Posts Tagged ‘Rothbury’

Shpongle Interview

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Interview with Shpongle (Simon Posford)

Contributing Writer : Brooke Kettering

Make sure you check out the live experience Simon Posford creates at Electric Forest Music Festival!  For more information, check out the event website:

B: How are you doing?

S: I’m good, a little tired, but umm feeling good. Excited for tonight’s show.

B: Have you been touring like crazy?

S: Yea, I’m on an eternal tour. We’ve done, I don’t know, ten days or something like that. We’ve only just started I guess, and it’s fifty shows in total.

B: So you’re touring as Shpongle right now, correct?

S: The Shpongletron, ya, exactly.

B: Right, how was Coachella?

S: Coachella was amazing. A lot of people, and fantastic production.  So everything just conspired for a great show.

B: When you go to festivals like that, do you ever get time to enjoy yourself?

S: We did. Um, commercially I suppose Coachella isn’t really my type of festival but um, the only people we really wanted to see were Trentemoller but because all the people and stuff we got stuck by Duran Duran for some reason.

B: So you got to hang out for a few days or were you back on the road right away?

S: We stayed for two days, we saw Duran Duran and Kanye and a few other people.  But pretty much had to go straight out.

B: So, I’m more of a conversationalist than a journalist, but, hopefully we can just have a nice conversation and I’ll able get some interesting stuff out of it.

S: Ya, I mean ask me anything you like and if you want me to expand further I always can.

B: Something that I found interesting…have you heard of CouchSurfing, the website?

S: Couchsurfing?…yes.

B: So I’ve been doing that for a while…just hosting not traveling myself…

S: Really? How is it?

B: It’s been awesome! I’ve had all great experiences.  I hosted this one guy from Israel and, I always try to find a common ground in music, and in saying that I listen to some electronic music, he said he listens to Shpongle.   And then I was in this remote part of Mexico (Mahahual), where I became friends with these Mayan dancer dudes, and in talking about electronic music, Shpongle was our common musical ground.  You obviously tour all over the place…why do you think Shpongle is soo…can appeal to anyone?

S: Um I think, you know, Shongle is very universal.  The other guy in the band, Raja Ram, is 70 years old.  I’m obviously a bit younger than that, so you know, it seems to attract everyone from kids to grandparents. I know that he has plenty of people his age who like it.  I have a letter from somebody who works with autistic children, doing music therapy, and they play Shpongle for them as well.

B: Really! Do you know how they use it?

S: I don’t know what sort of music therapy involves, sort of playing the music and getting them to engage with it in some way I guess.  And one of the kids, he didn’t talk to anyone, he didn’t talk at all, he sort of learned the Shpongle music, he really digged it and the first words that he said in the class were,  “Shpongle! Shpongle!”  So that’s nice…I don’t know why it has that universal appeal…I mean the music…I guess, there’s something there for everyone.  I mean there’s certainly something in there to piss off everyone, we use so many different influences from Indian to Moroccan, to jazz to classical, dub, psychedelic, but you know there’s gonna be something in there for someone not to like, but you know also something for someone to like, maybe.

B: It seems like dubstep is becoming huge, becoming more mainstream.  Do you see the music you’re producing incorporating dubstep more?

S: I’m not particularly into dubstep myself, so I’m not going to suddenly start producing dubstep just ‘cause it’s trendy.  I mean I’ve never done that with any sort of music.  I incorporate what influences me and what I listen to, so I guess if I start listening to a lot of dubstep then it might creep into the music but as of now I haven’t.  I think dubstep seems like any musical fad, I think it will probably die out.  Or not die out, but you know these things always diversify, they incorporate other genres. So rather than me incorporate dubstep it’s much more likely that dubstep will incorporate other styles of music and splinter into different versions of itself and different genres within the genre.

B: Younger Brother seems pretty different from what you’ve done in the past.  Do you enjoy doing that because you like working with the people or because you actually like that music more?

S: Ya, I just really wanted to do something with the band.  Younger Brother was the first project we performed with a band, taking electronic stuff and performing it with a band and enjoyed it so much that we then sort of got the people we were performing with, involved in the studio when we were recording.  Again, it’s a reflection, it’s another aspect of music I listen to, and another of my tastes.  You know, I like rock music, I like Radiohead, and Pink Floyd and those sorts of things. And then we have Ru singing which naturally lends itself to more of a band sound, with a song structure. It’s just another aspect of what I like to do…If I stick to any one thing for too long I get bored. Even doing Shpongle, as much as the sort of multi-colored , hyper-dimensional that shpongle is, I still get bored and want to do something different after I’ve done too much. And so Younger Brother was sort of like that. And although people say it used to be psytrance, it never really used to be psytrance. My project Hallucinogen is what I would call psytrance.

