Cacao Ceremony Ibiza

Recently I met Char a traveller and open soul who had been to Guatemala and Peru learning about the food of the gods’ cacao, we crossed paths in a beautiful part of Ibiza and exchanged ideas about how to offer the cacao with music and dance using traditional methods and new technology combining the past and present to form a unique celebration and ceremonial experience.

Char had learned medicine songs, Pacha Mama (mother earth) the cacao and its magic as a wild heirloom heritage for over 10,000 years from the Ashaninka tribe of Peru. I have been working with the cacao for some time and playing electronic music from all over the world as a celebration to those who wish to join and open the heart chakra. My days of clubbing and festivals have enveloped and now the cacao is a bridge to the new way of unifying tribal identity.

Char has experience with cacao from Keith who is based in Guatemala otherwise known as the Cacao Shaman and her learning has taken place with Mayans and tribes from Brazil, Mexico and Peru. So we decided to work together and create an event in a beautiful Ashram in Ibiza with students on a Yoga retreat, the set and setting were perfect and we set to creating an experience for the guests.

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Andrew Gibson who has been working for the DJ Growth Lab and a former student of mine came to experience the cacao and DJ with me at the event. 

I prepared the cacao 25 grams per person with 3 litres of bottled water, sea salt, chilli and sage picked from the garden, the process takes about 30mins and then let cool to body temperature. No sweetener is needed with this cacao due to its wild heirloom heritage, each dose carefully measured and served in the circle. This was the equinox and the turn of the season changing to autum and the perfect time for a ceremony.

Char started the ceremony with introductions and asked us to set our intentions letting go of the past and remaining in the present, grateful for life, love and the collective. She sang 3 medicine songs as we consumed the cacao slowly and held it to our hearts, as the drum beats and the cacao slowly takes effect working its way through the body in preparation of the dance.

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The cacao can take from 20 – 40 minutes so within this time reflection and connection can be felt when Char sings and plays the guitar, everyone was deep in thought as the cacao moves closer to the heart. 

It was time to start the music and the lights for the dance, a time to move freely and express oneself to the music through ecstatic dance and sound meditation. Everyone let go and moved with true grace to the music being played and as the tempo rose the bond became stronger and stronger as the energy shifted in the room and hands began to rise and smiles on faces began to form. We were emersed in the sound and connected at the source reminding me of the free party movement in the early 90’s a tribalistic gathering of lost sounds bonding to sound and vibration in a dysfunctional world. But now this was different we were connected and not lost but coming together finally as it was intended many years ago but this time fully conscious and aware of why we were there.

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Char closed the ceremony and we shared gratitude and thanks for coming together on this special evening. 

Our setup includes:

Mobile L.E.D organic coffee and cacao bar, stools, tables and 16 seats.

Off-grid DJ Boothe and speaker system.

Various Instruments and drums.

Face and body painting.

Poi performance and lighting

Please contact us for further information on cacao gatherings and celebrations we are available for events, retreats and festivals.

For more information on Char and her experience in South America please have a look at the website: http://www.charvida.com

 

 

 

 

ABLETON – RACK TRAK

This weekend I found myself creating the A.M Ableton Live Rack Trak Pack and wanted to give it away as a free template for you. This rack of instruments and effects are a great way to start a new track and also store the 64 samples I have created using digital synths (including the drums) for inspiration and creative output. This is the first of the series and I have focused on the dance music genre “Tech House” for this, all the sounds have been crafted to fit into this category and with the use of the macros set on each channel, there are infinite possibilities in sound design and sculpting new music.

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Vintage Poly, Lead, Bass, Perc, Hats, Kick, FX and Snare Drums are available to use and select as hits in any music production. I have created a group with all the sounds so you can add them to existing racks or even make your own from scratch.

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The KiK rack uses impulse as the instrument of choice and the macros are mapped to the decay, transposition, filter, and rez for ease of use to sculpt and design the sounds. Drum Bus has been added with EQ and saturation to give the kick that boosts to cut through the mix.

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The SNR rack also uses impulse and has 8 sounds to be chosen from but this time the macros are mapped to the drum bus to tighten and boost the snare sound of choice. You can even layer them, change the stretch and transposition creating new sounds as an opportunity to make true technologic advanced waveforms.

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The Hatz are added to the drum rack for ease of access and playing with push 2, the macros are also mapped to the drum bus, I have included EQ and gate in the effects chain for a tighter sound and the utility is set to mono. I chose the drum rack in this instance for you to be able to use the choke function with the Hatz.

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The perk rack has been added to the drum rack and 16 sounds combined in this instance for a percussive loop. I have added EQ and compression and used the convolution reverb and echo on the send channels to brighten the sounds. Once again the drum bus has been added and the macros set to the most common features to change the sounds overall.

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The Bass rack consists of 8 sounds in the sampler and mapped to the macro to change the bass sound with the selector knob, the filter, res, and LFO have been set to the MS2 filter setting with drive and a series of effects to boost the signal for a driving bass sound. The OTT preset has been used twice in the chain to give this bass a real grunt.

