High on Hilight

It was a high-night with Hilight Tribe at Gold. only t2 was there

  • Published 9.03.18

A positive vibe, psy-trance music and happy faces summed up a power-packed scene on February 24 in Gold, the nightspot at JW Marriott Kolkata. The man who made it a lit night? Greg Hilight of Hilight Tribe, with his 120-minute set. From singing to playing instruments like djembe and didgeridoo, he got the crowd booming to his live performance. Songs that slayed the night? Gayatri, Free Tibet, Esperanza and of course Great Spirit! The crowd’s response? “Full power!” they chorused. Snapshots from the night...

A mandala-print off-shoulder top with a bandana, shorts and kicks — Sue Christine Day was psychedelic-ready for Greg Hilight. “I am a trance head. Greg is one of my favourite artistes and I look up to him. Music is what connects you with your higher self,” said the freelance DJ.
It was goth-meets-glam for Ishita Ghosh who stood out in a pair of black shorts, white crop top, a lacy bralette layered with a summer jacket in camo print and dark lips!
“A psy-trance party calls for a comfy, cool yet trippy outfit. I couldn’t stop dancing when Shankara was played,” said the student of Bethune College.


Papia Ghosal enjoyed her maiden Hilight Tribe gig. “I just loved everything! This was the first time I saw Greg Hilight perform live and I danced a lot,” said Papia, who showed her tribal side in a printed black-and-yellow maxi dress.
Anwesha Paul, a student of IGNOU, could not stop jiving to the beats of Free Tibet. “I had a lot of fun. And I danced a lot, so that made me happy. The set he played was insane!” she said.
Vikrant Jaiswal aka DJ Outlaw opened for Greg Hilight with some progressive psy-trance tracks. “It is always a great feeling to be playing with the legends of psy-trance. Tonight it felt awesome to follow the tribe!” he said.
Greg Hilight

t2 caught up with French psy-trance artiste Greg Hilight before his gig at Gold...

Welcome to Calcutta! Before coming here did you know about the city?

The whole world has heard of Calcutta (laughs)! Everybody knows the story behind this city through movies. So it’s great to finally meet the people.

Your track Shankara has become huge in India. It has the mantras, samples of Indian classical instruments… what was the influence behind it?

Our music is made by instruments that we play live, there is no computer or sequencer. We use samples of some sounds but not of music. And we use instruments from all over the world. Every concert of Hilight Tribe is like a travel all over the world like Australia, Africa and obviously India because of its diverse culture and heritage. Shankara was a reflection of our vision.

Why did you name the band Hilight Tribe? And what does ‘tribe’ mean to you?

Hilight is like a sky full of clouds and suddenly there is a little hole with a ray of light passing through it, so it is a hilight. It is a ray of hope in an obscure and dark surrounding. ‘Tribe’ is a way of thinking and respecting Mother Earth and each other. The word makes you realise that you are not alone and everyone is connected through different arts.

We had Shankara, Free Tibet, Great Spirit, Gayatri… when is the next hit out?

That is a good question (laughs)! What is interesting is that you never know if it’s going to be something that people will like or not. You make it because you love it, not because you follow what people like. You follow your heart and sometimes they don’t react to the track and sometimes they react like crazy. This is the magic of creation.

Do you make someone listen to your music when it’s done?

Not really. We bring some ideas together and most of them we hear in our head and we recall over phones (sings the lines of Shankara). Then we gather with Ludovic Pelissier, my bandmate, to create the track with everyone’s influence and ideas. It’s like a sculpture where from the block you’re breaking out pieces bit by bit. It’s never done, but at some point you have to say ‘This is it!’

Is there a spiritual influence as well?

We are open to all religions and we respect them. We are not into politics. Our message is of unity, connection, and togetherness, love, light and good vibes. We don’t want to pretend to take it to another level; everybody can decide on their own about being spiritual or not. We don’t judge other people. Even after a bad day, on the dance floor you leave everything behind and just be together and that’s beautiful.

When you are not DJing, what are you listening to?

The truth is that I listen to silence. When I want to compose, I try not to listen to too much music but empty myself, and then the music comes in your head. During your composition moment, you listen less, go to nature, feel the emptiness.

Text: Pramita Ghosh & Urvashi Bhattacharya

Pictures: Rashbehari Das