More than just a dope track: An interview with Govinda


Live instrumentation has always been a heavy subject when it comes to electronic music. Some people think that electronic music should solely consist of sounds made from computers or machines. And then, there are the people that believe that some live instruments accompanying electronically made beats still falls under the category of electronic music.

Besides the point, good music is good music, and there is one musician who is using his talent and knowledge of the classical violin and electronic music to captivate and elevate audiences around the country.

Govinda kicks off his east coast tour this May 2 in Atlanta. The tour includes three Florida dates: May 4 in Tallahassee, May 5 in Gainesville and May 8 in Miami. With a handful of club venues, Govinda will also be performing at numerous festivals throughout the summer including Wakarusa and Camp Bisco.

Follow the jump to find out how Shane O’Madden got into electronic music, his take on stage fright and what the future holds for Govinda.

Govinda is Austin-based producer and composer Shane O’Madden. He studied classical violin at the University of Texas where he fell in love with electronic music. He brings a new and refreshing sound through his beautifully interwoven symphonies of world, dub and electronica. His music has been featured on numerous television shows, and he has shared the stage with some very influential names like Thievery Corporation, Shpongle and STS9.

You’re really well-known for your extensive background in the classical violin. Do you play any other instruments? 

Shane O’Madden- I play a little guitar, and I sing a little and a little piano, just enough to record and write music. There’s a picture of me with a sitar, but I don’t really play the sitar very well. I would never claim to be a sitarist.  But, I think that was more on the theme of world music because my ancestors are from the Middle East. We’re Syrian. That’s where the influence from the Middle East comes from.

So, I’m guessing that you like to work with the violin the most?

Ya, that’s my main instrument and what I’ve focused on throughout my life.

You also have said that your world travels have influenced the music you make today. Are there any specific experiences that you had abroad that changed the way you view the world or music in general?

That’s a really good question, but I don’t think anything specific. Traveling in general and being inspired by different cultures around the world, different food, and dance, and people and languages — all of that together made me who I am. I’ve had some specific experiences like busking in Florence, Italy. It was just for fun; I just wanted the experience. There’s a lot of amazing musicians playing on the streets in Italy.

You obviously have traveled around the world. What has been your favorite part about traveling or your favorite place that you’ve visited?

I had a really magical experience in Nice, France. I haven’t been everywhere, so I think that I would like some places better that I haven’t been. I’ve been to Moscow, and that was pretty magical. It’s kind of dark and snowy, but I had some pretty cool experiences there. My favorite city in the world is probably San Francisco or Vancouver.

Really? I love San Francisco, by the way.

Ya, that’s my baby, my number one.

Would you say that any specific country has had the biggest impact on you?  

Well, I haven’t been to India yet, and I know that I’m really fond of the music there. And I haven’t been to the Middle East, so it’s kind of an incomplete journey for me. But, no, I don’t think that traveling to countries has been the biggest influence for me. It’s been more getting in touch with my bloodline, my roots, my grandfather who taught me about the Romani’s, the gypsies. He inspired me a lot to take my violin to the next level and really pursue the career within it.

Was there ever a point where you doubted if you could make a career with the violin?

Absolutely. Ya, when I was in college and high school, I wanted to be a classical soloist. And then, I quickly found out when I went to the university that I was nowhere near good enough, and it may never be. It’s just one of those mastery instruments that you have to dedicate every breathing moment of your life to the technique. I guess I was more interested in creating new music and new expression rather than playing ancient music that was written hundreds of years ago, which was also great. I was more interested in the composition aspect, so I went that direction. And when I did, I realized that I did have a career opportunity as a violinist. If I was going to be a classical soloist, I might not. I made it work for me.

Tell me about the first time you heard electronic music and why you decided to incorporate it into the violin.

