Interview: The Great Raja Ram

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We talk to the legendary psy-spectacular also known as Raja Ram about Shpongle, naughty things with t-shirts, Tip Records, and the road to happiness.

1. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

In a foreign country DJ-ing and the promoter gave me a national flag t-shirt with the party name on it. I had to have desperate motion and went off the dance floor to a little abandoned house after having done the deed, I had nothing to clean myself up with except the t-shirt…and I did. Then the promoter walked in the hut and saw what I did and looked at the t shirt with absolute horror.

2. You’ve had an amazing life thus far full of music and wonder, but which decade takes the cake for the best parties?

Well ’91 in Goa was huge. The black lights the strobes, the red dust, rising the full moon, the Arabian ocean…
and maybe NOW.

Goa this year was the best ever, three parties a night all the time non stop. A variety, but at least it was rocking all night every night with Tristan the high chief presiding over his talented tribe.

3. What is the very last track/piece of music you listened to before answering these questions (or have playing right now)?

Soul Seeker (unreleased) Swedish. Love it.

4. Working with Tristan on the recent ‘Beautiful Garden’ track featured on Tristan’s ‘UK Psychedelic’ compilation for NANO Records, was it all fun and games or serious studio work?

It was a hoot, pure fun. What a joy.

5. Your record label, TIP Records, is 20 years this year, do you remember the moment when you decided to start TIP Records?

In a field, it was raining and I thought that I should start a label. How many would I need to sell…500?OK I will buy those 500 and that is how it started.

Tip The Infinity Projects, over 150 releases, 20 years this year since we hand made everything, a lot of notes under the bridge. Love the art work, stuck to our concept, trip to TIP, hammock music, full power maha stonkers. A vast spectrum but always trying to stick to being psychedelic.

We have releases every six weeks… Lucas’s solo album, Stash bag 5, loads of things and new artists, Martian Arts, Ajja, and so many new things. Maybe 2014 will be our year.

6. If you were stuck on an island for a month what 3 things would you take with you ?

Telephone. Shades. My solar powered vaporiser.

7. What is currently your best track by a favourite new artist ?

Martian Arts. All of his stuff.  ..and The Outsiders too.

8. Of all the music you have written and co-written over the years what 1 track would you play to someone as their first intro to your music ?

Shpongle probably “DMT”

9. Who came up with the name Shpongle anyway?

The name Shpongle came after a Glastonbury experience with Simon Posford.  Three days we wandered about a wonderland, there was party…I was so into it or out of it? Whatever. Standing in a field next to the barn in the drizzle and someone came up and asked “How are you, you OK? What’s happening?”

I replied….I”M SHPONGLED. The word came from the planets of divine communication, later we did some tracks me and Simon down at Youths in Battersea. Shpongle was born, hatched from a cosmic spore.

Interview: The Great Raja Ram | NANO Records Official

10. You often include live art and other performers in the full Shpongle show, where else can people see your illustrations and artwork? 

Sat Ram made up the six eyed Goddess, Mask which became the Logo we use for Shpongle. Two pretty powerful images, although simple. The Shpongle logo and the TIP Shiva.

We did the TIP molecule writing in ’91 by hand, no computers then and the face of TIP comes from a poster we bought in the Porto bello in 68. We printed all the t-shirts by hand and the artwork on the white label LPs we were making, this was around 94/95 when TIP brought out the first CD “The Yellow”

I love drawing on hotel envelopes with Japanese pens art is the best, beautify the tops and inspiration and discovery in our music to be marveled at.

We do have art and artists in the show. There is this wonderful beautiful talented supreme artist Saori Kanda who is doing amongst many other projects some live shows with the full live band, as well as dancers and kinky weird slinky far out realms of psycotropical nirvana tingles; performing all very trippy sort of a Psychedelic Circus du Solei, but really LIVE all fresh notes.

11.  What are your plans for the rest of 2014 ?

7 Live Shpongle gigs including Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, USA

Two shows in June in Tokyo, full Shpongle again.

Belgium, live Shpongleand a few more.

1200 Mics 3 gig.

DJ gigs. Israel, two or three more times this year.

Ozora Festival

But the NOW is really happening, what a time we are indulging and enjoying.

12. What is your favorite meal, drink and exercise ?

DUCK, Clos de BEZ {Burgundy}  and smiling.

13. Please finish the sentence: “The road to happiness is….”

Now open, and you have  all area access.

Interview: The Great Raja Ram | NANO Records Official

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