Infected Mushroom sounds like a trip gone bad. In fact, the name actually is a superb descriptor of the group’s sound. Bred in late 90s Israel, Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevina, and Erez Eisen made a name for themselves in a subgenre of electronic music that they helped mold. The psychedelic trance they are known for is continuous throughout nearly twenty years of releasing music, while still retaining their integrity. I got Duvdev on the phone for a brief exchange and the product was fairly intriguing.
How’s the California Sun?
Duvdevina: It’s really super sunny and good after I’ve been three days in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C., then after last weekend I was asked to be here for a few days of sun (chuckles).
Do you like the snow or the sun better?
Duvdevina: Well, I’m Israeli, so I’m used to the sun. We don’t have snow in Israel.
Do you guys spend much time in your studio when you’re back in LA?
Duvdevina: Oh yeah…I just came up now from the studio. When I’m not touring or when I’m back here in LA it’s mostly for studio time and to see my fam.
So, you guys average, like, 120 shows a year. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’d say has happened on tour?
Duvdevina: There’s so many ridiculous stuff, you know? One time the truck and the stage didn’t arrive. I missed two shows in Canada this year…there’s so much stuff that can go wrong on a tour this big. I did a show and the projection burned at the beginning of the show. Yeah, weird stuffs happened this year.
What was the weirdest, or the worst show you guys have performed?
Duvdevina: I don’t know if we had a really bad show actually, lately. I don’t remember bad shows, actually. Weird shows, I’ve done many weird shows. One show, in Japan, the guy that introduced the band jumped from a helicopter to the main stage.
That’s good that you haven’t had a “worst” show that you can think of.
Duvdevina: You know, like 15 years ago I played a show in Canada for like, I don’t know 4,000 people. It was my first show ever there and we went on for one hour, and nobody moved. So we said, you know what? We said it’s probably this is the thing for the crowd over there, you know? They didn’t move. But then Armin Van Buren went after us and destroyed the place.
You might have some trouble with the crowds in Milwaukee. At least, the shows I’ve been to, people just kind of stand there.
Duvdevina: That’s kind of weird, but I’ll make them dance in Milwaukee. Don’t worry.
You guys have been together for nearly 20 years. How does that longevity change your dynamic?
Duvdevina: Well, I think after you’re 20 years with somebody, you know their shit, you know? So we’re comfortable with each other. Everybody knows what he needs to do, you know? Each to his own. We give space to each other when we need it and we’re most of the time together. It’s been fun and games. Everybody does their thing. We go day by day.
I watched one of your live sets on KCRW and I read beforehand that you did a cover of “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters. When I heard it, I was kind of blown away. Was that just a song you practiced and then decided to just release it?
Duvdevina: Well, not really, we were working on a drum loop, a 174 bpm (beats per minute), or kind of a typical drum and bass. And then, when I went to a lunch break I heard the Foo Fighter on the radio, and then I came back to the studio and I said “You know what Erez? This is the same kind of groove that we’re working on. Let’s do a cover for the Foo Fighters.” We went with it, and it sounded great, and then we started performing it on the show and people go bananas, and so we decided to release it.
It does really work well. So, going back a few years, I would just like to ask what was your first experience in the trance culture like?
Duvdevina: Oh, yeah, I’m an old timer, I started my first trance party in 1989. There was no trance music at the time it was more acid, house and techno. Then came Eurotrance in ’91, and then Goa trance came later in like ’95. But I was a raver when I was sixteen. I used to go to acid parties, take whatever I used to take, and had the blast and a great time back in the day, you know?
What would you say is the fondest memory of those days?
Duvdevina: I think the music was a bit different. It was really unknown. Nobody knew what it is. Especially in the beginning of the 90s, it was like a really underground scene. Mouth to mouth. Nobody knew about the parties, only by phone. It was different. It was kind of a secret, not society, but community, you know? It was fun and games, I used to come to America for raves, you know? But 2,000 people was the biggest rave. Then you go to EDC [Electric Daisy Carnival], you know it’s like 150,000 people. But back in the day EDC, when EDC started it was like, 3,000 people in LA. You know, it was a different day
If you could live anywhere in the solar system, besides Earth, where would you live, and why?
Duvdevina: I would choose another planet with really good weather. Like, sunny all the time, and I would probably. I would probably be next to a lake with alligators. I don’t know, it would be just a change of environment, different from this planet. As much as I love this planet, I’ve seen almost all of it, so if I had to choose a planet I would go to a place that had like, three suns maybe, but not hot, too hot, but just all around the year.
You guys have been to quite a few places. I was reading a reddit AMA [ask me anything] and someone asked you what you’d be doing if you didn’t do music, and you responded with porn, selling falafel, and shawarma porn. So, is it safe to say you guys have an Infected Mushroom Falafel Stand in the works?
Duvdevina: It’s not safe to say, but I would love to have a falafel shop, in the near future. Because a. I love falafel, b. I think I can do a badass falafel and c. it would be interesting to be in a falafel store.
I think that’s awesome. I love falafel. Do you like falafel hot and fresh?
Duvdevina: Of course, if it’s not fresh or hot or inside a massive pizza, like Israeli, it’s not really a good falafel. So, yeah, I dig falafel. I eat falafel twice a week. My wife doesn’t eat falafel, that’s the thing.
What is a pink nightmare?
Duvdevina: Well, you know when I wrote the lyrics of Pink Nightmare, I didn’t know exactly why I wrote the lyrics. But, the daughter of my partner came one day to the room and said she had a pink nightmare, and when we asked her what is a pink nightmare she said all her room became pink and everything became kind of weird and everything was pink and she had a pink nightmare. So, that’s why the track is called Pink Nightmare. Even though I wrote the lyrics first, I don’t know how they came to my mind, but basically about one of the nightmares of the daughter of my partner.
So, you have a few shows around the Midwest coming up, then you’re going to Europe and Israel for a show. How would you say the audience energies compare from country to country?
Duvdevina: Well, it depends on which country, and depends on which event, you know? When we go to Israel, this is our homeland country so the shows are really big. I’m doing a show for 15,000 people. Then I’m going to France for festivals again, these are really big. As opposed to the shows that I’m doing in the Animatronica Tour that vary for a 1,000 to a 2,000 to a 3,000 people room. These are more intimate, and more people can kind of see the light show.
What has been your favorite album to work on?
Duvdevina: Well, there’s many. I loved working of “Vicious Delicious” because it was the first album in the U.S. I loved the one, “Converting Vegetarians,” because it was a double album, and really different to do. I loved to work on “Friends on Mushrooms” because I had a lot of collaboration on that. So, I enjoyed actually doing every album. I love being in this field.
Speaking of collaborations, what was it like working with people like Jonathan Davis and Steve Aoki?
Duvdevina: I grew up on Korn. I’m a big fan and we became really good friends. He’s a super cool dude. Steve Aoki I know from plenty years when he started being a small DJ in the U.S. with DJ A.M. and now this huge phenomena. Also a really cool guy from LA. So, he’s a cool guy and I’m lucky to be friends with him.
I saw something about a kickstarter for a documentary, but I followed the link and the goal wasn’t met. Is that just a dead end?
Duvdevina: This is going to happen anyway. We just gotta find some new or different way to sponsor it. So this is going to happen next year.
How about pre-performance rituals that you guys have?
Duvdevina: Definitely a few shots of whiskey.
What was your best or worst interview ever?
Worst interview, I’ve done a few interviews really drunk. I don’t remember what I said. Best interview, uh, I’ve done an interview one time in Brazil with a naked chick. That was interesting.