Situated at the base of Mt. Elfinstone sits Dreamberry Studios. A magical place that acts as the headquarters for a group of artists whose special brand of magical music and silly fun channels the essence of festivals. All You Need is Bass is proud to present our feature interview with Janitor-Manager, Kyrian Gineerian and Jefe Willitall the Juice Producer of the Fungineers!
Alex: Thank you very much for sitting down with All You Need is Bass. We really appreciate you taking the time, and taking us on a magical tour of Funderground Station. It’s been pretty awesome. For anybody who hasn’t taken a ride through the magical land of the Fungineers, what can people expect from your show?
Kyrian: Well, it sounds cliché, but I would say expect the unexpected. We don’t actually ever really know what to expect from our shows. We started off fully 100% improv. Now we do a mixture, maybe 50% songs, numbers, whatsits, thingamabobs, and whozazzles, and still have a bunch of the show that is improv. Paragon will be beat-boxing, and we’ll freestyle songs with suggestions from the audience, or based on whatever we are feeling. We try to keep it interactive and an experience for the audience to participate in, as opposed to just a show that you’re watching. Hopefully, you can expect to have fun, and to see something different and be inspired.
Are the Fungineers puppets and humans who love music, or musicians who love hanging around with puppets?
Kyrian: The Fungineers are creatures of all sorts that love music and other things. The puppets, which they become once they enter this universe from the land of Onceupona, are musicians as well as humans that become other creatures by dabbling with Onceupona. It’s a gray area. We like to help humans find their inner spirit animal and make it their outer avatar, whether it’s in puppet form or in costume form. It is kind of a hybrid. All of the creatures like music.
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]Our mission isn’t just to have fun ourselves, but to help other people have fun… [/quote]What does it take to become a Fungineer?
Kyrian: If you like fun, you’re a Fungineer. The greater sense is, anyone can be a Fungineer. If you enjoy fun, you’re just normal. If you want to spread fun and create fun for others and engineer brand new kinds of fun, then you really become a Fungineer. Our mission isn’t just to have fun ourselves, but to help other people have fun and create art in situations and outreach it to spread fun and initiate dialogue about what is fun.
On the more specific with our group, we are kind of a collective that is spread all throughout the world, with different concentric circles. There’s the core of us, which is two, three, or four people. People we work with lots, which is about eight people. People we work with regularly, which is more like 16 people. Collaborators that we’re friends with, and people that we will work within the future. It’s kind of a fluid thing, as far as being a part of the Fungineers. It is always evolving and changing.
You guys are pretty spread out. How did most of you guys meet? There’s the four or so of you here, and then more out there. Generally, how were you guys all meeting?
Kyrian: Traditionally, we all met through festivals, back in the day. I met Jefe at an Oracle Gathering in Seattle, about ten years ago. I was beat-boxing in the bathroom, and he started playing a jaw harp, and we had a jam. We started talking. He told me about the Sunshine Coast, which I’d never heard about before. Now we’re here, 10 years later and still making music with a studio on the Sunshine Coast. Most of the other people we have met either through festivals or events in the music community then collaborating. That’s the core of it. Some of the artists we’ve worked with we’ve just been fans of, reached out to them, and stole them away to our magical land.
Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?
Kyrian: Blue Rum 13 was a dream come true. I have an old record of his from when I was 15. He was one of my favorite emcees then. We actually introduced ourselves after a show, a bunch of years ago. We had a little jam with him, and told him about our thing. He was super stoked, and was like, “Someday we should collaborate.” A few years later, it was the right time. I hit him up. He came out here. We recorded a bunch of songs, and created the character Rap Coach. There will be a series of rap lessons with him in the old school hip-hop style coming out in the near future. We created a giant turtle character for him, and Blog the Blue Space Frog. That was awesome. He’s totally down. He comes from a different world, the East Coast hip-hop world. He hit the ground running when he got out here. It was really awesome to work with him.
Dub FX was another awesome person to work with. I saw his videos online, and saw he was doing a tour in Canada. I hit him up and said, “I saw you have some days off in Vancouver. You should come out and we should do some stuff.” Him and Flower Fairy came out for five days. We recorded nine live jams, which we still have to put out. We did a song, and shot a music video. He performed at Bass Coast that weekend, because he was having so much fun with us. That’s a good connection that’s continuing on.
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]We brought Reggie Watts to Burning Man for his first time![/quote]Jefe: Reggie Watts.
Kyrian: Reggie Watts is another one! I met him when I was 14 in Seattle. He was living with a friend of mine. I maintained that connection. Back then, he wasn’t even doing comedy. He was just a musician. I was performing with Bassnectar on Jamcruise a bunch of years ago. He was there doing his one man comedy thing, which was new at the time. I saw that, and was just blown away. I’m still blown away every time at the genius of him. I was like, “Oh, you have to come to Burning Man with us.” He said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Burning Man, but I’ve never had the right people.” I said, “We’re the right people. You’re coming. You have to.” He came out. He stayed with us, in the Airstream. We facilitated everything.
Jefe: We brought Reggie Watts to Burning Man for his first time!
Kyrian: We had a Pirate art car.
Jefe: We had a 40-foot-long pirate ship with a sound system on it that we pretty much bumped the whole time we were there.
Kyrian: He got there Tuesday night. He rolled up with some friends of ours, who picked him up from the airport, straight from the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. He got in. It was dark. He got to camp, dropped his bags, and we said “Come on!”. Then we just got in the art-car and handed him a mic and started jamming. He was jamming and doing his thing, his first art car ride, his first time at Burning Man. The commentary of the lucidity of jamming and seeing all this live for the first time. “Oh, there’s this, and oh!” It was so new, but totally his home, just in the way he was able to incorporate it. That was an awesome experience. Afterwards, he came up here, and we hung out in the studio. We still have some studio gold we’re sitting on. It might be coming up soon.