Interview by Sofia Raisanen
Street Ritual is a transcendent evolution, unifying a collective of conscious and creative artists who are manifesting collaborative realizations. Originally and currently based in Oakland, California, they are continuously releasing fresh music while raising awareness and have also spread within Los Angeles, CA, Austin, TX, and soon approaching the East Coast.
Street Ritual is a conscious creation of many aesthetic outlets: record label, booking agency, visual art, multi-media, performance, ritual, conscious events, and fashion. It’s a freedom of expression which is founded on the notion of inspiring and transforming others through the culture of the universal language, music – the most powerful and cleansing energy triggers here on Earth made possible through conscious communication and cosmic consciousness. This West Coast Conscious Bass movement is the catalyst of profound epiphanies found with the intention of invoking significant change within the self, therefore bringing to light a collective consciousness. As we flow through our journey here on Earth, we as humans, are seeking truth, our highest potential, hidden knowledge, and most importantly, a way to collectively induce new world change. Street Ritual is on this path. The ritual aligns us to our tribal roots and is essentially a sequence of movement involving gestures, words, and objects to be performed in continuity. Letting go of the old and breathing in with the new, as we pave our path of progression, elevate through spiritual guidance, seek from within, and remove blockages, we are bound for an expansion of global consciousness.
Street Ritual label was co-founded in 2008 by Knowa Lusion along with an old college friend of his, Splatinum. Awake, in tune, and passionate about widening change through the most innovative electronic music through a global conscious movement, Noah, an artist of many creative fields, is organically building his team, supporting his artists, building on projects with the label, and raising awareness in the transformational music and art community. With having had over 75 releases since its debut in 2008, with its initial release under Knowa Knowone, and following pioneer artists such as Nico Luminous, ill-esha, Thriftworks, Govinda, The Human Experience, Benito, Cualli, Jobot, Erothyme, SugarBeats, niceFingers, Dubvirus, Le Moti, Plantrae, Elfkowitz, kLL sMTH, WALA, Duffrey, Rebirth, Ninjamonk, Oh Tebins, Spundose, Futexture, and Animatronix, Street Ritual label has released some of the most cutting-edge electronic auditory sensations in the conscious bass community. In 2012, additions were made to the label as he brought Becca to the team as the Label Director in order to develop a stronger approach aligning their visions. They have gained a global reach and seek to keep their intention of expansion fresh and lively. As they remain focused, strategized, and determined, they will continue to push forward while discovering the highest quality of music and will remain in touch with their roots as they roam the artsy streets. They are linking universal communication through next level peculiarity of sound exposure as they are continuously seeking growth through peoples motivations, inspirations, and realizations – an outlet of our awakening.
“We believe music can be a catalyst for both social and world change. Our mission is to promote and spread music and performance worldwide, thus facilitating conscious, educational, positive, beneficial, and unifying experiences.” -Sylvie Barnett
In 2012, Street Ritual Agency was created as an extension of the Street Ritual vision, which endorses music for the creative consciousness. Knowa Lusion and Sylvie Barnett, the Booking Agency President, formed this illustrious entity which revealed more depth in the vision that Street Ritual was seeking. The agency consists of an eclectic community of creators, guided with the same values and intentions, evolving music styles, and spreading a participatory surrounding environment. They all withhold an ethereal vision, an integral ingredient to building the collective. Their current artist roster consists of a diverse spectrum of creatives: Borealis, Dov1, Ganga Giri, Huglife, Jillian Ann, Knowa Lusion, LAFA TAYLOR, Little Giants, Living Light, MiHKAL, NICO LUMINOUS, Pumpkin, SugarBeats, TastyTreat, Thriftworks, and VibeSquaD. Eclectic electronic genre styles and soundscapes range from West Coast Bass, Whomp, Glitch Hop, Multi-Genre Bass styles, Psychedelic, Breakbeat, Dub, Dubstep, IDM, Downtempo, Neo-folk, Experimental, Midtempo, Trip-Hop, Future R&B, and Organic Electronic Bass. Some artists are multi-instrumentalists, some engage in beat-box, hip-hop flows- very much live and on the spot. Each artist withholds within themselves unique rhythms, textures, and innovations of unimaginable genre-bending frequencies that will open up channels, ignite triggers of thought, open up your mind’s eye, align your chakras, and lead you to your path. Through sound experimentation, these artists create fluidity, realness, and have forth-moving intentions – to elevate, heal, and expand through sound advancement energy. I have personally experienced eight of the fifteen artists in a live setting, and can attest that they bring high vibration energy to the dance floor, and like their music, they’re an authentic and genuine presence.
