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bloom

beacon

Names:

Ryan Ferris

James Allen

Joss Doge (The Voidwalker)

 

Tell us where we are right now and why??

Christchurch - it's where we've put our roots down - there's an epic community here and lots of space to experiment. While horrific and destructive, the earthquakes of 2011 created space for innovation, culture, and creativity in our city. From the dust rose several creative communities, artists, musicians, engineers, and more banded together not to restore the scene that the city boasted before, but to create something new. The Exchange Christchurch (XCHC) is one main example (Joss calls it the ‘heartbeat of Christchurch’) - a creative community, artist workspace, events space, and gig venue based in a heritage pickle factory in Waltham. XCHC is Beacon Bloom’s unofficial headquarters in many ways – a place where we spend time with our community, work on music, and artistic projects, throw gigs and immersive events and meet artistic collaborators across multiple mediums. We’re consistently inspired by the incredible, passionate creatives and hustlers that attend to and roll through this space.

 

Tell us metaphorically where you are now and why... World domination, on a mission to ruin your lives or .just after a good breakfast?

We're riding on the back of the Melodic Manatee - see below.

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Hit us with your background. The three of you ended up in the electronic world but how did this come about? Where did the music start for each of you (rock, jazz country etc)?

Joss: I spent my young years in the UK, soaking up the works of pioneering electronic artists without even realising it. I spent years acting and singing in musical theatre as a youth and have enjoyed wide musical tastes from classical to punk metal, alternative rock to acid jazz. As a lover of house, techno, and melodic music even before I met Ryan and James, I was DJ’ing these genres often at small roots events and gatherings around the country including Kiwiburn, Mix Festival, Batdogg, and more. I met Ryan at a co-created community festival called Something Else back in 2019.

James: Like Joss, I also spent my younger years in the UK, and was bitten with the musical bug early on. I've played in countless bands - mostly in the rock scene, playing bass, electric guitar and singing. It was always a dream to make a dance party kind of project, so it made sense to get involved when Beacon Bloom and its predecessor, Cosmic Tortoise, came onto the scene in 2017. Cosmic Tortoise was a collective music/podcast project headed by Ryan, made up of a group of Christchurch Musicians - they released an early version of Little Kingdom which ended up becoming an early Beacon Bloom song, with a very different spin. You can check the two versions here  Cosmic Tortoise & Beacon Bloom. After making music together in this environment, Ryan approached me after taking a newer electronic direction with Beacon Bloom and here we are.

Ryan:  I grew up with a lot of classic rock and 60s folk roots, which led to me being an acoustic singer songwriter for most of my musical career. This took me travelling all across Europe, busking and playing shows. But something changed when I spent more time in Berlin. I met some producers when busking at Hackersher Markt and ended up jamming with one of them, Thanh, who is in a fantastic group house group called Verboten Berlin. Thanh invited me to a Deep House club (Might have been Ritte Butzke) and as soon as I walked in there, felt the bass/tuned speakers and amazing vibe of the crowd I knew which scene I wanted to create music for. This was probably 8 years ago now, and this is where it has led us. 

 

Tell us how Beacon Bloom came about.

One day back in 2017, Ryan and Jim both woke up after a rather late night creating acoustic music, and over a cup of Decaf, both described to each other of having the same dream. A large Manatee, by the name of Maloffee, was dancing to a hybrid live set of melodic house music, being played in an underwater festival. The band's name was Beacon Bloom, and we were both performing in the band.  The watery resonant voice of the Manatee spoke to us telepathically and said, “the only way to save the universe is to create vibey beats and sing to the people of the ocean”. 

Naturally, it was quite remarkable to have dreamt the exact same dream. So the boys had another decaf and mulled for a little while longer, humming half-remembered oceanic melodies to each other. Bizarrely, the story doesn't end there. We would later discover that everyone now involved in the band - Joss, Kieran, Scott and the crew, all had the same dream as children, and that with this common experience, our destiny was shared. And the more we talk about it, the more we hear about this shared dream.

It may in fact be the One Eternal Dream of the collective unconscious. But truth be told, we will never truly know.  We are just grateful to Maloffee for showing us the way. And that's how we got to where we are today. Pretty normal origin story.

 

How does Beacon Bloom work as you're part electronic? Who do you travel and gig with? What's your set up etc?
We run a hybrid DJ setup –  this was inspired by WhoMadeWhos epic Burning Man set on Mayan Warrior. How we run it: Ryan sings and plays a Prophet 6 synthesizer live on stage. James sings, plays electric guitar and sometimes bass and keys.  Joss works the CDJ’s and mixer to provide the backbones of our performance, threading our material into a cohesive electronic mix, he’s also working to incorporate his Moog Sub 37 to provide sultry analog intervals and sparkle. Gluing our performances together from behind the scenes is our legendary sound wizard Kieran Colina, manning the sound desk to process our vocals and instruments live. Occasionally we collaborate with other creatives and musicians, visual artists, drummers, dancers, and more to introduce extra elements to a particular show.  We’ve also worked with fashion designer The Sock Thief to create signature, vibey outfits for us to wear on stage. We've worked heaps with SANOI, a proper legend and super talented producer is, alongside Jake Rattler, the wonderful Beat and Path crew and many others and look forward to gigging with them and other NZ electronic performers.

