Recently I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to experience the trance legend himself, Alex M.O.R.P.H. Trying to prepare myself for this night was nearly impossible. Alex is a complete beast behind those CDJ’s and this night was going to be a spectacular night!
This particular show was hosted by Unity Events and the venue of choice was WildPitch Music Hall. WildPitch is a dimly lit night club that, in my opinion is any trance lovers paradise. In addition, WildPitch is smaller capacity which right away, is always a good sign. The people who attended were there for one reason and that was to experience raw trance magic. As the night progressed, WildPitch really surprised me with some fantastic visuals. The rolling lasers throughout the club really created an atmosphere that was out of this world. It was a perfect balance of eye orgasm and sound perfection which set the stage perfectly for Alex M.O.R.P.H. to blow us away. The D.A.S. Audio Soundforce sound system was meticulously balanced and delivered great highs and lows without ever becoming over powered or distorted.
After the event I had the opportunity to sit down and pick the brain of the superhero himself. Shaking off the excitement and decompressing from a show I will never forget, we got right down to business.
Tell me about your new album, “Not All Superheroes Wear Capes”. What was your inspiration?
2 and a half years of work. Traveling all over the world, seeing so many clubs and so many people. The biggest inspiration is to see the people smile. When you come to the album title I think everybody is a hero. You know, all the normal, ordinary people who go to their job every day or do nice things for others. These are the heroes and the people who are never mentioned. It’s always the soccer players or the guys who have got the big money. But it’s the people in the background. They are the heroes. It is what it is.
Sticking with the topic of your new album, what would you say is your favorite track?
Oh, there is no favorite. But of course, “Not All Superheroes” is one of my favorites because the melody is just “BING”, you know, (laughs). It just makes me crazy! In any case we were deciding for a very long time which tracks we were going to put on the album and of all the ones we have released already so far, they are the good stories. We have a good story. I think so far its working very well. I think this year all the tracks ended up in the top 10. And two number 1’s!
Lately, there has been a resurgence of trance in the United States. What is your perception on how the scene is doing?
I think its picking up again, you know? You know how it is with electronica music in the states. If we were talking 20 years ago…oh it’s picking up, oh its picking up (laughs). No, it didn’t pick up. 5 years ago it exploded. Then came the big EDM wave and everyone is complaining about that. And I can tell you, it’s not too bad. Cause this guy, David Guetta did it smart. He teamed up with the vocalist and the R&B stars. It was the only way to get the attention of the people. Now the people are in touch with electronic music. And now trance will take over in 3 years. Because now people are in touch with electronic music. You know what I mean? You swap. I started with techno, acid, a little bit happy hardcore and then I came to trance. So, with the start of EDM, now we have a big fellowship coming to us.
What is your favorite track that is out right now?
I really love the Astrix stuff. The new album is amazing! And I don’t want to point at a track. The whole album is amazing. For me he is one of the most brilliant psytrance artists at the moment. His stuff is so funky. And then, Vini Vici as well. I can’t point at one track because there are so many good tracks. But these guys are great and when it comes to trance. Oh man, lets leave it as it is (laughs).
Just speaking in terms of this year, what would you say is you favorite festival or show that you’ve played?
The thing is, festivals are getting really difficult sometimes. The states are bringing festivals like Dreamstate, and now they have discovered trance and all the guys are playing there. I think the smaller festivals get the big points. Its unbelievable. The thing about the bigger festivals is that there are people there that aren’t there for the music. And it’s a problem. Look at TomorrowLand. 6 years ago it was great and now everybody’s like, “Oooh, let me get my ticket for Tom0rrowLand”. And I say, “Why do you want to go there? I know that you don’t like that music at all. Why do you want to go there? “ “Well, because I heard it was a good festival”. Would you go to a burger place if you don’t like a burger? So, I think the smaller festivals, at the moment are really me, you know?
Who would you say has been your favorite artist to collaborate with?
Well, I did a collaboration with Heatbeat as you know. It was a really big dream because I really love the guys. I love their productions. We have some really nice collaborations with some new guys and with my partner Woody van Eyden. And of course Paul van Dyk. We did it already a few years ago and especially after that accident I am really happy that we did a collaboration. I see that people love Paul and everybody is feeling happy for him that he is getting better. I can’t be more blessed with this collaboration right now. We are number 1 for 8 days on Beatport right now. It’s amazing. Thank you to all the people who have been supporting it.