Street Ritual is a prime advocate for visual artists stemming from all areas of the California strip and over other regions spanning across our nation. The visual artistic visions consist of unique creations of presenting otherworldly realms of geometrical patterns of aligning energy into reality which visually reveals the depth of vision which Street Ritual offers. Visual artists and graphic designers surrounding the Bay area are all encompassing, mind-expanding, and thought provoking visionaries. This community has periodically showcased multiple visual artists whom engage in many formations of artistic styles such as psychedelic, geometrical, realistic, digital paintings, acrylic, oil, stencil, illustrations, and in depth-tuned creations.
Such artists whom they’ve showcased in the past consist of creatives like Noemind, Andy Reed (Infinite Geometry), Jonathan Solter, UnMess, Jeremiah Allen Welch, Niz, Dela, Devin Harrison, Ryan Johnson and The Welch Brothers. These spiritual, innovative, and visual alchemists show a diverse field of method usage, and strive for similar conscious causations of realizations. Infinite conscious creatives are collecting in this supportive community, and they aspire to grow in this field within their community. Like a language, the creators and innovators behind Street Ritual have given their creation a proper usage of semantics, syntax, morphology, and phonology. They have given Street Ritual meaning, arrangement, structure, and most importantly, their own conscious voice. They’ve created their own language founded within the depths of the ocean in the Bay area; this co-creative is expanding, both consciously and internationally. I connected to through the Street Ritual family, gathered up probings, tuned in, and soon after, they unraveled their aspirations, visions, intentions, work ethic, expansions, and future project goals of theirs with me.
Questions to Knowa Lusion [Co-Founder]:
Besides yourself, who is the other co-founder of Street Ritual? What is your relationship to each other and what inspired you guys to create a community with many creative outlets, all directed at a conscious level?
I founded the original Street Ritual label in 2008 with my friend from college and fellow musician, Andrew Luck, who lives in Seattle and is known for being half of the group Splatinum. We started DJing and producing together in a little college town in the Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina, way before electronic music and DJing was a cool thing to do. We both moved west at different times, then caught back up around 2007 and wanted to start a project together. We have a similar philosophy about art and about life, the way that art nourishes the soul, creating new experiences, and the need to bridge worlds and build community. I met Sylvie in 2010, and we formed the Street Ritual Agency in 2012. She is hardworking, ambitious, and had a keen understanding of what was needed in the community, what the artists that were really dedicated to their work need for support. She is also in alignment with the original vision of the collective and the ideals that we hold. Becca came on as the label manager about two years ago and has been a absolutely essential member of the team. We all have a strong sense of personal integrity, and that we’re working together to create something that’s better than just a job or a bunch of artists hanging out. We all believe in the purpose that serving the artists that we support and appreciate gives us, and the value of sharing art and music with the community.
How do you see Street Ritual growing, are you guys, collectively, working on achieving a greater potential goal?
Our goals have remained pretty much the same since the inception of the collective. Community building, artist development, dope music and great parties. I feel like the main reason that we as a team remain so dedicated to the work we’re doing, and that we continue to draw new fans and artists is that the original concept that we started with is still so relevant. To bridge worlds between global music, bass music, edm, hiphop and more, to support artists that are new, conceptual, original, and thought provoking. To create and support events that are reality changing and cutting edge. It’s what keeps us going, and there’s just as much of a need for that as there was when we started, maybe even more because the rest of the world is waking up to what the possibilities are with music and media. We just want to keep doing it bigger and better, reaching more people and opening more minds.
Consciously and creatively speaking, what’s the next vision for Street Ritual, any upcoming additions or projects?
