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Artist Spotlights

Satellite Ranch Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Sam Crespo of Space Bacon

Zachary Franck interviewing Sam Crespo

Sam Crespo plays drums in Space Bacon and is the unsung hero of the band. Their style and sound is often fast and tenacious. As a drummer, it requires serious stamina and patience to keep up and play well. Space Bacon has continued to grow as a band and brand and Sam has been a vital part to their onstage success. Crespo is an avid fan of the Disco Biscuits, and their original drummer Sam Altman is arguably his biggest percussive influence. He met keyboard player Chris Gironda in the smoking section of a Biscuits show once upon a time, Chris asked Sam for a lighter and it ended up being the spark that created Space Bacon. After impressing everyone at Satellite Ranch last year, we are ecstatic to have them back for two sets instead of one. They guaranteed that they’re going to bring the heat, and I don’t doubt them for a second.

Get your tickets here!

ZF: I think a lot of people are attracted to Space Bacon because of the band’s character. You guys are accessible at this point in your career and it’s vital to connect with your fan base. How would you describe the overall personality of the band?

SC: I think we’ve been blessed both by the technological times we currently live in, as well as the understanding to maximize that potential. We’ve helped cultivate a very vibrant and engaging community of friends and fans, and we aim to match that engagement. Building an online community is easy when you have such dope fans.

Space Bacon is made up of four different yet complimentary personalities, each with our pros and cons. As time goes on, I think that our personalities sort of rub off on each other, and our common goals sort of meld into one common goal. I think this applies for us both musically, as well as for the broader perspective that we have about what we’re doing. We are all driven and determined to be the very best band that we can possibly be. How do you maintain that balance, of keeping yourselves seriously committed, while still having fun? I can’t tell you how because I don’t really know, but I CAN tell you that when we’re on a stage, doing what we do, I don’t think there are too many people in the room that are actually having more fun than we are.

 

Photo by Billy Murray

ZF: Fans often focus on the improvisational prowess of Space Bacon, but the best jams usually spring from strong compositions. How has the band’s focus shifted when it comes to songwriting?

SC: In the past, there was a more proprietary approach to writing songs; each song was treated like a prized creation that was to be guarded from outside influence. Outside influence was always a constant because we’re all highly opinionated, as well as highly motivated to make the best music we can make. There was never a song proposal that ended up looking identical to the finished product, as all of us always insisted on throwing in our two cents to make changes to various parts. I think there was also a feeling of pressure to have a song fully written and completed before being brought to the table. When you consider these two trends, you can understand a sentiment of something like “I just spent all this time writing this song and nowyou’re trying to change everything?” Lots of disagreement would ensue.

The difference is that now a song gets brought to the table when it’s just a little baby song, or an adolescent song, with two or three parts but no bridges, for example. In some extreme-cases it’s just one riff. We take those structural pieces and we build the rest of the structure together. It streamlines our song production. We took something that hindered our songwriting and turned it into a positive.

Photo by John R Wisdom

ZF: If you could pinpoint a single opportunity that altered the trajectory of Space Bacon’s career thus far, what would it be?

SC: If we’re talking opportunities afforded to us, I’d have to say when we were given the distinct honor of doing a run of shows opening for Breaking Biscuits (Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein of THE Disco Biscuits, with Adam Deitch and Borham Lee of Break Science), which also included our debut at Brooklyn Bowl. Opening for Umphrey’s McGee at the Capitol Theatre was by far the largest audience we’ve ever had the pleasure of performing in front of, and it was such a completely surreal dream come true for us, but I think that show doesn’t happen without the Breaking Biscuits run. Aside from getting to share the stages and green rooms with our musical idols for three days, we also learned a lot about how to better operate as an organization moving forward. That run was a game-changer for us.

Photo by Billy Murray

ZF: You guys played Camp Bisco for your first time, I know how special that was for you, what makes Camp Bisco stick out amongst other festivals?

