Complexion is probably one of my favorite DJs. I use to keep up with his weekly radio show, The Future Beats Show. There are tons of people who are avid followers of labels like Soulection but the real deep vibes I mess with are what The Future Beats show features.
I’m at the office and wanted a fresh new mix to listen to while I get some task done. It randomly came to me to check out Complexion on Soundcloud. To my delight there was a brand new mix but noticed tons of the old mixes were gone. Apparently Soundcloud took down his account and he has taken a break for awhile. Glad to see him back on Soundcloud and wish him nothing but the best. I can only hope for my new project to be as successful as his show. Joe Kay was a huge influence on me back in the day but Complexion is the real hero now. Enjoy!
I created this website over a lonely week-end nearly 7 years ago.
The look and feel of the website has stayed the same since its birth.
It’s time for a change.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that there will be a complete redesign of AfroMonk.com coming soon!
The recent few years I was completely burnt out from the scene and the music. I’ve been fortunate enough to have amazing friends over the years to keep things going when I was feeling uninspired. There are not enough THANK YOU’s I can say to all the people who have been there.
I finally feel rejuvenated from taking a break from writing and music.
Going forward I’ll be the sole contributor to the website.
I posted about what the purpose of AfroMonk.com was back in December. I’ve been thinking about it extensively and believe that despite these changes, it will still stand true. The major difference is that it’ll be more of my own personal selections and be designed to find new music. There will be some other new features but you’ll see…
The tone of the site will be very informal.
It’s about discovering new music and reacting to it.
Hoffman, I have no idea how I found you but I did.
I’ve recently had to rebuild my music collection that I lost. This process has been inspiring me to start writing about the music. It’s refreshing to get back into music as I’m having to start from scratch.
Hoffman’s Serenity is one of those albums that I can listen to completely through and not have to worry about skipping a track. It’s pretty chill music but still has that punch and motion to keep you grooving.
I’m use to constantly going through new music. I’m having to go back to build some of the most recent music, I love. This album was one of the few that I had to go back to.
Data Rebel’s Reborn is one of those albums that I generally put on in the background quite often. I randomly came across his music on Spotify via one of the playlist created by them. I can’t remember the name of the track that was featured but it made me search for more. I’d categorize this album as downtempo, chill, and glitch. It reminds me of early edIT, Of Porcelain, and Slidecamp.
I found this album on Bandcamp after I did some research about him and it totally blew me away. This came out in March 2015 and feel like it’s one of those albums that never got the attention it deserves, hence this blog post. I’ve never interacted with him online but hope this gives more attention to music like this.
Koyo was played for me a few weeks back now by my close friend Naseef. We were at a pool party that I just had played for a few hours and were driving home. I’ll admit I was quite buzzed and had Naseef drive my car to drop some friends off. Rarely will I give anyone the opportunity to play music in my car. Yes, I’m an asshole, but there aren’t that many people I can trust when you’re as picky as me. Naseef, is well aware of this and I’m sure took notes from the set I just had played at the pool party and cue’d up this album from Koyo.
I’ll be straight up and say that I haven’t been too inspired by music lately, especially since my laptop got stolen. This album completely blew me away. We were driving down to Miami and every track made me take a mental note on how they would work into one of my DJ sets. If you’re into the whole Soulection/Future Bass sound, this album is totally up your alley.
Koyo, is definitely one of my favorite producers right now. It’s also worth noting that everything I’ve checked out on Lush since this release has been on point as well.
Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution are an infinite, evolving, and inspiring vision stemming from our artistic and creative community. Expressing an awakening feel through sound through movement, both entities make up a unifying experience into profound truth made possible through in-depth exploration of the self. Kalya Scintilla is a pioneering, worldwide known artist stemming from our underground, world fusion, bass scene and has been in a flourishing state for years now, is the mastermind behind psytrance project MerKaBa, and his label, Merkaba Music. Kalya Scintilla’s frequencies revolve around intricate & lush, glitch, bass beats fused in with infinite psychedelia, ancient, & middle eastern melodies. Eve is a awe inspiring Storyteller and Visionary Director revealing stylistic and intentional mythical ritual and comes from an exhilarating background in Theatre. She has illuminated extensive training in numerous fields within this art form such as performance, directing, performance art, and production and has opened her own Children’s Theatre & has evoked further through Evokation Sacred Art, once called Soulvoice.
