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Special thanks to Damion Brown for sending us this interview!
(Edited by HM for NAJM)

Simon Posford Shpongle Project


NAJM Dance Culture
Simon Posford is better known as Hallucinogen, and one half of the hugely successful Shpongle project. His days of music production on the psychedelic trance scene date back to before the term "goa" was even applied to the music, and his seminal underground hit "L.S.D" made waves with big-name jocks like Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling back in 1995!

  Simon set up Twisted records ( which has become a hugely successful and well-respected trance label, playing host to top names in the scene including Doof, Tristan and Prometheus. The Shpongle project, seeing Simon teaming up with TIP records founder Raja Ram, made huge ripples in the scene when its psychedelic ambient dub stylings graced eardrums on release back in 1998. Since then, Simon has been at the wheel of a number of projects, including the multi-talented array of collaborations on the recent Twisted compilation Unusual Suspects, and a forthcoming project with Benji Vaughan under the guise of Younger Brother. Without question, Simon is through both the Hallucinogen and Shpongle projects, a leading and well-respected member of the psytrance community. In this exclusive interview, he discusses old music, new music, forthcoming music and tons more besides.  
DAMION: Well, first up - welcome. Where are you and what are the vibes like?
SIMON: I am at home. it is late on Saturday night. I'm chilling, watching Jacob's Ladder on TV, gazing out of the window at the stars, and recovering from a big night out in London ... feeling fairly fragile! After this, I'm going to put on 'Music for Airports' by Brian Eno and crash out...
dot_clear.gif (43 bytes) DAMION: Unusual Suspects has just been released on Twisted, and it's awesome... It seems like much more of a "concept album" than a lot out there - Can you give us an insight into the ideas behind its conception?
SIMON: There wasn't really a concept.... but we wanted to release the tracks I'd done over the past few months, and since they are all under different names, a compilation album was the best way. Also, we had some tracks by the other artists on the label that needed releasing, too. As the sound was slightly different from some of the stuff in the past, we decided to try artwork from the 'designers republic'.
DAMION: One of the underlying factors behind Unusual Suspects is the collaborations - which is something the Twisted posse seem to get up to a lot. Is this just fluke that you all work so well together, or do you have to work at it?
SIMON: All the artists involved are good mates, familiar with each others' sound, and totally at ease in the studio, so it was fairly effortless. It wasn't really planned, as such.... I just did a track with whoever was staying at my house at the time! For example, Tristan came down to play frisbee for a couple of days, so we started a track together.....Meanwhile Serge was doing a gig in London, so he came down to chill in the countryside for a couple of days, and he joined us in the studio.... they both had to leave after two days, but Riktaam was coming into town on his way to the states, and he came to stay also... since he flew out the next day, there was little point in starting a new tune, so he got involved in a different mix of the tune that was still sitting in my computer... this was a bit more 'finished' than the one we had rushed out with Serge and Trizzer.

Future Collaborations?

DAMION: Anybody on the scene you're working with on top secret collaborations right now?
SIMON: Whoever turns up next, I guess.... <laughs> Actually Merv, from Eat Static lives close by, and we keep meaning to do a collaboration... as soon as we both have time. And Ed from Ozric Tentacles called to ask a technical question about the DR16, and we spoke about doing a tune together. On a bizarre note, I have just done a collaboration with Alan Parsons (engineer of Dark Side of the Moon) for his 'Alan Parsons Project'...
DAMION: The Younger Brother tunes and forthcoming single point to good things from this collaboration. What's the vibe in the studio between you and Benji, and what can we expect to hear on the album later this year?
SIMON: Benji is coming over on Monday, in fact, to finish another younger brother track we started last week. I love working with Benji - he is very talented, and a super nice guy.... the vibe in the studio is totally relaxed.... we are both able to have an idea and see it through to completion on the computer... so we just swap seats - one on the sofa, and one in front of the computer - until the other person gets bored. When we both get bored, I destroy him on the Playstation 2! (SSX tricky, mainly).... On the last track we did, we would play Wipeout Fusion, and whoever lost would have to do the arrangement, or the ending or whatever.
DAMION: Are you working on any Hallucinogen stuff as well as the collaborative work?
SIMON: Not really... I have been less inspired when I am at home on my own - I enjoy working with other people a lot more at the moment.... so when I'm alone, I tend to catch up on things - like this interview.
DAMION: You team up with Dimitri as DSP for "Have A Good Time (All The Time)" - what's it like working with somebody more known as a DJ than a producer? Is it a barrier, or is there a greater sense of how the project will be received on the dancefloor?
SIMON: Working with Dimitri was great, 'cos he could always keep a perspective on the track as a whole, while I got involved in the minutae on the computer... and of course he has the DJ skill of knowing what will work on the dancefloor.
DAMION: A personal favourite from the album is Fly Agaric's "I See Myself" with Infected Mushroom. Do you like working with these guys, and is anything more going to come from this collaboration?
  SIMON: This was great fun.... they are super guys. we hadn't met before they came over to my house, so we spent a couple of days chilling, with some music in between... and it is interesting to see how they work, combining Erez's computer wizadry and Duvdevs musical expertise.  


DAMION: Talking briefly about Shpongle... somebody told me that they heard Tales of the Inexpressible for the first time last November, in he middle of the Arizona Desert, alone for the night, lying on his car bonnet and gazing up at a meteor shower. Which is how music should be experienced! Does it make you feel odd knowing that the shpongle project gets under the metaphysical skin of people all round the world in a non-dancefloor context?
SIMON: It is not really written for the dancefloor... for me it is headphone music if anything... gazing up at a meteor shower would be pretty nice though!
DAMION: Do you enjoy the Shpongle work more than Hallucinogen?
  SIMON: In many ways, yes...Musically, there are less rules, so we can do whatever style we choose... we just make what we want to hear. The Hallucinogen stuff is a bit more constrained by the tempo, and the fact that it has to work on the dancefloor. And working with Raja (Ram) is always good fun.... working on my own as Hallucinogen...well, it is harder to surprise myself.  
DAMION: Did Raja really fart into the microphone on Are You Shpongled...?
SIMON: Among other things....!! No, not really... most of his noises came from somewhere under the moustache.

Next up, we got some questions from the passionate and largely eccentric folk who hang around at the forums on, a leading international psychedelic trance website. Some of these are silly - but let's go...
Bomble from the UK asks: What happened to the relationship with Youth? As far as I know they are not dealing with each other which I find sad seeing as how wonderful their combined work (Celtic Cross) has been.
SIMON:  We are shortly starting work on a new Celtic Cross album... we haven't seen each other for a while, but had a good chat at Sola Luna festival in Greece, and decided to do a new album for twisted.
MK asks: Would you prefer to take a bath in bong water or someone else's saliva?
SIMON:  Definitely someone else's saliva.... can I choose the person, though?

Mike Indidginus asks: How should general purpose glassware be cleaned?
SIMON:  With newspaper and vinegar... if using washing up liquid, be sure to rinse in cold water.What kinds of nitrogen are turned into ammonium in a Kjeldahl digestion?
SIMON: Kjeldahl digestion converts organically bound nitrogen in the -3 oxidation state to ammonium. It won't convert nitrite or nitrate to ammonium.
What is the meaning of life?
If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
SIMON: Naked...home is wherever he lays his hat
How many ducks would it take to equal the weight of an average human?
SIMON: Less than the amount of pigeons... but more than average dogs....unless they were Chihuahuas... About 3 schnauzers? Possibly 23 Barn Owls.

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(c) Damion Brown /  2002

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