Our last interview of 2013 is with Kineticz, the solo project of Shaughn Russel. Shortly after being introduced to the psychedelic scene, Shaughn began his artistic career as a decor designer, before adding DJing to his toolkit in 2011 and most recently testing out his skills as a producer. In a short span of just two years, Kineticz has played a number of local and international events, as well as signed to Grasshopper Records based in Japan.

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Psymedia : Hey Shaughn! To kick things off, tell me a bit about yourself and your introduction to the psychedelic scene?

Kineticz : Well, back in 2003, I was working in the hospitality industry, and by some divine manifestation these two amazing girls, Kate and Taryn, befriended me. It was with all the greatest thanks in the world they took me to my first outdoor, which happened to be an Earthdance event. I was immediately drawn into this dimension of rich colour, consistently rolling thunderous basslines and surrounded by an abundance of happy smiling people. Coming from the club scene I had never experienced such love on a dance floor before and from that day on I have never looked back.

Psymedia : You design decor under the LumiNOS banner and work closely with Artescape, arguably one of the best in the industry. What’s your artistic background? What made you want to start designing decor?

Kineticz : When it comes to the ‘artistic background’ side of things, I don’t really have one, aside from been creative in many different ways. I never got the chance to go to art school and could pretty much only really draw ‘abstract’ sketches and mostly stick men! When I was living in Johannesburg I had the opportunity to meet Carin Dickson of Artescape. I offered my assistance in setting up events in exchange for free tickets. Shortly after meeting up that side of the world I decided the grass was greener in Cape Town and packed my bags. I started out making a few string art pieces and offered them to small indoor events to try and get my name out in the public. Around the same time Carin made the decision to move to Cape Town too, and there is where our work relationship and friendship really blossomed. I began to find myself at almost every outdoor and indoor events throughout the year, which led to me quitting my day job and taking on the life as a rigger full heartedly.

Within about two years of working for Artescape and absorbing as much as I could on how to work with different mediums, I decided to try my hand at making a simple shade concept for Organik. I was hooked! There is nothing quite as satisfying and rewarding as having a few hundred to a couple of thousand people celebrating life and all things good surrounded by something that you have put your heart and soul into creating. Since then I have found myself very busy with décor, both locally and internationally. However, I have not found the time to collaborate with Artescape. Let’s see what the future has in stall!

Psymedia : In 2011 you began DJing and have played a number of events locally and abroad. Was there any specific moment that made you want to give it a shot? How do you think you’ve differentiated yourself locally?

Kineticz : Hmm, that’s a tricky one. I think the moment came along one day when I was blissfully stomping at a party, and it dawned on me that we are only limited by what we tell and let ourselves be capable of doing. It was that moment that I thought to myself the next step will to try my hands at DJing. I got some tips from my good mate, Kevin, who was also a star in lending me his equipment every now and then to practice the art and technique of mixing. Having no limitations on myself anymore, I quickly found my way around the equipment and started beatmatching with more ease. After the first party I played, I could not think of anything else besides DJing. The style of music I play, I think, is what sets me out from the rest. I go for a groovy, yet psychedelic day time (preferably sunrise) type of sound – solid kicks, rolling basslines, and an array of psychedelic synths and leads to please even the most discerning stomper. I don’t limit myself to one specific style of genre – I bring a few different styles together and create a journey within a journey.

Psymedia : And you recently signed to Grasshopper Records.

Kineticz : Ah man, this was one of the happiest days of my life. The artists at Grasshopper Records make up about 60-70% of my track listing in most of my sets. I planted the seed of joining the label and representing them back home on my first trip to Japan in 2012. During the following year, I kept in contact with Hatta, the label owner, and on my return trip to Japan earlier this year after playing after him at Sunshine Festival he decided that I would join the Grasshopper family. I am very proud to be part of such a diverse family of artists.

Psymedia : Is PhatGressive still happening?

Kineticz : Phatgressive was your not-so-typical Prog duo act. We took a more Full On and harder approach to the off-beat that is spreading like wildfire around the world. Unfortunately, with things being so busy these days, and my partner now living in Johannesburg, it has taken a backseat for a while. I am however busy falling in love with a slightly different style of Progressive these days – Dark Psychedelic Progressive. I am currently playing with the idea of that being my next solo DJ act. We will see what materialises from it though.

Psymedia : And you’re giving producing a go? Have you found DJing limiting?

Kineticz : Yes, I have decided that the only way to go is to produce your own sound to add to the already vast collection of music out there. It will still be some time before I have something to put out, but I am extremely excited about this next chapter in my life. My little home studio is on the go, I just need to make the time to sit down and work hard on producing my own sound now. DJing is in no way limiting, I love taking other artists music and creating my own mixes and blends of their original concepts. I however feel that I could do a lot more with my own music one day, when it is ready to be unleashed on the world.

Psymedia : How do you think designing decor, DJing and producing differ as creative outlets?

Kineticz : At the end of the day, I think they are all equally the same. Not only that, they all go hand-in-hand with each other, especially when it comes to Psychedelic events. Having a good DJ and live act is equally important as having good décor at an event. They feed off each other and make the journey for the dance floor more magical and spiritual.

Psymedia : What is the concept behind Sunshine Festival and My Little Sunshine?

Kineticz : Sunshine Festival in Japan is the coming together of friends and family in a beautiful and clean environment. They have been organising events since 2007 and promote conscious partying while having fun. The main aim of the festival is to bring together the world as a tribe and introduce people to different sounds across the globe. This year’s event saw artists from 7 different countries participating in a 3 day explosive local lineup. It’s about the coming together of nations and rising together as one. My Little Sunshine is the baby sister event of Sunshine Festival. The crew from Japan feel a special love and gratitude towards the South African scene and have decided that we are going to recreate it here in Cape Town. It is their way of saying thank you for adding colour into their scene back home.

Psymedia : What was it about the Sunshine Festival concept that made you and the Japanese crew believe it would work or better the Cape Town scene?

Kineticz : It’s something new and fresh. The main concept is to introduce the South African scene to a wider style of psychedelic music. The Japanese guys have a unique sound and we are wanting to bring that sound to Cape Town for more people to experience. Instead of just hosting a party, we are trying to create a journey. An experience that will leave each and every person on the dance floor, come shut off time on the last day, to be vibrating on a higher level of consciousness. To leave the space with a head full of knowledge and a new appreciation to what we all live our lives by. Peace, Love, Unity and Respect.

Psymedia : Thanks for the interview! See you at My Little Sunshine! Anything to add before we finish off?

Kineticz : All my pleasure. We look forward to having you celebrate with us at My Little Sunshine in 2014. 2013 has been an amazing year so far, which makes me even more excited for 2014. Let’s make 2014 the year that we be the change we want to see, and incorporate PLUR into our everyday lives, not only when we see each other at parties. Let’s make a conscious shift towards a better, brighter future as the psychedelic tribe. One World. One Tribe. One Love. Peace out!