A Rundown of the Talent at Over Easy Fest
This Saturday the 16th marks the last Over Easy event of the semester. The monthly event is returning to both stages at The Jam, featuring the highest-profile bill yet. With sunset and sunrise sets scheduled alongside live art installations, local food, craft beer and late-night silent discos; there really isn’t a better escape for music lovers in Gainesville.
The event starts at 6:00 p.m. and extends until 6:00 a.m. the next morning. There’s no viable excuse to let this slip through anybody’s schedule. Tier 2 tickets are still available, and can be purchased here.
Gainesville Scene had the privilege of getting exclusive interviews with headliners Bedside and Bells & Robes. We also talked with the co-founders of Over Easy Creative: Les Voss and Arthur Leforestier; in addition to a couple members of the ever-growing Over Easy Family: Benitez and Dunstan Wallace.
The interviews are all available below, however it is essential to first explain what Over Easy Creative is as a local platform, so that Gainesville knows why and how these artists conglomerated to create our experience as listeners.
GVS: What is Over Easy Creative? When did you construct the idea?
Arthur Leforestier: It all started two years ago when we felt as if there was a genuinely artistic aspect missing the dance music industry. It started as a concept to bring together artists of all kinds in one place and deliver an immersive experience, whether it be musicians, lighting directors, painters, graphic designers, chefs, or anything else for that matter. We then grew out of Over Easy Fest itself and started Over Easy Creative: a collective of artists who aspire to both host creative and forward thinking events as well as provide creative feedback/support to other events and businesses alike
Les Voss: Over Easy creative started as just one event–Over Easy Fest, then became Over Easy Events as we expanded into more than just the festival. It finally took its current form, Over Easy Creative, as we began to understand our role and what exactly we wanted to become long term. Over Easy isn’t a promo company, and that was extremely important to us, we don’t want to just throw an artist in a room and collect our cash at the end of the night. we are a creative music and arts event company, and everything we do we seek to infuse our creativity. We’ve taken on “Hear.See.Feel” as our guiding words, with the idea being that music and art, and events in general, should satisfy all senses. Hearing the music and sounds, seeing the transformed atmosphere that we created, and feeling that the combination of everything creates something unique and immersive that resonates inside you.
Bells & Robes
GVS: Your studio work has an incredibly conceptual nature to it. Titular sounds within your songs practically manifest their own track names: from the moseying, mammoth-like bass hits on ‘Space Elephants,’ to the stippling, semi-glitched synths for ‘On Rails,’ each composition creates a visual landscape to the engaged listener.
As Bells and Robes begins its, ‘How Could We Have Known,’ EP release tour, the duo also has plans to release singles on the 15th and 27th in anticipation of the official EP release on May 15th. As your upperclassmen material finalizes its production, is there anything you’d like to say regarding the direction of the group and its sound?
B&R: We have both grown a lot since the start of our musical journey, and our goal is to stay true to our sound and continue to develop as producers and musicians. We take influences from a wide array of genres, and we do not want to shy away from something we like just because it may not sound like “us”. Continuing to grow both as live performers and studio producers is a balance. We are always looking to improve on our live set and make it more interactive and expressive for both our own enjoyment on stage and the vibe we give off to the crowd. We were really excited to work with so many talented friends on this new EP like Fae from Flat Land, Swain from LNEM, Miranda Realino and Zach Gouz out in LA. We want to keep collaborating and learning from as many walks of music as possible to grow as musicians and individuals.
GVS: As a balanced duo, Bells & Robes stresses both well-produced music in studio as well as exciting live performances on stage. With the live show maturing; what aspects of the evolving ‘electro-jam,’ sets has been naturally clicking with the group’s performance? Also, what aspects have proven most challenging?
