Greetings, music lovers! For the first of two Yan Zombie Presents events in June, I’m pleased to welcome Michael Red from the mighty Lighta! crew in Vancouver.
I was first introduced to MRed’s sound seeing him lay down one of his trademark morning sets at The Bass Coast festival. Since then I have seen him throw down a seriously diverse and versatile range of sets fitting different occasions; proper dancehall, to dub and rap influenced sets, always delivering that spontaneous vibe that comes from perfectly gauging and reading the dance floor.
He was open to my nosey prying for a little insight into what he’s up to.
Yan Zombie: First off, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. What other areas of life do you draw inspiration from that guide your musical choices and direction?
Michael Red: Hmm. My inspirations are endless really. I’m inspired by a lot different people in my immediate life. Certain close friends I’ll have in my head sometimes when I’m making music, angled towards fashioning something they’d be down with. Jamie DJ Tusk is one of them. Certain artists that work really quickly and are prolific have fueled me recently too, like Machinedrum, Self Evident, and even Riff Raff. I’m not saying I’m down with everything Riff Raff does, but I have to admire his sheer output and what appears to be his lighthearted approach.
Lightheartedness and not being to too serious is something I’m trying to blend into my approach more these days. It’s important. This winter I watched a lot of Inside the Actors Studio and applied a lot of certain actor’s ideas to my music. A common thread I picked up there was the importance of risk.
YZ: What can you tell me about the focus and theme of The New Forms Festival that you curate and contribute to?
MR: I’ve been with New Forms since 2003. This year, however, I’ve taken a step back to allow more time for my own personal projects. To me, I take the words “New Forms” literally and make efforts to book and showcase work that is truly “new” or very much “now.” As well, I’ve made it rule-of-thumb for myself to only book artists that haven’t been to Vancouver before, and book locals that haven’t played the festival before too. I also see the festival as a forum to take more risks than usual and really challenge the average event goer, always seeking to set the bar higher and higher.
YZ: For people unfamiliar, what is the Low Indigo Blog and movement all about?
MR: Low Indigo is purposefully ambiguous, with elements left undefined, as a reflection of real life and a signature of remaining “open.” I see it as having its own organic spirit which, at its own pace, becomes more defined as it discovers itself. I guide its growth, but life in general also helps guide it.
The Facebook group, for example, has evolved into a really great community that continues to grow. I never planned for that, and it’s totally wonderful. I love the fact that it’s participatory and it makes perfect sense to me that an open-ended group of people are all helping shape Low Indigo’s growth and identity. It looks like the blog might just become a place to post strictly event and label news, which also makes a lot of natural sense to me — ’cause the Facebook group already more than serves the purpose that a blog typically would.
As far as the label goes, I’m now working on the third and fourth releases with two other artists. Very excited about both of them. The third release is pretty much done now, and fourth is pretty close too. I can’t wait to share them. Oh yeah, the second release will be public some time in June. Yup!
Catch Michael Red at Spiritbar on Thursday, June 13. Cover is $7 before 11:30 p.m. and $10 after that. There will also be opening sets from myself and Frumlater
Yan Zombie is a Nelson-based electronic music producer and promotor. His events run monthly at Spiritbar. Follow him on twitter @yanzombiemusic.