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Headliner: Headroom

Headliner: Headroom

Posted September 29, 2015

Without a doubt one of the Southern hemisphere’s supernova electronic music talents, psy trance DJ and producer Headroom has been touring for the last 5 years – and by touring we mean playing to crowds of up to 23,000 people on dance floors all over the world.

Keeping it fun, psychedelic & a little bit twisted, Headroom’s unique tech psy sound has taken him to Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, France, Greece, Belgium, Australia, Hungary, Germany, England, America, Russia, Holland - a list that keeps growing.

He makes his debut in Truth’s basement this weekend alongside our resident psy crew Kinetik Music Movement - we stole a few minutes from him to talk about past, present and future.

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Who is Headroom? 

Headroom = me, myself and psy. AKA Adam Metcalfe. Half ‘nice guy’, half ‘music geek’. The reality is I’m a 32 year old professional psy-trance producer with 15 years DJ experience. I’m signed to Nano Records and love my job!

Tell us about your personal journey into the world of electronic music..  As a producer, is there a philosophy that inspires and underpins your output?

Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, I have been addicted to electronic music since l was 14 and by 17 l was Dj’ing around the club scene in Harare.  Initially l played house and progressive trance, as there wasn’t a psy trance scene there. In 1999 I attended my first trance party, the Solar Eclipse Festival, in neighboring Zambia. It was an amazing introduction into the world of psychedelic music. In 2002 l moved to Cape Town and it was there l truly embraced the psy culture. I began Dj’ing the music immediately but never pushed enough to get my name out there. In 2004 l decided to drop my degree and start studying audio engineering and it was during this time l began playing around with music making software which was where my new passion was unleashed.

lt never occurred to me that l could be a full time producer, so l just did it as a hobby. By chance Regan (NANO Records) heard an unfinished piece of work, which he was interested in releasing. The great feedback l received from this release was the final push I needed to produce full time. Now it’s 10 years later and I have managed to live off my music, travel the world and do what I love. What some don’t know is I also DJ techno as ARTELLIGENT & produce some housier music every now and again, but my focus for now is mainly still on psy.

My general philosophy is write music that is honest & soulful. Also never accept anything that is sub standard. This often means my actual output from the studio doesn’t match some of the production machines out there but it does mean I am proud and happy with everything I’ve released.

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As a DJ what would you say your signature sound is?

I’m often known for the techy edge I bring to my trance sets. That said I also bring in as much groovy material as I can whilst keeping the set fairly serious. I love to play transition sets, pushing the tempo up or down. This allows me to gather momentum and create more of a journey with the music.

Tell us about some of your highlights and challenges of 2015 so far..

I started the year off in Australia, which was definitely a bonus and followed it by a very successful March tour in Brazil. I’ve had a few more international trips since but nothing too memorable. Actually I have had some rather challenging steps in my personal life. Buying a home, asking the love of my life to marry me. All positive results I am happy to share. I feel like wedding planning may over shadow the remainder of the year though but nothing I can do about that (laughs).

Do you find the crowd in Johannesburg different to other parts of the world?

Lately I would say not really. I feel the crowd and scene in Jo’burg has matured a lot and that the crowd is truly into the music. People are attending regular events with a much more diverse offering of trance. A lot of credit goes to the efforts of promoters of course, who’ve been pushing the scene forward every year.

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You'll be playing on the Kinetik Music Movement Floor on 3 October - anything special planned for your set?

I always try to put as much thought into my individual sets as I can. So the answer is yes. I will be sourcing as many unreleased goodies as I can from my producer circles and then do my best to deliver it to the floor in a memorable mix. Just be prepared from some dodgy Headroom dance moves.

Any upcoming projects in the pipeline?

I have various Headroom singles I am finishing up, which will most likely be released on Nano Records over the next few months. Regan (Nano), Broken Toy & I are also planning on putting together a SA Psy compilation featuring the best of local talent today. We want to motivate the up comers with the release.  We’ll both contribute our own tracks to the VA but will aim to mentor the rest if needed that is. Otherwise, I have some Artelligent techy tracks I am hoping to get out there soon to show the world this other side to me.

Catch HEADROOM in the BASEMENT this Saturday supported by Kinetika, Craig P, Seventh Sense. 

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