Sometimes you interview someone, and that interview becomes an epic conversation. Julius Koch plays psytrance under the name Torusphere and hosts parties in Northern New South Wales such as 2014’s enormously successful (and extremely reasonably priced) Visual Vibrations 4 through his psytrance music label Neva Endin Beats. When Dreamland sat down to interview Julius and ask him about his music and his parties, that interview evolved to cover everything from the nature of reality onto the creation of a global human consciousness. What was manifested is contained in this extract.
D: To start of the interview, how did you originally get into psytrance music and the Northern New South Wales doof scene?
J: Well, it all started at Pillar Valley ( near Grafton in Northern NSW). There were a bunch of us listening to psytrance, hanging out and partying. Eventually I ran into a friend named Rowie from Grafton, he owned a record label called Neva Endin Beats, so I started hanging out with him and watching him setup and mix music at different parties and I kept going out to parties and getting more and more involved. Then I started helping him set up the parties, going out once a month, doing décor and setting the speakers up. He started teaching me how to mix music and a bit of everything.
D: So you learned about events, sort of running a doof, and making music simultaneously?
J: Yeah well I used to play drums and then somebody told me about music making programs so I got onto Fruity Loops (FL) Studio about five or six years ago, in year 9. And I just started making drum beats and from that I started putting it all together. Adding a bit of synth in there, add some vocals and I just kept working with it. Then once I heard psytrance I just started trying to copy that and add in my own bits.
D: What artists would have originally influenced you when you first started making music? Which local and international artists first influenced you sound?
Julius; Well from the very start I was really liking Bizarre Contact, Nitro and Positive Thought, and the real psychedelic psytrance. A little bit of stuff from overseas, as well as Australian stuff. I also really liked the “Northern NSW Sound” (chunks).
D: What type of vibe do you attempt to form when you compose and create music? The feeling you want to create among your audience?
J: A feeling of everybody being there together, that’s what I’m aiming for, it might take years, it might take forever, but to get a style that everybody can relate to. I like using vocals that are really inspirational and get people thinking about new concepts while they are dancing. I’m trying to portray good vibes through vocals and then the music is, you know, not too full on but nothing too chill, just nice and psychedelic.
D: So do you more aim for night time or day time sounds when you make music?
J: Well with the Torushere project that’s mainly for the night time, but I have played at Maitreya and other festivals in the daytime, it works for both. Really depending on the crowd and how the music flow is going as well. But I’ve started on a new project called Trip Syndicate. It’s a bit slower but it’s more kind of cruisy daytime tunes instead of happening psychedelic.
D: What has been, in your time playing psytrance, the best gig you have played?
J: The best gig that I’ve played? Well, that makes me think. Definitely Maitreya was one of them. I played Sol Sistere, that was up in Queensland and that was pretty fun. And Visual Vibrations is always fun, to play to all of my friends is a great feeling.
D:I reckon it would be an amazing feeling playing in front of an audience and getting that positive feedback and response. To have even just one person on the dance floor really connecting with it.
J: I think the music is like you expressing your perspective or something, every person has their own style of music. Getting other people to agree with the musical style you chose to make and them staying around to listen to it is pretty amazing. It lets you know that you’re on the right track. You’re aiming for the right sort of style I guess.
D: So you were talking earlier about vocals. You like to have inspirational vocals in your music. Do you think that the use of vocals is a key element in your psytrance? Because a lot of psytrance can be relatively minimalistic and vocal free.
J: There is a lot of stuff that doesn’t have vocals but when you have the attention of people listening to your music you can put anything in it and they will hear it, so I like to create a positive trail of thoughts in people’s minds while they are dancing and trancing.
D: That’s awesome that you are trying to expand people’s consciousness which is the proper idea of the psychedelic culture in a sense.