I was a violinist first, obviously, and I wanted to create new music. I explored things like playing the sitar and doing singing/songwriting for a while. I was in a rock metal band. I was in a punk band and did not listen to club music. Then, I think it was when Portishead’s Dummy first came out, and I fell in love with it. I just wanted to make beats. That was my new passion. So, I got into whatever electronic-driven music I could find and learned how to do it. Since I already played the violin, I felt like that was a unique aspect. There’s a lot of people making electronic music. There are a lot of producers out there. They all were kind of just working with lead loops. Since I have this unique skill of playing the violin, I figured I would put it together. All of it together created the sound I have today.

So, more about your live shows. How did the decision come about to use dancers with your live performance?

I’ve always loved dance: modern day, different styles. I was brought up with dance around me. My mom was a ballerina. She has always done ballet, and it was a big part of my life. I loved anything visual, like the visual aspect of the performance art, aspect of dance. I felt like that was also unique. I’m very visually oriented and stimulated, so I try to create beautiful things on stage. Also, I’m not 100 percent sure I’m a performer. So, I kind of like to be a little bit in the background sometimes and create other little eye candy for people so they’re not focused on me the whole time.

Do you have stage fright?

No. I used to have it really bad as a classical musician, but I don’t get it anymore. I guess it comes with  confidence that I feel better about what I’m doing. But, performing is a whole different animal. You can be a great musician and a really boring performer. So, I want to create a show that is really stimulating for people and really exciting to see.

I was just talking to some friends about how crazy your performance at Gnarnia in North Carolina was. They put you on an indoor stage, and so many people were there that they had to control the amount of people inside.  

I actually had to go to the bathroom, and there wasn’t a men’s room inside. So, I walked out, and I couldn’t get back in the building to play my show. There was this huge line, and they weren’t letting me back in. I was like, ‘Dude, I’m about to go on stage. They’re waiting to see me. I have to go in.’

Haha. So, do you use dancers for all of your shows?

I used to, but now there are few that I don’t, and those tend to be the lower budget ones. Obviously, you have to pay them. I used to fly around with dancers, but that got too expensive so I started hiring regional dancers. So, that’s now what I do; I work with regional artists around the country who will show up and dance with me. It gives it more variety. At the same time, I prefer to work with a few different people who know the music really well and can do some choreography too.

That’s really cool. It gives a local aspect to your show.

Ya, I agree. That’s the cool part about it. I might start using the same dancers again in the future. When the budget is there to have some people fly around with me and do some shows, then I’ll do that. But right now, I’m kind of in-between.

Nice. I think that even though you aren’t doing that, your alternative methods are very effective. To switch gears, what do you think about DJ sets versus live sets?

Well, I play live violin in all of my sets. I always do that. That’s the unique part of what I do that people want to see. So, I’m actually not behind my laptop the whole time.

So, do you DJ or have you ever?

I don’t DJ because that would be playing other people’s music, but I do an electronic live set. So, the difference, obviously, is that it’s all my original music. You would call that a producer. I’m back there doing an electronic set with my laptop, which I guess some would call DJing, but I’m actually kind of a shitty DJ, so I wouldn’t say that. It’s all Abelton Live. A lot of producers started using that to play their own music these days.

I was just at a Big Gigantic show, and I think that the element of live instruments completely changes the electronic music experience, and not a lot of people realize that. For you, what would be the most ideal environment to make music in?

Well, I love putting on big shows that have a huge visual element, obviously. So, in a theatre. I like people to be up, dancing. I don’t like them to necessarily be seated because then it gets sleepy, and I have a lot of energy in my shows. So, I think maybe like an old Gothic theatre or church that has a performance stage with a really dope sound system and people who are willing to take the journey and not get torn away and do shots. I mean, that’s fun too, but I want people to be engaged in the show.

And from a production standpoint, if you could produce anywhere, at any location, where would it be?

I love dramatic landscapes, so mountains and beaches are definitely really inspiring to me. If I could have a really beautiful home with a huge window that overlooks the ocean and a mountain, ya, that’s probably my number one. I feel like Northern California has always worked well for me.

Out of all of the tracks and albums you’ve made, what has been your favorite or the one song that sticks out to you the most or the one that means the most to you?

