Dancing With the Digital Shamans





"Given that
everything in reality is made of vibrations, sound science is extremely
important because it has the unique ability to tune, harmonize, and modify people's
vibrations (our journey). Within a sound-scape, one can transcend the physical
realm and take sonic leaps and bounds of personal growth. Music brings people
of all walks of life together, and it also heals the mind, body, and
soul."

 ~ Julian Reyes /
Keyframe-Entertainment (Executive Producer, Electronic Awakening)

——————————-

Interview with Julian
Reyes, Executive Producers and Music Director for the documentary ELECTRONIC
AWAKENING by Terra Celeste

Across the Evolver
network many Spores and community groups are hosting screenings of the
Documentary film “Electronic Awakening”. 
Julian Reyes is Executive Producer and Music Director for the film.    In
this interview, we discuss the creative and healing nature of sound and
vibration, particularly in the Electronic Music world. 

TC: Thinking back through your life,
was there a key experience or moment when you knew you wanted to work with
music?  Was it specifically electronic
music?  (or, when did Electronic music
become part of your Journey?)

Julian
Reyes: My earliest childhood connections to music were with Cumbia, Bolero,
Flamenco, Salsa and Classical. My Colombian roots and my mother’s love for Classical
shaped my perception of and passion for music from an early age.

I consider
the “active” birth of the Techno movement to be the Break Dancing era.  I realize that the music was being created
prior to this period. Nevertheless, the breakers embraced it fully: it wasn’t a
fad, it was actually (and still is for many) a way of life.  Many years spent in the Miami underground – at
the legendary Edge Club, Zen Festival, WMC, Firestone, and Ultra Music Festival
– sealed it for me. Then, I lived in Orlando for a couple of years during the
height of the Breaks scene, and met amazing artists such as Icey and Baby Anne.
After those experiences, I left for the West Coast, and in 1999 made it to San
Francisco where I experienced the CCC PsyTrance parties, Thump Radio, and
eventually the most amazing event in our country: Burning Man.

My personal
evolution is in tandem with that of Electronic Music’s evolution; my connection
to it is eternal. Sounds grandiose, but I speak from the heart.

TC: What about currently?  What inspires you to continue this work?

Julian
Reyes:

I’m on
auto-pilot at this point. My involvement with the Ultra Music Festival has been
pivotal and working with people like Danny C. from Creator Entertainment is
very inspiring.

Witnessing
the evolution of the music and the culture really motivates me to keep on
nurturing the movement.

Inspiration
comes in many forms: watching up-and-coming talent such as JB Vries, Captain
Hook, and Derek Ryan pave the way, experiencing The Crystal Method tear it up
hard after so many years leading the way, listening to Treavor Moontribe’s
Techno mixes, enjoying amazing visuals by Dr. Paradise and Psyberpixie, knowing
that the Synchronize crew, Phoenix Family, and Geomagnetic is holding it down
for the PsyTrance community in SF, people like Kri in NC and Roe Revolution in
Miami are also inspiring, hearing my son play piano and rap to Electronic
Music, throwing down at events such as Opulent Temple and SteadySF, so many
things move me…. I see the music and hear it everywhere, and when it’s not
there… I do what I can to facilitate it.

TC: What is Electronic music?

Julian
Reyes:

Electronic
Music is modern shamanism; it is the evolution of ritualized drum circles. The
music is a key that digital shamans utilize to move, inspire, teach, and heal
others.

From a
global perspective, Electronic Music is spiritual technology that can help
humanity open metaphysical doors to a realm of infinite possibilities.  The world can benefit from the energy,
community, and love felt on the dance floor by so many – “Electronic Awakening”
speaks directly to that.

I’ve always
felt that Electronic Music is a beacon from the Singularity. It is technology’s
way of letting us know that it is awakening.

TC: As an Artist Manager, you work
with DJ’s who create this (electronic) music – Does the DJ have a role in
shaping society? Is this specific to sound culture? Or, what is that role (if
any)?

Julian
Reyes:

There is a
quote from the film that answers this question: “…The DJs are our priests, and
the music is our religion….”

And what a
beautiful religion it is (speaking metaphorically of course).  It includes everyone, it doesn’t judge you.  It empowers you to dance “like no one is
watching,” it introduces you to many great souls, and it encourages us to be
comfortable with our uniqueness.

Electronic
Music allows you to embrace others and yourself. It breaks down language
barriers, economic divisions, and invites us to experience each other as
equals.  Everyone on the dance floor
becomes one organism, or what we really are: ONE. The DJs enable this
alchemy. 

Similar
vision is experienced at other events and other styles of music. i.e Sufis,
Native American dances, Woodstock-like festivals are example of that, all
ceremonies are extensions of music culture.

