Their thoughts on inspirations, EDM going mainstream, and music as a universal bond.
During the late 90s, in the outskirts of Haifa, Israel, something was brewing. Two boys, who were experimenting with computer sounds, synths, and drum machines had finally - and perhaps fatefully - crossed paths. The result was Infected Mushroom, the musical construction of Amit "Duvdev" Duvdevani and Erez Eisen.
The Israeli duo have since formed a genre of their own: Psychedelic Trance. Combining hypnotic, trippy influences with industrial, progressive EDM the result is unlike anything you've ever heard. Their music speaks volumes on its own, but Infected Mushroom have also garnered a reputation for their mind-blowing live shows, which feature guitars, live drums and vocals, as well as intense lighting and multimedia.
Infected Mushroom has been ranked twice in the list of Top 100 DJs and average 120 live performances a year. In the United States, they have performed shows from the massive stages of Ultra Music Festival to the eclectic vibes of Burning Man. Additionally, the band has earned a coveted spot in this year's Coachella lineup – marking their third year performing in Indio.
Infected Mushroom is, and continues to be, an evolving band who experiment with countless genres, whether it be dubstep, trip-hop, or goa trance influenced beats. With an expansive worldwide audience and numerous accomplishments, INTO THE AM was honored to sit down with Infected Mushroom for a detailed interview.
Into The AM: What do you draw inspiration from? Sounds, producers, bands, films, places, people - what motivates you to create?
Infected Mushroom: Besides coffee and Heineken, we get motivation from seeing the audiences we play for go wild. We are also into the younger EDM talent of this generation: artists like Porter Robinson and Zedd, who are currently influencing us and pushing us to always step up our game.
ITAM: Both of you have years of classical training on piano, and Erez with the organ. How has this benefited you in music production?
IM: The benefit of training goes without saying. Being able to create interesting melodies, having knowledge of sound, to and a mastery of notation is like coming to a construction site equipped with a full tool belt.
ITAM: I’m a huge fan of The Doors, so I thought it was awesome that you ended Legend of the Black Shawarma with a remix of “Riders on the Storm”. The Doors progressed the psychedelic rock scene of 60’s-70’s, much like you guys are pushing the genre of psychedelic trance and electro by drawing upon non-Western sources. Do you regularly listen to The Doors, along with other psychedelic-rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd? Do these bands continue to provide inspiration for the sounds you achieve?
IM: I wouldn’t say we regularly listen to these artists, but we do have a great deal of respect for the music these people have put out. These individuals absolutely continue to provide inspiration for the sounds we achieve. They were integral to the evolution of our sound.
ITAM: The Gathering (1999) is cited to be your breakthrough album that brought Israeli psytrance to mainstream audiences. Classical Mushroom (2000) is considered to be your best known album, while IM The Survivor (2004) is your best selling album. Along with these three, there are the albums B.P.Empire (2001), Converting Vegetarians (2003), Vicious Delicious (2007), Legend of the Black Shawarma (2009), and Army of Mushrooms (2012). Which album or albums are your favorite, if you have one, and why?
IM: We really like “the other side” of Converting Vegetarians (disc 2) - it is eclectic and shows a different powerful style of Infected Mushroom very early on in our career. We are also very happy with our recent album, Army of Mushrooms. It hit number 1 album on the iTunes Dance Music charts in many countries including America – it reflects a range of our sound from Trance to Electro and even Dubstep.
ITAM: It is clear that EDM has become increasingly mainstream, notably through its convergence with pop music. I heard in a recent interview that you guys have tried to mellow out some tracks as a way to suit a younger fan-base. Does this bother you in regards to your integrity as artists, or are you guys more about providing satisfaction for your fans?
IM: We don’t feel like we have sold out and our fans seem like they are enjoying our style. It’s not like we are making pop music; our sound is still very "underground" and "niche," and we are not making Guetta-style music or working with Madonna. It is possible to mellow out while still being just as "nasty" and "booty-shaking" – you’ll notice Army of Mushrooms reflects our ability to make 128 beats-per-minute feel just as energetic as a 144 Psy-Trance banger.
ITAM: Music is one of those aspects of humanity that creates a universal bond. However, do you notice any differences between shows in America and Europe versus shows in areas under political, social, and economic turmoil, like in Tel Aviv?
IM: It is true that music unites people, and transcends culture for that matter. I can definitely tell there is a special energy difference between a place like America versus a place like Israel. In a place like Israel, people have a stressful life – most of the 18 year olds have to go into the military. So when Infected Mushroom comes to town, this is their chance to let go of all of the stress in their life, to forget about the turmoil, and to just have a night of love where they can put everything else aside. Places where an existence is easier tend to have people who take luxuries like clubs and festivals for granted.
ITAM: Your album Vicious Delicious features inspiration drawn from hip-hop. Are you a fan of American hip-hop, or more so fans of the rise of Middle Eastern hip-hop (i.e. collectives and individuals like HaDag Nachash and Subliminal)?
IM: We like all kinds of hip hop, but we tend to listen to more Western-style. We did Artillery (VD) with the Canadian rap group, Swollen Members. It was used in Don’t Mess With The Zohan with Adam Sandler.
ITAM: Do you ever feel pressured to create politically-motivated music?
IM: Never. F' politics.
ITAM: Los Angeles has a huge, constantly progressing underground scene. How has moving to LA influenced your music, and your life in general?
IM: Moving to Los Angeles has enabled us to more easily collaborate with some of our favorite artists. From Jonathan David (Korn) to Matisyahu to Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction) to Ray Manzarek from the Doors – these opportunities would have been much more difficult to come by had we still lived in Israel. We love Los Angeles and we consider it home now.
ITAM: DJs and bands you can’t stop listening to lately?
IM: Very difficult to say because we have had some many amazing experiences. Either on the beach of Rio de Janeiro with the Black Eyed Peas for 100,000 people, or possibly the island-nation of New Caledonia off the coast of Australia – super beautiful.
ITAM: Craziest fan encounter?
IM: The guy who tattooed our guitarist’s autograph on his arm.
ITAM: Any pre-show traditions?
IM: Lots of Heineken.
ITAM: What are you most looking forward to on your Fungusamongus Tour?
IM: Bringing our big glowing balls to a city near you ;)
ITAM: Any last words for Into The AM?
IM: Thank you for this opportunity! And thank you for your support!
ITAM: Thank you! Awesome talking with you.
Join Infected Mushroom on their Fungusamongus tour in a city near you, or catch them at this year's Coachella! To tide you over for now, here's a free mix from the guys themselves, and you can stream all of their albumson their website.