Subaqueous and Skytree’s campaigns to fund upcoming albums

Tribal Council is blessed to know and support many musicians. Both Subaqueous and Skytree are currently raising money to help produce their upcoming albums. I was lucky to have the time to interview both musicians on their upcoming projects. Subaqueous (Issac Cotec) is using Kickstarter to help fund his upcoming album. His idea is to create a USB drive to share his upcoming and past releases, Ableton sets, remix packs, even videos! This is all in sake of sharing information with other musicians and music lovers alike. Issac is very close to meeting his goal (which ends in six days). Please consider supporting our friend with his Kickstarter here. I was very lucky to have Issac answer a few questions for Tribal Council. (Interview with Skytree follows below.)

Interview with Subaqueous

TC: What made you decide to do this new release on a USB drive, are you releasing any CD’s? Does this help you save in the long run?

Subaqueous: I have had the idea of a USB drive of my music for years. My last album made CD’s and found it was awesome to give to people so they could listen to it on there car on the ride back from festivals. It was also so amazing having my music in  a physically printed medium.  It made it feel  like I made something tangible.  The problem with CD’s is they are a one function device. You brake the jewel case, or loose it, and then it can only go into CD players. A USB can be plugged in, downloaded, reused, played on CDj’s and most upcoming car stereos.  It just made sense to make something physical that can be used and appreciated in many different ways.
That is just the physical idea and practicality of it. To me personally it’s more about the collaborative nature the USB can offer. It allows me to put on so much more then music. It will have videos, interviews, images, music, Ableton Live Sets, Sample packs and other music resources. I am not just sharing the music, but also the process and tools to create the music.
TC: You say you want to use this USB to share knowledge behind your music with others. I like this idea, how specifically would this help share your ideas with others?
Sub: I spend a lot of time devoting to my music. I just spent 5 days making a new way of synthesis in Ableton Live the other week. After spending all that time and pushing myself musically with my tools I can either keep this resource to myself and have a “secret sonic pallet” or I can share it. When I share it with other people they can then take all that devoted energy and craft there own works from it. I love the idea of letting these tools pass through me and help inspire other people. These thoughts were not my own as well. I am just one pathway for them.
I have noticed the more I collaborate and share the more comes to me. I feel inspired when people make remixes, or new tracks from my samples. It makes me want to do this even more.
TC: What artists were you most excited to remix for your upcoming album?
Sub: Well I haven’t announced it yet, but I guess I am now, I am really excited to have Govinda’s remix on this album. I have loved his music for years and been truly inspired by it. To have him remix my own music is such a blessing.  All the other musicians are just as amazing; Kalpataru Tree will have a beautiful dubby remix, eO with his deeply emotional and epic remix, Futexture and Erothyme both made a jazzy spaced out funk remixes, and other sweet revisions on my original music.
TC: How long have you been working on this project?
Sub: Well every decision has lead me to this moment. I’ve thought of the USB drive 3 years ago and have been working towards it. It took a long time to get all the resources underway. Then the Remix album has been worked on for the last 3 months.  I’ve been talking with the artist, working out details, distributors, and such. Been amazing and long time coming.
TC: What was the most challenging thing you have come across with this project, and what are you doing to overcome this?
Sub: It’s been fairly smooth honestly. It’s been a build up of past experiences and is just lining up. There were some tedious parts, like searching the web for a USB manufacturer I trust and finding a product with the lowest environmental impact. That took countless hours of development and contacting people. I overcame it by sure will.
TC: Who or what helps inspire you?
Sub: Well the fact that my fellow producer Skytree released a similar idea on the same day was a huge inspiration.It’s helped me step up my game a little, and think of this more as a movement then a personal endeavor. I also gain a lot of inspiration whenever people thank me for what I do, every time I go dancing, and every time I talk with friends and family.  To easily put it I am truly inspired by all the beauty that surrounds me in all it’s different forms.

