U.R. ART Music Festival, a day-party series featuring the best music, art, fashion, and food each month, returns to Bergamot Station in Santa Monica on July 20th for its second blowout culture installation — this time, the decks get blessed with Solar, Asadinho, Sean Patrick, Eduardo Castillo, John Wander and music man Guillaume + The Coutu Dumonts — who we zeroed in on for a proper sit down. This multi-faceted musician definitely knows his percussions and the ever-evolving Tsunami of music. Listen to his pulse:
LA CANVAS: So, what’s up with you headlining U.R. ART Festival on July 20th?
GUILLAUME: Hahahaha… Not sure what to answer to that. In any case, I’m not a big fan of the term headliner. I think promoters and even party people give too much importance to what they think is a headliner. But yeah, I have the chance to be one of the “out of town” guest. Lucky me!
LAC: What are your thoughts on the concept of U.R. ART being more than just music?
G: I haven’t seen it in action so far.. but from what I gather it seems to be touching to fashion, food, design on top of being a music festival. Being a musician, I will always be a bit more interested in music then fashion (for exemple)… so as long as the music is good… whatever quality artistic stuff that is around makes the experience even more of a success.
LAC: What do you think of the rise (+ domination) of house + techno in LA?
G: Wow, that’s great to hear. I love it. Well.. it’s all about cycles no? It comes and it goes. I guess you guys had a bit of a low tide for a while so now let’s enjoy the Tsunami.
LAC: Are you interested in any specific style of music right now?
G: Always. I listen to everything I can all the time. I try to keep my ears open as much as I can.
LAC: How long have you been banging on percussions, and when did you start?
G: Well… I did it “for real” a long time ago. When I mean for real I mean, practicing 5 hours every day. Nowadays, I would say I don’t really play. I use a drumpad during the live set which I play… but it’s nothing like playing the real drums. I started when I was 15-16 years old. I was playing some old banged out drums over Santanas songs in my living room.
LAC: Was there a moment in time that you knew ‘music was the answer’?
G: That moment when I was playing over the Santana’s records in our living room. Made me feel good and it made the time stops.
LAC: If life could resemble any record…
G: Then death is a over-compressed shitty resolution mp3?
LAC: Your career is multi-faceted. Tell us a bit about your journey behind the decks…
G: Well, I started as a percussionist and then studied percussions, electroacoustic composition and then discovered techno and house music. So I guess I apply my baggage to what I do nowadays. I try to keep as many collaboration projects as I can. I also have a band project, Guillaume & The Side Effects (guitar, keyboards, saxophones and Dave Aju doing the vocals). That project will soon bare it’s fruits with the first album coming out in 2015. Other then that, this year will probably see the first album of Museum, a ambient more experimental project I have with my brother Gabriel Coutu Dumont and Frederic Aubourg. I’m really looking forward to this one as well.
LAC: Any secret music formulas you can share with us we should expect on Sunday?
G: Hahaha, formula… nooooooooooooooo. But one thing I like to do is really trying to shape my live set like if it was a dj set. I mean, I like to go up and down and left and right. I bore myself if I try to play the same kind of groove and songs thru the whole set.
LAC: Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
G: What about a mystery and murder dinner (with Hercules Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Mata Hari, Miss Marple, etc…). You know those one when you everyone dresses in a costume and plays a part. Wait, they made a film out of that idea… what’s it called again?
*There’s Rope, The House Of Yes, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Gosford Park, The Last Supper…
LAC: Top 3 favorite tracks of all time…
G: That’s way too hard! I can probably do a top 3 tracks of the month.
Loose Joint, Tell you
Taylor Mcferrin, Degrees of Light
LAC: Advice or words to live by for those emerging creatives?
G: Instinct baby instiiiiiinct!!!!!
In friends you find music and in music you find friends, but what’s discovered when live art, pop-up fashion, food, wellness, social responsibility, kid-friendly initiatives and experiential culture are also the headliners? U.R. ART Festival, a monthly daytime palpitation that unifies Angelenos at Bergamot Station, founded by John Wander (Roam Music), Rob Garza (Thievery Corporation) and Phillipp Jung (M.A.N.D.Y.). We understood and welcomed a higher level of veteran house, nu-disco and techno music at U.R. ART Festival’s launch event and simply have to bravo LA’s “leveling up” on the house music decks—sorry, Chicago—with plenty of daytime sunshine events front and center in our current music progression and offering so much more. The next installation drops on July 20th and from our collaborative nature to yours, we introduce you to U.R. ART Festival’s founding members, John Wander, who gets on the deeper side:
LA CANVAS: What’s the deal with U.R. ART Festival?
