Archive for Shambhala

20 Questions with ill-esha

Posted in Artists, Females in the Arts, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by worldromper

ill-eshaill-esha from Vancouver, BC is one of my favorite producers, DJs and vocalists out there. Her recent whompcast blew the hinges off my mind, pissed off my neighbors and made a motherlover out of me; I have been handing out burned CDs of her mix like rocks to fiending crackheads.

ill-esha performs tomorrow night (Thursday, July 16) at Thirdsdaze in Seattle at THE REBAR. Get out for some ridiculous new music and hear what the future holds. I am jealous! Also on the lineup are locals Zacharia, Aksion and Kat1lyst, who will be bringing their unique brands of bass music to the rain-slicked streets of the Emerald City.

Check out my email interview below with ill-esha who is holding down the far Pacific Northwest with mountains of bass and a forest of talent:

1. What actions can we as members of the EDM community take to encourage more female creators in the electronic arts?

I don’t think that lacking females in music production is a product of lack of community support; in fact I believe the latter is only a symptom of the greater global stereotype of females in general. We are still taught to be submissive, pretty, placating… and it translates into a fear of taking on anything that would be competitive to a man, or anything that’s “too hard” or “too technical”. That being said, I think there should be more workshops put on by females – for both males and females – giving people friendly intros to all that “technical” stuff. Without making it a girls-only club, the message subtly gets across that capable people exist in both genders and hopefully inspires something. I love doing workshops with youth and have made appearances at high schools and community centres to show people how much fun it is to geek out.

2. What is West Coast sound?

West Coast sound is hype and chill at the same time. I think glitch hop is a direct product of this… really crunk synths and basslines with half-time tempos. We love to surf and snowboard, but we also love to party!

3. What can save drum and bass? Do you think this genre even needs, or wants, to be saved? Who are the innovators right now in DnB?

Drum and bass has shut itself down because people hoard their dubs, and labels hoard their releases. The music that’s coming out for the average citizen to buy was often made several years ago. There is some great stuff being made now that is either too risky for the labels to sign or simply won’t come out for another few years; bah!! People that still get me going are B-Complex from Slovakia (an incredible musical prodigy), Dan Marshall from Wales (teenage talent!), as well as UK producers Alix Perez and Sabre. I’m also liking the drumfunky, more minimal stuff from North Americans like Sinistarr and Mutt.

4. What can stop dubstep? It seems to be taking over the West Coast. Any thoughts on this?

Dubstep can and already is going the same way as drum n bass. Innovative ideas being eclipsed by overcompressed wanky bass slams and headbanging programming. Hey, I love the bangers as much as anybody, but when that’s all there is it gets tiring and monotonous. I enjoy a Rusko tune, but not five in a row. Vancouver has some great dubstep parties right now, but I do hope that more experimental producers like Eskmo start to take over the limelight from the more commercial stuff. There’s also that really boring stuff my friends and I call “dubstand” which is sleepy and repetitive – no thanks!

5. What do you want to tell girls out there who want to learn to make electronic music or DJ? Who are your favorite female producers and DJs?

Girls, quit worrying about being girls. And be prepared to give up your social life if you want to be a producer. 🙂 But it’s not as hard as you think, computers are less scary than ever with easy to learn programs like Ableton. Favourite females? Well, Reid Speed and Empress have proved for many years that they are fierce forces to reckon with behind the decks, and both have continued to evolve in their sound and production. Mieka du Franx is spirited, soulful and successfully runs her own record label.

6. How can girls learn to have the confidence they need to create and perform the electronic arts?

I guess it can be hard when society tells you that it’s a boys’ game to do these things. But screw it. Honestly, I originally came from a point of pretty low self-confidence and at some point you have to toss that aside and go, “Whatever, I’m making music now, no time for this garbage.” Oh, and stop reading beauty magazines. Even just to kill time in the airport. That stuff brainwashes you.

7. What is the bass music scene like up in Vancouver? How is it unique, and what is it contributing to the West Coast Future Sound Movement?

It’s crazzzy!!! I am in love with it!! Glitchy + Scratchy have almost singlehandedly built a loyal, energetic young scene that is absolutely thriving on glitch hop, dubstep, aquacrunk, skweee and whatever else we can throw them. There is a great lack of pretension – we have costume themed parties and nearly everyone not only dresses up but goes totally overboard. Also, our beautiful setting is very conducive to great outdoor festivals. There’s a lot of extremely talented young producers about to break out here, like Jay Wikid… lots of tunes to add to the movement. And we made Glitch Hop Forum, which has proved to be the greatest resource yet for this style of music to connect talent all over the world.