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The Poly rack contains 8 vintage sounds recorded from various digital poly software emulations and has 8 macros set to change the sound and create something unique with the LFO, I have added ping-pong delay and a side chain to the sound, a little reverb and EQ bring to life this classic synth sound and so many possibilities for change lurk under the hood.

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The last but not least of the racks is the Lead and contains a further 8 waveforms for you to twist and modulate, with 3 midi effects including chord, arp and scale to get the ideas following for this super synth lead sampler. The effects chain includes compression, verb, and EQ boosting the signal to give the sounds a powerful effect and dramatic.

I have created a midi part for each of the racks to demonstrate the individual sounds and effects, just delete them and get started making music with this handy free pack. If you enjoy using these sound and racks please feel free to share with other Ableton users.

Download link available below for a limited time only, get it now!

https://we.tl/t-B6HLTx7hfV

 

 

Ibiza DJ Academy Get Creative

This month we prepared for 10 students to arrive at the Ibiza DJ Academy retreat working with Danny Savage (DJ Growth Lab), Martin Doorly (Reptile Dysfunction), Rob Anderson (Pioneer DJ), Jay Newman (Ibiza Rocks) and yours truly.

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We wanted to give the students who attended 5 days something they would never forget and skills they could use in the studio, on stage and knowledge of social media and marketing. All 10 artists in the making had a one to one with us all to help understand where they wanted to be in the world of music in the next 5 years, this is a very unique experience here in Ibiza and a chance to experience new ways of working and combating challenges on the road to successfully achieving musical goals in the dance music realm.

I had the opportunity to use the new https://soundboks.com/ speaker that certainly packs a punch and is battery operated and can be used anywhere, as Martin explained. This new mobile speaker had everyone excited about the possibilities of intimate events in weird and wonderful places going back to underground parties for friends who want a different experience.

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Each and everyone on the 5-day retreat had a very unique way of working and a gift for the art of DJ-ing and music production, 13-year-old Jake (Roomstar) came with his mum/manager Cindy and it was great to work with a young man with such talent who’s capabilities and personality was awe inspiring. For me, it’s so important that we share our know-how with the next generation and keep the flag flying in a scene that has now lasted over 30 years and to see the enthusiasm for what we created so long ago. Music has changed but the core element of this tribal identity still exists outweighing Rock and Indie music as a cultural reference. So many sub-genres of the electronic music scene have exponentially exploded and with social media and the internet can be heard all over the world.

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When I start my workshops at the retreat we make the Dr Rocket Syphon Filter Coffee created by @audiomogul and Machina Coffee Edinburgh, based on the original Japanese tea ceremony using both hemispheres of the brain, logic and Creativity. Subconsciously preparing for the day ahead of making music or organising music for a DJ set. Soon we will be launching a series of products including our unique blend of filter coffee, cacao and CBD products for use in music and creativity. When combined with creative strategies and sound design making unique samples for the Pioneer S1000 and Ableton live using the Push 2.

https://audiomogul.blog/products/

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Sound design and creative block are what I specialise in when teaching and coaching, these are subjects I find are not usually mentioned in college or university when learning music technology and older methods seem to have disappeared and become a lost art due to modern music methods using a computer. There are infinite possibilities when using Ableton Live and soft synths, a vast array of plugins and this can be daunting for someone starting out or for those who wish to make a career change and move over to the field of dance music creativity. All is not lost though as this spike of music creators who are succeeding in their field are limited due to the one trick pony effect, this is where I come in and share ideas of how to make music using found sounds and design your own from field recording make original and timeless music and sustaining a career in dance music. I have been working various methods and take inspiration from the likes of Robert Henke and Mike Banks who have made a career in music for 30 years or so.

 

Roger Sanchez Coffee and Creativity

Again we visited Metrica studio’s in Playa Den Bossa, Ibiza but this time for a very special interview for #thatdannysavageshow now no.1 on iTunes podcasts for music. Danny and I arrived early to prepare for our guest Roger Sanchez, a self-made man of house music and a true hustler when it comes to the grind.

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Danny asked a series of questions and will soon be available for you to tune in, listen and watch the videocast. “I don’t want to spoil this”

When we were finished we had an informal chat about business strategies, creative strategies, the DJ growth lab retreat and finally coffee. Roger is a big fan of coffee and I shared the knowledge with him I have acquired over the years and how important it was to have a coffee for creativity. When I discussed the importance of slow-release caffeine and how to prepare a syphon and V60 coffee inducing creativity in the preparation of this alchemist of brew processes.

So I passed Roger a bag of the finest filter coffee from Machina Edinburgh and a V60 dripper cup and filters it felt like it was now time to share this with the electronic music creation population. So I have been working on a new and improved coffee method I call the Dr rocket coffee brew, using the V60 or syphon coffee maker and hemp CBD infused water with coconut oil. The Dr Rocket Mocha is the big brother of the Dr Rocket and adding Forever Cacao ceremonial grade to the mix with ice infused with CBD oil “you heard it here first”

Audio Mogul: Creativity is the power that drives us forward!!!