B&R: We are lucky to have both rhythm and lead to express ourselves on stage, and as we have gotten more knowledgeable with our equipment and the gear we use, we have discovered more effective ways to perform songs, making them more open and improvisational. At first our stuff was very rigid, playing each song the way it was initially structured on recordings. We have worked really hard to allow ourselves to be more open to flexibility on stage, extending songs and really feeding off the crowd’s energy. Electronic music can be very hard to replicate on stage sometimes, so it’s tricky to get everything balanced and sounding right from the way we originally produce tracks. We have started to make tracks specifically to play live in order to combat some of those complications.
GVS: The group seems especially excited for all of the collaborative endeavors that are currently in the works. A lot of electronic/live hybrid acts find their roots in digital production from the freedom, and satisfaction of individually working on material without compromising its sound. Do you guys think that elements of collaborating in studio and onstage are crucial for the development of an artist? Also, how different is your process of production with other musicians versus creating solely as Bells and Robes?
B&R: A huge part of development and growth in music is collaboration. Everyone has different strengths, and it’s always intriguing to learn from other talented people in the scene. In almost every collaborative track, some new technique, insight, or practice is gained. Working with someone else allows you to see a different side of creativity and look at things through a different lens. I think typically when working on a track solely as Bells and Robes, the process is a little bit quicker and easier. There are less competing opinions, and the finished track is often more in the realm of our sound. When working with others, it can be more of a journey. The song may take turns that you wouldn’t expect. I think this can occur when two different people sit down to work on music, it’s almost like the collective creativity forms a third “road” of creation that neither person would have taken had the other not been there.
GVS: Following the debut EP release of, ‘One Night With You,’ you guys made a trifecta festival run through Florida that essentially prompted your current state tour. While collaborations both on and off the stage helped this process; do you have any comments on the current status/sound of the duo act that is Bedside?
Bedside: When Bedside performs as a duo it really allows us to showcase the production. Trace plays the horn lines live on trumpet as well as layering synth leads through out the set. Travis lays down the groove with live bass and percussion on his Roland Handsonic. When we perform as a duo we remix the tracks to flow more like a DJ set creating deeper blends of the original production and letting the beat open up to keep the dance floor moving. We have been busy in the studio working on new tracks for our live set and some remixes we are excited to release.
GVS: To leave no stone unturned, in a 2014 interview (just before your debut with Slap & Tickle), Trace mentioned some future goals for Bedside at the time: “…taking the underground Miami DJ scene by storm, producing songs for the best international DJ’s, and developing a live show.” It seems like you two have managed to do way more than that with your group’s collaborations in studio, as well as innovative live performances.
How satisfied are you with that statement? In other words, has your vision for Bedside shifted with the territory of the scene at all?
Bedside: Our goals remain the same as we continue to build stronger collaborations and fine tune the live show. We are really feeling the love from Miami right now, and are excited to bring our signature sound to more parties, clubs and venues. The live set gets better every time we perform because we learn something new every time we get to play out. We are continually reworking the set to make it stronger exploring different arrangements and finding new ways to feature the amazing talent who surrounds us. Bedside Live Band has proven to be a great addition to any festival lineup but we choose to do this upcoming tour as a duo to dig deeper into our own musical talents and prove that we don’t need a 9 piece band to bring the house down.
GVS: After college there was a 7-year-hiatus before the two of you reconnected to create Bedside: What was the disunited pair doing during this time, and ultimately what brought you together?
Bedside: During the “7-year-hiatus” Trace moved to New Orleans performing in a number of different projects from his live looping funk trio called Voodoo Town to rocking punk venues in a ska band called Joystick. In the meantime, Travis moved to Deerfield Beach playing bass at different festivals around Florida in the southern funk jam band Cypress, as well as performing very genre in different projects throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties. It was truly fate that brought us back together. Fully independent of each other we both moved to Miami to pursue electronic music production to fulfill our undying passion to create music. After 20 years in the music industry we were tired of grinding in bands and sought out the means to produce music that expressed the depth of our musical experience with a clarity and quality competitive with the music being played on the radio and licensed for commercial means. Between the two of us and our manager, Lauren Perlstein, we have the passion, knowledge, experience and expertise to set goals and achieve them. We continue to evolve as producers, songwriters, creative directors and storytellers; the music is a direct reflection of our hard work and vision for the future of the Miami music scene.