SC: The very first word that comes to mind is: family. When the Disco Biscuits pioneered a completely new sound, they created a massive family, not only of fans, but also musically through other artists. If you look at the Biscuits and their fans as a nuclear family, you could look at other groups that were inspired by that pioneered sound, like Lotus, the New Deal and STS9, and their fans, as extended family. One of the most beautiful things about Camp Bisco is that you have Biscuits fam in full force, as well as their extended family. Three days of family having the time of our lives. The incredible honor of playing at Camp, almost ten years after attending my first Camp……I can’t really express how special that was.

The best thing about Camp is getting to hear and see the Biscuits absolutely crush in front of some of their most die-hard fans for three days in a row. When they’re playing the way that they have….the hive mind that they achieved that weekend, and throughout their careers….I don’t think anyone can deny that they currently are, and have always been, one of the absolute greatest jam bands of all time (phight me)

Photo by Billy Murray

ZF: Space Bacon is returning to Satellite Ranch Festival for your second year in a row, but this time you’ll be playing two sets. What do you like about SR and how excited are you guys to return?

SC: After finishing our late night set at Satellite Ranch last year we immediately knew we wanted to be back. The festival is held on some beautiful grounds and is run by an incredibly awesome, organized and determined group of people. The fact that we get to play two sets is truly special because it allows us to, I think, give a really fair representation of what we’re about and what we like to play, without feeling like we need to make compromises due to time constraints. We always try to be true to ourselves, musically, regardless of how much time we get to play. That being said, as is often the case with bands that improvise a lot, it’s very true that playing two sets is more of our natural habitat. We can typically fit about 5 or 6 songs in a given set time while still allowing ourselves the freedom to go wherever we want to go, jam-wise (gamgee)

ZF: If you had to convince somebody that was on the fence about coming to Satellite Ranch, what would you say?

SC: One of the most frequently voiced opinions that I’ve heard from other people when it comes to festivals is a growing preference for smaller festivals over time, as well as how much everybody misses going to them (Big Up, Catskill Chill, etc). Among the many things that stand out about them is, of course, the “homie factor” of being able to easily and naturally bump into all of your friends at the festival, throughout the entire weekend. Satellite Ranch, especially with this year’s lineup, is going to be the ultimate Homie Fest.

Anyone who was fortunate enough to catch the VIP set that closed out Camp this year knows how dirty things can and will get with Silver Fameus (Ben Silver of Orchard Lounge and Allen Aucoin of the Disco Biscuits) The rest of the lineup boasts, in my opinion, some of the very best jamtronica acts that the Beast Coast has to offer. I would also remind this imaginary person who is sitting on the imaginary fence that the Bacon Boyz will be playing two sets.

Space Bacon returns to Satellite Ranch Festival September 1-2, and headlines a two-night run at Mercury Lounge in NYC, October 5-6!

Bandcamp: https://spacebacon.bandcamp.com

Eliot Lipp - Satellite Ranch Music Festival 2018

Satellite Ranch Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Eliot Lipp

Zachary Franck interviewing Eliot Lipp

Satellite Ranch is more than pleased to have Eliot Lipp as one of our headliners this year. Since first coming onto the scene, he has performed at festivals across the country, establishing himself as an original producer with a unique sound and style. All of his albums have their own twist to them while staying true to his sense of exploration and feel. Throughout his career, he has moved from city to city, picking up various elements of sound that are transposed through his music. If you’ve seen him before, you already know how good he is. If you haven’t, you should definitely check out his music online. Make sure you’re in attendance for his set, you will not be disappointed.

ZF: How would you describe Eliot Lipp’s current sound?

EL: Electro Funk, Beats, Instrumental Hip Hop, Trap (but not really Trap)

ZF: You’ve seen a lot of artists come and go throughout your career, who are some of your peers that continue to inspire you?

EL: Guggenz, MZG, Blockhead, Biocratic, Bonobo, Baauer, Com Truise, Emancipator, G Jones, Hudson Mohawk, Legowelt. Michna…

ZF: You’ve played at Camp Bisco a few times and definitely gained a lot of fans there. Camp Bisco was important to musicians and fans because they delivered lineups that covered the full spectrum of sound, from jam bands and electronic music to indie rock and Hip Hop. What made Camp Bisco stick out to you when it came to lineups and atmosphere?

