Manic Focus is a producer that mixes original tracks laced with pure soul. This artist brings a melody to EDM that results in a sound that is not full frontal, but rather a gradual progression of synths, beats, and sassy samples. His soundscapes take you on a stimulating journey by intertwining genres; reinventing everything from hip hop to the Beatles along the way.
Originally from Minnesota, this producer has been developing his craft since middle school. Over the last three years, Manic Focus has established himself in Chicago’s underground music scene by fine tuning his live show and consistently refining his electronic sound. His intelligent style of producing and mixing has gained him respect within the world of electronic dance music. While he is currently touring with Big Gigantic, this summer Manic Focus plans on taking over the festival circuit, Summer Camp included.
We got a chance to ask Manic Focus about his summer plans and it looks like he might be just as excited to kick of festy season as we are!
What’s your favorite Summer Camp memory?
My favorite Summer Camp Music Festival memory was having Felix Moreno of Future Rock jump on the last track of my 1st ever Summer Camp set. It was definitely a very memorable experience.
Besides playing Summer Camp, what other plans do you have this summer?
My current summer plans are to attend and play as many music festivals as possible!
Will you be releasing any new music before then?
I’m always working on new music, and am planning to release an EP of brand new material at the end of March. I’m having a release party/ show on March 21st at the Concord with support from my homies Wick-it The Instigator, Muzzy, and Inverse Universe.
What is your favorite summer time food and drink?
I really like pulled pork sandwiches, fried chicken, corn dogs, hot dogs, walking-tacos……too many to list! My favorite summer beverage is cold beer. The colder the better.
Summer Camp is thrilled to have you back in 2014!
Can’t wait to play Summer Camp this year! I hope you enjoy the recap video from my set last year
And now… your closing line up… for each night of Summer Camp Music Festival 2014… drum roll please… LIVE BANDS IN THE RED BARN!!!!
Every year Summer Camp picks the best of the best for their Late Night Shows in the Red Barn, sometimes even mixing and matching heavy hitters from different bands to form a super-group of sorts. But not this year… no, this year Summer Camp HQ decided to give us more of what we love! With many of the best acts on their line up taking over the Red Barn each night, the hardest part will be deciding which late night is right for you.
My purpose is to provide counsel in moments like these, so the following paragraphs will give you all the background you need in order to make the decision as to which ticketed Late Night Shows are right for you. Choose wisely or miss out…
Friday Late Night Show
Friday’s Late Night Show in the Red Barn will feature a gypsy sideshow better known as Beats Antique. True to their gypsy style, this group’s sound doesn’t really have a genre to call home. They are ethnic, earthy, yet electronic and very dance oriented. They put on a show as if it were a theatrical performance with belly dancing, costumes, and a consistent flow of chaotic energy being delivered to their audience.
Also on Friday’s Late Night bill is Summer Camp and Late Night veterans LOTUS! The news of their triumphant return to the Red Barn has put a smile on my face, and the fact that they get this coveted late night spot is beyond righteous. This band’s sophisticated style has earned them respect by everyone in our scene. They bridge the gap between jam and electronic music. There is something graceful about the way Lotus plays, like they are building a peaceful connection between their instruments and our ears. I have to be honest here, I never know the names of Lotus songs when I hear them live. All I know is they do something to my soul where I can’t help but fall in love with every note. This band has a way of taking me to the other side of Jupiter. After seeing them over a dozen times, I can promise you this: Lotus always delivers. I am going to go ahead and say this late night will probably be one of the best sets of the weekend. In fact, I’d bet a late night ticket on it!
I am pretty sure Camp Counselor Kyle agrees with me on this – thanks to him for creating the video above!
Saturday Late Night Show
Saturday is guaranteed to be one of the most stacked single days of music in the history of Summer Camp, which means that a lot of energy will have to be conserved in order to rage proper all the way into the wee hours of the morning. The Red Barn will once again be flipped upside down for a late night show that starts off with Gramatik. This is the only DJ on the late night line up, and he probably could headline the barn all on his own but he is actually co-headlining this stage with the funk machine better known as Lettuce!
Lettuce is dirty… and I mean that in the nastiest way possible. Who could forget how we danced our asses off as rain soaked into our souls during their day set at the Moonshine stage at last year? The waves of funk washed over the crowd as if we were bobbing in a sea of funky goodness.
