Sarah Claire Picton - May 28th 2012, 11:32
Trance parties – Cape Town is renowned for them. What’s made this place so
Psytrance is very much about fantasy and embracing the natural world. Cape Town is
ideal for this scene, the locations are absolutely perfect. Mystical forests and enchanted
valleys are one of this city’s many attributes. These locations emit feelings of fantasy,
escapism and celebration of our beautiful earth and the power of Mother Nature. The
dance floor is placed within these areas and it is the collaboration of the music, people
and scenery that creates a holistic psychedelic feeling.
Let’s talk about what happens in winter.
In winter the parties continue indoors. It is not the same vibe or even exactly the same
crowd as the outdoor summer parties but they go full-on all winter. Psytrance has
become so popular in Cape Town that all the big clubs do a psytrance night once a week!
Psynoptics started doing indoor parties a few seasons ago and you literally couldn’t walk
in any of the venues they took place at. Top dogs such as Trinity, Fiction and Purple
Turtle all do weekly psy nights. And let me add, these are some of their busiest nights.
There are also a few special parties in random locations throughout the winter.
What’s it all about at the end of the day (or weekend rather)?
I see it as a way to escape your worries and mundane daily life into a whole new world.
I personally love dancing to the music so much that I can spend hours on the dance floor
in a state of pure joy. The music really is hypnotising and somehow creates a feeling of
Please clear this up for me – what beats can we expect to hear at a trance party?
Well let me just clear this one thing up – overseas the term “trance” refers to what South
Africans know as hard house, such as DJ Tiesto. So what we listen to here is actually
called psychedelic trance or psytrance for short. Within this genre there are different
types of psytrance too, and even different types of parties according to the music. You
can get slow psytrance which can be 130bpm or super-fast music like Cosmo and
Terranoise, which can go up to 160bpm. I would say most of the time at Cape Town
parties we are hearing music at about 146bpm.
Another style that is also becoming really popular at parties is “progressive”, which
is a sort of blend between psytrance and techno and has been made popular lately by
international DJs like Ace Ventura, Perfect Stranger and Neelix. South Africa also has
some awesome emerging progressive DJs such as Deadbeat FM.
Without the natural beauty, do you still feel that sense of unity at the parties?
To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the indoors, it’s super hectic and you got to be
up for a big one – it’s definitely not a place for a chat. I much prefer the outdoors, it’s a
completely different thing, and I can even say that besides the music they aren't really the
same kind of parties at all.
Do you still go to parties during winter? Can you tell me a few of your favourite
I do still sometimes go in winter. I once went to a really cool one at the Castle of Good
Hope and I used to enjoy the Psynoptics and the Roots parties in Obz. There are also
some cool warehouse parties.