So, what is psytrance? Here is a short history: In the 1960s, hippies flocked to Goa, India, because of the free lifestyle, warm climate and abundant beaches. Back then, DJs in Goa were spinning psychedelic rock influenced by The Doors, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. Then in the 1980s, they started spinning psychedelic music with an electronic bend. It was Goa Gil, a famous Goa music producer, who drew a link between Goa Trance and tribal ceremonies. Goa trancing wasn’t defined as just a gathering of people dancing and getting high; rather, it was a mind-altering cosmic experience.
So why did the scene leave Rhode Island?
“The only thing I can say about Rhode Island,” says Kalomo Sala Jordan, a psytrance DJ native to Connecticut, “is that it was the first place I heard psytrance.” Kalomo founded a production company called Awake Productions and belongs to Fractaltribe, a New England psytrance community based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Kalomo is the oldest member of Fractaltribe, but looks ageless with his long dreads and dark ethereal eyes. “To my knowledge, Fractaltribe was the first organization to host a strictly psytrance party in Rhode Island in 2009. It’s possible that there were others before that time, but there have been no Rhode Island psytrance veterans who have mentioned anything,” he explained. “We started the Subculture series at club Therapy, which ran six events in all, culminating on 11-11-11, the night before Club Therapy closed its doors. Once there were no after-hours venues in Rhode Island, the psytrance candle was snuffed out.”
Aaron, or “Aaron Fractaltribe,” is the co-owner of Fractaltribe. His mission, he said, is to “create the ecstatic moment.” As he put it, “Psytrance acts as a filter to gather the type of people we want to share a spiritual experience with. The music intrigues me because of its inherent tribal nature, and most of the producers are focused on active meditation through dance, self-development and healthy living. In an area of the world where EDM is quickly gaining interest in the mainstream, it is refreshing to stumble into a soulful, conscious subgenre that still has meaning and purpose.”
Tim Howe, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, a bona fide “Fractilian,” and now an international Psytrance DJ, first heard psytrance in 2009 at Firehouse 13 in Providence. “Psytrance,” he said, “has frequencies you could never hear by nature or instruments. [It is] pure electricity.” Like Aaron, Tim and the rest of the “Fractilians,” I am drawn to psytrance because of the community. My hope is that the scene will one day return to our state. I’ll be waiting.
Yosefa Leora is a journalist (and psytrancer) based in Rhode Island. If you have an interesting story or event you want covered, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at DareMe Yosefa on Facebook. She can also be followed at @goagnome on Instagram.
Photo Credit: Yosefa Leora