*Written by Keyframe for Reality Sandwich*
Hailing from Cyprus with nearly two decades of DJing experience, Johnny Blue is one of the senior representatives on the launch, establishment and uprising of Cyprus’ psychedelic music scene. Influenced by several music genres (rock, dub, reggae, electronica, psy-trance, and chill out), Johnny’s unique eclectic style sends listeners to colourful and sensational journeys through sound.
As founder of Psylent Harmony and co-founder of ChakradeliC project, he’s introduced a variety of artists to Cyprus, such as Master Margherita, Seamoon, Argaman, Yestegan chaY, Kukan dUb Lagan, Dymons, Organic Shapes, and Flooting Grooves.
In 2011, Johnny joined Mikelabella Records where he works as A/R Manager. His first compilation, “Planet Blue,” was released in December 2012. The 2nd compilation, “Blue Moon,” was released in April 2014. In early 2013, he became a Peak Records label DJ and is also Resident DJ at Digitally Imported Psychill (di.fm/psychill). His monthly radio series “Psylent Harmony” is broadcasted every third Sunday.
In addition to working as Stage Manager at BOOM Festival and Tree of Life Festival, Johnny Blue has had various international appearances in countries like the UK, Germany, Portugal, Croatia, Morocco, Turkey, Israel and Russia. He’s also presented DJ sets at parties and festivals like BOOM, Lost Theory, Antaris, Mo:Dem, Psy-Fi and more.
Keyframe caught up with Johnny Blue to discuss music, inspirations and ongoing projects.
You’re from Cyprus. Tell us about the music scene there and how that has influenced your own musical journey.
Cyprus is a small island where the trend is mainstream music, and underground or alternative music scenes are relatively small and growing sl0wly.
My music perception and quest was mainly developed by searching and having music influences from abroad, either from friends or the internet.
How did the “Blue” come about in your name?
It came about in a funny way. During my early DJing days, I used to drink the ‘Chimay Blue’ beer. The bartender and friends at the pub we hung out at started calling me ‘Blue’. Blue is also my favourite colour, so I combined the two. Soon ‘Johnny Blue’ became the name of my project.
Your earliest influences were in rock music. What drew you to the music? Who were some of your favorites and why?
It was the inner need for something revolutionary, something deeper to satisfy a ‘rebellious’ and hungry young mind. What attracted me the most from the beginning was the psychedelic element. Groups link Floyd, Ozric Tentacles, and The Doors influenced me and determined my music perception.
What first drew you to Electronic music?
At the beginning of 2000 a wave of electronic music, mostly house and trance, hit Cyprus. The places and events for this kind of music multiplied. That was when I got into electronic music and a new quest started. After experiencing house and trance, I got into the psytrance world, mostly through friends who were studying abroad.
How did you end up connecting with various music labels?
Connecting with labels was the result of being an event organiser in Cyprus and publishing my sets on the internet, as well as the friendships I made with people from the scene.
What was the inspiration behind Psylent Harmony?
The need for giving a deeper meaning in what I do led me to Psylent Harmony.
The philosophical concept and the manifesto of my project, which also stands as my approach to life:
“There is a state when soul, mind and body reach a peaceful agreement through the filter of artistic and musical expression. A state when the inner world and perception is connected with the universe, creating a sense of fulfillment and communication.
This sense leads to a whole new reality. A reality that can create a mutual feeling among people just by filtering their differences and similarities through the channels of expression, finally bringing a harmonic bond of communication and compassion.
But this situation is derived by a magical paradox. Reality, as an existing quality rather than imagined; highly depends more or less on imagination for its existence. A Psylent Harmony.”
Tell us about the ChakradeliC project and how you came to be its co-founder.
Chakradelic was an event organising project which I started in 2002 with my partner Elastic Vision. The main concept was the harmonic creation of “colorful” events through IDM, dub, psybient and funky psy vibes. We made various events and brought to the island artists like Master Margherita, Dymons, Kukan Dub Lagan, Flooting Grooves, Kliment and others.
How did you and Kukan Dub Lagan meet? What is your relationship with the MikelaBella Records label?
After connecting through the internet, we first met in Cyprus in 2011 when we booked him to play in one of the Chakradelic events. After that, a strong friendship was developed along with a mutual, musical respect. In 2012 he invited me to join Mikelabella Records as A/R manager.
Who are some of the artists you’d like to work with and why?
Being part of the Sofa Beats roster gives me the opportunity to work and compile with some of the producers I always liked to work with, like Kalya Scintilla, Entheogenic, Solar Fields, CBL, Master Margherita, Gaudi, etc.
Which festivals have you played at? Share some memorable memories and what made them so.
I was blessed to play in quite a few festivals in Europe like BOOM, Lost Theory, Psy Fi, Antaris, Mo:Dem and others.
Some memorable memories include interacting with people, the connection and exchange of energy during the sets, and the meeting cyber friends in person.
Which festivals would you like to play?
I would like to play in European festivals I haven’t played so far, as well as festivals outside Europe.
How would you define your mixes, what style / genre / or description?
I like to see my mixes as music stories and the expression of my inner world and feelings through music. The style of my mixes is Freestyle psy-dubient: a blend of psybient, psydub, glitch, world, organic ambient, etc.
Where do you see your music going in the future?
I will develop my DJ skills to create even more delicate and colourful music stories. I also want to move into production, to bring out the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from listening and playing other artists. I see it as my main creative challenge in the near future.
Johnny Blue will be performing at Keyframe’s party in San Francisco’s F8 on April 7th! Get your tickets here:
Stay connected with Johnny Blue:
Sofa Beats is a worldwide label & booking agency for music of outer space, focusing on artists that creates only original sound. Our artists are well-established and represent the cream of the scene. Their roster includes names like Desert Dwellers, Kukan Dub Lagan, Kalya Scintilla, Globular, Sorian and Entheogenic, to name a few.