04 Mar Skwid: Interview With An Aussie Psy-Trance Phenomenon
When you hear the word Skwid what comes to mind? A solid kick, hypnotic melodies, lots of dust and plenty of lasers? Well it should!
Deep in the underground of Aussie psy-trance, a homegrown heavyweight is emerging. Since 2010 Tom has been moving crowds throughout Australia, we caught up with him to gain some insight into the world of the illusive Skwid and here’s what went down.
Why do you love music?
For me, music transcends everything, borders, race, religion, gender and age. I just love that goddamn FUNK, PASSION and SOUL that you get from music. It will make you jump, or cry, or feel like you can achieve anything, the right song will understand you and reflect your feelings in moments of darkness. Writing and playing music is a necessity for me, I literally cannot live without doing it.
How did you get involved with music?
I’m not exactly sure but I grew up in a household where music was a huge part of life. My mum is a music teacher and has played in a symphony orchestra since I was a child. Our family road trips and camping holidays were always accompanied by 70’s soul and rock music or a Triple J request fest.
I remember hearing ‘Mix-Up’ in ‘95 and from then on I spent my Saturday night’s recording music to cassettes. I also vividly remember being given Public Enemy and Ray Charles cassettes by my dad when I was in primary school which I listened to until they wore out.
When were you introduced to psy-trance?
I listened to Infected Mushroom in the early 00’s but it wasn’t until I heard ‘Loud’ in 2011 that I was totally hooked! Their Cosma tribute set introduced me to his music, which has been a huge inspiration to the trance I record. It was about that time that I started experimenting with psy-trance production.
My first Maitreya in 2012 really caught me, aside from the four-day time warping bender in which I danced for hours on end and met some people who are now life long friends – I also had experienced an entire festival dedicated to top quality psychedelic trance and that really said to me “there is a place here for this music.”
What was your first gig?
I have been playing gigs since I was about 12 however the gig I played as Skwid was at Loop Bar in 2015, I then followed by playing the ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ theme camp stage at Earthcore 2015.
Best gig so far?
Hmm … it is really hard to answer that. Playing at the Market Stage on Friday night of Rainbow Serpent Festival 2019 was such a surreal and epic experience – I have so much love for that gathering and that dance-floor in particular.
Earth Frequency Festival’s Subterran stage has such a crazy good vibe to it, I definitely had many of the most enjoyable moments of my musical life playing to that crowd. Being amongst the magic of that festival is something very special.
What musicians/artists inspire you?
I don’t think it’s possible to narrow down your inspirations to a specific list of artists. I’ve always admired The Chemical Brothers greatly as innovators and performers, my inspirations range from Squarepusher, to 1950’s Jazz, Romantic Era classical composers, Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Tristan and pretty much everything in between all of that… I guess it would be safe to say that a solid chunk of my electronic music inspiration comes from 90’s breakbeat, jungle & trance.
What are your short & long term goals?
I am aiming to secure some gigs in Europe this year and also go on some surf trips to Indonesia. During the winter I may write an album or maybe a few different EP’s with different styles, I’m not entirely sure yet. I’m pretty focused on my work, some festival work at the moment with Esoteric around the corner and just trying to surf as much as I can.
I don’t really have specific goals for my music, I would like to have the spaces and opportunities to continue to perform for as much of my life as possible, as I really do love sharing my music with people.
What does the music industry need more of?
Respectful straight-talking humans and more musicians/producers. Don’t get me wrong there is definitely an art to DJ’ing but with the automation and accessibility of technology they come at a dime-a-dozen. I would like to see more producers playing sets and would really love to see more Aussie female producers on stage and in the charts.
What does it need less of?
Fake people who are just in it for the glory, the fist pumps and the profile photos. Greedy people who are in it for the money only. Government and police interference.
Can we come back stage and see you perform?
Shit yeah, just make sure you bring some beers… for me!
Do you have anything you want to tell the world/community?
Be kind to one another, have heaps of fun, care for the environment and never ever give a fuck about what any one else thinks of you.
Our label is Higher Recordings, which I started with two friends in 2015 because we had no Aussie label to send our full-on psy-trance to, so we started our own! My mastering was done by the late great Bruno ‘Module Virus’, who taught me a lot about music production and life. I am now using Ryanosaurus for mastering. Big-ups to the Aussie Wigglers community, all the festivals and crews who have been such a great support to me, I can’t thank you enough.
Photo credit: Psymon Photography
“What you focus on moves towards you”