Meeting in 2012 in West Coast, USA, the two merged and began to write ‘Open Ancient Eyes’, a sound healing and theatrical journey which would be brought into balanced existence through ancient literary truth, expansive sonic frequencies, and known and mythical expressive nature. They eventually began touring Australia together, and have now announced more touring around the world. Both Yaegon and Eve come from an in-depth, passionate, and expressive understanding of unifying triggers as they’ve been evolving their passion through collaboration, infinite inspiration, and passionate drive which brings transmissions forward with intentional and profound awareness – an activated amplification. An energetic shift is brought into existence as they share their passions with the world around them. Intrigued by both Yaegon and Eve’s intention and their numerous accomplishments, I reached out and connected with them as they reveal their inspirations, visions, story behind ‘Open Ancient Eyes’, the next chapter, creative processes, Merkaba Music, the self, harmonic tuning, rituals, writing, their world tour recently announced, their first approaching full theatrical performance at Lucidity this weekend, and more! Like a story unfolds and a tapestry weaves together, they provide a place of remembrance and ancient knowledge which has fractalized into Universal, Cosmic consciousness existence.
Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution Interview – Profound Truth
1. Such an honor to connect! I want to congratulate the both of you on all of your creative and inspiring energy, thank you for sharing ancient sound healing & theatrical performance. What does the present moment feel like?
Thank you so much. The present moment…feels infinite, expansive, limitless if put into words. haha.
2. Yaegon, you emerged from a Ten day total darkness retreat during the middle of January. Eve, did you participate as well? Share with us your experience. What exactly is does it entail?
Yes, we both took the journey. Highly recommended for those who are very mentally active as this experience unravels thoughts (both waking & subconscious) in the most physical and powerful way. Mantak Chia has a center dedicated to this work and you can google his name along with the words “dark technology pdf” and read in detail all the physical benefits of this work, there are many. We are personally hooked and plan to do another one but go for 14days next time. Ideally we’d like to do one once a year. A great “reset” button for the body and mind and super powerful experience on many levels. The best way we can describe it is it’s a time of stripping back the chatter of the mind (this happens without willing yourself to focus on presence) and every day the mind/body slowly peels back the layers until you are physically experiencing your body as palpable presence. After we emerge there is sharp mental clarity, a natural feeling of peace or stillness, and overall tranquility.
3. Eve, you’re a lively, enchanting, energetic ancient myth storyteller, theatrical performer, and art director. Your expression is flawless and intriguing. You’re an intuitive & rhythmic journey. Tell us more about the importance of movement & theatre, and how your personal experience within it has created a profound state of bliss & the overall healing process. Could you reflect on what occurred in 2009.
Wow, first thank you. It means a lot to me to be received in this way. I’ve felt for a long time the art of live performance has yet to truly be acknowledged as a powerful medium of transformation in this sub culture. My work aims to anchor in that potential with performance being the conduit for the amplification of being truly alive. I strive to be as raw, real, and ever present as possible in my art and strongly feel that this is an important role to play in igniting audiences and fellow artisans with inspiration to do the same. There is a quote I love, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -h.thurman. That’s what I think has been profoundly healing for me, the awakening and action of coming alive which has lead to moments of states of bliss as well as indescribable challenges, and sometimes when I’m lucky states that transcend words. 2009 in San Diego, I met exquisite souls who inspired me to co create a performance based on mythological deities. Everyone in the community kept speaking about being a “goddess” or attending “goddess” gatherings but when I asked them if they knew the actual stories of these goddesses they said no. So as a theatre director, I thought “perfect then let’s do that!”. 9 months later we put on the show with this theme, and something palpably powerful happened. The women were bringing thru these archetypes in such a magnetic visceral way…all of us were in awe and changed our lives after that night. This experience opened the doors of ritual theatre to me and true ritual magic. I’ve been creating with these themes ever since under the project now named “evokation sacred art”.
4. Yaegon, was there a particular moment in your life that truly awakened you? Share with us the experience.
There were a serious of awakening events the first being a late night listening session with Herbie Hancock’s album “man child” on vinyl. In this moment I knew in the depths of my soul that music was my highest joy. The second was at an outdoor festival or “bush doof” as we call it in Australia. It was in the northeast of Aus where i received very clearly a deep remembering that music was to be my dharmic path on the earth. Everything changed after that moment.
Yaegon & Eve
5. ‘Evokation Sacred Art’ is a “Ritual Theatre collaborative creations of intentional performance with the focus on healing, awakening, and activating the divinity within all those who are connected to the experience in any way.” Can you elaborate more on this art form?
Sure, so after the first performance I became enthralled with exploring if this experience could be replicated or was it something that would forever be a mystery. I found I could repeat it and there was a formula to it. Keep in mind, each performance would be different but what would be the same is the strong personal experience of the performers and the strong reactions of the audience. In the past three years I’ve had to travel solo with Yaegon as budget wouldn’t allow us to realistically travel with a troupe of performers. So I began creating one woman shows and began focusing my intention of evoking presence vs. archetypes. Now the experience I collected over all those years are now being funneled into our new productions debuting at Lucidity this year. We are in the very beginning phases but I’m excited to see how it all comes together as we gain some momentum.