8. You are playing Seattle tomorrow- do you see more collaboration in the future for the two flagship cities of the Pacific Northwest?

I certainly hope so. It’s not easy to jet back and forth in these times but I think there’s great energy that should be linked up.

9. You are one of the founders of GlitchHopForum.com. Why did you start it, and where do you see it going?

Well, there just wasn’t anything like that on the internet. Really the site was the brainchild of Dewey dB and The Mongoose of Glitchy + Scratchy. Once we all realized it didn’t exist, Dewey decided to create it – he’s been responsible for a lot of other great music sites like dubstep.ca, dubstepradio.com and downtempo.ca – and it’s been growing ever since. I think it’s going to be the biggest resource the scene has, and at least as big as sites like dubstepforum.com have become.

10. Who in the Vancouver bass music scene should we know about and listen to?

Jay Wikid, Glitchy + Scratchy, and Dewey dB are my favourite local producers for sure. The Lighta! crew is churning out some dubstep bangers as well.

11. What artists inspire you most? What music are you loving right now? Who are you listening to the most?

Vibesquad can really do no wrong in my opinion. Eskmo makes the best dubstep I’ve ever heard. Also a lot of the Australian cats are great, like Spoonbill and Opiuo – they’ve really got some great things going on. Antiserum is a great friend and inspiration.. we’ve got some stuff on the go. I’m listening to a lot of glitch hop, since it’s so new.

12. Shambhala? Going and/or playing there?

I’m supposed to be playing on a smaller unofficial stage.. but it’s not official. 🙂

13. Your mixes are full of fresh, eclectic tracks. Where do you find them? (Ha ha ha and you can just tell me personally if you want 😉

Most of them are made by me or my friends. I am proud to be connected to so much talent.

14. What music did you grow up or come of age listening to?

Really lame folk music till I was old enough to buy my own. I entered high school the year Kurt Cobain killed himself, so there was a lot of grunge, punk and industrial. Then I switched to a high school downtown and got flyered on the street one day and went out of curiosity – rave on!

15. How would you describe your sound?

Musical bass? Harmonic dissonance? I guess my trademark is having really lush, symphonic or vocal elements over top of juicy fat bass and hard beats.

16. How do you think the weather of Vancouver affects the music produced there?

Well, we have fabulous summers and rainy blah winters. I’d say the only way it really affects things is I get a lot more done in the winter and say goodbye to the studio for the beach in the summer.

17. Any plans to come to LA?

I’d love to – book me! 🙂

18. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Eskmo or Vibesquad for sure. Then I could steal all their production tricks…muahhahahah

19. What equipment/software do you use?

I’m a die hard Cubase user, but until I have enough saved up for version 5 I’ve been using Logic 8 because it goes with my Mac. Can’t stand the audio editing though so I always have to rewire Ableton to it. I have a lot of nice microphones and an Avalon tube preamp for recording, and plenty of fun plugins. Alchemy is my favourite synth at the moment.

20. What is next for you? Any exciting news or big future plans?

I’m trying to plan an Australian tour and another one of Europe. We’re also about to launch a new record label featuring all this great Vancouver talent so stay tuned!

Thank you ill-esha! Those of you in Seattle make sure to hit Rebar tomorrow night for Thirdsdaze and catch this woman in action.

MUSIC FESTIVALS: Traveling to the Beats on a Budget

Posted in Events, Festivals, Lists, Note to Readers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by worldromper

DEMF. Mutek. Coachella. Decibel. Earthdance. Esthetic Evolution. Prosperity. High Sierra.  Photosynthesis. Joshua Tree. Shambhala. Operation Apex. Bobolink. Harmony. Sonic Bloom. Emerge-N-See. Hempfest. Burning Man!

FestivalWith so many bad-ass music festivals right outside your door, up and down the West Coast, across our beautiful country and around the globe, it is enough to put a music-loving freak in a deliciously lingering state of euphoria!

