Interview with Anabel Englund
EXPERIENCE BY: Rachel Hinshaw
On November 11, MDA had the pleasure of hosting Gari Safari at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, Calif. Gari Safari is an event series organized by Anabel Englund, Jackson Englund, Human Life, Mont Blvck, and Matt Ossentjuk.
From ferns and dangling vines to the glowing neon letters suspended behind the stage, every detail was perfectly placed; transforming The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa into a lush jungle. Blow-up zebras, snakes, and other safari animals adorned the stage. The Gari crew arrived early to the venue to set up the decorations, as well as the hardware for Anabel Englund and Mont Blvck’s live sets, and stayed late afterwards tearing everything down, as they do for every Gari Safari. In this way, their parties are a labor of love, and the positive and hardworking vibes made it a unforgettable experience.
I opened the night for the Gari team on Friday from nine to ten. Human Life and Matt Ossentjuk took over for the next hour and selected some groovy tracks, lifting the energy even higher. At this point, the crowd had filled up, and everyone was dancing along with excitement. Many were appropriately decked out in their best safari-inspired gear.
Next up, Mont Blvck (Jackson Englund and Diego Cuevas) took the stage to play their live set. With Jackson on guitar and Diego on bass, they created a funky sound coupled with a chill, indie dance vibe. We expect to see great things from this duo in the future.
Anabel took the stage singing around 12:30 pm, with her brother, Jackson DJing behind her. Her warm, beautiful voice complimented the clean, high-quality production of every track, and she sounds just as amazing if not better in person, as she does on her recordings. Songs for the evening ranged from classics like Reverse Skydiving to newer hits such as London Headache. One thing was certain, she had the entire venue on their feet, dancing. And many fans were packed up at the front of the stage, singing along to her lyrics.
After her killer performance, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anabel:
RH: So, how did you first get into music? Have you been involved with it your whole life?
AE: I grew up with my dad playing songs on the guitar for me and my brother to fall asleep to. He’s a really amazing singer/songwriter. And when our family would get together, we would always play instruments together and sing. So I’ve always grown up around music.
RH: How were you introduced to the whole Gari Safari crew?
AE: Well, Jackson’s my brother, he’s in the Gari crew. Matt Wasley I met when I first moved to Hollywood when I was about 18. I graduated high school with Matt Ossentjuk and I’ve known Diego basically since high school, as well. So, it’s a really tight-knit family vibe.
RH: What does “Gari” mean and how did you guys get the idea to throw this party?
AE: “Gari” is basically what we call each other. Like, a term of endearment. If you have a best friend, you probably have a name for that person that doesn’t really make sense to anyone else - an inside joke. So “Gari Safari” rhymed, and we were like, let’s throw a party! And then we kind of just went off from there. And like, there are so many versions of Gari… Gordir, DJ Gorms, Gord... it could be literally anything.
Gari crew member: (laughing) It’s just gibberish!
AE: So the point of Gari Safari is to let everyone into our family and our joke. It’s like letting everyone in on the inside joke.
In the end, Gari Safari at the Wayfarer was truly an unforgettable night and we can’t wait to have the Gari crew back to party with us again.
Check out more photos: HERE
Catch STEREOPHONICS at The Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles on November 30!
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EXPERIENCE BY JARIN LOVE
From its hand-crafted car, stage and structure art, to its costume-adorned throngs, to its earth-shaking sets… YOUtopia stood its ground this year as the most sought after regional Burner event in Southern California.
Arriving on Saturday, day three of the four day festival, parking and entry were easy. I was immediately greeted with warmth, hospitality and an undeniably welcoming spirit. Having attended countless events over the years, I can say enthusiastically that YOUtopia’s vibe greets you at the door. Almost like some virtual hug sending you off like a mother waving her child into to the first day of school. Backpack, food, gear in tote.
While casually waiting at the shuttle stop, a YOUtopia Waldo member provided me with not only my location, camp information, and volunteer awareness resources, but even better… infectiously pleasant company. Shuttles loaded to full capacity kept passing us by and even though I was open to walking, I knew Space was a solid hour-plus hike with gear. Just as I was preparing to step off, a veteran DJ and YOUtopia headliner introduced himself as he was exiting the event and asked if I needed assistance. Before I could blink, he flagged down a golf cart, said farewell, and off I went.
