Interview| Portal


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MCBN: For those who don’t know…Who is Portal?

Well in a nutshell I was born with the name Daniel Portal and once I started Djing psytrance, I felt that it was a rather fitting name for the genre, so when I began playing at parties I didn’t have to look very far for a stage name. Born and bred in Jozi but moved down to CT in the last year.

I am one of the founders of Psy in the City and I also won the equinox DJ search competition which helped me get my name out there in the Cape Town trance scene.

MCBN: Why did you move to Cape Town?

Cape Town has always been up there for me in the global psy scene, our ‘Twilight Psy’ is a genre that has a specific Cape Townian sound and I love it!  The main thing I love about Cape Town is that you can go to a party at 7am and still have a full party! I love Cape Town outdoors, They have the ebb and flow, the feeling that blends the multiple sub-genres as the day goes on. I don’t think many scenes around the world can boast such a wide range of psychedelic beats over the course of a party

MCBN: Tell us more about Psy in the City?

Our first party was 9th Oct 2011, so we are still a very young brand, but after breaking even on our first party we were amped to carry on. It was a fully local line-up and I feel Joburg had never experienced that type of open-air ‘in the city’ vibe before. Joburg trance parties at the time were confined to more basement type parties, with no momentum linking the indoor parties to the outdoor scene.

Few more Psy in the Citys later we brought down our first international artist, an Israeli artist – Vectro Electro. He is a bit old school name, but his techno at the moment is massive in Israel at the moment. We also bought out Geko for his first SA tour in 2011.

MCBN: Last year you spent some time in Israel. Tell us about how that came about?

Well through the contacts I made with Psy in the City I was able to organize some sets in Israel, the first of which was an outdoor where I played at 8am after Darwish, Panayota and Orca. The pressure was on, but the energy from the dancefloor was madness… Im actually going back very soon, cannot wait.

Sadly for some there’s a trend in Israel where progressive is taking over and full-on in taking a back seat, so what you noticing is these smaller niche full-on parties happening. So when I’m there, I land up playing South Africans finest beats, and when I’m home it’s the Israeli sound that gets me going.

MCBN: Your Biggest Gig:

Opening for Asrix at End Of The World. I think there were about 3000 people. The energy levels were peaking. You don’t realize it when you’re up there but it was a surreal moment when a friend came up to me with a photo and all I saw my head and a sea of people. Mind Blowing!

MCBN: What’s your set up? 

I get quite complacent just mixing A to B, so I like to do something more engaging if I can that keeps the crowd and me on our toes. I use a Native Instruments eco-system and mix whilst triggering samples and layers. At the end of the day it boils down to Practice makes perfect. You got to put in hours to get out results, between organizing events and putting work into my DJ sets, studio time can be a rare commodity but its easily where my hours are best spent

MCBN: Portal’s DJ Set Up:

Native Instruments Traktor Pro 2.6

Native Instruments Traktor control x1 – controls decks for mixing

Native Instruments Traktor control f1 – sample launcher overlaying the decks

Portal’s Studio Set Up:

Cubase 5

Eve Audio Studio Monitors

Traktor Audio 6 Soundcard

M Audio Oxygen 25 key keyboard


How do you make your shows more live?

When I play I love dancing and engaging with the crowd, and what the crowd is seeing is what the music does to me, I find the crowd much more interactive when the DJ engages more with as opposed to me putting on a simulated show buried in the decks. The situation now is where DJ’s have been this rock-star status, where everyone stands facing the DJ and watching their every move like the bands at concerts, in one way it’s kind of antithesis to what psytrance culture is about in a way – In old school clubs the DJ was hidden in the corner whereas nowadays that’s far from the case –  but I think it’s cool, I think people are becoming more aware of the music they listen to and, as someone representing that, I feel, as a DJ like its great to put on a show and really connect with the crowd.

MCBN: Portal’s plans?

Perhaps taking music study further overseas in the coming years and getting my production out there. Also looking into starting a minimal psy-tech project, obviously under a different ‘Alias’ but… its still hush for now 🙂

MCBN: Portal in 3 words?

Music is key

MCBN: Is there a philosophy or mantra that you live by?

It’s no super deep philosophy guru quote but I dig this one the most:

Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about dancing in the rain

MCBN: Upcoming Gigs: 

21 March – A.T.M (Ashdod Trance Mafia) – Israel

6 April – Twilight Festival: Dusk Till Dawn – Johannesburg, SA

13 April – Fiction Bar (After Party) – Cape Town, SA

20 April – “4/20” Psy in the City VS YogYog – Johannesburg, SA


Link to Set:

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Rumoured to have the blue-prints for Krang's TechnoDrome, stolen straight from Dimension X, he’s the type of guy who exudes so much coolness that he adds whole countries on Facebook at one time instead of just people. Always up for a party and a Tequila shot or two this is the guy who we always call first, both before and after a night out…