GVS: In tandem to the OEC endeavors is your own music. How long have you been a DJ? Do you have plans of your own music production as well?
Les Voss: I’ve been djing going on 6 years now. I’ve come a long way, sometimes I listen to the super old mixes on my computer and shake my head and wonder how anyone even supported me. But that’s part of improvement. I hope in 6 more years I can say the same thing about my mixes now. I’m fortunate for this adventure and the opportunities I have had to open for some great artists like Bakermat, Mija, Sam Feldt, Alex Metric, Destructo, Grum, and many more.
I dabble in production with Ableton, but there’s something magical about playing music that a 8 beat drum loop that you’ve been trying to perfect for hours can’t touch. But I have a few releases in the works along with a really cool collab with Bells and Robes’ Luke Sipka that will be seeing a release in the next few months.
GVS: As a major influence in the local music scene, Over Easy Creative has stirred up quite a stew of new listeners and events over the past year. With that being said, is there anything you’d like to say about the nature of the local music scene?
Les Voss: A few years ago, there was a lot of discontent with the local electronic music scene. A lot of the same cheesy acts were getting booked repeatedly, there was a shortage of venues that people enjoyed going to, and there was a general feeling of staleness. I got sick of the negativity, and it got to the point where I remember thinking that there’s no reason for this. Gainesville used to be nationally, even internationally, renowned for it’s electronic music scene, and we had fallen so low. Simon’s Nightclub was the first venue to bring Paul Van Dyke to the US in the 1990s. Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Sascha, Digweed, the list goes on, have all played there. Gainesville, a little college town in the middle of nowhere, received some of the finest DJs in the world. Inspired by that, I knew that if we all just pulled together and stopped complaining, we could create something real and lasting. It wouldn’t be overnight, but if properly nurtured, we could build the community that we wanted. And so we started.
So my message about the local music scene– if you don’t like something, change it. If you’re missing something, add it. Its local– at the grassroots level you can actually instigate the change you want to see. Don’t be complacent, just do it. Watching our vision grow has been one of the most satisfying feelings I have ever had, and I wouldn’t trade the stress and workload for anything. #HearSeeFeel
GVS: What are some of your earliest musical influences that led you to the music you play now?
Lefo: My musical upbringing was shaped in a very diverse way. I started playing piano and guitar at an early age. As a kid I listened to a lot of 80s and 90s music, namely bands like Eurythmics. As I grew older, I began attending electronic concerts and exploring the world of dance music. I’ve touched base on almost all genres of the electronic spectrum at some point in my life, which has given me a deep perspective on the craft. Some of my biggest influences in the music I play today are Eric Prydz, Lane 8, Sasha, and John Digweed.
GVS: Where do you see your music headed? Do you have plans for production, or just sticking to mixing?
Lefo: I have been DJing and producing under the alias, Lefo, since my senior year of high school. The majority of my productions are unreleased, and I plan to begin releasing them as we establish Over Easy Creative’s record label (which will be revealed soon ).
Musically speaking, I feel as if my heart lies within the genre spectrums of progressive house and melodic techno. It has a special way of taking your mind on a journey and making you forget about your worries and even lose track of time.
I do also have other slower and more chill productions which I plan an releasing under a new alias.
GVS: You have a long history of being exposed to great house music. Tell us about your early influences?
