Now he's set to make dance music history, with the release of 'Psy Trance Euphoria' out now on Ministry of Sound. A three CD journey, incorporating two mix CDs and Fleming's new artist album, it's a unique concept that should catapult the psy sound further into the mainstream consciousness. DJmag.com linked with the DJ/producer to discuss psy, crossing over, and his 00.db collaboration…
You've gone for a brand new concept with the first edition of 'Psy Trance Euphoria'. How did the artist album and double mix idea come about?
"I can't take all the thanks for it, it's my management. I've worked with them for many years. I approached Euphoria originally with the psy trance idea. I've mixed three comps for them before. You've got to be aware that this scene's growing. DJmag is aware of that, you've put psy trance on the cover. There hasn't been many albums out, and these people who've been lost in the world of trance out there, who are fed up with the regular club trance, they don't know where to go, and there's this hidden world of psy trance.
"You say psy trance and people think of hippies running round in a field naked. It's not a scene like that at all, so I said let's put an album out to showcase the world out there. I suppose I'm the ideal candidate. One week I'm playing at some psy trance festival in Brazil, the next I'm at Gatecrasher. My management said, you can't hide the fact that the world of selling albums is bloody hard out there, with the technology, file sharing and so forth. So we said let's combine it all into one, and they said what a brilliant idea!"
What can fans expect from the artist album segment of the new release?
"I've always been known to have my own take on things, I go off and do my own thing. I try not to be a follower. That's obviously restricted to what music you can get. Whenever there's a gap in my DJ set, of music I can't find, I go in the studio and make it. A big chunk of it's psy influenced, and as I missed some of the Goa aspects of today's psy scene. I'm bringing back the lushness of some of that sound, it's just my take on it. The reaction has been amazing. It's my take on the psy trance world."
How about the two CDs – what vibe were you aiming to create there? Are they both quite different?
"They're different, people presume when you say psy trance, they just think it's 100 miles per hour, banging acid. It's not, there's a complete, full world in psy trance, from breaks to progressive, to techno-influenced stuff, to the more banging stuff. I'm trying to reflect what I've seen in that world. So CD one's got a deep, dark progressive vibe, which is gonna shock a lot of people. And then it progresses up to what I call morning trance. Typical, melodic, heads down, lost in the moment business. It goes to that more pounding stuff at the end. It's my take on it, every DJ's got a take on the scene that they're in."
You've become known for psy trance which is a shift away from the hard dance / trance you used to play. How did you first get bitten by the psy bug?
"Many people don't know, the new generation of clubbers don't know my history. I did come from that scene in the first place. Goa trance was my first choice. I was involved in that world from the beginning, but then I kind of did a switch, when Goa trance started to get quite commercial, and then went completely underground, like always seems to happen with these scenes. It kind of resurfaces with a different tag and a different style. When it changed, I went to the club trance world which was really good at the time. But at the moment it's not been doing anything for me so I kind of swayed back in that direction, going back to my roots."
This is the first psy trance edition of the Euphoria series. Has psy trance well and truly crossed over? Where does it go from here?
"Whether it will fully crossover I don't know. The new generation of people that have been brought up on trance, what they think is trance isn't trance, it's a pop version of it. So, there are a lot of people hungry out there for a serious take on it, and psy trance is giving them that hit. There are commercial elements to psy trance, but the majority of it is just made for clubs and festivals, it's pure dance music, they don't make it to go into the charts. Some of the new generation like it, but some are going, 'where are the drum rolls, the big melodies, the big cheesy vocal in the middle?' They can't get their heads around it. But many are loving it, because it's gone back to the basis of what trance music is, stuff that trances you out."
What's next for John '00' Fleming?
"I've been working really hard in the studio on new material, with Digital Blonde, we go under the name of 00.db, and it's been really taking off for us. We've been doing some live sets, like we did Gatecrasher's Magna event on Boxing Day, 7,000 people there, and we've got the main stage booked for the Gatecrasher Summer Soundsystem too. It's been going mad with live enquiries, and because we've made so many tracks, we've got our own album coming out on another label. It's all exciting stuff."