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I will be making a new video explaining the process and benefits from such a coffee for DJ’s and electronic music producers who want to remain in the creative realm throughout the day when it comes to our first love, sound!

Tomorrow we start another retreat here on the White Isle with DJ Martin Doorly, myself and Danny Savage and I will be trying out my new method with the 10 students and gain their feedback as well as to be working on Creative Strategies, Outside the box sound design and one to one coaching.

 

 

 

 

Binaural 3D Audio Metrica Studio Ibiza

Yesterday I was kindly invited by Danny Savage (DJ Growth Lab) to visit a new studio in Playa Den Bossa, Ibiza to see what they had to offer and meet Shams (head of operations) in the heart of clubland. Metrica is a new concept studio with an equipment list as long as your arm and the latest in hardware and software technology.

We entered the office located in a hotel and were greeted by Shams.

The office has a space to film DJ sets with astroturf walls, office desks, sofas and the latest pioneer DJ setup not to mention the beer is on tap. They have been open for 6 weeks now and already the likes of Martin Garrix coming for studio sessions. After our introduction, we were kindly invited to see the studio and this is where a new concept 25.3 3D surround sound system is in operation using Sfear https://sfear.com/ Ableton Live, Protools, N.I Komplete and variety of hardware compressors and synthesizers. Like walking into a set from Blade Runner the console and build of the control room has been thought about acoustically and creatively and as Shams said if they had more time the could have made a floating floor and added subs to fulfil the 3D sound environment. Never the less this place is a touch of magic and not your conventional studio with a strong team of gifted creatives.

Eric Brevig is the man behind the design of the studio and his son custom made the speakers in the studio.

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Talking with Shams you could tell he was enthusiastic about the project and he proceeded to play us some music created for the 25.3 binaural sound system and began with a version of Hotel California, to hear the vocals go over your head and round your body was disorientating, to begin with, but soon you were captured by the experience. He then played a track they had created in the studio with lush strings and piano and finally he played us the music from an installation for Sonar festival, explaining to us after listening for 12 minutes if you close your eyes you can see colours and shapes.

Shams later told us they were working with Barcelona University on specific frequencies to help with the possibility of curing diseases and this was when my ears pricked up as I’m a big fan of Oliver Saacs book Musicophillia and led me to research Dr. Tomatis and his lives work that led to the Tomatis method successfully used by the like of Gerard Depardieu to help overcome his problem with speech. Adan Garriga is the director of the audio-visual technology at Metrica and manager at Sfear working at Barcelona University, I hope to meet him and interview him for the blog, he is the man behind the binaural sound concept at Metrica.

https://www.metricasound.com/en/

https://sfear.com/

 

 

 

Ibiza DJ Retreat (DJ Growth Lab)

Recently I attended the Ibiza DJ retreat organised by Danny Savage and DJ Martin Doorly, located in the hills of San Miguel in a beautiful villa with a spectacular view here in Ibiza. I was asked to come and mentor 10 music producers and DJ’s for 2 days out of the 5 days they stayed on the White Isle.

Using the Dennis Desantis book 74 creative strategies, siphon coffee and Ableton Live 10 we set to work and accomplished a unique set of tasks for each of the guys to help them with their creative output and studio time plus one to one mentoring.

Danny and I have been friends for nearly 8 years and we visited Malawi and created an Ableton suite for Butterfly space a voluntary organisation helping the local community in Nikata Bay, Lake Malawi. We worked with the team creating radio podcasts and the basics of music production. I helped Danny at the beginning of his events business Igloo disco and designed the flyers and posters for the festival he organised Field Trip with Leeds promoter King Don Keys. We have a close bond and both of us have lived in campervans and this led me to come with my family to Ibiza to live, thanks to the man himself. So now I’m working with Danny and Martin on the retreat and creating new methods for music production and creativity using Ableton Live 10, Sound Design and Push 2.

When demonstrating how to make siphon coffee I introduced myself and background as a DJ, producer, music venue owner and lecturer at Leeds Met University explaining the principles of making a slow filter coffee and the attention to detail it takes down to the measuring of the coffee and the grind setting. When you do this first thing in the morning you set the day ahead and start the creative process before entering the studio allowing the brain to work from both hemispheres, logic, and creativity. Also, a well-balanced diet and advice from a nutritionist go a long way when you are sat in a studio all day and inevitably into the night.

After the death of DJ Avicii, I realised there was more and more interest in health and well being and the recent International Music Summit here in Ibiza there was a heavy focus on this subject. Meditation and cacao are now a practice of mine to help with the day to day music lifestyle and creative process. So these products and theories are now what I teach and share with students changing the dynamic of what you can do to help move forward in music production.

