Voyage 001: Tales from the Further Future

08 May 2015 - The DJ List - The DJ List

 

In all honesty I’m still trying to unravel my mangled memories from last weekend’s desert adventure on the Moapa River Indian Reservation. I earnestly tried to prepare myself thoroughly by eating well, taking vitamins, going to the gym, listening to music from all the artists on the impressive line up, and packed like my inner burner – only essential kit allowed. However, somehow this little escapade left me overwhelmed but energized at the same time and it’s taken a few days to rationalize the experience and put my over analytical mind in order. I’m kind of hoping I’m not the only one left in this state as that would be disappointing, I’m hopeful that other attendees were equally left with thoughts to organise regarding how they fit in with their future selves, their community and how they interact with the world around them. Without sounding way too intellectual for a music blog let’s do a bit of time travel into the Further Future.

So we are looking at Robot Heart’s inaugural foray into the land of the music festival, but more than that we are adding in group and individual experiences to stimulate the body and mind in the form of art installations, fine dining, wellness activities, and a notable speaker series. I knew about all of this in advance, I'd been to Robot Heart parties in Brooklyn and on the playa, I'd written previews, I'd even interviewed co-founder SWAMY for the The DJ List and together with the detailed emails from Further Future I thought I was well prepared for the the weekend, I thought there would be no surprises and I was wrong.

The flight from New York was pretty smooth, I don’t think there were any other Futurists on board, seemed like every one was flying in for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. On landing the guy next to us asked where we were heading, I told him and he keenly replied "I love that music, I just booked a table to see CALVIN HARRIS." Cool. "What did you say it’s called again? I’ll check it out." Can we stop a minute? I’m not that person who’s thinking what you might be thinking reading this now. The layering of knowledge/exposure in dance music is always of interest to me, snobbery is rife and that’s such a shame. Our music is for everyone. It’s an individual journey that takes in many genres along the way, this year’s Calvin Harris fan could be next year’s LEE BURRIDGE devotee, it happens, often. Let’s judge less. Moving on . . .

After getting completely lost at Las Vegas airport because there were so many people, we finally jumped in our rental car and headed out on I15 north stopping at In’n’Out on the way because we’re from the East Coast and need to get that “animal style” while we can. Leaving Vegas felt surreal in itself, I mean it’s a vast metropolis and the only human activity in sight, then you find yourself leaving it in the distance to go into the unknown. With excitement mounting we left the interstate and joined a partly made road heading into the desert, luckily two huge capital character F’s mark the track so we knew we were heading in the right direction. Check in was seamless at the gate, picking up wristbands, parking passes and checking in for our tent at the Habitas camp ground.

A word about Habitas, this was the all-inclusive option from the boutique camping offerings. We were picked up at the gate by the man behind the operation, EDUARDO CASTILLO, owner of Pattern Bar in LA and curator of the Habitas experience. Eduardo was charming and welcoming as were all his friends who aided in the running of the Habitas village for the duration. We had a beautifully equipped air-conditioned tent, toilets and showers, and an extremely comfortable common area and Bedouin lounge where campers ate family style incredible food cooked on site by talented chefs – the food was amazing, it trumped the AC and the showers in my opinion. This is a 5 star option no doubt, but frankly the whole festival is so we figured we’d just go all in on this one.

Time to explore the site, bearing in mind the event organisers had some permitting issues and had to change venue at very short notice, things were in pretty good shape. There was still some minor stage construction going on, but the essentials were up and running. The first impression is that of space, space between stages, campgrounds, space to be wherever and whoever you wanted to be. Then there’s the dust. If you’ve been to Burning Man it’s no biggie, but that dust gets everywhere, and there is no option but to embrace it - the cleanliness of a shower lasts approximately 2 and half minutes. That being said the desert is a very special place and the perfect venue for this gathering of bodies and minds. We hung out for a while listening to AEONIX at the remarkably under populated Mothership stage which could rival any other festival’s main stage in terms of presence, sound and lighting. People were still arriving and settling in, putting on costumes, meeting friends, pacing themselves for the weekend.