Well, I can’t really talk too much about some of the bigger projects we have on the horizon, but we are continuing to expand, bringing on new artists, and new staff. The record label has re-focused a bit and is honing in on what we do best: unique and groundbreaking releases, great promotion for our artists, and just doing the best job we can do with each release every month. We’ve set up a plan to do at least one free release each month…to just get the music into more hands and to showcase new artists. We have some t-shirts, bandannas, etc. now available on our website, it’s not a lot but it’s cool to see people out rocking the logo. We’ve got some cool new social media promotions we’re working on- one of which is going to involve giving out a bunch of free downloads to our fans and community. It’s a constantly evolving project, and there’s a lot of promising things on the horizon, so I’d say just tap into our social networks and keep an eye on the lookout.
Where do you find the time to run a label, engage in music production, be an artist in general … what’s the key to maintaining a healthy balance with a 24/7 lifestyle?
It can be very difficult to balance being an artist and also being a business owner. I can’t say I have a perfect formula, and it has to be flexible with what’s going on for me personally and with the company. Sometimes I have to make hard choices. Sometimes I just stay at home and work when my friends are going out. One of the keys has been having an awesome team in place to help with everything. Our Label Manager Becca is a total rockstar, and we have a great flow where we can pick up things for each other when necessary. It’s important to have good communication and designation of roles so that everyone knows what their responsibilities are. I think it’s very important to stay active and healthy. I do martial arts, yoga, and meditate. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what diet, vitamins, and herbs make me the most vibrant and productive. One thing about being an artist is keeping the creative flow going, even when dealing with spreadsheets and legal meetings. I try and play my guitar as much as possible just for fun and read books, I’m totally obsessed with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Spirituality is a huge key to staying positive and dealing with the stress of the world and channeling all that into work and the creative process.
What’s it like to be living in the West Coast, more specifically, Northern California, are there any other desired regions in the U.S. Or World, where you would like to see Street Ritual co-collectively growing?
I love living in the Bay Area, it’s a huge influence on myself, my music, and everything. I try and balance what the community here wants with what the larger domestic and global communities/markets also want. Our digital releases have a global reach, which is amazing, and I think that really, at this point, we’re trying to stay focused and grow organically and strategically, to keep the foundation strong and the integrity of what we do intact as we grow.
What are your hobbies besides music?
Reading, Ju-jitsu, muay thai, meditation, yoga, acro-yoga, riding my bike, house plants, sci fi movies, cooking, drinking champagne in my garden with friends. I’ve become really domestic this last year!
* * *
Questions to Becca Drylie-Perkins [Label Director]:
How long have you been a part of the Street Ritual team? Tell us about your daily tasks in which you engage in.
I have been the Label Manager at Street Ritual for almost two years. Daily routines differ on a daily basis; which keeps things interesting. A lot of my job is communication; I serve as a liaison for artists on behalf of their creative projects to several difference services. I connect them with mastering engineers, album artists, distributors (Bandcamp, Addictech, iTunes), licensing & publishing agents, booking agents, promoters, and more. Throughout a typical day, I answer e-mails, listen to demo submissions, answer more e-mails, manage interns and label employees, spend hours uploading .wav files, and of course cruising SoundCloud.
Consciously and creatively speaking, what’s the next vision for Street Ritual, any upcoming additions or projects that you all are working on?
The next vision for Street Ritual is to maximize exposure for our incredibly diverse and insanely talented catalogue of releases; and strive to only release the highest quality of music carrying the best audio vibrations; on a global scale. We are spreading our glitchy tentacles across America, Canada, Australia, Europe, and more and it is really only the beginning. In congruence with this surge, a compilation is in the works, compiled by spacegeishA, my DJ project. It is to be released this winter with all original glitch – hop tracks, featuring only international artists from Germany, Sweden, Australia, Canada, India, and beyond. We have some incredible artists participating in the compilation and looking forward to a truly unique and stellar release.
What makes Street Ritual stand out within all Record Labels, what kind of messages are you all trying to spread?
Street Ritual has paved its own path since the beginning in 2008. With debut releases from Thriftworks, Human Experience, Govinda, ill-esha, Knowa Knowone, and Nico Luminous way back in the day; this label has always represented incredible artists from the beginning of their careers. We have established and maintained a name for ourselves in representing fresh, cutting edge music that might not always be the biggest, well-known name at the time. Now a days we represent artists like Duffrey, DuBCOliNG, Spundose, Animatronix, Rebirth, Goopsteppa, AtYyA, Divinity, and more. These artists are growing on an international scale and if you haven’t heard of any of them yet I’m sure you will soon.
