Photo Credit: www.tonyedwardsphoto.com
We are pleased to share our second edition of our international artist interview series for Symbiosis Gathering. We have been fortunate to catch up with Australian bass producer Bumble who travels globally offering his unique earth-bass soundscapes. Max has performed at Symbiosis Gathering for consecutive years (2015-2016) and continues to impress festival audiences world-wide through is funky dance floor flavor. His intention for reconnecting to nature and all life on earth is beautifully reflected in his music production. We are grateful to have had a chance to ask some questions about his musical process and his experience as a cross-cultural performer. Enjoy!
Breaking Borders: Symbiosis is a unique global gathering, what makes it special to you and how does it stand out among other similar events?
Bumble: Festival culture across the planet is thriving and the communities that inhabit these environments are engaged in everything that is on offer. Amongst the thousands of festivals I have participated in, last year’s Symbiosis Gathering was my peak experience not only from an artist’s perspective, but from a festival participant perspective. Last year I caught amazing workshops, witnessed Saul Williams do spoken word, caught a plethora of musical genres that moved me on elaborate stage design. I was dazzled by epic large artwork. and surrounded by the most colorful friendly people. Unlike some other events where FOMO (fear of missing out) on what’s happening over there in another area sometime guides my movements, at Symbiosis I always felt in the right spot at the right time. It was magic.
Your music has become quite popular in the USA (primarily on the west coast). What’s your opinion on that? Why do you think the Australian bass scene has become so attractive here?
Sitting in my studio set deep into a national park north of Sydney, it never dawns on me in the moment that the audio ripples that are created there would fan out across the planet. But it does. I am blown away by the reality that people dig my music and the great platform that creates for the stories I want to tell. Generally speaking there are some truly talented folks in Australia making bass music and they deserve all the attention they get, and some that you have not yet heard of that will be gracing your ears soon. Aside from the talent, I think Australia and the USA have been aligned for decades and the flow back and forth of culture has been fluid during this period.
What is the significance of your chosen artist name “Bumble”? You seem to feel strongly about the consciousness surrounding bees? How did that come about?
The alias Bumble was gifted to me by some friends during a late evening/early morning 10 years ago. It has shifted from its previous intention which defined me as a busy bee, into a platform to express my feelings about this amazing world that we live in. My respect for this planet and all its organisms, including birds, bees, humans, plants, trees and fungi’s is profound and I actively engage a positive relationship with her. Through all my projects including my bush regeneration business in Australia to the tree planting festivals we produce and the stories I tell in my music I like to help others connect with the amazing world we live together with.
Your music contains a lot of organic instrumentation and vocals, how does it feel to fuse acoustic sounds into your intricate electronic production?
I love working with organic instruments. My musical journey saw me first playing in Punk, Hardcore and Ska bands and my first instrument that I played (although badly), the Trumpet. I went on to play a lot of guitar in a string of bands that would occasionally tour Australia. There is so much grit and form in organic instruments and I love recording and manipulating these to compliment my electronic creations. I have always written/co-written all the vocal content for the concept albums, that my good friend and actor Steven Kennedy helps mouth to tell the stories on my full length albums. These interludes form a storyline that I love sharing. I will continue to do so, stay tuned for a full length release prior to the Symbiosis Eclipse 2017.
What’s you opinion on the independent music and art scene today, specifically within global festival culture? Do you see festival culture functioning in a way that challenges to “break down” social norms?
Independent music within the bass festival scene, is show heavy. Meaning that living from your music is dependent on playing shows often. This is great for some, not for others, and can change over time. It is how it is. And for me I cherish the opportunity that this facilitates. I love to travel and share stories and I have met many inspiring people over the years. I am impressed by the solid arts culture that has evolved on the west coast. It is unlike the rest of the world and you should be proud of the flourishing new renaissance.
Festival culture has become very conscious of itself and is providing new stepping stones for change in the real world. Through combining arts and music with workshops and other world improving culture the festival scene has become a starting point for the change we want to see in the world. I think we are kidding ourselves if we think that the movement stops there. Our events need to surpass “leave no trace” into “leave a trace”, beyond personal development into the real world at the festival sites and at home. Festivals that put more back into the sites they inhabit and involving the participants of the festival in this improvement empowers them to take that home into their own communities at home.
Many of your tracks and albums contain deep concepts surrounding nature consciousness. How much does the natural environment influence you and your music? What has inspired you to blend biology into a your productions?
