Behind the Beat | Interview with Infected Mushroom
While I was at USC Events’ Paradiso Festival a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Erez Eizen and Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani of Infected Mushroom before their set. To give a quick review, their show was outright amazing. I can’t even begin to describe the stage; the pair gained inspiration from setups like Deadmau5’s “cube” and Amon Tobin’s ISAM, which are based off of square shapes. Their twist on this CG animation sensory overload consists of two giant balls (I just wanted to say that, but they’re ‘spheres’, if you want to be accurate) that each artist stands in to blow your mind with music that’s perfectly timed with the ever-changing color and graphics. If you haven’t checked out a video of this setup, see below; it’s even more jaw-dropping in person.
My favorite part about their set is that Duvdev SINGS LIVE, which is something that you’ll rarely get from any DJ. But these guys are more than DJs to say the least; their rock band past still influences their music to this day, and that’s something I really love about them.
I have to say, this was by far one of the most interesting (and hilarious) interviews I’ve done, and these guys are a couple of the most genuine EDM artists that I’ve interacted with. As I headed over to their trailer, the two were hanging outside with friends/crew to the sounds of Myon & Shane 54 DJing on the stage behind them. Duvdev is sipping on a Stella (a pre-show beer I’ve seen in his hand in many photos) and we head inside to chat.
I can do a pretty good job of keeping my cool, but on the inside, I was freaking out. Erez and Duvdev have been in the game for years now; their first big album, “The Gathering,” was released in 1999. The fact that these two are still rocking it with a such a huge fan base gives me a lot of respect for them.
These two men are the perfect example of a yin and yang musician relationship; Duvdev is loud, extroverted, sarcastic and says whatever he feels appropriate (or inappropriate), whereas Erez is very quiet and collected, very observatory and speaking only when he has an answer to my questions, slipping in humorous quips here and there. This complimentary relationship has gotten them through 9 major albums and many EPs, with “Friends on Mushrooms Vol. 2” due to be released on July 16th.
Still in a slight state of shock that I’m able to sit down with these two legends, we get started:
OTB: What’s your favorite aspect of playing a live show?
Erez: Well there’s kind of a stress level before the show that I actually like; the nervousness that things can go wrong actually, so it’s more exciting, from the time that you start pressing play.
Amit “Duvdev”: We like to fuck up on sets.
OTB: That’s good, shows you’re human *laughing*
OTB: What do you guys think of the Gorge?
Duvdev: It’s a beautiful fuckin’ place. It’s unheard of.
OTB: It’s unreal right? Hidden in Washington.
Duvdev: In the middle of fucking nowhere; but anyway it’s beautiful. We took a lot of pictures.
OTB: I’ve heard your guys’ music categorized in a ton of different genres; psytrance along with many more. If you could pick one, what would you say it is?
Erez: It’s amazing.
Duvdev: That’s the fucking category! “What kind of music do you do?” AMAZING.
OTB: I like that a lot. Amazing. I’ve read past interviews and many of your idols have been in the game for quite a while. Do you ever look towards all these new young DJs for any inspiration at all?
Erez: Pegboard, we love them.
OTB: Definitely. Well, we’re sitting here before the show, so do you have any pre-show rituals or snacks that you like to eat beforehand?
Duvdev: Well, I drink massively… and like 10 minutes before the show, I do Randy [their tour manager and DJ Randy Seidman]…and if I don’t have Randy, I ask for a Randy.
OTB: They have to be named Randy?
Duvdev: He HAS to be named Randy, yes. If it’s like a John, no fucking way.
[At this point, I am laughing hysterically, half because I know Duvdev is joking, and half because I am being so thrown off by this answer that I actually have no idea what to say. Everyone in the room is also laughing, except Erez who is smirking silently on the couch. I assume he has heard this answer before and is used to Duvdev’s antics.]
OTB: That’s a good ritual, it can get you pumped up. *laughing*
OTB: Anyway, you guys have come out with so many albums. If you had to pick a favorite song or favorite album, what would it be?
Erez: I would go with Converting Vegetarians.
[Duvdev continues the Randy joke, but I’ve omitted certain parts of this interview for the kiddies out there. At this point I’m still thrown off, and we are all dying of laughter.]
OTB: You’ve put out so many albums and it’s been about 14 years now; you’ve managed to keep this unique sound that is your own. Has that been difficult to maintain throughout the years?
Erez: In reality, we try to change actually and we try to get rid of the sound but we can’t; that’s the reality. But, I think now I like it. People can hear a track and say, “This is Infected” even if it’s 145 trance, even if it’s ambient, if it’s dubstep, whatever we do. People can still recognize us. This is us.
OTB: What would you say your spirit animal is? I’ve been asking everyone this question today.
Duvdev: Oh I’m a bear, and I do Randy as a bear.
Randy: Yep, as a bear. *laughing with Duvdev*
OTB: *looking at Erez* It’s hard to choose, right?
Randy: Look at him, he’s a fucking lion, look at his mane!
Duvdev: You want to know his animal?
Duvdev: He’s Matt Damon. That’s his spirit animal, Matt Damon.
[I’m seriously losing my shit at this point. This is by far one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever conducted.]
OTB: *laughter* Well, then I guess that’s all I’ve got. Thank you both so much for meeting with me tonight and I’m looking forward to seeing you out there in a little bit!
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