If you are interested in joining us on one of the DJ academy retreats contact Danny via the DJ growth lab and sign up to the group to find out more about the lab and meet the other members.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/djgrowthlab/

https://www.facebook.com/audiomogul/

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Balearic Birth The Savage Beginning

When you decide to give a DJ mix to your beautiful friend as a birthing gift you go deep inside and remember your experience of having your baby at home in the water and the emotions, love and connection you have to pure consciousness and thus it was one of the hardest mixes I have ever done because it had to be true to the soul. Big love Danny Savage and Cristyn Jenkins XXX

Veganuary, Decentralising Music, Social media and Creative Workflow.

So I have been using Ableton Live 10 and push 2 for 6 days and I have to say I am more than impressed with the upgrade from 9 and the new features on Push 2 are fantastic. I have deleted my Soundcloud and have applied for a Steemit account to use D-Music for new tracks and it’s free, the past is the past and the present is feeling like a good place to be. Decentralising your music and making a profit through cryptocurrency blockchain seems like a valid exploration, the time is now for musicians to work together and for media heads to join us and help create a future of amazing websites, photography, video and use these new systems available. January was a great month for me to start a new vegan diet and work with cacao to manifest the creativity in abundance, a plant-based diet to clear the body of toxins and shopping for organic produce and getting creative in the kitchen. I have been digging deeper into music I want to play as a DJ and found some gems getting my digital creates ready for the spring and the summer months ahead.

Creativity is more than just making tracks in a studio it’s embracing life as a whole and using the environment and technology together consciously and subconsciously to manifest what’s inside in the form of musical expressionism. So the next chapter is looking good and I will be sharing everything I have learned from diet to the workflow of Ableton Live 10 and Push 2 in the coming months as a form of training here in Ibiza.

I have been building this blog as a place to share content I feel is relevant to a lifestyle in music and from experience, I realise what is needed to continue on this path is more than just music and a huge part of this is sharing what you have learned with others. 

Social media has its place and is great for connecting with friends, groups and pages full of information if you search for it but it can also be a thorn in your side if your creative and want to use it for promoting your work and sharing it with friends. The new algorithm is making it even harder for those who have been paying for adverts and it suits Facebook and not necessarily the end user. The days of your friends jumping over to your Soundcloud or even as far back as Myspace are well and truly over unless you have a bank account the size of a condo in Miami and Google adds are way more expensive. Music makers now have to have a website, fans, likes and jump through hoops to be in with a chance of playing or even getting the email to say “we love your sound and want to work with you” I feel this is a false commodity and labels that work on these ethics and plays are missing out on a chance to sign something no one has heard. This was the case with Gary Numan he appeared, no one had heard of him and he was an instant seller for the record company. Why? because of just that he was fresh, new and had a synth-pop sound like no other at the time, this isn’t limited to Gary but a good artist use in this scenario. I believe now is the best time for musicians and DJ’s to meet up with those who are looking for careers in media and work together utilising the internet not just social media and get paid via cryptocurrency and make money online.

I see a lot of young wannabe producers and DJ’s burn out in the first few years because they reach a higher level and they disappear as quickly as they appeared, electronic music is not the pop idol and if you want to be sustainable you have to take your time to understand and develop your art. My recommendation would be to organise local events and keep them local for a few years build on it, learn from it and share it. Remember you want it to last and you want it to be part of your life, you may pivot and try something new or change your sound but that’s the best bit of it you develop your skills, personality and most of all you remain in the creative realm. I went to a talk with Viv the bass player from punk band the Slits and a member of the audience asked “how do we get more women to go to music college” she answered “you don’t get them to go to art school and learn music themselves” I understood what she meant you don’t learn music you feel music and play music and you learn the art of making music.

The best way to keep the workflow intact and make good art is to find your own way of understanding music once you have mastered the fundamentals and this can be done with a good book on music production and a go-to reference if you need to brush up occasionally. The true DJ and electronic musician will find a way of making music sound like theirs and make it look simple. I once watch a Transworld skateboard video where Tom Penny did a switch frontside flip over a chain and down a bank, he made it look so easy but no one skated the bank for years because it was Tom who made it look easy because his style was original and he had mastered his art before taking to the streets.

 

 

 

 

 

VAN LIFE: A DJ’s Journey to Ibiza and Sustainable Creativity

VAN LIFE: A DJ’s Journey to Ibiza and Sustainable Creativity

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This is a personal account of leaving the U.K and continuing a creative lifestyle on the road with my family!

I had been collecting digital music for many years and became a fan of Pioneer CDJ’s, no more record bags, and in a van let me be honest where the hell do you put a vinyl collection. I have my MacBook Pro, iPhone, Ableton Live, Push 2, Rekord box, Pioneer DDJ controller and Affinity Designer a collection of mobile friendly tools for van life creativity. I have built a sound system in the van and it all runs on solar power, off-grid productions and creative pursuits on the move. I’m a sustainable DJ, blogger and music producer who lives and works in a camper van full time, a digital nomad in the true sense of the terminology. Rose my partner makes clothing and accessories in the van with solar power using an Elna sewing machine and surplus quality fabrics from Yorkshire England. We are both full-time parents and work in the camper van while entertaining and road schooling our little girl, it has been nearly two years now since we moved into our mobile home and I thought it was time to share our story.