I have always been of the bush. Spent all my time in the forest. At some point post my active direct activism era, I completed a environmental science degree, did a year conservation work in Ecuador, and since then have started my own bush regeneration business, growing this to work with 20 of my friends to deliver healthy ecosystems for the benefit of flora and fauna in national parks and council bushland around Sydney, Australia. Beyond that the positive action tree planting music festival that I co-direct, “Regrowth Festival” (www.re-gen.org.au) has grown to connect youth culture with the environment through enticing youth out through great music and entertainment and give them the opportunity to be part of a positive successful environmental project. It is amazing how the empowerment of being part of a positive project can flow on into people’s lives and can create a wave. I am of nature and therefore it feeds through into my music. I can’t help it.
What is one “life changing” moment or realization you have had in the world since becoming an international musician?
That we are all dancing around the world in these super tight knit strong communities, and that if we choose to harness this energy locally and globally, we can change the world.
Any new projects, tours, concepts to look forward to you?
After the North America tour finishes in Hawaii, I will follow on through into the Australian Summer. Some solid time in the studio with the new album out prior to July 2017, before Symbiosis “Eclipse Festival”. And then be looking to build a solid tour up for the 2017 in North America and beyond.
As part of our preview coverage for Symbiosis Gathering 2016, we are delighted to offer our international artist interview series. Our aim is to bring a personalized addition to our visual coverage by asking questions that align with Breaking Borders’ focus on uncovering untold stories and examining cross cultural exploration in music.
The first interview in our series is with UK world-electronica producer Kaya Project! Seb Taylor, the master behind Kaya Project, has been active for over a decade with 8 released albums. He is known for his collaboration with a wide range of musicians and vocalists from various ethnic backgrounds. He has created an iconic “Live” experience where many of his collaborators play with him on stage fusing live acoustic soundscapes with his beautiful electronic production. This year at Symbiosis, Seb Taylor will be playing a electronic DJ set on Friday night and then join Kaya Project for a very special “Live” set on Saturday morning.
Breaking Borders: Symbiosis is a unique global gathering, what makes it special to you and how does it stand out among other similar events?
Kaya Project: Well, I guess the most special thing for me is that this is actually my first ever Symbiosis! Having heard so many good things from my musician friends I’m finally going to be able to experience it first hand. Pretty excited I have to say. I’ve also been told it is affectionately known as ‘Swimbiosis’ due to the current location, So I’m glad to have an opportunity to splash around this year (I love swimming) before it moves to a different location next time around. Perhaps you will need to ask me this question after I’ve actually been there, ha ha… then I’ll have a better personal perspective on the true nature of the festival. But suffice to say, I’m expecting some special moments for sure.
We are very excited for your “live” performance of Kaya Project, do you have anything special in store us?
Coming fresh from a European leg of the tour, I’ve had the great pleasure of Performing alongside some of my favorite musicians, & this California show will be the first time Kaya Project has performed within the home territory of the lead vocalist, Irina Mikhailova (as most of you know) is the Kazakhstani Singer who has been part of the project since it’s inception. She has spent many years living in San Francisco, with frequent annual trips over to Europe, but this will be the debut Kaya Project gig in her own backyard so to speak. So from that point of view I consider it a pretty special show. We shall also be joined by Montreal based Guitarist Israel Galipeau who most recently played with us at BOOM festival (Portugal) & Whirl-Y-Fayre (U.K.) Also, in keeping with the California Vibe, We have prepared a couple of exclusive reworkings of Remixes that I did for David Starfire, looking forward to playing those ones out.
You are a artist who travels the world and creates a “world soundscape” through music production. What drew you to this work, and what inspires you to keep going?
From a musical perspective I could say that hearing the album “Songs From The Victorious City’ by Jaz Coleman & Anne Dudley was a huge inspirational moment for me. Back in 1991 & I hadn’t really started to produce music properly. I remember experiencing major goosebumps & thinking how amazing it was, this fusion of Moroccan music with Western Electronic production. Who can really say what inspires an artist to keep going, I just know that as long as I feel the music inside of me I hope I’ll always have an opportunity to be making it!
4. We’ve seen you collaborate both on records and on stage with talented musicians from around the world like Randolph Matthews and Irina Mikhailova. What’s your favourite part about working with such diverse talent, representing different cultural and music backgrounds?
