Ace Ventura

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Ace Ventura

It’s time to get a little more familiar with Yoni Oshrat, the man behind Ace Ventura. The son of a famous Israeli composer and songwriter, Yoni discovered his musical path over fifteen years ago. Today he is one of Israel’s biggest electronic music exports.
Hey Ace Ventura, thanks for taking some time to have a chat with Forte. For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, can you briefly describe your style and what it is you do?
I have been producing psytrance since 1998, first under the name Children of the Doc and then PSYSEX, both with DJ Goblin and in the psychedelic full-on style. In 2005 I started a progressive psytrance solo project under the Ace Ventura name. Then in 2006 PSYSEX split and I’ve been doing Ace Ventura ever since, releasing music and performing live and DJ sets around the world.
What have you been up to lately and where are you right now?
I’m home in Israel, about to fly to play in France over the weekend. Lately I’ve been busy both in the studio and also doing a lot of bureaucracy stuff, as in one month I am relocating with my family to live in Switzerland.
Not a lot of people fully understand or appreciate progressive or psychedelic trance music. What would you say to them?
I think us psytrance people are okay with the amount of people we have. Psytrance has grown a lot and is huge all over the world but is still an underground movement, and I think we all like it that way, don’t we?
What do you think of the Australian trance music scene? Do you have any favourites?
The Aussie psytrance scene has always stood out for originality and being different. In the ’90s I loved the Psy-Harmonics label, with great artists such as Nick Taylor, Shaolin Wooden Men and Psyko Disko. Really crazy stuff which pushed the envelope of psytrance. And since 10 years already, Zenon Records and Tim Larner (aka Sensient) have been giving us amazing sounds from so many artists, Australian or otherwise. This is definitely my favourite label since a long while.
As for the local party scene, well it’s a legend in its own right. I’ve been coming to Oz since 13 years or so and it’s always a kick-ass experience. Whether it’s indoor club gigs or the amazing bush and outback festies, you guys got it goin’ on.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Same as everyone else really – your daily experiences, whether it’s listening to music, watching movies, spending time with the family in nice places. And obviously when you have a really good gig, this gives you ideas and motivations and you try to translate those feelings in the studio.
You come from a rather musical family. What do they think of the stuff you’re producing? How has that shaped your sound today?
My father was doubtful I could have a prosperous career in psytrance back in the end of the ’90s. He thought it’s just a fad which will pass in a few years. Today he appreciates what I do. Otherwise, when I was young I was exposed to a lot of ’80s music which my sister was watching non-stop on TV. That was the background loop of my childhood.
A few of your newest releases reached number one spots in the Beatport Psychedelic Trance Charts. Tell us about that!
Not much to tell really. 5-6 years ago Beatport was a huge thing, and I was happy to win the ‘Best Psytrance Artist’ category in the Beatport awards, twice in a row, back in 2008 and 2009. But nowadays, very few people actually buy psytrance music so honestly it’s easy to reach the top of the charts.
Today there is a rotten feeling around this topic, because it’s a known fact that many artists buy their own music to get a higher place and this has tainted the whole thing. It’s a common problem in all dance music genres though.
You were responsible for the first progressive release for HOMmega Records. Was that a pretty great achievement?
Yes it was, especially since I had a history with HOMmega and PSYSEX. The first New Order CD was a milestone for the label and also came in a time before the big boom of progressive trance, so I’m proud to say it had a part in its uprising.
Have you got another album in the works?
Lately I’ve been working on finishing my album. It’s only the second Ace Ventura album, not considering the Re:Boot remix album. It’s been a hard task to finish this one since I am constantly touring and got a family with two kids at home, but I’m doing my best. Otherwise, I’m also working on new Easy Riders (my project with Rocky) tunes to be ready for Ozora Festival in August.
You’ve got a lot of projects on the go. How do you find a balance between them?
Yep, I love collaborating with other people, especially with Rocky and Wouter/Zen Mechanics (with whom I have the Zentura project). Finding the balance is just natural, and syncing with the timetable of the partners. Works out pretty well really.
You’ve been around for a while. What are some big changes you have seen in the industry?
There were lots of changes in the scene over the years. It’s been good to see the growth of international festivals, which became the heart of the scene. It wasn’t as good to see the decline in the music industry, and now an artist can mostly be supported with gigs. But this change was due mostly to technology development so you can find comfort in that. Style-wise, there were many changes over the years, from full-on in the spotlight to progressive trance, techno music mixing into psytrance events, dubstep and glitch … Times are a changin’!
In your long history of touring you’ve been to some pretty amazing corners of the world. Where has been your favourite place to play?
My first international gig was in 1999 so I’ve been around the block since then, in so many awesome gigs in festivals. It’s really hard to pinpoint. I love playing in so many countries, but I can name Switzerland, Israel, Japan and, of course, Australia.
You’ve also played some pretty huge parties and festivals. What’s been the highlight?
The obvious ones which come to mind are Ozora Festival in Hungary, Boom Festival in Portugal, Universo Paralello in Brazil. But there have been so many more. I had a great time in Maitreya, Earthcore and Winter Solstice in Cairns.
Have you played the Australian crowd before? Do we know how to party?
Oh yes I have, and you certainly know how to party. Probably some of the craziest up-for-it crowd in the globe. I think being isolated in your own continent, surrounded by oceans, you got your own mini-utopia, and it shows in the vibe of the people in festivals. It’s just positive all around.
Are you excited to be playing at Earthcore?
Yep, had a great time with my mates last year. Looking forward to the second round!
Liquid Soul, who you’ve done the side project Liquid Ace with, is also playing Earthcore. Are you excited to be playing the same festival?
Of course! I get to meet Capo in many places all over the planet and it’s always a treat. But he joins a big list of my favourite peeps who also are playing in this year’s edition, so good times ahead.
Before we finish up, is there anything you’d like to add?
Thanks for catching up with me. I’m psyched to come and party with you soon enough!
When&Where: Earthcore, Pyalong – November 27 to December 1