The Habitas village had it’s own stage which we went to after a full circuit of the grounds. This was the place to be as the sun set behind us, beautiful vibrations, surrounded by the complex hybycozo creations designed by Cozodesign. I’m sorry to say that I don’t even know who was playing, but he scored major points for playing my favourite BONOBO track "Cirrus" with a sky like this. Blissful.

From sunset to sunrise, we danced with friends old and new at different stages taking in ACTRESS, MONKEY SAFARI, LUKE SOLOMON, JOHN TEJADA, Hunter/Game, CLARIAN. So much good music, so much dust, so much love. The sound was crisp and resonant at each stage, I’ve heard worse sound in New York clubs to be honest, so absolute credit to all those Further Future sound engineers on a job extremely well done. Pit stop at the Mescal Amores bar then off to wherever the beats beckoned. People we met were all ages, international, some totally into the music, some totally tech obsessed nerds, some both, all open-minded, enthusiastic and positive about the future.

Saturday involved the Visions speaker series - we caught Astro Teller from Google X, Google’s Moonshot Factory, conveying compelling stories of failure, yes that’s right, turns out progress and innovation are borne of failure not success, enlightening and encouraging. Next up were the SoundCloud boys, Alex Ljung and ERIC WAHLFORSS to talk about the future of music distribution. Given that SoundCloud is about as important as oxygen to me I was entranced with their vision of a future bio AI interface implant thingy that would self regulate my mood and wellbeing with music, chemicals and whatever else is required - I mean if that is something I can pre-order now please just take my money!

More music, LUXXURY playing "Fly Like An Eagle" by the Steve Miller Band had me dancing alone in the sand, so perfect "time keeps on slipping into the future . . ." TROPICOOL had the Void stage jumping for his entire set, so many smiling faces. To cool down I discovered salted caramel iced coffee from Makers & Finders Coffee which made my life utterly complete in that moment. Then DOWNTOWN PARTY NETWORK, BODY LANGUAGE, the spell binding DAMIAN LAZARUS and the Ancient Moons, BENJAMIN ALEXANDER back at the Robot Heart Bus, soon to be followed by climbing on the Robot Heart Bus (that's not me up there btw)!

At some point things got messed up when I went back to the tent for a scarf, it’s chilly at night, made the mistake of lying down, surprise surprise fell asleep and woke up some time later with the distant sound of THE ORB’s "Little Fluffy Clouds" ringing in my ears! We spent the next hours with Bedouin, BEACON, Rob da Bank, and a bit of THUGFUCKER thrown into the mix.

Minimal sleep makes it difficult to piece everything together and I’m grateful for the printed schedule to prompt me making it easier to retrospectively track my whearabouts. The absolute certainty is that Further Future was an extraordinary experience, it’s not a theatrical set up like many other festivals, you get out what you put in, this becomes very clear as the weekend progresses not just for this weekend but for your existence in general.

After packing on Sunday, saying our goodbyes and heading back to New York I was left with a feeling of "I didn’t do enough" I didn’t go to the spa, I didn’t catch all of the speakers, I didn’t try the many varieties of poutine, I slept through the pop up dinner for fuck’s sake! So my conclusion from the weekend is to do more, to be more, to give more, not bad aspirations and I’ve got to say no music festival has made me feel quite like that in the past. Being around all those mindful dreamers and doers is so stimulating and therapeutic in a world where creativity is generally undervalued. This first installment of Further Future was not perfect, there will be critics, but remember without mishaps we’d have no progress to take into the future on the next voyage.

"Try, Learn, Fail, Repeat" Astro Teller

All photo credits go to my still dust encrusted iPhone :)

Check out Further Future's socials for more photos and feedback from the event.

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