Spaced-out trance from the Mirror Zone.
"Of all the DJs dabbling with trance, the Mirror Zone boss is one of the few to really pull it off." That's what we wrote on a Mix Of The Day from Spekki Webu last year. The statement still rings true. Listen to a set from the Dutch DJ and you'll hear many aspects of trance: the bubbling techno-influenced bits, the rich textural sound design, long intros, head-turning breakdowns and the beautiful ambience in between. His label, Mirror Zone, is only four releases in and already feels scene-defining, thanks to a mind-blowing trance reissue from '94 and more recent material from promising newcomers like DJ Ungel and Vector Trancer.
In Spekki Webu's hands, trance is more of an ethos than a genre—a flexible style of music for relaxation and reflection as much as euphoria and rushing climaxes. He calls his RA Podcast a "journey taking you off the planet into the cosmos and straight back." It's probably not what you expect from a trance mix, starting with almost 20 minutes of ambient before some kick drums emerge. This a fascinating look at a genre from a DJ who sees it differently than most.
What have you been up to recently?
2019 was such a great year for me. I've been busy playing around a lot in the Netherlands and abroad, meeting wonderful people and having so much fun—especially meeting people that became close friends is the most valuable thing that happened. I've been preparing some of the new releases that will be coming out this year and furthermore I have been busy with setting up some projects that will be involved within Mirror Zone as well.
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded at my home in Delft using two CDJ-2000NXS2 and an Allen & Heath Xone:92 mixer.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
This mix is a journey taking you off the planet into the cosmos and straight back. It's always a kind of story or experience I try to tell when I record mixes or play a DJ set in the club. But for me the most important idea behind the mix that it has a strong reflection on how 2019 went. It was a hectic and emotional year (in a good way). I have been going through some interesting changes myself too and this is recognizable in this mix for me. I recommend you to listen to this mix with a good pair of headphones or a good hi-fi system! A lot of interesting soundscapes going on in there.
Where does your interest in old progressive trance, psytrance etc, come from?
It's funny because I actually come from a total different direction. My first interest in electronic music was by getting exposed and going to hardcore/gabber and jungle parties. For a lot of people this is the total opposite of what I am playing right now and they really wonder what got me into doing this. It was a common thing to have a trance or ambient room/chillout area at gabber parties as well. Nowadays you won't see that anymore unfortunately.
I think there are definitely certain links that connect the dots for me between these music genres. I always had an interest in atmospheric, deep and constantly shifting music. Music that's always moving and where a lot of elements are happening. This definitely is something you can hear when I play my sets. The more minimalistic psytrance music or deeper techno has a lot of these elements going on.
Are there many newer producers that can match up with the greats from the '90s, like Memphis, whose music you've reissued recently?
I think there are yes. At the moment there are so many talented people around me making all kinds of music in all kinds of forms. If you also look at what kind of equipment we have nowadays in our reach to produce music, the technology is insanely sophisticated, and of course with the whole internet around us, people just learn very easily and fast. Yes I think there is a scene with people who are making this kind of music with an old-school touch to it, although I think the Memphis release sounds timeless. But for me the people I now work with have a different mindset to what they produce. Some of the stuff is hard to categorize because they have such an open mind and open approach in what they do. That's what I like a lot, because it really gives the label a varied sound of different genres.
What are you up to next?
At the moment I am busy with finishing the final production phase of some of the releases that will be coming out on the label, and I am also busy with setting up some future projects. I have got some interesting music coming up on the label, a good friend of mine from Copenhagen will release on the label under a new alias named Taxa, Vector Trancer is sending me a lot of new projects.
I am also busy finishing the last phases of an upcoming album that will be released very soon, and I have some more stuff I am busy with but that's very early in the process. I am looking forward to be playing at some cool parties and festivals this year. Since I've got some really wonderful people around me who are releasing on the label I will try to focus more on hosting label nights too—I had a few last year and they worked out very well. We also recently moved to a new studio in The Hague where we will be working on some new projects as well.