How do you think you sit in the electronic dance world?
We seem to be landing in the melodic/progressive house niche which we're loving so far. It's a beautiful sound that creates a wonderful, united, and warm atmosphere among the crowd its played to. And on the same note, it attracts a special crowd.  The feeling in a room playing to a space full of these kinds of humans can only be described as magical. And that's probably why we play it. It fulfills something deeper that a lot of folks are missing in modernity. Also, it's extremely fun, which is a huge factor. 


Our music seems to be most well received in Germany, USA, UK and Brasil.  Which is ideal for us. The next market for us to crack would be Japan. We've been working with a number of local and overseas labels due to our collaborations - these have been very positive experiences so far. The teams we've been working with are dedicated and passionate - big shout out to NZ/AUS label Beat and Path, UK Label Zerothree, Nora en Pure's label Purified and Colorize who are releasing our next collab track with French duo Angara.

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Follow up question. How would you like to sit? Where would you like to be?

Our aim is to take a multi-genre hybrid electronic set across the world. Our dream would be to play throughout Europe/UK, USA/Mexico/Brazil, Japan, AUS/NZ and any other spots that crop up that dig our music. Burning Man, Mayan Warrior, BOOM and other similarly vibey festivals would be great down the line. Anything with a warm crowd, sunset/night-time set and good sound and we're there. 


Labels - I know our manager would love to work with Astralwerks, and we're hoping to talk to Ajunadeep, Rose Avenue and others soon. I'm honestly not super in the know about festivals and labels so I'll loop in Scott (our manager) next time. He's currently enjoying a well-deserved vacation right now :) 

 

In your travels up and down the country, what sort of state is our music scene in in your opinion?

It's getting more connected and there are some really special events and artists appearing in the electronic scene. To us it's only getting better. Obviously, the amazing crew at LoFi are doing some awesome stuff, there's the Shipwrecked crew who smash it, Sicbeats and their crew, The Relish Community. And those holding down sweet spaces in larger festivals like R&A and Splore are super important too. Soundsplash! Ahh there's so many haha.

 

With covid there was a lot of downtime, how did you guys cope and was it a step back or a chance to polish behind the scenes?

Ryan was at home with his dad at the time. It ended up being more of a break than anything too creative, which was great and connective in its own way. It was hard losing summer last year; we had such an epic tour booked which we missed out on.  But we're now stoked to have around 10 shows booked for this year and next. Always onwards to the next thing :)

 

Hit me with your highs thus far (this doesnt have to be gigs, can be a new guitar or meeting someone).

Travelling around NZ to play original house music - a big highlight was Saturday night at Shipwrecked in 2021 - absolute magic feelings, with a big crew there. Especially since most of the world couldn't do it, it was such a special feeling. Collaborating with some very talented producers across the globe such as Sanoi, Out of Sorts, Paige, Nihil Young and Antdot - since our first collab with Paige and Nihil Young, the doors have been opened so to speak to work with other producers, and now we get lots of collab opportunities, especially for writing vocal toplines. 

Our manager (and legend of a human) Scott worked the original meeting out between us and Paige (I think through his networks.) Big shoutout to Paige, Alex and Nihil Young who threw in with us and have really boosted us up - we're super super grateful for them. Epic humans too. Snoop Dogg "relaxing" to our track Spitfire on his IG was a super surreal moment - James and Ryan just stumbled across it in some YouTube comments (could have easily gone under the radar). They just looked at each other and said “whaaat”. And it was great, as none of the rest of the crew knew either. So, they just called people on video call and watched their reaction.  The track is based on a female who "sells herbs" if you know what I mean, so to see the metaphorical God of Green smoking to that tune was pretty special. 

 

Biggest challenges of being on the road/gigging youve found?
Having a little too much fun and not enough sleep. 

 

How did you approach this mix? 

Joss here, as Beacon Bloom’s DJ I worked solo on putting this mix together, comprised of Beacon Bloom material alongside a range of music from artists that have inspired our production over the years. Artists like WhoMadeWho, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Nihil Young, and Ben Bohmer have played a huge part in helping us craft our sound so it was easy to fit some of them into the mix. For me it was important to create a mix that represented the flow of our live sets – starting slow, sultry, and emotive then building in energy and anticipation, before throwing down and releasing to throbbing melodic techno and house. Having worked closely with the rest of the band over the last few years, I’m trusted to lean into vibes and feelings that work well with the Beacon Bloom sound and energies; as such this was a fairly solo project, but because it’s composed from artists and tracks we each love it also has a little of us all in it, you know?

 

Finally best coffee in nz and what makes a good sandwich?

There's an up-and-coming NZ Coffee brand called Decaf.  We love it. (@decafnz). Run by our friends Mariana and Mark of Crafted Coffee Co and Chirny. The coffee is suuuper delicious. We actually chose it in a blind test with 3 other non-decaf coffees. That’s how we knew it was the business. And no jitters. And you can sleep. So good.

Ryan’s dad (the one and only Robin B Ferris) says he knows he's on holiday when he's eating a chip sandwich. We deeply trust in his wisdom.