bom shanka music

Cronyx Interview

Bom Shanka Music's resident journalist Nikhil Sundar caught up with Johnny Cronyx to ask him some questions about his EP and other important things!

So here we are, greetings Johnny! Once again - congratulations big time on the new EP release - The Dream Harvester - as well as the multiple releases on compilations on other labels. Something which has been pretty evident from the beggining is your spearheaded approach toward music making, and your dedication toward quality production. You've successfully (within a  very short span of time) - escalated to being one of my favourite artists on the Bom Shanka roster. What inspires you from day to day on a more raw, generic level?

Greetings and thanks very much for the kind words. Yeah its been really full on over the past couple of years in the studio. I had alot more free time when i got furloughed from work when the old covid hit, so i was fairly strict with myself and made sure plenty of hours were going into my music. Luckily my creativity was high, sometimes you get spells where you cant create anything and then other spells where everything comes together so easily. So it was abit of a perfect storm really and i managed to make heaps of new tunes, and im finally getting to test them now parties are kicking off again!! My inspiration on a day to day basis is mainly my friends. Iv got such an epic friend circle with lots of really interesting scallywags from all over who bring lots of art, knowledge and music my way on a daily basis! Pretty damn spoiled really! Also where i live in Scotland is a big part of it, not so much in the way of clubs or huge festivals but more in the way of how pure it still is in parts. I live in the Galloway right on the coast with sea on one side of me, forests and rolling hills on the other and an incredible night sky on a clear night. I feel too disconnected if i live in a city for too long. So yeah lots of wonderful factors im lucky enough to draw inspiration from. 

This EP is remarkably good, it's so euphoric.. and more than anything it reflects deeply a sense of musical maturity. Before I arrive at the crux of this question, I'd like to know your thoughts on what YOU think is the driving element behind a groovy & supremely danceable piece of music. Keeping aside overused genre specifications (moreover the ones used in modern psytrance) .. what according to you really makes a track special, listen worthy & dance worthy? What makes a track stand out? I quite often get the feeling, that a lot of new, budding psytrance producers get carried away with a certain amount of influence derived from their peak experiences on the dancefloor - and end up just wanting to sound like someone they heard at a gig. What are your views on the balance between genuine creative expression, technical proficiency and luck? Do you feel like our community is in a state of artistic frailty and saturation?

What really gets me going on the dancefloor is when a track has a really hooky lead that moves and whips about bringing so much of its own vibe to the track, accompanied by other leads weaved in and out but the main hook leading the charge. I would say this is always the part i look for most when creating a track. The track has to switch up often with new leads or arrangements to keep it fresh. Lots of space at the start of the track with the pace picking up and progressively getting more banging as it goes, not overdone on breakdowns, just a wee touch and then back into the chunk! Something along those lines on the arrangement and structure are what does it for me. Giving your track its own character is the hardest part, Its easy to try new things but getting something the sounds new/different and works and accompanies the rest of the track is really difficult but special when found. I found it once but it quickly imploded on me. As for new producers i think everyone starts making psytrance because they listen to it and have favorite artists whose music inspires them. So they naturally will make similar sounding music and will reference it to theirs, but the amount of passion and genuine creativity will come through on the tracks of the producers doing it for all the right reasons, thats the real fuel and thats what keeps the scene forever growing. Theres so many people making psytrance now, which is great but it just might mean going through more music to find the stuff you want. But im here for it. If people can find as much joy over making psytrance as i do, then go for gold my guys!

Music is the most lucid form of art and creative expression. What to you, constitutes 'psychedelic music' ? Do you think this has something to do with well grounded metaphysical experiences? Or do you believe that anyone (regardless of whether or not that person has been involved with psychedelia at some point in their lives) is capable of consciously understanding full frequency sound? Would you agree full frequency sound is for everyone?

Psychedelic music is open for everyone, and most people that get a taste of it in its proper environment will be into it and if not, they will still appreciate the scene, the marriage of music and art and the message it sends. The human mind is the most psychedelic thing in the known universe, everyone is capable of understanding full frequency sound but they just might not be into it delivered at 148bpm in the manner of psytrance. Their loss I know. I really see psytrance like, the Kick and the bass are a canvas and the leads are where the story is told, the abstract noises that come in layers hanging over the dancefloor and then big leads cutting up through the middle,Its a psychedelic atmosphere. The cutting edge noises that youll find in the likes of transformer movies used well, creating groove and provoking the imagination are a good example of the kind of psychedelic branch I'm on.

