Giant Step: Hiatus Kaiyote’s fanbase has grown incredibly in a very short time. How does the rush of success feel?
Pez: It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes. The more I think about that stuff, I get goosebumps. It’s definitely overwhelming.
GS: What’s been your most humbling/unreal moment to date?
Bender: Being backstage at the Dour Festival in Belgium with Robert Glasper Experiment, Guilty Simpson and Flying Lotus, while I’m simultaneously hanging out with my parents and trying to be cool.
GS: We’re proud to have supported Hiatus from early on, along with countless other acts we’ve had the honor of introducing to larger audiences; How does it feel to be invited to perform at SummerStage ?
Bender: It’s an honor to be on the same bill as Jose James and Shuggie Otis and awesome to be playing in Central Park. To be included amongst all the amazing artists who have played Summerstage over the years is mind boggling.
GS: When people hear your music for the first time, it’s immediately unlike anything they’ve ever heard; what are your plans for future recordings? Are we going to get a divergence in sound or are you going to dig deeper into the sound you’ve already built?
Simon: It’s important for us to keep exploring new sounds and new ideas. Keep it moving and not keep it stuck in one form of expression.
The fact we’ve just built a new recording studio is exciting because we can extend on our sounds and ideas more so than the possibility we had at our last studio. Playing this much live and touring I think will change the way we’ll approach recording; there will definitely be a lot of live material included on the next record.
GS: A Hiatus show is definitely one of energy; what would you say has been the most profound reaction you’ve received from the crowd while performing?
Pez: XOYO in London, but it’s up there with a couple of other ones. They pretty much sang the words to every song (including songs only on YouTube), singing along to even guitar riffs. They were showing they were true fans.
Simon: I was almost on my knees holding my ears because of the screaming.
GS: Along with the new Sony reissue, are there any plans for new music or projects soon? Anything you can share?
Pez: We want something to come out as soon as possible
Simon: When we finish this tour, we’re going straight into the studio; looking at new release in 2014.
On the heels of his debut solo project the Dual EP, vocalist Sampha sits down with Yours Truly for an interview and a live acoustic performance of “Indecision.” Hear Sampha talk about his relationship with music going back to his early years and then mellow out to his piano-driven version of “Indecision.”
Jason Orr, founder of Atlanta’s highly revered FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival talks about how the festival got started, his most prized relationships as a result of the festival, and some exciting tidbits on what’s in store for this year’s event. 2013′s program launches this Friday, July 12 with a screening of the music documentary FunkJazz Kafé: Diary Of A Decade (The Story Of A Movement) and the festival itself takes place on Saturday, July 13. Watch the trailer after the jump.
Giant Step: When you first conceived FunkJazz Kafé, what was your mission? What inspired you to start the festival in the first place?
Jason Orr: The mission when I first conceived FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival was to create an arts festival environment with new and innovative music as the soundtrack. I was inspired by the multiple talents around me here in Atlanta, particularly the artist I was managing, Vinnie Bernard, drummer extraordinaire, Lil John Roberts, visual artist Maurice Evans and the various creators in fashion, theater, dance, music etc. around the city. Everything was vibrant and bubbling but needed one place to come together.
GS: What’s been your most memorable experience in the 19 years you’ve been holding FunkJazz Kafé?
JO: Out of all 46 festivals, I remember them all very well because they are like my children that have been growing up nicely. Sounds funny, but very true.
GS: A particularly odd or funny memory from FunkJazz Kafé over the years?
JO: A funny memory is when we were on tour in 1999 and we were going to Detroit and everything was going wrong… like the production truck couldn’t get up the hills in the Smokey mountains because it weighed too much, the tour bus threw a rod, and we had a racist skin head engineer who hated us for no reason and was sabotaging the sound. It was a great test of will, patience, and magic. The festival came together in the end and was one of the best on that tour after all.
The Standard Culture recently conducted a wonderfully thoughtful interview with Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein about the start of Giant Step.
Maurice discusses his early affections for soul and jazz music growing up as a Manchester native, his entry into the NYC music scene and the first Giant Step show as Groove Academy, the launch of Giant Step records and how it relates to the company’s venture into marketing, as well as a couple funny tidbits about a call to Bootsy Collins and a miscalculated road trip.