This year we wanted to give more info and background on our nights and what we are trying to say, the dj’s that play, who they are and why they get to play the treasured spots at Opulent Temple, and some back stories that illuminate how this comes together. It’s a frequent question we get about how to get a slot, if you read this it will become clear, that by and large, you get it the old fashioned way, you earn it.
To see the ‘short form’ of the 2008 schedule, click here.
Opulent Temple 2008 – The Final Cut ?
Opening Night: ‘Welcome to an Opulent American Dream’
It’s remarkable for us to even be at Burning Man for’08, following the difficulty of last year, and the mountain of debt we had to get ourselves out from under. But with hard work and the support of many dj’s and the wider community, we’re pleased to bring our spin on this year’s dream. Unlike many, we like the theme, and the conversations and thoughts we hope it sparks. (Though the street names suck.) Please read our Vision statement for this year for more on that. Our opening night is generally just some of the Opulent Temple residents, who’ve been busting ass for days on end to get everything up, and it’s time to celebrate.
8:30 Opening Ceremony w/ Syd Gris
For our opening ceremony we generally have some words by Syd Gris, the co-founder and leader of the camp, a champagne toast, and some orchestrated fire dancing and other assorted joys to some random opening track, from U2 to Jane’s Addiction, to Momu. What will it be this year? Expect the political.
09:00 Jeff Taisch
Jeff has camped with the OT since 2006 but this is his first DJ set. He helps out with a number of camp duties including some web work, Box Shop fabrication help, and CD label creation. One of these days, he will orchestrate a digital download option for our live recordings.
10:00 Drew Drop
Drew has camped with the OT since 2006, invited by his good friend and fellow camp DJ Billy Seal. Drew’s first sunrise he ever saw on the playa was while he was dj’ing a sunrise set at OT that Billy Seal gave him. (Now that’s a friend). Drew Drop is a ‘Core Opulent Temple Resident’, meaning he has been integral to making the camp happen the last 2 years, and he busts ass on our fabrication projects as the go-to person for framing / wood related projects, such as the Star Stage decking and the ceiling and flooring of the new DJ booth, aka the Avesta, or ‘O’Pod 2.0, as well as lots of other important contributions.
11:00 Dex Stakker
Dex has camped with the OT since 2006, though that first year he didn’t get to DJ, instead we made him fix light fuses a lot and other random skills we’ve learned he has. He is also a ‘Core Opulent Temple Resident’, as well as a resident for the OT sister community Opel Productions in SF. He does the unsavory job of being camp treasurer, and keeping track of who has and has not paid dues, as well as co-leading the Waste & MOOP management team and whatever else we ask him to do. He loves hard labor in the hot sun.
“In stocking a playlist for a night, I put this to qualifier to the test, especially for filler material. There’s enough out there, that there should be nothing but killer filler in a set. I like when mainstays like Sasha or Deep Dish pull that “other crate” of records out around 3AM after the yo-yo’s have partied themselves out. They’ll pull out progressive house and and trance-y tracks that at first glance seem to be boring. Then slowly but surely you’ll notice it: a sample, a rhythmic bit, some arrangement trick, something that makes that song NOT a waste of time.”
“There’s nothing more painful to me than a look of boredom in the eyes of a dance floor. Keeping them interested, dancing and challenged without selling my soul, well, that’s the fun of it.”
Dex spins his characteristic mish-mosh of electrotechfunkybreaks (there are five styles in there if you draw out the diagram) at the Opulent Temple, and this last year burst onto the San Francisco scene in grand fashion for a roookie, sharing stages and bills with such luminaries as Meat Katie, Dylan Rhymes, Drumattic Twins, Carbon Community, Elite Force, and Myagi.
12:00 Cosmic Selector
Coz also joined the OT in 2006, though has a long history in the dance music scene as a promoter, DJ, and producer. Coz is there from the challenging beginnings to the bitter end of any project, and is our go-to Safety Coordinator, and we love our Safety Meetings. His hard work has also made him a ‘Core Opulent Temple Resident’ and can be counted on to always have a good attitude in the most trying of times.