This set was so funking good Lettuce decided to return in order to lay down the beats that make funk prosper. Us fans are attracted to their anything goes style and distinct flavor in the world of funk. This band produces a synergy between its members where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Lettuce is a super group through and through. When Pretty Lights decided he wanted to tour with a live band this past fall, these were some the musicians he tapped to be on the roster. Their late night set is guaranteed to sweat out a day’s worth of rage. So, Lettuce turnip the beet that Saturday night, shall we?
If you still need some convincing, Camp Counselor Nick Stock’s advice just might seal the deal:
“If you are going to see Lettuce I suggest you bring a shovel to pick your jaw up off the floor. This musical powerhouse is producing some of the best live funk happening today. If you enjoy getting slapped hard by the dirty funk find yourself in the crowd for Lettuce at Summer Camp this year…. wait it’s late night? Bring two shovels.”
Sunday Late Night Show
On Sunday night, our fest headliners, Umphrey’s McGee, will be downsizing their Summer Camp stage production to give every Umphreak more of what they signed up for. If you haven’t read my blog posts before, you may not be aware just how much I love this band. This year’s Summer Camp will mark my ten year anniversary with Umprhey’s McGee. Their love for their fans is unlike any other band and we just can’t seem to get enough. We are addicts and rawk is our drug of choice. So why not give us just one more hit to seal the deal and blast us off into Umph ecstasy?
If you are not an Umphreak you should probably skip this show. Summer Campers will get to see Umphrey’s throw down some of their best material during their headlining slots on Friday and Saturday nights. That should be plenty for any newbie trying to get a feel for what this band is all about. But if you are just as obsessed as I am with this band, good luck scoring a late night, and may the odds be ever in your favor…
Check out a fan shot video from Umphrey’s Summer Camp late night set in 2010:
Be prepared when tickets for these Late Night Shows n the Red Barn go on sale (dates should be announced soon), because they will sell out in seconds! I know firsthand how much this sucks (and getting shut out can make you bitter), but when you finally DO get your hands on that coveted late night ticket, it is all the sweeter!
If you really want the ultimate Summer Camp experience, you could always lock down a late night by purchasing a VIP Upgrade to the fest. Those tickets go on sale on Friday at 10:00 AM Central.
And don’t forget, the Late Night Shows in the Red Barn are just a portion of what Summer Camp offers after the sun goes down! Stay tuned for our thoughts on what’s always an incredible Thursday night in the Red Barn, as well as the nightly Late Night Campfire Jams, the never-ending party over in the Late Night Vibe Tent, as well as the always entertaining Late Night at the Soulshine Tent! I know i’m eagerly anticipating announcements for each of these too…
Dumpstaphunk played the House of Blues in Chicago on Friday, July 19th as Phish’s official late night show. In all honesty, this show was the highlight of my evening, especially since Phish was forced to cancel early due to a nasty storm that swept through the city. Along with opening act, The Revivalist, Dumpstaphunk threw down one top notch funky dance party that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
Chicago actually holds a special place in Dumpstaphunk history. Drummer Nikki Glaspie played her first show as an official member of Dumpstaphunk in Chicago just two short years ago. I got a chance to talk with Nikki before her show on Friday and let’s just say this chick is FIERCE! Her addition to the current lineup has elevated this band’s energy to a whole other stratosphere and her 15 minute drum solo Friday night completely blew me away.
Today, Dumpstaphunk will be releasing their latest album, Dirty Word, and this is the band’s first studio album since Nikki Glaspie joined the group. In the past she has helped produce, arrange, and record tracks in the studio for many other projects and artists, but Dirty Word is the first album where Nikki recorded material that she had also written.
Dumpstaphink is basically a super group of funk musicians, and Dirty Word showcases the musical range this band brings to the table. While each member has a notable musical background in funk, Nikki Glaspie is the only member not rooted in the New Orleans funk scene. Needless to say, her vocals pack quite a punch and her influence on the new album is obvious. ”I brought some of the rock element to the album. Whereas Nick Daniels brought the blues element and Ivan (Neville) brought a rock element too but a different type, almost like a Who-ish type vibe, and I brought just straight hard rock.”
Coming up with new material this day in age is often a reflection of what is already out there in the world of music. By staying true its origins, Dumpstaphunk’s mix of styles has brought funk music to a whole other level. ”We wanted people to know we are more than just a funk band,” explains Glaspie, ”We can play blues if we want to or we can play rock if we want to.”
