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Habersham Speaks (errr... Types) for a TranZfusion Q&A

Author: Aaron Roach
Friday, August 13, 2004
Conformity: beware

One of the most talked about producers of the moment is heading to Australian shores next week. What initially was as an Internet-based career has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon, and with the likes of Phil K, Dave Seaman and Sander Kleinenberg championing his sounds it won't be too long before Damon Fonooni, known to the electronic music world as Habersham, is living out of a suitcase.

TranZfusion caught up with Damon (well, we emailed and he replied) for a productive Q&A session.

The obvious question and one that he can't be sick of yet - how did it all begin-
Around 1998, I was in Camden Market in London and I saw straight ahead of me what appeared to be a stainless-steel capsule with like 140 BPM Psytrance pounding out of the entrance. So I went inside and it was a mad clothing store with strobing lights and metal clothes and all kinds of craziness! I liked the music so much I picked up a TIP cd featuring Astral Projection and Hallucinogen and so on. Basically since then I've been hooked on electronic music.

What were some of the early influences-
I moved from psy trance into more progressive trance with the likes of Oakenfold and Gatecrasher and so on (yes that's right i was into Ferry Corsten and the lot hehe). I would say the album with the greatest impact on me was BT's ESCM (Electronic Sky Church Music). When i first heard this I couldn't believe how he fused world music with dance music and rock and so on. From start to finish that album moved me like no other, and to this day I make a point of listening to it about twice a month so I can remember how meaningful it was and still is to me, and in turn how meaningful I need to make my music.

Prominent artists such as Phil K have been long time fans of your work. How does that make you feel-
It's one of the best feelings to know people who you have looked up to are now supporting what you do. This definitely reinforces the feeling that you're doing something right and that people are listening. Having Phil K supporting me is perhaps the greatest compliment in the world, and definitely the most reassuring one.

Do you draw inspiration from that kind of attention-
Naturally it pushes me to work harder and try and raise the bar for myself, especially in the case of Phil K. With literally every song I write now there is always one question in my head, "Will Phil like this-" and if he does, then I'm inspired again to outdo myself. I've been so lucky to have Phil as a mentor, and he's taught me things like:

1) ALWAYS be original and don't do the same as everyone else,
2) Embrace trying new methods and approaches to writing music rather than using a set formula every time, and
3) Constantly push yourself to set new standards, whether it's for others or for yourself.

Obviously, he's been the greatest source of inspiration to me.

Because of way the scene keeps evolving, do you feel the need to keep on top by exploring new areas yourself-
I do feel a need to constantly explore new avenues, but not exactly because of the changes in the scene. Rather, my opinion is we all should never stop learning new things and expressing ourselves in different ways, whether it means an artform or educating yourself about different cultures and so on. If we do not continue on a daily basis to expand our minds and knowledge, if we do not take risks and experiment in unfamiliar territory, then what can we say we have really achieved in our lives-

How did the Habersham/Numinous adventure start-
I met Brett (Numinous) while he was working at Satellite Records here in Atlanta. I'll never forget his keen ability to pick out music for anyone that stepped foot in that store no matter what tastes they had, and I think we really connected in terms of our tastes and musical influences and roots. We grew to be good friends with lots of common ideals and ethics and dreams, an