Odin on Trance by Mark Ulyseas

Viking Goa photograph by Mark Ulyseas
Viking Goa photograph by Mark Ulyseas


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This interview was conducted in January 2012 in Chapora, Goa. A few weeks later Viking died tragically. This interview was published in February 2012. In a way this is Viking’s epitaph.

In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey www.amazon.co.in

Odin on Trance by Mark Ulyseas

You can travel the world but you can’t run away
from the person you are in your heart
you can be who you want to be
make us believe in you
keep all your light in the dark
if your searching for truth
you must look in the mirror
and make sense of what you can see

just be
just be

– DJ Tiesto, Just be

There comes a time when celestial forces conspire to level one’s head, to guide one towards recognition of all things bright, beautiful and peaceful. But how do these forces work? To find this out I went to Odin, the Norse God of Wisdom in the avatar of Viking, a man from South Sweden, a topless tattooed biker with a penchant for embracing the natural elements through the rhythms of Trance music.

In a small bar we met over vodka and masala chai.

The interview began with a cough, a sneeze and the click of a lighter followed by plumes of smoke wafting into the air above us as Viking took a deep drag on a cigarette, and then beckoned me to speak.

Could you share with the readers a bit about your life and how Trance saved you?

My name is Viking and my God is Odin, the God of Wisdom. My father was a painter (artist) and alcoholic and my mother a cleaner and an alcoholic. I was sent to a foster home when I was four years old. And from this age till I reached 17 years I lived in many foster homes. When I was lonely and I cried I always telephoned my mother but she couldn’t help me, she was too far away.

I liked school as I had made many friends. Geography, mathematics and carpentry were my favorite subjects. But this didn’t last long, I was chucked out of school and it was then that I began to tread the path of a music lover. KISS, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Front 242, Steve Vaughan, George Thorogood, Eric Clapton, CCR, Steppenwolf, Doors etc. led me into another world.

Then Trance came along with Asterix (Israeli Avi Shmailov) a Psychedelic trance DJ who also produces Full On Psychedelic Trance; The Israeli Trance band, Astral Projection; and Sound Kita.

Trance saved me. It gave me a whole new meaning to life. From a violent kid I grew into a person who was at peace with himself and his surroundings, not completely but I am on the way.

Trance is beautiful, it is like a Bible to me. You should hear DJ Tiesto’s Just Be because if you listen to this you will understand what I am talking about. The lyrics of Just Be are beautiful.

Trance works exactly like rock/acid rock. The lyrics are often about drugs and how good they are if used with responsibility. There is a group called 1200 micrograms. They are a psychedelic trance group from Ibiza. Some of their tracks are titled – Mescaline, LSD, DMT, Marijuana. And lastly how could I forget the English Trance group, Shpongle!

However, my favorite group is Suicidal Tendencies from L.A. I have it tattooed on my ass.

For two years I listened to Trance because it took away my restlessness. I always put on Trance in the morning, it helps me tune into the vibrations and a sphere is created, a world within a world.

At that time when I discovered Trance I worked construction, stayed with my mom to earn enough money so that I could live in Goa for four months. BTW I don’t drink or smoke during my stay at home.

I never really had a dream. If you don’t have an anchor, it’s difficult to dream.

Even when I slept, I never dreamt. Maybe I was afraid to dream.

How old are you, Viking?

Why do people always ask – How old are you? Why don’t they ask – How young are you?
I am in my early forties.

Why do you have tattoos on your body?

It’s my religion, I’m a Viking. Viking means explorer. The God of a Viking is Odin, God of Wisdom and I am interested in Him for it makes sense. We need wisdom in this day of so much violence and hatred.

Are you married?

No, but I have a ten year old daughter. I haven’t seen her for the last five years. I miss her very much. Her innocence is so beautiful and I want to be with her but her mother doesn’t allow it. But I put myself out there, on Facebook, everywhere, so when she is old enough she can find me. I know she will come looking for her dad. I know, I feel it here…

(With trembling hands he lifts the glass of vodka to his lips as tears swell in his eyes. One tear trickles down his cheek and into the glass. He wipes his face with the back of his hand and smiles at me, embarrassed. I knew the feeling of not seeing one’s child but this evening was Viking’s so I kept silent).

How did Goa Trance come into your life?

The first time I came to Goa was in 2000 with a hippie gang and returned the following year with my girlfriend, now my ex and mother of my daughter.

You know what I liked about Goa are the people?. When we ran out of money in 2000 and were waiting for money to arrive we were given credit by the shops and restaurants, everyone told us “Pay later, no problem”. When money did arrive we went around clearing our dues. Such things never happen in Sweden! My first two week stay cost only 10k rupees!

And then I experienced Goa Trance…it hit me right here (pointing to his forehead) and it was an awakening…

I was the first DJ at Morjim. The Blue Waves restaurant was where it was at…I hosted a Trance party, free entry…right on the beach.

In 2004-5 (I Think) I went for an 11-day non-stop Trance show at Hill Top in Anjuna.

I return every year for around six months to suck on the energy, to re-energize myself, my body, my spirit.

Whenever I am in Goa I go “Trancing” for around 8 hours every night. But the following morning I don’t feel any pain in my body because I have sucked in the energy, good energy that makes my body stronger.

BTW you know that a DJ becomes famous by playing in Goa? Goa Trance has made many international DJs famous. And all parties are recorded.

What is the message of Trance?

Good energy is generated. We are all the same. We are all there to give, not to take. It’s the energy, it’s the energy, it’s the energy, like sticking two batteries together…the more people, more dancers, more energy. You don’t hate, you don’t become violent, you find the rhythm within yourself and then in the other dancers around you. Harmony is created.

So how does one get into the groove with Trance?

Feel the beat. First the feet start moving. Then the hands come in play. In 2 or 3 minutes close your eyes and focus how the music is done and what happens next by following the beats.

In Trance you can be yourself.
Doesn’t matter how you dance.
You dance with nobody.
You dance with everybody.
And you spread your own good energy in a visual way, ‘cause people when people see how you dance, they can also feel how you feel in the beat. The good thing is you don’t feel ashamed – how you look or how you are dancing. Normally people have a problem ‘cause of vanity.

In psychedelic Trance there are many different sounds that come irregularly and one has to anticipate to catch the sound…it’s the thingy between the beats. The beats range from 18 hertz to 20,000 hertz. The Bass is below 20 hertz and it is hard to hear but you feel it, it’s only vibration…like an earthquake that is 2 hertz!

The different types of Trance are according to the beats per minute. Chill out is 120 beats. 138 to 147 beats is generally for all dancers. Hard core is 200 beats per minute. It is an art to make music over 160 beats.

For a first timer the Trance dancers will appear to be disconnected. But this is not so for they are in the beat, in themselves, in the movement, in the heartbeat.

What is your dream?

My dream is to own 10 houses in Goa. I will build the houses and the income from rent will be shared by the landowner and me so that I have enough money to live in Goa without me having to work construction for half the year in Sweden.

The more Trance you have in your ears,
the less bullshit you hear!

© Mark Ulyseas

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