Time for Lucidity Festival is fast approaching. Set from April 10-12th in Goleta, California, this year’s headlining artist is The Polish Ambassador (David Sugalski), an electronic musician and DJ from Oakland, California. TPA is a multi-genre musician, producing styles including electro, breaks, hip-hop, dub, funk, chiptune, and glitchy IDM. His fall 2014 Permaculture Action Tour brought together permaculture educators and community organizers to inspire and educate people about how they can make a shift towards a more sustainable and regenerative way of living, and channel this energy into local project builds in each of the cities visited.
Featuring 3 different stages, Lucidity Festival 2015 lineup also includes renown artists such as Thriftworks, DEFUNK, David Starfire, Wildlight, The Human Experience, Pega5us, Plantrae, Ayla Nereo, and Living Light, to name a few.
Lucidity Festival LLC is a collectively owned organization dedicated to creating Transformational experiences for individuals and communities; a production company, a creative lifestyle brand, and an interconnected community of friends and family. Its mission is to strengthen community through the fostering of the following values: Participation and immersion in the artistic process, Personal growth and global healing, Awake and aware consciousness, Environmental and social responsibility, Family fun and creative play, Communal reciprocity, and Transparency.
Keyframe-Entertainment, a sponsor of the festival, caught up with Lucidity Festival Talent Branch manager Spektrum to discuss new performers, advice on getting booked and changes in the music landscape.
Keyframe: What is your role at Lucidity and what inspires your booking programming?
James Spektrum: This year, my role is Talent Branch Manager, which basically means that I manage the musical and performance talent curation, budgets and contracts. Wooo, spreadsheets!
My programming style changes a bit from year to year depending mostly upon our theme for that particular year. This year it’s Kindred Quest, so I tried to curate the music to suit a bit more of a pulled back vibe.
Keyframe: What musical genres are represented at Lucidity or how would you describe the music range of the festival?
James Spektrum: There is so much to explore musically that it’s really hard to nail down. We have the 3 stages curated by Lucidity on top of the multitude of stages that are contained within our themed Villages (Lovers Nest, Warriors Way and Trixters Playground have really well curated stages), so it’s pretty hard to nail down. But speaking for the Alive stage, the focus is on Devotional, World, Reggae, Blues, Folk, Americana, Hip Hop and Livetronica to name a few.
For the Lucid Stage curated by the Memekast (memekast.com), the vibe is more on the Electronic side of things. Focusing on the bass music styles Glitch Hop, Downtempo, Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Funk and this year we’ll have just a little bit of House to test the waters of slowly changing the programming style a bit.
Finally, the Nomads Stage curated by Music is Love (musicislove.org) features more of a “future beats” vibe, focused on the House, 808, and Trap styles. So I feel like we provide a pretty wide sonic palette overall.
How can DJs enhance their chance of getting booked? What advice would you give up-and-coming producers?
Wow, great questions!
I guess I would start by saying: read the information on the application. Festivals clearly ask for specific things as far as 60-minute mixes for DJs and live videos for live acts. Take a little bit of time to do it right.
Be humble and don’t burn bridges. There is no bigger turn off than an artist who compares himself to other artists, claiming to be better than another artist. It doesn’t matter how many Beatport releases you have or how many clubs you’ve played or who you’ve “shared the decks” with. It’s all about the music and whether it fits the sonic picture that we are trying to paint. Please do yourself a favor and don’t send angry messages to promoters or leave nasty comments on Facebook or Twitter if you don’t get booked. I can’t speak for every festival, but with Lucidity, we listen to every single music submission–which can be up to 800–and it’s a lot of time and work. I’ve been a DJ for years and produce music when I have time on top of my “job.” This means that I’m fortunate to be able to experience all of the sides of bookings. If you don’t get booked, it’s maybe not because of anything you did or didn’t do; the festival might just not have enough time, or resources, or maybe your music just doesn’t fit the vibe they are looking for. We work within a lot of constraints and variables that you may or may not understand. Just because you don’t get the nod this time around doesn’t mean it can’t happen next year.
What artists are playing this year for the first time? Why? (What is it about them that prompted you to select them?)
The Polish Ambassador– There are so many reasons why The Polish Ambassador is an instant choice to headline Lucidity. There is the music, which is fun, bouncy and super groove-oriented which I think resonates with a lot of people of the dance floor. However I think more important than the fact that we have him headlining, is that we also have a Permaculture Action Day scheduled on April 9th as well as a 3-day Permaculture course. You can find out more information here: http://2015.lucidityfestival.com/permaculture
DEFUNK– One of the things we pride ourselves on is curating our lineup with a good amount of lesser known artists that are just on the verge of blowing up. Defunk’s sound is really unique and very funk driven, I feel like it’s some of the freshest glitch hop coming out right now. He’s still pretty unknown, but he just signed with Pretty Lights Music, so I think that’s all about to change.