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We had been toying with the idea of living in a van for years but it never seemed possible for us to make the leap and change. Everything we had read online was about couples who had sold their houses and bought a van and had enough saving to embark on a #vanlife journey through Europe, this seemed like the most idyllic life and Instagram and Facebook were alive with the stories of these travellers who made a change in life and hit the road. We had watched many a documentary on life in a small space, worked festivals, lived off-grid in Wales and were advocates of a healthy well-balanced diet, sustainable living, conscious creativity, and meditation. We attended an Entrepreneurial course in Leeds to help us with our focus in life, a step towards the digital nomadic lifestyle.

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We decided to have our baby at home and she was finally born in the house we were renting after a five-day labour. Our midwife Amanda and college Debbie came from One to One midwifery and helped us through the birth and have become our friends, both now are owners of campervans and we keep in touch regularly. A home birth is truly a gift; you have the comfort of your surroundings and water birth is so beautiful it’s almost impossible to put the experience in words. Both Rose and I knew this was our time to make changes in our lives and for the next 6 months, we planned our escape from the city. Changes necessary for both of us to remain in the creative realm: books on psychology, life coaching, and spirituality, creativity and music were essential reading material for this journey.

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We looked at all the challenges of living in a van and we turned them into positives and looked at what we could afford, how to do this with limited funds and as a family of three. Our budget was tight and would mean selling our worldly possessions including my record collection, car and music equipment to buy a van and convert it for travelling in Europe. We had been living a frugal lifestyle (the life creative can be like a rollercoaster so elegantly put by Bill Hicks, it’s just a ride) so this was just another step closer to our goals of sustainable off-grid living. Rose had been making clothing and accessories from surplus fabrics under the name of The Colour Circus, using social media as a platform to showcase her wares and remain in the realm of slow fashion zero waste.

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The house we shared was beautiful and we loved the area we were living in, I was DJ-ing, making music and working on graphics for a few independents. Rose was tailoring for friends and family working on new innovate ideas with waste fabrics. Our housemates were understanding of our situation of having a baby but we could sense tension over time and we realized it was time to leave, if you don’t have kids then you don’t know trust me. We found a van on Facebook and went to see it in a field in Wales, the Ford Dormobile was part converted but had been stood for nearly 2 years. We fell in love with the van from first sight; it had been an ambulance and mobility bus and was approaching 30 years of age and was in our budget. I love old vehicles and when she was fired up for the first time in a while she purred like a lion. So we bought her from a musician who was expecting his second child and was happy for us to take her off his hands, Laura was her name and we have become great friends, man and machine.

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On returning to Leeds it was a difficult journey back and the cracks began to show, no power, overheating and the interior smelt of dampness, our new home needed a transformation. The next morning I got inside and ripped out the interior of the van back to the metal work, it felt great to start working on her and there was so much potential with space. She certainly was a character and I knew this would be an exciting project to build a home on wheels. We had 10 days to convert Laura ready to live in and this was an almighty challenge, we had experience in festival décor but this was a new challenge. I am not a carpenter or mechanic but ask me about music I’m your man! Fortunately, I have great friends who came to the rescue and helped with the conversion, Gwil and Josh got their hands dirty, we spend 3 days in B&Q car park building the frame and within 10 days she was ready for the road. We packed up and fortunately I managed to sell my record collection, car and music equipment in a week, this gave us some money to do the work on the van and have some spending money for the road. The day we set off from Leeds was like a miracle had happened a true sense of achievement, both Rose and I were giddy at the thought of this new life on the road, a chance to give our little girl an alternative lifestyle and for both of us to remain in the creative realm. Road schooling Jhonah and we would also be learning more about life, love and creativity. Some thought we were mad others naïve but most encouraged us to take the plunge and travel, the van life was upon us and 6 years of dreaming finally became a reality.

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Our first month in the van was spent in a campsite in the Yorkshire Dales and a perfect opportunity to see if what we had built with friends was a suitable home, this is a must before setting off as you work out very quickly what you need and really don’t need. I bumped into an old friend near the campsite by chance a great bass player and he was a dab hand at welding so he helped us fix a few problems before the MOT, she sailed through it. Rowan (Roses brother) came to the rescue, as the build wasn’t quite right and the solar system needed adjusting, he visited us in the campsite and immediately told us what we needed to change, Rowan is a genius with vans, electronics and great percussionist.