6. Yaegon, ‘Open Ancient Eyes’, is your latest LP. It’s a beautiful and in-depth journey; it’s a story of the human awakening that follows the plot layout of the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. It’s a story of truth, love, ancient remembrance, & deep collaboration. Both of you wrote this together starting in December 2012. What was the creative process like? Can we expect a follow up?
I thoroughly enjoy musical story telling and having intention and vision be the framework thru which the vibrations come to life, but this journey in particular was the most challenging because of the nature of the hero’s journey itself. Even if I could fully understand what it means to enter one’s underworld before I took the journey, would I have still have taken it? Definitely.
OAE is the first chapter in multi part saga. OAE is the story of the human awakening and our human bloodlines of the earth , the next chapter will see us diving into the earth itself…not to give too much away.
7. Where are you based out of at the moment? You’ve just announced a European tour, congratulations; What do you guys hope to accomplish in this approaching Summer journey?
Santa Cruz, CA. This summer is about connecting with the global family and bringing our work to festivals we’ve never been to. A big one for us that we are finally getting to be a part of and experience in the legendary Boom festival in Portugal. Often described as the Mothership European festival leading a global example of sustainability/eco consciousness and so much more.
8. How do both forms of your art reflect and help to grow each other and the world around you? What is the overall intention and message behind Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution?
We both are driven by our art and because of that deep dharmic commitment to devotion to our soul mission we grow exponentially as we cheer each other on and live our dream. The living of our soul passion is a beacon of inspiration for others , they cheer us on , we cheer them on and we ALL start thriving. That’s what has been the biggest gift living in a community of people who do that more often than not. The intention and message behind us?…I think we leave that one up to the ones who come to witness. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and if anything I think people really connect with that in whatever way they need that to be.
9. Share with us the importance in tapping into yourself. What can evoke during the deep exploration of the self?
Simply? Experiencing your soul’s song and waking up to that as your guide for life. Feeling awake to the grandeur of creation itself. Being able to look out and see the sublime beauty in the smallest things in every moment. Gratitude, deep real gratitude for all of it.
We live so much of our lives in the confusion of our minds which is just one small aspect of our self , our heart is our true compass and guide , so if we can remember and learn how to go inside and touch this place , we will connect more deeply with the truth of who we are and where we are going.
10. Congratulations on Merkaba Music! It’s been super amazing watching your label flourish into divine existence, thank you for providing Harmonic tuning. Congratulations on all your personal music/projects as well of course! Could you elaborate more on the science behind healing through frequency & into Chakra balance?
First and foremost, healing comes thru intention to heal and intending to be healed, so the science of the tuning and frequencies is not as important as a soul connected intention. However, it does make sense to search for a way to deliver this intention with more accuracy. The current western tuning standard of equal temperament is almost completely disharmonic. And even if we pitch our music down to a=432hz , we are still using a disharmonic temperament . Understanding that melody is a key to accessing the emotion body and the cellular memory of a human it makes perfect sense to me to use tunings that create harmonic relationships between the notes. As far as Chakra balance goes there are equations that show through a scientific lense that the relationship between light and sound is in fact different from the current new age chakra healing model. I feel it is important that we base our methods on solid research and not just follow a trend blindly. Sound healing does not only mean entering states of bliss. Healing is bringing the light of awareness to the denser parts of us, where old energy is stuck. So we cannot expect to liberate this energy if we just bypass it into realms of imaginary bliss. That is why we move between the shadow and the light in Kalya Scintilla. Lastly we need to understand that being a healer does not mean forcing healing on those who we might think need to be healed. We have to understand that not everyone is ready to look at their shadow material, let alone transmute it. I feel it’s about creating a realm of potential that others can choose to receive if they are ready.
11. Lucidity, Crossroads, approaches for it’s 5th chapter! This will be the first full theatrical production which follows the mythological story of Open Ancient Eyes. What can we expect? How is this different than that of previous performances?
You can expect a timeless story written in universal threads to dance us all awake inside a multi dimensional soundscape of our planet. Sound good? haha. Thus far this has been performed as mainly as a one woman show but now there will be many storytellers on stage giving life to the way this album was originally meant to be experienced.
12. Eve & Yaegon, do you have any daily ritual mantras and/or practices? Outside of music production and performance, what helps to keep you balanced?
