Eco Trance – No drugs. No alcohol. Only pure fun.
By Kai Teo
Photos: Attila Majom
Event: Eco Trance Plant Mystery presents: Dance Divine
Venue: Natha Yoga Centre, Celsiusgatan 29, Malmö
Date: 8 November ‘14
Artistes: See full line-up here
Welcome to Eco Trance, a strictly no alcohol and drugs Psytrance event that was held last weekend at a yoga centre.
“What the fuck? Why? I’m too shy to dance without at least having a few beers. And how can anyone even stand the pounding beats of Psytrance without being a little high?”
That’s the fucking point ladies and gentlemen. Treat it like sort of a social experiment, or a personal test of your mind. To see if modern city-dwellers and habitual drinkers are able to power through a 150-bpm dance party, fuelled only by their spirit and the bass.
Alcohol is termed as a social lubricant (I personally love the sexual connotation of this word, it sounds almost lewd) to help shy/uptight people get out of their shells, let loose and bust a move. A good aged smoky whisky can instantly change your outlook on life, and a few pints of Absinthe can transform you from a conservative prude to a dead conservative prude.
But alcohol comes with its own set of problems too. Erectile dysfunction, loss of intelligible speech, alpha-male or female tendencies, violence (usually a result of the previous problem), and most frighteningly, the inability to follow the beat.
Other forms of drugs also bring to the table, or the dance floor, their own set of pros and cons. And we don’t have to go into that in this article. So let’s go back to the party.
After a heavy evening of binge drinking juices and organic tea, we arrived at the entrance of Natha Yoga Centre.
Instead of the usual burly bouncer that has brains smaller than his left bicep, we were greeted by a slender, zen-faced yoga dude that didn’t look like he wanted to fight someone or something this evening. Now that is refreshing already.
But instead of the usual frisking of the pockets and shit, we were confronted by a stern, “Are you drunk?”
Ok dude, I know this is an alcohol-and-drug-free party, and I respect it from the bottom of my heart. But really? This is how you say hello? And which drunk person has ever told you that they are drunk? We’d say anything to get into the party, “Oh no no. I have never touched alcohol my entire life.”
I mean, I understand that precautions have to be taken, and having a single drunk person at the venue might fuck the whole vibe up. But I kinda felt like if I’ve had a few beers at a family dinner prior to the party, I’m automatically deemed a bad person and not welcomed here. I think the event page has stated pretty clearly that there would be no drinks sold here, and people would have a better sense than to come to this party drunk, lest they be judged harshly.
But well, I’ve always had very little faith in humanity. So maybe the question would turn away the weekend warriors that couldn’t seem to understand the concept and actually came inebriated, slurring and drooling, looking to someone to have sex with for the evening. So fuck yea, kudos to the tight filter, I wasn’t quite used to it, but to keep out scary people, I’m happy to oblige.
“Please take off your shoes and place them on the racks.”
It felt a little like a scout camp or something with the instructions. But alright, I mean, it’s to keep the place clean and stuff. Stop whining.
We were greeted by a sea of glowing faces that we’ve never ever seen before. People were absolutely beautiful here. The kind of healthy aura that they had, combined with an ultra-slick gliding-around-weightlessly kinda walk, it was beautiful, yet a little disconcerting.
Ok look, I know I’ve been complaining and complaining, the good part will come in a bit, but I thought I just needed to get it out of the way.
So, I’ve always considered myself as some kind of a hippie, more so recently after I’ve decided to go full power, headfirst, into the universe of the ancient art of meditation, Ayurveda, We are One, and all that stuff that many consider new-age. It’s good shit, everyone should give it a go.
But anyway, the thing about uber-spiritual hippies (this video kinda sums up everything I dislike about them) is that they tend to give you the impression that if you’re just an everyday dude that works 9–5, owns a car, and gets drunk during the weekends, you’re somewhat, less. “Oh, you don’t believe that we are all energy? Hmm… you might need some guidance. Come, let me try to channel my Shakti through your chakras and allow you to feel universal love and light.”
I kinda felt that condescending vibe a little there. The faces I saw near the entrance were mostly zenned out, google “Buddha’s face” to see what I mean. Slightly closed eyes, relaxed cheeks and jaws, with a very slight smile that seems to suggest that happiness has been internalised. They seemed to scan the way you dress, your face, your mannerisms, and then smile, because we are all one and they accept you whole heartedly, but you’re not on the same level yet, because you haven’t gotten rid of your negativity and realised your full potential, i.e. you haven’t blossomed into the most beautiful being that you can be.
As much as I would like to tell myself that all this negativity is merely in my head, due to my own insecurities and stuff, I did feel those vibes. And who’s to say that my energy sensors are less accurate than yours?