Let's get to the EP now, in detail.. the track Dream Harvester absolutely blew my mind. I honestly urge you to believe me when I say that it was MIND-BLOWING man. No further comments on that track, sorry! The intro to Quantum Technicians was super - really mystical and uplifting at first listen - the ongoing delayed arpeggation on the higher frequency range, was neatly done.. razor sharp leads as usual, and solid use of risers at different sections to build relevant tension and anticipation. The Mind Killer, I felt was more powerful than the other 3 ..of course, Dream Harvester was such a genuinely well crafted track and it was really powerful to me - it honestly had everything I could ask for. Loved The Mind Killer though - it stretched me the fuck out! Superb. I think all in all, if I were to choose a track that I personally liked the least as compared to the other four - it would perhaps be Illegal Raves. Not taking away from the production in any way, of course. Maybe, I found the introduction a little too cheesy for my liking, but then again.. it's so relevant in the UK! And I really liked the way you programmed the intro vocal bits, with a dramatic sounding journalist going on about 'the site of the rave'.. did you sample that, or did someone record it? Hilarious, man. Aaaand lastly, wanted to ask you your kick & bass secret, if I may. Serum? Kick 2? Any other plugin?

Thanks alot man, I really appreciate that. The Dream Harvester track was one of those tracks that wrote itself, everything came together and i always new what direction it was heading in. It was actually a late entry to the EP but it stole a spot and i just thought the vibe of the track suited the name The Dream Harvester also. Yeah, I was very lucky to have Tile and Dafi on board with an ingrained Instincts Vs and Patte and Olly on board for a Rugrats Vs too. These guys are leading the scene and it was real pleasure to create these tracks and see how these guys work. Our styles really suited each others aswell, we’re all on the same mission i guess! Everything these dudes make is fire! Yeah i found lots of samples about illegal raves from different news channels and chopped them up adding fx here and there. I knew it was going to be the opening track in my live set so i wanted to keep it flowing and have lots of sections changing in it. It was actually abit of a love-hate relationship with this track, i kinda fell out of love with it and then re did lots of it and fell back in love with it, Iv played it out a few times now and it really bangs on the dancefloor. As for my bass, i mainly make it in serum, then bounce it to audio, do some shaping and put it into kontakt which i split into 2 channels, one for the first bass note which has a low cut taking out some low end and the other channel for the follow two notes, at full range. Then do some eq, compression and saturation on the group channel and find the right balance while processing.

I always like to end with this question, and I feel it's a super important one.. musical influences? And more importantly influences pertaining to your style of music? I think - well actually, I know - that it takes a huge amount of vision to craft music that is psychedelic, danceable, sexy, groovy and uplifting at the same time.. and I do think that is the key behind a successful psytrance production, but I don't want to answer questions 3 & 4 for you. However, fill me in if you will, on the kind of music that you consume on a daily basis?

I have so many musical influences right across the board. I was brought up in a party scene which had techno for a few hours, into DnB and then psytrance until the end of the party. Im very much genre fluid, i know alot of guys cling onto the genre of music they make like a football team and they dont like other genres and scenes… which i just feel sorry for them. If someones creating music with passion for goodtimes on the dancefloor and it hits all the right buttons then im all in. But i listen to lots of prog rock, metal, punk etc too. Variety is the spice of life. As for psytrance i listen to alot of Bom Shanka, Looney Moon, Sangoma, DSR, Believe Lab, Protoned etc so inspiration is really easy for me to come by with so many great labels putting out great artists and music. Ill always have a place in my heart for Aussie Bush Prog, Zenon, Weapon Records and No qualms. I think its important to take elements and inspiration from all genres and find the magic there.

I've got more tracks coming out soon, a solo track Time Dilation and a Vs with Braingineers on the next Bom Shanka VA which is a next level VA and also a solo track on a really stacked VA for Protoned Music!

Thanks very much for the sweet interview Nikhil dude, all the best