EL: Very diverse lineups. My first time playing Bisco I started a band with the guys that went on before me. I love east coast people, I love all the personalities I encounter there.

ZF: Headlining a festival is always cool, what can fans expect from you at Satellite Ranch?

EL: I’m going to play a lot of live synth as well as do a hybrid live/DJ set using half CDJ’s and half Ableton lap top + midi controllers.

ZF: How has living on the West Coast and East Coast affected you sonically, how important was it for you to experience life in cities on both coasts?

EL: I want to live in every major city in the US and a few abroad before I’m done. The west coast always has me playing smooth shit on Moogs & Wurlitzers, the east coast has me on distortion pedals & cassette recorders getting rough & tough.

ZF: Your sound continues to grow and transform every year. In a scene that can sometimes get generic, how do you manage to keep your authenticity while always exploring?

EL: I get a lot of inspiration from old music 80’s soundtracks, funk & jazz as well as brand new stuff like Flamingosis and whatever Eprom is cooking up.  When I first started making electronic music I did a lot of research on the pioneers (Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Carl Craig, Wendy Carlos, Moroder, All the weird 70’s fusion and Moog music…etc) I think understanding the building blocks helped me understand exactly what I wanted to bring to the table as an artist.

ZF: If you had to recommend one of your albums to a new fan, which one would it be and why?

EL: Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake kind of represents a number of different style and I think it’s a pretty good representation of my sound over all.

ZF: What are three records that had a major impact on your life?

EL: Outkast – ATLienz, Aphex Twin’s Analord series and The Avalanches – Since I left you. *bonus Daft Punk – Discovery

ZF: Did you get into music through producing or did you play an instrument first? If so, what is your main instrument and when did you start?

EL: I started out with piano and drums. I love rhythm and melody and I can’t really play anything with strings or stuff you have to blow into.

ZF: If you had to convince somebody that was on the fence about Satellite Ranch to come, what would you say?

EL: DO NOT MISS THIS INCREDIBLE AND ECLECTIC LINEUP!

Satellite Ranch Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Ben Silver

Zachary Franck interviewing Ben Silver
Photos by Jeremy Frazier of Soundfuse

Ben Silver has established himself as a tremendous DJ and an all-around encyclopedia of music. As a solo artist and 1/3 of Orchard Lounge, he has been laying down soundscapes at parties of all, shapes, and sizes for 15 + years. He is a true DJ in every sense of the word and looks forward to playing for any crowd that is ready to be taken on a sonic journey, from the couch to the dance floor. For his second year at Satellite Ranch, he’ll be joined by drummer Allen Aucoin (of the Disco Biscuits) for their debut headlining slot as Silver Fameus. For lovers of Orchard Lounge and the Disco Biscuits, this is one of the most anticipated sets of the summer. Make sure you’re at Satellite Ranch on Labor Day weekend, you do not want to miss this!

ZF: It’s been a pretty fantastic year for you as a solo artist as well as 1/3 of Orchard Lounge. What are some specific moments that stand out to you?

BS: The past couple years I have been playing more shows solo, so that’s cool. I’ve also been thrilled that there has been more OL shows this year. We have been having a lot of fun playing and we’ve had some great nights so far.  U-street Music Hall in DC, a few sets in Denver, and a fun night at Smartbar in Chicago are the ones that stand out. We are also back at Smartbar for our annual post-Lollapalooza 7 hour set which is always a blast. Camp Bisco was easily a favorite as well.

ZF: You’ve been spinning records for years, how has your approach changed over the years?

BS: Honestly, I think a lot has stayed the same. What I was digging for 15 years ago is still somewhat similar to what I spin now. Back then, when I would dig at Gramaphone Records and Hi-Fi Records in Chicago, I would listen to a ton of super deep, funkier house records and a lot of the time there would be a vocal A1 track and then a couple deeper tracks as well. However, sometimes there would be this magical second track on the B side that would be even deeper and way more out there. That was what I wanted. I feel the same today, except I have a much, much wider arsenal of tracks now-a-days. That is how it is with DJs though; they get older, go through more crazy experiences, collect more music, and I think get better with age, kind of like fine wine.