The song “Contact” on my last record is really special to me because my daughter actually sang on it. The lyrics came from a dream I had where my best friend who passed away, and the mother of my daughter, came to me. I woke up and wrote these lyrics, and it was about making contact with that dimension, with somebody I loved in a different dimension. So, that song is really special to me. I’ve definitely come further with my production technique and capabilities since then, but as far as the song, I think it has everything I’ve dreamed of doing.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing that people should take away from your music?

To be inspired. To make art or music in their own lives, whether it’s in the form of art and music or what they bring into their daily lives with a sense of inspiration and elevation. I guess I want to inspire people on a higher, more spiritual level rather than just them walking away with, “That was a dope track.”

I agree. I think you accomplish that on more than one level. This will be your second year at Wakarusa, what are you going to do differently this year?

I actually am going to be doing a different set than what I normally do this year because I’m doing a sunrise set this time. I rarely ever do sunrise sets, so I’m not even sure I know what the hell I’m doing because the set list I put together has very much of a rising-action feel, so I usually play at night. The sunrise set, I don’t know how to treat it, like if it’s going to be more chill or if I’m going to keep the energy going. Last year, I saw some sunrises, and everybody still wants to party and dance. So, I think I’m going to try to keep the energy up musically, but I might just do some different stuff.

So, what is next for Govinda in 2013? 

I’m working with a visual artist, Boris Karpman out of Denver, to do projections and 3D mapping. It’s going to be on the dancers or with dancers. It’s going to be more of a live visual show. That’s my main focus. I have a new album in the works, and it probably won’t be done until the end of the year because I just released some music not too long ago. But, it’s a full-length album, and I plan to release it on a label this time.

via Bionic Beatlab


Peter Murphy celebrates 35 years of Bauhaus at Grand Central Miami


On April 30, the Godfather of Goth, Peter Murphy, will celebrate 35 years of Bauhaus at Grand Central in downtown Miami. The Mr. Moonlight Tour started on April 22 and consists of music soley from the gothic rock band in which he was the lead vocalist. This tour is the first time since 2006 that Murphy will perform full Bauhaus sets, and the first time ever where he will be doing so by himself. The combination of the dark rock and the electronic influence has set this group apart since its inception, and Tuesday night will surely showcase that showmanship.

Bauhaus formed in England in 1978 and is considered the first gothic rock group because of their dark and gloomy sound and image. They helped create the look and sound that we associate with goth today due to the post-punk landscape that the band was created in. The group quickly gained a cult following and became well-known internationally. Originally only together for 5 years, they broke up in 1983. Many of the members started solo projects that topped the charts in the U.S., despite becoming unknown in England. They reunited in 1998 and again from 2005-2008 due to popular demand for more tours. Their last and final album, Go Away White, was made in 2008.

Even though Bauhaus isn’t coming back, Murphy has permeated the scene not only with his solo career, but also with his innovative ways of incorporating Bauhaus into his own music today. The dub-inspired melodies paired with Murphy’s deep baritone voice allows anyone to see that electronic music has been a driving force, even in the ’70s and ’80s. This tour may be the last chance you have to see an original member from Bauhaus play a full set of only their music.

The Mr. Moonlight Tour brings a huge compilation of dates that spans North America, Europe and even the Middle East (Two dates in Israel have just been confirmed). With My Jerusalem as an opener, general admission is $28 and VIP tickets are $60. VIP includes early entrance, a meet and greet with Murphy, an exclusive edition T-shirt and a signed poster. Doors for VIP open at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. for GA. Tickets can be found HERE.

via Bionic Beatlab

The music of Gator Stompin’


There are many things to do in Gainesville before you graduate: float down Ginnie Springs, go to a football game, have a world-famous Top burger. But for those old enough, there is one tradition that has drawn hundreds of thirsty college kids to downtown and midtown looking to get their drink and dance on.

