Infected Mushroom has been a huge name in dance music since before EDM was a term, let alone en vogue.
After more than a decade on the scene, they've had to trade in their giant analog studios for laptops on the road, but they've also signed to hip L.A. label, Dim Mak, and are crossing the country on their most ambitiously produced tour to date, the Fungusamongus tour.
They've managed to maintain relevancy in one of music's most fickle genres, and in America, the country hardest to please. That begs the question of how.
"I think two facts," original member Duvdev said answering this question. "One fact is that we keep on changing, not sticking to one sound, being the same and repeat all over again. And the second is liking the dance floor. We see what works and adapt ourselves to the new generation."
The Israeli-bred duo, comprised of Duvdev and his partner Eisen, is hailed for their hard-edged, hyphy brand of trance, referred to as "psytrance." They had their first hit with their debut album The Gathering in 1999, and followed it up with the even more successful Classical Mushroom.
Yet, as much as they've been considered the poster-boys of their genre, they've been known to experiment and incorporate everything from elements of trip-hop to house, rock 'n' roll, metal, drum and bass, acoustic guitars, choirs - almost anything really.
"For me, I like to throw genres out of the window. Infected Mushroom has done so many." Duvdev said. He thinks that if they've gained one thing by being around this long, "it is the ability to do whatever we like. Each time we start a track, we just take it to where we want to take it that week."
For instance their latest record, Army of Mushrooms, released on Steve Aoki's Dim Mak Records last spring. It is the duo's eighth studio album, and it's one gnarly, funky electronic adventure. It's full of odd textures and edgy, hard-hitting synths. But it has highs and lows, peaks and valleys, drops and breakdowns, and a Foo Fighters cover?
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"First of all, I really love the track," Duvdev admitted of the alternative rock group's "The Pretender," which got a high dose of psychedelic and otherworldly atmospheric treatment from Infected Mushroom.
"At that time, we were working on a drum and bass track which was 174 bpm. Then I heard the track on the radio going to the studio, and I said, 'Hey, this could be really cool for mixing what we're working on.'"
In the end, the guys melded the Foo Fighter's hit into their original d'n'b-inspired production. That's the kind of cross-genre, playful experimentation that keeps an artist fresh in an ever-changing environment. It's the kind of thing that works for Infected Mushroom.
"It's really hard to bring this to the EDM world," he mused. "I'm happy people like it."
Of course, creative freedom isn't granted easily. It's earned through years of hard work, evolution, continued success, and sometimes just plain determination.
"Back in the day, when big labels were really big, then our music was either too psychedelic or too niche, or too that, or too whatever. But hey, this is not the world today," he reflected. "These things change, and there's a lot of heavy music that they play out there. We fit along."
They seem to fit along quite nicely in their new home of Los Angeles, as well. There, they work closely with fellow Dim Mak recording artists.
"First of all, it's a fun group of people," Duvdev said. "Steve Aoki is a good friend of mine, and he sees Infected Mushroom for what they are. Didn't ask me to change nothing about it because I joined Dim Mak. He just said to us, we want you on board, do what you do best. They help a lot, and it's fun to be with the guys."
Duvdev said he finds a lot of inspiration in his label-mates, many of whom have only been working in the scene for a couple of years, but have already attracted lots of big-name support. In fact, they find working with their peers so enjoyable, Infected Mushroom is just about to release a whole slew of new material with a little help from their pals.
Friends on Mushrooms is a forthcoming three-part EP series, the first of which was just released January 22. Duvdev promised lots of collaborative material between homies like their label-head Steve Aoki, Zedd, Porter Robinson, Seven Lions, Savant, and others.
"I love collaboration, even in the studio or not in the studio. I like the vibes of creating something together," he said. "Everybody brings his style to the table, and that's great. That's creating something completely different. I love it, and this album is full of them."
But even with dedication, experimentation, collaboration, and everything in between, the most important element to a lasting musical career are the fans. Duvdev and Eisen know that, and they're out to show them their appreciation by bringing the best damn show to town they can muster.
For this Fungusamongus tour, Infected Mushroom is pulling out all the stops. They got a brand-spanking new stage design, custom built by V Squared Labs, the same people behind Amon Tobin's incredible ISAM 2.0 production.
They'll fill the Club Cinema stage with two huge spheres; each one is a booth for either member. They'll sit as if floating in an immersive screen that flashes all kinds of fanciful environments, beautiful imagery, and whatever else they thought up.
"The tour is insane," Duvdev said, "People are diggin' it, we're diggin' it, and it's fun to do. It's beautiful to watch, and I think people will love it the first time they see it."
Of course, this will be the first time Florida has seen the new stage set-up, although it's hardly Infected Mushroom's first trip to the sunny Southern tip of America. "You know, I love Florida and Miami," he revealed. "It's always been good to Infected Mushroom and when I'm there, people rock it."
Infected Mushroom, Fungusamongus Tour with Shreddie Mercury. 9 p.m., Saturday, February 2, at Club Cinema, 3251 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. Ages 18 and up. Tickets cost $30 to $75 plus fees. Call 954-785-5224, or visit ticketfly.com.
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