For a real
powerful look into this phenomena please check out:
Global Beat Fusion which suggests that “by listening to a culture’s music
you gain direct access to the soul of that culture” www.globalbeatfusion.com.

TC:  I love electronic music mainly because I love
to dance.  While watching ELECTRONIC
AWAKENING there were moments when I was wondering, how will we keep the
audience seated?   For me, dancing is not
about performance – it’s about expression.   Globally, ELECTRONIC AWAKEING points to tribal
cultures arising focused around this form of expression.  How does dancing tie in to the tribal sound
culture?  Is it important for individuals
to dance?  Is dancing ‘medicine’?

Julian
Reyes:

There are
so many ways to answer that question. Allow me to quote a friend from
DancingFreedom.com:  “The paths of Dance
are Ecstatic, Somatic, Shamanic & Expressive”.  Ecstatic and Shamanic are similar, but there
are important differences. Somatic focuses on the body and can also be very
beneficial to your emotions. I believe we experience different degrees of these
paths when we interact with sound.

One could
say that “Performing” is a part of “Expression.”  I feel that dancing is absolutely essential to
a culture’s identity, traditional values, and future understanding.

“Electronic
Awakening” covers this topic in depth, and it explains how we move and direct
energy through our dancing as an art form, while sharing this experience with others
at the same time.  Dancing is medicine to
me; it is a ritualistic and liberating. 
The appreciation of music can be just as powerful.

I recently
attended a Taiko drumming festival, and the visions I experienced were very strong.
After some research I came across this information:

Taiko drums are handmade by professional drum makers in Japan. It
is believed that the spirit of the trees from which the wood came, as well as
the spirit of the builders of the drum, and even the performers who played them
over the years come to embody each drum. The sound of today’s performance comes
from the spiritual bond between the performer and this deep tradition.

And this
passage was very powerful to me for two reasons. First, in the film we explore
the different metaphysical “pacts” that dancers make with sound energy… because
what we’re really talking about here is the interaction with energy (dancing).
Secondly, I’ve always felt that every object carries an energy signature, something
like a DNA imprint of every person that object has come in contact with. One
can extrapolate from this and apply it to a vinyl record, CD, or digital sound.
What we hear is the physical manifestation of the sound, but what we perceive
metaphysically is much deeper… and the expression is manifested in the dance.

TC: What was the ‘goal’ when you decided
to work as Producer + Music Director with the documentary ELECTRONIC
AWAKENING? 

Julian
Reyes:

From a
music perspective: Andrew (the Director) and I knew that we wanted a Shpongle
track from the beginning… that was essential.

Including a
track from The Crystal Method was epic, those are living legends right there
and they represent an entire generation of Electronic Music. The goal was also
to bring some Psy in the mix, Cosmosis included a great track and the interview
with Goal Gil is just perfect. The Androcell track “Atmo-Spheres” is truly majestic;
every time I hear it in the movie… it just leaves me speechless. Jason Knight
and Sheff bang out some serious Techno, and Vibrasphere adds tracks that are sonic
bliss.

There were
multiple goals:  to help, to inspire, to
inform, to promote the artists who work so hard, to be a source of positivity,
to create prosperity for Electronic Dance Music culture, to entertain and to
share.

From a
production perspective: We wanted to create something different, something
unique to our culture. We spend time in the film encouraging people to find
happiness within (accepting who you are). The film itself can be perceived as a
conduit of love.

I think if
more people on the planet experienced self-love, they would be more accepting
of others.

TC: You’ve described music as
‘healing to mind, body and soul’ – for you, has working with music always about
healing, uniting, transcending?  Or was
there some point or moment of realization when your work took on a new or
deeper meaning?

Julian
Reyes:

When I
understood that Electronic Music was an integral force driving my personal
evolution, I realized that it had the potential to help others transcend.

I couldn’t
pin point a specific moment, what I can say is that helping and inspiring
others has always been part of my life. And the deeper my journey takes me the
more I realize that my mission is to inspire those who inspire others (DJs,
producers, VJs, performers, and promoters).

There is
also the Technology factor; my entire professional career has been within the
Computer Graphics realm. My visual interaction and passion with technology is
as important as the sonic.

TC: Sound is said to be healing, can
it also be harmful?   

Julian
Reyes: Sometimes harm helps you evolve; other times safety and comfort make you
complacent.

Even a
teenager banging out to Gabber derives a certain type of healing. An observer
may not understand this experience in that moment.  And I feel that this is one of the reasons
why rave culture is so misunderstood. It’s easy to judge what you don’t
understand…. I would like the world to be more accepting of our culture.

I think
sound has unlimited potential.

TC: Where can one discover more
information on sound healing and spirituality as shown in ELECTRONIC
AWAKENING? 