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So we headed to Wales and spent a further two weeks in his driveway working on the van interior with Nick, Rowan and myself fixing the engine and making the final repairs. We visited friends who were living in a bus called Bluebell and a little boy Felix it was his second birthday, Danny and Cristyn are great friends I knew from the club I was the director in Leeds. Early mornings at many an after party we had discussed living in vans, off-grid and living off the land, this became a reality for both of us and when we reunited at the party it was a great time to reminisce.

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Danny introduced us to Mike Vandog traveller who runs a great blog and he interviewed us about the 10-day transformation of Laura our home on wheels (link below) Danny runs Igloo disco, Filth and has been on Dragons Den and he has been a great inspiration to us and we have stayed in contact throughout the journey, our kids now play together on the beaches of Ibiza and we are both working on new innovative projects.

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We finally bought a ticket from Newhaven to Dieppe in France and this was the start of our European journey, we had packed Laura with all the essentials for our creative endeavours and it was amazing to fit everything we needed into such a small space. Shedding the old life is a liberating experience and as you get rid of your possessions an overwhelming feeling of positive consciousness occurs, you finally realise what you actually need to live and work on the road. For me, Ableton Live is the best music DAW for creative music production and what you can do with this software has infinite possibilities. The analogue vs. digital argument is soon to become a myth and as someone who is a futurist when it comes to music I believe the future has finally arrived and is accessible to everyone; not just those with a bank account the size of a small villa.

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Sustainability is key and we have manufactured so many products with a disastrous effect on our planet, even this revival of vinyl has me shivering at the thought of charity shops becoming loaded with plastic waiting to be purchased for 99p in the hope they don’t become another landfill product. As new ways to become independent arise it still baffles me why artists are so keen to get signed to record labels when you can do this very easily as a cooperative of friends who all share the same ambition, locally or who you meet online. I still love to DJ and make music after 26 years and the equipment you can buy now on a budget take up very little room, it’s important to remember some of the best tunes were made on very little equipment and were made in the poorest suburbs of cities across the world.

A digital lifestyle combined with a life on the road has so many benefits for those who challenge the status quo and just do it!

We spend our first month in France by the book, we stayed at a campsite at least once a week to get a shower and do the washing, have a safe place to park and get on WIFI. It takes a little time to move away from the conditioning of living in a house and it’s definitely worth doing this in small steps. We broke down on a few occasions, locked ourselves out of the van and thankfully we had the Haynes manual to help diagnose the fault, fortunately, Laura is a very mechanical engine and can be fixed on the roadside if need be (this is a long story itself).

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We finally arrived in Ariege a beautiful Provence in France where a lot of vanners, travelers and musicians had moved because it was cheap to buy land, beautiful, creative, full of markets and sustainable to grow your own produce. This is where our journey really began and we met an old friend here who was a great percussionist in a band I had played with in Leeds many years earlier. Justin was playing in a band and making fresh pasta at the market, homeschooling his two girls, Jess and Justin are doing a wonderful job and truly remarkable people.

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I met Fergus and Gaia who were a couple with 2 boys who grew vegetables, had animals and a recording studio in their house, they travelled all over playing gigs and were teaching the kids English, French and Italian. Something clicked in this wonderful experience in France and helped us realise this was creative living at it’s best, everyone we met was a creative and had amazing histories including Duncan from One Giant Leap who frequented the area.

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Justin introduced me to Bart who had purchased a church near St Girons and had invested in classic music equipment including the kick drum microphone Martin Hannett used for Joy Division and New Order, a BBC reel to reel and various outboard gear. I worked with Bart in the studio on the Adamski remix in ¾ for Bullet Dodge records and found him an investor to help him build the studio in the Church, my good friend and musician Chris Bishop and now it’s looking like Abbey Road Studios. It feels great to unite and work together bringing different elements of skills to the table to make something unique.

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Rose would face paint kids in exchange for food at the market and I would help with Facebook live performances to park and use electric in the winter months when we were lacking solar power. I would DJ at events for a few drinks on an evening and this exchange was fun and liberating, the views of the mountains were spectacular and so inspiring creatively. We were immersed in this part of France and truly loved the people and scenery, but the cold set in and the camper van even though we had a wood burner became difficult for us to continue in the region. We decided reluctantly to move on and chase the sun, it was a March morning and the snow had melted for the first time in weeks so we packed up and headed south. We will return to France and continue working with our friends in the future but for now, it was time to explore and see new places and meet new people.

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The journey over the mountains was out of this world and we would clench our teeth in the van, as we would turn every bend on a sheer cliff edge overwhelmed by the landscape and views. After a few weeks of travelling up and down mountain ranges we finally crossed the French/Spanish border and the weather changed dramatically, accents and culture shifted phase and we knew we were finally in Catalonia. I like to think of myself as a romantic so when I viewed Roses on the map it was a great place to take Rose, so we headed in that direction, we stopped at a roundabout and the sign said (left Cadaques or right Roses) we looked at each other and for some unknown reason we turned left.

