John 00 Fleming talks 'Alter Ego' with TrancePodium
Hi John, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. All good in the ‘00’ World today?
Everything is wonderful and I’m in a very happy place :-)
'Alter Ego' is out now, so hearty congrats on that! For it, we see you’ve gone Psy (or fully Psy at least). What’s prompted that move?
When I play out I'm pretty much genre blind, though everything tends to have a dusting of Trance. I’m the same with releases, fans never know what I'll release, for example last month my single 'Chemical Equilibrium' was released, a 124 BPM hypnotic Tech heads down track, this week my full on Psy album is released! I use all these musical tools when playing extended sets, hence why I become genre blind. They are musical tools that I need to unfold a musical story. Often I make tracks when I can't find music for my sets. I was missing void of deep, driving, furious, goa esq Psy, so thought I'd make an albums worth!
It's a return to your musical rootstock, isn't it?
I was lucky enough to be DJing when Trance was born in all its forms in the early 90’s. I was genre blind back then too, when I got to the driving part of my sets that’s when I would reach for some Goa Trance. JOOF recordings was born 18 years ago, though was in planning way before that with my original label partners Transient records, this being the home of Astral projection, Human Blue and a whole load more. It was these guys that exposed me to the sound and I have an endless supply to chose from upon every visit to the office.
'Alter Ego' is out through your JOOF Mantra label. What were your main objectives in launching the label?
I always say, be careful what you wish for. One moment I’m moaning we can’t find enough high quality music to be released and had a failed attempt to launch a sub label (JOOF Deep) a few years back, we simply couldn’t find enough music to sustain the label. So I moaned. Then the magic happened and last year JOOF Recordings was hitting maximum capacity of almost a release every week, this certainly wasn’t a place I wanted to be in. We’re not a music factory. It made sense to create two sub labels as we now had more than enough music and artists; JOOF Aura concentrates on the deep side of things, while JOOF Mantra handles all things Psy.
The album is not very collaboration-heavy. Was this down to you wanting to carry it largely on your shoulders? Or are you not a big believer in collabs when it comes to artist albums maybe?
An artist album should be about the artist? If it’s packed with collabs you don’t get to hear the true sound of the artist, it was my goal to let everyone hear the Psy side of me and not be diluted. I want everyone to experience the wild things, ideas and trippy visions that go on in my head. There’s certain artists that have become close friends and we share not only that friendship bond but musical chemistry and why I chose Ovnimoon and Gaudium. Maybe one day I’ll do a whole album of collbas with my close friends.
There’s also your remix of Liquid Soul’s ‘I See The Spirit’. Since Paul van Dyk did it on The Politics Of Dancing 3, including a single remix on a trance artist album seems to be a bit of a ‘thing’! Personally, what were your reasons for doing it?
I always loved the original but wanted to do a more trippy hypnotic version to suit my sets. I had no idea regarding others remixing this track, I guess great minds think alike and good DJ’s identify a solid base track, as per what Paul did. That’s the ear of a good DJ working ;)
All the music on the album is brand news, except that is your 2012 track ‘Mustang’. That now appears in 2016 remix form. What did you choose to return to ‘Mustang’ in particular?
Mustang was originally released on an EP with a different style track and felt it got missed the first time around, due to people heading for the A side ‘The Fires Of Chameleon’. Everytime I play this track out, people go nuts, so thought I’d give her a little refresh and put her alongside Psy tracks to let her shine.
How did you feel when you saw Psy begin to edge closer to trance’s centre ground a couple of years back?
About time!! There seems to be a love hate relationship between the regular Trance world and Psy world. The Psy world is HUGE and inside can have flavours of slow Techno, House, hypnotic all the way through to driving full on and rock fused power. Often someone from the Trance worlds first taste of Psy could be the ‘wrong’ type of Psy and they decide they hate the whole scene without exploring more.
The last decade of Trance has been super commercial and with the underground resurgence happening right now, Psy is the place to find the serious heads down music crafter especially for the dance floor.
Which other artists from Trance’s mainstream do you think do Psy well?
There’s many like Simon Patterson, Jordan Suckley, Bryan Kearney and Christopher Lawrence. What I love about this, they are adding their own take on the Psy world. Then you have Psy artists such as Liquid Soul heading more towards Trance together creating a new scene in the middle between both worlds, acting as a bridge an introduction to the bigger world out there. Before the two worlds were separated, now they are becoming more united and seeing artists cross over into both worlds.
And from the underground?
There’s no hiding the fact the EDM bubble is bursting, off the back of commercial fads underground scenes flourish as music lovers work hard to create scenes that specialise in the music and DJ’s that they love. I’m seeing pockets of this around the world, they are getting more popular and growing in size. Monthly shows, warehouse parties, specialist boutique festivals. I’m in a really happy place at the moment :-)
From a personal perspective, what do you think are the 10 most important Psy records of the last 20 years?
It’s impossible to narrow it down to just 20, and also unfair to just mention 20. There’s been a collaborative effort from 100’s of producers that work damn hard (often for little money), that rode the commercial storm in order to preserve and create the scene that we’re all enjoying today. It’s these wonderful people as a whole that are important collectively together.
Lastly, Psy and Goa Trance share a lot of the same DNA. To make the distinction between them, what’s the one element that a Psy track might have, that a Goa one never will!?
It subjective to each individual, in the same way huge debates unfold in Trance forums when people post the numerous ’Trance is dead’ topics. To some it is, to others like me Trance is the best it has been for years. What Goa is to me, won't be to another.