SCI’s Michael Kang Talks Ghoul Train’s Return, Gregg Allman, Acoustic Shows & More

first_imgL4LM: I know a lot of fans were blown away by your recent secret show in Colorado. How did that all come together? MK: A good buddy of ours who we’ve known for years and years and years, it was his 40th birthday, and so he invited us up to come play. Some of were like, you know this could be really fun to have a no-pressure party, and so we came around on it. We told him, we don’t want it to get too out of control, so we’re basically just not going to say anything about it, can’t really release it to the general public. There were no tickets sold or anything like that. It just kinda came about that way, it was a 40th birthday, it was only a couple hundred people there. It was just really fun to have this small intimate, no pressure show.We just showed up and played. I live in California now so I had to fly in for it, but yeah it was super fun.You Can Download The String Cheese Incident’s Secret Show For FreeL4LM: You’re hitting Red Rocks this summer in its 75th year too. That must be exciting.MK: They just asked us… I guess there’s a Red Rocks Hall of Fame, and they’re putting us in the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, which is hilarious. I think at this point, besides Widespread, we’re like the second or third band that’s played there the most. It’s just cool for us.L4LM: That’s quite the honor! Congratulations, and thank you so much for your time Michael. We really appreciate it! Just last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with The String Cheese Incident’s founding member, Michael Kang. The multi-instrumentalist spoke to us at length about the band’s newest endeavor, the SCI Sound Lab, which is essentially a creative workspace that the band can call their own. With new music just released and a whole lot more in the pipeline, Kang switched gears and talked about what fans can’t get enough of – live String Cheese shows!With Electric Forest coming this weekend, a major tour that includes shows at Red Rocks, a collaborative set with Gregg Allman, and the return of Hulaween Festival, there was no shortage of great conversation with Kang. Read on for his take on all of these exciting events!L4LM: Summer tour is coming up soon! It all starts this weekend at Electric Forest. I know that festival has evolved over the years, how do you feel about where it is and where it’s going?MK: It’s great. Our history with that festival goes way back and a long way. Back when we were throwing a lot of the Horning’s Hideout shows, back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, we had this concept of wanting to bring a super immersive atmosphere that not only incorporated music but art and performance art. Just really give people a fully immersive experience that they could experience even if they’re not just watching the show. We did those shows for many years, and then it morphed and evolved due to some of our involvement in Burning Man and going there, seeing the potential for how people can have this kinda of experience. It culminated with our management starting the Rothbury Festival.The first years of Rothbury was right actually when the band was taking a break, but some of us still remained in the production side.  I, and some other friends of mine, brought this immersive style and ambiance to the festival. We stayed involved in the production, so when they decided to re-launch it as Electric Forest, we stayed involved and have been a mainstay at the festival. It was the culmination of us wanting to create this Horning’s Hideout style event in the Midwest, and having more resources to be able to go big with it. The first year it did good, the second year it did even better, and now it’s totally blown up. There’s a focus – a lot of the kids these days are listening to EDM. To me, EDM or live or whatever, they’re still getting to see us for the first time. A lot of the mainstay acts are friends of ours really, Bassnectar – I introduced him to the whole jam scene, way back when. We used to play these shows as Elastic Mystic together, way back when I found him at Burning Man. It’s all one big family as far as I’m concerned. The music may sound different, but it’s still kind of the same people that pervade it all.L4LM: Speaking of Bassnectar, we recently caught an interview where he said he was going to be a “resident DJ” of Electric Forest.MK: Yeah, I heard that too! I think that’s great, I think he gets it. He really believes in the same family community, music as a community vibe that all of us come from and the same kind of place and all that. L4LM: I know you mentioned Horning’s in there a couple of times. Is there any chance of you going back there?MK: You know, we’d like to. Unfortunately, the grounds themselves at Horning’s are a