I guess as much as all of us are very fervent in trying to bring about a universal paradigm shift into the higher consciousness, we are sometimes guilty of assigning the label of “I’m a little better” to ourselves when we look at our fellow human beings who are so deeply entrenched in the current, popular system of thought and way of life. That kinda makes us a little hypocritical. But yes, we’re all still trying.
The first thing I wanted to do was to head for the bar. Wait, hold on, there’s no bar here. It just feels weird that there’s no beer in my hand when there’s loud music playing in the background.
So I unleashed my first pickup line of the evening on an unsuspecting sweaty dreadlocked girl, “Hey, could I buy you an organic juice?”
The response wasn’t what I was hoping for. So I got myself an apple juice (I needed to have a drink in my hand, alcoholic or not) and headed into the cube of powerful sounds.
The otherwise dark room was illuminated by an array of UV lights, making teeth glow like Colgate commercials, eyes light up like the Terminator, and face paint look like streaks of coloured light rays across skin. The DJ console had an intricately UV-painted Om mandala behind it, and it was adorned by expertly handcrafted string art by GringoStringo, which seemed to channel all our attention into a tunnel of cosmic love towards the DJ.
The walls were covered with more UV paintings – mandalas, sacred geometry, Oms, and what the fuck is that?
There’s a Shiva sitting in the corner, on an altar, meditating. I shit you not.
I thought it was a statue at first, but upon closer inspection, I realised that it was an actual human being, painted to look like Shiva, sitting there not moving, yep, for the whole evening. Now that’s respect. It definitely added an air of reverence and holiness to the dance floor, and it felt more powerful than any airhead bouncer.
“Hey dude, don’t try anything funny on that girl, Shiva is watching.” Yea, He sees everything with His eyes closed, so you better watch yourself. And it was super effective.
Everyone sort of behaved themselves, no hanky panky, no touchy feely (ok there was a little of that going on, but it looked like there was mutual consent), no pushing around and shit.
And right in front of the DJ, laser beams shot out into the crowd, casting psychedelic shadows on the ceiling, creating clouds and multi-coloured stars.
With the thick smog emitted from the smoke machine, the lasers somehow created an illusion of a crystal formation, irregularly growing into an organic form before being scattered by a single wave of the hand, dissipating into the air like a burst of divine energy scattered like angel dust on the souls of the dancers.
I did my usual possessed-by-a-goddess dance, swinging my hair wildly, completely overwhelmed by the uplifting tunes, stomping uncontrollably to the heavy beats, chasing the BPM dragon.
That was when I realised the difference between the usual Psytrance parties, and this one. People still went apeshit, but there was less of the holy “energy gathering” flowy hand movement thingy where we would pretend we’re perched on top of thousand-petal lotus flowers and feeling the divine bliss from the Source. I would say the dance moves exhibited by the crowd was more… normal? You know, the move your hips with your fists lightly clenched kinda thing.
And I didn’t feel the same kind of openness here. When people are fucked off their faces, they generally don’t give a fuck who you are, they just wanna hug you if they sense that you’re a good person. That’s what I enjoy most about Psytrance parties – the sense of family. Complete acceptance, no matter what substance you’re on, no matter how you’re getting off. I guess when someone has something in his or her system, it takes away many inhibitions and rids you of any moral high-ground to judge anyone.
I think that’s beautiful. Because that feeling of true oneness kinda sticks around. Whether you’re on anything or not. See a psytrance dude in the supermarket, and it’s the same high-level hugs and kisses as on the dance floor the night before.
The ravers on the dance floor were more conservative with their greetings, and mostly kept to themselves instead of being all over the dance floor mingling with, smiling at, and hugging everyone. I kinda missed that. But I think in today’s world, that’s not the most socially acceptable thing to do?
At some point, under the noise of spaceships docking and laser gun battles, I heard the all-too-familiar sound of a gas canister filling up a balloon.
My eyes would usually light up at the sight of NOS-filled balloons, but not today. I’m feeling a little self-righteous. Well, not exactly. I gave the death stare to the 2 kids crouching at a corner outside, filling their balloons with laughing gas and sneakily sucking on them at a corner of the dance floor.
Dude, come on, that little balloon is not gonna make the party more fun. And the organisers wanted this party to be drug and substance free, respect that a little would you? They giggled to each other as they twirled their candy coloured hair and spaced out for a while.
Yes, you’re breaking rules, but no, that’s not badass. That’s just disrespectful. It’s like bringing a neo-nazi to a hip-hop party, not very considerate, to say the least. Get high at home, take whatever you want, but not in everyone’s faces. Even Shiva would’ve gotten off his pedestal and personally escorted you out if he saw that.
I shook my head like an uptight adult and proceeded to check out the chill out floor.
