By: Jonathan Gross
Dynamic DJ and production duo Desert Dwellers have popped up more and more in recent years, whether it's been on Shpongle tour, or amazing transformational and international festivals like Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis, Boom, Infrasound, and Rainbow Serpent, or on The Untz-presented Earth Heart Tour with Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution, crossing North America this fall.
But that doesn't mean Treavor Moontribe and Amani Friend are newbies in the scene. Quite the contrary. These two psy bass legends have been throwing parties out in the desert for years, and have run through more styles, sounds, and BPM's in their long and varied careers than can be contained in a single six-hour set (no matter how many times they've tried). From psytrance to downtempo to tribal techno to dubstep, Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe have done it all.
The expertise of Desert Dwellers is exactly why they were among the few chosen to headline The Untz Festival, taking place June 2-4, 2016 at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds in Mariposa, CA. This special team knows how to make an ordinary set magical, and the dance floor seem like an intimate (but sweaty) get-together. I had a chance to pick these experts' brains about what makes an event really shine.
What makes a festival special for you guys? You've been doing this for years, so when you land up at an event, what makes you think "Oh, they're doing it right--this will be a fun set."
Many festivals these days have the same elements as each other, so really what makes a festival special for me is diversity in the music. Is the line up the same as the last 10 festivals or is there something unique? Is there multiple genres? Uptempo and Downtempo? Also how the promoters contain the energy at each stage makes a big difference. Hippies call it "The Container," we call it "the nook effect", but when energy is contained properly it can make even a small amount of people seem like a rockin' party and see's the people react accordingly. Beloved does a great job of this and Symbiosis does it too even with so many stages and people, each one feels like a rockin' party all the time! The food too, I mean who wants to stay at a festival all weekend if the food sucks? Not us!
You are able to run the gamut from downtempo to very upbeat, high-energy sets--how do you decide which setting calls for which kind of set?
Sometimes promoters book us for specifically uptempo sets and that's been the times we've done those as Desert Dwellers. From time to time we'll throw some uptempo into our sets, but it depends on the city, time of the set, vibe of the crowd etc etc. It's usually a decision made on the spot in those instances.
There are some incredible contributions from artists on your latest album The Great Mystery Remixes - Part I, how do you choose who will remix which track, and ultimately whether or not a remix makes the album?
We simply pick the artists we love most and the ones we can get to actually do the remix. A lot of bigger name artists are really difficult to get to remix, but luckily for us we've become friends with many of them so we're able to get bigger and bigger artists on board these days. We also give up-and-coming artists a shot, and work with the same guys who've proven how awesome they are even if they aren't a huge name. We haven't turned down or refused to release that many remixes, to be honest. Sometimes we give critical feedback and try to get artists to improve a remix, or some have even decided to start over with a different tune. It's the same for us remixing other guys, sometimes it's just not working so we try another tune, or the artist isn't feeling what we've done and tells is to go in another direction.
***Visit www.theuntzfestival.com to grab your festival passes and learn all about our inaugural event. You can volunteer, get directions to the site, and browse through our plentiful ticket packages and selections.To hear some of the incredible remixes from stars and up-and-comers taking on Desert Dwellers originals, check out The Great Mystery Remixes - Part I featuring contributions from Liquid Stranger, Gaudi, Kaminanda, An-ten-nae, AtYyA, Govinda, Hibernation, Tribone, and more. And click here to find all the tour dates for Earth Heart, Desert Dwellers' North American fall tour with Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution.