Kevin Harper has been with MoNo since 2007. He started out contributing his music, then better known as DJ Kev, but soon found himself more involved, offering advice on other artists to book at the fest in following years. Just last year, Kevin was asked to take on the role of Talent Manager and has put together a killer lineup for 2013. In this interview with AYNiB, Kevin expressed several times that he wished he could be in 6 places at once, with strong convictions that EVERYWHERE at MoNo is a good place to be. So, read this interview, get yourselves hyped up, pack up your gear, and then follow your ears and hop between the five very different, wholly unique stages this year at Motion Notion.
How long have you been part of the MoNo team?
I’ve been involved as an artist since 2007 (I went by DJ Kev and now I go by K3V/Swing’n Low/Bass Face), and gradually got more and more immersed each year. I started by just giving recommendations for artists to be booked, which evolved into coordinating transportation and hospitality for our artists. Finally I stepped into my current position of Festival Director / Talent Manager, which began officially in 2011 for the 2012 year.
How did you get involved?
I used to run a club night in Calgary called BASSIC, which ran for about 7 years. I was fortunate enough to meet quite a lot of the Western Canadian DJ scene through my club night, which lead to some great relationships with other club promoters and festival producers. Back in 2008 I threw an outdoor party called Grind, and James Katalyst (the owner of Motion Notion) came to our rescue with lending us quite a bit of material and equipment to help us make the event a reality. We forged a pretty good bond after that, and my more serious involvement with Motion Notion began shortly after that.
What would you say initially inspired the MoNo vision, for you and/or for the other director(s)?
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]the combination of both of our minds, plus the countless other people we have on our team really creates a pretty magical event.[/quote] I can’t speak for James, but I do know Motion Notion is definitely his baby. He wanted to bring his passion for music and creativity to the world. I think that’s what drew me into the festival as well. I share quite a lot of his vision, but also bring my own creativity into the mix. I think the combination of both of our minds, plus the countless other people we have on our team really creates a pretty magical event. One of my best memories of my life was standing beside James last year and looking out at all the smiling faces, beautiful decorations, thousands of lights and hearing the epic sound that PK Sound brought out. It was like a painting that our teams brought to life. It was so surreal to help create it. Words can’t describe that feeling. That feeling is what first inspired me, and what keeps me going every year.
How did it all begin? Tell me about the first MoNo.
That was before I joined the festival, but I do know it was started 14 years ago by James. I heard it was a pretty rocky start the first year, with lots of nature problems that got in the way.
How has the festival progressed over the years? What’s changed?
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]I’ve really tried hard to bring the best of the best in a wide range of music styles[/quote] In the years I’ve been involved, I’ve seen a lot of change actually. The biggest one is the location move that we did last year. We used to be near Drayton Valley, Alberta for many years, but we had to move as it was just getting too difficult and expensive to meet all the increasing demands from the county. We were lucky enough to have an absolutely beautiful new location near Golden, BC offer their property up to us last year, which is by far the best location we’ve ever had. It really adds a new magic to the festival, and really changed the atmosphere of the entire party. There’s just jaw-dropping beauty around you everywhere, and that really plays a big factor into the awesomeness that is the ‘new’ Motion Notion. I would also say that the music diversity has really evolved over the past couple of years. I’ve really tried hard to bring the best of the best in a wide range of music styles since I joined the festival. We were very focused on Psy-Trance in the past, but have since expanded our selections to also include quite a lot of other genres such as Drum and Bass, Electro, House, Dubstep, Glitch, Downtempo, and many others. With the addition of PK Sound doing our Cabana stage and Jay Michael & Mychal Heidro combining forces to do the new Metasphere stage, it has really brought some cool new elements to our festival that make it better than ever.
Which elements of the festival have stayed the same over the years and why? What are the critical elements?
I would say our commitment to Psy-Trance has stayed the same. Our roots come from Psy-Trance, so we’ll never abandon what made us who we are. I have to admit, I didn’t have much experience with the psy scene before this festival, but it has since drawn me in to the culture surrounding the music. We incorporate the unique colors, decorations and vibes that makes a psy event special throughout the festival. It kind of brings the whole thing together in a very unique and amazing way.
Where do you see MoNo going from here? Any visions for the future?
We have a lot in the works actually, but nothing I can let out of the bag yet. I’ve just recently moved down to Sydney, Australia, so you can come up with your own conclusions on that one. 😉
In your opinion, what will make MoNo 2013 stand out from the rest?
I would say our artist lineup is our best yet by far. It’s going to be extremely hard for me to pick where I’m going to be 24 hours a day because I literally want to see every single act we’ve booked! And to make it even harder to decide where to be, we have some pretty epic independent stages who signed on this year, each with solid lineups on each one. Our own stages have all been amped up this year as well, with a ton of new extra goodies we’ve added at each stage to make everything look and sound absolutely amazing. I honestly get really excited just thinking about it! I can’t wait to see people’s faces!
For this year’s Motion Notion, here are some of Kevin’s must-see suggestions to start you off on the right path:
New to the festival stock list is the ‘live performance’ element. To see the best of the best aerial acrobatics, gypsy-crump-hop freestyle, and clean choreography synched to your fav electronic artists, take it in at the Temple. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a gaggle of gorgeous dance-troopers, the girls of Mousai, on speakers, in the crowd, or clowning around on the grounds in outrageously creative costumes.
See what’s hot at the Temple on Friday night/Saturday morning: JPOD @ 11pm , Smalltown DJs @ 12:30, Funk Hunters @ 2:15am, Longwalkshortdock @ 3:45. Rest up in the day, then check out Desert Dwellers at the Temple at 8:00 pm Saturday. Also, get in some serious dancing Sunday night/Monday morning at 1 am: Stanton Warriors, followed by Christopher Lawrence at 2:30 am, at Temple.
At the Cabana stage, PK Sound’s MoNo baby, expect a beachy vibe and the best glitch and drum and bass sets. Any bass-lover’s dream, this is where you’ll see artists such as Knight Riderz at 1:30 am, Neon Steve at 2:45 am, and Tantric Decks at 4 am on Friday night/Saturday morning. Check-check-check it out! Also at Cabana, on Sunday night: Tantrum Desire at 10:30pm, followed by heavy-hitters Downlink and Dieselboy til 3 am. Get your bass-fix here.
And you must-must-must see the incredibly engineered dome-within-a-dome construction and never-before-seen video-mapping technologies of the Metasphere. Don’t miss Human Experience at 9 pm, followed by Govinda at 10:30pm on Sunday night.
Also, we asked Kevin where to be on Friday, to those who want to jump-start their weekend. Apparently, Temple is the place to be for funky house from 7am into the night. A good place to rendezvous with your festival family before the weekend hits full-swing.
Speaking of swing… Kev is also super stoked about all the electro-swing happening at the indie stages. Again, just keep those ears open and go where the music takes you.
DJ Kev (aka K3V – playing Friday night at the Temple at 12:15 am) told us that he was purposefully leaving out A LOT of details to keep the best of MoNo’s many surprises top-secret. Curious? Come and play! Hope to see you there,
Kevin Harper, Motion Notion 2013, and your friends at AYNiB.