Before our feet touch the stage, we set intention and offer to the land, the people and the earth, every single performance. Keeping Balance is actually something we are learning as we go and it is an art form in itself especially on the road. Making sure the basics are strong i.e., enough sleep, healthy eating, meditation practice, ritual, enough time in nature etc. The basics are vital when keeping our bodies, minds, & hearts healthy while traveling, which is no easy feat. We learn better and better techniques as time goes on. Oh ya, & lots of laughter along the way!
13. Transformational festivals are very much profound experiences that can trigger endless inspiration. It personally has for me, especially diving more into the self. Do you see these transformative experiences as such evolving further and providing more in-depth sustainable living in the future?
We are definitely in an evolution. As we travel the globe we see with our own eyes this is a world movement not just here in the u.s. And what we can see now is that these festivals are a launching pad for many souls who gain inspiration, like mind connections, then take that out into their world and begin living sustainably or learning more about living in communities or pursuing their true passions or any combination or all of thee above. There is no reason to think this all won’t continue to evolve.
14. Eve, I’ve noticed you’ve tapped into writing! I’ve read all three in-depth explorations you’ve presented. What other themes can we expect to evolve in the future stemming from this art form?
Haha, oh awesome! Ya, I’ve been sitting on my writings actually. I have learned a lot from my journey with mythology, archetypes, invocation, evocation, life and have a strong passion to share. I’ve waited quite awhile before I could authentically feel I had something of importance to share about these topics which now have become near and dear to my heart. Many people can speak on theories or ideas, but my interest is in sharing tangible experiences and insight I have acquired along the way. Rooting and grounding these universal metaphors into human experience. I strive to embody what I teach and always continue to learn as a student because these topics are so vast and profound to me. I’m just getting warmed up laying down some basics, I’ll start going deeper into practical ways to integrate these ideas and share more on the ancient stories themselves. I also just opened a soundcloud account to share vocally the stories, embodiment practices, and past vocal works of mine. I’m really excited about getting the stories out there through many mediums. Like I said, I’ve just started. More to come!
15. What does Lucidity mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind in that question is life as a lucid dream. We are vivid dreamers and love playing with the idea and experience that there is a thin line between the waking and sleeping worlds. The life feels at times like a Lucid dream.
16. Anything else you two would like to share with us?
Thank you for receiving our offerings and thank you to those who take the journey with us. Your love is deeply felt and we feel so blessed to be sharing this life journey with you.
potions releases III on Wormhole Music Group. A full length album, it’s a magnitude of brilliance and fresh as future trap and glitch hop vibes are intertwined with creative sparks of deep sub bass, 808’s, howling sound design, mind-boggling, tripped out fusions, & synth crescendos. A West Coast bass vibe is felt immensely and his production skills are top notch. I really dig potions soundscapes. Experience a dope journey through each of the 9 tracks as they are displayed in groundbreaking fashion. Creating a rhythmic, mysterious, and underground patterns, they will capture and inspire a mad potion of possibility. I am especially stoked to see this artist grow and reveal his future, melodic, and bouncy soundscapes which portray a vivd and in-depth exploration of creativity.
Black Forest by Wu Wei is the newest volume released on Merkaba Music, inspired from the archetypal mystery and associated power of woodlands, often home to rituals and practices seeking shelter from the eyes of societal convention. Coalescing elements from around the globe, from ambient vocals to middle eastern instrumentations, Wu Wei has woven a spirited anthology with an underlying narrative. ‘Refugee’, influenced by the struggle of losing one’s home and being cut from your roots, creates a melodic aura assembled by indigenous Syrian instruments that meditates on the fight to maintain identity in the face of crisis. The title ‘Eyes of an Owl’ finds muse in Norse folk music and modern ambient metal of Norway, creating a more abstracted environment with an airy melody stamped with Wei’s signature bass. Continuing the world hop tour, ‘Our Ghosts’ haunts airwaves with sober strings and ardent atmospheric sculpting, taking listeners to a contemplative realm deep in the forests of thought, where the sultry downtempo stirrings surface the timeless questions of the human condition. Varnished with remixes from Soulular and Devin Kroes, this six track release is an immense addition to the Merkaba treasury and a statement of global awareness through music. Catch Wu Wei this July at Konnexion Festival and Enchanted Forest and keep your ears perked for future compilations.
Beginning with a collective dream of the community, Lucidity is a triggering open-source vision of known possible truths stemming from the depths of our transformational culture. Created through an intentional and co-creation approach, Lucidity has illuminated a vision in 2012 where separate entities stemming from the Santa Barbara arts, music, and conscious community were fostering dreams of a greater vision than they were about to produce on their own….so together, a dream has blossomed. During this approaching collaborative gathering, Crossroads, taking place from April 4th – 10th, 2016, we enter the second chapter of our collective journey and the fifth installment of this epic saga which brings us into the now of our socio-cultural evolution as we recognize all of the shadows that we face, and as a whole, engage in finding solutions to further and clear our growth as a society.