Skytree (Evan Snyder) is an incredibly talented musician, who has been releasing his music for free for many years. Evan needs your help in putting together the funds for his upcoming release Cirrus Sapians (to be released in early fall). The USB drive offered will have his full discography, unreleased material, and photo and video footage! Part of his funding will be put towards revamping his website and producing a new  Grassroots California hat. Please support Evan’s Indiegogo fund here, there is still 21 days left! Tribal council was very lucky to have Skytree give us an interview!
Interview with Skytree
TC: 2013 is most certainly a year of grounded, rooted energy – what goals do you have for this year?
Skytree: It absolutely is.  I feel like part of our collective task in 2013 is to take a lot of the ideas, inspirations and intuitions we practiced in 2012 and start to embody them in a more sustainable, more physical, long-term path forward.  What many saw as a culmination of the “shift” in 2012 was, from my perspective, an emergent spike of the birthing and remembrance of the tools we need to move forward and survive as a global family.  It was an incredible social experiment in trans-cultural community.  2013 feels like our new dawn to refine and continue that same work, as the alternative is too grave and, thus, not an option!
So, this is very much in line with my personal goals for this year.  I’m now physically rooted in NYC, rather than living nomadically across the country, and focussing first and foremost on the production of my new album, “Cirrus Sapiens”, a nod to the collective cloud of consciousness that we all share.  This new project will be pressed into hardcopy CD and accompanied by music videos, a custom bamboo USB drive and lots of extras, culminating in my largest musical project to date.  The release is set for the Autumnal Equinox this September, coinciding with a gig at Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors alongside my friend and fellow producer, Kaminanda.  My hope and intention is that this will act as a springboard, orders of magnitude beyond “Crystal Consciousness”, which alone led to an immense wave of positive change in my path.
TC: Tell me more about your upcoming release Cirrus Sapiens; what artists are you using in your remixes?
Sky: For sure!  To be specific, it’s more of a collaborative process rather than a remix project.  Some artists have been sending me sounds to do whatever I want with (which is akin to remixing in this sense), whereas others are intimately involved in the whole process, with lots of file-swapping and subtle adjustments taking place over a longer periods of time.  A few people I’m working with now include my good friends Biolumigen, Lunecell, Space Jesus, Futexture, Erothyme, the Technicolor Lenses and DVS.  There are a bunch more involved as well that I’m excited to announce when the time is right.  I’ve been working on a lot of these projects in parallel (IE: side by side), so thematically the album will still revolve around a particular sound and environment, while still drawing from a very large pool of talent and techniques.  In a way it will be very much like the older brother of “Crystal Consciousness”, a few years wiser and informed by the crystallized community that manifested “Treemixes V1”.
TC: Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming music videos?
Sky: The project I’m most excited about is the one we’re looking to release soon, via, as a preview for the album.  A few months ago, I reached out to a very talented chemist who shoots HD video of micro-crystals growing in realtime, using a very specialized process and microscope rig.  He was apparently very enthusiastic about working together and sent my girl and I a heap of footage to use in our video project.  It’s absolutely astounding stuff.  Mesmerizing!  I think it could even get some people out there to think about the self-organizing capacity of crystals in a different light, perhaps more on the wavelength of what would traditionally be defined as life.  It certainly looks that way when you’re watching it – akin to seeing timelapse footage of a vine climbing up a wall and realizing that plants are not by any means as static or stationary as we often think.  We sometimes just need to see things in our own experiential speed to click with what’s actually going on around us.  My hope is that this video will open some perceptions, and at the very least give people some trippy, spirit-expanding/mind-bending entertainment.
TC: How long have you been working on this current project?
Sky: While I only got underway with producing tracks in full about a month and a half ago, I’ve actually been gathering up sounds for over a year now.  Traveling around the country for all of 2012 was definitely a challenge on occasion, but it brought with it countless opportunities to record new sounds and jam with amazingly talented people.  Whenever I found myself in a new studio (which was pretty often), I would take every chance I could to sample everything around me, even if it was just a 10-second clip of a synth patch that caught my ear.  This is the first time starting an album with a whole year’s worth of sounds, all compiled in a big library to dive into whenever I need some fresh vibes – all of which take me back to a prior adventure.  Gotta say, it’s a beautiful way to create music…almost effortless when combined with the minds and spirits of all of my super talented friends and collaborators.
TC: This new GRC flat brim is even more detailed than your last hat – your friend Sam Farrand is very talented. What inspired you to make flat brims?
Sky: Thank you – Sam is absolutely amazing at what he does.  The first lid we did with GRC was one of their best-selling products ever (if not at the top), so it was a hard act to follow.  We wanted to make sure we designed something that would be even more incredible, but also more refined and more mature.  The design we came up with very much fits the bill, pun intended I suppose!  The inspiration to create our first collaboration actually came at the invitation of my friend and incredible wire-wrapper from Colorado, Jason Burruss.  He was kind enough to connect me with Ruga Cons, the CEO of GRC, and we’ve been friends ever since.  I know there’s been a lot of fallout with respect to them moving operations overseas, but I still very much believe in what they do, and greatly appreciate the incredible support they offer musicians like myself.
TC: We bonded over our love of crystals at Rootwire last year; which one(s) have helped inspire you on this latest project?

Sky: Ah, that was a beautiful experience!  Rootwire 2012 was a phenomenal festival, and I was blessed to cross paths with you and many other amazing souls over that gorgeous weekend.  While I’m fascinated with pretty much anything geological, I’ve been especially drawn to metallic crystals over the past few months, as well as multi-species (or what I sometimes call “geodiverse”) specimens.  One example is a beautiful piece I recently traded for at the Purple Hatters Ball in Florida, which contains both pyrite, galena, hematite, quartz, vanadinite and sulfur, all in a specimen the size of a quarter.  I’ve actually found this very much reflected in the sound of the new album, which I’d describe as much more sharp, hefty, solid, bright, metallic, conductive and diverse than any of my previous work.   I very much look forward to sharing it with everyone by the time the Equinox arrives in September!


Impulse 2012: A Private Party for ATL Family

After a magical month long road trip to the promise land of the west coast for Symbiosis and Lightning in a Bottle, our team returned home to prepare for Impulse Music Festival. As it was a first year festival of significant size being thrown in close proximity to our Atlanta stomping grounds, there was plenty of talk surrounding the event during the months leading up to Impulse.  Those of us who were fortunate enough to catch Echo Project Festival in 2007 had been waiting for years for Atlanta to get another large music festival with camping, and we crossed our fingers in hopes that this would make a successful enough splash to continue into the future.

