Interview with Natan Lenski aka MantisMash

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Hi Natan, welcome and thank you for your time!
Let’s start from the beginning. When did you become involved in the psytrance scene?
 
Well 🙂 I grew up in Israel, which is probably the world’s Psytrance nation.
So it was always there when I was growing up. I think I bought my first Trance tape when I was around 12 years old. I remember picking it up at a record shop just out of curiosity. The cover looked good, the sounds were interesting and futuristic. I guess I was attracted to electronic music since then already.
 
 
And when did you start to create music by yourself and why? How was the process to become a professional producer?
 
I started quite early when I was 14-15 years old. I remember being curious about how this type of music is being made. I had a computer at the time with a connection to the Internet, which was quite young at this time 🙂
I found a website with all kinds of software for Electronic music production and I downloaded one of them. It was a really old ‘DOS’ software, called ‘Impulse Tracker’. I started experimenting with it, then I found out that some guy from my high school was also using the same software to make ‘Trance’ music, so we became friends 🙂
Then I learned how to use the software properly, as this friend of mine had an older neighbor who taught him all about it.
Since then I was exploring many other softwares like ‘Reason’, ‘Fruity Loops Studio’, ‘Logic Audio’ and finally ‘Ableton’. While exploring these softwares I learned a lot about music production, sound creation, sampling, synthesis, etc.

If you have to choose one track that inspired you and your sound, which one would it be?
 
I’m not sure if I can point out only one track, but I have been inspired a lot by artists like Ozric Tentacles, Tipper, Simon Posford, Nick Taylor, Circuit Bent, Ott, Spoonbill, Squarepusher and many many more.
 
What is music for you? What can you tell us about the attention behind your creation? Which part of the music creation makes you fulfilled the most?

I grew up in a house where music was played all around, all the time. My father liked music a lot and he has been collecting it, and even playing the guitar. So it was all around me as a child. I would say it’s an integral part of my being. The whole creation process itself is quite fulfilling, especially the initial part of laying down the main idea, and of course, the most satisfying thing is to see other people enjoying it, dancing, having good experiences with what you created. For me, receiving good feedback and sometimes knowing that my music helps people in difficult times, is such a blessing. It makes all that time and work of creating it completely worth it.

What does your daily life look like, if you aren’t in the studio or playing on some gigs?

I travel a lot, I love being out in nature, to hang out with friends, enjoy some parties, attend some raves and festivals, and of course, listen to good music.

 
We already have heard about your project „Mantis Vision Art & Design“.
Please tell us more about it.

That’s my other ‘Visual’ side 🙂 I’ve studied ‘Graphic Design’ in Highschool, then I got my first degree in ‘Visual Communication Design’. I was working for the TV industry, mainly doing design & After Effects animations for News Channels, some commercials, basically mainstream stuff. After some time I got bored, I didn’t felt creative enough at these workplaces and the projects they provided me. It was important for me to work on creative projects and I set this as my main goal. Then I kind of left it all and went traveling around the world :)
 While traveling I learned a lot about the world and myself. I started to take creative projects that I could connect to, furthermore enjoy the process and the outcome. Usually, it was within the psychedelic scene or somehow connected to it. I had creative projects such as music album covers for producers and bands, Psy Culture Festival Branding, posters, logos, designs/digital artworks for Psy Culture clothing brands like Plazmalab, focusing on print designs that appear more as an “art” than “design”.
 “Mantis Vision Art & Design” is my main income, so when I’m not busy making music or touring playing it, I usually do some visual projects, also while traveling 🙂

Do you do some more activities to express your creativity in different ways?

I like many creative fields but mostly Music, Art, and Design. I would say almost anything someone does can be done in a creative and fun way. I like to play the Bansuri flute, to cook, to explore nature and outer and inner spaces.

What was the highlight of your career till now? Some impressive memories?

Touring with the legendary ‘Ozric Tentacles’ band. I’ve been on tour with these guys for 3 years in a row, playing my live set before every gig they had, around Europe and the US. They were my favorite band since I was pretty young. This band influenced me so much, I think not only me but also the whole Psychedelic scene in Europe, the Trance scene, and the Psychedelic festival scene worldwide. Joining them on their tour bus, seeing their lifestyle, and even making some music together was definitely one of the biggest highlights in my career so far.
 
What can you tell us about recent projects you have worked on with other artists?

I have a few remixes I’m working on at the moment, ‘Nanosphere’, ‘Pangani’, might remix a tune from ‘Somatoast’s’ new album.
Also, there’s a collaboration with ‘Dub Tazer’ that we started and few more surprises on the horizon 😉

You already released quite a few tracks in your career. Which is the most memorable for you?

Hard to say 🙂 there are quite a few memorable ones, but I would say almost the whole ‘Simplexity’ EP is quite memorable for me as it was my first visit to the ‘Ozric Tentacles’ house and studio. that was on the mountains of Colorado at the time, most of this Album was produced there, with their psychedelic vibe in the background, and a stunning mountain view.

 

We are very excited about every track you produce. Can you give us a small pick of the projects you are currently working on?
 
I’m almost done with my 4th full-length album 🙂
This one is written and produced mostly in Goa, India.
Like in all of my releases I try to explore, play, experiment, stretch, and fine-tune my vision. Each track is quite different from the other, some are Dubby and some are a bit funky, some may be spiritual and enlightening. I’ve been playing and recording also with ‘Bansuri’ (Indian traditional Bamboo flute. While I am in India, I’ve been dedicated more time to playing and practicing. I’m very thankful for this opportunity, to be able to create my music in a place like Goa and to be able to play the Bansuri flute and record it. I feel very blessed.

We know you’ve experienced a generous amount of international festivals. From your perspective, which festivals would you recommend attending, to get the best view of the international psychedelic trance culture?
 
For the Trance scene, I would recommend the Ozora festival, Memento Demento, for a proper big festival experience. I haven’t been to ‘Boom Festival’ yet but will be performing there in the next edition 😉
Although there are many small, ‘family’ vibe festivals, compared to the massive ones, that are usually much more fun for me as they are more ‘pure’, intimate, and community-oriented. But again, if you want to hear some big names on massive sound systems, you should go for the big ones.As for other festivals (that are not only PsyTrance), I would definitely recommend checking out the ‘Fusion’ festival in Germany and ‘BoomTown Fair’ in the UK.
 

Where can we expect to see you in the near future / in the upcoming festival season?

Well, with all the Corona story mess, It’s hard to say :)
 At the moment the only official booking I got is Boom Festival edition 2021 in Portugal, which is quite a milestone for me as an artist. 
It will be my first visit to Boom, and I’m very honored and humbled to be performing and sharing my auditory vibrations with all the souls and the psychedelic culture tribes that gather there from all over the world.
 

What will you say to young artists who have just started their path in this industry? Do you have any tips for them?

I would say explore, look for what YOU like, try to make a unique creation. It’s easy to accept what everyone likes, which fills up the main dancefloors. It’s kind of already been chosen for you, I mean its a good starting point, but it is only a starting point 🙂
 

Thank you so much for your time and this interview. We can’t wait till we see you again and experience your beautiful sound creation on the dance floor!

Thank you. Much love and light.

 

We ll continue with our artist interview series.
Follow here the  Avanyah Artist Interview Session.

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