little restricted because it’s very difficult to get into. It’s a pretty small venue, and the guy who owns it, Bob Hornings, really has a pretty busy schedule of a lot of events. He really doesn’t do a lot of concerts there, so when we do come in, it’s quite the big impact, for better or worse for him. We still want to focus on creating these events. If you were to ask us what the band goal was over the next 10 years, it’s to really have a few of these hubs throughout the year – one in the East Coast, one in the South, we’ve got Electric Forest up on the North, and on the West Coast we’d like to start something like that. We can spread this transformative music event that really gets people going. We’ve been able to do that in Suwannee for Hulaween and we want to continue being involved in these things that become more of a complete creative expression of what we feel wants to bring to expand.We’re going to continue to look for places, and it may happen at the actual Horning’s Hideout again. But there are some prohibitive issues with that site. It’s really actually very difficult to pull off for our crew and management. But it is magical and we definitely don’t want to take it off the table either.L4LM: I know a lot of fans are going to be excited for the Gregg Allman Incident coming up. Have you met with Gregg yet? MK: He’s an absolute legend. We’ve been conversing, but at a distance. I’m sure once we get through a couple of these events, we’ll hone it down. We’re trying to figure out what the ideal setlist would be, what he wants to do. We’re just going to see what happens. We’ve now done a few of these collaborations, we usually do one or two a year. Since we’re not doing LOCKN’ this year, and having a big collaboration of some sort – last year we did it with the Doobie Brothers. Every single one that we’ve done has been great, where it’s like a real meeting of the worlds. Yeah, it’s been really cool.Right now we don’t have any specific plans, but I’m sure as time goes on, we’ll work it out.L4LM: There’s just so much material from the Allman Brothers catalog to pull from. MK:  Oh man. It’s dizzying when you really start to think about it. L4LM: So I don’t want to keep you for too long, but I have to ask if our April Fool’s joke about the GWAR Cheese Incident made it back to you guys.MK: Yeah… somebody even mentioned it last night. I was like, man that would awesome, but it would be a stretch. People are taking it seriously. Even our bookkeeper asked, “when are you guys doing this heavy metal thing?” I’m like, “You don’t see the joke in that?”L4LM: I mean, we did do a joke about you doing a dubstep set, and you wound up collaborating with Skrillex on stage.MK: We feel the freedom. We’re obviously not an electronic act but we love electronic music. [Michael] Travis and Jason totally have EOTO, so we’re not afraid of throwing that into the set at all. It’s always funny to sometimes see, because some people are like, “no don’t do that,” but other people are like, “oh my god this is the best thing ever.”But that’s always been our shtick from the beginning. There’s nothing we won’t try.L4LM: Is there anything you haven’t tried yet that you want to or is just whatever comes?MK: Whatever comes. We love the collaborations; they’re really cool because you get a sense of how other songwriters and people have done it. It would be really cool one day to do something with an orchestra. There’s all kinds of stuff that’s possible. We’re always trying to come up with new ideas and see what sticks. But we feel like we cover a pretty broad range of things at the same time.I think at some point we want to do some more fully acoustic stuff too, which is a cool part of our whole band. L4LM: That’s interesting, because Bill Nershi had a similar comment when he spoke to us last year.MK: A lot of times when we’ll play festivals, we’ll change the band, because we have such a varied repertoire. For Billy as mainly an acoustic guitar player, and even for me as a fiddle player and a mandolin player – I play mostly electric now but it’s really fun to play acoustic too – it keeps you on your toes having to keep up all your chops in the varying styles.L4LM: Among those many styles was last year’s “Ghoul Train” set at Hulaween. I think fans are curious as to what you’re going to do next.MK: The Ghoul Train is here to stay for a couple years. There’s so much material, and we’ve already been talking about that. There’s no shortage of shit to throw in the mix there.last_img read more

In Photos: ESPN College GameDay at USC

first_imgFollow us on Twitter @DailyTrojan ESPN College GameDay took over USC early Saturday morning, hosting their show live for the first time from McCarthy Quad. Students arrived ready with their signs an hour early, despite the 6 AM broadcast time.Photos by Ralf Cheunglast_img