Electronic dance music legends, duo Amit ‘Duvdev’ Duvdevani and Erez Eisen, together known as the Infected Mushroom, is regarded as pioneers of Psychedelic Trance. Formed in Israel in the late ’90s, the band is credited for bringing the sub-genre from its underground roots to mainstream Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and is known for their consistent sonic evolution. We caught up with Amit, as the Israel-bred, Los Angeles based duo gear up to perform at the 10th edition of SulaFest. Excerpts:
What do you think of the EDM scene today?
The EDM scene around the world is changing very fast. There are new bands coming up every day. The good part is that now there are enough gigs happening across the globe, and on the flip side, according to me, today EDM has become a bit too commercial. I think we have still managed to survive and grow amid all this is because although we have upgraded our music to suit the changing taste of the audience, we have always stayed true to our roots. In fact the sound of our new album, Return to the Sauce, is very old-school – we have gone back to where we had started of.
But at the same time the technology that is available today has enabled us to be far more creative with our music than we were when we started off. We can now easily do things which earlier we could just make mental notes of. But the only thing we miss is spending quality time at the studio. With so many gigs happening, there is hardly any time to chill out and experiment.
You do an insane number of shows averaging 120 per year…
I know! It is crazy. We basically do two three gigs and then come back to LA to our family and spend as much time we can with our families. We like to spend the weekends with the kids or simply chill out listening to the radio. But yes, it does get hectic at times!
You two have been collaborating for quite some time now, is there any change in the equation?
Erez and I have been making music for over 20 years. We are now more comfortable in our own space and I think because we have so many other things going on in our lives, our wife and kids, we have more fun while making music. For us, our studio is our getaway. We love every minute we spend there and we love to be on the roads.
What about creative differences?
Erez is more about the keyboard and I am the frontman of the band but when we do music in the studio, we both do everything. Both of us have grown up on similar kind of music and still listen to very similar stuff, so we are usually on the same page. We rarely disagree as far as our music is concerned.
You are both classically trained musicians. How did you get into psy-trance?
Infected Mushroom is a very complex sound and we infuse a lot of classical music in it. We love doing music live rather than out of a console.
When we started off psy-trance was very underground. There were small gigs and parties were mostly hosted by people freshly back from Goa, India. That is where the real big parties were. Erez and I were just playing keyboard in various local bands which would play at these gigs. Computer generated music was coming up and we thought that is the next step in our musical journey. We started doing electronic music. It was a natural process. That is how Infected Mushroom was formed.
Why Infected Mushroom?
We had a college music group by this name which had long disbanded and thought the name suited our sound. So we took it up!
How was the journey from Israel to LA?
We kept making music and kept evolving. Some of music we recorded became huge hits. And suddenly one day we realized that we have become this big band that people were talking about! Then we got our first international gig. There was a lot of curiosity among the audience about this psy-trance band hailing from Israel. As we started playing they all got into the groove. The kind of reactions we got in that show gave us the confidence to take up more international shows. But it was a very different time then and Erez and I were more interested in getting out of Israel than to become international sensations. We were just having a good time and making our own kind of music.
We decided to move to LA because it is a hub for all kinds of musicians and we wanted to collaborate with other artistes. Also, it is easier to commute to various parts of the globe which is very important to us given the number of shows we go to each year.
In fact, when we came to LA, it was supposed to be a one-year trip, but we stayed back for 12 years and now this is home and we have become American. But our music still has its roots in Israeli trance music. That it our homeland and its music is in our blood.
How did the political unrest in Israel affect your music?
Back then, music, for a lot of people like us, was an escape from the political turmoil. I cannot say I had first-hand experience of the unrest as we lived far from all that and in a very safe locality but the situation was there. The tension in Israel permeates into its music, arts, and even the party scene. And I think somewhere it helped our music and gave it its distinct sound.
Apart from the big names in the business, you guys also collaborate with a lot of up and coming artistes…
Yes, we consciously collaborate with these youngsters as they bring their own unique sound with them that gives our music a new twist. We scout for interesting talents on social media and connect with them over emails and exchange notes. If it works out, we meet and take things forward.
How does it feel to collaborate with the youngsters?
It is funny when people say, ‘Hey you know what? I grew up on your music!’. It is very flattering …but it does make us feel a bit old as well!
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