Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: AC Johner, Director Of Electronic Awakening

I was given the privilege of speaking to the director of Electronic Awakening AC Johner. This groundbreaking film discusses the beginning of the rave & dance music culture.  Moving through Moon Tribe, Burning Man, psy-trance parties & other foundations of the scene, the music is stupendous, as is the commentary.1. Was this project your baby, or did someone approach you to direct? Electronic Awakening is my baby. I directed and produced the film under my production company Federation of Earth. I began the film in 2006 when I set out to explore the culture under a grant from my university. After my initial fieldwork, I invested to expand the project into a feature film. After 4 years, interviewing and filming, I built a rough cut of the film strong enough to attract finishing funds from a successful Kickstarter Campaign, as well as a production partnership with Keyframe-Entertainment.  Last but certainly not least, Philip Wood and Satsi Jaquith of Ammo played a huge role in getting the ball rolling on production.

My conception of the project began during my undergrad thesis in anthropology when I began researching electronic music culture. Having never been to any events, I was inspired to read that the parties had encouraged so many participants to engage in more conscious lifestyle to the point that some had established a spiritual kinship with the music.

Coming in as an outsider, my perception of EDM was little more than a stigmatized imagery of teenagers with glow-sticks dressed up in fury costumes celebrating a drug-high to obscure music. My perspective broadened after discovering the research of anthropologist Graham St John, Scott Hutson, and religious studies scholar Robin Sylvan, whom all had contributed a wealth of scholarship towards the spirituality underlying the culture.

While the media had reported little on this side of the culture, I set out to explore it first-hand. I sought out events such as Burning Man, Moontribe, Shambhala, outdoor psytrance festivals, and other events now heralded as transformational festivals. When I arrived on site and witnessed the alters, ceremonies, and wealth of participants professing the dance floor in a sacred context, I knew that this religiosity reported by the aforementioned scholars was all very real, real to the point I had questioned if this were some new form of religion rising up through the dance music underground. Continue reading

Multi-Day Festivals & Safety

 

2hxslecWhile there’s a whole lot of information out there about how to not die when the party lasts 4-8hrs, what the heck do you do when you want to go HAM over a weekend? Multi-day events are becoming the norm, as festival culture to continues to explode. To put this in context, there were over 800 festivals in North America, in 2013 alone. This stuff is the new normal, and they’re quite different from club nights.

IMG_1552My peeps ravelrie, NY DanceSafe & Stay Safe Seattle are going to focus on tips for the raver/festival attendee themselves, but I wanted to take this time to directly address fest producers & managers. I worked with the Electronic Music Alliance to develop this Event Safety guide for festival managers. There are a number of tips that most people haven’t thought of, but if ravers are aware of them, they can help mitigate the potential for a bad experience even when the festival is kind of a clusterfuck.

Some of the easiest take aways are:

  • Know where the water/crisis intervention/medical stations are before you have an emergency. This can literally make the difference between life & death.
  • Assume that the water stations will have heavy lines & no one will have extra ear plugs. Bring multiple pairs of those & more than one pair of sunglasses, especially for events with a heavy day component. There’s nothing worse than having your shades break on day one and squinting in 3 days worth of pictures.
  • Know the route from the stage(s) back to your tent in daylight & the dark without relying on too many landmarks. One of the biggest issues newbie Burning Man attendees have is the day after the Man burns, no one can find their way around because they were using “the man” as a guide post to locate themselves.
  • Start consuming gatorade & electrolytes after the 1st day. The water stations don’t take into account the fact that you’ve been sweating & pissing salts out for 24hrs, and the opposite of dehydration can kick on when you don’t have enough salts.
  • Pick up your garbage from your campsite gradually over the weekend, such that you don’t have a massive clean-up task when the event is over.
  • Have a plan to get there AND TO GET HOME. No one wants to be the guy who is hitching a ride away from the festival.

There’s a lot to talk about so join us at 4:30pm EST/1:30 PM PST for #FestFriday on Twitter!

