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An Exclusive Inside Look At Pirate Party Festival [Interviews]

cred: V.A. Davis Photography (HeadyWorks/DomeVizion)

The Pirate Party returned this year for another unforgettable weekend of music, art, camping, dancing, and workshops. We strapped on our peg leg and held onto our tricorn hat, because this years’ line up was stackedEmancipator Ensemble headlined, the full live band project of Portland-based producer Emancipator, known for his unique strain of electronic music. Over eight years the festival has grown to be one of the most anticipated events of the summer; clearly evidenced by the huge number of well-known acts that have graced their lineup.

Domevizion‘s contribution was one element we were most excited for. Their one-of-a-kind stage featured projected 360 degree visuals, dazzling LED lighting, a beautiful geometric stage design, art installations, and much more. You might recognize their stages from HeadyWorks (another Pirate Party collaborative entity) shows. Their dome was booked at four different festivals last season, spanning across three states. Around the dome you could find countless artists painting, a perfect activity and sight to watch while relaxing. In fact, almost every stage had at least one artist painting at any given time. Musik Lives Here, another involved collaborative force of Pirate Party also has major experience with festivals and concerts, particularly in Montana. This Montana-native collaborative collective does it all; sound, lighting, pyrotechnics, and so much more. These multitalented individuals confidently boast “an arsenal of technical miscellanea […] useful for all elements of production”.

Throughout the packed weekend we threw down amongst the likes of Buku, Christian Martin, Desert Dwellers, Eprom, Mt. Eden, and The Widdler; all the basses were certainly covered. We were introduced to a variety of local and international unfamiliar talent, and while we were there we had the pleasure of talking to a number of artists that played the festival.

Ovoid is an upcoming producer from the PNW that has been playing around the country alongside Tipper, sharing his and his colleagues’ glitchy psychedelic music. His music often fuses guitars and field recordings, synthesizing a unique medley of originality and extremely danceable grooves. Another artist who performed at the festival, wassuop (based in Oakland, CA), is also known for his particular take on glitch and electronic music. His debut EP on Street Ritual is absolutely crazy. If you haven’t heard it already, you’re in for a treat. Both of these guys create very technically impressive music and we implore you to check out both wassuop’s EP and Ovoid’s recent album, life.

These two friends sat down with us one evening at the festival for a quick interview.

DMNW: What’s a piece of advice you would give to yourself when you were younger and more naive?

Ovoid: Work harder on music cause it’s dope. [laughs] Contrary to popular belief, you can actually do it and get paid to do it.

DMNW: Is there equipment or a technique that you use in every track you produce?

wassuop: Lately in my newer tracks I’ve been doing a lot of resampling of bass, detuning, and distorting things. I feel like it’s coming out with a pretty unique sound that I haven’t really heard in other peoples’ tracks. I also use a lot of Razor and Serum. I go crazy with the filters in there until I get something I like. I just keep on tweaking it, for hours or days until it sounds good.

wassuop has played at Wormhole Wednesday numerous times in Oakland, thrown by Secret Recipe (another Oakland-based producer). Secret Recipe also runs the label Wormhole Music Group and has been producing under his alias for about a year and a half. He too has been garnering huge support for his music, shows, and label. We were fortunate to also interview him during the festival.

cred: V.A. Davis Photography (HeadyWorks/DomeVizion)

DMNW: What were the beginnings of what you do? Why do you do it?

Secret Recipe: It was born from a love of weird electronic music. I formally went as another alias for several years. The Secret Recipe project started when I started making better music. I wanted a more serious name [than the former]. I’m trying to bring my own strange brand into it, combining melodic stuff with heavier stuff. It’s all been basically the same drive and idea the whole time, to bring something a little different to the table, a little weirder than the popular things going on.

DMNW: What’s a piece of advice you could offer to aspiring producers?

Secret Recipe: I definitely wish I had waited a lot longer before I started releasing any of my music. I started putting it out pretty much as soon as I made it, which was also a huge factor in changing my name. I basically did a whole rebranding process to get that out there. At the same time, I’m definitely glad I started DJ’ing at that time and getting connections and experience. I think a lot of younger producers come out the gate with a ton of SoundCloud followers and really fire tunes, but don’t know how to piece a set together to save their lives. Play out, get familiar with what it’s like playing for a crowd. Wait until you feel like you’re putting out music you can get behind before you start releasing it and pushing your name to wider audiences.

Secret Recipe has also had some tunes on Street Ritual. The final Street Ritual releasee we spoke with at Pirate Party was Devin Kroes. Once again, this artist has their own particular sound, with strong foundations of bass music. Devin is very melodically inclined, evidenced in his use of stringed instruments in many of his compositions. His psychedelic sentimental music evokes a strong emotional response and it’s comfortably at home in both chill-out and turn-up territories.

DMNW: How did your music project get started?

Devin: It started out seven years ago, when I was mostly going to raves and events like that. I got into the production side of things pretty early and was really intrigued with how the music was made. So I started getting into that and learning to DJ. The Street Ritual guys were some the first people I met when I moved to Oakland, so I got connected with them pretty early on. I’ve had a great relationship with them since basically the beginning.

DMNW: What does the future look like for your project? Any new music in the works?

Devin: I’ve got a bunch of tunes that I’m wrapping up right now. I’m hoping to get another release out by the end of this year. Eclipse is the last big festival I’m doing for the year, so I’m closing it out with that.

Whitebear was the last artist we had the pleasure of interviewing at the festival. We started off speaking with him about Shanti Planti, the well known collective he is a part of.

Whitebear: Shanti Planti is for the artist. In this day and age it’s hard to make money off any of your releases. The label takes a cut, which is totally understandable, then there’s all the distribution fees. Shanti Planti is a collective of artists and we when we release with [them], we keep 100% of the profits and we promote each other. We’ve got about twenty artists. Every time a release comes out every single artist promotes each other’s release. It was started by Quanta from the UK. I’ve been a part of that for the last four years and I’ve been releasing my music through them for that time.

Whitebear and Kayla Scintilla have a full tour starting at the end of September until mid to late November. The dates will be available soon on their respective media webpages.

DMNW: Do you have any upcoming releases or collaborations?

Whitebear: [Kayla Scintilla] and I just finished a collab and we’re going to release that for free via TheUntz. That’s gonna come out for free in a few months. kLL sMTH and I also have a collab that should be done in the next few days. Also, another one with Sixis who is also on Shanti Planti.

This was our first Pirate Party and it was awesome! The satisfying combination of good vibes, visual, and audio art is something that we just can’t get enough. We’re sure Pirate Party in future years will deliver and go beyond our expectations.

Who do you want to see at next years’ Pirate Party?

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