*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
Possessing and cultivating one specific skillset in our multimedia-driven world is often enough to carve out a niche for some individuals. What can happen when an individual synergizes multiple skill sets, focusing on bridging underground and mainstream cultures, is a whole other ballgame. Julian Reyes, of Keyframe-Entertainment, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Electronic Music Alliance and an active proponent of transformational culture. I was fortunate enough to speak with him about some very interesting topics, which included: his personal experience with electronic music and its affiliate communities, some of his recent projects that aim to explore some prevalent dichotomies within dance culture, and the current and potential impact of the EMA and its initiatives.
A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?
Julian Reyes – Born in Bogota, Colombia (raised in Cali). But I “grew up” in North Miami, Florida. Currently living in the Bay Area.
A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?
Julian Reyes – My earliest childhood musical influences were Colombian salsa, cumbia, bolero, flamenco, and a ton of classical music.
A’Damaged Pro – What inspired you to get into the music/media business?
Julian Reyes – My most powerful childhood memories are my love for music and film. I’ve always been a visual artist and I have a computer graphics degree. I’ve worked in 3D animation (e.g. demonstrative evidence: accident recreations, forensic animations, etc.), video editing, marketing, and related areas. Technology, art, and music have always been a part of my life in one way or another.
A’Damaged Pro – How has the scene changed from when you were first introduced?
Julian Reyes – The genesis for my connection to and passion for Electronic Music began in the breakdancing era (early 80’s). ie. From my perspective B-Boy culture was the first to truly embrace the dancing expression of Electronic Music, and it has gone through many evolutions since then. I’ve been a part of various scenes that run the gamut of Electronic Music, Hip Hop, Reggae, and Latin Music.
Looking at the 80’s versus today, one of the biggest differences to me is the perception and obsession with genre classifications. Back in the day, it was all considered “Techno”, whether it was DnB, Trance, Breaks, etc. You could attend a party and listen to different styles of music from the same DJ, and you also could hear brilliant work from artists who were genre-hopping in their releases. Artists such as Aphex Twin, Moby, The Orb, and others were pioneers that explored different tempos and modalities.
Today, there are superstar DJs who play the same brand of music all night, and for the most part, only at big music festivals. The same genre of music is played throughout the event at that particular stage. Some clubs play the same genre all night, and I think that’s unfortunate! If you have multiple rooms, then segregate genres if you want…but if there is only one big room, I would love to hear diversity of sounds. As a listener, I prefer a journey, where I can experience a landscape of sonic expression that transports me through different realms. I guess that is why I love Psychedelic music so much: psychill, psybreaks, psytech, psytrance etc. It is more daring and farther-reaching than mainstream genres, in my opinion.
A’Damaged Pro – What is your current position and what are your responsibilities within your company?
Julian Reyes – I’m currently the CEO of Keyframe-Entertainment, which is a Transformational Media Network that bridges Underground Electronic Music and mainstream culture. Keyframe fosters growth for Visionary Art and DJ culture by supporting, promoting, and financing cutting-edge projects. To this end, Keyframe is Executive Producer of Electronic Awakening and The Bloom Series #3, Associate Producer of The American Jungle (documentary of the evolution of Drum and Bass, to be released soon), the film Imaginatrix, and the Dark Prophet comic book. Keyframe is also Producer of the Alchemistas Visionary Art Book, and just launched a film screening platform called Keyframe-Cinema.
Keyframe-Entertainment curates the Electronic Music section of Reality Sandwich as Music Director by submitting new music everyday. You can check out the music here: http://realitysandwich.com/x/edm/.
We’re also working with up-and-coming music producers and will be releasing their music soon:
1. PsycloScope: https://soundcloud.com/jake-musselman
2. Zenotope: https://soundcloud.com/zenotope
3. The Wisdom of Shankara: https://soundcloud.com/thewisdomofshankara
A’Damaged Pro – What is the most rewarding part of your job? Most challenging part?
Julian Reyes – The most rewarding part of my work is helping artists, filmmakers, and companies get their work out into the world. My experience in Artist Management and Marketing fuels my drive to coordinate campaigns that enhance my partners’ endeavors. I don’t see the people that I work with as “clients” but rather as partners. The life cycle of a marketing campaign continues organically after our collaboration. If we co-create a mutually beneficial ecosystem, then everyone benefits long-term.
The most challenging part of my work is navigating the boundary between mainstream and underground culture. We have chosen to work with underground artists and our objective is to help them find success without compromising their aesthetic. In Transformational Culture, an artist’s success is not only measured by money and fame. At Keyframe, we work to understand each artist’s goals, and then create a strategy to help make them a reality.
A’Damaged Pro – How would you describe “Electronic Awakening” to someone who has never heard about it?
