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Infected Mushroom Interview: Following their own path

Author: Clare Dickins
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Superstars in their home country of Israel, psy-trancers Infected Mushroom live and work in Los Angeles - they're not mobbed by fans there.

It's an unusual irony that psy-trance superstars Infected Mushroom would find refuge from fandom in LA, but the pair rarely follow normal trends. "For us it's just closer to the bigger record labels and the film industry. Everyone wants to succeed, so they come to LA - the land of opportunities. But for us, it's more for relaxation," Infected's Erez Aizen explains. "You can walk down the street and no one recognises you or bothers you because they're not thinking 'Hey! There's that dude from Infected.'

"Also, there are more options for us here. In Israel it's very limited. It's not that it's so bad, but growth isn't very easy. Also, it's a bit quieter for us, a lot less hectic and gives us more time to work."

When Inpress catches up with Aizen it's during a holiday back home to catch up with friends and relatives. He's having lunch with his mother, who Erez says isn't really that keen on Infected's music. "She's not really a fan of the music, but of course she is proud," he responds." "Oh, she's making faces at me now!" [laughs]

Together with his IM partner Amit Duvdevani (affectionately known as Duvdev), Erez has been blowing the global psy-trance scene out of the water since Infected Mushroom formed in 1997.

Both men's musical pedigree is impressive, with Aizen studying piano at Israeli's Haifa academy when he was eight, before moving on to tinker with digital software as an 11 year old. Erez would go on to release three albums under the name Shidapu and Shiva Shidapu in the later part of the '90s before Infected were born.

Similar to Erez, Duvdev, studied piano at a young age, before moving on to embrace heavy metal and punk as a teenager. He played the keyboard for local punk rock band Enzyme, before being bitten by the trance bug in 1991.

When the pair met in the later part of the decade, their fate had been sealed. These days, the pair are musical demigods in Israel and arguably one of the country's biggest exports.

But in 2006, LA is where the duo calls home. It's a relocation aimed to creatively refresh them, whilst exploring new avenues for collaboration. Indeed, Infected's US agent used to take care of Coldplay and has opened a lot of doors for the duo to stretch their sonic boundaries. "We've collaborate with a few local guitarist and singers, but I'd prefer not to name names at this point," Erez teases.

A follow-up to 2004's IM the Supervisor is on the way too, scheduled for release in June this year. "It will be a dancefloor album. We've got heavy metal influences on there, a hip hop song and one ambient track. We still have time to the release of the album, so we'll make about 20 or 30 tracks and choose the best ones before cutting it down to ten or 12 tracks," he explains.

Already psy-trance's most popular artists, the pair received a boost last year when they were voted in at number 26 in DJ mag's Top 100 poll. Aiming to snare a US distributor, the successful poll result pushed Infected over the line. "It's helped us so much. As it happens, we've spoken to a few big record companies and told them 'hey we've sold over 200,000 [albums]' to try and impress them and make them listen to us, but to be honest they weren't that impressed," Erez tells with a laugh.

"But when we told them that we had come in at number 26 in the poll, they were like 'Wow, let's talk!' It's really weird that people give this competition so much attention, but yeah, for us, it's good. We never expected it and we're really happy about it."

Aizen says Infected are still planning to stay loyal to Israeli imprint BNE, their main aim is to increase the reach of their distribution. "We don't want to move to quickly from our label, because it's a good one. But the label doesn't have good distribution in America and Canada."

Erez doesn't like