People in outfits ranging from skeleton masks to metallic wigs and tutus heighten the effect of their influence, and lead singer Duvdev’s (real name Amit Duvdevani) incredible stage presence compels the audience to mosh, pulsing their outstretched arms in time with his as he leads, conducts them almost, by section of the theater.
My ears are still ringing with the lyrics of my personal favorite track, “Smashing the Opponent.” But let’s start at the top.
When we arrived Saturday at The Fox for a pre-show interview, we were greeted by Randy Seidman, Infected Mushroom’s tour manager, and escorted inside where the band did their sound check. We were introduced to each member of the band as they stood on stage getting into the music and getting used to the space. They were relaxed and at ease, talking and joking with each other, and I couldn’t help but notice their awesome Israeli accent.
They sipped on beers and water, each in their own world pounding muted drums, running through unplugged guitar licks and adjusting the soundboards. Suddenly the lights were cut and the amps were plugged in. An explosion of sound washed over me and I found my body pulsating, involuntarily, immersed with them in the music.
It appeared effortless as the guitarist extracted fathomless chords and hypnotic solo runs while Duvdev’s vocals emanated through the empty theater. He smiled, seated at times then dancing and enjoying himself as the beat pulses on. Instrumental passages gave way to vocals that wove in and out, propelling the music into another instrumental interlude.
As the sound check wrapped up, we were directed through the stage and down the stairs under a little doorway reading: Watch your head. We emerged in a lounge-like room below the stage. Duvdev invited me to sit beside him on the couch and we were joined by Erez (real name Erez Eisen), the keyboardist. The camera rolled and I couldn’t believe I was interviewing the band who is ranked among the Top Ten DJs by DJ magazine.
And we begin…
Duvdev and Erez said they write most of their music together and they are their own producers. This gives them basically endless creative freedom with their work. I asked them where they’re from. Duvdev answered, “Both of us are from Israel. We started there and we moved four or five years ago.” L.A. is now where they call home.
Their new album, Legend of the Black Shawarma, comes out Tuesday, which also happens to be Erez’s birthday.
“We test. Every track you’ll hear on the new album we’ve tested them half a year now already on dance floors around the world,” Duvdev said. “So the tracks that have made it in to the album, we know, they work. They work on the dance floor, so that’s our process.”
As for how it compares to albums from the past, Erez tells me: “I think it’s very similar to our latest album, Vicious Delicious. More heavy, a little, but we have more superstar guests: Korn, The Doors, Jane’s Addiction singer (Perry Farrell), also we have some more psychedelic trance tracks in it.”
As with any fan, I was curious about their songwriting and recording processes since they are a very electronic band that also incorporates live drums, vocals guitars and a keyboard into their mix.
“We have a big studio,” Duvdev said. “You know, with separate recording rooms, some for vocals, some for the producing. Half of [this album] was produced in our old studio, half in our new studio. I think it’s the best sounding album yet because we’ve improved our techniques greatly so, uh, it sounds pretty good.”
Erez explained the songwriting process.
“We just get in the studio. Sometimes [Duvdev] has a couple of lyrics before, so we have something to work on, sometime we just start with the beat, sometimes the piano, you know? We don’t have any specific order that we do it in. There are no specific rules,” Erez said.
I asked about who influences them and their inspiration.
“We’re influenced by so many bands you know, from Depeche Mode to a variety of electronic producers and some of the industrial guys,” Duvdev said. “As for the heavy metal influences, it just goes on and on. Korn, System of a Down, Metallica, they all have influences on Infected Mushroom. As for what inspires us, it could be anything. Sometimes it’s like a song in the shower, sometimes it’s a good food.”
Infected Mushroom was born in 1996 when Duvdev and Erez met in Israel. Both of them had played in bands before.
“We started as ‘Duvdev and Shidapu’ and we decided we should find a better name, so we chose Infected Mushroom,” Erez said.
According to the members, Infected Mushroom was a name they stole from a disbanded Israeli punk band.
Now they are known all over the world and continue to play shows in Israel.
