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FROM: New York, New York HEAR: Treehouse SEE: Life Is Beautiful, Voodoo
A BASS-HEAVY BANGER PEPPERED WITH COWBELLS AND BONGO DRUMS, Sofi Tukker’s “Drinkee” was the unlikeliest hit of 2016. But the offbeat number became a streaming sensation and went on to earn the duo, comprised of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, a Grammy nomination. The song is a perfect distillation of their anything-goes approach to music.
“We just made it because we loved it and thought it was cool,” says the
six-foot-eight Halpern, who discovered a love of production after a fatigueinducing virus ended his college basketball career. “We never thought it would be what it ended up being at all.” That willingness to experiment still shapes the duo’s sound, which bounces from oddball jungle-dance, complete with bird and elephant sounds, to the Top 40–friendly pop of radio hit “Best Friend.”
The experimentation also informs their live performances. “We end up
writing a lot of our music while we are on the road and then test it out in the live show before we finish the songs,” Hawley-Weld, who met Halpern at
songs. We like that there is a physical center point to our stage and that it is
Brown University, explains. “As a result, the music and the live show have
something both natural and man-made.”
become more and more intertwined. It’s a really fun challenge since we are
only two people.” They overcome that limitation with spontaneity and a
performing at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands in 2017. This year,
most unusual prop.
they’re bringing the party to Life Is Beautiful, Austin City Limits, and Voodoo
“We try to make sure there is a raw, live element to the way we
Fest. To find them, just follow the people smeared in glitter and face paint.
perform a song,” she says of their high-energy set, which often combines
“We have people dressing up as us,” Hawley-Weld enthuses, “or people just
crowd surfing, choreography, and…a book tree. “We have this big sculpture
dressing up as jungle creatures or foliage. It’s so fun! We always feel really
in the middle of the stage—we call it the book tree,” Halpern says. “It’s
flattered.” That sentiment is shared by her collaborator. “We have a cool
an eight-foot-tall thing with books around it. There are little contact
audience,” Halpern confirms.
Sofi Tukker and their book tree have become festival staples,
microphones inside of the books and when you hit them with drumsticks,
it plays different samples.”
“I would say hydrate and bring a phone charger backup,” Halpern muses.
As festival regulars, they have plenty of advice for partygoers.
“We came up with it gradually over time,” Hawley-Weld, perhaps
“That’s key. Phones always die and then you can’t find your friends and it’s
preempting confusion, elaborates. “At first it was a little stump. It was made
annoying. Plan out the day, because I always get bummed when I plan on
up of fruits and vegetables, but then the fruit got saggy, so we connected
seeing certain bands and just screw up and miss them.” And one last thing:
the contact microphones to books of poetry that we were using in our
“Definitely don’t miss the Sofi Tukker show.” BY MIKE WASS PHOTO BY SHERVIN LAINEZ
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FROM: Brooklyn, New York HEAR: Twentytwo in Blue
SEE: XPoNential, Pickathon, Voodoo
“THERE’S A CERTAIN INTENSITY WITH FESTIVALS THAT COMES FROM EVERYONE BEING THERE, AND BEING BACKSTAGE, THAT GETS YOU REALLY AMPED UP TO PLAY,” says Julia Cumming, bassist and lead vocalist of Sunflower Bean. “With regular club shows, you can get into a pattern that you’re used to; but at festivals, you’ve got a million things coming at you all at once.” The hard-touring New York trio, which also includes guitarist/ vocalist Nick Kivlen and drummer Jacob Faber, has had plenty of experience with both club gigs and festival dates in their five years as a band. Sunflower Bean’s moody, melodic, psychedelia-tinged brand of indie pop—as heard on Twentytwo in Blue, their second and latest full-length release—takes on a more playful and unpredictable feel in a live setting. “With this record, we did a lot of orchestration that we were really happy with,” Cumming explains. “But it’s fun to stretch things out and surprise people, and offer something that they can’t get on the record. There’s something magical about people playing together—and even the possibility of failure. If you do a show one night, then the next night it’s not going to be the same, and I think that makes it possible for us to tour a lot, because each night is different. We try to surprise each other and we try to push each other to have a really interesting show. I think what a lot of people expect from live music these days is basically fireworks and someone pressing play—which is fine, but we offer something else. What we do is almost a different kind of art form.” “We just really believe in live playing,” adds Kivlen. “It’s something that’s inspired us over the years growing up, and it’s something we really hold close to our hearts. Which is not to say that we’ll never expand things or do anything different, but it’s just where we’re coming from. If people are coming to see a live band, then we’re going to give them a live show!”
