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Label: DAT Records

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Note: This interview was initially published in2015 by goatrance.hu which has now disappeared. Draeke updated his answers and submitted to Psynews.org for preservation purposes.

"On A Quest For Old-School Goa – DAT Records"

 

DJ Draeke, the founder of DAT Records has long been working on preserving the rare gems of old-school Goa tracks for the next generation of fans. We have made an interview with him on the history of the label so far and on his most recent release.

 

Goatrance.hu: You are renown amongst old-school Goa fans and DJ-s for having probably the largest collection of Trance records. Your collection on Discogs contains over 6000 items. Where does your passion for Goa Trance come from? How did you fell in love with this music?

 

Draeke: Hello Hungary! First of all thanks for this interview, I am really happy and honoured to be able to answer for your website and your scene.

I have to tell you a little story to answer to your question. In the 90s I wasn’t so expert in this genre of music and my only contacts with the Trance world occurred by listening to the radio and going clubbing. I did travel a lot back then but yet I never had discovered real goa trance music until the summer of ’97 when a friend of mine copied me a tape cassette of rock guitar heroes (as we both were playing the guitar back then) and at the end of this tape he placed a track by Quatermass, a UK goa project. After repeated listening to that track (Kali), I asked to my friend where he got this track and he handed me a copy of VA – Pulse, This Is Psychedelic Trance (1996). I then asked to a few other friends and with the help of the internet a new world appeared in front of me.

I started to collect like crazy, and in those years was relatively easy to find rare discs. I profoundly fell in love with this kind of music, especially when in 2000 I moved to London and it was like being in paradise. Hundreds of hours spent in records stores there helped to build the core of my collection. Since then I have never stopped buying records and I now own what I like to call my little Goa Trance museum on the history of Trance music in all its forms. I know about some other great collectors out there too, and even of some that don’t have their collection listed on Discogs, such as a Texan friend that probably has as much as me.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: How did the idea of forming DAT Records came to you?

 

Draeke: Besides buying released music, I also got quite interested by the fact that there were people having some tracks that had not been released, and thanks to the Internet I started to make my first contacts during the end of the 90s, thus starting my quest for unreleased music.

Thanks to some fortunate coincidences, such as meeting with band members of Etnica and Lotus Omega, both from Milan, I started to create more connections and friendships. But it was only thanks to another channel, the 604 mailing list, that I met some incredible people, who shared with me special music. I have to thanks the first two people who believed in me, Gabriel of Altar Records and Mark Ainley (DJ Solitare – DAT Records). They had been in touch with the Goa world much earlier than me and had a lot of incredible music.

So fast forward to 2008, by then I had collected so many unreleased tracks from DAT tapes that I felt it was about time to start a label to release those incredible tracks and I think that I was literally the first to press a CD with music made in the 90s, during the late 00s. That is where the idea came from, and of course the name had to be DAT Records, the tapes I had collected for 10 years at the time when I started my label, a name chosen as a tribute to their magical sound.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: Your first release of the Crop Circles album ‘Tetrahedron’ has created quite a buzz in the scene. How did this collection of rare old gems come together?

 

Draeke:  I did collect a lot of DAT tapes but there was one mysterious release that was very close to me, the mystical Crop Circles album. I knew of its existence through my good friend Mark but nobody seemed to have a DAT tape of it, I could only find a track here and a track there. Most of the traders I met online only had mp3s of it, but the real deal was nowhere to be found. This music was so exclusive and secret, that not many had it or copied it for anyone.

Obviously the first search was in London circles and I went to pay a visit to the Auracle Records label. When I went there in 2000, the owner of the label Tom was not there, but I met his mother who gave me his cell phone number. When I phoned him, he was really difficult to deal with and he did not want to help at all. He shared a bit of the story behind the album and his label and mentioned he had lost a lot of money since the album had been paid for in full but never released for frivolous reasons and ultimately denied to give me a copy of it.