A movement highlighting 7 core 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, & Transparency, the folks at Lucidity are gearing inside-out growth as an enlightening form of transformation. Branching a Universal bond of connections through co-creations, we will fractalize through open channels of sound, movement, art, dance, and visual creativity; it’s an artistic wave of conscious communication. Transformational Festivals are real triggers into higher levels of consciousness, I can vouch as I am currently on a healing and transformational path through inspiration stemming from these experiences which have been guiding me since Summer of 2012 w/ Sonic Bloom, Art Outside in 2013, Sonic Bloom 2014, and Envision, Enchanted Forest, Art Outside 2015. Exactly two years ago today, March 16th, 2014, I also aligned on a path of discovery through an intuitive following of passions and removal of blockages…I healed myself through writing. Transformational festivals have triggered limitless depth, inspiration, & aligning patterns…they have helped me to remove blockages, and through it, I have experienced a life changing journey. Experience a spiritual uplift of like-minded people who gather together to live, learn, discover, share, & synchronize! I am eager to go to the ultimate transformational gathering that is Lucidity…I hear nothing but magic!
Lucidity has captured many through its meta narrative, revealing truth, discovery, realization, and deep intention – it’s what sets them apart as they focus on connecting the theme. For more history on its previous chapters, explore their website. Featuring a total of 6 mythic chapters, the first three years have been about personal transformation, last three are about collective transformation into the present, our culture, and finding solutions. Through sustainable living a lucid visions, we explore next level solutions towards healing Earth. Will you be part of the solution? We can’t do it without you… so I encourage you to come experience Lucidity. I’m looking forward to this weekend as its profound intention has captured me. Featuring over 40 workshops with over 90 workshop presenters from topics ranging from: activation & empowerment, art & creativity, consciousness & spirituality, dance & movement, education, flow & martial arts, food & lifestyle, gender alchemy & intimacy, healing arts, kids, lucid dreaming music, sustainability & permaculture, yoga & meditation. I am especially stoked for some expansions on crystal healing, reiki healing, sound healing, meditation & creativity, anything along those fields! Filled with themed and creative villages, reusable “mapdana’s”, emphasizing a zero-waste event and a “leave it better mentality”, providing mindful organic feeding, featuring dope music and visual art, they are also extending their vision into “Lucidity Course Week” happening April 4th – April 10th. Immerse yourself in a powerful movement stemming from the West Coast and remember to bring what you experienced and learned into your everyday life.
Throughout the weekend of April 8th – April 10th, our Lucidity star family has also provided lush nourishment of sonic vibrations, visual and installation arts, & mesmerizing acrobatic movement stemming from artists and performers from all over the world including top-notch, fresh, & diverse national and local genre taste. Musical headliners such as Keller Williams, Haywyre, & Kalya Scintilla w/ Eve Olution will be gracing us with eclectic vibes. Over 100 other musical acts were announced and artists such as Mark Farina, J.Phlip, Bluetech, Om Unit, Kaminanda, Mike Love, Mr. Bill, EPROM, Pumpkin, Mihkal, Psymbionic, Merkaba, Whitebear, Mihkal, Yheti, Saqi, HAANA, Secret Recipe, CharlesTheFirst, PartyWave, Dissolv, Yaima, DubCOliNG, Nas-Ja, Oneness, Grymetyme, Irieyes, Shaman’s Dreams, Benjah Ninjah & more will be providing a lucid dose of bass, live-tronica, funk, conscious hip-hop, glitch, glitch-hop, sacred bass, trip-hop, acoustic, jazz, reggae, & more.
One of my favorite aspects of music and arts festivals, asides interactive workshops, are the visual artists! Creating live art while getting inspired by their surroundings of smiles, live music, art, and other creations is truly something inspiring to visually experience. A total of over forty visual artists ( Gallery Artists & Installation Artists ) will be present at Crossroads so be sure to tap into your surroundings to discover, learn, and engage while exploring their styles so you can feel, relate, understand, and reflect. I have so much respect and love for visual artists as they truly display themselves in the present moment and engage in co-creation, as everyone else does! Support! Last but not least, a vibrant array of Performers will be performing all over the stages and on campgrounds so be sure to keep your eyes wide open for movement all around you.