Impulse was the second music festival to invite us to set up our Sanctuary installation at their event, and we were pumped to apply all the lessons we learned from our festival debut at Florida’s Aura Music and Arts Festival in March.  Adding to our already bubbly enthusiasm was the immense amount of magic and inspiration we brought home with us from the west coast extravaganza.  Witnessing the level of production that is occurring at gatherings like Symbiosis and LIB (not to mention the most grandiose gathering on the planet, Burning Man) truly changed our idea of what is possible.  The entire time we were there we rambled non-stop about how we would like to apply various aspects from this stage design and techniques from those art installations to Tribal Council’s ever-expanding projects on the east coast.

Edwin getting serious with the jigsaw, proving he can channel carpentry as easily as communal prayer recitations.

After a short few days of grounding, recovering, and handling business in Asheville, we busted a groove down to Atlanta where we set up shop at the Gaar residence for an intense four-day work party.  We sent the call for help out to the collective at large and ended up having a different work crew turn out each day.  We were wonderfully pleased at everyone’s ability to stay focused on the tasks at hand while maintaining the playfulness and jovial attitude that has always been a defining characteristic of the Council. We’d like to give a heartfelt thanks to Michael Boylan, Andrew Robertson, Caroline Rose, Will Franchot, and Sarah Tracy for showing up and lending a hand. And as always, thanks to Mama and Papa Gaar for hosting the shenanigans and even feeding us hooligans.

I had set the intention to construct a tipi long ago, perhaps after seeing Taytakura’s ceremonial setup at Rootwire 2011.  We harvested bamboo from the grove behind my house and sewed the cover out of canvas drop clothes to make a highly respectable meditation tipi large enough to fit four people and a small altar. It was a success.

Wilsun learning the thrills of guestimation work with one way stretch material.

Besides the tipi we made some signs for our domes and experimented with PVC and stretch fabric to make sacred geometry lighting elements.  We churned out three tetrahedral ground lamps, but our prize piece was a sweet star tetrahedron aka merkaba lamp to hang in the center of the ceremonial dome.

Caroline Rose reestablished herself as the Head Seamstress of TC with hours of deft gestures hunched over the sewing machine.  Here, Edwin and Andrew serenade her in the wee hours of the night during the final stretch of merkaba fabrication. The fruits of her labor were well worth it though when we all rejoiced at the first light of the completed merkaba lamp.  As we continue to play with stretch fabric production, we learn more about its challenges and become more confident in our abilities to manipulate the versatile material for all sorts of projects.

If only I had a nickel for every time I was caught on the old smart phone…I’m continually surprised at how much internet and phone time it takes to coordinate Tribal Council’s activity from the backend. I can only imagine what it takes to throw a music festival! At least we have a few years to perfect the art. A big shout out to Asa Dean for graciously allowing us to use the infamous Grok bus to transport the crew and supplies to the site as well as for lending us his 18ft geodesic dome to serve as our first “Wooked on Sonics” sound healing chamber.

With all the materials we had, it sure was easy to just throw it all into ol’ Grok rather than tetris it into cars.  The short two hour ride to Impulse brought back many fond (and some not so fond) memories from last year’s summer festival tour when we kept the bus packed with 15 of us hippies for a month of epic adventures.  Thankfully we only had four of us on the bus this time.

Despite unprecedented disorganization and lack of communication from Impulse Festival leading up to the day of the event, our team remained focused on the task at hand: to build a sacred space in which we could facilitate transformational experiences for festival attendees.  The festival site, Durhamtown Plantation, was very unique as it was a popular vacation destination for ATV and dirt bike enthusiasts with over one hundred miles of motocross tracks and dirt jumps.  Although they did shut down one track where the festival was held, the rest of the park stayed open for operation all weekend, which meant the sound of two-stroke engines droned throughout the hot afternoons of the festival.

Upon our arrival, the site was empty except for the two bare stages that had been erected in the main field.  It never ceases to amaze how last minute everything comes together on site before a festival.  We happened to arrive at the same time as our friends and fellow visionaries of Vision Lab, and we quickly went to work building our own little dome city.  Vision Lab’s token 30′ inflatable igloo dome towered impressively over the rest of our geo domes creating a cool skyline of five different sized white orbs all within a stone’s throw of each other (including the Grassroots dome). It looked like a moon colony straight out of a sci-fi movie.  All festivals need domes, they are just too aesthetically pleasing!

We were stoked with our location as we were placed perfectly in the middle of all the action where we could hear and practically see all the stages.  The festival itself was very small and condensed into a large field where the two main stages were located.  On the edge of the field was the smallest stage with 3D mapped visuals inside a barn with a bar and just on the other side of the barn was the Area 51 saddle stage.  The vendors lined the edge of the field next to our dome complex. That was the entire festival.  You could walk from one end to the other in 4 minutes flat and see everything.

Hanging the new merkaba lantern on a sketchy ladder setup (if you’ll notice, the ladder is free standing besides Edwin and Will holding it at the bottom.)

The weather was excruciatingly hot and humid, but setup went smoothly with mandatory mid-day siestas in the shade. Visitors immediately began stopping by to relax and we quickly made new friends who would soon become our “regulars” throughout the weekend as they made our dome home base and our family their family, because let’s face it, we are all one family truthfully.

