A Peek Behind the Curtain with DJ Dragonfly
Having been on the scene for the past two decades, the name DJ Dragonfly will be familiar to many of you. Melding together Trap, Drum n Bass, House, Breaks, Dub, Downtempo, UK Funky Dubstep and Glitch Hop, this West Coast DJ draws from a deep crate of funky tracks originating all over of the world. Not one to shy away from spanning multiple BMPs, Dragonfly leaves his sets 100% unplanned, letting “the moment” inspire his selections, resulting in a unique experience each time.
While he’s known best for his skills behind the booth; when he’s not appearing on legendary lineups, he’s behind the scenes putting them together. In fact, he’s been pushing electronic music at Transformational Festival scene since before it had a place on the main stages. He has curated music for many notable events including Earthdance and Symbiosis. He’s also brought many international and East Coast acts to the West Coast for the first time including:
- RISING APPALACHIA
- KALYA SCINTILLA
- BEATS ANTIQUE
- MR BILL
- DUB KIRTAN ALLSTARS
- ALEX GREY
- ADHAM SHAIKH
Most special of all, we’re proud to have had this multitalented tastemaker involved in the Enchanted Forest team since its inception! We sat down with Dragonfly to ask him some question about putting together a lineup and what makes Enchanted special to him.
You’ve worked with Enchanted Forest since the beginning, what makes this festival special to you?
“EF is incredibly special because we have found a fantastic foothold in Mendocino and it’s on a venue where I have an 8 year history working with Earth Dance, where I coproduced the electronic dome – put the lineup together and ran it for the weekend. When we brought ED to black oak ranch most people got he live music but they didn’t really get the electronic scene being a generation or two behind that musical movement. We set out to integrate the culture of Black Oak Ranch and electronic music as we did with Earth Dance but this time with no alcohol which creates an incredible experience also as a result of the amazing people that come with it.”
What importance do you think dancing has for society or individuals beyond celebration?
“Dancing is your own physical poetry that you write across the dance floor. There’s no right or wrong way to dance and that’s the beauty of it because it’s one of the best ways in life to experience authenticity without structure. For us dancing is our own physical response to an emotional movement and that makes each persons dance unique. It’s important for our emotional, physical, spiritual and social health to dance collectively. To witness it and to be witnessed in our authenticity.”
Choosing a lineup sounds like one of the most fun parts of festival production. What difficulties do you have to overcome that people may not think about?
“One of the most fun and challenging part is finding artists that fit the theme, concept and idea of what it means to be “enchanted”. Some acts are great and would work well at any other festival where going hard and partying hard is a part of the culture, but to book them at an alcohol free event might not work for the event or their fans either. Another factor is that there are so many agents trying to capitalize on the money at a festival. Talent is everywhere but it’s the balance of buying talent who can bring in the kind of numbers needed and keep the event sustainable. Most forecasting is done based numbers at a local nightclub but for a festival it’s hard to use that as a metric. Probably the most important thing though is finding artists who are a good representation of the culture. If you get the wrong artist on a stage and book them at the wrong event they will show up but none of their fans will come to the event. Artists want to retain their value so part of my job is to help them get in front of the right crowds so that they can look good.”
For those seeking something at EF you may not have seen yet, Dragonfly recommends these electronica breakout artists for a taste of the tunes from the future: Headphone Activist, Oneness, Dear Beloveds, Melvv, DRRTYWULVZ, Symbolico, Moon Frog, and Tempi.