Julian Reyes – Electronic Awakening is an ethnographic documentary film that explores the premise that Electronic Music is spiritual technology that can stimulate higher states of consciousness and has a deep connection to ancient shamanic rituals.
The film features dozens of experts, visionaries, and published authors who explore the connection that millions feel on the dance floor through the repetitive beats that create a sense of oneness, unity and freedom. It was filmed over a period of 5 years at events such as Burning Man, Earthdance, LoveFest, Moontribe, Wicked, Shambhala and the Boom Festival in Portugal, and features music from world-renowned artists such as Shpongle, The Crystal Method, Random Rab, Phutureprimitive, and many more.
A’Damaged Pro – Can you walk me through your involvement and how you became involved with the “Electronic Awakening” project?
Julian Reyes – After running a music label and working as an Artist Manager, I began assisting the Ultra Music Festival as their San Francisco representative. At the time, I was also involved with a Burning Man sound camp called CODA, and I invited the film’s director/producer, Andrew Johner, to meet me at a CODA fundraisers. We also had mutual friends that wanted to introduce us. What struck me about Andrew Johner was the fact that he was an anthropology student working on Electronic Awakening as the thesis for his degree. He was looking for someone to help him with music for the soundtrack and to source additional interviews. So I signed on as Music Director and coordinated contracts, outreach, curation and also brought in visual effects elements for the film. One year later, I signed on as Executive Producer to help bring the film to completion. Electronic Awakening is Andrew Johner’s brainchild, and we had a ton of help along the way: this was truly a community collective effort, including a very successful Kickstarter campaign. I also managed and coordinated the film screening campaign, which totaled over 150 screenings at universities, festivals, and community gatherings worldwide.
A’Damaged Pro – Has your viewpoint on the spiritual and mystic elements addressed in the film changed since the project was concluded?
Julian Reyes – In my South American culture and experience, magic, ritual, and mysticism were not unusual. Therefore, I have a unique perspective. Some people pigeonhole rave culture and reduce it to terms that they can understand or judge it in terms that they can attack, but like most things in life, it is more complicated than that. From a physical and emotional perspective, Electronic Music Culture offers belonging, acceptance, PLUR, and the freedom to be yourself. From a spiritual perspective, music events offer you the space to connect to Source Energy. We explore this concept at length in Electronic Awakening, which is available on the film’s website, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon, and other places.
A’Damaged Pro – You’re involved with “The Bloom Series,” which recently released its third of four installments. What impact do you feel these two projects can have on the EDM community as well as the musical landscape?
Julian Reyes – Excellent question! Thanks for connecting the dots. For those who are not aware of The Bloom Series, it is a documentary web-series that illuminates the blossoming phenomenon of Transformational Festivals. These festivals are immersive participatory realities that are having profound life-changing effects on hundreds of thousands of people.
I think both projects can show the mainstream world that events do not have to completely rely on the big headliners and flashy effects. Events can be multi-layered and community= driven, they can foster personal growth, creativity, healthy living, social responsibility, and much more. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to see a producer that plays the same music over and over with lots of visuals, you can participate in a Transformational Festival, where you can attend a ceremony, play in a drum circle, attend workshops, do yoga, eat organic food, experiment with flow arts like hoop, poi, and staff, watch a film, enjoy visionary art, barter and trade artwork, donate time to help create the event, etc. The possibilities are endless at places like Lucidity Festival in the U.S., Boom Festival in Portugal, and Rainbow Serpent in Australia. I feel like massive mainstream festivals spoonfeed participants and blast them with over-stimulation. The new generations could benefit from a good panel discussion, from wise words from First Nation elders, from flow classes to help channel blocked energy, from Transformational Films to help expand the mind, from deep participation, connection, and environmental education.
A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?
Julian Reyes – I was invited by Janine Jordan to join the EMA, and after some time I joined their Board of Directors.
The fact that Janine, Ken Jordan (of The Crystal Method), Monica Salazar, and many others were donating their time for the benefit of the dance music community was very inspiring to me. These days, people are busier than ever, and the fact that these professionals are carving time from their lives to help raise awareness and create community through music is commendable. The EMA is the largest non-profit that leverages the power of Electronic Music Culture for positive social change through E-waste drives/recycling, advocacy, community-building, hearing protection awareness campaigns, harm reduction, charity fundraisers, eco-awareness, sustainability, and much more. I see great potential in the EMA’s “Play it FWD” program, which encourages DJs, producers, artists, dancers, and music fans to donate their time, talent, or music to give to the community. These volunteers donate their time and talents to charity fundraisers and other EMA programs. With “Play it FWD” in mind, I just spearheaded the creation of the new EMA label titled “EMA-Global”. With help from Myagi Music, EMA-Global will release popular and up-and-coming music producers. These producers can donate all proceeds to charity and EMA programs, making this a great vehicle for artists to contribute their work to help make this world a better place. The music industry can be cut-throat and temporal, and I feel that the EMA-Global is changing that paradigm. EMA is already working with organizations that want to create Benefit Albums, and music releases for charities. I like working on projects that go beyond the “pay me for services” mentality, and I lean toward the “Sacred Economics” points of view. I’m also impressed with Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method, who donates his time and energy to these causes. He’s a co-founder of EMA, and he’s constantly active, engaged, and looking for ways to give back to our community.
