Imaginary Friends to bring trance to Pussycat
By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Staff Writer
A house and breaks stronghold with a devoted and outspoken regular clientele, Pussycat's almost three-year-old Tuesday-night party will be taken over next week by the underground trance afficionados of DJ collective Imaginary Friends. In particular, DJs Archangel, Miklos, Rayne, Jimmy James and PSI.
Solo standouts on their own with about-town residencies at clubs such as Maze and The Wave, and DJ parties including Virus Afterhours and W's Wonder Lounge simply having the five collectively spinning under one roof is something of an oddity.
"We're all really good friends and a tight clique, but when it comes to playing, we're always at different locations," said Rayne (aka Joel Ricker). "So when we're all together like this there's just this new-found energy. We feed off each other. We encourage each other. When you have that, you also have a tendency to play a lot better."
Imaginary Friends got its start in 1998, growing out of a friendship between Archangel (aka Ramit Islam) and Miklos (aka Nick Ybl), itself the result of their mutual appreciation of trance.
"Nick had his own radio show on KTUH at the time and I was starting to get into deejaying," Archangel recalled. "At the time, there was very little trance here so all we really wanted to do was bring that genre of music to the scene."
With the underground scene then heavy on house, jungle and drum 'n' bass beats, the two began making connections with established promoters and getting themselves club gigs.
"I gave (underground promoter and DJ) Matt Grim a tape and he really liked it," Archangel said. "As far as timing goes, we got lucky with that because he was one of the first promoters here that was really open to trance."
By the time Archangel and Miklos dubbed their collective Imaginary Friends in 2000 after taking on Rayne, Jimmy James and PSI trance had already broken out of the raves, where it was born into larger mainstream clubs, becoming a leading form of dance music.
"Mainstream now has a very melodic sound, which I still like, but get a little tired of when there's an overabundance of it," said Archangel. "The stuff I'm gearing myself towards now is a little deeper, and maybe not as readily appealing to a first-time listener."
Said Rayne: "Some of us are soft and melodic. Some of us play a little harder. Some deeper. Some a little faster. So what you'll see is a very good balance between all the different styles of trance that we play."
And about that Pussycat gig?
"It took a bit of convincing," said Rayne, also assistant promotions director at The Wave. "Flash (Hansen, Pussycat co-founder and Wave promotions director) has always been partial to house and breaks, but being a business person he's always open to new ideas. I had to state my case pretty firmly and make him feel safe that it wasn't going to be a bad thing to do."
A solid plan for the evening doesn't hurt either.
"It's going to be four hours of us building," said Rayne. "It's going to start off on one journey, move to a different level the next hour, and just keep building from there. By the end of the night, it's going to be slamming."