What advice would you give artists who are interested in joining the Street Ritual family?
Our top priority is quality music, of course. However, working with artists that represent themselves and their material in a professional manner is something we love. We really like to receive a a complete submission, an e-mail with a download link to the album, artist links, biography, etc. We get lots of links blasted to all of our Street Ritual and personal social media platforms and it’s not a good look for artists who operate this way. The release process entails deadlines, proper communication, and having all your ducks in a line. Additionally, we look to work with artists that are high vibration humans and will represent our brand at best possible. We are a family, we work hard and keep things real. Our positive and grateful energy is reciprocated all the time through fans, friends, artists, and this community; there is no thing greater than that.
* * *
Questions to Sylvie Barnett [Booking Agency President]:
How long have you been a part of Street Ritual, what’s the story behind your encounter with them, and what’s your outlook on booking such amazing talent for the label?
I first started working with Street Ritual at the beginning of 2012. Noah and I co-founded the agency, and at that time I was also pretty involved with the label until we hired our amazing rockstar label manager Becca about a year later. I had been representing Noah since 2010 so we had already formed a close bond. Noah was deciding what the next step was to take with the Street Ritual brand and had asked me if I wanted to establish an agency and develop a label. I drafted up a proposal, and we started creating our future. Those were very exciting times. The label and the agency act as two separate entities that together help build the Street Ritual brand. My key for booking amazing talent for the agency is to try to find artists whose music and vision I believe in. I really enjoying helping artists build their career and bridging the gap between the promoter and the artist. I love helping inspire artists, and igniting their creative spark. It’s probably my biggest passion in life.
Consciously and creatively speaking, what’s the next vision for Street Ritual, any upcoming additions or projects that you all are working on?
Our agency is really excited to be welcoming our new east coast booking agent Adam Stuart. The Street Ritual Agency is also in the process of signing numerous artists in the near future, and planning tours for the spring of 2015. Our agency roster will be expanding outwards to include new genres.
What’s it like being president of the booking agency for such a conscious and creative label, what is key in keeping focus?
The keys are organization, connection, development and research. Organization is key. Connection or staying in communication and being clear with your words is invaluable. As an up and coming agency, I spend hours working on developing the business and countless hours researching events, promoters and artists. I’m currently also enrolled in the Music Industry Administration Program at California State University Northridge which has also helped me with my business and leadership skills.
What’s one of your life goals in the music industry?
I want to help building artist’s careers and helping spread amazing music to the masses. I would love to book amazing live bands. I really love indie rock and electronica. Some of my all-time favorites include The XX and Portishead. I want to manage artists, and help them plan conceptual tours like the Shpongletron Experience and Beats Antique’s Creature Carnival Tour. I want to throw large scale conceptual festivals that tell a story with a wide mixture of live and electronic music. I have big hopes and dreams. I believe that whatever you truly put your mind to you can achieve.
Questions to Nico Luminous [Musician/Artist]:
What does Street Ritual mean to you?
First thing that comes to mind when I think of Street Ritual is a family/collective of really good hearted people that are committed to bringing up and coming underground artists and furthering the culture by helping them release music and book shows. The Street Ritual team always has the best intentions and operates in a loving way towards their artists which I think is the foundation of success – that’s why I love being a part of this team.
What drives your motivation, what’s a daily inspiration for you?
Well, what drives my motivation is knowing I am blessed to be alive. I am extremely grateful to express myself through music and see the positivity it creates. I’m happy to be spending the days of my life contributing to music and good energy to this world even if there is a million other artists doing it. A daily inspiration for me is music that I love, finding about new artists that blow your mind, and taking all that I have already done much further. It feels really good to look back over the past few years and see good progress in my craft.
What kind of impact are you trying to make as an artist, immersed within the conscious west coast bass movement?