The dome looked even better than before as we had enough triangles to cover its entire surface.  I never get tired of looking at the flower of life cover.

We were stoked to christen our new tipi and to see it get used by patrons throughout the weekend.

Without a doubt the unique element of Impulse was the impressive lineup crafted to celebrate and showcase some of the best bass music producers of  today.  Yes there were the household headliners like EOTO and Emancipator who did their thing as always, but the real gems were the artists that the east coast never gets to see. Producers like Gladkill, The Polish Ambassador, Russ Liquid, and Nicoluminous came from the west coast to lay treats for unsuspecting children craving bass drops.

Govinda is another example of a heavy hitter from the west coast festival circuit that rarely ventures this far east. It was down right weird to come from seeing him play for thousands on the LIB mainstage in LA just two weeks earlier to dancing among a mere crowd of 50 at Impulse. Although he was scheduled for a less than ideal daylight set, he still throw it down hard and sexy with his always enjoyable live violin.  Extra special was his live female vocalist adding even more depth to his music and the cherry on top was watching dear friends and Councilors Orly Waanounou and Kaylene Siebritz shake tail feathers on stage with them.

Keegan Keel gleefully discussing and sharing one of his favorite things in the world with festival attendees: visionary art.

Perhaps the on going highlight throughout the weekend was sharing our immediate neighborhood space with the Vision Lab crew.  Keegan Keel and Adam Barfield, two of the visionaries behind Vision Lab, dedicate their time to setting up a traveling visionary art multimedia experience at festivals.  All weekend they welcomed unsuspecting visitors into their giant inflatable dome for a live Imax-like theater show where visionary artwork from the most pioneering artists in the world is projected onto the ceiling of the spherical dome while live DJs spin mind-expanding music.

Outside of the live projection experiences in the Vision Lab dome, visitors could get a more intimate feel for the visionary artwork in their styling geodesic gallery complete with crystal altars and staff on hand to discuss the details of the different pieces of art.  For those that had to leave the festival with their own piece of heaven, Vision Lab offered prints and giclee canvases for sale.  These guys fully realize the important potential visionary art has to expand people’s minds, shift their understandings of reality, and activate their pineal glands, and they are working hard to provide these tools for transformation to the festival scene.  Check them out next time you see them; you will be blown away. And be sure to thank these guys and support their vision to spread light in our community. We at Tribal Council look forward to working with Vision Lab in the future as our intentions are most definitely in alignment.

Impulse impressed me with its lineup of live artists.  There must have been at least 15 live artists painting all weekend, including Andy Reed, Michael Garfield, Andrew Wagner, Emily Kell, Christian Jaxtheimer, Chapin Matthews, Sarah Tracy, Allie Azura, and many more I’m having trouble recalling.

Here is Emily Kell’s stunning piece (my favorite of the weekend) with headliner Papadosio in the background ripping up the mainstage with an incredible set.  Although there is still some ground that needs to be covered concerning pumping up the “Arts” aspect of east coast Music and Arts Festivals, I’m glad to see events recognizing more and more how much live artists add to the overall experience.

Merkaba = win!

All weekend we enjoyed stimulating conversations with new friends, massage trains with old friends, and a general feeling of connectedness with everyone who decided to spend time in the dome village.  Except for some beers on the altars and cigarettes ashed in the sage containers, the public respected and understood the significance of the space.  Several individuals made it a point to tell us that the sanctuary was their favorite part of the festival and we heard at least one account of a life changing first attempt at meditation (a trance which lasted quite a long time).  This sort of feedback makes it all worthwhile and is an affirmation of how vital these sorts of spaces are to the balance of festival culture.

Area 51’s saddle stage was a sight to behold. With Area 51’s specialization in lasers and lighting, we knew they would have some cool production going on but their newly acquired saddle stage really stepped their swag up several levels.  It’s shape and overall aesthetic are so totally unique, people are going to remember Area 51 and will be looking for the saddle stage, which hosted a slew of awesome artists including Vibesquad, EPROM, Nasty Nasty, Russ Liquid, and Sugarpill (above).

Of course with the location of the event, the festival would not have been complete without a full on professional motorcycle stunt show.  At least twice, dare devil motocross bikers put on jaw-dropping displays of skill and bravery by performing huge freestyle tricks over a 70ft jump including several back flips.  I’ve seen some random stuff at festivals over the years but this definitely took the prize.

Another addition to our installation was the debut of our sand art table. The bright light and interactive nature of the booth consistently trapped spunyons all weekend and it always satisfies when one walks up to it and wipes clean everyone’s picture. It is a wonderful celebration of the impermanence of all creation.

People also loved our new altar centerpiece, a large crystal globe of planet Earth that was generously gifted to Tribal Council by a wonderfully wise and connected Lakota medicine woman in North Georgia during our recent visit with her the week prior.  It carries some powerful energy (this giant beetle certainly thought so), and we are so grateful and blessed to care for it.

Dave Heath sporting his flawlessly smooth poi technique.

