I come back, there are more people on the floor who like to listen to me. That means the energy from their side grows more and more. Every year I am afraid to go up this stage at Vortex and play again because the pressure for me to do it right increases. Only at Vortex do I have a ritual – I stay there for three days; I live and sleep with the people. I get my own chair on the stage every time where I can sit and watch the dance floor.

dj bim on stage at vortex open source

I like to become totally one with the party, the people and the music. I try to feel what the people feel and I try to know what keeps the people dancing. My mind becomes their mind and their mind has to become my mind; and with all these feelings and inspiration, I go up five stairs to the stage and let it out and go with it. The only thing I know beforehand is the first record I’ll play and the last one. This year it will be more or less ten old school records but the rest comes from the inspiration, the crowd and the weather.

PSYKED:
What does your music aim to evoke in the listener?

BIM:
Since last year, I have learned more than I ever thought possible. We came full circle with laughing, hysteria and tears in the eyes. I know that true DJing is kind of like magic. I have the opportunity to play with people’s feelings but they can do it also with mine. We can communicate together without speaking one word or without ever seeing one another before in our lifetimes. Music is like a transmitter; during these four short hours, we speak the same language and share the same feelings. We have the same religion: trance music. If this could happen in everyday life, there would be no war in the world.

dj bim performing

PSYKED:
Can you describe your most memorable Vortex moment thus far?

BIM:
My first Vortex in the magical South Africa and the Moment when Grant became a real friend to me.

bim and grant vortex

PSYKED:
What makes South Africa’s psytrance scene different to that of Europe’s?

BIM:
I think it’s the taste in music. Europe is very controlled by deep progressive music. You can always expect few parties with offbeat rules the floor and the psytrance fading more and more into the background. In Grant’s words: “South African people are psychedelic warriors.” They are open to all styles of music. When they dance, they dance; they go with you and support the DJ through it all. They are not coming for just one headliner or a special DJ. They are coming for the music.

bim dj

PSYKED:
You began mixing music back in the 1990s; have the technological developments since then shaped your music in anyway?

BIM:
I started on Vinyl and moved into DAT and now I am on CD. I will never use a computer for DJing because I think it keeps you away from your work. The computer then becomes the DJ and you are only the user of this music box. Even when I play with my partner (Drukverdeler) live, I use the CD Player for the effects and sounds because I enjoy the battle between me and my partner; the right pace, the right point and the right moment to bring some special effects into the live show. The technological developments shape my music in only one way: the production became more clear and the sounds are definitely better. A CD player is easier to handle than a turn table.

PSYKED:
You have created over 100 compilations in your time. If you had to pick your favourite, which would it be?

BIM:
Every CD is my favourite but the Goa Beach Vol. 24 is a special one for me because it was the first time I did ambient side. It was fantastic to work with this genre.

bim dj trance

PSYKED:
What has been the biggest learning curve of your musical career?

BIM:
The label work for sure. Here you can never forget that behind all music is human life and you have to take care when dealing with this. They believe in you and your work and a lot of people listen to your music; they have it on home on the computer or on CD. But only few like to pay. They steal by illegally downloading what belongs to the artist. If all the DJs in this world bought their music the legal way, no producer would worry about next month’s paycheck.

If all the listeners at home would buy even half of the music they have, no record label would struggle to survive. The learning curve is that our music will die fast or slowly and not because people don’t listen to it, but because nobody likes to pay for it. They don’t like paying entrance for a party and they don’t like to spend money at the bar. All that keeps parties and music alive can be destroyed if people don’t change their mindsets. That is the biggest joke for me; people destroy what they love.

We created this music from the 90s up until now but the way it’s handled is stupid. PLUR and “we are all one family” are the biggest mantras of our culture but for me, these words are a joke. You have to think about the fact that, next time you download illegally or fake entrance to a party, you aren’t expressing PLUR. That’s not the way to show we are one family. All you’re doing is ensuring we take our music to the grave. This is the nature of humanity; we love our environment but we destroy it. We love our animals but we kill them. We love our kids yet millions die from hunger. We love our music but…

andreas bim

PSYKED:
You express both the beauty and the ugliness within today’s culture; I hope we can learn from your insights. Thank you for your incredible words. South Africa cannot wait to welcome you back to the Circle of Dreams this year.

BIM:
It’s my pleasure; see you soon!

vortex trance open source 2015 psyked circle of dreams

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