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As we descended on Cadaques we instantly knew this was a special place, the whitewash buildings on the hillside and the view of the sea were stunning, we found a place to park next to other vans and settled for the night. The next day we explored Cadaques and met our van neighbour who ran a dance school and her partner, who was a promoter and DJ in Hamburg, we instantly hit it off and talked about music for hours and why van life is so appealing to creative people. After a beer or two I was asked if I had played in Cadaques yet and my response was “not yet” we had just arrived and never been here before, Moshen told me I should try and play here, it has a very unique energy and was the home of Salvador Dali many years ago. So I asked in a bar and was directed to another to speak to Victor about possible work as a DJ, we met and I was asked to come and meet the owner Chris.

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Directed to Cap De Creus a restaurant on a cliff edge where the Tramontana wind blows and shapes the rocks that inspired the paintings we know and love by Dali himself. They made a movie here (Lighthouse at the end of the world) and the view is stunning. Chris greeted us and we chatted about music and the free party movement in the late 80’s and early 90’s he had helped with the funding of the DIY parties in Nottingham, a punk/squatter at heart and you could feel this in his energy. He agreed to feed my family and look after us and find a place to park for us park the van without harassment from the local police in the summer months, so we moved into a community of caravans with a family house where the son was a DJ in Cadaques. We all hit it off and here began a six-month relationship with Cadaques and the local community.

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I was given the responsibility of booking bands, designing posters and looking after Facebook pages. I met Toby Connor, a singer-songwriter and we worked together on booking bands and re-designing the bar logo and menu. I would DJ at Cap De Creus and Toby would play live while customers indulged in some of the finest cuisines, drinks, and views this part of Catalonia has to offer, a truly multi-sensory experience. We met some great people and had a lot of fun in Cadaques, I used Ableton to record Toby’s live performance in a theatre and worked with guitarist Stefan May on a Balearic track on a balcony near the sea. I would get up with Jhonah and Rose and go to the beach it was amazing, to say the least, this was the dream.

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It was seasonal work and we knew it would finally come to an end and we would be moving on again. It’s amazing what you find when you are in a van and how you can survive by exchanges through your journey. I have been DJ-ing for 26 years and that was the best summer I can remember truly in your element. Rose worked with Elena a photographer from France and body painted the staff of Cap De Creus for a photography exhibition at Cap De Creus. The staff and the musicians worked together through the summer months in Cadaques making this unique experience more like time with the family. I played a 12-hour set at Cap De Creus for Sa Mon Santa Rose and Meri (Restaurant manager) performed with LED, Flag and Fire Poi. The staff and clientele danced and into the early hours celebrating this event in style. Just ask bar staff in Spain what else they do and you will be surprised at how creative and multitalented they are, funding their ambitions through the summer months working and serving the public. Never take the staff for granted as a friend in a bar in Cadaques was studying a Ph.D. in philosophy and the owner was a microbiologist.

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We decided early in September to make a move south and visit a friend who was a DJ, stage manager and label owner who now lived with his wife in the mountains near Tortosa Spain. Amanda was studying her Ph.D. in sustainable-fashion and Moose concentrated on his art (reverse graffiti) a sustainable concept based on removing dirt and grime to unfold beauty with a pressure washer. Sadly we broke down and the brakes failed on the van and we were delayed by a week waiting for new parts to arrive; Spanish garages are expensive and parts don’t come cheap so be aware travellers this can hit you hard. Our savings were now dwindling and panic set in as we travelled to see our friends in the Catalonian mountains. After a hard working summer both Rose and I needed a rest and to re-center our thoughts. We stayed with Moose and Amanda for two months and had a unique experience staying out of sight and mind and helping with olive picking and some gardening. The land was beautiful and the olive trees bloomed and the oranges grew and the views were spectacular.

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Our hearts are in creativity, van life and travel and we tried to think of ways to remain but the road was calling us once more, we wish them all the best inspired by their efforts and achievements. Invited by Moose to DJ at a small festival Riberola, playing music with my daughter by my side in a setting by old railway tracks was awe-inspiring. The organisers had recycled everything from the stage to the toilets and charged a minimal fee to enter, working as a community to create a unique experience in the mountains with no advertising or big name DJ’s it was organic and musicians had come from all over Europe to play.

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We had an issue with the brake piston on the driver side leaving Tortosa and we had to find a garage to do the repair, with a van the age of Laura you have to expect to fix the old components eventually while travelling. Once again the part had to come from the U.K and we spent 4 nights in the garage waiting eagerly to move on, the mechanic was sound and loved festivals and DJ’s and was so helpful. He had a tattoo “Karma” and we laughed and shared our Karmatic stories in life and both agreed traveling was a great way to meet like-minded individuals and groups people with the same mindset but you have to go find them. Laura was fixed we thanked our trusty mechanic and set off towards the Delta D’Ebra where pink flamingo’s settle and you can drive 18km with the sea on both sides.

