The Y2K14 International Live Looping Festival was a perfect storm of creativity, opportunity and a family atmosphere that united dozens of loop artists and visual performers from both sides of the country and from three continents. The organizers took a deliberate interest in programming loop artists that are unique in their approach and execution of their art onstage. I was reminded of music camps I went to years ago that kept you immersed in a creative dialogue with not only yourself, but also your fellow artists from the time you woke up until the time you went to bed.
Manu and I got to know each other as much as our couple of weeks on the road allowed us. I was always quick to help him set up his gear. His too, takes up every square inch of a six foot table. (That’s 1.82 meters if you are reading this in France) With Manu, I found him to be such a gentle and caring soul that has lived a thousand times and every time has been reborn as a creative cleric. We spoke about life back in France and our creative inspirations. I found him to be soft spoken, but his words that he did share were always encouraging and loving.
Earlier I compared his music to mobiles and light. Manu is a man full of light and love. The morning after his headlining performance, we all had to bid ‘adieu’ to Manu. His path on the looper tour route turned east in Santa Cruz and took him back home. Like any loop, it will come full circle and Manu and I will have the chance for a creative synergy once again. A bientôt mon frère musical.
In the coming weeks I will blog about my experiences further down the tour route. The Southern California Loop Music Festival brought me in league with new artists, some years in the making. The night after the SoCal Fest ended, I was in a packed events center east of Hollywood watching the one artist he single handedly brought me into the world of live looping. Who that was and what happened will be coming to my blog in the coming weeks…..
On tour in Long Beach, California USA
Oct. 25, 2014
I will say this. The Seattle-Tacoma area (or SeaTac for those in the know) has culled more new fans then any place I think I have ever played. A number of friends of mine and music contacts had always told me, "You need to go to Seattle...or Portland, people there love outside the box stuff." The past week of shows has shown that to be very true. The fans at the festivals I have performed at and the events and venues in between have been supportive and have invested in the Just Alliance swag I have brought on the road to sell.
As far as the area itself, it is unlike my native high desert of Las Vegas. Green trees everywhere(!) you look and a the people here in the Northwest seem to have a more clearly defined identity and culture than some of the spots I have performed at in the past. I have also been very impressed with the independent music shops I have checked out. A wide selection and a number of pieces available that you didn't know existed....or you forgot about.
The past three days have delivered an incredible amount of creativity from the artist roster of the Northwest Loop Festival. Three days and nights of performance divided between two states and a dozen or so loop artist that have music as unique as the men and women that perform it. Chapman stick performers, avant-garde artists, noise music, guitar players, singer-songwriters, mandolion players and even a stray vocal loop artist or two.
And these are just the first night of performers....
The first night was like an 'Dirty Dozen,' 'Inglorious Basterds,' 'Maginificent Seven' kind of movie where the first act is devoted to each of the characters and their respective expertise. Thursday night at the Royal Room in Seattle was not any different. Men and and women who had existed through emails, social media and an occasional phone calls were now flesh and blood and they were now showcasing their own music from Paris, Osaka, Los Angeles, Denver, San Antonio, Stockholm and beyond.
To see so many varied types of loop artists in one place was beyond spoiling my creative palette. It was a celebration of kindred and creative spirits. Many had just driven, flown or taken a train that day. Once food, drink and a bit of fellowship were imbibed in, many of us settled in and found our own niche socially speaking and the same person who 24 hrs prior only existed on paper was now your dinner buddy, or giving you a ride or providing you with a place to stay.
There is so many things I want to write about and convey to friends and fans worldwide, I am going to have to spread it out over a few blogs. Instead I can start by simply saying: being a part of this is one of the best ventures I have ever done in my career and I am very proud of it and my fellow artists.
Now with a trio of festival performances behind me on this tour a number of others outside of the festival circuit, I am more motivated ever to push my self harder, dig deeper into my artistic well, and also learn from those around me about what makes them tick both on an offstage. I have included a few behind-the-scenes pics from the festival. The legendary backstage parties and fare of concerts doesn't show up here. Instead the realities of the road are reflected. 10 hour drives. 20 hour international flights. Sleeping 4 to a room. Sound check. Downbeat. Load out. Repeat...