As I stepped in, the mesmerising metallic twang twong of hang drums filled the air as I weaved around small groups of devotees huddled together on the ground, surrounded by hanging drapes and plush pillows, bathed in a soft, warm orange light.
I took my seat just beside the performers, Sacha and Benja, also called The Flower of Tribe, as they went into a magical trance and created powerful symphonies with their hang drums. Just in case you haven’t googled what a hang drum is, it’s basically two big metal woks glued together in the middle, with some bumps on one of them, and a hole in the middle of the other. You hit it and there’s some sound.
But of course, these are expertly crafted musical instruments, carefully measured and perfected to create an alluring, sonorous vibration that kinda sounds like a UFO gently bumping into a cloud that’s made of rubber and filled with cotton candy. In short, beautiful, and fucking dreamy.
I stared with my mouth wide opened as they complemented each other perfectly, putting their souls in total synergy and creating blissful music that captured the crowd, and touched our hearts. What really impressed the crowd, I guess, was their spirit, and how much they were into it. They somehow made me feel that I was in their music, in their world, that they have created and invited all of us to enter.
As nice as these talented performers appear to be, I would never want to get into a fight with them. They slap metal every fucking day. And if you’ve watched enough kung fu movies, you’d understand that the Buddha’s Palm is one of the critical moves often executed by Shaolin monks to obliterate the bad guys. And yes, The Flower of Tribe is probably a code name for “One slap from me and your face would look like a flower”.
Next up was a dear friend of Buddha Mag and a budding DJ from Malmö – DJ Matahari.
Her tunes plucked us out from the room and transported us straight into this surrealistic oriental universe, complete with hindu temples, crystal rivers and pink skies. It was smooth, flowy, and seemed to be a vessel between our consciousness and her carefully constructed world of the galactic maharajas of India in year 2089.
I was having difficulty coming back to the pillow that I was sitting on, I couldn’t help but float away. It must have been the apple juice. They must have meant something else when they said “organic”.
I was indulging myself in the palace that Matahari created for us, watching flamingos doing a break dance and veiled concubines feeding me grapes, when I realised that I only had about two more hours of dance left. I love you Matilda, but for now, I would save the loving for another time. I need my weekly workout. Back to the dance floor.
The bass yogi was on full-power mode, and the chakra arpeggios melted the crowd into a pulp of loving, dancing frenzy.
There was no time for mingling, no time for talking. I had to pay homage to the bass baba, my musical Shiva, my Psytrance goddess. And I lost myself as I felt my body being held hostage (voluntarily) by melodic Kali and let her slash my consciousness repeatedly with her lightsabre of pew pew pew sounds.
This was when I felt it, that no matter what you’ve taken that evening, whether it’s a line of watermelon seeds, a gram of fair-trade chocolate, or a bag of cookies, we were united.
You were all unfamiliar faces, but the way we danced together in sweaty embrace of the music – that was home to me. No matter who or what you are, under the mercy of the soul-shattering bass, we were one.
It was 3:45 am. And with no alcohol or drugs to fuel the party, this became a test of the spirit.
The 3:45 am lovers and dancers were powered by their will, their love for dance, and their beautiful souls. And this, is what Eco Trance is truly about. We didn’t need one more line, one more pill, or one more stamp. We just needed more music. And that was somewhat empowering.
I mean, psychoactive substances help our brain release certain chemicals that are already in there, to create a sense of euphoria and bliss. But when you realise that it’s your brain that is the most powerful drug, you become truly free. You want a line of k? Convince your brain that you’ve just had one. Wham! Off we go, outer space, martian food fight, unicorn roller derby, everything! And it’s free too!
Ok, it’s not really that simple, but I believe that it’s actually possible, and that’s what the organisers would have loved to see. A sea of loving beings getting high on life and snorting away at the universe’s loving light.
And at 3:45 am, the placebo high worked just as good.
It was beautiful. It was euphoric. It was refreshing. Even the room didn’t stink of sweat and beer, it carried a sweet scent of vegan perspiration and spilled apple juice. And that was the whole point.
Eco Trance – Powered by the Universe.
And as the evening came to an end, we sat down in a reflective circle, held hands, and meditated, giving thanks to just about everything, and sharing our energy in a powerful state of calm.
Buddha Mag would like to thank the organisers for this party, and doing their part in pushing for social change, urging us to embrace the shift of consciousness, encouraging the cities to get high on their minds.
I think I might continue partying sober (a few beers is sober to me) for all other events, just because this evening somehow acted as a catalyst for my own spiritual growth. I want to become my own drug of choice. Thank you for inspiring us, Eco Trance.
The meditation continued. And in the silence, I could hear the sweaty dude beside me grinding his teeth away. Well.