Goa Gil - USA / Goa
Goa Gil was the natural choice for an Avatar mix back in 1998, as he was quite simply one of the biggest DJs on the planet. The legendary parties he played in Forest of the Saints outside Jerusalem, were treasured on a mixed CD under the same name, and are among the most memorable till today.
Goa Gil has a rich psychedelic history. He grew up in the middle of the San Francisco music scene of the 60s. Then he left to India in 1969. Having being a musician all his life and doing intense yogic practices with gurus in the Hindu Himalayas, he tried to unite the two (music and yoga) into one benefiting this age. The result was the full moon parties that started in India and spread to Koh Pangan and other countries. He has been constantly focusing on using the party situation as a medium to uplifting the consciousness of the participants through the trance dance experience.
Fast forward to today and little has changed in Goa Gil's world-beating status. While his mixes turned many thousands on to his concept and talent almost two decades ago, he continues to stay one step ahead of the game with his music and extensive touring.
He is the one and only DJ in the world that holds the title of a Shri Maharaj. He put out a total of 12 official mixed albums, and has just released his latest album Music Baba (Avatar Music).
The Nommos, which is a project he does with his wife Ariane AKA Nimba, has been going on for the last 19 years, and combines a fusion of African drums and psytrance. The two were part of the group Kode IV, that concluded its activity in the late 90s.
Goa Gil is considered to be the most requested psytrance DJ in the world, with party organizers lining up to book him for a set.
Redefining the ancient tribal ritual for the 21st century
By Lucinda Catchlove
What constitutes today's commercial trance is a long and twisted journey from the trance-inducing rhythmic experiments first heard on the beaches of Goa, India, and perpetuated by Goa Gil, the 50-year-old techno shaman so integral to the birth of Goa trance and arguably to contemporary trance as a genre. For his dedication to achieving transcendent experiences through music and dance, Goa Gil has become legendary among generations of Goa-trance DJs and traveling seekers of the nirvanic party experience.
Formerly a regular at Nevada's Burning Man festival, Gil is quick to distance himself from commercial trance and rave culture. "I get slightly insulted when people group what I do together with rave, because it's different," says Gil, who feels the difference lies not only in the music but also in its intent. "For me it's a holy thing. I'm very particular about where I will play and who I will play for. I'm not in it for the money: I'm in it to uplift people's consciousness to the trance-dance experience. Through the trance-dance experience, hopefully people become more sensitive and aware of themselves, their surroundings, the crossroads of humanity, and the needs of the planet. With that awareness comes understanding and compassion. That is the need of the hour and the true Goa spirit."
Disappointed with the negativity within San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury hippie music scene, Gil set out in 1969 on a journey that led him to Anjuna in the Indian state of Goa, where, throughout the 70's, he oversaw a gathering spot called the Music House. There, jet-set nomads, vagabond hippies, and dedicated travelers gathered during the Christmas holidays and full moons to party, make music, and exchange stories. In the early 80's, Gil grew tired of the routine and began traveling again. On trips to the United States and London, he discovered electronic body music (EBM), German new wave, industrial, hip-hop, and the other burgeoning forms of electronic music.
Returning to Goa, Gil and his cronies set to work bending those futuristic electronic sounds to fit their own concepts, creating the musical model for Goa trance. Taping from records onto Walkman professional tape recorders, Gil edited out the vocals, keeping only the interesting synth and drum machine parts of songs, effectively engaging in a primitive form of sampling that resulted in a continuous psychedelic electro-tribal groove. The sound spread: Gil started releasing CDs in 1992 as a member of Kode IV and then moved on to form the Nommos with his wife, Ariane. He also released a steady stream of DJ-mix CDs under his current handle.
The influence of the early Goa-trance scene on Western dance culture cannot be underestimated. Without Goa there would be no Ibiza (though neither the consumeristic hedonism of present-day Ibiza nor the trance that accompanies it reflect the essence of what is now labeled Goa trance). Thanks to the efforts of pioneers such as Goa Gil, Goa trance remains an underground musical movement aimed at creating a spiritual and transcendent experience and based on a global network of artists, labels, and promoters dedicated to throwing parties.
Remix Magazine, January 2002
Check out Live Report about Goa Gil on Danish National TV (.wmv file, 4 MB).