A’Damaged Pro – As you’ve seen the organization grow, how has your view on the EMA’s potential to incite change evolved?
Julian Reyes – I’ve seen our members work hard at events educating people, our Board of Advisors has grown, and our programs have expanded. I’ve seen the growth of the organization become more National, and hopefully one day, International.
I think that our potential for inciting change can come in many forms. Examples include: expanding the EMA to chapters in different cities, empowering members to create EMA events, creating products and/or services that can bring in funds for EMA programs and charities, increase advocacy efforts by encouraging members to get more involved in the legislative process, and attracting celebrities and companies to join the organization.
A’Damaged Pro – The media has reported and, in some cases, sensationalized incidents that involved a breakdown in the compassion and attitudes of some festival goers for their friends and contemporaries. An example would be people sending their friends that need medical attention home from festivals instead of helping them. Besides providing empirical evidence for the press to note that these behaviors are being addressed, what trends can you see emerging as more people adopt a code of conduct along the lines of the EMA’s “Party Pledge?”
Julian Reyes – Accountability is a huge issue. I think the next generations will evolve from the “I” mentality to the “We” mentality. If someone in a group is in distress, then the whole group is in distress and needs to work together to make things better. I think that volunteerism will increase, where festival-goers donate their time to help, protect, connect, and educate other festival-goers. I think this is a rite of passage that is missing from the mainstream EDM festival equation.
The physical conditions of the event has a lot to do with it. For example, if a person pays hundreds of dollars for a show where everything is provided on a silver platter and cleaned up afterwards, then the person just focuses on “partying.” But if the person travels to a remote location and needs to camp for an event, then the mechanics change drastically. Now the person has to negotiate with the environment for parking and setup. The person might have to lug camping gear and/or help someone set up theirs, then figure out cooking, how to leave no trace, etc. I am not criticising huge events; I enjoy them very much. What I am saying is that one learns and grows more attending a festival where one has to work toward achieving comfort, safety, and entertainment.
I think the biggest impact that the EMA’s “Party Pledge” will have – in addition to making people safer – is encouraging better care of the environment. Also, attendees will hold the festival creators more accountable for unforeseen circumstances.
A’Damaged Pro – What are some of your proudest achievements as a member of the Board of the Directors?
Julian Reyes – The fondest aspect, for me, is our ability to partner with other entities, such as DanceSafe, to help proliferate aspects of dance culture that are being challenged by legal ordinances, regionally. We are “The Sound of Change.”
A’Damaged Pro – How do you feel that different forms of media (whether film, print, or social media), can be best utilized to encourage people to adopt a more caring and ecologically-sound attitude?
Julian Reyes – Everyone responds to different stimuli and there is device fatigue settling in for many. I feel that Transmedia campaigns will energize our message. The beautiful thing about Electronic Music Culture is that participants are at the forefront of technology, so many are designers, programmers, technologists, visionaries, etc.
Transmedia campaigns tell stories across multiple platforms and formats. I believe that people will become more eco-conscious if the message is delivered on multiple levels: i.e. this is what one can do to make a change, what one’s community can do, what one’s country can do, what one’s event can do, and so on. By providing different touchpoints through the message, people can create opportunities for personal growth.
A’Damaged Pro – What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music?
Julian Reyes – A few years ago, I attended a Taiko drumming festival and experienced vivid visions. I later learned that Taiko drums are believed to contain both the spirit of the tree from which the drum’s wood came and the spirit of the drum-maker. Eventually, over the years, even the spirit of the performers who play the drum is transferred. Essentially, a drum’s sound comes from the spiritual bond between the performer and this tradition.
These energy signatures are carried through the music, its vibrations, and its creators. This makes sense to me: the concept that sonic energy can be carried and shared.
Since its origin, music has been in constant evolution. At any time, somewhere on the planet, someone or something is creating music. It is omnipresent and as ubiquitous as our heartbeats. Just like we are beings in this material plane, I believe that music in its various forms is an organism in the sonic plane. We have very limited senses to understand music’s full totality.
In my view, the potential for healing via sound is vast, and we’re just beginning to understand the healing properties. There are a few documentaries out there on the subject and more on the way… keep an eye and ear out for them.
A’Damaged Pro – What are a few charities whose causes you hold in high regard?
Julian Reyes – I like the websites CharityWatch and CharityNavigator, which allow rating of charities and the ability to choose charities from a curated list. I respect the Red Cross because they deal with massive problems and natural disasters. I support charities that protect the vulnerable: children, the elderly, the disabled, animals, the environment, etc.