Late night firespinning jams happened regularly on the late night tip. I would like to share an EXTREMELY important note with everyone who reads this. Sunday night a group of fire performers started playing with their fire fans and fire staffs outside of our domes.  I walked over to enjoy their show and was overcome with horror when the guy dropped his staff.  I didn’t mind that he dropped his staff.  The danger was the fact that he dropped it a couple feet away from their open soak container of gasoline…..and their gallon jug of gasoline…which was also open!  This is so so SO dangerous on many levels and should never happen. I grabbed all the gas and moved it around the corner at least 30ft away and shared some words with the performers, who were admittedly newbies.  It easily could have been a huge disaster ending in multiple deaths. So please I implore everyone when they see people playing with fire, check to make sure they have the lids on their gas containers (because the fumes can ignite from several feet away) AND that they have all gas containers at least 30ft away in a safe place. Let’s keep our friends and our scene safe.

Just as with AURA Festival, we took our PA out of the small sound healing dome and transformed our camp into the renegade late night stage with sunrise beats.  This is quickly  becoming my favorite part of our installation as sunrise sets have always been my bread and butter.  Although I wasn’t expecting it, I ended up playing a couple sunrise sets for the late night stragglers who were still craving a soundtrack to the greatest show on planet earth, which happens every day.  As always, Infinite Geometry aka Andy Reed joined forces with his unique taste for bliss.  We are going to be gearing our production to be prepared for this scenario everywhere we go, because if a festival is slacking on sunrise sets, then somebody’s gotta step into service to keep the beats bumping.

Big thanks to McKenzie Eason for leading a gentle morning yoga practice when we finally turned the beats off.  Her heart-opening class was a pure delight and just what we needed to put us to bed after a long night of work and play.  We are beyond stoked to have McKenzie as a part of the Council and hope she sticks around for years!

Saturday night at sunset we held the largest circle I believe the dome has seen. With Edwin’s help we slipped into a beautiful state of communion and peaceful silence. These sunset ceremonies are perfect for getting grounded before lift off, setting intentions for the night, and connecting the heart space of everyone present.  We hope this sort of circle will become a standard every night in the dome.

Sunday night Vision Lab stepped up the sunrise stage in visionary style as can be expected.  They moved their projector outside to project visuals on the outside of the dome while Andy played a timeless set that seemed to last forever.  And in the wee hours of the morning Ployd stepped behind the decks to close out the festival. Purrrfect!

All in all, Impulse was not quite what we were all hoping for.  There was no question about the music or the production behind the music; it was all top notch.  The main disappointment was the fact that nearly no one showed up due to a variety of reasons. Luckily, all of the family showed up from all over the southeast though, so in the end it was a crazy party for the Atlanta-Athens-Asheville community on someone else’s dime. Blessit! Will it become Georgia’s new hot sauce music festival, or will it even happen again? We’ll see…

A big shout out goes to the REP crew for crushing it as always and a special thanks to Nick Weinberg for being an all around boss and going the extra mile amidst the chaos to make sure Tribal Council had a spot to set up.

And while we are talking about promotion…y’all know about this festival coming up in Boone, NC called Gnarnia right? Thrown by OG Asheville family, this will be a good one guaranteed. And they are obviously doing promotion right, as the picture below can attest to….

Three weeks off until TC starts our epic 5 week run starting with Transformus, our very own first outdoor gathering, a flow arts festival in Penn., Gnarnia, and Rootwire.  Ahh, the quiet before the storm.  Until next time, y’all keep it cuddly <3

Photo Credit: Nicole Gallagher

TC Southeast Summer Tour ’12: All Systems Go!

Tribal Council just got back from a blessed, expansive, and life-changing trip to the west coast where we were fortunate enough to be part of two of the most progressive, integrative gatherings in the world: Symbiosis 2012 and Lightning in a Bottle 2012.  Although we left our installation on the east coast (cross country transportation is tough!), we are absolutely thrilled to be setting up the Sanctuary at a variety of the east coast’s leading visionary gatherings and music festivals.  We’ve put so much time and intention into making this happen, and we’ve received many lessons on how to simply ask Spirit for what we want and allow things to unfold synchronistically.

TC soaking in the Galactic Light Code download during the Eclipse at Symbiosis 2012. Pyramid Lake, Nevada.

It is especially exciting to see so many of our friends doing their part to step up and further the Southeast music scene towards a greater collective vision.  I want to give a heart-filled shout out to the pioneering movers and shakers in the east coast visionary movement including our friends:

Rootwire Music Festival
Vision Lab Artist Development
AURA Music and Arts Festival
Brotherly Love Productions
Gnarnia the Festival
DJ Bowie
Keegan Keel

These people are dedicating their lives and their events to a higher cause, that is the evolution of humankind and the shift in collective consciousness, through direct progression of the music and arts scene in the Southeast.  Many of these people are working double shifts at restaurants, spending long nights on the road, and losing money on events because they believe in something more important. They remember they are a part of something greater, and so are you! There is something extraordinary taking place right here and right meow, and these people are fueling it with their hearts, so keep an eye out for their events and support them! Tribal Council is excited to co:create with these entities this summer and in the future.  There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we pool our resources in alignment with a higher vision to aid in the awakening of the collective consciousness on this planet.