ZF: You threw down two massive sets at Camp Bisco, truly some of the best DJing that I’ve seen as of late, what makes Camp Bisco so special to you?

BS: This was our 10th year playing Camp (was a fan at three of them before that also), and all ten were great for us. It has always been amazing to be able to play for so many people and have so many like-minded people in one place at the same time. It’s a great event and it has been exciting to sit back and watch it grow, from a super small event with 500 people to what it has become today.

ZF: The VIP set with Allen Aucoin on drums was absolutely mind blowing. It was truly a journey in every sense of the word. How many times have you done that with Allen? What’d you think about that specific set?

BS: Thank you, we had a great time too. Allen is the man. He is just so insanely talented and he’s also just the nicest guy. He’s sat in with us a few times actually, we did a VIP set at Camp Bisco two years ago and then sat in for about an hour each of the last two times we played Cervantes in Denver. That VIP set was fun because we did a much more banging set for our main slot and then it rained, so we didn’t start the VIP set until 3am. So, we kept it pitched down in tempo and more spacey and vibey instead of overly heavy.

ZF: So, you’ll be headlining with Allen for the first time at Satellite Ranch, what can fans expect to experience?

BS: First off, this is an awesome event. I played it last year solo and it was intimate and full of good people. The location is really cool and Tedd Wampole is just an all-around great host, I love that guy. Allen and I have been talking about this for a bit and we are going to do our best to make it as enjoyable as possible. I want to touch on a number of themes but also keep it really deep.

ZF: You’ve played all types of festivals that vary in size and atmosphere, what do you like about intimate gatherings like Satellite Ranch?

BS: It always comes down to the people. If there are people I connect with and enjoy talking to, I have more fun. Sometimes the smaller events are a lot more fun than the big ones. I guess the difference there would be that at the really big festivals, you get to see some huge acts you don’t see often. The intimate events though, you are closer to the music and a much bigger part of the experience.

ZF: As momentum and interest in Silver Fameus continues to grow, do you feel like this could be a side project that you bring on the road a few times a year?

BS: I would absolutely love that. I’m down to do that anytime! We also love when Allen is with OL, so really anytime he wants to play, we do as well.

ZF: You’ve spun records with a few drummers, what stands out about playing with Allen?

BS: Allen just has a really dope style. He is so fluid, fast, and always smooth, but he also stays in the pocket. He plays in a way where you can still hear the vibe of the record that is playing and he becomes a part of it, instead of taking it over.

ZF: Solo sets are obviously a true test for a DJ, but so is spinning as a collective and vibing off each other, do you hope to someday take Orchard Lounge to bigger venues and festivals in the authentic electronic music scene rather than the EDM scene?

BS: We have played a bunch of electronic festivals too, from Spring Awakening and Mamby, Electric Zoo, big pre-parties at Movement etc. We love playing for people who really listen and appreciate a set where they won’t recognize any of the tracks. That’s what we’re all about.

ZF: If you had to convince somebody that’s on the fence about coming to Satellite Ranch, what would you say to them?

BS: If you want a quality intimate festival with a bunch of great artists all across the board, come to this one!

Satellite Ranch Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Dan Lyons

Zachary Franck interviewing Dan Lyons

Satellite Ranch is more than happy to have Dan Lyons back to play with not one, not two, but three different acts! This man has been an integral musician in our scene since 2010. Between his touring years with Solaris and his success with Horizon Wireless, he’s been a driving force in livetronica acts for as long as I’ve known him. On top of that, we get to see him throw down ridiculously explosive trance-fusion with Microcave for the festival hat trick. Dan Lyons is one of Satellite Ranch’s standout artists, and by the end of the weekend our patrons are going to see why.