Stephanie, the sweet soul who golf-carted my ass to the farthest camp away, Space Command, couldn’t have set the tone any better. The culture of the event was instantly apparent; we stopped every 50 feet to hug friends, chat with volunteers… it truly felt like a family. Even though I was new to the community, I never felt like an outsider. I was welcomed with open arms. Stephanie was a true light, setting a shining example for others to emulate. She stopped to help everyone, whether for a lift, a water or just to have a real, heartfelt conversation. Our ride together was one of the highlights of my YOUtopia experience. Thank you for showing the way, angel.
Landing at Space Command is a feeling that’s hard to forget. A sensation so new, yet so close to home. Overwhelming and inviting at the same time. Like stepping into another dimension.
Eric Anderson, one of Space’s founders, said, “YOUtopia is a place of individualization through participation. Individually, you must participate to get the full experience. 2016 is when I got my first taste and that is all I needed, its absolutely addictive.”
I had a few hours before my set that night with DeepAura, so I did what any rational person would do in a place like this: went exploring. As I made my way around a few of the stages, one thing quickly struck me: DJ’s seemed to play with more creativity and originality than what you tend to see at a typical house venue, or even other festivals. Rare music was everywhere. And it was good. Really good.
Unconstrained by the restrictions applied by some of the bigger venues and promoters, artists were free to truly express themselves. This created something so different, so special—it was in the air. Something vibrant, ethereal. Contagious. Felt by everyone there. And it didn’t stop at the stages. It swirled throughout the festival, peaking its crafty little head at you around every corner: live art exhibitions, body painting, art cars, art bars, tents, lounges, costumes and skin. A true journey for the senses.
But YOUtopia really came alive once the sun went down. The music shifted gears and the place set fire. Became tribal. Got louder.
Space Command’s founders, Eric Anderson, and Josh and Heather Scott, invited DeepAura to take the Saturday evening performances, and I had the pleasure of opening. It was an honor to represent my esteemed colleagues at DeepAura and set the mood for the evening (listen to my full set: HERE)
Micheal Veigh, Space Command’s operations chief and right-hand man, had this to say about DeepAura’s performance:
"But then when the DeepAura crew took over the night at 10 p.m., something amazing happened. The subtlety and beauty of the music was overwhelming. A 'great party' turned into spiritual experience. When Crescendoll got into her set at midnight, I stood behind her on stage, and watched dozens of people of both sexes cry tears of joy as they danced. The music and the moment was THAT beautiful. That was a unicorn. That moment was the reason I became a DJ in the first place, and that’s what I’ve been hoping for at the parties I’ve promoted and attended. You can’t force, fake, predict or manufacture those moments. They just happen.”
A moment in time, in a world full of uncertainty and turmoil, a place where people can put aside their differences and remember that we are all truly one family sharing this cosmic gift of a planet we call home… it’s a pretty special thing. Maybe we need it. Maybe it serves as a reminder of why we’re still here, in spite of ourselves. Solidarity and compassion are not just important for human evolution, they are vital to our very survival as a species. To our future. To our children’s future. They are what makes us human. To YOUtopia and my new friends at Space, you embody this. Thank you. You have my heart.
Relive our sacred moment at La Cave in Orange County on November 29 as DeepAura and Space Camp reunite once again for MDA Wednesdays. More details can be found on the FB event page.
I was able to catch up with Holliday, founder of DeepAura Music and Eric Anderson, founder of Space Command and asked them about their upcoming show with MDA.
“DeepAura has had some incredible memories every time we've been booked with our MDA family. MDA is truly special in OC, as they really do support the local artists and also bring all sides of the musical spectrum together. 11/29 is furthermore going to be special, we're revisiting the fun energies from YOUtopia, two members from each DeepAura & SPACE will be uniting in the musical travels of the night! It's going to be a cosmic experience of the underground sounds and gatherings vibes, balanced in motion for the night!” - Holliday, DeepAura
“MDA and playing La Cave is a DJ bucket list for me. I love what MDA does for the scene, I'm truly honored to be able to play in the Rave Cave with our closest collaborators DeepAura. 11/29/17 will be a night to love and cherish.” - Eric Anderson, Space