An interview with Bansi from GMS – Growling Mad Scientists, groundbreaking psychedelic trance group, after an amazing sunset party at Anjuna beach, Goa.
What gives you the edge? What’s the secret?
The first time we came to Goa, it was a big bloom. We were just playing around in the apartments with cassettes that we stole from our mothers, and we were mixing this… When we left from India, me and Riktam we had taken sannyas there together, when we came back here to Goa the next season we played music with a few Dats that we had collected from certain older DJ’s that we knew from the past. So from there, everything grew, to what we are now. Evolution…(smiles) The two big parties that we played at, left a big imprint on people here, and elsewhere, in the trance scene. That season we had the most amazing parties we could ever imagine. We were 16 I think at the time, 14 years ago, but we played like 16 hour sets
You played for 16 hours…wow…
Yeah, me and Riktam. So from there it all started. Its been a long time. I think from the energy that we had as kids, its still like that, and even more, because we can make the music now – express ourselves in that way. And that’s what we want the crowd to have – the young energy.
How does it feel when you’re up there, and when it really starts happening, and everyone is all moving together, how does that feel?
That’s what we live for…
Yeah, it’s amazing, it takes you very high… it takes a while to come down
Like meditation, no? Its coming into a space…
Especially when we’re making music. We hardly talk, and its like the whole track is finished within 6 hours, we spoke 5 words
Do you have a background in meditation?
You are so in tune with Riktam. How did you meet?
My father came to me one day, he was coming from India, saying “I have a friend here in Amsterdam and her son does exactly what you are doing all day long. You guys need to meet” It was like maybe for one year he was saying this, and then we got together for the meeting, And its a guy I know from a coffee shop, for two years, and that was Riktam. It was meant to be. We already knew each other from a different crowd of people, than from our parents.
Its beautiful that your father thought somehow to put you together..
Yes, it was meant to be, I already knew him.
And your father, Harida, has played with you?
Yeah, he goes on tour with us in Brazil, Japan. He does perccussions.
And how does that feel, having your Dad along on tour, playing with him..
It’s great, its a strong feeling
How is your connection with him?
He’s great, he’s one of my best friends. Apart from being my father.
How did the name ‘Growling Mad Scientists’ come about? This is when you were 14, right? You chose the name then?
If I tell you that, I’ll have to kill you…
Okay, it does sounds like from 14 year old’s, its very cute. What was the vision of the band when you started, what was the concept?
We were just mad about the sound, We made a strong characterstic sound. Its really recognizable. Everybody’s like “Oh yeah, that’s GMS” Its like Madonna when you hear her sing, you know its like, “Oh…”
How would you describe your style?
People say psychedelic trance goa. I personally like to call it Energetic Dancefloor Music
It is true. when you came on – you can’t stop yourself… you really have something. Its a gift… Are you also a trained musician?
I went to Music School, where you learn how to write music, play different instruments. I was 5 years old, into rock music all of a sudden. I enjoyed listening to U2, all kinds of pop-rock music. I was in a band when I was 10 years old. And we played every single day, somewhere, in the park, this kind of thing. I have been involved with making music, or writing music, or learning about music, from a very small age. I used to sleep in my Dad’s bass drum as a baby. Maybe that’s why I lost my hearing…
You did, really? And how is that?
I only hear 25% in one ear,
You first played when you were 14, which is under age. How was that for you because you are not really allowed in a club, though you are playing there, you are the DJ
When I went to the United States, it was kind of hard, because the age there is 21 to get in. So they had to sneak me in the back, and still there’s the security guard.
Were you successful very soon? How did it all happen? Now GMS is huge.
Top three acts in the trance world
You play at these huge parties in Brazil…
Yeah, mega parties – 25,000 people, big celebrations. They are doing these kind of parties there for 10 years now
Where is the trance scene happening the most in the world?
Brazil at the moment. Its a madhouse there. There’s parties every single night, five parties different places. Every weekend there’s something. The parties in Mexico are also pretty big, 12-15000.
And what’s special about Trance?
Its uplifting, gives you a high.
Are you based in Ibiza?
Yes, for the last 11 years. Making music in Amsterdam was very hard and we’d been going to Ibiza every summer to spend the holidays. There were lots of parties going on there, these kind of parties as well – outdoors. The situation in Amsterdam for making music was very hard in the city, you have neighbours, you can’t do what you want, wake up in the middle of the night, make a track, can’t do that, and so we decided to move there.
You’ve made many albums..
It’s 8 now, counting remix albums, and with 1200 Mics, it should be close to 520 tracks produced, and maybe 400 released.
What’s one of your favourites?
‘No Rules’ The music that we were making at the time was really inspirational. Changed a lot in the scene, the sound that we created, changed a lot of people’s way of thinking about the music, how to create it, and the dance floor, how to recieve.
For somebody who’s never heard of GMS, which album to listen to?
I would say, here take all the albums and listen..
You also created the label ‘Spun Records’. What’s that about?
Yes. Some friends of ours, Americans from Detroit, that were also really into the music, they came to us and they said, lets try to make a record label, put music together, and release. We decided to do this and that became ‘Spun Records’ Its growing very fast, many young DJ’s, very talented, many new artists this year.
Any exciting projects coming up?
The new ‘Zorba’ album will be excellent. Working on ‘Growling Machines’ at the moment, its also amazing. And ‘Growling Mad Scientists’ – the new one will come at the end of the year again.
What is the inspiration of the name of your new album ‘Zorba’?
The music itself, its celebration, its more melodic, its more open minded, for a wider range of listeners.
You’ve also done music for films?
The producer of the movie, Tony Scott, was filming in Mexico. The filming site was a Rave, and the DJ over there played our tracks, and the producer loved the music, so he had to have it in the movie. He played 5 of our tracks. Its called ‘Man on Fire’ with Denzil Washington and Christopher Walker, its based in Mexico. He’s the bodyguard of a little girl, and she gets kidnapped, and he goes after her and ends up in this Rave.
Who are the hottest DJ’s and artists right now?
Infected Mushroom, Astrix… apart from what we produce. We produce 1200 Mics, Zorba, GMS, Soundaholics, Gnarling Machines, Shanti Matlin, that’s Riktam little brother, he’s awesome.
What inspires you?
A lot of things. Everything. Moods, movies, news, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot driving the car, or a motorbike. The concentration is somewhere else, and you’re just making music on the way. Then when you get there… you put that in. Kind of weird, yeah. When I’m here its mostly No-Mind, so its great.
Here? In Goa?
How is the trance scene in Goa for you?
At the moment, we are not having the outdoor experience, we are having beach parties which is also nice, not that small, still pretty big. There were 4-500 people in there for sure. Quite a lot of people. These parties are amazing, how all the friends come…
How do you see India in the trance scene?
Its great here, its amazing, everybody’s really into the music, all ages, here’s kids running around dancing, there’s older people, 50 plus on the dance floor, singles, great thing to see the energy, the whole vibe. I think that the trance scene here will grow a lot. There will be a new generation of youngsters, really into the music. India’s evolving really fast. There’s a lot of people coming back to their roots here from abroad, and bringing new ideas to the country. I see a big change coming for India, its going to be a bigger force. It will light up the whole country, in the next 10 years, and the people themselves.
Do you feel a Revolution happening?
All the time. Slower than expected…
Some dreams that you still have…
Make a thousand tracks and more. Find a way to put this music into a format where everyone will be intoxicated by it, and want to listen to it. There’s this track, its close, its very close. Everyone I play it to gets addicted to the music and wants more…..
So, you’re living your dream…