Exclusive Interview with Killer B: The coming of age

Killer B is Bennie Koorts. Singed by Looney Moon Records in Italy, Killer B has over ten years’ worth of experience in DJing and production. In his early years, he was inspired by Tsuyoshi Suzuki, KoxBox and Tim Schuldt; his diverse musical style incorporates tight beats, groovy rhythms, twisted psychedelic sounds and driving bass lines. Killer B has performed at numerous benchmark events on the local psy calendar and maintains a strong affiliation with the South African trance scene never failing to draw a crowd. He currently manages Red Eye Productions which is well-known for keeping the Gauteng scene enthralled and pumping.

killer b tswaing

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

PSYKED:
How many times have you performed at Vortex? What is your most memorable Vortex moment thus far?

KILLER B:
I’ve played at Vortex six times. My favourite set to date was in 2011. It was a night time set and I was in the zone. Everything just felt right and I could feel the connection between me and the dance-floor; we were in sync and I got filled with their energy. I get into a state where I just don’t want it to ever end – a blissful moment you just want to hold on to.

PSYKED:
Any thoughts to share on the milestone event that is Vortex’s 21st?

KILLER B:
It’s a big, big occasion like any 21st party – the coming of age. This makes Vortex the oldest, longest running trance gathering in Africa and it’s going to be a game-changer for everyone involved. Some people on the dance-floor were not even born when Vortex was doing their first shindig.

killer b dj psytrance vortex

PSYKED:
Do you support the Vortex standalone policy of re-introducing the DJ and getting rid of the live acts?

KILLER B:
Although I enjoy the art of a producer, I prefer the journey of a DJ as the music is selected from a global pool of sounds and concepts. The art form is different. It’s a collage. You want to take all that material and build a story, a journey with chapters including some ups some down and an amazing ending that leaves you wanting more.  So I support the standalone policy.

PSYKED:
Who are you most excited to see play alongside you at the upcoming event?

KILLER B:
Materia is always a treat with his top-notch production and style; Tim Duster, Moog and Highstyle are my favourites as they play the kind of sound that makes my ass shake. And then I’m always a keen to hear Bernz, Kalahari Kris and Bruce but my favourite moments are when I get surprised by artists I did not notice before (then I become and instant fan).

killer b psytrance dj psychedelic

PSYKED:
How do you plan on unwinding at Open Source this time around

KILLER B:
It’s impossible to be at Vortex and not have fun. Lying in the hammock in the late afternoon sun listening to a good DJ taking my mind on a journey is as much fun as me stomping up a dust cloud and losing my marbles on the dance-floor, or experiencing inner-peace and a spiritual feeling in the amazing surroundings and setting of the Circle of Dreams. Even just having the most interesting conversations with like-minded people is very fulfilling. There are so many levels to enjoy.



PSYKED:
Was there a distinctive moment in your life when you decided you wanted to start making psytrance?

KILLER B:
For me there wasn’t one deciding experience that got me into producing. I always enjoyed electronic music and it intrigued me how it was made and the power it had to bring people together on a dance-floor and experience the same joy. I wanted to be able to do that too, with my own ideas, and with the sounds I liked; so once I started to produce and tune into the beats, I could not resist sharing my music and the journey I could offer.

 killer b psyology

PSYKED:
What genre of music were you drawn to when you were younger, and did you ever think you’d wind up here?

KILLER B:
I was into reggae, breaks and techno. There was no psytrance back then. I only discovered Goa trance bit later, in the early 9’s. I never thought I’d be a DJ. I had a huge interest in music and always wanted to be a producer or involved in some way. DJing became a natural progression for me to promote the music I produced and believed in.

PSYKED:
Has your musical taste changed over the years?

KILLER B:
When it comes to psy, I started off listening to artists such as KoxBox, EatStatic, Younger Brother, Hallucigen and Etica, Atmos. There were obviously a lot less artists and sub genres. So today I don’t really follow artists as much as a particular sound that I enjoy. I would have to say labels like Looney moon, Sangoma, Pixan, WildThings and Bom Shanka are pretty much spot on regarding the sound I enjoy and play these days.

killer b psytrance psyked

PSYKED:
Tell us about your most memorable gig to date.

KILLER B:
Most recently, in 2014, I played at MoDem Festival in Croatia. That was very special for me as it was a really good underground gathering – the biggest event I’ve been to where it is strictly underground artists. All my favourites and heroes were playing live. It made it very challenging for me and I was lucky enough to do a live set and a DJ set. Most challenging was the DJ set, as I mentioned all my favourite artists were performing there live, so I had to dig really deep and pull out tunes that could be impress them as much as their music impressed me. What made it special was the dance-floor. A full cook, mature, proper psychedelic gathering and they loved every minute of it as much as I did. I felt completely at home and connected to the global movement.

PSYKED:
How do you prepare yourself for your sets? Do you ever get nervous going up to perform in front of all those people?

KILLER B:
I’m always nervous before I get on stage whether it’s a big or small event. Sometimes I’m more intimidated by getting energy out of a very small floor rather than a big dance floor. The nerves are the same. I prepare as best as I can for the given timeslot by carefully selecting all suitable tracks, then selecting all my favourites so I can weave them in there; and it’s always good to have a plan B, C and D to keep the nerves at bay. When I get going, after my first second or third track, I feel more comfortable and I wing it by doing what I feel is right for the moment and time and dance-floor. More often than not  I mash up plan A, B, C and D, ending up with a hybrid action I did not really plan *laughs* I’d rather let the dance-floor control me or guide me to their needs.

killer b psytrance red eye

PSYKED:
Have you ever had a really bad blooper moment on stage?

KILLER B:
One that stands out most, and I still laugh about a lot, was playing a back-to-back set with a friend. We got things cooking nicely and right in the middle of our set, I suggest to my friend to use the “jet effect” (on the Pioneer 100s) while I cross over and mix through to the next tune. Between all the noise and loud speakers in the booth this was misunderstood as me saying “press eject”, so for a moment where we were deep in the mix and I’m ready to pull a pro move out the bag, it just went silent and the CD slowly ejected. We looked at each other and, without a second to decide who did what, slapped the cross fader over to the already half-mixed in track and dropped the bass. We still giggle regularly about that major blooper.

killer b dj

PSYKED:
What are the problems the scene is facing in your opinion, if any?

KILLER B:
I feel that there are too many subgenres and people thinking they know it all. It creates ridiculous arguments about whose music is better than whose and what is what really. It’s about a fun experience that puts meaning to your life.

PSYKED:
What advice can you offer those entering the scene for the first time?

KILLER B:
Enjoy yourself; stay true to your roots. Come and experience the music, dance, feel alive.

PSYKED:
Any words of motivation for your fans who want to become DJs or are up-and-coming?

KILLER B:
If you feel the burning sensation in your soul to tell your story with music and share what you feel with the dance-floor, then DO IT. If you think it’s just fun and games and craving a spot light, get an Xbox. DJs dedicate years of their lives to build up a reputation and thousands of hours listening and preparing music for the short time they actually get to share it with an audience. It takes hard work, dedication and lots of patience.

killer b

PSYKED:
Moving forward, do you think our Circle of Dreams is ready to become known across the globe?

KILLER B:
Circle of Dreams has always been ready. With Grant’s dedication and thorough preparations, you just don’t get a better location and gathering in South Africa. It’s still “real” and you can feel it. As all good things in life, it happens when it happens and when the time is right. The universe works in mysterious ways and we have to be patient to let it do its thing.

vortex trance open source 2015 psyked circle of dreams

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