Dirty Word was recorded in New Orleans and took about a year to complete. One of the most distinct difference between Dumphstaphunk and other funk bands is they lack a horn section. Luckily, artists Trombone Shorty and Skerik were close by to supply the horns for the album’s third track “I Wish You Would”. ”Skerik is an amazing tenor saxophone player, he’s sick!” says Nikki. They also added Rebirth Brass Band to mix for ”Raise the House,” a song that was meant to blow everyone away in true Mardi Gras fashion.
Dirty Word also contains some pretty notable contributions from artists Ani DiFranco and Art “Papa Funk” Neville. The album’s sixth track, “If I’m in Luck” is a dirty nasty Bettie Davis cover where Glaspie sings vocals and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers guest stars on bass. “It is so different than what Dumpstaphunk normally does or what people think we normally do,” explains Nikki “That was actually what we wanted for the record.” The band has been covering the tune since Nikki joined back in 2011. Just like it does in their live show, ”If I’m in Luck” adds quite a sassy flavor to the Dumpstaphunk catalog.
There is a certain stigma that surrounds funk music, which often gets snubbed because it goes against most of what pop music stands for. When asked about the album’s title, Glaspie explains how it is almost the perfect description of funk music from a funk band’s perspective. ”There is no category in the Grammys for funk,” she points out. “When we register our songs on BMI or ASCAP, there is no category to register our songs as funk songs. You know it’s like it’s not even recognized as a genre of music within the music industry. So, it’s like a dirty word.” The irony is that disco, house, EDM, and Hip-hop are all rooted in funk. Therefore without funk music, most of the pop music today would not exist and pop music is something Nikki Glaspie knows all too much about.
Nikki was fortunate to land a gig touring in an all-girl band backing up pop superstar Beyoncé. While touring with one of the most successful artists in the world is a dream come true for most musicians, it just wasn’t her thing. “Literally, if I had to play “Irreplaceable” one more time, I would have shot myself in the foot.” Nikki further explains, “I just couldn’t take it anymore.” Glaspie was at a crossroads where she felt she needed to be true to her art. Playing someone else’s music in a genre she could care less about no longer appealed to her. “I wanted to spread my wings. You know it was like I was super contained in that environment and I had to play the same thing over and over again. There was just no room for growth.”
Moving forward was a big step for her career. Funk music seemed to pull her in a direction where she knew she would enjoy being challenged. “I am a funkateer first and foremost, but I am also a rocker,” explains Nikki. Dumpstaphunk has given her a creative outlet where she can perform the same type of music she would want to listen to and see live. In other words, this is her dream job.
Nikki Glaspie has now been touring with Dumpstaphunk virtually nonstop for the past two years. While it might seem like a huge leap from the all-female pop band she traveled the globe with, Nikki didn’t find adjusting all that difficult. “We all have a certain kinship living together on the road. It’s not as much of a difference as people would think or maybe as it would be in a different type of work environment. But because we are all musicians, and kind of all do the same thing, then the gender thing doesn’t really matter.”
Dumpstaphunk will continue to tour nonstop in support of the new album, which drops today. Download here.
This weekend Phish will be taking over Chicago for a three night run at Northerly Island. With Saturday already sold out, Kuroda sporting a new light rig, and a completely revamped venue, this is bound to be a throwdown! But the party doesn’t stop there! Quite a few Summer Camp favorites are playing late night shows all around Chicago this weekend. Here’s a little heads up on some don’t-miss late nights for those of you heading to Phish….
Friday night the funk machine better known as Dumpstaphunk will be playing the House of Blues in Chicago. Their newest album, Dirty Word (available for pre-order), is about to drop at the end of the month, so this late night is guaranteed to get DIRTY!!! ”We are touring in support of the new Album, so people will definitely hear new material,” says drummer Nikki Glaspie. Not to mention that the HOB is one of the few venues in the Midwest to have a spring floor, which means you have no choice but to get down the minute the music starts and getting down is exactly what NOLA’s Dumpstaphunk is known for.
Chicago holds a special place in Dumpsta history. It was at the Mid back in 2011 that drummer, Nikki Glaspie, played her first show as an official member of Dumpstaphunk. In two short years she has brought the band to a whole other level. This late night will be a funky dance party through and through. What a great way to kick off the weekend!