“In the beginning, an album came out in Israel, but other countries couldn’t get a hold of it,” Duvdev said. “So [fans] used to download it illegally. When we did our first concert in Mexico, there were over 4,000 people in attendance, without selling a single album.”
But Duvdev said he’s not bitter about illegal accessibility.
“Most of our money doesn’t come from CDs,” he said. “So as long as people hear the music and come to our shows, that’s the point. Now that we are signed with a bigger label and stuff, we want to sell more albums. But…if you buy it or download it, and come to our shows, that’s the thing.”
I asked about the influence they hope to have on their listeners. Duvdev said he wants to make them dance.
“We just want people to dance as hard as they can, you know. We come to the city to make people dance, that’s the only concept behind it,” he said. “If it’s experimental or kinda heavy-metal tracks we just listen to them at home, and then we just go really, making it as complex as possible…As a dance act? We just want to break the dance floor.”
And break it they did at Sunday night’s concert. People were chanting “Mush-room, Mush-room!” and “In-fec-ted!” long before they even came out on stage. When they finally did, they were greeted by a screaming crowd, hungry to dance, hungry for the energy produced at a concert that alive. Duvdev returned the welcome, smiling and touching some of the hundreds of hands flung out to him by zealous fans.
Toward the end of the concert, several crowd-surfers emerged and made it quite a ways before they were dropped.
“I think it was probably the best concert I’ve ever seen. The energy was amazing. Everybody was jumping around,” said Mark Carter, a freshman mechanical engineering major, after the concert.
This week the tour has included the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, Fort Collins and two shows in Boulder. Do they get on each other’s nerves being together for so long?
“Sometimes. It’s not too bad, actually,” Erez said.
Duvdev compared their relationship to something a little deeper.
“We’re used to each other,” Duvdev added. “We’re like a married couple.”
Boulder is a pretty big deal for Infected Mushroom. It differs from Los Angeles, of course, where an audience of 3,000 or 4,000 people is considered small.
“It’s kind of the college thing here in Colorado,” Duvdev said. “It’s really intense, and the colleges are great to us, so we’re picking up colleges around the country…and uh, young people follow us you know, which is cool this is the point because we don’t want people my age following me.”
“Yeah we don’t want grandpas like you,” Erez joked to Duvdev.
Sunday’s concert was packed full of freshmen. Most of the audience looked to be under 21 or just over it.
Infected Mushroom’s lyrics are directed at the emerging generation. Song titles like “This is the Time,” “Converting Vegetarians” and “Cities of the Future” all reflect the youth generation and how it is shaping the present and the future.
Finally, I asked Infected Mushroom: What, if any, drugs influence your music?
“Erez has actually never done any drugs, so that’s not even a question,” he said. “I used to take lots of drugs back in the day, but that was before Infected Mushroom, so, in the music process we are not influenced by drugs. Our music scene, the dance scene, is full of drugs around us you know, and we do write music for the dance floor which is related to drugs but we don’t see it that way. I wanna see the most sober person in the room go really mental. The music is a drug by itself. That’s what we do, that’s what we’ve always done. If people want to do drugs, that’s cool.”
A lot of the audience appeared to take Duvdev up on his offer. But an Infected Mushroom concert is, in many ways, a rave. Glow-sticks lit up the crowd, and people with 3-D glasses watched their friends twirl them in front of their face. Some sucked on lollipops and the smoke billowing up from the audience made it look like the band had used a smoke machine.
The concert exceeded some students’ hopes and expectations.
“It was one of the craziest [concerts] I’ve ever seen,” said sophomore humanities major, Lauren Matthews. “I’ve only ever listened to them on CDs and this just totally blew my mind.”
At the end of the show, the audience screamed for more. For the encore, Infected Mushroom sang one of their newer songs, “Special Place.”
For some students, the concert served as an antidote to CU’s defeat at Folsom Field.
“It was (expletive) amazing,” said Alex Cutman, a sophomore advertising major. “The last thing on my mind right now is CSU.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana McIntosh at Anna.email@example.com.