Safety Trance: The Vanguard of Electronic Music at Veneno Club

On June 22, 2024, Toronto’s Veneno Club buzzed with anticipation as it hosted a night of electrifying performances headlined by the legendary Venezuelan artist Safety Trance. The event, held at Standard Time, featured an eclectic lineup that included RICO RICA, Sofia Fly, and ANA LUISA, promising a night of unparalleled dancefloor energy.

Safety Trance, also known by his other moniker Cardopusher, has made a significant mark on the electronic music scene over the past decade. Born in Venezuela and now based in Barcelona, his sonic journey began in the early 2000s, drawing inspiration from IDM, jungle, and hardcore. Under the alias Cardopusher, he carved out a niche with his break-laced rave tracks before evolving into darker, more experimental sounds. In 2022, he introduced his new identity, Safety Trance, with the release of “El Alma Que Te Trajo,” a collaboration with the avant-garde artist Arca. This project, part of the EP “Noches de Terror,” masterfully blends industrial and leftfield reggaeton, creating a hauntingly immersive experience that captures the zeitgeist of uncertain times.

The Toronto show was a steamy, kinetic affair, perfectly curated by Veneno Club and Standard Time. Safety Trance’s set was a masterclass in electronic music, seamlessly transitioning from powerful industrial beats to infectious reggaeton rhythms. The night also marked the Veneno debut of Rico Rica, whose experimental sounds are shaped by a Caribbean upbringing and the Colombian underground scene. Ana Luisa and Sofia Fly, both Toronto-based DJs with deep Venezuelan roots, added their unique flavors to the mix, ensuring a night of diverse and dynamic music.

In this interview, Safety Trance delves into his creative process, the nuances of the underground and mainstream music scenes, and the evolution of electronic music. He shares insights into his collaboration with Arca, the importance of breaking musical rules, and advice for aspiring artists. Through his thoughtful responses, it’s clear that Safety Trance is not just a producer but a visionary, continually pushing the boundaries of electronic music.

Your production is renowned for its intricate layering and atmospheric depth. Can you walk us through your beat-making process? How do you incorporate elements of IDM, jungle, and hardcore into your tracks?

Safety Trance: Normally, the first thing I do when starting the process of making a song is working on the rhythm section. For me, it has to be powerful and strong so it can lead the rest of the elements. I like to take inspiration from different genres; otherwise, it gets predictable and boring if you work within the parameters of a single genre. I grew up listening to IDM, jungle, hardcore, breakcore, reggaeton, pop, and much more, so I just translate everything I have in my head with no limits.

You’ve navigated both the underground and mainstream realms with finesse. What are the most nuanced differences you’ve observed in terms of creative liberties and audience interaction between these two spheres?

Safety Trance: I think there is a fine line between underground and mainstream, but it all depends on how you present it to the crowd. It’s no secret that mainstream music often borrows from the underground to keep things fresh. People are usually afraid of new things, especially if they come from the underground, but that changes when a mainstream artist takes the risk to incorporate those elements into their universe. It’s as if people need validation through the mainstream; it’s a bit weird, but it’s the reality.

When piecing together an album like “Immaculate Poison” or “Lágrimas,” what criteria guide your selection process? How do you ensure a cohesive narrative while maintaining the individuality of each track?

Safety Trance: In the case of ‘Immaculate Poison,’ for example, I created it under my Cardopusher alias because I wanted to tell a freeform story using my old influences, from jungle to breakcore to more experimental stuff, without touching reggaeton, Latin, or other related genres. With ‘Lágrimas,’ under my Safety Trance alias, I aimed to create structured songs using modern references, heavily inspired by Latin music. Both of my projects cross this fine line, as I like to use the same sound palette but with a different approach.

Despite its growing acceptance, electronic music often faces criticism for lacking ‘soul’ or authenticity. How do you address these critiques, and what do you believe imparts genuine emotion to your compositions, especially in tracks like “El Alma Que Te Trajo”?

Safety Trance: For me, the most important thing is not to follow the rules and to be more open when composing music. Music starts to lack soul when people make the same thing over and over because genres have certain parameters to be acceptable. With ‘El Alma Que Te Trajo,’ I wanted to create a familiar reggaeton song, but heavily inspired by EBM and industrial music. I found that some people who had never been into reggaeton started listening to it because I presented it in a different way.

The energy of live DJ sets, such as your Boiler Room performances, contrasts starkly with the meticulous nature of studio production. Which do you find more creatively satisfying, and how do they influence each other?

Safety Trance: They are different worlds, but being involved in both can be beneficial. As a producer, I understand how a song needs to be built to sound well and be digested in a DJ environment. If I have to pick one side, I definitely choose the producer role. For me, it’s more fun to be creating all day in the studio than being at a party.

Is your approach to music creation predominantly solitary, or do you thrive on collaboration? How did working with artists like Arca and Sega Bodega on tracks like “Prada/Rakata” and “Arena!” shape your creative process?

Safety Trance: Normally, Cardopusher is a more solitary project and also more oriented toward club culture, but with Safety Trance, I wanted it to be a more collaborative project to create songs and not just club tools. Working with other artists gives you a different perspective than working alone because you have to let other people enter your world or vice versa, and that leads to different results that can benefit your process.

Having been part of the breakcore and rave scenes since the early 2000s, what pivotal transformations have you observed? How has the genre’s evolution influenced your own music?

Safety Trance: Breakcore was my first obsession when I started producing. In general, I like hard music, so why not bring these references into today’s context? I think it’s exciting to go back to where I started, with all the knowledge I’ve acquired, and give it a twist to create something new.

For newcomers to the DJ and production landscape, what essential advice would you offer to help them carve out their niche?

Safety Trance: I would say don’t let anyone tell you how things have to be done; otherwise, you will never achieve your full potential. There is space for everybody, so put your passion and personality into your work, even if people don’t understand it at first.

, Safety Trance: The Vanguard of Electronic Music at Veneno Club, Liminul Magazine

Cody is the Editor in Chief and senior contributor at liminul.

He is a photography aficionado, fashion enthusiast, avid Lana Del Rey fan, and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.

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