As an artist my goal is to really cross over the realm of being a Live vocalist and musician while immersing myself in a DJ environment. I love DJ’ing off my laptop at parties but I also really love performing and running around the stage with the cordless mic entertaining people. Also, I’d like to really integrate beat boxing with live looping, plus singing, and rapping with the beats. Just making it flow while still keeping the filthy trap bass element alive. I really want to crossover into fan bases beyond just the West Coast Bass scene, but as far as that, I just love holding it down for my area and being a part of this amazing movement.
What do you think is key in today’s highly competitive music production styles?
As always, I just think being original and doing your own thing is key. Having fun, definitely, you should be having fun when you’re making your music. But if you really want to shine and take it to the next level, you should take your time to learn about music and study music production tutorials to really learn as much as you possibly can. I studied jazz piano for only three years and it helped my songwriting immensely. I would like to keep studying but it’s tricky with traveling for shows all the time. All in all, it’s important to constantly want to step up your game.
What’s the next step for you in your musical career? Any new projects you’re working on?
I’m putting out an EP in the next couple weeks, really excited about that. It’s that mostly galactic purple chill trap that I just find myself so attracted to right now. It’s also got some funk and jazz elements that I’m very happy with. The next step for me, I feel, is putting out some great videos and also collaborating with a lot of artists. I love to rap and sing but really love producing for others rappers and singers. I’ve also been experimenting with a drummer in my live shows too. Makes it really fun and frees me up to play some instruments, while also keep dropping my beats.
Besides music, what are some of your other hobbies?
Well, pretty much the only thing I have time for these days is working on my music in some way. But really, I love taking a break from music production and just playing piano and singing, it’s a really nice release and just overall therapeutic. I definitely love riding my skateboard too! Once again, not as much free time for that as I used to have, but I do get to skate every day in my neighborhood when I go to the store!
* * *
Street Ritual is more than just a brand name, it is a movement, a cultural expression, a vision – it’s a spiritual uplift in our present day existence. A shift in consciousness is taking place, an awakening is happening as we are transcending the shadows. This community is simply illuminating a universal bond of authentic connections through creative collaborations of all fractal sacred geometrical alignments, which are visible in open channels of music, visual art, multi-media, conscious events- an artistic atmosphere of conscious communication. Like the magic behind Purple Fluorite paving the path of clarity and organization in the upper chakras (prominently in the mind), the Street Ritual team has revealed to us a promising mind-expansion of growth through consistent key structure and clear intentions – speaking in terms of a global conscious movement of nourishment of the mind, body, and soul. And like the profound powers of the Quartz, the Master Healer stone, the multidimensional “Universal Crystal”, which channels universal energy and is extremely beneficial for manifesting, healing, meditation, expansion of consciousness, and channeling, this collective intends to promote healing through electrifying music.
With having just revealed to us additions with a new booking agent in the East Coast, signing multiple new artists to their encyclopedic roster, and progression on an upcoming and stellar Winter compilation by spacegeishA, which will feature all original glitch-hop tracks stemming solely from international artists from across the world [Europe, Australia, Asia, and North America (Canada)], they are on the right path of discovery while focusing, strategizing, and maximizing exposure with the right intention.
As a team and collective, Knowa, Becca, and Sylvie simultaneously have aligned visions. They have limitless dreams, aspirations, and determination, which are fundamental ingredients for new world change. Street Ritual believes in the power of the mind as a powerful tool for social and planetary change. We believe in the powerful effects of metamorphosis made possible from both inside and out. They represent themselves as authentic high vibration human beings in all walks of life by engaging in activities such as meditation, yoga, and organics, which rejuvenates the self, and therefore, invokes creativity. Street Ritual is keeping their international vision in tact as they are bound for a movement in global consciousness. Being an enthusiast of the conscious music culture myself, I do believe in the power of manifesting your own reality and creating change for the better.
We as conscious humans should be seeking ways to uplift into our new phase, our rebirth. The answer is within us and can really be found and discovered when you silence the mind. Engage in removing blockages, clearing of the shadow, freeing of the mind/self, breathing, and releasing the negative. When you discover the living light inside of you, your destiny hits full speed, a reach for infinity. These are the elements that are necessary for us human to create change in the material realm where there’s a whole network of obstacles and emotional inner changes we need to break through. Learn and be part of the global consciousness movement through conscious bass music, art, and culture – the vision of Street Ritual.
Image: Sylvie, Knowa and Becca of Street Ritual