J: Yeah, our psychedelic culture is based on a lot of things, it’s not just random, it’s a lot to do with peace and unity and love and all those kinds of things. But as well, with the psychedelic experience there’s so much more to learn on other levels and some of it can be really hard to put into words but every now and then I’ll just find a perfect vocal, that’s what I want to portray in words. It’s so hard to pinpoint in a way, but once I find those vocals I put them in my music.
D: Yeah, there is definitely the party side and the psychedelic side of the psytrance scene. And it definitely is great to hear both sides of the coin at a party.
J: Yeah it is definitely great to express a new perspective for people to think about.
D: So in addition to producing and DJ-ing, you also host parties. How did you first get into hosting your own events and how did Visual Vibrations begin?
J: Well I always had psytrance at my parties at my house for my birthday and stuff and I always tried to get the loudest speakers possible. And I guess it sort of just evolved from that and once I met my friend Rowie, the guy that started Neva Endin Beats, He showed me a new perspective on the psytrance scene. He showed me how real it was in the way that you can potentially have a trashy party, put no thought into it, and everyone just gets smashed. But if you create an amazing atmosphere and a safe place for people to come and have a nice experience, to come and meet like-minded people, then you can create something special. Now, where we are at, we can just enjoy it. The psychedelic scene and experience has been going on longer than we’ve been alive. We are at the forefront of consciousness where we are now learning things that people have never known. At least for thousands of years. It’s all been lost and it’s coming back to us.
D: Yeah it is awesome thinking about the expansion of human consciousness. Because I’ve been thinking about the idea that psychedelic drugs alone can’t expand the consciousness in a way that is necessarily great or beneficial. Because I’ve been thinking about the ancient world and the Aztecs used to take heaps of peyote and shrooms and they came to the conclusion that the point of their society was to do the Aztec heart sacrifice, (leading a prisoner of war up a pyramid and having their heart ripped out by an obsidian knife while they were still living as a sacrifice to the Aztec Sun God Huitzilopochtli) which is obviously wack. I believe that the advent of a globalized world, with the awareness of the existence of multiple civilizations both past and present, combined with access to the psychedelic experience has created an awareness that has not been seen before by human societies and civilizations. Humans being aware of their space in the wider cosmos…I’m going off on a tangent but yeah.
J: Nah, it’s all relevant bro. It’s about realizing humanity’s place in nature, with connection to plants and every living thing. On the stream of shamans and different tribes and cultures and worldviews, they all aim towards a similar sort of thing. They all have a different path to get there but generally what the psychedelic experience is trying to teach us is that everything can work together. It’s trying to show us how to be at peace with everyone and everything in our life and just try to bring it back to that state of unity. Really as a part of nature we’ve had to come here as humans to experience how everything is so that we can learn and we can advance our level of complexity. So yeah, just trying to reconnect with nature and see what we can learn from it.
D: Yeah, reconnecting with nature and with one another as humans. Because humans, in my opinion, can be still caught up in these petty, almost monkey like conflicts essentially. Because war between nations is essentially an exaggerated fight for resources between two groups of predator monkeys in my opinion. It’s easy coming from the right perspective to see humans as a single species and all these ideas such as nations and tribes and stuff are trivial and small minded. You come to a point where humanity’s factions and divisions all seemed so dumb and pointless.
J: Yeah like where would humanity be without the tools and technology we have these days, but also where would we be without nature? We’re creating a place where humanity can come together and combine both nature and technology, look after nature, and look after each other, in balance to create something magical. I get a feeling I’m at home when I’m at our events out there in the bush. We’ve got everything that we need, we’re not there wanting like a new car or house or anything. We’re just there spending time and being at peace with one another, we are all part of it and that’s the reason why we love it so much.
D: Onto another topic. You hosted Visual Vibrations 4 this year, which was an absolutely amazing event. Like the fact that it was 40 bucks for the entire weekend was absolutely amazing. What so you think are the essential elements to creating a good event?
