Enchanted Forest Gathering took place last weekend and it was like something out of a fairy tail mixed with an adventurous science fiction film. The vibes, music and people were absolutely magical, coupled with top-notch production made for an enchanting weekend to say the least. Attendees enjoyed a plethora of activities and shenanigans throughout the weekend.
Forest fairies attended transformational workshops on Yoga, nutrition, and earth-based spirituality. Truth seekers gathered in intimate fire circles to partake in ceremony and existential conversation. Disco nymphs gathered in hoards to delight in the most funky and psychedelic version of late-night game show dance parties ever created.
Eclectic festies sat in semi-circles drinking hot tea, sharing stories and healing, and breathing in the fresh Mendocino air at the lush Black Oak Ranch. Voluptuous bass lines trickled out of the gathering's famed Funktion-One sound system as thousands of attendees gathered in unity to do one thing - dance.
The festival featured many epic sets across multiple stages from artists like Tipper, Sun Squabi, Opiou, The Polish Ambassador, Afrolicious, and Psy Fi to name a few. Electric Feels had chance to sit down with Psy Fi (Miles Ross), a very talented electronic producer who has performed at the gathering several times.
We met with Miles underneath a small geodesic dome backstage to catch up on his aspirations in electronic music, his goals for the future, and his thoughts on the music festival community. Read the full interview below!
Is there anything special about Enchanted Forest Gathering to you?
The one thing that I’ve noticed in particular about this year is that there’s a lot of collaboration from different promotion groups and festival teams. Not just from the traditional Enchanted Forest crew, but lots of collaboration from other groups all over California.
It’s really cool to see these teams that are really good at working together come together and do really cool stuff. It’s incredible - I’ve been playing at Enchanted Forest for several years now and this is by far the highest production quality I’ve seen so far.
What has been your favorite festival to perform or attend?
My favorite to festival to perform and attend is actually Enchanted Forest! I had the opportunity last year to play 3 sets, and each one of the was really special. It actually helped me craft new music for the next year because the different environments playing in helped show me what to focus on.
Symbiosis is also one of my favorite festivals to perform at. There’s a lot ones that I’d really like to perform at, like some of the ones in Canada. But yeah, this one is really special and pretty awesome.
Are there any artists on this year’s lineup that you draw inspiration from? Any favorites?
I’ve been really excited to hear Noisia. I’ve been a huge fan of their music and their last album was exceptional. I’ve always been a really big fan of Tipper - especially his more down-tempo stuff which is really melodic. I draw a lot of inspiration from his earlier more experimental down-tempo kind of stuff. It was really cool to see Stylust Beats play last night. His set was probably my favorite so far at the festival… he absolutely crushed it.
Each of your albums take the listener through an epic journey. What was on your mind during the production of “Totality”? What story do you want it to tell?
Totality was primarily inspired by all of my favorite movie soundtracks, and the way that the soundtrack interacts with the visual theme of the movie. I wanted to capture that feeling and voice in a dance music album.
It was primarily inspired by a lot of my favorite science fiction films and a lot of visual themes. I would actually watch science fiction movies while I was making it. A lot of the music was inspired by that epic journey of a science fiction film.
What are some notable science fiction films you drew inspiration from?
2001: A Space Odyssey, which was probably one of my favorite films ever made, was a huge inspiration. A lot of contemporary ones, like Interstellar. Inception and Arrival. And then some older ones that aren’t as well known, like this movie Sunshine where they have to take this spaceship to restart the sun.
And it’s just this epic orchestral soundtrack that shows their live or die journey. I really like those kind of movies that have this on-the-edge-of-your-seat and humanity is about to be on the brink of extinction and we have to figure out what to do to fix it. I’m a sucker for that stuff.
Aside from film, are there any other themes, stories or messages you try to portray with your music in general?
I think so. I think a lot of the lessons I’ve learned over the years from being a producer and performer come through in the album. I’ll be stuck on an idea and there will be something that I’ve learned throughout my career that will allow me to move past that creative block. Things like not comparing my music to others.
Lessons that I’ve really had to work through and still struggle with that will allow me to get through anything that’s not allowing me to complete a track. I feel like having that in your mind while you are making it can give you a lot of strength to get through that.
Would you say that making music is therapeutic?
Absolutely. It’s totally a metaphor for everything I do. I’ve learned about not taking shortcuts in music, and actually doing things the right way even if it takes longer. And knowing the end that it’s going to pay off.
That kind of helped out with me struggling with short-sightedness. Not looking at the short-term and trying to focus what’s really best for me in the future. Music is a great way to do that and to work through the production process.
When you first start making music a lot of it isn’t that great. I mean, some people can just start making music and their just geniuses. But the majority of us struggle to make a quality track, sometimes for years before you actually make something decent. That continued perseverance and optimism helps you out in all other walks of your life.
You realize that if you want to be really good at something you need to put in the time, even though the short-term satisfaction is there.
If you could choose one tune you’ve produced that you’re most satisfied with, which one would it be?
That’s a really tough question. [pauses] I think the track that I’m most excited with is the title track to Totality. It went through five different stages of production. I originally made it specifically for this one show.
When I started to work on the album as a whole, I started to think of the elements of the album and the stories I’m conveying and how I could actually put those stories into that song.
If you listen to that song, there’s organic elements like a clock ticking to show that time is running out. Time isn’t something you can ever get back, and reminders of that can be really powerful.
I feel like that song in particular has a very strong message of that. There’s this big orchestral drum part that I really like in the beginning. I draw a lot of inspiration from the sci-fi movies with those big drums.
Are you working on any new projects or collaborations?
I’ve been working on a few collaborations right now. I’ve been doing a better job at reaching out to people on Soundcloud. I’ve been able to work with different people from Europe, and with different communities and scenes that I’m not a part of. Working with people that aren’t a part of your immediate group can be really helpful.
I’ve got a couple in the works that I can’t talk about but that I’m really excited about. My future plans for writing music right now are writing as many singles as possible and to try to release a lot of music over a long period of time. I was working on Totality over the course of a year, so I wasn’t able to work on a lot of other music during that time.
Now that I’ve put out an album, I wanna get a bunch of singles out there. I just put one out last week called Aquarius. I have another one in the works that should be out in the next month or so as well.
Do you have any other modes of creative expression that you like to partake in?
That’s a good question. I think music is my primary one, but I’ve been really getting into visuals. In this last tour I’ve had this visual artist with me named Dumps. Working with somebody in a different medium that is in connection with your music taught me a lot about the visual aesthetic of things.
I’ve been really getting into thinking about how to create environments to bring to shows. Like stage design and stuff that can connect with the music. If I’m making music that’s inspired by these science fiction movies, I want to be able to bring that to the listener and put it into context.
Lastly, do you think gatherings like this one have a positive impact on the world? How could they be improved?
Gatherings like this do have a positive impact on the world. There’s a lot of ideas here that I think are starting to catch on more and allowing people to talk about things more. There’s a lot of emphasis here on creating safe spaces for people. If you’re having a problem, or if you’re having an issue, conflict resolution seems to be a big part.
I have seen some conflicts at festivals and that’s just how they go. But I think being able to see people focus and really be there in making sure other people’s feelings are heard and assessed. Being there for each other and compassion I feel is a big part of these festivals.
That’s something we clearly need to work on outside of these festivals - not putting your own shit first. Thinking about how your actions affect others. I feel like a festival is an extreme environment for that, because everyone affects each other here.
Written by Colin Eldridge
Stageside Access VR : Enchanted Forest Gathering