Vinkalmann, another Core OT Resident, has been a part of the OT happening since 2005, though it was in the amazing summer of 2007 that he descended from the heavens to answer our fabrication prayers. He dedicated himself like few others in the camp to helping get the Star Stage done and without him, it simply wouldn’t have happened. This year as well he has been integral in building the bew DJ booth, and is as solid and reliable as they come, not to mention, we need his brand of ironic humor when things suck so bad you never, ever, ever want to go to BM again.
Matt’s weapon of choice is Ableton Live. If one can think it, one can probably do it with this software, with enough work. Creativity is the only limiting factor. Matt’s been using Ableton for a three year’s at this point, and has only begun to crack into its possibilities. His mixes are frequently featured on Frisky Radio and the ProgressiveHouse.com’s ProgCast. He is a regular contributor at www.AbletonLiveDj.com, a website dedicated to increasing the knowledge pool centered around using Ableton Live as a DJ tool.
Matt got involved with Opulent Temple at Burning Man in 2005 and has been playing with them since. He digs the thriving underground scene in San Francisco and enjoys the open-minded, conscious people that are drawn to electronic music.
"I take pride in making each mix a stand alone story. Making each mix its own ride allows me to not be tied down to a particular style, and keeps things fresh. I feel alive when mixing, and hope the listener enjoys what I’m trying to say."
As it says on his bio info, Dutch has been rocking his beat long before all this came what it is today in the dance music scene. He is a true pioneer of parties, dj’ing, BM projects, and other random forms of fun. After joining in 2006 he quickly showed his skills and leadership from his Thump Radio days and prior, as a hard worker and enterprising problem solver. A true ‘do-er’ he is also a Core OT Resident who builds the VJ booth, camp showers, numerous projects over the years, as well as cooks some mean meals for the camp to enjoy!!
America, Dutch was plugging his headphones in. During the early years
of his Dj career he was influenced by both acid house music and the
harder techno sounds coming from Europe. The combination of his love
for various styles of music and smooth mixing skills, quickly
propelled his career and after the release of his mix, “Excapades in
Trance”, Dutch was being booked across the USA.
In 1993, Dutch along with Dj Carlos and Christophe created the AREA
51 events. Attendance at these events topped 15,000 at “AREA 51 –
Contact”. These events allowed him freedom to be more creative with
not only his music, but also the entire dance environment itself.
Creating each event theme and also performing the parties allowed
Dutch to create the perfect setting for the music he truly wanted his
audience to hear. The new sounds of the underground were breaking
through around the world and Dutch became the lens that focused this
new sound on San Francisco.
Around 1996 the psy-trance sound was being discovered around the
world. Interested in the possibilities, Dutch began to seed this
sound into each set. In 1999 while championing this new sound, Dutch
joined with Mason Rothert, Jim Seagel, Brian McDonald and Brian
Dobson in creating Thump Radio. It wasn’t long before his infamous
San Francisco (((Thump))) Parties were legend. Artists like Infected
Mushroom, Hallucinogen, GMS, Atmos, Vibrasphere, Ticon, Sun Project
and Astral Projection, who had never performed in America, were
welcomed on the (((Thump))) dance floor. (((THUMP))) soon became an
important journey to North America for many trance artists and
eventually paved the way for this new trance sound across the
Americas. More about Thump Radio @ www.thumpradio.com
Currently, Dutch enjoys many types of progressive trance. Artists
like Vibrasphere, Atmos, Ticon, and Flowjob are frequently appearing
in his sets. His dance floor DJ sets average 130-138 BPM and are
comprised of highly refined progressive trance. Melodic undertones
coupled with hypnotic bass lines quickly distort time and space until
the next thing you know, his set is over. Dutch’s latest endeavor is
the Opulent Temple, a Burning Man camp and collaborative group of
DJ’s and friends who work all year for a 6 day party at the end of
Atum came with the Thump boyz in 2006 who joined the camp (Dutch, J’Sin, Sentient, Coz) and is our go-to person for all things power. Dealing with all the gennie hassles of our massive sound system and wiring a camp of 150 is no joke. Because of his hard work, he’s really the only dj we let play all out banging psy-trance, which is not our sound of preference. But…. Atum has earned the right to play what he wants.