JOHN WANDER: U.R. Art was founded by myself and very good friends Philipp Jung (M.A.N.D.Y) and Rob Garza (Thievery Corporation). The three of us were having lunch one day in San Francisco and decided it was time that we produced something together. We wanted to do and daytime event on the westside of Los Angeles that was aberration from the norm. We created a experience for us – sophisticated deeper house, techno, and nu disco music, top quality sound system, interactive experience for anyone that attends, live art, great food, kid friendly, wellness, eco-friendly, and socially responsible.
LAC: What can one find at this musically-inclined fest?
JW: Its located at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica which is this funky setting of a nice outdoor space surrounded by art galleries. It’s sick! The first time I brought Philipp to the venue, he blurted out the words “you are art” and that was it — U.R. Art Music Festival was born. Everyone can start the event with a yoga session, dance all day, and paint on a canvas all in the same setting.
LAC: How did the launch event turn out? We were there but we want a behind-the-scenes producer perspective!
JW: Our experiment worked. 1200 people came out and we had to shut the door down for a while. The vibe and music were amazing and authentic. Everyone had so much fun! Philipp, Rob, and I were totally blown away at how many contributors in the Los Angeles community came together to get involved. Yes, we are founders. But we are really just the catalyst to what has now become a collective community event of some really generous and talented contributors.
LAC: You had plenty of interactive curations and pop-ups. Who did you collaborate with?
JW: Artists Ivo Vergara, Mario Arteaga of Venice, Fashion Curators Serpent and Stag, Phyllis and Meg (Club called Rhonda), Rita of Jules, Linzy Davidson, Yoga by Tunestep, Sustainability and Solar power by X Plus and Ecoboom, Funkworks, Eduardo Castillo of Pattern Bar, food by Bigcup, Greentruck, and The Grill Cheese Truck. We have a fantastic team — Rob Grega, Daysha Taylor, Tony Bahn, Darren McGee, Steve Ramos! Promoters Rollingtuff, Dark Tones, MirrorMirror have stepped up big time to make this event go off. And now… LA CANVAS! It’s crazy how many people came to us and said they love the concept and how can they get involved. Its taking on a life of its own and we are really happy about this!
LAC: How long have you been spinning, and what’s your music style?
JW: Forever it seems. 15 years of deep, funk, soulful, driving, sometimes twisted & dirty, and makes you move!
LAC: Who and what can we look forward to in your next U.R. ART Festival installation?
JW: Musically – Guillaume Coutu DuMont – DJs live and drums on his drum pads. Its an amazing show that will leave everyone dripping from dancing so much! We have had him before at my Roam Music parties and he one of the best. Asadiho and Solar are also our guests from London and San Francisco. These guys are two of my favorite djs on the planet. Then there are the local boys Eduardo Castillo and Sean Patrick. Its going to be an incredible day of music for sure! We have some new indy fashion designers that we are excited about as well and we have some more live art planned for everyone. The live art really worked well the last event and we are bring back even more.
LAC: Are you planning to extend this collaborative for the Fall 2014 season?
JW: Now thats good idea.. thanks for that.
LAC: We’re known to muse up some inspiring ideas! Speaking of, what was your favorite moment from your launch event?
JW: Seeing Phillipp arrive to U.R. Art and walking in with his suitcase and music case straight from the airport. He came from his label anniversary party in Berlin the night before, Moscow the night before that, and Ibiza Spain the night before that. How that for commitment. He’s relentless with passion for his music and craft and even more so with his friends and partners. He actually made it. That was the best moment for me. He showed up and played amazing. Also MightyKat dropping the Pezzner remix of About Love… gave me chills.
LAC: Your biggest music inspiration is:
JW: I’m still a hardcore fan of Broken Social Scene. I want to know who their inspiration is! For electronic music it would have to be Dyed Soundorom and the legend Michael Cook.
LAC: What are you listening to right now? JW: I’m actually listening to Cluborama by Shonky right now. I’m listening to music and getting ready for a dj gig at Eduardo’s Grand Park this Sunday in Downtown LA. 2000 people. I cant wait to DJ there. Really excited for this!
LAC: Describe what music means to you in one word:
LAC: Quote to live by:
JW: “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life” — Eckhart Tolle