If you are not familiar, Gamehenge was the setting of a musical masterpiece Trey Anastasio developed in college for his senior year project way back in 1987. It is basically the story of a man on a journey to get the goods. I won’t give away too much, but lets just say this album was the platform on which Phish was constructed. So in the same fashion that Phish grew into the beast it is today, Spread throws down some heavy improvisation in every song they play. They are guaranteed to split open the Hard Rock Cafe and we might even get a ”Wiiiillllllsoooon” tease thrown in the mix.
Finally, Summer Camp’s favorite late night act is doing what they do best by providing a Talking Heads dance party until the wee hours of the morning. This Must Be The Band will be playing Martyrs 7/20 and 7/21. Their first set on both Saturday and Sunday will be all request, where the loudest person in the crowd gets to choose what gets played next (so long as it’s Talking Heads music). The second set each night will be Speaking in Tongues, note by note. How neat is that?!
Needless to say, Summertime Chi is in full swing, SCampers! This weekend is going to be the type where the party just doesn’t stop…. So get out there and get your groove on!
Summer Camp Music Festival continues to be one of the most diverse and interesting festivals still operating today. In an era were events come and go Summer Camp has been a constant going strong for their thirteenth year. This year plays host to yet another incredible lineup that is sure to please any music fan. One of the nice things that the organizers of this festival do that is rarely talked about is the way they break up the performances. Any festival is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type experience, but oftentimes fans of specific genres of music are left with tough decisions on whether to see on show or the next. At Summer Camp sure there is some overlap as there are at all music festivals, but for the most part they try to make it easy. By having say a bluegrass band, an electronic act, a jam band, a local group all playing at the same time you can see the show you want without missing too many of your preferred sets. With six stages not to mention the VIP bar stage there is plenty to see and do at any given moment.
Many of the events that have gone on throughout the years are back again with a few new features that are sure to add to the experience. Favorites like The Kid’s Camp, Field Day, and The Make A Difference drives culminating with the Everyone Orchestra Performance are all back. New this year there will be a Masquerade troop featuring hoopers, fire throwers, dancers, and more. The members of the troop will be paired up with specific musicians to add a visual element to their live performances. Also Make A Difference is expanding by including a Live Art Gallery for live painters at the festival. These little touches and that fact that the organizers are always expanding on them are a big part of what makes Summer Camp such an amazing experience. Kyle Hess has been named the 2013 Summer Camp Counselor making him the third ever in a short but prestigious lineage. Both of the previous counselors and several CITs will be making it back along with an entirely new crop of CITs for 2013.
Musically the lineup is top notch. Of course Summer Camp staples moe. and Umphrey’s McGee will headline again this year, but there’s so much more. Fan favorites Family Groove Company, Cornmeal, Floodwood, Brainchild, and The Henhouse Prowlers will all be there to share in the groove again this year. Electronic fans will be happy to know Zed’s Dead, Big Gigantic, STS9, and Thievery Corporation are all on the bill for 2013. Personally I am most excited about the inclusion of Trey Anastasio Band, which continues the SCamp tradition of having a huge Sunday headliner.
Words To The Wise: Make sure you bring all the essentials for proper festival raging. Sunscreen and rubber boots are must haves, but also be sure to bring plenty of water and food. Check your gear before you get to the festival to make sure your tent is in proper festival condition. Get plenty of rest prior to Summer Camp as you will most likely get very little sleep over the four days. Know that you are driving into central Illinois and police presence will be high on the way in. They will have dogs and they will search you if you get pulled over. Illinois 55 was the preferred way in, but it seems that State Patrol is savvy to this and that was where they seem to be focusing their attention. As Bayliss pointed out last year during the UM soundcheck on Thursday, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Know your limits and know when to rest. It’s easy to get caught up the excitement of the weekend and the next thing you know you’re dehydrated and in no condition to continue the party anyway. The residents of Chillicothe love Summer Campers by the way. They know how much money we bring in and tend to want us to come back. I recommend stopping by a local restaurant on Monday on your way out. You’d be surprised at the warm reception you’ll receive. Also there is a shopping center just up the road from the festival grounds, so if you forget something it’s fairly easy to hop in your car and pick up some essentials. Finally be prepared for any an all weather. Anything from rain to a blazing sun is a possibility so being equipped with warm clothes as well as summer attire is smart.
Summer Camp is a chance for all types of music fans to come together and bask and the beauty and wonder of Three Sisters Park. New friendships will be made, amazing collaborations will happen, and music will fill the air. Be safe and enjoy the ride.