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Safi-Connection interview: Getting in Touch With the 'Walking Show'

Author: Blaire Lumsden
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Israeli dj and producer Safi-Connection, a.k.a Mishel Bitton, has been involved in the psy trance scene since the '97 release of his debut, collaborative album 'Technologica'. Before long Mishel began spinning music around the world, his exposure to international markets ensuring a constant evolution and progression. Soon Safi-Connection was born, an alias of Mishel's since 2001. Known for top quality productions, Safi Connection has been rocking dance floors right around the globe.

What first inspired you to explore the trance genre-
In the city where I grew up you had two streams: folkloristic music and psy trance. It was very easy for me to take the psy trance path. When I was 14, I went to my first 'acid party' and I immediately found it amazing and attractive. Then I started to collect psy trance music on cassette tape. When I was 15, I played my first big event in Israel (5000-7000 attending) and after that I had no way out. I was magnetized to the trance world.

How has your musical style evolved since the release of your initial Sonichaos album-
My musical style has evolved dramatically. We made the Sonichaos album with an Atari PC that had a black and white screen. Today's studios and PCs are way stronger and of course the technology became super fast and efficient. My technical and musical level is also much higher than in Sonichaos time, which was about 8 years ago.

Your collaboration with Tamir Ozana (a.k.a Atomic Pulse), which led to the emergence of Safi-Connection, resulted in the breakthrough success of 'Prince of Paranoia'. Did you explore a different musical direction after you each decided to concentrate on your individual projects-
Not really. Safi-Connection got famous because of one track- 'Prince of Paranoia'. That track was special because we built the track based on amazing African singers. Today, I still use a lot of vocals in Safi-Connection tunes, and to a degree I have evolved since then, as psy trance music changes so fast and you have to keep up!

You are currently involved in a number of other collaborations, namely 'Neo Logic' and 'Central Nerve'. How do you find the time to work on so many different projects at once- Does each project concentrate on an individual sound-
I do have a lot of collaborative projects. I'm a professional artist, and music production is my only job, and it's part of my job to make time and energy in order to extend my discography and musical experiences. There is, of course, a change in the sound and techniques between the projects For example, 'Liquid on Safi' is a psy-punk project based on electric guitars.

What creative processes did you undertake in the lead up to the release of your new album 'Shout Aluma'-
That is very easy. My daughter, Aluma, was born in September 2005, and she was the total inspiration for this whole album. Her newborn energy is apparent all over the album. I worked really hard on it, and I hope people will enjoy it.

Your style of music has been described as progressive while twisted, funky and less full-on than the stereotypical Israeli style. Is individuality in your music an important concept-
That was my main concept- be original. I can't describe my music, but what I do know is that it has been causing some dust on the dance floor!

During the past couple of years, you have played gigs in many countries worldwide. How has your music been received in various regions-
When I released the first Safi-Connection album, I was playing a lot. Like 3-5 times a month. Some countries, like Japan, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Mexico I used to play in more than others. Today, it's a bit different because the musical style keeps changing from time to time. The crowds are different in every country and sometimes even the same country but a different city.

Your performances have a reputation for stimulating one's imagination. What can we expect from your li