J: Well, there’s a lot of elements and they all play an important part. It’s of course important to have positive people at parties. You need some good artists there because everyone likes nice, proper psytrance. It’s good to have some local artists there that people are familiar with. And another key element is the set up. You need lots of speakers, shade, good lights, visuals, and décor. But everything on top of that makes it even better, we had entertainers out there (at Visual Vibrations), fire and LED shows, belly dancing, graffiti and also photographers. Any kind of art or creativity displayed really makes it better.
D: So you try to create an immersive experience and position people in an ‘atmosphere’?
J: Yeah and a couple of things you can do is put that level of spirituality in there, so it’s not just like going to a club you know. We have things like a crystal grid and cleansing sessions. Some people might not believe in that. But crystals are part of nature, they are conductors and amplifiers of energy. So really if everyone on the dancefloor is comforted and dancing together, all that energy combined is amplified.
D: Yeah, I have more of a Darwinian world perspective myself. But it’s how I guess I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve come to; that humanity is one united race. But that’s the great sense I get from doofing. The feeling that you are dancing like some primal animal.
J: It’s a great thing, dancing. It really is a balancing act, people have been doing the exact same thing for thousands and thousands of years. It’s ceremonial, people come together and be one with each other. We express ourself as an individual but also as one combined consciousness. We are all connecting with the music, and we are all creating this big energy field together. I was saying before that’s really the feeling of peace that we’re aiming for, to bring that to the people and on top of that, spread some knowledge. We’re trying to take people away from society and how it’s teaching us to be and to really utilize the best within ourselves. Because when we love everybody around us and we’re happy then we don’t need anything else.
D: So with your events in future, are you planning to make them bigger or add anything onto them?
J: Yeah definitely. It’s Neva Endin bro. So just know, we want to transition it from being a little bush doof or whatever, however you want to categorize it, to being a bigger festival where we can still have the same great experiences. I’m planning to get an international act for Visual Vibrations 5 next year and I also want to have some of the best artists in Australia, it’s gonna be great!
D: And any plans to develop the sound of the Torusphere project?
J: Well every time I jump on the computer and start writing tunes, I develop new techniques and stuff. I don’t know where my project will go at the moment, but I want to take it to an international level. I’m definitely always adding things to my sound. I’ll just develop it over the next five years and see where it goes and it’s probably just going to keep getting better as I become more experienced.
D: I did think that your parties have been bringing something pretty authentic back to Northern New South Wales. It’s a good thing to see with a lot of parties becoming more commercial these days.
J: Yeah a lot parties have been going pretty commercial to be honest, and that makes it really hard to maintain the culture and the vibe. What makes doofs work is people connecting with each other and stuff like that. When you can put the focus on profit aside, then you can focus on creating a really good party. And I think that’s the most important thing.
There have been a lot of newcomers coming to parties, not really knowing what it’s all about. And that’s why we have to keep teaching them. It might take someone two or three times to actually “get” what they are doing out there, instead of thinking that it’s just a place to come and get smashed.
People eventually catch on and realize that it’s not just about getting fucked up. Really, it’s about people enjoying that time together. And learning a lot as well, there’s so many older people who have been doing it for the longest, and they’ve got a lot to teach. And, if you think about it, we’ve gotta have good experiences but people have to think about how they are doing it. Older people need to be willing to teach us younger people how to do it properly.
D: Amen to that. I’ve only been doofing for around a year and a half and I see the elders as guides.Iit is a fantastic experience, and a fantastic thing to be a part of really.
Julius; That’s right man. It’s good to have a place where we all can come together. It’s like our church. It’s a place and a community where we can gain trust and good friendships. It’s good to know that there are people out there that you can actually build a solid friendship with.
D: Yeah these parties do build on that sense of connection. For me, they build upon what was established in even the original 1960’s hippy festivals. Like there is that added dimension of awareness and spirituality.
J: Yeah that’s it, for all of us to come together and trance with people and have a sort of out of body experience when everyone is dancing, You realize that you are experiencing something real and a lot more spiritual and full of energy. It feels a lot more relevant than a rave. We build an understanding that we are able to tie into our general lives. It’s great.