Its an honour to work with Irina & Randolph, & I still vividly recall the exact moment I heard both of their voices for the first time. Strangely enough both times were during Soundchecks for events I was also booked to perform at. Irina was singing for Medicine Drum in Mexico (close to the pyramids of Teotihuacan) & Randolph in the slightly less mystical setting of the legendary Turnmills Bar in east London., ha ha! But the effect on me in both instances was identical, I was transported. One of the Joys of working on Kaya Project material is the ability to fuse as many different cultures as sonically reasonable. As long as they sound harmonious & part of a coherent greater sonic picture to me then that is the sole requirement. Besides the amazing Randolph & Irina, I have to mention Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Shahin Badar, Natasha Chamberlain, Flo Comment, Deepak Pandit & numerous other incredible international players I’ve had the great fortune to collaborate with.
Your album …& So It Goes is primarily a world acoustic album, where as most of your projects contain an electronic element, hence the recent remix album of …& So it Goes. Tell us about your experience with both sonic hemispheres and why you like to fuze global acoustic sounds with electronic music?
Yes indeed, “..& So It Goes” was the first entirely acoustic album from Kaya Project. It was a conscious decision for me to remove all electronic sounds from the project, & focus primarily on Live instrumentation. In a way this has made Kaya Project stand out from many other acts in the scene I guess, (the lack of electronic sounds I mean). It has also been a very useful in making the music more ‘timeless’ so to speak. The latest album “So It Was” is indeed fully electronic, I enlisted all my favorite producers to rework & remix the original tracks, people like Desert Dwellers, Gaudi, Bwoy De Bhajan, Kukan Dub Lagan, David Starfire & many others, all contributed to making a great & wide ranging electronic remix album. In fact I do love to have the two opposite sonic hemispheres of Kaya Project represented and in a way compartmentalized away from each other, The Organic original albums (& associated Live show), compared to the electronic remixes (& associated DJ sets).
What’s your opinion on music production today, specifically the global festival culture becoming a strong global community and a means to “break down borders”? (cultural difference, societal norms, creative expression, etc.) What is the best part about being a key player in this artistic revolution?
Well, more than anything you could say the Internet has been the greatest means of breaking down cultural & geographic borders over the last ten years, although I do like to think music has had a strong part to play as well! I see my friends playing in places like Beirut & i think back to how I first heard of all those middle eastern places on the news throughout my childhood. Now music is truly bridging east & west in a way that was only dreamt about before. The Internet has made such connections & cultural pathways possible. It’s important to understand that you should be respectful of other people’s beliefs (whether or not you agree with them), & while I tend to steer clear of any direct religious connotations in Kaya Project, there are certain times where it can be a significant indicator of just how similar we all are. The track ‘One God Dub’ on our 2005 Album ‘Elixir’ for example has musicians from many different faiths all performing as one harmonious entity. Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Atheist & Shinto musicians all perform on that one track. That is another reason I’ve always been drawn to instrumental music, free from any lyrical dogma or doctrine, just a direct undeniable musical connection.
Many of your projects are compilations of field recordings you’ve recorded around the world. How much does the natural environment influence you and your music?
Regarding the environment, It’s not something I would say is intentional, however I have spent a lot of time recording in deserts and other strange exotic locations. But for me I have to say the focus is more on the music and musicians than the environment in which they are recorded. Having said that, there’s nothing I find more inspirational than rainfall! You could call me a Pluviophile for sure and I guess that is pretty useful when you live in England. It rains quite a lot of the time there, plenty of inspiration to be had for a rain freak like myself.
Any future projects, tours, collabs to look forward to?
Well, collabs are on the back burner as I’ve been on the road so much this year. Happy to say that USA is now on the agenda (having only played over here a handful of times before), So I hope to be performing on these shores quite a few times over the next two or three years. But on the immediate horizon are gigs in Canada (Vancouver & Toronto), Seattle, Israel, Australia, Spain, Guatemala, Mexico…. and a few more far flung places:) With any luck there will be some studio time to get creating some fresh Kaya Project and Hibernation music at some point, (I still have plenty of Inspiration for those particular projects)…. Just a lack of time to actually create the music due to all the traveling. But hey, patience is a virtue. I’m looking forward to seeing where my muse takes me next when the opportunity presents itself 🙂
SYMBIOSIS SET TIMES:
- Seb Taylor (DJ Set) – 6:45-8pm (FRI) @ Family Circus
- Kaya Project (Live Set) – 6:30-8am (SAT) @ Silk Road
Now in it’s 11th year, the Symbiosis community is gathering one last time at Woodward reservoir (outside Oakdale, CA) before finding a new home in Oregon for the 2017 solar eclipse. Here is our preview of what you can’t miss at Symbiosis.