Gator Stompin’ has been a tradition in Gainesville for 31 years and is one of the most notable pub crawls, as we are trying to break the world record for largest pub crawl in the world. According to the Guinness World Records, the title is held by 10 pubs in Maryborough in Queensland, Australia, that drew 4,718 participants in 2009.

Besides the fact, Gator Stompin’ offers seniors a chance to go to all of their favorite bars, clubs and restaurants one last time before departing for the real world, and it gives everyone else an opportunity to celebrate another completed semester.

But there’s one thing that any event of this nature needs, and that is music. Pledge 5 Foundation has been in charge of Gator Stompin’ since 2009, and they made sure to bring a variety of genres ranging from rock and reggae to house and world.

A new addition to this year’s event is a kick-off concert held in Bo Diddley Community Plaza from 6 p.m. — 9 p.m. The organizers of Gator Stompin’ announced on Friday night that Less Than Jake will be headlining this concert.

While there are a lot of returning musicians from last year, Jason Bowman, director of Pledge 5, said that they like to hire the local talent, including bands and DJs.

“For the past eight years, we’ve been adding more and more to the event. More food, more music, even more venues,” Bowman said.

But managing such a large-scale event with about 100 venues is no easy task. Bowman said that when it comes to deciding who will perform where, it’s a collaborative effort between the venues, the talent and Pledge 5.

“It [the music] has to fit the venue, as well as the overall feel of the event. We take requests from venues, and we also allow the bands to have a say in where the play,” said Bowman.

Because it is a pub crawl, the organizers have positioned different acts along the route of bars and restaurants from downtown to midtown. They arranged for shorter performances so everyone has the chance to see the live music at different venues.

“You only have a limited time at each place if you want to go to at least 10 different bars, and that’s why we chose to do short sets, almost like little samples of live music, instead of entire shows,” Bowman said.

The featured music this year will include:

• High Dive: Funks Inc, Marley The Messenger, DJ Robzilla

• The Jam: Flatland, Nook & Cranny, Descubierto, Jackie & Megan

• Simon’s: DJ Ruby

• University Club: Lady Pearl’s Cabaret Show with a guest appearance by Jade Jolie from Rupaul’s Drag Race

• 101 Downtown: DJ Don Styles

• Sharab: DJ Dennis

• Fubar: DJ Luny

• Lasso’s: Spencer Jordan

• The Jones B-Side: Live music

• The Backyard: Live music

• 1982: Live music

• Loosey’s: Live music

You must be 21 to drink, but if you’re 18 or older, you can attend the event as well. Tickets are $50 and can be found on the Gator Stompin’ website or at the Pledge 5 Foundation at 18B Southwest 2 Ave. Admission includes cover at over 70 establishments, an official Gator Stompin’ T-shirt and 10 tokens for food, drinks, raffles and contests. There will be over $5,000 worth of prizes given away from sponsors.

Brief history of karaoke (and where to do it)


Imagine the scene. A darkly lit bar with someone who has had a little too much to drink belting out the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody” on stage. Who would subject themselves to such embarrassment in front of complete and total strangers?

Karaoke is one of America’s favorite pastimes, but the activity actually started in Asia.

The word “karaoke” stems from the Japanese words “karappo,” meaning “empty,” and “okesutura,” meaning “orchestra,” combining to make the phrase “empty orchestra.”

While the origins of karaoke are debated, Daisuke Inoue is credited as its inventor. After not being able to read a note of music, he became a drummer because he said that all you had to do was hit them. Then, Inoue and six of his co-workers started playing in the dives of Kobe, Japan.

As his boss came to love Inoue’s drum solos, he asked him to play the drums for him on an overnight trip. Unable to leave his job, Inoue gave his boss a tape of his drumming, which he would be able to sing over.

Inoue thought that if company presidents wanted to do this, wouldn’t the everyday man? Thus, karaoke was born. Soon after, karaoke became popular in East and Southeast Asia and spread overseas. It is now a popular icebreaker in all corners of the world.

Inoue barely made any money off of his discovery, and many people in his hometown don’t even know who he is. He said that as its creator, he neglected it and let big companies and businesses run the newly found industry.