Elephant Revival– They have been on our internal wishlist for a few years now, so I’m glad we could make that happen. I feel like their sound is the perfect anchor for the Alive Stage. I’d like to expand our Folk / Americana musical offerings in the future, so it was nice seeing the positive participant reaction when we announced them. Plus they share a commitment to responsible stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants and they work nonprofits supporting humanitarian causes, which really resonates with Lucidity and our core values.
Truth- I know I’m not alone in this, and I’m definitely excited to have Truth playing on the Nomads Stage. I love deep, dark and heavy Dubstep, but I don’t get to book much of it on the Lucid Stage because I don’t think it really fits the style of the stage. But thats where the Nomads Stage comes in. The Nomads Stage is curated by Music is Love, a local crew in SB that has been with us from the start. Since they are Nomads, they get to be a little more free from the intention of the Lucid or Alive Stages. They tend to showcase some of the edgier music that we’re into like Trap, Dubstep, and Tech House, to name a few genres.
Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to hearing live this year?
It’s a really tough choice, so it’s going to be a long list. I’m probably most excited to see Elephant Revival, T Sisters, Erisy Watt, Gene Jr. and the Family, Plantrae, Ayla Nereo, Wildlight… I could go on and on here.
What changes have you seen in the music landscape since the inception of Lucidity?
I think the greatest change has been the inception and growth of the term “EDM” and what that means for smaller festivals. I think that the major pro would be the way that Electronic Music and festival culture has spread so rapidly. But I feel like the biggest con for a small festival from this immense growth in such a short timespan, would be the sometimes too rapid growth of artist fees. When you are a festival with a very limited capacity, every dollar counts and it’s hard to compete with the larger festivals. But luckily, I feel like there are also many people that don’t enjoy large festivals and prefer the more intimate vibe. I feel like that’s where we come into play. We’re constantly evolving, but our growth is very measured and intentional so as to hopefully not lose that feeling.
What artists would you love to see in the future?
This could be a huge list, but I don’t want to spoil anything that I might do in the near future! My own personal tastes are a bit different than what I book for Lucidity, but I think I’d like to start by wanting to bring Tipper back for sure. After that- for the Lucid Stage edIT (solo), Ooah (solo), Opiuo, Mr. Bill, Koan Sound, Noisia, Icicle, Phaeleh, Blackmill, Flume, Kygo, Culprate, Haywyre (again) and Spoonbill are a good start. For the Alive stage, probably Les Claypool, First aid Kit, Iron Horse, Emancipator Ensemble, and Volto.
Can you share more about your experiences and other projects?
Well, I’ve worked in everything from commercial and residential construction to managing telemarketing teams and processing home loans. The hands-on construction experience coupled with team management and administrative skills really set me up to be as successful as I’ve been as far as festival production, stage and build management goes. Some of the festivals and roles that I currently work within are Talent Manager for Lucidity, Production Manager for ForeverEverland, Enchanted Forest, Raindance and Stilldream, Build & Heavy Equipment Manager for What The Festival, Heavy Machinery Manager for Symbiosis… plus a few others that I’m still finalizing.
I also run the Memekast podcast series and manage logistics and booking for the Emersion Events Funktion One soundsystem. I also manage a pretty awesome group of artists under our management company Fullspektrum. We’ve just teamed up with Envisioned Arts to currently represent pretty nice roster with Andreilien, Digital Rust, Tha Fruitbat, PEGA5U5, Mr. Rogers, Bogtrotter, AtYya, kLL sMTH, Ruff Hauser, Ratchet, and Tempi.
To experience other inspirational, life-changing aspects of Lucidity Festival, check out workshops and presentations on diverse topics such as business and entrepreneurship, ecology, food and nutrition, lucid dreaming, meditation, science and technology, spoken word, and yoga, to name a few.
Lucidity Festival: Kindred Quest marks the festival’s fourth year of its six-year story arc.
Begun in 2012, each Lucidity festival will explore, in total, six major chapters of the mythic journey. In 2012, Awake in Your Dreams opened the eye of consciousness; marking the moment of self-discovery that unleashed the epic journey of personal and collective transformation. In 2013, The Totem’s Return provided an invitation to reconnect with the animal within and an opportunity to learn from each totem’s strengths and weaknesses. In 2014, Universe led to the profound realization that we are connected to, enlivened by, and an embodiment of each and every energy in the Universe. In this year’s Kindred Quest, homage is paid and humble inquiry is made to humanity’s indigenous knowledge systems and native wisdom traditions, standing them alongside that which is gleaned from contemporary mysticism, scientific rigor and careful, prolonged observation.
Join in on the Kindred Quest adventure and get your Lucidity tickets here: http://2015.lucidityfestival.com/buy-tickets/