This past week we had the opportunity to get in contact with one of Eugene’s most active and creative artists, Luke Mandala. Having been a DJ, producer and event planner in the scene for over a decade, Luke not only has experience in music production and DJing, but also has a knowledge of the culture and spirituality of the northwest music scene. He has released music with a number of well esteemed under ground labels such as Booka Shade Records, Definitive, Addictech, and many more. Outside of his own music Luke is busy with Activated Recordings, his record label, which has recently released tracks from Michael Manahan and Australian producer Kriece. Check out Luke’s recent release on Activated!
Stream: Luke Mandala – Cosmic Funk Sauce (Original mix)
Luke is currently planning on releasing remixes on both Desert Trax and Eelke Kleijn’s label, Outside The Box Music. Unlike many artists Luke gives much of his music away for free! Check out his soundcloud and website for a ton of free music and more info about Luke and his upcoming events. Its not often you come across a producer that can span so many different genres in their creations. He produces everything from down tempo and deep house to hard techno and dubstep, definitely check out everything you can! Until then, keep on reading and check out the interview!
With over a decade of experience in the West Coast music scene,
a. What do you enjoy about the west coast vibe? West coast crowds?
It’s been around 14 years I’ve been involved with the EDM scene. Most of all, compared to the rest of the world, it’s the cutting edge IDEAS of community, intention, sustainability, and spiritually from the west coast scene that I don’t see in such a special manner around the rest of the world. I see these things being exercised in positive ways but without as much innovation and cutting edge ideas as the west coast, especially the NorthWest.
Compared to the rest of the world, I also like the laid back, colorful and playful vibe the west coast brings with music at times.
With music production, most of the artists I have been working with are actually in Europe and most of the other continents of the planet because I can relate with them musically more than the west coast. If I was to try and sum it up, I would say that america is often associated with a lot of hype, pop, and hip hop influence with music. The rest of the world I see much more of a mixture that also includes experimental, cerebral, and psychedelic influences that are based less on things we have already heard, and more on new sounds. A good portion of what I like to try and produce is what I’ve heard labeled as a progressive mindset towards music.. with NEW experiences of sound, space, emotion, etc..
b. Why Eugene? What do you think makes it a special place on the WC?
Eugene is the most densely populated area I have found with light-hearted, non-pretencious, sweet people I’ve ever found or heard of. Those are the main things I have looked for when looking for a place to live, and that’s why I think it’s a very, very special place to live.
Since you launched Activated Recordings in 2008,
a. What were the biggest challenges you faced with the label?
It’s not really something that I am necessarily challenged with but it would be nice if the label brought in more funds to put toward promotion of the releases.
b. Has the label become what you initially planned it to become or has it evolved into something different?
When I started Activated Recordings back in 2008 I thought it was going to fulfill my huge desire to be involved in the music industry where people are working with music they are passionate about, and pay the bills. That would be the best life ever right!?!? Not the case, and not the case for any other label I have heard of unless they have DJ gig income connected to the label balancing out the income.
c. What do you find most exciting about running Activated?
The responses from people being stolked on the music of course! That’s the far majority of what I get out of it. Otherwise it helps build connections with other artists and promoters.
Mp3: Luke Mandala feat. Kyrstyn Pixton – Celestial Fire
What do you find to be the biggest inspiration for everything you do surrounding music?
Being able to heal people and have more purpose for my existence on the planet. Also, music connects me with other sensitive, passionate, and compassionate people.
Have you witnessed an increase in the popularity of electronic music in the last couple years?
a. In Eugene?
I’m not sure. There’s a small scene in Eugene that seems to me to be about the same size for a number of years now. It seemed bigger back in 2006-2007, which was also the most vibrant and exciting scene I have ever seen. I heard it was way bigger many years ago. I suppose with the Universities’ college kids it’s getting more popular, as many of them are into the more commercialized music and some electronic music seems to me to continue to be more commercialized.
In your mind what makes electronic music stand out from other genres?
The ability to get creative and create new sounds! This also means it’s easier for more people to make music. If you have a decent laptop and headphones you could easily get everything else you need to make a recording now-a-days! My favorite part is the evolved, playful community that tends to gather around Electronic Dance Music.
What have you liked about organizing and playing the “Harmonize” shows at Cowfish every week?
I am organizing the events and playing every other week now-a-days. There’s a consistent space for people to meet on a regular basis, which eventually develops deeper relationships, which is the main goal I am going for when promoting events. I dig the venue and the crowd, it makes a little money, and I dig the other co-workers.
What local artists have you been enjoying lately? International artists?
Chris Undermind has a very innovative, passionate, and humble approach I’ve been really digging. Octonaut and Hamilton Beach as well. Too many to name here.. Eugene is more dense with Dj’s I dig than any other city I’ve been to. I think that sweet humble vibe of Eugene tends to shine through strong with soulful music.
As far as international artists, recently I have been stolked on a couple tracks from Dylan Rhymes and Solead.
What mindset do you strive to put your crowds in?
An entertained and positive mindset that expands the mind and heart.
What do you like about Human Nature festival and the group of artists that will be there?
I dig how pure the crew’s intentions are and how much focus went into the music and building community. The burn on Sunday night was a creative touch I liked that provided some time for us to be quite together, which I thought was cool. Spaceshaping.net‘s set up on the Reactor stage was amazing, and I was stolked on the sound systems out there. It’s definitely one of my favorite festivals around in terms of what artists they booked. And the warmest part, was of course the fact that so many of my hometown friends were out living it up.Tweet