Benitez: My history of musical influence derives from a combination of my childhood, my hometown, and visiting the cities my relatives reside in. When I was a toddler my mother would drive me to pre school while playing 1999 Trance by artists like Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, and Paul Van Dyk. From this I acquired a taste for electronic music at a young age. It was weird yet noticeable that even at a young age I could subconsciously notice different patterns and corresponding rhythms within songs but at the time I did not necessarily understand what exactly I was listening for. Once I was 12 I began visiting my relatives in Miami during a time when the music scene revolved around Ultra Music Festival in its early days and Pure House music. It was at this time that I knew I wanted to devote my free time to the music. There was something inexplicable about the beat that drew me towards it. The beauty of house music eventually introduced me to my true genre of choice, Techno.
GVS: Not only do you DJ, but you’re gearing up for a debut EP release soon. What’s the vision behind that?
Benitez: This EP is a glimpse into the inner mechanisms of my mind, body, and soul. It is comprised of the sounds I dream about at night and the overall scope of the music that I have always wanted to depict to a large scale audience. My goal is to create something unlike anything ever made before, to bridge the gap between Minimal Techno, Trance, House, and provide an experience within the sound that hops from light to dark in an unexpected yet effective fashion. In a time when the music seems to be in a state of stagnation I plan to spark the beginning of something new.
GVS: What does the future hold for Benitez?
Benitez: The future of Techno is a perplexing one. Being that I primarily focus on the genre my future is relative to its progression. The modern day Techno artist is highlighted by adults who are in their 40s if not more. Djs in my age group seem to be more focused on the main stream side of electronic music but I ask myself who will carry the torch of the underground long after the legends who helped build its foundation are gone? So to answer your question, I plan to help preserve the beauty within the darkness of Techno and continue to build its audience. Rather than pick up where the greats will eventually leave off my goals are set on expanding the sound far beyond its current state. Instead of allowing the fad of EDM to dissolve similar to how Disco did in the 70’s I hope to grab hold of the listeners of our generation and show them the roots, the underground, the sound that preceded all that they listen to and attend festivals to see. When it is all over and the boom of electronic music has fully concluded all that will remain is what was their prior and that is House and Techno. For those who are willing to step outside the box and explore I will be there as an outlet to listen to and I plan to be a lifelong Ambassador to the beat. For me this is not a fad, this is my love, my life, my passion, and I will continue to do it for the rest of my life.
GVS: Your mixes vary from wavy grooves to basement tech-house. What are some of your earliest musical influences that have brought you to the point of being a DJ?
Dunstan Wallace: I grew up playing music throughout school, and later dove pretty hard into the Gainesville ska scene for a while. I always used to tinker with building computers, and really found DJing to be a cool harmony between man and machine. My brother exposed me to house early on during the ‘EDM bubble’, and it really showed me that dance music doesn’t have to fit in a box; that there was a scene where creativity and authenticity were appreciated. I spent my college years in The Atlantic and Neon Liger, listening the likes of NickFresh, Vi, and Durante. There’s a lot of amazing music in this world, and hopefully I can spread some of it around.
GVS: How did you first get involved with Over Easy Creative?
Dunstan Wallace: Les Voss rode past my window one day on a dragon and offered me a chalice of house music, and that was that. But really, A couple years back, I heard some murmurs of an event. It was supposed to be something fresh, local artists, good vibes, and atmosphere for grooving and dancing (as opposed to the rage-face EDM scene at the time). I thought this sounded really cool, so I asked a friend to hit up the creator, if they needed any help filling slots. That first fest was a huge success, Over Easy was born, and fast forward a couple years and we’re hosting Amtrac, an artist who’s music I played the very first time with the Over Easy family. Pretty cool.
GVS: Where do you see your music headed? Do you have plans for production, or just sticking to mixing?
Dunstan Wallace: Great question ha. I’ve actually been producing music for years, I play my originals pretty frequently in a lot of my sets. Guess I should bring a little more attention to that ha. As for the future? I want this to always be fun. If I do this for fame or money, I’m in it for the wrong reasons. I’m going to keep playing the music I believe in, I’ll let fate decide where I end up.
All Photos Courtesy of Artist Facebook Pages.