MOOGFEST, a music, art, & technology festival that started back in 2004 is coming back to Durham for it’s second year. KAMRANV, partner & CTO of Moogfest, gave us the scoop on his creative process + the most exciting part about the festival.
UD: Top spots for feasting in Durham?
KAMRANV: I (and my Moogfest cohorts) seem to end up at Pizzeria Toro more often than anywhere but Part & Labor is excellent for snaking and it doesn’t hurt that it’s connected to Motor Co and across the street from Full Steam Brewery.
Which project in particular really hit home for you?
I have a music studio called Bedrock.LA in a Los Angeles neighborhood called Echo Park. It’s what people call a “happy accident.” I didn’t go into the project with a clear idea of what it would be, but it’s full of the most creative and inspiring people in the world.
As a producer for big-time artists such as Beck, Sting, Nine Inch Nails, and many more- how has that collaboration process been?
It was different for all of them and all of these were very specific only to the surround sound releases of these records. Some were releasing past records in Surround Sound and some were doing the surround version simultaneously with new work. With NIN’s The Downward Spiral, I got to work very closely with Trent, the mixer James Brown (different one than you may think) and art director Rob Sheridan on it. I was maybe 23 or 24 at the time. I couldn’t believe I was working with someone who inspired me so much. It was really meaningful… we just went right into With Teeth from there. With Beck, he was mostly involved at the end of the process for approvals. I actually went in to finalize Sea Change while he was making Guero. Then the Dust Brothers (for Guero) and Nigel Godrich (for Sea Change) were both very involved in the mixes though Elliot Scheiner really was the one doing the surround mixes. For Beck’s Guero, we even made videos with Mike/D-Fuse for every song day-in-date with the release. It’s was a lot of very hard work to make it happen but I had excellent advisors guiding me at Universal and Interscope to get it done. Jim Belcher and Courtney Holt couldn’t have been more supportive. I even ended up in MPLS for 8 hours to pitch to the project to Target and Best Buy. Best Buy ended up buying them all as an exclusive. For Sting, he wasn’t as involved much since it was just a while after the album was released but he very kind when I had the chance to meet him.
What is your process for your creative work?
Listening. Surprisingly, that is most of the work.
You’re known for “giving creatives a home to create,” can you tell us what this means?
It seems as though I’m always building “platforms” …studio, festivals, creative spaces, software, web infrastructure and the like. It’s strange, I always thought I was going to be “the one” creating but I ended up just making the space for others to create. It’s quite a privilege but every once in a while, I get the itch to create more myself so I bounce back and forth as much as time will allow.
You work on a variety of projects, is there a common goal?
Respecting the creative process. Thoughtfulness and patience go a long way. It took me a bit to come fully to terms with it since I tend to gravitate toward efficiency. Balancing efficiency and patience to land on effectiveness. Seems to work.
What is the most exciting part about Moogfest?
The people: My collaborators in the project. The hundreds of people that work on the festival during it. The hundreds of performers, artists, scientists and more… the people make Moogfest = Moogfest.
How has Moogfest grown since its debut in 2004?
To spawn from a synth clinic in NYC to where we are now in Durham is incredible. I got invited to participate at the beginning of 2013 as we reimagined the event with Moog Music. Having purchased my first Moog when I was 16, being a partner with Moog is beyond an honor.
What made you decide Durham was the place to put on Moogfest?
The people that make Durham what it is made the decision for me. Diverse, ambitious and kind.
How is the Durham music scene?
Hip Hop is really solid here. The first musician that I met was Professor Toon and he always impresses me. With that said, it’s incredibly deep here. The level of experimentation is so deep.
Best advice on being successful?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: Do what you love and you’re always a success.
What are you most looking forward to for Moogfest 2017?
Well… I can’t tell you that quite yet 🙂