Gear up for your newest psytrance obsession.
Last year, melodic bass icon Seven Lions (real name Jeff Montalvo) teamed up with electronic duo Dimibo, comprised of Filip Pankovcin and Loch Stimpson, to explore the genre under a new project: Abraxis. They debuted with "Old Gods," out last year through Alteza Records, but are now switching gears with "Night Rider" featuring Crystal Skies. The single is Abraxis' first release through Montalvo's Ophelia Records imprint.
"Night Rider" comes in hot with a futuristic, intense energy, making like a high-stakes video game set in the world of Tron. Three different drops span the five-minute track, combining the diverse psy, midtempo and melodic dubstep backgrounds of each contributing artist.
Along with their two singles, the trio have released an hour-long mixtape on Soundcloud, the Amygdala Mix. Previously, Seven Lions and Dimibo collaborated on a remix of Excision's "The Paradox," featured on his Virus remix album in 2017. Read on to learn how the three artists decided to work together, and get hints on their upcoming track, "Black Rainbow."
EDM,com: Tell us about the formation of Abraxis.
Abraxis: We all share a mutual love of psytrance, which led to us playing a series of B2B sets at select shows and festivals. We were having such a good time playing B2Bs that the next logical step was to create something more tangible that allowed us to express ourselves more and take our listeners deeper into the world we wanted to create.
Were you friends first and then collaborators? How did you meet, and when?
We actually met through Loch's girlfriend, Olivia. She attended a drinking with strangers contest in Vegas for the first Journey Tour in 2016, and since we all lived in Seattle we got together when the tour was over for one of the legendary Montalvo ugly sweater parties. It was a short jump from there to talking about music, and it was shortly after that Jeff asked if we wanted to remix Excision's "The Paradox" with him.
What does this project allow you to explore creatively?
Abraxis allows us to delve into uncharted territory production wise that we normally wouldn't be able to fit under our other brands. It's darker, more full on, more enveloping. We really want to embrace our love of weird shit: off-the-wall lo-fi kind of stuff, retro film, low budget '70s sci-fi/horror movies, vintage psychedelic culture like MK Ultra and mind control.
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What is the project's position in the electronic world?
How it fits into the modern electronic music world, it might not actually. But that's kind of the goal: to give listeners something really different they can sink their teeth into. In a time when everything is the most modern, most HD, most cutting-edge, we want to bring a product and experience that invokes some nostalgia, curiosity, and maybe a little fear. Those are the things that make us feel alive.
How did the name "Abraxis" come to be?
It comes from a movie called Mandy. The Horn Of Abraxis is an artifact used by a cult to summon a demon biker gang called the Black Skulls. You can find the leader of the Black Skulls in the live visuals for Night Rider if you know what you're looking for.
What do the three of you have in common that helps you work together?
We're all friends first, collaborators second. At the end of the day we're a few guys with some crazy ideas and want to take people on a wild psychedelic ride. That ends up translating really well into us producing some wild music together. There's a lot of inspiration floating around and things flow really naturally.
What's the story behind "Night Rider?"
We wanted to explore the relationship between triplet psytrance and a heavy midtempo sound. On the technical side of things, a triplet grid at 142bpm is identical to a regular timed grid at 106.5bpm (142 * 0.75), so those two tempos were the foundation of our track. The tricky part became blending them into something seamless to the listener. Having a song at two different tempos is something that isn't really done in dance music so it was definitely a challenge to make the song sound cohesive, and it went through a lot of iterations. Having the Crystal Skies boys jump on definitely breathed life into the project and as producers we all riffed off each others ideas until we had created a proper monster.
Any more upcoming releases you can dish on? Any performances you've got slated for 2020?
We have a song called "Black Rainbow" coming soon that delves into the backstory of Abraxis and furthers the lore of the institute. That's about all we can say about it at the moment but we're really excited to bring the listener further into the world we're creating. Owning a Walkman will definitely be helpful if you want to hear this song before anyone else.