Combining my love of travel and dancing makes me happier than a hippie in a hot tub: a rainbow of music varieties, friends from all over the world, lots of screaming and laughing and Tecate, campsites with shag carpet and clubs with lasers- I live for music and art festivals and want to go to every single one!

FestivalBut how do you get to all these festivals when money is tight? And when isn’t it? Most people are stretching their budgets and cutting back these days. Maybe you’re broke. Maybe you’re hella broke. Maybe you were laid off from your job writing for a website and decided the best course of action in this lame economy was to relocate across the country and try to make it as a freelance music writer.

Either way, you still want to party your rocks off, right? Here are some tips to help you get to those music festivals, whether you want to go to a city party requiring flights and hotels or outdoor festies with tents and dogs. Or both. LIFE IS SHORT, people, and if we are lucky we will all be old and wrinkly before we know it. Don’t let the summer pass without getting down proper like you know you want to. 

Festival1. PLAN AHEAD. Buying presale tickets will save you cash at almost every festival, and if you are flying anywhere, purchasing domestic air tickets at least one month in advance is highly recommended. Planning on DEMF or another Memorial Weekend festival? Buy your air tickets and book your hotel room yesterday.

2. PICK AND CHOOSE. This part sucks. I want to go to every festival, every weekend, every year! But in order to get to the parties you really want to go to, you have to pass up some of the festivals you aren’t too keen on. Having trouble deciding? Do what I do, and go where the good music is. Compare the lineups, and see which artists are really gonna do it for you. Factor in distance, make a decision, and stick to it.

3. GO WITH FRIENDS. This part rocks! When you share expenses like hotel rooms, food and gas, it becomes cheaper for everybody. Pack your cars and hotel rooms full of friends and you will save money! Are you the only one of your tribe intent on getting to Shambhala but you live in San Diego? Hop online and meet new people who want to carpool and save money as much as you. They are out there.

Festival4. STAY THE WHOLE TIME. It seems counter-intuitive, but since a big part of festie expensive is travel and pass-type tickets, the longer you can stay, the better value it will be.

5. DON’T BUY EXTRA SHIT. Yeah yeah, I know you want a cute new outfit for the dance floor or a swank-ass pimp tent that all your friends can hotbox, but you don’t NEED this stuff. What you already own will work, and no one is even gonna notice that new purple skirt when you are dripping sweat in the club. Ever returned from a campout with a cooler full of food you didn’t eat? Yeah. You have. Don’t buy shit you don’t need.

Camp Don't Be Jealous6. FESTIVAL IN YOUR TOWN? Offer to let people stay with you. They get a deal, you get a unique experience waking up to Heinz from Berlin on your couch, and when you head to Germany you will have a place to stay as well. Again: Google is your friend, and check out Couchsurfing.com as well.

7. FLYING TO A FESTIVAL? Book ahead, at least a month for domestic travel. Check sites like Kayak, Mobissimo or Sidestep to compare prices, and when you get ready to purchase your tickets, CLEAR THE COOKIES on your internet browser. If you don’t, Zeut Hoops!travel websites will remember you have already been there and jack up the price of your ticket. Once you find the lowest price, then book directly with the airline’s website for the best protection in case some bullshit comes up. If you are checking luggage, read the airline’s baggage allowance- some domestic airlines are charging $15 per bag. You may be better off with another airline whose ticket price is $10 more.

8. EAT CHEAP. When you travel it is easy to become tired or rushed and opt for a pricey meal or snack at an airport lounge or crappy restaurant close to the festival. Plan ahead. Bring granola bars if you get hungry and ornery like me, and know that there ain’t NO shame in PB&J- that’s one more show you get to hear!

Festival9. DRINK CHEAP. AKA: PBR & Tecate. Or get your buzz on with your own bottle of vodka BEFORE you’re in the venue where drinks are eight bucks a pop. Sneak in a flask and order a lemonade- bartenders will often give free refills!

10. JUST DO IT. The awesome thing about money is that it’s printed on paper that comes out of machines mounted on walls and you trade this colored paper for life experiences! What a freaking deal! Your bills will be there next month. The supersweet festival of your dreams with you on the dance floor surrounded by your friends, face hurting from smiling so much, a growth-inducing experience that becomes part of you as a person? Not so much. Quit worrying and buy your damn tickets already.

“LIFE IS EITHER A DARING ADVENTURE OR NOTHING.”

Helen Keller

See you on the dance floor!