Helping our friends and dome gurus, the Mandala Dome crew, erect their mighty 80 ft Rudra, only to have a 70mph windstorm crush it like a tin can three hours later. Oh well, “Paga la tierra” right? Mother Earth and Father Sky reminding us of their power. Symbiosis Gathering 2012: Pyramid Eclipse. Nevada.

Tribal Council is always looking for help from passionate and creative individuals who are interested in the integrative visionary movement.  We are currently expanding our installation to include several small meditation teepees, LED lighting structures, and a sound healing meditation dome.  If you would like to help in the design and construction of such projects, or if you’d simply like to donate materials, time, or financial resources, please email us at  We are also looking for graphic designers and web developers to help with various small projects as well.  Remember, none of us make money doing this, so more help from the collective allows the vision to blossom more effortlessly and magnificently!

Here is Tribal Council’s schedule of gatherings for the coming months, so come find us and get involved. What do you want to see at these gatherings? Do you have an art installation idea? Do you have a skill or trade you’d like to share with the community? Do you have knowledge on a subject that you want to share in the form of a workshop in our dome? We are waiting for you to contact us and make it a reality. Harness the magic of this moment. Take action right now to create what you want.  You are the vision and you hold a vast universe of potentiality within. It’s time to let it shine.

As Always, in All Ways, Gratitude and Blessings.


June 15th – 17th – Impulse Music and Arts Festival
July 20th-23rd – Transformus: North Carolina’s Regional Burning Man
July 27th – 29th – First Annual Tribal Council Campout: Intentional Activation Gathering
August 2nd-6th – Return 2 Roots
August 9th – 11th – Gnarnia the Festival
Auguest 16th – 19th – Rootwire Music Festival

Post Emancipator attempt at group photo. Well, at least we got some of us :) Symbiosis Gathering: Pyramid Eclipse 2012.

TC Gets Interviewed by Sparkleberry Lane

Sparkleberry Lane’s Richard Edens recently asked TC Co-Founder & Coordinator, Clayton Gaar, some questions about Tribal Council’s roots, influences, and overall vision.  This is a comprehensive interview which offers some deeper insight into what Tribal Council is, where it came from, and what makes us tick. Enjoy the read!

Interview with Sparkleberry Lane

Sweet Fruition Goodness at AURA Music and Arts Festival

AURA Festival Sanctuary Timelapse from Tribal Council on Vimeo.

Tribal Council was honored when AURA Music and Arts Festival asked us to set up our dome as the festival sanctuary. We gleefully held sacred space all weekend for festival goers in the Ohm Dome, which looked fresh with the debut of the white flower of life patterned covering. Synchronicities were happening at a “wow” rate and collaborations with visual artists (CLVR ATL) and musicians (Anthony Thogmartin from Papadosio, Sound Duo, Andy Reed) happened organically. Fruition was the key word of the weekend! Perhaps the following blog quote best describes the success of the sanctuary:

“When folks needed respite from the flashing lights and loud sounds, they entered the dome–a beautiful chill space created by the Tribal Council. Inside, healing crystals, incense, and Buddha statues sat atop tables, cushions covered the ground, and spiritual texts were scattered about. DJs spun chill music and transportational visuals were projected onto the ceiling. People spoke, recited poetry, exchanged massages, read, meditated, and relaxed together. The dome was a key element to the overall vibe of the fest.”
County Grind, The Broward and Palm Beach Music Spin

LED hooping is becoming more popular! Photo:

Thirty-six hours after flying back into the country from Envision Festival, I was assembling with fellow councilors for our official festival debut of our newly remodeled dome.  It’s unbelievable how much stuff you can fit into a Toyota 4-Runner.

Looking fierce after packing up the black beast in Atlanta.

After meeting Sir Edwin Leskin in the Wal-Mart parking lot in St. Cloud, Florida, we caravaned the remaining miles to Forever Florida, a 4,700 acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area where AURA Music and Arts Festival is held.  When we arrived, the festival grounds were nearly empty and the stages were hardly set up.  After brief introductions with the festival organizers, Daryl and Cameron of AURA Music Events, we retired to our tents in the Florida Everglade habitat in preparation for the long build day to follow.

Kelsey and Edwin enjoying the build day.

It was a full day of setup and it was joyful!  The crew that stepped up to the plate and signed on for our AURA assignment was a powerful group of movers and shakers that could get things done efficiently while laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  It was our first time installing our white “flower of life” triangle pattern on the dome, and after a bit of experimentation, it went up quick and easy…and boy did it look good! A huge thanks to my parents, true loving, wise elders and integral chieftains of the Tribal Council, who slaved laboriously for hours to finish fabricating these triangles while I was sipping mojitos in Costa Rica.

Peeking through the sanctuary entrance. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Tim Coffey, Art Director of Brotherly Love Productions, hooked us up with a sweet spot right next to the main stage and we were pumped on his vision.  It allowed for people to take a quick respite from the dance floor rage-a-thon, relax on soft pillows and blankets and then be back to boogyin’ in no time.  From years of experience, I certainly know what it’s like to need a break but not want to hike all the way back to the campsite. Usually you end up laying down in the dirt or the cold dew-covered grass in the back of the crowd.  The carpeted dome is a much cozier alternative.

