Busting out of Israel’s psy-trance scene with 1999’s The Gathering, Infected Mushroom have continued to evolve and grow. After transforming themselves from DJ duo to touring live band, the L.A.-based outfit composed of Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani and Erez Eisen took their profile to a new height with 2009’s Legend of the Black Shawarma, which featured Perry Farrell and Korn’s Jonathon Davis. Three years later the pair are back with a new album featuring two covers and experimentations with dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass. We caught up with Duvdevani and Eisen during their recent trip to New York City.
Duvdev: Yes, a lot of albums. [Laughs]
And it’s your first for Dim Mak.
Duvdev: We met [Dim Mak label owner] Steve Aoki in L.A. where we live. When we were shopping for labels to release the album, because it was a really electronic album, there were really two choices: Dim Mak or Ultra [Records]. Dim Mak is based in L.A. so it was easier to do it so we went with them.
So once again you had free reign with the album?
Duvdev: Free reign. [Nods head] The album was done as we like it. No supervision on the music side. That’s how we like to do it.
Sonically the sounds and textures on the album are very fresh and don’t sound like anyone else’s. I take it that a lot of time was put into these tracks.
Erez: We always try to make our own sounds from scratch. We do this on every album and on almost every track. You’re the first one who’s noticed, so thanks.
Duvdev: A lot of people use sample packs so that’s why you hear a lot of the same sounds. We try to avoid [using these packs]. It takes more work but the tracks sound more unique.
The live element has always been important. Are you always thinking about how a song can be realized live when you’re writing in the studio?
Duvdev: The majority of our music is played live in clubs so we do think how people will react on the dance floor first of all and then how we can add a live element to it. But when we do the track, we just do it. There’s not too much thinking to it; it’s all about the vibe we are thinking and feeling and then we adapt it to the live show.
Over the years your sound has changed and evolved. You were once known for psy-trance, and you’ve since gone on to explore other musical styles.
Duvdev: We didn’t “leave” psy-trance; we just tried new things. This is our eight album, and to do eight psy-trance albums would be boring for us and nothing new. That’s why already on the fourth album, Converting Vegetartians, we went in a different direction. Then came IM the Supervisor, Vicious Delicious….we try each time to do a different direction and to have a lot of variety in our music. Moving away from psy-trance has brought us more fans, but we still do psy-trance once and a while because we love the genre.
How did your interest in rock manifest itself this time?
Duvdev: I really don’t know. This new album is influenced by what’s going on in the electronic music scene over the past two years. That’s why you have dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass and electro. Now we need to translate it into our new show which is a new visual kind of monstrous show that we’ve been working on for the past year.
Let’s talk about the new album, Army of Mushrooms. “Send Me An Angel” is a pretty epic song. My sense is that there’s something special behind that one.
Erez: It’s a song from a huge band in Israel called Mashina, and we collaborated with them in Israel and it’s a favorite song from our childhood. We gave it lots of thought so that we wouldn’t ruin the original song. We tried to make it better for our taste, and we felt that even [if the song is] in Hebrew we must put it on the album.
Is this the first Hebrew track you’ve done?
Duvdev: The first. [Shakes head]
Erez: We had one word on an album but it was a phrase.
Duvdev: A song in Hebrew was a big debate, and Erez wanted to put it on the album not because it’s in Hebrew but because we’d done so much work on it. I wanted to put it on the album because of the Hebrew. We’ve never done it, and we are an Israel band. So eventually after we got the rights to do [the song] we said why not? Funny enough there is another cover on the album…
That was my next question. How did you decide on covering Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender”?
Duvdev: It was our first take on drum ‘n’ bass. After we tested it on our shows we got so much impact from the crowd and we knew it had to be on the album. We went to the lawyers and it turned out okay. So two covers on this album and the first with covers!
The artwork is pretty amazing. Where did you find the artist?
Erez: A great Russian guy…
Duvdev: Anton….whatever! We found him on the Internet. We sent him an e-mail to see if he’s interested in doing a cover and he said yes. We gave him the concept, and he came with this crazy, crazy mushroom idea. We guided him and he went back and did an amazing job. We were super happy with how it turned out.
Erez: Our fans actually posted on our forum about this guy that he should do our next album cover.
Duvdev: He doesn’t speak a word of English. We communicated entirely via Google translate.
The power of the Internet.
Tell me about the live show.
Duvdev: The Unveiling show we’re doing for the first time in L.A. next week. We’ve been working on it for a year, and we’re going to test it out. It’s a big, big thing. After that we’re off to Israel to a major European tour and then back to the States to do a tour that will go through November. There will be a lot of shows to premiere this album, then we go to Australia and South America.
What’s the twist this time around?
It’s just me an Erez without the whole band. There’s a huge structure on stage, kind of like Amon Tobin’s show but bigger. We went with the same crew who did Amon Tobin’s show, and they built our stage in L.A. We’ve been working on it for a year already. It’s big, and I hope people like it a lot.
Infected Mushroom’s Army of Mushrooms is out now on Dim Mak