What has been your vision since launching the Universal Nation label?
I want to look only at the Beatport charts. I don’t want to buy, buy, buy, votes like some people do. I want to release music that I like. Whether it goes number 1 on Beatport or number 500. As well as give artists who I think are talented a bigger platform. I don’t want to have headaches. I want to have discussions. I want to have fun with the label. It’s kind of a playground, you know. And that’s why I do it.
When you started off, describe that little moment that made you want to DJ?
I started when I was 13. It was a long process. When I was 13, the DJ was nothing. Over in the corner getting 5 dollars to play their favorite track. And then it started with the first techno parties and the clubs got bigger. The DJ’s got more of a reputation and more attention. And then it exploded in like the last ten years. 15 years ago it was unimaginable. It was step by step for me. When I started, the DJ was a DJ playing music. You didn’t need productions. And then after that if you want to DJ you have to have a single. This is what people mix a bit to much. Because some people think if you make a track and it’s a club hit, then they think he is a DJ. This is wrong. But this is just how it changes.
Between extended sets, open to close sets, and festival sets, which do you prefer doing the most?
I like extended sets. I am not sure if I like this open to close thing at the moment because I will tell you something from experience, the first two hours of the open to close are just for the cleaning team and the bar tenders. There are a fews guys coming but it is never likely that the people will be coming for the beginning of the set. If it made sense then there would be a cue at 9 o clock already waiting for the DJ. But it’s not like that. This open to close is just an artificial hype at the moment. I see everywhere now….OTC OTC OTC, but what time are the people showing up? It doesn’t fill up until 12. So what are you doing for 3 hours? Playing for yourself? For the 3 friends you have on the dance floor? I am not against it but it should not be to often because imagine this. You book a DJ open to close and it fails. What are you going to do then? Booking an open to close DJ you must be sure he is a skilled DJ and these days there are so many coming up I am not even sure if they are skilled enough to be doing an open to close. And they come with their USB stick prerecorded for 2 hours.
When you are delivering your sets what would you say is your favorite sub-genre of trance to play?
It’s um, Caribbean, what do you call it? (gestures like he is playing the drums) “Bum, bum, bum, bum bum, bum, bum” (Laughs). What is the name of this? The steal drums! No, I hate it. Psy, man! With psy, I liked the elements already years ago. But, the problem with it was that years ago psy didn’t have any punch in the bass line. It was not that dynamic. It was just a flat bass line. And then maybe 2 or 3 years ago the guys from the psy genre came and said hey, let’s give it a proper kick. And that’s why it works now, really, really good. I remember I was playing Miami, ASOT 500 and I was playing a psy trance record and everyone was like “What is he doing”?! “What is this?!” And I was somewhere about a half year ago and someone was like “Oh, are you playing psy now like all the other DJ’s ?” and I said “Dude, you should do your homework”. I was playing this at ASOT 500. It’s just funny how people judge you when they have no clue, you know? But nobody got it at that time. It was just an interesting memory that I had about this.
This night was pure magic for me. Alex M.O.R.P.H. is one of the purest examples of raw talent that I have seen in a long time. His music selections were seamless and he built the energy steadily throughout out the night. The crowd at this venue was so engulfed with all of the right feels from beginning to finish. One of the best parts was the amount of fun he had with the crowd. The interaction was fantastic, from making funny faces while taking pictures from behind the deck to just getting a rise out of everyone as he connected with our energy. He is a such a great artist and performer its impossible not to fall in love with what he does. By the last 45 minutes it was insanity. The bpm’s were bummed up to deliver some speaker crunching sound and kept everyone going on an upward incline. I was front row for most of the show, enjoying every last minute.
Alex was one of the funniest and most gracious people that I have met and it was a true pleasure to finally experience a live set. I look forward to getting a taste of what this trance guru has planned for us in the future and I hope to see him live again soon. If you are in the Atlanta area be sure to check out any of the upcoming Unity events, you will not be disappointed!
To get your copy of Alex M.O.R.P.H.’s new album “Not All Superheroes Wear Capes” please click here.
Photo Credit: Missy Renee