When listening to an interview on Lucid Planet Radio w/ Dr Kelly featuring Jonah Haas ( Founder and Co-Marketing director of Lucidity ) on How Festivals Evolve Consciousness a couple weeks ago, I was eager to find out that Lucidity folks are currently seeking permanent land space to create permaculture design and to host people all year around during smaller, intimate events/retreats, culture of growing food, healing arts, & movement – a whole systems’ approach to community living. Enter ‘LucidPlanet’ as a promotional code, while purchasing tickets & save!
The time is now to come together for Crossroads at Lucidity Festival 2016! Bring yourself, your hoops, creative tools, a clear mind, art, camping gear, but most importantly, bring your higher self and awareness! New world change is the atmosphere of these transformational festivals, so be sure to come play to learn! Envision lush views, smiles, laughter, silence, languages, & deep intention decorating the festival! A nourishment awaiting to trigger life-changing paths is on its way to Live Oak so be ready to experience creative and artistic breakthroughs, aligning movement, co-creations, explorations, truth, discovery, & sustainable living.
‘Lucidity’s environmental commitment is to leave Live Oak better than before.’
Inspired by Lucidity’s deep intention, I reached out to Wesley Wolfbear Pinkham of Optimystic Media, operating at Lucidity Festival. He shares with us his visions on the presence and future of Media. Wesley guides us through a deep exploration of the foundations behind his creations, his affiliation with Lucidity, triggers that led to this creation, community co-op theme, breaking down the vicious repetitive cycle, transformation, the game changing solution, fearlessness, & manifesting dreams. Wolfbear is gearing a path of innovative approaches leading into breaking down mainstream society’s stagnant ways, and how co-creation & proper tools can break through and illuminate a sustainable society.
Lucidity Festival feat. Exclusive Interview w/ Wesley Pinkham of Optimystic Media
1. Hey Wesley, happy to connect. I want to say that I’m intrigued by Optimystic Media, I want to congratulate you on a new found vision! Lucidity Festivals are the key into “transformational” culture, share with us your affiliation with Lucidity and how you plan to further the vision via Optimystic Media.
I had a friend of a friend doing promotions for some event and I visited the website. When I got there, I watched this video at a TEDx in Canada, this guy driving around a magical spaceship tour through this world I’d never heard of: Transformational Festivals. That video was Jeet-Kei Leung (founder of The Bloom Series). I packed up my car and I went up a few days before the gates opened. Instead of throwing me out, the production crew put me in the box office, where I spent the next 3 years of the festival, building a system and taming the chaos.
By 2014, I was writing and photographing about 12 festivals a year, including coming full circle and working with Jeet-Kei on The Bloom, Festival Fire, LostinSound, Reinhabiting the Village… A lot of other organizations and publications. Working with so many different publishers, marketing firms, festival producers, I was developing an idea of what I, as festival media, needed to do my job better.
For the 2015 season, I took the torch from the ineffable Spencer Weiner as Media Coordinator at Lucidity. My natural tendency is to create systems that are replicable and open-source. There’s so much time and energy that goes into making things that work, prototyping and testing, getting feedback. I was lucky to inherit a realm that had a lot of excitement and previous successes. But we got a whole new set of feedback from a new set of hands working the spreadsheets and application cycle, the media dumps and the follow-ups.
Those systems, and a desire to work co-operatively and not competitively, that’s where Optimystic Media was born. From the connections and experience of creating a truly remarkable Media experience on-site, we realized just how many things were missing to create the sort of footage we needed to tell the story of this rapidly changing movement.
2. What initially triggered the inspiration to create a new vision with Media at Lucidity?
There were quite a few triggers in creating a new vision for Media at Lucidity. First of all, the festival itself is a major driver for communal change and best practices in festival prouction. Industry insiders in the Transformational Festival scene know that Lucidity is one of the best-run small festivals in the country, one of a small handful of events that is building open-source systems to improve the entire scene. Festivals such as Enchanted Forest Gathering (Mendocino), Envision (Costa Rica), Desert Hearts (SoCal) and Beloved (Oregon) all have Lucidity producers in major roles.
Once you have the basics under control, when you know there are the systems in place to keep the bathrooms clean, the cars parked, the stages from falling apart, you get to move up the Maslowian pyramid. You go from checking the boxes for safety and security to trying to fulfill the emotional, spiritual and metamotiviational needs of your community.
So it’s only natural for Lucidity to try and push the edges of Media to match the cutting-edge programming on-site. Last year, I noticed on the schedule that there were 12 different workshops going on at once during some parts of the weekend. We produce more content than Lightning in a Bottle but have maybe 1/8th the population.
We’ve needed to expand our Media plan to reflect the intentionally wide diversity of experiences, ages (young and old), genders, cultures and interests both curated and developing organically.