Opening circle to set intentions for the weekend. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Friday afternoon before the music started, the dome crew and some other councilors who had arrived, like the one and only visionary artist Andy Reed, circled up for an opening ceremony.  Edwin led us in a beautifully guided meditation to begin the communion and connect our heart space.  Opening ceremonies are a great way to set intentions and get grounded before the expansive blast off that we experience throughout the weekend at these gatherings.

Preparing for rain. Photo: Clayton Gaar

When a minor monsoon blew in on Friday, we were glad to have a house-sized agricultural tarp with which to cover the sanctuary.  The lightning forced the main stage to stop for about an hour or so, which was fine by us because Cameron, aka the best sound guy ever, began playing a perfectly suited selection of tunes during the rain delay – STS9’s Artifact and Telefon Tel Aviv’s Fahrenheit Fair Enough – and we in the dome were practically the only people still by the main stage to enjoy it!

The TC crew waiting out the monsoon with poetry and sacred texts. Photo: Clayton Gaar

The sanctuary was perfectly safe and dry, so we passed the time dancing to Artifact and taking turns reading aloud our favorite passages of sacred texts and poetry from our massive book collection spread around the altars.

Photo: Caulder Wilson,

Big thanks to Calder Wilson for snapping this sweet wide-angle shot of us during the rain storm. It really helps show the flower of life pattern on the dome. Our silly faces seemed to have proved too wild for the long exposure.

Queen of The Headspace. Photo: Caulder Wilson,

It was an exciting weekend for our friends at The Headspace who, like us, were enjoying their official festival debut appearance vending.  Brett and Taylor are wonderful human beings making big moves in the scene while they strive to provide tons of high-quality art to the community.  They are living proof that good things happen to those who work hard, have good intentions, and spread positive energy.

Photo: Clayton Gaar

Although we TC crew held a constant presence in and around the dome, one of the most beautiful unfoldings of the sanctuary experience was the fact that all the visitors to the dome treated it with the utmost respect.  In essence, everyone became stewards of the space.  There was a sign greeting domies with the message that “This is your sanctuary,” and it was obvious that this sense of ownership was internalized by all.  On the occasion that an unknowing friend walked in with shoes on, another domie would kindly remind them to remove their shoes before we had the chance to open our mouth.  Most noticed on their own accord.  It became clear that people picked up on the sacred vibe of the space immediately and adjusted their mindset and awareness to this fact.  For us, it was extremely rewarding to see this happen and it touched us deeply.

Getting ready to do another smudge stroll through the crowd. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Spontaneity is one of the defining characteristics of Tribal Council.  Whether it was strolling through the crowd at the main stage smudging the sweaty dancers with sage, running into the dome to count off a loud collective “MEEEEOOOOW,” or circling everyone up for a period of OHMing, Tribal Council did what we do best: We serve to remind “our selves,” that is to say your self, my self, and the collective self, that we are gathered here today to honor the miracle of life by fully rejoicing in seriously silly sacred celebration and loving our selves.

The bright full moon was shining down on us all weekend.

Andy Reed, visionary artist and sick DJ. Photo: Clayton Gaar

All the way from the mountains of Asheville, NC, Andy Reed was holding it down as a member of the live painting artist panel all weekend.  His work is truly multidimensional, layering natural landscapes, intergalactic portals, and sacred geometry.  He has also become one of TC’s staple sunrise DJs with his impeccable taste in downtempo and psychedelic ambient music. Andy threw down a lovely sunrise set Saturday morning at the sanctuary after all the stages shut down.

The sanctuary got packed late night with friendly faces. Photo: Clayton Gaar

The dome was always packed in the late night as everyone was looking for a comfortable dry place to give each other back massages and stretch their weary legs.  It was great to see the space get used so much and all the shenanigans were a blast!

The firespinning area was thankfully right in front of the dome so we had front row seats all weekend for the talented performers.

Dear friend and lead guitarist from Papadosio, Anthony Thogmartin, providing sweet lullabies for our ears for sunrise. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Huge props go to Anthony Thogmartin, lead guitarist of Papadosio, who brought his sound to the dome and spun both an original Earth Cry set and a sweet sunrise DJ set Friday and Saturday. It was a beautiful way to end the night, and er…start the new day.

CLVR ATL projected visuals. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Another beautiful synchronicity that manifested on site was the sweet projection visuals from CLVR ATL, which really took the sanctuary to another level.  Anthony’s music and CLVR ATL’s visuals are exactly the type of organic collaborations that Tribal Council is looking for.  Look at what can be accomplished when people come together for the purpose of intentional co:creation?  Yes, it is possible and beautiful in the microcosm of our music and art communities, which appears to be one of the main focuses of TC. However, I’d like expand this idea and ask, “Is this sort of co:creation, this pooling of resources, possible in the macrocosm of our everyday community and, to take it a step further, in our larger community of human civilization?”  The answer is yes, and our civilization is hungrier than ever for it.  Tribal Council seeks to facilitate this shift in every way, shape, and form.  Let us remember our oneness.

Councilors communing in morning meditation. Photo: Caroline Rose

After some early morning cleaning and organization, there was a rare lull in the action for us councilors.  It was the perfect time for our personal practice.  This was the least I’ve ever slept at a music festival but the most energy I’ve ever experienced at a gathering.  I felt chi channeling through me, and it was the result of both the joy of being in service and the benefits of the meditative environment of the sanctuary.

