Özgür Çetin: “Psy-trance plays a big role in my life”
All about Özgür Çetin, a killer DJ of Turkiye.
Özgür Çetin (Ozzy), shares how the track “Howling at the Moon” marked a turning point in his life, emphasizing the significant role psy-trance plays in his world.
“We aim to spread beautiful messages to the world. It starts with us, extends to our close relationships, and then reaches out to the masses and the world.”
Hello Özgür, can we get to know you a bit? You have several different projects such as Ramizes, Freetech, and Mysticism. When did you start your musical journey?
In middle school, I listened to metal music, but in high school, I discovered alternative electronic music thanks to Prodigy. Then, I began exploring various genres of EDM. By the time I started to going collage, I met diverse genres like Euro-trance, progressive trance, electro, and minimal techno. In 2002, while building my music collection, I stumbled upon the track “Howling at the Moon” by Cosmosis in 1996. This track started a change that would influence the rest of my life.
My interest in electronic music has led me not just to attend parties, but also to a curiosity about DJing since 2002. I began an ongoing habit of collecting tracks. Initially, I amassed albums haphazardly, but with time, I started categorizing them based on their genres. This habit has continued for around 16 years and still occupies much of my time, but I love doing it.
Around 2004, my university classmate and former electronic music DJ and producer, Hüseyin Balcı, opened the Pioneer Pro DJ Academy in Eskişehir. He kindly introduced me to the basic techniques of DJing. I performed as a warm-up DJ for about a year at his parties. Until 2005, I played progressive/deep trance/house and minimal techno. Meanwhile, I continued to work on my psy-trance collection. By the end of 2005, my interest in psy-trance overshadowed other genres. In Eskişehir, with a few DJ and producer friends who were also interested in this music, we began organizing small club events in early 2006. With these parties, I started DJing only psy-trance. Back then, I was playing full-on under my RAMIZES DJ project.
After earning my degree in Tourism and Hotel Management in 2007, I embarked on an adventure working as service personnel on cruise ships. This allowed me to professionally experience my education, explore the world and save up some money. During my biannual breaks in Turkiye, I seized the chance to perform at various events, notably with Shanti Tribe. By 2011, I decided to leave ship life behind and settle back in Turkiye. Over the next couple of years, up until 2013, my presence at psy-trance events was mostly as an attendee or volunteer, with only occasional performances.
As my passion for psy-trance only grew stronger, stepping away from ship life allowed me to delve deeper into my music collection. This genre, which we have known only as Goa-trance at the time, was now divided into dozens of sub-styles when I created MYSTICISM and FREETECH DJ projects in 2013. The landscape of this genre has expanded so much, and it’s now teeming with countless unique and mesmerizing sub-styles. So this situation makes it challenging to define them down with specific names.
Before we move on, I’d like to address a question I’ve often been asked: Why do I have three different DJ names?
Psy-trance plays such a big role in my life that no any doctor could impacted my well-being like that. I’m captivated by every style of psy-trance, from chill to hard. Sharing top-notch tracks from the best producters is unmatched in joy. Instead of covering 80 to 200 bpm under one DJ name, I segmented it into three projects based on four key styles, giving each a distinct character.
Each project has a designated sub-style, set time, and place in the DJ lineup. For instance, Mysticism often features in outdoor festival chillout stages, and if on the main stage, it’s typically for openings or closings. Ramizes avoids dark lineups, but might open with dark progressive. If Freetech precedes a hitech DJ at a dark event, it won’t conclude with 147 Bpm.
Since 2013, I’ve performed at over 150 events in Turkiye and abroad. Each performance has a unique track list. I try not to repeat tracks. After each set, I upload it to my Soundcloud.
Well, what about Crystal Kids?
In spring 2006, the groundbreaking 7-day open-air psy-trance festival “Soulclipse” was held in Antalya Manavgat. It not only transformed the Turkish underground scene but drew around 15,000 attendees, with roughly 15% being Turkish. This event, where I witnessed a solar eclipse, introduced many to psy-trance, turning them into enthusiasts.
Before Soulclipse, my friends and I organized small events in Eskişehir, where I studied. However, after experiencing Soulclipse, I realized how big and meaningful the small events we organized to have fun with friends in Eskişehir actually represent in the world. This awareness would lead to the establishment of Crystal Kids over time…
In 2012, another significant festival, “Tree Of Life,” ran until 2015. I worked in various capacities, from the entrance to artist coordination. My involvement with the Mind Manifest Project team for two years, along with experiences from other festivals like Shamballa, Freaks In Love, and Psy-Fi Festivals, enriched my event management skills.
Around 2015, Club Temple in Istanbul approached me to host events. We held memorable events at Club Temple for 1.5 years and have since hosted over 20 indoor events in Taksim. The experiences I gained and the people I met during this period played an important role in strengthening the idea of Crystal Kids. Our goal is to introduce a grand outdoor festival to Turkiye, and we’re actively working towards that vision.
You’ve been a pillar in the Turkish psychedelic community for years. Looking at the past and present, how has this culture evolved here?
I’m genuinely proud to be part of this culture, initiated by our before generation and nurtured by those who followed. This culture could fill books. It’s crucial that everyone in our community, from organizers to attendees and DJs, supports and respects one another. Everyone in this community has great responsibilities. How well do we embody the values of LOVE, RESPECT, GOODWILL, and TOLERANCE we champion?
We should contemplate this. It’s essential to appreciate others’ efforts, minimize our egos, promote unity, and, importantly, avoid misuse of these principles. The dream of global peace starts with individual change, then radiates outwards.
Now, about the evolution in Turkiye: Our nation’s sociopolitical and economic challenges inevitably affect our scene. Currency instability complicates international bookings, which in turn affects ticket prices. This can lead to dissatisfaction, reduced participation, and scaled-down events—a vicious cycle. Also, certain events in our country discourage international participants, a significant issue for us. Still, dedicated community members keep pushing forward. Growth is slow but evident. I’m optimistic that Turkiye will have a lasting presence on the global psy-trance map. We, as the Crystal Kids family, aim to drive that change.
If I’m wrong, please correct me. It seems you’re involved in more projects in abroad?
You’re right in observing that I seem more connected to overseas events lately, aside from a few local ones. Why is that? After moving to England in 2016 for personal reasons and to expand international ties, I’ve been more involved there. While we still hold occasional events in Istanbul, we space them out. In Manchester, we’ve been organizing events to fill the psy-trance void in the underground scene. My experiences here align with our goals I mentioned earlier.
Why aren’t there more psychill and psybient events in Turkiye? Most perceive this music as a side-stage genre.
While dedicated friends work hard to organize down tempo events, it’s riskier financially here than hosting faster-paced dance events. Attendance is expectedly lower. While this music often fills side stages, the absence of chill-focused events is noticeable. To my knowledge, a dedicated psych festival hasn’t been held in Turkiye. Time will tell…
Where can you catch your sound in 2018?
You’ll find Mysticism and Ramizes rocking the Psy-Boutique Festival, while Freetech will be lighting up the stage at Galactic Gathering.