Symbiosis is first and foremost a music festival. And it does an impressive job of satisfying lovers of all kinds of music. The Swimbiosis stage, Symbiosis’ signature stage features a dusty dancefloor that backs up onto the swimmable reservoir. It will kick off Friday with a Desert Hearts takeover followed by a sunset set from Shiba San. Saturday it will be home to a bit more bass and close down with Random Rab’s soothing downtempo in the evening.
House heads will be found hanging out at The Grotto, where the Dirtybird crew, led by Justin Martin and Claude von Stroke will hold it down Friday night. Psy Trance fans will be sure to catch European legend Ace Ventura and California’s own Treavor Moontribe here as well. Once this stage gets bumpin’ midday Saturday, it will roll through the night only to slow down Monday morning.
Other stages like Juke Town and Silk Road will feature a bit of everything including some of our favorite international acoustic and live-tronic acts. These will be home to acts like Nicola Cruz from Ecuador, Bumble from Australia, Kaya Project from England and the Brooklyn Gypsies from New York. Beats Antique, a headlining artist, will be having their own takeover of the Silk Road stage on Saturday night, featuring one of the most diverse stage line ups we’ve ever scene:
Family Circus stage will cater to the global bass heavy artists like Desert Dwellers, Ott and All-Seeing I, Dimond Saints, Dragonfly and UK dubstep pioneer Plastician.
The largest stage will be The Fringe, where headliners like RL Grime and Gramatik will undoubtedly melt faces. These bass heavy sets will be mixed in with female led groups like Rising Appalachia, FKA Twigs and Santigold as well as the wonky musings of Opiou, Ta Ku and Dirtwire.
On top of these six stacked stage, Symbiosis prides itself as a home for artists like Android Jones and Performers like the Vau de Vire Society. These creators will take over live painting murals and decorate the stages with fire twirling and dramatic theatrics.
Speakers and Luminaries are also a can’t-miss part of this experience. Wade Davis will be among them. He is known for his work with indigenous cultures and reminding us why ancient wisdom matters today. The long-time Native American activist Winona Laduke will also be speaking on the importance of diversity in democracy.
The vibe of Symbiosis Gathering is intentionally designed to get you out of your comfort zone and into a new temporary community. A creative melting pot of cultures who come together through music, art and love. Symbiosis prides itself on being innovative and novel. This year they have brought back all six stages from last year including a few new renditions. As there is a slight rearrangement of the festival ground, the organizers are showing what it means to be prolific and inspirational but also new and ever more exciting. In doing this they provide participants with the opportunity to get out of their own skin, creating just the right conditions for artists and dancers alike to have transformational experiences.
In sticking with our mission, Breaking Borders will be focusing on the incredible amount of internationally based and internationally minded artists at Symbiosis. From bass heavy producers in Australia to English DJ’s inspired by middle eastern sounds, we will be sure to catch a diverse mix of music.
We also have several interviews in the works. Look for our conversations with artists here before and after the gathering!
Symbiosis Gathering 2016: Family Tree is returning for a final time to Woodward Reservoir this September. The Breaking Borders team is excited to announce we will be returning to cover this transformative experience now in it’s 11th year.
One of the most impressive attractions of Symbiosis Gathering 2015 was its performance art. With only a month left until the next Gathering, Symbiosis producers have announced their most outstanding performance artist line up yet.
Attendees will find circus and dance troupes like Vau de Vire Society, Wanderlust Circus and Flynn Creek Circus performing near the stages this year. Performing in conjunction with the music, they are known for their acrobatics, wild tumbling and costumed theatrics. The fire twirling antics of these and other performing acts are bound to amaze onlooking attendees.
Wandering Symbiosis attendees will also be able to find a number of musical performances involving comedy, poetry, spoken word and open mics as well. The beatboxing Fungineers and the high flying Rose-City Acro Devils are an act we don’t want to miss.
Lastly, we look forward to the mind-bending live painting and installation art. Headlined by Android Jones, the live painting and mobile galleries are sure to have participants staring for hours.
More on the performances can be found here.
Symbiosis also just announced its Elemental Alchemy line up here.
Look forward to our upcoming music preview next month!