B:So then what would you call Shpongle?
S: Shpongle…is sort of genre-defiant.  I always say, you know trying to describe music, there aren’t really the right number of keys on the typewriter, you can’t translate music into language.  It’s like describing physics through the medium of dance, or mime.  Music itself is a translation of emotion and feeling, and possibly something spiritual.  I understand for journalists and marketing people and record labels, to describe it to people who haven’t heard it you need to sort of convert it to language, but I don’t really know how you do that for Shpongle.

B: Speaking music and spirituality, do you ever use sacred frequencies or anything like that?
S: I’ve messed around a little bit with that ya, the golden ratio and with whatever it is, 7 Hz. I don’t think it really makes much difference. Generally I don’t worry about that kind of stuff. I just do what I want to hear.  The basic rule of all the music I make really, is I make something I wanna hear.

B: How is the energy of the crowds different across the world? Or is it the same?
S: I mean the crowds, I guess they’re different. I only really see unity, of people that love music, and want to have a good time and be able to party and lose themselves in music and dance. That’s something very primal and shamanistic that has existed for hundreds of thousands of years, probably. How are the crowds different? I don’t know they speak different languages, they come from different countries, but I see more of the commonality between us all.

B: Back to how you produce music…are you kind of obsessive about making something sound the way you might envision it or is it more organic? How is that process for you?
S: The process in the studio has to be very flexible and you can’t, it’s a strong tide, to give a bizarre river analogy…to swim upstream is always going to be very difficult so you have to go with the flow wherever it takes you. But yes, I am very obsessive so I’ll get stuck in whirlpools and headies with a particular sound, I’ll obsess about the detail of a tiny sound that might be, in the final mix, might be so small and such a minor part of the greater landscape, it might’ve just been sort of one little rock pool of the giant river, but ya I get a bit obsessive of every sound I work on.

B: I saw a video of you guys in the studio recording sounds like a coin being stirred around a wine glass…have you found some sound that you especially enjoy creating?
S: I would say nothing in the studio is off limits.  My studio is a big combination of digital and analog.  Analog can be anything that works from a chip packet to rubber bands to coins in a glass. And then you know I’ll also use the latest high tech plugin. Whatever makes a sound is gonna be useful.  Nothing’s off limits.  I’ve gone through the trash and whatever’s lying on the floor, scrumpled it up or torn it and record it. Record a bowl of water, cups of teas…the state of computer technology now is such that you can crumple a crisp packet and make it into a giant cascade of falling trees in an enchanted forest. You can take a single coin and turn it into a liquid drop of nectar.

B: Ooo nice analogies. Do you ever get the chance to be an audience member.
S: Uh, ya sometimes. Not at my own shows obviously, I’d love to see a shpongle show.

B: What is the shpongletron experience anyway?
S: Oh it’s just a marketing name really but to try and describe what it is…it really has to be seen. It’s sort of a giant structure, visually it’s a bit like a pyramid, all the lighting is done with projectors and projections and 3-D mapping so it literally throbs and breathes with life. It’s super psychedelic.  And things move around.

B: Cool!  Have you read DMT: The Spirit Molecule?
S: Is that the Terrence McKenna one? I think Terrence McKenna is the best person at eloquating, is that a word?  At articulating the psychedelic experience, at translating, again, something that doesn’t really translate to language. He’s got the closest. I don’t know if you’ve heard any of his lectures about DMT and the psychedelic experience.

B: Ya, he is.  You can choose not to answer this, but do you often perform shows on some type of psychedelic?

S: No, I can’t perform under anything, even drunk. I might smoke a cigarette. Now I don’t even really smoke a joint cuz I sort of need to be clear..I get so nervous before I play, as well. I don’t want anything to enhance my nervousness.

B: Even after all these years you still get nervous?
S: Ya, I guess it’s a good thing. It’s better to be nervous than complacent.  Sometimes it’s a bit of a pain, when you can’t really relax before a show.

B: Ya, but then you get that release when it’s over.

S: Ya exactly. You get the high of it being immediately over, but then the inevitable depression a few hours later, when the endorphins run out.