Music stop ~ 4:00am
A night to ask ourselves what we are thankful for, and what are we taking for granted? Also a night to ask ourselves what is the cost of the things we are thankful for? Like cheap gas, sweat shop clothing, modern amenities, the all mighty car, etc. This is a night we also book some of the local dj’s who have played our fundraisers for free during the summer, as well as more time for the OT residents who build the camp to bring it ; thus – gratitude.
Wolfie is a mover and shaker of the Los Angeles underground and beyond, bringing playa vibes to LaLa land with Hipgenesis, as well as his work with the Do Lab, Mutaytor, LA Decompression, etc. Wolfie personally organized a fundraiser for the Opulent Temple in LA, and we thank him for his help.
CityBeat Describes him as a ” turntable legend and partytarian, DJ Wolfie is a soft-spoken rock-breaks specialist with a room-filling rep and a cult leader’s blissed-out charisma;
L.A.’s Flavorpill says “Dj Wolfie has a way of sending [dancers] into a paroxysm of Ecstasy-fueled joy; though they may resist, even the most cynical punks end up spazzing out under his barrage of innovative breaks.”
ABC NEWS describes him as “Prince Charming spinning for the crowd. …fun and upbeat .. DJ Wolfie … has quite the following.”
9:15 Michael Anthony
Micheal Anthony has seen the ins and outs of the SF dance music from every angle, from being a resident for Spundae in their 1015 hey-day, to now running the versatile and cutting edge Supperclub in San Francisco while still remaining an excellent and versatile DJ, and taking part in a live project called Late Night Sneaky. Michael has been a big supporter of the OT and other BM crews, allowing us to use the club for a number of fundaisers for no charge.
10:15-12:15 The Deep End block
The Deep End needs no introduction. We love and respect the guys behind this mammoth effort and enjoy working and playing together in BRC and in SF. We gave them 2 hours, which they split up in 30 minutes sets for some of their core people
Deep End founder. Clarkie is a do-er and a giver and we have mad respect for him. We’d give him a slot for all his gifts to the entire community, but luckily he also an excellent dj. Although, we think he loves the Yada dance almost more than Dj’ing.
10:45 Ben Seagren
Second generation DE DJ who has stepped up to help them organize, fundraise, and record all those sets.
I am currrently employed at Vinyl Interactive – A small CPC search strategy company created in November 2004. Today Vinyl has grown into a full service marketing and technology firm. With a vast network of over 600 affiliates and 50 different advertising partners, Vinyl has quickly become an industry leader.
Before Vinyl, I was the Vice President of Client Services for COG1 Digital Marketing…. COG1 is a multiple award winning email marketing/advertising agency specializing in marketing/advertising to GenX&Y. While employed at COG1 I achieved 2 CLIO’s, 20 Addy’s includiung Best in Show, Adweek Magazine Icon Award, Adweek & Brandweek Magazine’s MIXX Award, NYC Advertising Festival – Best Email Marketing, AD:Tech Best Email Marketing – 2004, AD:Tech Best Email Marketing – 2003.
I have managed 32+ accounts while employed at COG1. This client list includes but is not limited to GIANT Magazine, Nokia, Pacha, FHM Magazine, Motorola, House of Blues, IFC, Playstation Dual Play, Transworld Entertainment, HBO, Miramax, Red Bull, AFI, The Ruxton Media Group and Clear Channel.
11:15 Layne Loomis
Layne is a rock fucking solid guy who is core to the Deep End’s kick ass-edness. He is a man of both integrity and style. We also want to know who his personal trainer is.