Bodhi Tree art crew. Van piece painted at festival. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Sometimes in life your neighbors can be a drag.  Not this time!  We were blessed to share our space in the main stage field with the Orlando-based Bodhi Tree crew, who were creating super fresh graffiti artworks all weekend and blowing glass on sight in their mobile studio.  Bodhi Tree has it going on, artistically and spiritually, and we look forward to future neighborly interactions and collaborations.  If you’re in Orlando, I suggest stopping by their boutique to give them some love and buy some glass and graffiti art supplies.

Sarah Tracy working on her newest piece.

Sarah Cat Tracy doing what she does best. Meow! Check out her art page here to see her other works.

Anthony from Papadosio. Photo:

Music-wise, Papadosio stole the entire weekend for me with both of their banger sets Saturday and Sunday night.  These guys are just what our music scene needs.  They bring a fresh, bright, love energy to the scene and their music is uplifting and downright dirty at the same time. In addition to the tunes, Jason Takahashi brought the sacred fractal hot sauce visuals during Dosio’s sets as well! Integration. Yes we are integrating.

Tim Coffey, dear friend and AURA Art Director. The man with the plan. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Dear friend and the man with the plan, Tim Coffey. We love you Timmy!

Tim Coffey brought in a great group of live painters for the weekend. Photo: Clayton Gaar

This is what I love to see, live art everywhere! People creating in full force.  Tim brought in a lot of great talent in the live artist line-up.

This fact was evident when one walked into the art tent, which housed all the works of the live artists.

Didgeridoo sound healing in the sanctuary Sunday night. Photo: Clayton Gaar

We were stoked when a friend brought a didgeridoo to the sanctuary and blasted some sound healing vibrations at folks on the last night tip.  With TC’s interests and expertise in areas like sound healing, sacred geometry, metaphysics, and spirituality, expect to see some educational workshops come out of the sanctuary in the near future.  If you have a skill or an area of expertise you’d like to share with the community, contact us at

Chanting and breath work class in the sanctuary. Photo: Clayton Gaar

In line with the aforementioned workshops, another delightful surprise was when the Miami yogis – Kelly Searcy, Bernardo Valero, and Joaquin de Teresa – asked to hold their chanting and breathwork class in the sanctuary after the yoga class.  This felt so good that we did a wicked fun yoga class in the dome the following afternoon.  The highlight of the class was when we blew the tarp straight off the dome in the rain from the massive ball of chi we were building in the dome!

AURA Sanctuary Crew. Left to Right: Edwin Leskin, Sarah Tracy, Caroline Rose, Kelsey Armbruster, Ben Loftis, Clayton Gaar. Photo: Clayton Gaar

The lesson of the AURA experience for me was how to live in service.  Being a part of the sanctuary team at AURA redefined my understanding of service.  If you are passionate about the way in which you are serving others, it is not work; it is the greatest, most joyful play.  I shall end this with a proper shout out to the AURA TC Sanctuary crew, whose positive attitudes, abundant creativity, and righteous dedication surely made an impact on the energy of the whole festival. So blessed and so grateful to be a part of this!

TC Gets a Website!

Greetings friends and family!

After nearly four years of existing in the real world as well as in the world of Facebook, we have created a website to help focus our creative energy, to share our intentions, and to plan future events and projects.  I am constantly amazed by how much Tribal Council has grown and evolved over the years.  Collectively, we have vast creative forces within us, extensive networking capabilities, and an impressive of amount resources at our disposal.  It is time we utilize all these things to help one another manifest that which we are wanting, whether it be spreading art, sharing teachings, healing others, or co-creating intentional spaces and transformational gatherings.

Thank you Caroline Rose!

Moving forward in 2012, TC has a lot of ideas about the gatherings we want to co-create.  I just came back from the west coast where groups of college students organize renegade gatherings in the national forest every weekend.  They bring generators, PA systems and lights out into the middle of the woods and provide all these services to the public free of charge.  I asked the organizers what it took to successfully put on these events. They said it takes good people, good music, and a lot of love.  Well we certainly have all of that!

Aura Music and Arts Festival has graciously invited us to set up a TC Sanctuary in the main stage area.  We are honored and so very excited to bring the vibe tribe and our geodesic dome down to Florida for a weekend of dancing, meditating, and just straight rejoicing!  We are currently talking to several other music and arts festivals that have expressed interest in the energy and services that we enjoy providing. This year is shaping up to be Tribal Council’s most shining and expansive year ever, and we want you to be a part of it.  After all, we are a collective, meaning our power and creative energy comes from our numbers.  The whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts.

Visionary artist Andy Reed adds his prayers to the effigy before it burns at Transformus 2011, North Carolina's Regional Burning Man Event at Deerfields, NC.

Each one of us is powerful beyond belief.  At our very core we are creative beings. We are infinite.  Imagine what we can accomplish together as a collective, as a family, when we pool our resources and share our skills and wisdom.  Let us support one another, encourage one another, and challenge one another so that we may realize our fullest potential in each moment.

As always, infinite blessings!

Clayton Gaar (Tribal Council Founder and Coordinator)