Julian
Reyes:

As it
relates to the film, I feel that sound healing begins with ALLOWANCE.  Allow yourself to just BE.  We spend so much of our everyday lives trying
to “control” everything.

The dance
floor offers you the opportunity just to BE, and to share that BE-ing with
everyone else.

The DNA of
sound healing can be found in the drum and every subsequent evolution of all musical
instruments.

There are
countless resources on the Web for the different methodologies; the main thing
to remember is to stay open to exploration and to “let go”… enjoy the dance
floor, it is sacred.

TC: Landscapes fill the backdrop of
our visual perception and also give a sense of topography or shape to the
land.  You master the soundscape of the
documentary ELECTRONIC AWAKENING as Music Director; can you share a bit about
your process in creating the audio topography for this powerful documentary?

Julian:

The audio
topography was a real collaboration. We had support from many on this journey, and
the Director (AC Johner) also played a key role in the music selection.

My main
objective was to include a wide variety of styles and artists, as long as “something”
in the music resonated with the viewer, I was happy.

Timing and
placement were very important; some tracks just seemed to magically fit into
place, like utter serendipity.

First we
locked down the story and matched the proper video footage, then the music completed/filled
each scene. Phuture Primitive and Bird of Prey lent a very modern feeling. Our
friends from Moontribe were great contributors and we had people with great
ideas like Liana, Saturnia, Satsi and Drew Martinez (The editor).

I would say
that the process was one of complete collaboration and fluid creativity.

TC: ELECTRONIC AWAKENING brings up the concept of dancers and DJ’s being
deeply unified through music, having shared experiences, emotions – unified
hearts and minds on the dance floor.  What
about off the dance floor, do you experience this unity carry through into
everyday life? (if yes, in what way?)

Julian:

My personal
life is filled with this unity and I am very grateful for that.

The
Electronic Dance Music community is very strong and active, just take a look at
some of the Burning Man projects out there… those are year around.

When I step
out of my circle, I see a lot of discord and elitism.

And then
you have movements like OWS that gives us that sense of bonding… that unity
that is so obvious on the dance floor. And if you look closer in that movement,
you will see a drum, you will hear a chant, you will see a dance. It’s all
interconnected.

 In my
opinion, that is the problem with the “1%”, they are too busy looking after
their empires, that they miss the whole point of the living experience.

TC: What do you see as the future of
tribal sound culture?   

“Electronic
Awakening” takes you on a wonderful voyage and covers a lot of history,
insight, and theory, but it also places a powerful marker on the ground.  That marker for the future is stated
brilliantly by Terence McKenna in the last scene.

What I see
in the future is more prosperity and growth. I think now Sociologists and
Anthropologists are starting to take a serious look at our movement. We have
screenings requested from Universities in Brazil and Germany, we’re also talking
to about a dozen Universities here in the U.S. to screen the film in their
campuses.

The legacy
for me is to guide the masses, EDM culture is the guiding light for the rest of
the world. We’re not the only guiding light of course, but we are the ones that
adhere to PLUR. We are the ones that love Burning Man’s 10 principles. We are
the ones that push the envelope in music production and do not make money the
primary drive (especially in Psy). We are the ones that want to include all.
Doesn’t matter what you look like, what you wear, what you sound like, what
color, what preference… “we accept you”. The world needs more of that; the
world needs more ELECTRONIC MUSIC… and it’s on its way.

TC: Is there anything else you’d
like to add?

Julian:

I’d like to
thank you for this interview and allowing me the forum to mention people who
work so hard in our culture. I’m glad that our film resonated; we worked for
many years on it and are very happy with the final film. I’ve watched it many
times and I always feel gratitude. Glad to be collaborating with collectives
such as the
Electronic Music Alliance and Evolver. Glad
to have such wonderful friends that helped us along the way, friends that
contributed to our Kickstarter campaign at the very beginning. I’m happy to
collaborate with people like Yvette Soler of
Infinite Connections, Megan Young of the Boom Festival and Jonah Bolt of Starseed Energy Radio.

Most
importantly I’d like to thank Andrew Johner and the
producers and interviewees for their time and energy, this film was possible because
of their collaboration.  It’s an honor to
be involved in such a great project. Hearing from people say things like: “This
is a film that I can show my parents, so they can understand my life better..”
or “As a producer of Electronic Music this film answers a lot of questions…”
let’s me know we are making a difference.

“Electronic Awakening” is like experiencing a geometric prism;
everyone will see different things in it. 
At the end of the day I hope everyone sees that we can make a
difference, that we can make this world a better place.

You can
find more about ELECTRONIC AWAKENING, including information on scheduled
screenings at
www.ElectronicAwakening.com