B: When it comes to DMT and that whole experience, do you feel like it’s a good short cut and advantageous for people to experience something so spiritual like that, or do you think there’s something detrimental to experiencing something so sacred from something synthesized from chemicals?
S: No, I always take the short cut myself. Why take the long route? Sure you could do thirty years of yoga or meditation and serious study and probably get somewhere close to that experience. But, amazing, why not take a hit on a pipe and you can get there in a minute? Nah, I think it’s amazing.

B: Do you think you would be doing what you do if it wasn’t for those kinds of experiences?

S: Probably not, no.

B: You think you’d be a mechanic or something?
S: I can’t really do a lot else, to be honest so, I don’t know what the hell I’d be doing. I’d like to be a racing driver, that looks kind of fun. I’d like to be a writer as well. But I’d hate to be an unsuccessful writer.

The rest is off-the-record, small talk. J  All in all, Simon Posford seems to be a super down to earth, open, spiritual artiste.  Google 3-D mapping, and then go experience the Shpongletron and Younger Brother!   a

R.I.P. ROTHBURY 2008-2009

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

We refuse to add more.  -RFW

During the past three years, all of us involved with ROTHBURY have greatly appreciated the tremendous outpouring of support for the future of the festival.  For 2010, we have had to make the tough decision to postpone our efforts.  A contributing factor in our decision is that, due to various artists’ recording and touring schedules, we now believe that timing will not allow for us to assemble the cutting edge roster that everyone has come to expect from ROTHBURY.  The result for this year is that we are not able to move forward with the integrity and high standards that we demand from ourselves and for the festival.

Despite the 2010 postponement, we intend to move toward continuing ROTHBURY in 2011.  This event is something very special, and we are unwilling to potentially tarnish what ROTHBURY is, and can become, by working under conditions that will produce anything less than a magical experience.

ROTHBURY is more than a festival.  It is a mission intended to discover strength in community, and what it means to be a large-scale sustainable event in these times.  Our efforts are certainly not coming to an end.

It is important for us to thank the people of Michigan, Oceana County, The Village of Rothbury, Grant Township, and the Double JJ Resort.  Also, we thank our team members, volunteers, creative contributors, media partners, and sponsors.  We have made many friendships that will last a lifetime.

To all who attended the first two years of ROTHBURY we thank you for the soul you gave the event.  Those times entered rarified air because of your energy.

We hope you have a fantastic July 4th this summer.

ROTHBURY 2009 Pt2 | RFWtv

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This is TheRFW.COM’s footage and interview archive from Rothbury Music Festival 2009 in Rothbury, Michigan. Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM and for the release off all the footage. We will be releasing a three part series consisting of two videos per part. This is part Two, including footage and interviews from The Dead, Toubab Krewe, Hill Country Review, Matisyahu, Martin Sexton and The Macpodz .  Each part of our Rothbury 2009 series totals at under one hour.  For that reason, below you can find the time markers of each particular performance and/or interview (you might want to fast forward :-)  Artists covered in the remaining parts include Ani DiFranco,  Gift of Gab , Cold War Kids, RRE, Future Rock and many more.

Please Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM for more releases ……

ROTHBURY 2009 Pt2 Time Markers

The Dead – 01:15

Toubab Krewe (Interview and Performance) – 13:20

Hill Country Review (Interview and Performance) -30:50

Matisyahu – 37:00

Martin Sexton -44:20

The Macpodz – 51:42

A Greener Festival WINNERS!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009


The final list of Greener Festival Award winners has been announced for 2009 with another twenty festivals picking up the prestigious prize, adding to the seventeen which were announced in July.

The new awards go to festivals worldwide, including US Festivals Rothbury and California’s West Beach Music & Arts Festival which join first-round winners Bonnaroo and the Atlanta Jazz Festival. International winners in 2009 include Glastonbury, and Australia’s Peats Ridge.

The award is awarded in three categories: “improving,” “outstanding,” and the standard “Greener Festival” award which falls between the two. The organizers of the award, UK non-profit A Greener Festival, said that they were particularly pleased that 12 festivals had won the “outstanding” award in 2009, including repeat winners Rothbury and Bonnaroo in the US. The Award is based on a 56 part questionnaire which covers office management, greenhouse gas emissions, supporting green initiatives, travel and transport, waste and recycling, water management, environmental protection and noise reduction.Almost all the festivals were visited by an independent auditor to assess their green efforts.

