Quentyn Harley is a bass music producer from Canada. Tripzy Leary, on the other hand, has his mind on much bigger things...
Few artists in bass music have a name that offers such onomatopoeic satisfaction as Tripzy Leary. Part of the freeform new wave of deep bass that’s been oozing out of the US in recent years, sonically he does indeed leave you lurching and leering in your mental spaceship, scratching your head as his music slurs, melts and mutates psychedelically like a Dali in Deep Dream.
But this trip goes much deeper than just a musical passage. All the best trips do. A cosmic thread runs deep through everything Tripzy does. In fact, Tripzy Leary isn’t an actual human being at all: he’s an alien from a higher species who seeded DNA on this planet billions of years ago, and he’s returned to protect the DNA and prepare it for metamorphosis and space migration.
This is where we’re at in Tripzy’s tale so far: an evacuation from a terraformed earth. Evolution has been corrupted by political forces and it’s time for the lucky DNA to make the migration and connect with higher beings on the intergalactic network. The journey is expected to take until 2020, maybe longer, and his genre/mind/sense-melting debut album Space Migration maps our journey so far…
One part concept, two parts conduit, Tripzy isn’t just an alias for British Columbia-based artist Quentyn Harley, and Space Migration isn’t just a story… inspired by Timothy Leary’s philosophy on metamorphosis and how the psychedelic movement influence rapid technological advancement, Quentyn uses Tripzy Leary as a vessel to interpret and translate his own understanding, thoughts and hopes for humans during the most accelerated and turbulent times in modern history.
And whether it’s through his music, the actions of his freshly launched label Cyberdelics or during an interview, he articulates these thoughts with clarity, a fast-paced enthusiasm and wild dot-joining appreciation for all things cosmic that’s just as satisfying as his sonically imitative name. Tune in and turn on…
I think we need to start with exactly who or what Tripzy Leary is…
"He’s an alien from a planet called Mycelium. That’s a type of fungus that grows like a neuro web. He’s from an evolved species. A higher intelligence who seed planets with DNA... and Tripzy has come to earth to guide some of this DNA. He also has a federation of fellow aliens, the Cyberdelics who revisit these planets where this DNA has been seeded to find any kind of political forces that are manipulating this it and its evolutionary and metamorphosis process."
Are we experiencing this as humans now?
"Absolutely. Previous generations have been the caterpillar, the hunter/gatherer harvesting information and innovation and speed. They’ve created a cocoon of technology, connectivity and ultimately radiation, from which we will eventually emerge as evolutionary butterflies, extra terrestrials to this planet."
I wondered if your interest in space migration came from from growing up in the remote Kootenays region of Canada, with no light pollution and massive skies full of stars?
"I’ve not thought of it like that. Maybe. But I developed this philosophy after I’d moved to Vancouver. The main inspiration is actually Timothy Leary and, most recently, his book Info Psychology, which explores the concept of space migration.
"We can’t underestimate Leary’s influence on culture. He spent a long time in the Bay Area, San Francisco which is now Silicon Valley. That’s where a lot of hippies were getting into tech and computer code. And I think that’s where a lot of this technology has evolved from: people who used to take psychedelics, and have had the time and mental space and psychedelic experiences to understand who they are and what they want to do. That’s how we’ve ended up here now. "
Yeah, if you’d have explained what we can do now with technology to someone back then it would have sounded far out...
"Exactly. They came up with the ideas and now here we are travelling through space. Our body is the spaceship of our minds. Tech is another extension or spaceship for our minds. Right now, me and you are travelling through the ocean, through all the wires, to see and hear each other. This is a form of space travel.
"Timothy Leary discusses metamorphosis. We’ve come from this great collision of psychedelics, tech and radiation, and we’re becoming these extra-terrestrial pilots in our own cyberspace. The more we develop, the further we’ll be able to travel and hopefully become accepted by the intergalactic community."
Back to the music: how were you accepted into the bass community? What’s your musical background?
"I actually started off rapping in 2004 when I was 13. I grew up listening to hip-hop, and was really into writing lyrics and rapping, but wasn’t making my own productions. Then after seven years I moved to Vancouver to pursue my music career, learned how to produce and engineer and make beats and dropped the rapping. Then I was made aware of Shambhala Festival, which kinda changed everything for me."
When was that?
"2011, Excision was just blowing up with his X Rated album. Downlink, Datsik, so many of that scene were just raising the game with their music and PK Soundsystem was developing and being designed around that space. I felt a lot of positive energy. So much incredible music and inspirational ideas were coming from that place. So I volunteered there for six years and worked in artist liaison and hospitality. But instead of being that guy like, ‘Hey, here’s my USB bro,’ I just did my job, made sure the artists had the best time and had everything they needed. I never forced anything."
And eventually you played there last year... so Shambhala was part of your own metamorphosis?
"It was exactly that! It was like the universe had worked for me. Everything came together. A while before then I realised Liquid Stranger was playing a lot of my music, which had given me a lot of confidence, I’d also just finished reading Info Psychology and everything was becoming very trippy in real life. That’s where my ego death was. It’s not about me, it’s about a lot of cool things and cool people, friends, family, peers, all giving me positive energy, and the music and everything I do with it is just me spitting out what I’m being fed."
I guess that’s why you did an album, then? It gives you a much wider canvas to spit that all out onto…
"It’s part of an ongoing story through the releases. First there was the Terraformer EP which had Atom Bomb, Radioactive and Blast Radius. I wanted to touch on the idea that everything’s been accelerated, technologically, since the 1945 Hiroshima bomb. Things changed rapidly from that huge blast of radiation.
"So, in terms of the story, Terraformer is Tripzy Leary and his federation terraforming the infected planets where the DNA they seeded isn’t developing, and rescuing the right type of developed DNA, protecting it and taking it on the Quantum G7, my spaceship, to gear them up for space migration, to take them to the next level."
Then there was The Arrival…
"Yes. Wakaan are a base who have helped Tripzy and the federation protect the DNA and prepare for the next mission, which was the album. That first track is while your body is being packed away and your mind is in a kind of VR stasis as we travel."
Game Over is my favourite track, towards the very end of the migration.
"Totally. It’s game over for the caterpillars, it’s time for the butterflies, the old games are over. The old world is over."
Where do we head next on this migration?
"Cyberdelics. It’s the new universe, medium, mindstate we’re migrating to. And the federation are the artists who want to work with me and provide trips through this type of music. I’m scouting for artists who understand what’s happening here and want to build a bigger picture. I’ve spent a long time building up to this next chapter."
These things take time, don’t they?
"Yeah, and I’ve been lucky to have that time and formulate a rich deep vision that has a lot of meaning to it. There’s substance to this. I want it to last through the whole 2020s.
"I’ve spent this last decade setting the foundations where I can help bring through the next generation of artists and create something. A community and network. It started with my album and in April there’ll be the remix album with remixes from a lot of the new artists on the label. Then we’ll see where they take us on the next stage of the migration…"
Words: Dave Jenkins
Space Migration is out now on Cyperdelics - buy it here