Then I spoke to the band members, because I had to obtain an authorization to release their music. The first step was to meet with Lotus Omega, they were in Milan and able to help with a couple of the tracks that they produced, but they did not have the whole album. Then I met with Andrea and Carlo, ex-members of Etnica and they agreed to the release but had no tracks of the project either, since they had almost no DAT tapes in their hands. So finally, I had to go to Ibiza and visit Etnica in their studio.

At first a bit suspicious, they heard the full story and saw how far I went to get their music and valued the fact that it was since 1998 that I was looking for their album. So they agreed and Max opened his sacred vault and nothing less than 350 DAT tapes were to be found there, his entire collection from the 90s. At that moment the world stopped before me and I was crying for joy, I had worked for 10 years and in that moment a dream came true.

So in September 2008 I got all the album tracks in original quality, convinced all the 6 members to allow me to release the album and the only thing left to do was to open a label! However in the meantime, the word spread and a little bird reported to someone in the UK scene that the Crop Circles was going to be released… So I contacted some friends in London and I came to the understanding that a friend of Tom of Auracle wanted to beat me and release it, without even asking an authorization to the band because the music had been paid 10 years ago and claimed to have a signed contract. I felt the pressure of this happening but decided not to care about it and went on with passion with my quest. After so long *I* had to release it.

So I quickly opened my label, found a great graphic designer, Miro Moric and a pressing plant that would make gold layered CDs to create my crown jewel release. It cost me a fortune to make this release, but what a blast it was!! I remember the first time I heard it, finally pressed on an original CD and before everyone else on my stereo in Milan. I felt my life was complete, I had achieved something that was unimaginable for most, or dare to say anyone, at the time.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: Your next release was yet another classic name, Blue Planet Corporation. ‘A Blueprint For Survival’ had 2 CDs full of rare old releases never before complied on an album. How did you decide on putting those tracks out and how did the release come to life?

 

Draeke: This double CD was a very different project. You have to know that soon after I successfully released the Crop Circles album, a long time collector and friend came to me and said, look, I have been working for a couple of years on this project but I am now about to give up and close my label, and since I see you have just released some old music, maybe it would be interesting for you to release this. So I jumped on this wagon as quickly as possible and continued his work. I still have to thank PKS for all the work he did initially on the project, but I was also left with half-mastered tracks (some of which contained bad errors) and unfinished graphics, so I had to contact other people and finish the release on my own. I am very happy to have released that compilation, it was really necessary to complete this project and have it out, for the preservation of this beautiful music. Speaking of Blue Planet I also caress the idea of repressing his original album, and I have already spoken to Gabriel about this, but it needs a little more time.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: You not only concentrate on old-school acts but you have also released the new French talent Crossing Mind’s debut album ‘The Holographic Paradigm’. How did you discover him and his music? Are you constantly on the lookout for new talents?

 

Draeke: The Crossing Mind album was an experiment. I have to tell you that for me his music was not new, but old, and comparable to the other unreleased tracks that I had. The tracks that I published on his first album were all composed between 1998 and 2001. I had them as mp3 files and I was searching for the man that was behind this mysterious project. Nobody knew who Crossing Mind was.

It was a difficult research and finally, after purchasing an obscure compilation from Japan where he had a track released I could discover what his real name was. Then, thanks to a French friend, I could get in touch with him. Luckily he was still interested, after many years, in releasing his old music.

Together we selected the best tracks he had from the early years and DAT published the album. The music is very complex and psychedelic but a great part of my followers and supporters told me the production quality of the tracks was not on par with my previous releases. I still believe I did good in releasing his album because I gave him a chance and with that he could restart his career, perform live, create and release more music and so I am happy for him and for his career in this music scene.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: Your next release was again a double disc with the live set and unreleased tracks from the legendary Etnica. This time however, it was not only released as a CD but also on vinyl. How difficult it is to release Goa Trance on vinyl in today’s mp3 dominated world?

 

Draeke: This is a very interesting question. The Etnica vinyl was another adventure, not as hard as releasing the Crop Circles, but almost. I already had the authorization of the band but I knew releasing a vinyl cost so much money and I had to look for some help. So I thought, well, why not a crowd-funding project? I knew my brother was daily using Kickstarter and Indiegogo and he explained me how people could advertise their ideas and get help from others around the world to get financed. And so did I!