A’Damaged Pro – Please list three global issues that you believe deserve immediate attention and your potential solutions for addressing them.
Julian Reyes – 1. Inequality, or any form of power abuse and subjugation such as slavery. There are approximately 30 million people in modern-day slavery in various forms. I believe this is the worst offense that we allow in our society. Inequality, in my opinion, includes genocide, racism, women’s rights issues, Native American issues, domestic violence, bullying, etc. I think that awareness is the main way to address it as a start, so people can know the extent of the problem and all its incarnations. This is a complicated subject and there is no easy answer, but it should be addressed as it relates to the next set of problems.
2. Wealth inequality / political imbalance. When people feel entitled to force inequality, they create systems of oppressive government and even caste systems. This creates the foundations for insane notions such as corporations having personhood and privatizing water.
3. Ecological problems and sustainability issues. As a direct result of greed running amuck,
the earth suffers in many ways. Animal rights are trampled, climate change accelerates, deforestation and fracking become the norm, water supplies are tainted, etc. The more that companies privatize and pollute water, the more death and sickness is introduced to poor countries that have limited access.
A’Damaged Pro – What goals have you set for yourself for the next year? 5 years?
Julian Reyes – Within the next year I plan to launch 3 music labels: one for the EMA, a label specific for Keyframe-Entertainment artists, and a PsyTrance sub-label managed by Pulsar (out of L.A.).
There are several film projects that we are involved with in various capacities that we will be releasing in the next year or two.
The two book projects that I’m looking forward to the most are Darren Minke’s Visionary Art book “Alchemistas” and Jamaica Stevens’s “Re-Inhabiting the Village: Co-Creating our Future” which is a book/website project. The work is created by an alliance of visionary partners collaborating to create innovative social tools, share project management technologies, teach how to create outdoor gatherings and generate learning modalities of holistic living. The goal is to inspire a new way to live and create and answers the questions of “what comes after Transformational festivals?” and “how can the principles from these festivals be of service to society?”.
At the 5-year marker, we want to expand the film catalog for Keyframe-Cinema and encourage our screening partners to create their own music film festivals worldwide.
The Keyframe-Cinema film screening platform is an online web resource that allows filmmakers to share their movies with fans, film buffs, and festivals. The platform is designed to facilitate the community film screening process, and also automates the licensing and delivery of the films in our catalog. We provide our members with a limited, one time, non-broadcast use license to publicly screen films, music videos, online classes, and other Transmedia. Our evolving catalog of films aims to document and preserve the evolution of Electronic Music culture through community screenings in art houses, clubs, universities, film festivals, etc. and it allows screening partners to generate revenue for themselves or causes they believe in.
Other projects on the burner are Transformational Culture forum and potentially some time in the distant future producing our own festival.
A’Damaged Pro – Is there anything else you would like to share about your organization or yourself?
Julian Reyes – I would like to express my appreciation to you and Electronica Life for conducting this interview. I seldom engage in interviews; however, the bridging of different scenes is at the core of Keyframe-Entertainment, so I thank you for the opportunity to share our story. If your readers would like to learn more about Transformational festivals, they can visit http://keyframe-entertainment.com/electronic-music/transformational-festivals/.
I’d like to also offer my thanks to my team as they are integral to Keyframe’s success, so thanks to Natacha, Maya, Terra, Jen, Jake, Jeff, Kelly, Yuliya, and our fan base and supporters. I’d like to extend an invitation for Electronic Music fans, DJs, Producers, performers and companies to consider joining the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA) and helping us grow our programs and giving back to the community.
The main facet of Keyframe-Entertainment that I have not mentioned is the fact that we are a united network. Our partners are integral to our success and we work in creating a sustainable ecosystem to thrive in.
Our thanks to:
The Untz, Reality Sandwich, EMA, Alchemistas, Digital-Reign, The Bloom, SolPurpose, Evolver, Tribal Convergence, Lucidity Festival, Starseed International, Mythaphi, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, FestEvo, Festival Fire, Celestial Nation, Roll Random, DanceSafe, and RaveReady.
The love and power of music has brought us all together. Let’s utilize that energy to create positive change in this world…that desperately needs it.
A’Damaged Pro’s final words…
Julian reminds us that any journey to any goal is not without obstacles. The mental fortitude that we are all capable of harnessing and the true power of the individual are inescapable realities, even if their preliminary manifestations are quite subjective. Music can be a guiding tool unlike any other. Organizations, such as the EMA, exist, at least in-part, to help people channel their positive energy into something even greater. By expanding our self-awareness, perpetually sharing information, and recognizing that we are exponentially more powerful when united, we can usher in the next age of progress. WE are “The Sound of Change.”
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