Auditors were pleased this year by Bonnaroo, which also won an “outstanding” award in 2008. The festival auditor noted that in 2009, Bonnaroo concentrated on a “Buy Local” message, and improved their energy footprint by installing new electrical capabilities. This allowed them to plug directly into the local power grid and reduced their energy consumption in the process. Other on site features include permanent water wells, a composting pad and the newly planted Bonnaroo Victory Vegetable Garden. Bonnaroo’s many areas of education include the necessity of carbon reduction, the need for composting, reducing bottle water usage, viable uses of solar energy, recycling everything possible, and reducing the use of unnecessary items.

Not to be outdone, Michigan’s Rothbury Festival, also a 2008 “outstanding” award winner, scooped up the same award in 2009. The festival, which heavily promotes its green credentials, impressed its auditor with its effective promotion of alternatives to bottled water, impressive rates of composting and recycling, and a commitment to sourcing products locally that stretched all the way to the stages, where several local bands were given the chance to play to new audiences. According to Sarah Haynes, President of the Spitfire Agency, Rothbury’s greening consultant, “Rothbury works hard to have the minimum impact on the planet while having the maximum impact on its people. We always ‘green’ with transparency in the hopes that others will take notice and join us in this most important mission.”

Two other US festivals won the award for the first time in 2009. California’s West Beach event, held on the beach in Santa Barbara, joined the Atlanta Jazz Fest in garnering the awards.

All winning festivals will receive a special trophy designed by Sade Goddard from Keswick School in Cumbria, England. Goddard designed the award as part of a competition among UK school children. Her winning design features a Red Kite motif and is made from recycled plastic bottles, crushed CDs and remolded “Wellington” boots, a necessity at the perennially muddy Glastonbury festival.

The winner of the overall Greener Festival Award 2009 will be announced at the UK Festival Awards which will be held at the O2 Arena in London on November 19th 2009.

A Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis said “We were worried that in a year when the recession bit hard we might see Festivals shying away from their ongoing commitment to green issues, but we have been generally pleased with the efforts of festivals around the world to keep sustainability high on their own agenda and to promote environmental awareness to fans. We had more ‘outstanding’ winners in 2009 and a 20% rise in applications from 2008, with more international applications than ever including five winners from Australia, four from the USA and four from mainland Europe.

The Greener Festival Awards are supported by insurance brokers Robertson Taylor.

About A Greener Festival

A Greener Festival Ltd. is a not-for-profit company committed to help music and arts events and festivals around the world adopt environmentally efficient practices through providing information, by providing education resources and by swapping ideas. The organisation’s website provides information about how environmentally efficient methods are currently employed at music and arts festivals and provides a forum for discussion about how the impact of festivals on the environment and how these can be limited at future events by by providing information on the best ideas for greener festivals from around the world.

Apart from the Greener Festival Awards scheme, current initiatives include the annual ‘Great Big Green Ideas’ competition run with the Big Issue and to encourage members of the public to suggest new ideas for festivals to ‘get greener’, a new environmental project called Festival Wood which will be a new wood planted by donations from festival goers, a certificate in sustainable event management offered by Buckinghamshire New University and pan-European research into trends and developments in environmental good practice.

The three co-founders of A Greener Festival are Ben Challis, Claire O’Neill and Luke Westbury who all work in the entertainment sector in the UK. They are supported by a team of volunteer environmental assessors who audit festivals for the Awards scheme.




BIG TENT (Scotland)



ELOICA (Spain)





SUNRISE (England)

WAVEFORM (England)
















SZEGED (Hungary)

T-IN-THE-PARK (Scotland)


WOMADelaide (Australia)



BIG CHILL (England)

DOWNLOAD (England)

THE GLADE (England)



WIRELESS (England)

Y-NOT (England)

The Greener Festival independent auditors who undertake the on-site assessments are either experienced people working in the live music industry or environmental scientists.

ROTHBURY 2009 Pt1(2/2)|RFWtv

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

This is TheRFW.COM’s footage and interview archive from Rothbury Music Festival 2009 in Rothbury, Michigan. Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM and for the release off all the footage. We will be releasing a three part series consisting of two videos per part. This is part 2/2 of One, including footage and interviews from SOULIVE, Pretty Lights and String Cheese Incident . Artists covered in the remaining parts include Pretty Lights, Ani DiFranco, Matisyahu, Gift of Gab , Cold War Kids, RRE, Toubab Krewe, Future Rock and many more.

Please Stay tuned to TheRFW.COM for more releases ……