I started a massive campaign online to promote my idea and thankfully, even if I did not reach my goal, I could get the support from a lot of people that at that point liked my vision and work. I reached half the funds I needed after one month and decided to invest the rest out of my pockets, risking it. But I was rewarded. I sold so far around 200 of the 300 copies produced and got almost all my money back, but to anyone who wants to try to release vinyl’s, your music has to be THAT good if you want to get your money back. Pressing a vinyl album costs easily over 5000 Euro, so be sure of what you want to press on it…

I also have to tell to anyone who wants to release a vinyl that there are insane waiting times with pressing plants. Everyone realized it is a profitable business and the few existing plants make you wait a minimum of 6 months now, to press your records!! So I hardly recommend this to anyone in the goa trance scene.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: You have also came up with a great incentive for charity in the form of your compilation series ‘Mind Rewind’. How did you come up with the idea?

 

Draeke: The ‘Mind Rewind’ series started as a celebrative compilation for the Discogs group of discussion named “Goa / Psy-Trance” that was founded in 2005. After exactly 5 years discussing Goa Trance someone said it would be cool to celebrate this with a compilation, as most of the people there are CD collectors we decided we could try to gather music from different artists to make it happen.

Then I stepped in and said that my label could be used, as it seemed a very nice project but I wanted to make it something unique and gave the idea of creating a pro-charity compilation. For some time we discussed this and the original 30 contributors gave some ideas and inputs. And so we started to gather the funds to make it happen.

Since we were releasing Goa Trance I started to look for charities in Goa and it seemed for me the best possible idea to find something to help people in need over there, so when I saw Children Walking Tall, helping kids getting a basic education, I was moved and thought it would be the best choice. Artists and contributors were happy about this decision,

To be extra sure about the organization I asked to a friend in India to visit the organization and verify that the people were serious and helping kids in the best possible way, and when he confirmed everything was good, we proceeded. I was so happy to have donated around 5000 Pounds to them in October 2011 with the almost immediate selling out and it felt so great to have helped some less fortunate kids.

We decided to have a bi-yearly compilation as it takes time to make things right and in 2013 we released volume 2, in 2016 we released volume 3, both quite successful and once again all the proceedings were donated to the same organization that is now called MangoTreeGoa, because they re-located and have more space for the kids. Have a look here: http://www.mangotreegoa.org/

Last year we finally asked to all the artists involved in volume one if we could repress it because it was sold out and they all agreed, so we did it, also to kill the market of people selling the first compilation for crazy collectors’ prices. So right now both volumes are available and it would be so great if people could buy them, as we donate money to the charity every six months.

You can read about the total donation so far here:

http://www.mangotreegoa.org/NewsIndex_2016Q1.htm

 

 

Goatrance.hu: After a number of EP-s and another great compilation (‘Analog Dreams’) you are coming out with what’s probably the most anticipated album of the year, the re-release of Doof’s classic ‘Let’s Turn On’. How did you manage to convince Nick Barber to get back into Trance once again after 15 years?

 

Draeke: “Nick Doof is an incredible person, but who really helped me realize this, and the one you really have to thank is Mark Ainley. They would see each other at parties and were very friendly with each other, so that was the focal point. I tried to contact Nick back in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and never got any answer, but through Mark it was different.”

He first approached Nick in 2011 and told him about the pro-charity compilation that we were doing at the time, Mind Rewind (now repressed for whoever has missed it), and he was interested. Because of the nature of the compilation, he agreed to donate one track, an alternate mix of Mars Needs Women that Mark already had in his DAT tapes and that used to play in his DJ sets. Nick agreed. It was a miracle and I was overwhelmed with joy because of this. After that, Zion604 contacted Nick and he also licensed to them a previously released track that was only available on vinyl. I found only logical to think that maybe the time had come to see if more music could be released from this mystical project.