We got tired of seeing the same recap videos, the same soundtracks, the same language being used over and over. At Optimystic Media, we call these media products “Hot Chicks and DJs®,” just slow motion booties, bass, hands on laptops. Where were the stories? The dialogue? We want to create narratives that invite you on a journey, your own adventure, where you already feel like you belong before you ever get to the gate. So we’re working on doing more of that. Our cut of the Lucidity promo for this year reflects that direction.
3. You define your vision as “A Community Co-Op”, could you please elaborate?
The overwhelming sense in this industry has been that in order to succeed, you need your own brand, your own identity, your own clients, your own systems. Setting up Optimystic as a community co-operative is the chance to break down the competitive, winner-takes-all approach to the limited resources of festival marketing budgets. It is a direct rejection of the scarcity mindset, viewing ownership and opportunity in terms of contribution and participation.
A Co-Operative business means that it is owned and operated by its employees. It is democratically administered, and is part of an evolving set of business models beyond the traditional top-down organizations traditionally seen in creative agencies. Some of the processes of creating agreements and bylaws are still on hold while we try to establish revenue streams and core systems.
In the mean time, we’re an open tent as we try to build bridges between the many elements of the Mediasphere: the few PR firms in the scene, the shooters and production companies, the myriad blogs and writers…
4. Mainstream Media is something that needs to change. Through your vision, how do you intent to break the vicious repetitive cycle, and instead push forward feels of sustaining and empowering independent storytelling?
“The Media” seems to be the kind of boogieman both politicians and New Agers like to agree to hate. I’ve had people confront me with at a festival and tell me I was the problem since I couldn’t participate with a camera in my hand. The truth is, this is the way I participate. This is the gift that I bring to the table, and the way I love to contribute. The Media is not the problem, Capitalism is. And the conglomeration that hides hidden agendas of the major players in the scene. Today, we have more conglomeration than ever, but we also have a vast array of democratic channels by which we can distribute information.
Our vision is one bred by the thoughts, hopes and work of many media practitioners, theorists, futurists and entrepreneurs. Antonio López’s The Media Ecosystem is a seminal guide to our goals: viewing media as an essential expression of global ecology, of making media that speaks not just for the humans but for the animals. If we are to give a microphone to the quieted voices, we must put a microphone to the earth as well.
That book came to me by way of the publication wing of Evolver Network. The work of its founder, Daniel Pinchbeck, informs the moral compass that drives our efforts. It’s so easy to look at our world and be drawn into hopelessness, a lack of power. By aligning with groups such as the Center for Planetary Culture, we become bigger than ourselves, part of a powerful coalition of changemakers.
Optimystic Media has its vision written right into its name. We’re optimistic about the future: we live in the most interconnected, global and fast-moving era of all time. We have, at our disposal, the tools to bring down companies and governments, shed light on darkness and review the best beer selection in the history of mankind. We also call on the mystical to bring us back
5. Define the “Game Changing Solution” and how it evolves through Optimystic.
During the coverage over racial frustration in Ferguson, I saw a story about the Media getting muscled out of a local McDonald’s where they had set up for the week to cover the developing drama. How can we expect our media streams to remain journalistically neutral when they’re setting up in such a toxic and corporate environment? What if we could set up a mobile environment that provides the core needs of power, wifi and hospitality while also instilling a sense of community, collaboration and democracy?
Festival Media is a source of immense joy and love for the shooters and writers that find themselves mixed up in this world. It’s a place to truly capture honest, magical, beautiful moments and it feeds your creative side throughout the year.
But there’s little to no money in it. The publications pay their photographers in writers in a comp ticket, which means they aren’t even paying for it, the festival is. The shooters and editors that work in-house sometimes get small stipends, but it’s nowhere near their day-rate. It’s a passion project for some, a weekend with a camera to play and collaborate. For others, it’s something that they truly want to succeed and become financially independent doing.
The Game Changing Solution was the creation of a system where Media can thrive and producers can tell more complex stories. We create a better working environment, called the Optimystic Media Hub: a cleaner set of operations, a central point-of-contact, hospitality, power, wifi, coffee and the reliability of Media Coordinators who are on-point, not on drugs, phones charged, ready to help. For those that want to develop their economic models, we’re developing systems that allow us to diversify our revenue streams, including direct media sales, vending and merch opportunities, licensing and collaborating on leads and projects.
6. How many years have you attended Lucidity? What is it about Lucidity that screams out transformation and possibility?
I have been at Lucidity since its first year in 2012, in the muddy, chaotic hilariousness of a first year festival’s box office. I was immediately changed, my own experience screams out transformation and possibility. I had gone to bluegrass festivals, raves, world music events, large civic festivals, but nothing like this. I was immediately swept up and enamored with the community.