Kramer has been playing for Opel and OT benefits from the get-go, and we’re happy to get him back in the mix for 2008. Him and his brother almost single handedly built the entire new version of the DE western town look last summer. He donated his time at an OT fundraiser in May.
Kramer’s signature sound has brought him to nightclubs around the US and Mexico. He has held dozens of nightclub residencies including a 4 year residency with legendary San Francisco club night Release and a beachfront residency at Nectar in Cancun, Mexico. His sound has resonated around the world with guest DJ mixes on radio shows in the US, UK, Mexico and even Bulgaria. For two years he hosted his monthly “United Tribal” radio show on Friskyradio.com, featuring the best Tribal DJs from around the world. Kramer currently has a residency DJ at one of San Francisco’s hottest nightclubs, Supperclub, hosting his own night Dark & Dirty party for over two years. Kramer is also a member of the exclusive Balance Record Pool.
Splitting studio time between San Francisco and New York City, Kramer is one half of the production team Methodrone, set to release their debut full-length album on Relative Velocity in March 2008. Additionally, Kramer has half a dozen tracks out on his own label Transition Records and his Tribal Progressive monster “Far West” (Helv Noir Recordings) was a club favorite in 2007. Kramer is currently in the studio working with production partner Scott G on their second full-length Methodrone album scheduled to release in late 2008, along with several remix projects they have been commissioned for. A Methodrone podcast show is in the works along with a live electronic act set to tour in late 2008.
12:15 Syd Gris
Dr. Syd is the co-founder and leader of the Opulent Temple. His passion for this huge endeavor, foresight, project management skills and relationships forged over time in the scene have been the reason for the OT’s unparalled ability to continue to bring a high level of production to the playa, featuring world class artists in high demand the world over to come play for free. For his Tuesday night set, he’ll be bringing the groovy grit.
Syd has been organizing events since 2001 when he started throwing underground ‘intentional’ parties with Radiance, as well as benefit events for different charities with Spundae, before starting his own production company under the name Opel Productions, intended to be parties with purpose showcasing a range of forward thinking underground dance music with a dash of social activism thrown in the party message. In 2003, he finished his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, (completing an extensive thesis on Ken Wilber’s theory of spiritual development). He also founded the Opulent Temple, and joined the Board of Directors of the San Francisco LoveFest, (formerly Loveparade San Francisco). For San Francisco LoveFest, he heads up the Promotions and Marketing Team, and Floats & Entertainment Team.
In his current ‘day job’, he works out of a community clinic in the Bayview Hunter Point area in San Francisco, providing child and family psychotherapy and assessment to clients in the foster care system.
On the DJ tip, Syd is one of the West Coast’s top talents, consistently being voted in the Top 10 San Francisco Dream Team poll, and playing the biggest events in California party land. Playing a versatile range of electro house and breaks, to progressive and tech-trance, he’s been personally tapped to open and close for the varied likes of Tiesto, Moby, Stanton Warriors, Paul Oakenfold, Underworld, Armin Van Burren, Adam Freeland, Meat Katie, Markus Schultz, Ferry Corsten, and the list goes on… From the biggest sound camps at Burning Man, to the Opel float at San Francisco LoveFest, to the How Weird St. Faire, Burning Man Decompression, Sea of Dreams NYE, Spundae L.A. and other other huge dance events, Syd knows what to do in any situation to bring the universal vibe of dance music. His sets are known for walking the fine line between the gritty and the pretty, and he has a range seldom scene in the West Coast scene.
Smoove is well known for rocking dance floors with his signature breaks sound. From his days with the Space Cowboys to later involvement with the OT, Smoove can be relied on to bring a big party fun sound that tends to make people go giddy on the dancefloor.
2:15 Dex Stakker
Please see Monday’s entry about Dex for more info.
3:15 Cosmic Selector
Please see Monday’s entry about Coz for more info.
