Tonight’s the night for Shpongle. The two core members of the group started this project after watching a solar eclipse in India and tried to recreate the experience by recording a 20-minute song titled, â€œâ€¦And the Day Turned to Night.â€ If that doesn’t sound like a drug experience, then I don’t know what would! Not recognized by the dictionary, Shpongle is an umbrella term for feeling positive and euphoric emotions. Shpongle is a new world of traditional sounds, acoustic guitars, Moroccan drums, Turkish operatic singing, cello, double bass, backing vocals and silver flute blended together with computer wizardry. SOUNDS DOPE! This year, the pair will be joined by Phutureprimitive, who places significant emphasis on melody, bass lines, and percussion in their productions, and their works often demonstrate an influence from Downtempo and Dubstep. The duo is comprised of the downtempo-leaning Psychill and DJ/producer, Rain. Their second release, Kinetik takes a much more dancier and upbeat than previous works, so expect a high energy performance to warm you up for Shpongle! In the meantime, read this chat I had with Simon Posford to get you pumped for the show.
Kymbo Slice: Shpongle has been recognized and adored for its “unclassifiable” musical style. How did the relationship between yourself and Raja come about? What are your influences, both individually and collectively?
Simon Posford: Between us, Raja and I have over 100 years of listening to music… a terrifying thought! We have picked up many influences during that time from all over the world. Raj introduced me to classical music (Western and Indian) and jazz and we both listen to the whole gamut of genres that anybody would. But we are not just influenced by music. The smile from the woman you love, a painting by Dali or a story from a friend. Simply by engaging with the world around you, it is possible to soak up the fabulous wonders of this glittering garden of earthly delights. Or by escaping the world, ignoring Maya, illusion, and exploring deep inside yourself, opening those cobweb covered doors of perception in hidden corridors of your mind can reveal all manners of surprises and inspiration. I have answered the question “Where do you get your inspiration from?” in the past by saying something silly like “From a giant warehouse called ‘Ideas R Us’, but the truth is it would be difficult not to be inspired and influenced by the Universe we find ourselves inhabiting.
KS: Are the psychedelic/hallucinogenic references used to describe Shpongle’s stage show, name and music inspired by actual experiences or are they just themes that intrigue you?
SP: In the past I have had mind-expanding experiences, and these are a rich seam of creativity to be mined. But how other people describe the stage show will reflect their own interpretation and observations. If you wanted to know about the psychedelic world in particular, I have done interviews for the MAPS site among great luminaries who have held the torch for humanity’s inner exploration.
KS: I saw your show last May in Pittsburgh and was intrigued by the “Sphongletron” – what inspired this concoction? What was the design process like and is this something you will be touring with from now on or only on certain dates/tours?
SP: The Shpongletron from that tour now resides in a cavernous warehouse in an undisclosed location, with the ark of the covenant from the end of the 1st Indiana Jones movie. It was designed and built by a crazy artist from Belarus called Zebbler, who is a VJ and a musician. I had worked with him before and trusted him totally to come up with something that would complement the music. I didn’t have a great deal to do with the design… just occasional refinements. It might be resurrected for rare shows, (if we can find it) but we have built something bigger and better now.
KS: Can you tell us a bit about “The Masquerade” – what’s this tour all about and why did you decide to open it in Pittsburgh?
SP: For this tour we have expanded and learned from last year. The Masquerade was built by Lucid Technology and Design and we are figuring it out as we go along. I still haven’t seen the physically finished set, but looking at videos and pictures it promises to be truly spectacular and trippy…. a kind of Tardis that will transport you to Shpongle Land! Visually, we have cutting edge 3d mapping projection technology, and Sonically I have some new material and mashed up trickery that you might expect from Shpongle! I can’t really describe using mere language, the awe inspiring experience that awaits your mind should you dare to attend one of these shows! Why we decided to open in Pittsburgh I couldn’t tell you… but if you come to the show you might discover the answer…. if only I knew the question!
KS: What is your relationship with tour mate Phutureprimitive?
SP: Rain is one of the nicest guys in the music business. A friend, a confidant and talented musician, I’m excited to be doing several shows with him. I think his music fits fantastically with Shpongle.
There you have it. Shpongle in a nutshell. Tonight’s show is $25 and you can buy your tickets in advance here. 9PM Mr. Smalls. SHPONG IT UP!