Now, five years later, I see that so much of the scene has hit a stride, we’re comfortable with what we’re doing and creating. There’s all the makings of a culture or sub-culture: style of dress, music, art, insider language. Some festivals just take these elements and put them on a poster and expect “Transformational” results. It takes a lot more than that.
What makes Lucidity different is that we’re constantly pushing ourselves to collaborate with new and different ideas, concepts, directions. We create a container for a vast array of co-creation. Last year, we upped the permaculture game by creating three different programs: a pre-event intensive, a permaculture action day with The Polish Ambassador and Ayla Nereo and an on-site hub that provided programming and demonstrations throughout the event. This year, we’re expanding our pre-event intensives into the Lucid University Courseweek where we’re offering 5 different tracts of learning: Reiki Healing, Permaculture, Art and Creativity, Leadership and Embodiment and Lucid Dreaming.
7. What is(are) Lucidity Festivals mission(s)?
Lucidity is an open-source transformational arts and music festival. When we become lucid in our dreams, we realize ourselves as infinite potential, we let go of fear, and we are free to create that which we want to see in the world. Bring those visions, those possibilities, and that delicious conscious energy with you to Lucidity and wake up in the dream.
Our economic model creates a strong balance between music, art, workshops and sustainability. We don’t use our lineup as a way to sell tickets, our community has come to a sold-out festival every year because they trust our values. They’re written clearly and inform everything that we do, as an organization:
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
The long term goal is to collectively purchase land, move away from the build/strike cycle and create a community resource for learning and education. Lucidity belongs in a place, we aren’t just a floating, nomadic community. We are deeply connected with the Santa Barbara scene, including the SOL (Sustainable, Organic, Local) Food Festival, the Santa Barbara Food Co-Op, programs for community building in Isla Vista, and many other projects. We’re hoping to find land nearby to create a needed permanent resource in the community.
8. Share with us the importance of personal growth, letting go, being fearless, tapping into creativity, and losing the ego. What can manifest?
I think many of us understand, theoretically, that the Ego is the enemy of success. But our society rewards the Ego, especially in the Media landscape. We judge our famous people by their Instagram followers, their book sales or the size of their fortunes. My own Ego has gotten me quite far at times, but it all comes crashing down eventually. The space between how you project yourself to be and what you truly are becomes discordant, leading to external and internal lies. The Ego gets in the way of personal growth, convincing you, manipulating the facts in order to see yourself in the best possible light, despite the realities of your behavior.
By developing Optimystic Media into a Co-Op, the goal is to manifest something that is hard to take individual credit for, something much larger than myself or any of our other core team. By developing open source systems that regenerate back into a project that shares our values and interests, we hope to manifest something that any of us can step away from at any point to take care of ourselves, to treat our own wounds without the fear that another world will come crashing down if we walk away from it. Much of our traditional workforce teaches us this panic, that if we let go, the world will collapse. There is power in numbers, especially knowing that there are people you’ve never even met who will help you along your journey.
By tapping into a more collective creativity, we allow the free flow of movement from professional to amateur, from traditional to experimental. We know who has the right gear and knowledge to capture hyperlapses or long-exposure light painting or who is developing a new technique for a certain kind of shot or post-production style. We can also keep each other honest with our intentions, ask for help when we need it and get more perspectives into the creative process.
9. Are you also expanding Optimystic Media into other festivals outside of Lucidity? If so, which ones?
Yes. Optimystic Media is a collaborative movement that belongs to the festival community, as a whole. Lucidity is a driving force, our home base, but we’re developing systems that are useful to organizations at different budgets, sizes and existing systems.
Though we function as a visual brand of our own, we are ultimately a white label solution. You might see some of our branding in a space, but at Lucidity, we run the Lucidity Media Hub. We’re a business-to-business project, and our many members are involved in almost every major festival in the Transformational Festival movement. We were down at Envision supporting Justin Brothers, Alexa Rae and the fabulous folks at The Confluence. We’ll be at Boogaloo Mountain Jam providing media support and slinging organic, fair trade delicious craft draft nitrogen infused cold coffee. We’re deeply involved with the squishy magical goodness of Enchanted Forest Gathering in Mendocino. There are a host of other events, vendors, sub-projects that we support with media creation, creative direction, copywriting, websites… You name it. Check out our website for an ever growing list of our community.
10. Anything else you would like to share with us?
Don’t cut out the watermarks.
And check us out at our website, on our Facebook or, better yet, come by Lucidity Festival’s Media Hub – open to the public – by the Lucid University.
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