ZF: Dan! Firstly, I’d like to say how excited we are to have you back at Satellite Ranch this year. Thank you so much for contributing your musicianship for not one set, not two, but three! You’re a real all-star for that. Just curious, have you ever played three sets with three different acts at a festival before? How do you feel about this daunting task?

DL: Firstly, thanks so much for deciding to pick my brain, Zach. You honor me with your curiosity. I’ve never played 3 sets at one festival, and I’m hard pressed to remember if I’ve ever even played 3 seperate sets in 24 hours before. I have however done some dual SOLARiS/Horizon nights, and on such occasions, I remember there being alot of blisters and spilled whiskey gingers by my feet.

 

Thing is, I’m 30 now, which is tantamount to being physically disabled, so yeah—I’m mildly worried about 3 sets at Satelleite. These days, as a counter-measure, I literally douse my fingers in Liquid Bandage solution before shows. It turns my fingers into pieces of plastic and makes me semi impervious to the woes of friction. So, I’ll probably bring a bottle of that, and a backup bottle as well, because sometimes as I sloppily use the first, the plastic cap of the bottle becomes bonded to the glass. One time I even had to bite it off during a hasty set-break in a criminally dimly lit dressing room…resulting in a chipped molar.

ZF: Give us some history. How long have you been playing drums and when did you join each project?

DL: I began drumming at seven years old. I joined middle school concert band soon after, but got kicked out within a few weeks. Our band leader, a man who was rank with the smell of cigarettes as if he had risen from an ash tray, was chronically late to class. In the peaceful interim precluding his arrival, I’d sit down on the drum kit and lash out in front of my classmates. They loved it, and it was my first taste of the power that can come from an audience. It was the Jazz Band’s kit though, and after catching me play it like seven times in a row, my teacher threw a bass drum mallet at me and sent me to the principal’s office. My Principle, Richard or “Dick” House, was a fairly unforgiving and aptly named man who kicked me out of the class entirely.

Since that moment, I’ve been tumblewheeling through life, chasing that elusive and envigorating dragon’s high of audience response. I always say yes, I always want to be on stage, and I feel like it’s never enough.

I joined SOLARiS to show the world the kind of music I wanted to play, I joined Horizon Wireless to celebrate life and ride the galactic monorail, and I am now with Microcave to do a mix of the both.

ZF:  What makes each project different and equally special to you?

DL: SOLARiS, god bless our little hearts, we were the little engine that could. We basically learned a million covers, wrote a million compositions, made like 7 studio albums, and really gave it the college try. Some day, thousands of years from now, like in that scene from Spielberg’s “A.I” when the Sixth Sense kid wakes up in the ice so far in the future that human beings look like robot aliens that fly around in a cube, someone will unearth SOLARiS’ catalogue and realize we were the greatest mid-tier upstate NY electronica act that almost was. Horizon Wireless is a love letter to everything I love about electronic music. Recently, someone referred to Harrison and I as “galactic twins”, and that really spells out the true power of our relationship, on and off stage. With Microcave, I’m joining a band with musicians who are just insanely good. I loved these guys as “Tractorbear: A Tribute to The Disco Biscuits”, and I am a kid in a candy store when I get to jam alongside these guys. And no offense to the first two acts, but the guys in Microcave are also the most handsome band I’ve played with. In SOLARiS and Horizon Wireless, I felt like a stud, but in Microcave I’m like Seth Rogen—just attractive enough to be physically seen in a movie, but if he was even 2% uglier, he’d be out of a job.

ZF:  This will be your second year at Satellite Ranch, did you enjoy yourself last year and what are you most excited about this year?

DL: Last year, the Ranch was the sleeper festy of the year for me. I had so much fun with Horizon on the latenight stage, in fact, it was one of our favorite sets ever. I’m siked to check out so many friends and foes’ acts at Satelleite Ranch this year. I will be filled with jealousy, friendship, and my typically competitive and judgemental spirit. Can’t wait to see what Teddy, Nasser, and the whole Ranch squad have cooked up this year.