But man......is it awesome. I wouldn't have it any(!) other way.
Near Seattle, Washington USA
P.S. Mark Taylor with Allstate Insurance......the team at Design One Printing and the massive support from Electro Voice and Fusion Bags has been incredibly generous in their support for my tour. I thank them all for being part of my corporate sponsorship team.
Yesterday's workshop at Yakima Valley Community College was a very rewarding experience. The students I had the opportunity to teach were in the earlier part of their college years and had to yet to transfer to area four year colleges to start on the selective (music) degrees. The performance two hours earlier served as the first official performance of my fall tour and with the first show behind me I am very excited for the coming Seattle show in two days time.
Today was great. Slept in. Woke up. Got cleaned up. Then went out into Yakima Town to find breakfast. Fortunately I found a place that has some of the breakfast fare that reminds me of some of my haunts in Vegas. If you get the chance, check out Waffles Café. Their food is on point and the cast of characters in there is better than cable television. Went back into the historical district and ran into Joshua Ellis. A mutual friend introduced before I left town and he and I made plans to link up. I’ve read a number of Josh’s efforts in websites and newspapers showcasing the Vegas music and arts scene the past couple of years, so to discover he now lived on my tour route and he was available to hang, was very cool.
It is great when you find somebody that shares similar interests, but it is rare that you find a person that burns just as bright as you do with a furious passion about obscure and often times, unrelated interests. Over hot chocolate (mine) and coffee (his) we both communicated a deep love for Daniel Lanois. To the casual reader, Daniel Lanois might not be a name you recognize. If you list off Willie Nelson, U2 and The Neville Brothers then the light bulb goes off. The common thread: Daniel Lanois. Oh, and it is pronounced Lan (as in Land….but the “D” is silent) wah.
Say it with me…Lan-wah. Lan……wah.
The sound Lanois culls from the both sides of the console, and onstage is incredible. If you want to listen to one his more famous works, take a listen to his track The Maker, a number artists have covered it…spacious, sincere and a quiet intimacy…love this track. Joshua Ellis and I talked for a long time about our love for Lanois and his frequent partner in the studio Brian Eno…..but that is another blog for another time.
My afternoon was spent at Yakima Valley Community College getting a grand tour of the music facilities. I also discovered that YVCC has been busy putting up fliers for my concert/workshop that is being held (checks watch) ….in 12 hrs. I met a number of the students and young musicians there and they all expressed interest and anticipation for my workshop and I am just as excited (see: way more excited) to be invited to their school.
Tomorrow is spent at YVCC then off to Seattle! I hear that the drive from Yakima to Seattle is beautiful. Washington is divided into West and East….no….not a Tupac/Biggie thing…but between wet and dry sides of the state. This time tomorrow, I will be in the green wooded confines of the greater Seattle area.
Performance is at 12pm….Workshop is at 2pm ….
See you then…
Yakima, Washington USA
Finally after close to ten months of planning the tour is off and running! Left Vegas around 7:30am on Oct.4 and arrived in Boise around 10pm. I can't really say much about Boise, we were only there for 10 hours...I will say this though, Dutch Bros. is one of the best cups of hot chocolate I've ever had! Went there after sushi and gyros then crashed out at a motel that was one step above a bus station platform.
Woke this morning in Boise and had breakfast at a local supermarket, gassed up, then dropped by a souvenir shop to pick up a few knick knacks. Hit the open road and took Interstate 84 through some of the most diverse landscapes I have ever seen. Hills, valleys, mountains, deserts, forests and even a prairie! The prairie was my favorite, probably because I am a movie snob....uh...I mean geek. It totally looked like something out of Dances With Wolves.
Tomorrow is checking out the Yakima Valley Community College to see where I am doing the 12 noon performance, (last check it was the Student Union) and also the looping workshop. Some incredible companies are to thank for helping me achieve a national tour under my own power, I will bring them to the spotlight in a coming blog. Stay tuned, much more tour news to come! Where this blog finds you in the world, I hope you are happy and healthy.
Yakima, Washington U.S.A.
Just Alliance's Blog
Thoughts, ideas and musical musings from this Silver State Loop Artist.