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Every part of this journey has been fuel for our creativity and Rose and I have been storing it up ready to make new and personal projects come to light. When parked in the delta for the night we messaged Danny and Cristyn about coming to Ibiza (their new home) and how we thought it would be great to travel to the White Isle and reunite, within a few days we had booked a ticket and headed for Valencia to catch the boat. The crossing was special and I would recommend getting a cabin if you have a family as we realised the seating deck is no place for a 2-year-old who needs her sleep LOL.

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We have been on the Island for a few months and made some great friends as well as reconnecting with some buddies who live here and we have decided to settle on the Island and give Jhonah a chance to live a Mediterranean life. Rose is making some great products in the van and Jhonah is playing on the beach every day. We have made this journey sustainably, with a budget and now we are excited about what the future holds. I make music in the van with solar power, work on DJ sets and write the blog with a view of the sea, we recommend travelling in a van to unleash your creative potential and if you need any information or help please don’t hesitate to message me. Whatever your journey in music remember you are unique and follow your passion where ever it may take you, it’s those who step outside the box that truly succeeds in their endeavors and become masters of their game.

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https://www.facebook.com/audiomogul/

https://www.facebook.com/thecolourcircus/

Van tour: the 10 day campervan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consciousness Shift in Dance Music Culture

From the beginning of dance music culture as we know it there has been a shift in consciousness, it started for me in a seaside town where hundreds of societies castaways gathered on a Saturday night to rave. At this point in time, there was no internet or soulless selfies of DJ’s and music producers. This point in time was unique and exciting for myself and a group of friends who had been listening to pirate radio and heard acts like the Shamen, LFO and Ezee Posse feat Mc Kinky a new movement in dance was born and it was here to stay, we had been listening to music from the U.S called Acid house and from this a British invasion of the sound began. We found ourselves in fields and under bridges with a massive sound system courtesy of Desert Storm and felt alive with the tribalism and friendliness of the people who attended. The free party movement was unique and different to the clubs we would frequent, it was alive and felt like it was sticking its fingers up to the establishment just as the punks had done before us. We found ways of having our own parties in washed up towns and places no one had bothered with for years, the owners welcomed our ideas and let us party and unite.

The music was raw and full of energy and none of us would drink and share the driving to arrive in these place, sometimes we would take a bus to a party and to experience the traveling with others who were just as excited was energy shared. When I reflect on this time in dance culture it was tribalistic and free from the day to day Thaturite system, just like a meditative experience shared and unified. Dance music has always had this appeal but now it has become so driven by money it’s calling to us older generations seems to have lapsed and the identity of the culture has changed dramatically. Now there are young artists who are making waves in the culture and have a much brighter outlook on events and it’s driven by a change in consciousness once more. Sober Socials, cacao ceremonies, yoga and ecstatic dance have been introduced to festivals and events globally and not just Burning Man or Boom, DJ’s have taken onboard a healthy lifestyle and welcome the change.

Free party originators Spiral Tribe are running events called Dharma Techno in France where you meditate in silence for 4 days and then the music is introduced by 69DB (one of the original members and DJ’s)

Artist like Surgeon and Roman Flugel are using yoga to help them through their busy schedule of playing constantly and with great success. The wellness collective has made a stamp on modern day living and has transmuted elements of dance music culture and it can only get bigger, better and become more relative to the next generation of DJ’s and producers.

It seems like the fight this time around is not with the establishment but with the mind and body to release stress and tension from the outer world we reside in. They say everything goes round in circles and this time around it has taken elements from the 60’s 70’s, 80’s and 90’s cultures and mixed it up with ancient traditions to form this new and exciting movement in dance music. As clubs start to lose their licenses due to misuse of drink and drugs and more and more people are waking up to a new world, it seems the love for dance music is getting stronger and once again the platform will change in which we receive it.

Being someone who has been through all the colourful elements of dance culture it seems to me this is the right time to follow and be apart of this unique wave of conscious clubbing and embrace and support the change. A room full of people who are at one with the music and share the same identity (we are all one) feels like it did in the very beginning and its times like this we become unified again.

I was asked to play at Morning Gloryville (Leeds) a few years ago and was apprehensive at first because it was in the morning and I was a DJ by night but it was a unique and quite a fascinating experience to play to a room full of people who were eating raw vegan breakfast, dressed up and full of energy before the working day ahead. I will say it was a cliche and felt commercial at first glance but the people were united and happy to share the experience and the organizers were truly beautiful people, using the franchise to give the people of Leeds something different, drink and drug-free. This is just the beginning of this cultural movement and as more minds and bodies embrace the concept of change in dance music we will see events, festivals and clubs move on from the past identity.

The underground has already moved on and the music is more experimental than ever, as we see the new breed of culture vultures embark onto the dance floors around the work thanks to youtube videos and Facebook live. Technology has become our norm and we share videos and music like we have never done before but something is amiss and its the social revolution created 30 years ago in dance music and now is the time for the change.

 

https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/3095

http://experimentintrinsic.com/

https://www.dharmatechno.org/