Goth-Trad: Psionic Assassin

This month sees Back To Chill, Japan’s original dubstep party, leave Japanese shores to spread the love of low end a short hop across the East China sea to Taipei, Taiwan. BTC recently had it’s 10th birthday and is now celebrating its first ever international night by bringing three of its original crew members; Goth-Trad, 100Mado and ENA to club Korner. Goth-Trad’s decision to return to the island with his own event follows a packed show for Night Zoo in Taipei last December. The bass music scene in the Taiwanese capital has grown a lot over the last four years, thanks to the efforts of a few well run monthly and bi-monthly parties, founded by a tight knit group of producers, promoters and DJs who have worked hard in bringing over top artists in the game from across the globe covering all facets of bass music. I caught up with BTC’s head honcho Goth-Trad to get his thoughts on this exciting new development for the Back To Chill series.

So first of all, I’d like to say thanks for taking the time to chat with me. For those who haven’t had the chance to attend, how would you describe Back To Chill?

I started the BTC night in September 2006 as the first dubstep and grime night in Tokyo. I was booking DJs who were producing original dubstep tracks basically. After I released my album “New Epoch” in 2012, I started pushing heavy-weight music which wasn’t only dubstep and electronic music. So it’s becoming a more alternative music night, but our core is influenced by dubstep.

Does the show in Taiwan signify the start of other possible BTC shows in Asia or abroad?

Yeah, I would like to do more BTC showcases abroad, especially since I’ve seen many good growing scenes in Asia. It would be nice to exchange our music and ideas with each other.

Goth-Trad playing in Mumbai

You’ve recently finished touring in China and played what I understand was your first tour in India last year too, what are the crowd reactions like in Asia compared to Europe or America?

It’s almost the same. Of course, crowds in Europe and the US are recognising and reacting better to special dubplates or old school anthems. But I’m feeling many people are getting into the scene in Asia.

You’ve said “New Epoch” was to be a culmination of the dubstep / bass music scene’s influence on you up to that point and “Psionics” was about pushing what you’d learned further, what direction will you be looking to go next?

Yeah, New Epoch is my culmination from 2008 to 2011 which is the period I was really into producing dubstep stuff. So after I released New Epoch, I was looking for new directions and fresh sounds for me. Psionics is a part of my new direction. I used to make dub and down-tempo hiphop, jungle, industrial, noise and experimental music from around 1999 to 2005. So I’m trying to mix together with those sounds and the heavyweight bass influenced by dubstep now. I’m still producing and playing a lot of 140 stuff though.

Cutting Psionics at Wax Alchemy

When did you start producing music and what was it that got you into it?

When I was a high school student, I found this LP compilation called “Crooklyn Dub Consortium – Certified Dope Vol. 2” released by New York label “WordSound Recordings”. It made me start to produce original music. It was 1998. Luckily, I had a senior friend making music, so I asked him how do I start. Then I bought an AKAI S3200 sampler. It only had a maximum memory of 32 megabytes! (laughs).

Which Japanese artists are currently creating 140bpm music that you’re feeling?

Karnage, Dayzero, Helktram and City1. I have recently been cutting and playing dubplates of their tunes.

Back To Chill Crew

Do you believe in keeping certain tracks as dubs forever, or do think you’ll release those you’ve pressed for your DJ sets eventually?

Some dubs will be released, some won’t be. I want to keep some special tunes exclusively for live performances. Nowadays people can get tunes and mixes easily, officially or illegally. I feel that the value of music is going down. So, to keep exclusive tunes for live performances is the one of the way to save the music value in the DJ scene.

A couple of the originators have moved on completely from making dubstep, what do you think of the scene as a whole?

I’m not very negative about it because there is so much good music in the world! And honestly, I don’t really care who is moving away from this scene. I just like dubstep music, the scene, its culture and still enjoy making and playing it. It’s a part of my life, and a very important genre for me. I’m also making different kinds of music now to find a new style of bass music. Like I said before, I used to make many different kinds of music as Goth-Trad before making dubstep, so it’s a natural flow for me. Some DJs and producers in the scene are bound by BPM and tempo. That’s really boring for me.

The Broad Axe Sound System

I remember Mala made a post once about giving up on playing vinyl because of the state of turntables in the clubs he was being booked for, have you had any experience of this?

Yeah, I often have bad experience with playing dubplates. These days, most of the parties arrange a proper sound system with sub woofers, but some of them don’t care about the turntable setting so I have to take care of it myself. Since I restarted playing dubplates three years ago, I’ve learnt proper adjustments and settings for turntables again, and I’ve learnt how to fix the feedback too. So I can fix the settings by myself at most places.

And lastly, how many reloads is too many?

It depends on the vibe of the crowd. It sometimes kills the vibe and sometimes kills the flow of the set. But on the other hand, it excites people.

Back To Chill in Taipei is April 15th at Korner. Purchase tickets here. Ryuji Tamaki has been photographing Back To Chill since its conception, his Flickr is worth checking out.

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