ZF: All the years that I’ve attended festivals, Mike Greenfield (of Lotus) was always the drummer that lend his skills to multiple sets. Is he somebody that you’ve looked up to in the past? If so, how does he inspire you?

DL: I’ve actually taken a few lessons with Mike. Truth be told, he played drums alongside Sammy for the first Biscuits show I saw in 2004. The man is a hero of electronic drumming, and it actually took me many long years to rectify the fact that he didn’t replace Sammy as the drummer for the Biscuits. He has inspired me to no end, and one of the fills he taught me during a lesson will always stick with me, his face flashing in my mind for a brief glimpse every time I play it.

 

 

Photo by Billy Murray

ZF:  Horizon Wireless has been getting the recognition that you guys deserve. You guys are getting better year after year. How does it feel to see your hard work and dedication pay off?

DL: I honestly can get choked up talking about this. Horizon Wireless is the perfect confluence of events in both Harrison and I’s lives. Everything we do, all the shows we play and coincidences we experience, seem almost destined and out of our control. I don’t know how we do what we do, but it’s basically effortless and makes us both feel incredible. We’ve gotten to open for the Crystal Method, the Disco Biscuits, The New Deal, Escort, and have played Camp Bisco twice now. If I could go back in time and tell myself at 18 years old-a rabid Biscuits fan and a deeply unrefined drummer-that this is the way it would go, I would probably pass out because time travel turned out to be real and that would be very shocking to me, as well as meeting myself which may actually collapse the universe or make me dissapear in photos or something.

ZF: Microcave is the newest project that you’ve joined forces with. I’ve seen some footage from one of your shows. You guys are meant to play together and I have a feeling your set at Satellite Ranch will stand out as one of the best that the festival has seen thus far. When did you join forces with ¾ of Tractorbear and how is your chemistry with them?

DL: With Microcave, our potential is like an untapped goldmine. I can’t wait for people to witness the sonic gymnastics that we can perform as a unit. We are really only getting started.

ZF:  As a drummer and music lover, who and what are your biggest inspirations?

DL: Right now, my current musical influences are the drummers from ‘The 1975’ and Paramore. Both of them are absolute powerhouse players who keep it simple, but addictively clean. George Daniel from ‘The 1975’ is my absolute idol. I’ve learned so much from his hi-hat work, and his fills are awe-inspiring and the best pop-electronic hybrid drummer since Steven Morris of “New Order”.

I’m self-taught, so I grew up drumming along to a CD player. Started with Weezer’s “Blue”, then I learned the whole first album from ‘The Strokes’. To this day, my musical inclinations lean towards indie, electronic, and a newfound passion for garbage rap.

ZF:  If you had to convince somebody that was on the fence about Satellite Ranch to come, what would you say?

DL: Please, come. Witness my triple threat, or come heckle me if I can’t hold a drumstick by my third set. Also, ‘Silver Fameus’. I mean, c’mon.

Space Bacon - Satellite Ranch Music Festival 2018

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Space Bacon

Space Bacon has been on a steady ascension since their performance at Satellite Ranch last year. By all standards, they’ve had a seriously productive year. Their sound is a mix between livetronica and psychedelic rock n’ roll, guaranteed to keep you moving. The four-piece from Brooklyn has been testing new waters to find a voice that is authentic and unique to them. The energy of their fan base has been building and they’re on route to have the best summer of their career thus far. They’ve packed out venues that once were near empty, they played stages that they’ve dreamt about for years, and their fan base has substantially grown along the east coast. After you see them live for the first time, it isn’t hard to tell that Space Bacon has the “it” factor – they’re characters and people are naturally drawn to them and their music. The band that was formed in a basement on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx has always aimed to do one thing – to move people, physically and mentally, through live music. They have a raw yet polished approach that can lift you up and slam you into the ground. And they’re only getting better. They made such a lasting impression on the festival last year that we gave them not one, but two sets this year! Make sure that you’re at Satellite Ranch on September 1st – 2nd to witness them throw down two massive sets fueled by high energy improvisation. Prepare for lift off.

 

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