Psychedelic Journeys: An Exclusive Interview with Sound Strider

Sound Strider

Today we’re chatting with Sound Strider on the release of “Psychedelic Ritual”, his first release in five years. The song merges live experimentation with his experience in the studio, and through the interview we get a look at his journey crafting this track, the immersive experience it offers, and some of the inspiration.

Congrats on the release of “Psychedelic Ritual”! What did you do differently on this track that you might not have done on others? 

I haven’t put out any Sound Strider releases for almost 5 years leading up to this so my production process has definitely changed. In the interim, I’ve been running a residential recording studio and working a lot with bands and live musicians which has massively impacted my workflow. I used to use the fairly standard ‘laptop producer’ approach building everything in the box with the occasional analog synth or live instrument over the top. For this track and forthcoming releases I’ve started with live hardware jams where I hook up a bunch of machines and record for a couple of hours before going ‘in the box’ and arranging.

For anyone new to your music, how would you describe both the listening and live experience?

As the name of my latest track implies, I make psychedelic music that is influenced by altered states. The listening experience is meant to be a journey, filled with layers of sound that can transport you to different mental landscapes. In a live setting, I’m a firm believer in the power of improvisation and tuning in to the moment, there’s a lot of overly pre-programmed music in the electronic sphere these days and I try to bring something that is reactive and communicative, which I believe enhances the psychedelic and transformative aspects of the music.

Could you share more about the specific inspiration drawn from Julian Vayne’s vocal samples and their integration into the track?

The extract is taken from a talk looking at rave culture from a spiritual angle and understanding that the dancefloor can be a portal to altered states of consciousness. Julian Vayne’s words resonated with me deeply, and I felt that they added a unique dimension to the track. Basically pointing out that the experience of dancing all night and exploring altered states in a group context is something human beings have done for millenia and is an important part of our spiritual and cultural life.

The song’s description mentions the track as a transformative expedition. How did you intend for listeners to undergo this transformation through the music?

This was definitely a track that was aimed at the dancefloor. I believe that in the modern psychedelic dancefloor people undergo these transformations in their own time and way. As you are not dealing with a structured ritual I believe it’s important to use contrast, surprise and depth to allow each listener to unlock inner keys in their own way. I am also a firm believer in letting the music reveal itself to me during the creative process, I trust the muses! This is quite different from crafting a planned journey with a beginning, middle and end.

One really interesting thing you do is balance maintaining the listener’s engagement while introducing unexpected musical elements in the track, which I’m especially interested in. Was that intuitive to you or something you wanted to consciously play around with?

It’s a bit of both, I have always been a novophile, I quickly get bored with music or art in general that is too easy to predict. It’s a fine balance however, if  you push the unexpected too far you end up with unintelligible noise. Every artist, I think, has to find their place on that line and it’s pretty clear to me though that I am quite far out on the unexpected end of the spectrum, both consciously and intuitively.

Were there specific production techniques or instruments that you found crucial in crafting “Psychedelic Ritual”?

As mentioned earlier the improvisational technique was crucial to getting this one started. I also made heavy use of a Jupiter-8 synthesizer that a friend left in my studio for a month. I knew I would never be able to afford such a beast so I sampled the hell out of it!

Along those lines, another thing you do well is create hidden subtleties and layers within the music that reveal themselves upon multiple listens. Tell me more about that.

For me it’s all about the subtle layers and intricate depths. I recognise the value of a good simple song with a catchy recognizable hook but it’s definitely not what I’m trying to achieve nor is it what I’m best at. Building the layers and connecting them in unexpected ways is where I thrive. It can be difficult to achieve, as it’s a lot easier for listeners to connect with one idea at a time, but done right it’s the key to inducing trance states of deep dancefloor meditation.

What artists, if any, do you take inspiration from in this regard?

As far as the depth and layering is concerned I’m heavily influenced by the boundary pushing work of the more experimental subgenres of the psytrance scene. Starting with Simon Posford and Shpongle, I would also cite a now defunct Australian duo Circuit Bent who are able to reach a level of complexity and depth in their music which I find truly mind boggling. The psychedelic end of Bass music also has some sterling examples in the likes of Tipper or Symbolico. Finally I spent a lot of time in Cuba around the Santeria musical tradition which has a unique concept of layer and polyrhythm which have been crucial to my understanding. 

What’s coming up for you in 2024?

I’m excited about what lies ahead. I have more music in the pipeline including some exciting collaborations and live performances; a couple of tracks with the Brooklyn based singer Zenizen, a dancefloor oriented project with long time collaborator Kino Doscun which is tentatively titled Waxdin and a live band project which spontaneously materialized during a jam session with David Neerman and Sahara Dawn.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’d like to express my gratitude to all the fans and supporters who have been with me on this musical journey. Your passion and energy inspire me to keep pushing boundaries and creating. And to anyone new discovering my music with “Psychedelic Ritual,” welcome aboard! I hope you enjoy the ride, and I can’t wait to share more music with you in the future.

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