In 2013 I said to Mark, man we REALLY have to ask Nick for the “Destination Bom (Live Mix)” that you heard back in 1996. Mark was always talking about this track as being an incredible killer track but nobody on earth seemed to have a copy of this, and trust me, by 2013 I already had ripped over 500 DAT tapes myself, so there’s that, but yet no traces of this mystery track. So we thought we had to ask. Nick said he would look in his shrine of tapes and there it was, the forgotten lost mix. He sent it to us and we could not believe it, it was as magical as Mark remembered it.

I thanked Nick and asked (a bit insistently) if he had more remixes/alternate/live mixes around, and he searched for more. When he started to send us more tracks I realized we almost had an entire version of the “Let’s Turn On” album that was different from the original! Knowing that the old TIP CD was rare to be found and that the repress of 2000 contained a pressing error, I thought it would only be logical to re-issue the original album together with the remix/alternate album.

But Nick said he certainly did not have any other version for all the tracks and especially of “Angelina”. I said to Nick that I knew that back then every producer recorded different mixes of the same track, so to excuse me but that I could not believe he did not have another session/mix of it. So he got the master DAT tape of Angelina and listened to it from the beginning to the end, and there it was, not even mentioned on the DAT cover, an alternate mix of Angelina! My reward was there, the next day, awaiting on a wetransfer link, a track that as Nick said, nobody has ever heard because he did not even remember making it in the first place! My mission was complete, we had alternate versions for all the tracks. And so I started to work actively on the album. This whole process happened in 2013 but because so many things that happened in the meantime, including the production of the triple vinyl, the album got delayed, but fear not, we are almost there now! (and now it is actually released  – psymon)

 

 

Goatrance.hu: How do you see the old-school Goa Trance scene today in Italy and around the world?

 

Draeke: In Italy? Non-existent. I know of a few people who listen to old-school tracks but beside me, nobody really DJs it here as far as I know, and almost nobody ever did in these last 15 years. I was very passionate in the early 2000s and wanted to make old-school parties in Italy but people smiled to me and said: playing old music? You are crazy, nobody would come to your parties!! So I didn’t do anything as I didn’t really like most of the party people that I met in my country, with the sole exception of the Contact Trance Family from Milan that is made of good people. I also don’t consider myself an Italian, but more of a citizen of the world having lived in the last 10 years mostly abroad in different countries.

The old-school scene, that I think I have helped to re-create together with Suntrip is now mostly active in Belgium, Israel, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, UK, Brazil and Germany. I have heard that there are events of this kind of music also in Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, as I know there are a lot of producers from these countries and I’d be happy to see it someday. I also want say that is very interesting to see how after DAT Records opened, other people launched their label focusing on the old-school sound, but I tend to think that I was the first with Suntrip.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: What were your most memorable gigs from recent years?

 

Draeke: In recent years I was not very active. I DJed a lot during the years 1998-2003 but after seeing that nobody wanted to hear old-school in those years, I stopped promoting this sound as it was pointless and there were no old-school parties near me anyway. But after launching my label I was finally booked much more and I went to play in Belgium many times. Also this year, being my 20th anniversary of DJing I have been invited to play at Old is Gold XX in Belgium, at the Balkan Goa Festival in Croatia in July and at the ZNA Festival in Portugal in August, a real honour!!

My most memorable party is without any doubt the Fractal Gate outdoor party in Belgium, year 2011, THAT, was an incredible experience. As a final note I want to add that I don’t do or ever did any psychedelic drug, and it is for me an absolute love just for the music. I do not support the the use of drugs, I’d rather spend my free time with a lovely girl.

 

 

Goatrance.hu: What are your plans for your next release? Is it going to be another old-school name or maybe a new talent?

 

Draeke: I am about to release the Morphic Resonance – Trip to the Stars EP that features the remixes of Etnica, Pleiadians and Crop Circles classic tracks with the approval and support of the band and after that I will reiusse a 3CD of Etnica – Juggeling Alchemists Under The Black Light and much more! See you and thanks for the interview J

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