Mix Of The Weekend: Above & Beyond – Robot Heart Yoga – Burning Man 2014

This is the stuff that dreams are made of folks. A full hour of AnjunaBeats infused Yoga music from the playa, at Robot Heart, at sunset. Every single Yoga studio in NYC needs to just get Elena Brower’s permission and play the hell out of this. The collective blood pressure of NYC would go down. Not a whole lot to say about music like this, it’s kind of stuff that’s hard to put into words.

Tracklist

1 Jon Hopkins – Abandon Window [DOMINO]
2 Peter Gabriel – The Nest That Sailed The Sky
3 Jon Hopkins – Immunity [DOMINO]
4 Ólafur Arnalds – Only For The Winds (Ryan Davis A Letter From Far Away Variation) [ANJUNADEEP]
5 Ólafur Arnalds – Near Light [ERASED TAPES]
6 Andrew Bayer – Let’s Hear That B Section Again [ANJUNABEATS]
7 Above & Beyond – Small Moments Like These [ANJUNABEATS]
8 Above & Beyond – Sun In Your Eyes [ANJUNABEATS]

Hometown Fire: REsy

For this edition of Hometown Fire, I’m delighted to feature one of the hardest working ladies in the NYC underground & Burner community. While I’ve mentioned her before, she’s fought her way through the Gotham underground and earned a slot at Sankeys NYC, the UK super-club transplant that opened this fall (discussed here by me previously). This is a HUGE win for fans of the silky smooth & soulful signature sound that seeps from the speakers whenever she slips onto the decks. There’s a deep, almost tribal quality to some of the more intense moments of her mixes, something that you couldn’t ignore if you caught her set at GlamTech. There’s a bunch more on her Soundcloud before.

To reiterate, one of the shooting stars of the underground is spinning at one of the most underrated clubs in the city. She’s setting up for Reda Briki, a dance institution in his own right, but this post is not for him. It’s for Resy. Because she drops it like it is much warmer than it is outside my apartment right now. Get tickets for it here.

Ten Questions with Terry Gotham: Electric Candy Couture

1. For anyone who didn’t read any of the promo/information materials, can you give us a brief overview of what Electric Candy Couture is? Electric Candy Couture is my line of glowing & light-up wearable art. I laser cut and engrave acrylic components, and use stainless steel chains and rings to make jewelry, accessories, and costumes. I’m a huge fan of ancient mythology and lore, so I’ve poured a lot of that inspiration into my work, blending old world aesthetics with modern materials. The pieces fuse neon with Neolithic, to evoke an incredible other-worldliness. Two of my most popular pieces: I’ve designed Egyptian-style shoulder armor that lights up, and valkyrie-inspired halter tops that look like shimmering rainbow feathers. When people wear my stuff, jaws hit the floor all around them. It transports people into a fantasy. There’s nothing out there quite like it.
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Party of the Month: Black & Light Ball: Enter The Golden Age

http://kostumekult.com/events/blb13/ An amazing party that starts with a Sunset…set from some stellar DJs in an amazing space. Get there early to ensure you don’t miss a second of the shenanigans.

As April showers turn into…May showers, the annual unholy alliance between Kostume Kult & DiSORIENT comes out of the gray rainy mists to dazzle the denizens of Gotham City. While DiSORIENT has pulled off amazing stuff documented around here previously, I’ve not mentioned Kostume Kult yet. They’re one of the best & most flamboyant crews in the NYC burner community. Even though the event is technically in June I’m going to be excited about it all month, so here’s the event not to miss in the next 4 weeks.

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Party of the Month: GlamTech by Disorient

Just in time to welcome the spring, DiSORIENT is busting out one of their signature events. You know it’s time for GlamTech when all of your friends start getting allergies and/or start planning out how they’re going to cover a tuxedo jacket with mirrors. Including the tails. Because, go big or go home. While DiSORIENT is known for its flair & general bon vivant affairs, this one brings out some really well done costumes & sets every year.

The Diamond is an interesting theme, one that does require a lot of work, a bunch on pressure and some heat to create. There shall probably be a liberal dose of blinky-shiny being invented by the many tinker/hackers that populate the event, and of course, art, video & 2 rooms of music. Because expecting anything less from DiSORIENT is essentially passe at this point. While I’ve sadly missed the event for the last two years in a row, the third time is certainly a charm. And, it seems my reward is a merry band of DJs that are going to rock le house.

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