4:15 Dulce Vita
Enter Dulce Vita, the smallest DJ with the biggest bass that we know of. Dulce has been in the mix with the OT since 2006 and helps coordinate the human resources of our large camp into all the different ways we organize a a smooth operation internally, with massive parties to tend to at night. She also rocks it big time, and you can bet will be bringing it nasty.
Since her debut performance at Google, Inc. headquarters, you might have already experienced her audio collage of eclectic tracks at underground warehouse venues or major nightclubs such as Ruby Skye, The End-Up, Supperclub, 1015, Mighty, Mezzanine, Temple, Whisper, Loft 11, Sub-Lounge, StudioZ, or Shine. Dulce is regularly featured in event recommendations on www.Nitevibe.com, spinning nearly 52 events in 2006, and has already been booked to play “alongside greats such as”: Stanton Warriors, Uberzone, Freq Nasty, Aquasky, Lee Coombs, Meat Katie, Dylan Rhymes, Fort Knox Five, Jen Lasher, Bassnectar, Hyper, Orbital, Rabbit in the Moon, DJ Dan, Gabriel & Dresden, Coburn, Steve Lawler, Scumfrog, D:Fuse, Scarlett Etienne, Hatiras, Fixx, Syd Gris, Alain Octavo, Forest Green, DRC, Ellen Ferrato, Jondi and Spesh, Dutch, Smoove, Greg J, Icon, Angels of Bass, and Ozomatli.
DV has held many residencies and today is officially affiliated with ‘Opulent Temple’ (the massive mainstage sound camp at Burning Man, in connection with Opel Productions). She has also provided A&R representation at Winter Music Conference for two uprising labels, Mizumo Music (www.mizumomusic.com, filtered/electro house) and Funky Cactus Recordings (www.funkycactus.com, big beat and nu skool breaks). She has enjoyed past sponsorship by friends at local urban clothing companies, ‘LiveLife Culture’ and ‘Discharge Clothing’.
5:15 Billy Casazza
Mr. Farmboy joined the OT in 2005 and has been a long standing player in the Central Valley and SF scene as a DJ, producer, and promoter. A lover of techy house with balls and related genre spin offs, Billy can be put into an opening spot for Oakenfold, or a closing spot with Lee Coombs, and bring the right muscle to the moment. He’s a tobacco chewing nut, but that’s why we like him.
6:15 Drew Drop vs. Billy Seal
Please see Monday’s entry about Drew for more info. Billy Seal joined us in 2005 with a great attitude and a love of quality progressive house, which brings him a fresh sound with so many breaks and electro fiends around. He worked hard in 2006 for the camp, and took off 2007 to have a baby but now he’s back, sharing this special sunrise set with his buddy Drew, so he doesn’t have to give this one away this year.
Music stop ~ 8:00am
(Our Annual White Party – white attire requested)
This is an annual party we do in which we ask people to dress all in white. It also of course personifies the camp vision – a place for sacred dance to world class music. To read the back story on why Sacred Dance, look here.
The crux of that can be summarized here: It will take a rare form of fearessness in the face of the evil at home (ie, not terrorists abroad) to make America great. That fearlessness usually includes a lessening of the fear of death because of the insight into the eternality of Spirit. (Thus, to touch the sacred / know Spirit deeply is to rise above fear, to rise above fear is to pave the way for right action / social justice which this country and world need badly.)
‘Newmindspace’, aka Kevin Bracken hails frmo Toronto where he organizes mass pillow fights, undergrounds, flashpoint parties, and other random tomfoolery we totally support! He joined us in 2007 but this is his first time DJ’ing for us. Now that he doesn’t play happy hard core anymore, we gave him an opening slot.
9:15 Billy Seal
Please see Tuesday entry about Billy Seal for more info.
10:15 Ed Real
Ed Real is a mover and a shaker in the European scene, making his debut appearance at Burning Man after a summer of European festivals. He is a founder of trackitdown.net and since his brother Tom is playing for us, we had to squeeze him in to provoke some proper sibling rivalry.