But he did change the way that people around the world socialize. In preparation for this post, I asked almost everyone I knew if they had sung at a karaoke night, and the overwhelming response was “yes.” Karaoke is such a commonly shared experience, no wonder it grew in so popular so quickly.

Maybe this new age of technology will deter the popularity of singing karaoke in public places, especially with the rise of gaming consoles. However, if you want to test out the your skills in the vocal department, check out this list below for weekly karaoke nights in Gainesville.

High Dive: every Monday night. The bar opens at 6 p.m., and there’s free beer until 10 p.m. 210 Southwest 2 Ave.

Boca Fiesta: on select Monday nights. In The Back Yard Bar, karaoke starts at 9 p.m. 232 Southeast 1 St.

Mars Pub and Arcade: every Tuesday night. Sign in starts at 8:30 p.m. in the arcade. 239 W. University Ave.

Loosey’s: every Saturday night. From 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., karaoke is hosted by DJ Wolfman Kelly. 101 SW 1 Ave.

Alley Katz: every Saturday night. With bowling and drink offers, the music starts at 9 p.m. 3705 SW 42 Ave.

Get Pumped for the Sixth Annual Gainesville Fashion Week


Us here at the Beatlab love music, but there are other things we love too. For example, art and fashion. This Wednesday marks the beginning of the sixth annual Gainesville Fashion Week (GFW). Five years in the making, the event has been named by Southern Living Magazine as one of the leading fashion events of the South. With creativity spewing out of Gainesville, it is only proper that there is a local outlet for fashion design, music, art and so forth. GFW brings in top designers, jewelers, makeup artists and hair stylists from around the country, and this year is no exception.

GFW starts with its annual red carpet opening and art show. The art show starts at 8 p.m. and will be held in the retail space adjacent to Vello’s in downtown. The red carpet will be rolled out at 10 p.m. at Vello’s for a hair, makeup and jewelry show. Hair will be done by the local Scissors Salon and Sixth Street Station, and makeup will be done by Sheena Cuccis Make Up. The jewelry will be featured by Jurney Jurray Jewelry and Stella & Dot Jewelry.

On Thursday, the first runway show will take place in the UF Reitz Union Grand Ballroom at 8 p.m. Jade JolieJay Nicolas Sario and Andrew Thouvenot, from Project Runway seasons 7 and 8, will be the featured designers. Sario showcased his first collection during the 2010 New York Fashion Week and has started his own label after competing on Project Runway. Thouvenot has been featured in US Weekly, Streetscape and ALIVE Magazine.

The Gainesville Glitterati Show by White House Black Market will be on Friday at the University Air Center in Mustang Hangar, and doors will open at 7 p.m. The event officially starts at 7:30 p.m. and the runway show begins at 8 p.m. The Glitterati Show will feature two local designers: Fresh Heirs, a collaboration between Ching-Ya Ni and Ashley DeGrandy that brings a new and fresh meaning to the word “renaissance,” and Jacquelyn Brooks, a designer who owns her own studio in Gainesville. Macy’s Men’s and White House Black Market will be apart of the show too. The headlining designer will be Jay Nicolas Sario.

Saturday brings more runway shows at the same time and place, and more local outlets. TanyaB graduated with a bachelors of fine arts in fashion design and merchandising, and D&N Clothing is responsible for all of the “Let’s dub to fuck step” tanks. Francine Elizabeth is a young designer who will take on GFW for the second time, and Macy’s Women’s will be featured as well. The headlining designer for this show is Carla Coultas.

Sunday will wrap up with a closing brunch at 101 Downtown. The event is open to the public, begins at noon and is brought to you by University House. A perfect way to end a perfect week of fashion and fun.

On top of all of the fashion, there will be DJs and visual artists performing at all of the events. While most of the them are free, some events do have a ticket price, so check out the GFW website for more information about the shows you would like to attend. Student tickets are around $12 and general admission is $15.

via Bionic Beatlab