Interview and story by: Mitchell Treend
Photos by: Emily Rodriguez
Proper Villains brought the Mind Machine tour featuring Minnesota, G Jones, and Jackal to Portland, Oregon earlier this month, along with a very special lineup of headliners including Plantrae, Huglife, and Nico Luminous. In addition to eye-popping dance performances, custom stage design complete with Funktion One sound, and a unique take on waste reduction, Converge: The Desert compiled the best aspects of event production in a unique and inspiring fashion.
Though Christian Bauhofer's Mind Machine stage set up was not used, Proper Villains had something a little more crafty in mind. A custom LED hive loomed over the decks glowing and shifting progressively through the evening. Local dance troupe Beat Marauders stepped on stage between sets for exhilarating and thought provoking live dance performances. Topping it all off was the integration of custom Klean Kanteen pint glasses available for purchase at the door for a unique and highly effective take on waste reduction at live events; production companies around the country should take note.
The night blasted off with a deep and spirited live set from Plantrae. His viola gleamed across the decks, floating gorgeous melodies across his billowing bass lines that had the early crowd gliding across the dance floor in total bliss.
Nico Luminous, stepped up next with his incredible capacity for high energy sets complete with live vocals and those sweet slapping west coast tunes we love so much.
The pop couldn’t stop when Huglife dropped in next. It was hard not to be floored after an hour of custom live edits, delicious scratch skills, and bass so bumping the Funktion One’s wanted overtime pay.
Without further ado, Minnesota, G Jones and Jackal made their way to the decks and proceeded to bring the ruckus to Portland in proper form. Minnesota kicked things off with a heavy set of all good things bass, his classed tunes like “Purple Daze,” fan favorite collab with G Jones “Thunder Dome” and a few secret gems only attendees of the Mind Machine tour will have the pleasure of previewing.
G Jones followed suit with his unruly, sub-thumping goodness that brought some serious hype at 2 am following such a stellar performance from Minnesota. Like the G that he is (no pun intended) rocking his Bleep Bloop white tee, G Jones wowed the crowd with his own brand of future bass and hip-hop tunes. Anyone who has seen G Jones come up over the last two years knows his live sets are always overflowing with unreleased bangers and shout outs to his Saturated Records family. Even after last call the dance floor was still packed and G Jones loved every minute of it.
Finally after a long, long night of insanely good music the man Jackal made his way under the hive to close out the Mind Machine showcase with even more trap and bass, supreme mixing skills and one hell of a tracklist that would not stop tired feet from moving across the floor.
Before the show however, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Minnesota to chat about the Mind Machine tour and learn a little bit more about the Minnesota-born, Santa Cruz-grown producer who will be blowing minds all across North America this fall.
The Untz: The Mind-Machine tour is shaping up to be huge. You have brought on Video Villains to create the new 3-D video mapping for your stage setup and it is out of this world. What influence did you have incorporating their production and the visual themes for this run of shows?
Minnesota: I’ve played in Milwaukee a lot and whenever I do a show at the Miramar Theatre, Video Villains always runs production there. 3-D mapped stages have become way more popular and they have a tendency to look a little shaky but VV always had a knack for running crisp, clear visuals at their shows. I told my manager that I wanted to get them involved with this tour and I gave them my ideas (I wanted something spacey) and they programed and built the set up that you will be seeing along the Mind-Machine tour.
The Untz: You’ve been on multi-city North American tours before, driving around the country can get a little tedious, does it help to have some close friends along for the ride?
Minnesota: This is actually our first bus tour. Before we have been traveling around in vans and that sucked. When you are cooped up for that long in a tiny space things can get hectic, but with the bus it is so much better to have space for yourself and still share the ride with some really good people. Plus we can actually get some sleep after the shows, which is a huge bonus.
The Untz: G-Jones is someone who you have gotten pretty close with over the last couple of years; when did you guys meet?
Minnesota: We both came up in Santa Cruz and I was listening to his music while he was producing as Grizzly J and I loved his work. I don’t think we actually met until we played a show together in Reno four or five years ago. After that we talked online a lot and started collabing about two years ago.
The Untz: When did the Minnesota vs G jones set come to life?
Minnesota: We both play a festival called Emissions in California, which is put on by our Burning Man crew Camp Question Mark. About two or three years ago I think, we played the first versus set at Emissions, but it has become a staple at our Burning Man camp for the last few years. For this tour we may pull out the versus set at a couple select dates in bigger cities.
The Untz: Tell us about your philosophy, what drew you to choose music over everything else?
Minnesota: Ever since I was 12 I have been obsessed with music and I thought it would be amazing to turn that passion into a career. I played guitar from an early age and when I got to college in Santa Cruz I played in a lot of random bands. That didn’t really go anywhere so I dug into producing my own music and next thing I know things were taking off.
The Untz: Since you were a guitar player what were some of your earliest non-electronic influences?
Minnesota: My dad got me into classic rock like Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. From there I was exploring blues bands like Stevie Ray Vaughn. When I was a little older I loved Brand New and bands like that but I was also really drawn to the hip-hop scene in Minnesota. Atmosphere and Brother Ali were hometown heroes and through listening to a lot of underground hip-hop at the time, that is how I got into DJing. I would spin hip-hop at house parties and random shows and then I heard Justice for the first time and got a whole new outlook on what electronic music was all about. I went to a lot of West Coast festivals like Symbiosis and Burning Man for the first time and heard Marty Party, Mimosa, and Bassnectar and was totally sucked in to the world of West Coast bass music.
The Untz: Let’s be honest, how did it feel to know Bassnectar was dropping some of your tracks at his shows?
Minnesota: My homie called me after a show and told me Bassnectar had played a song of mine called “Purple Daze,” and needless to say I freaked out. Lorin is super easy to communicate with and I was able to get his email and start sending him more material which was a dream come true.
The Untz: You are really passionate about this project and it has evolved a lot through the years. What keeps you motivated to push the boundaries and transform your sound as you continue to grow as an artist?
Minnesota: Working with G jones has been amazing. He is an incredibly cool guy and he produces really quickly which helps me out a lot because I am kind of slow with making tracks sometimes. I try to shoot for a certain style when I make music but for the most part whatever happens naturally is what I stick with. I have been getting more immersed into my own stuff but working with G jones has also been really fun and I imagine we will continue developing that collaboration as well in the near future. My motivation is the passion I have for music and sharing it with the people around me, and ultimately that makes it all flow naturally.
The Untz: After a festival or show what is your number one decompression activity?
(Minnesota & G Jones simultaneously) Sleep!
Minnesota: If we don’t have an after party to hit we will usually head back to the hotel and pass out or play video games. We have Amped 2 on the bus and I usually get down on that for a few hours before I fall asleep finally and get a little rest before the next show.
The Untz: So now that festival season is over what was your highlight of the summer?
Minnesota: Burning Man and Emissions obviously are some of my favorite shows every year but this year we got to head to Wakarusa and that was probably the best show of the year for sure. I loved playing for the crowd and we got to hang out at the festival for a few extra days which was incredibly fun
The Untz: Any shows on your wish list for 2015?
I want to play Electric Forest! (Madison House/Insomniac, Hint Hint). Other than that I would love to make it back to Shambhala with G Jones and try out the vs set there.
After an amazing night of music and art we appreciated the time we were able to spend with Christian and you all should look forward to The Mind Machine tour hitting your city in the coming weeks.
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