Having only previously played in New Orleans once—in February of this year, opening for fellow New Yorkers Sleigh Bells at Republic NOLA— Sunflower Bean are looking forward to getting further acquainted with the vibrant city in October, when they’ll be playing Voodoo Fest. “The first time we were there was actually right around Mardi Gras, and it was pretty overwhelming, in a good way,” Cumming recalls. “So I’m excited to take in more of the food and more of the culture, and to take in more of that amazing town… Also, it’s close to Halloween, which is one of our favorite holidays,” she laughs. “Shows around Halloween are fun, because you can kind of conceptualize costumes and play cover sets. One time we did a Halloween cover set as The Smashing Pumpkins–slash–Marilyn Manson. I don’t think we’ll be doing that for Voodoo Fest—but I can’t say we won’t!” BY DAN EPSTEIN PHOTO BY ANDY D e LUCA
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FROM: Compton, California HEAR: Harlan & Alondra SEE: Lollapalooza, Cayuga Sound Festival
WHEN DISCUSSING COMPTON RAPPER BUDDY, MANY OF MUSIC’S MOST FAMOUS NAMES ARE SPOKEN IN TANDEM: Pharrell, Kaytranada, Mike & Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Miley Cyrus. Yes, Buddy (born Simmie Sims III) has a resume that includes signing to Pharrell’s label i am OTHER in 2011, releasing two EPs in 2017 alone—Ocean & Montana with Kaytranada and Magnolia, produced by Mike & Keys—and a back catalogue boasting features from Kendrick and Miley. But the twenty-
four-year-old isn’t resting on anyone else’s laurels. “A lot of people seem to depict the people coming out of Compton as no-dad/no-mom crazy vagabonds running around,” Buddy says. “That’s the whole perception of Compton. I’m trying to show a different side—a young boy from a wholesome family who grew up in Compton, went through all the bullshit, but prevailed through all adversity.”
On his proper full-length debut, Harlan & Alondra, Buddy pays homage
to the city and his roots; the album is named after the intersection where he grew up. The record sees cameos from his mother, his father (a pastor), and his nephew, in addition to more famous names like Khalid and Snoop Dogg. “It’s more of an on-location type of vibe,” Buddy says. “I’m really trying to talk about me and where I grew up and my family.”
Though raised in Compton, Buddy bounced between church, school
himself. He plans on bringing that same energy to the music-festival circuit.
in Long Beach, and theater programs like the Amazing Grace Conservatory
“I feel like with acting, you’ve always got to pretend to be somebody else,
in Los Angeles. After forays in acting, he was introduced to Pharrell, who
but in music I get to be myself, solely,” he says.
signed him and helped produce his first mixtape, Idle Time, which Buddy
released in 2011 without label backing. His subsequent EPs, Ocean &
up—the reality of his and his fans’ lives. He didn’t grow up surrounded by
Montana and Magnolia, showcase a sunny West Coast outlook highlighted
wealth and extravagance, so better to stick to the themes he knows—the
by Kaytranada’s production on the former and smoky ambiance courtesy of
trials of a young man with dreams, the small moments in broken down cars,
production team Mike & Keys on the latter.
at parties, crushes in Compton—and the experiences he’s been humbled
As for his live chops, Buddy cut his teeth touring this year with both
by, like getting to work with and learn from the best in music, and not the
Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Ferg, outings that Buddy says helped get his name—
champagne and private jets. “The consumers aren’t rappers,” Buddy says,
and personality—in front of fans. It was also a way to develop a character,
“so I feel like they deal with a different day-to-day life. It’s always better to
not unlike what he learned in acting classes—except this time, the role is
make relatable music than songs about some unattainable fantasy life.”
Rather than succumb to the bravado of rap, Buddy elevates the come-
BY ALLIE VOLPE PHOTO BY SHANE GONZALES 6
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Ar ti st s Yungblud
SiriusXM’s Alt Nation DJ and music programmer Jeff Regan breaks down eight rising festival artists you don’t want to miss.
From: Doncaster, England The Deal: Incorporating ska, punk, hip-hop, and rock into a fresh take on alternative rock, this nineteen-year-old from the UK is set to break out on the North American festival scene The Song: “Anarchist” See: Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful, Warped Tour
Pale Waves From: Manchester, England The Deal: Goth-pop outfit who have worked and toured with The 1975, inspiring the style and sound of their debut EP, All the Things I Never Said The Song: “Kiss” See: Lollapalooza, Outside Lands
PHOTO BY BRIAN GRIFFIN
Amy Shark From: Gold Coast, Australia The Deal: Pop purist who has honed her craft and musical style opening for Vance Joy and is now ready to take the stage in support of her debut release, Love Monster The Song: “I Said Hi” See: Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful
nothing,nowhere. PALE WAVES
From: Foxborough, Massachusetts The Deal: Joe Mulherin—a.k.a. nothing,nowhere.—fuses hip-hop, rock, and emo into a unique style of music all his own, highlighted on his most recent album, ruiner The Song: “ruiner” See: Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot
Catch Jeff Regan on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation (Channel 36) Monday through Thursday (5:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.) and as the host of the emerging artist show Advanced Placement on Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. Listen to Alt Nation’s Alt-8 Countdown every Saturday at 1:00 p.m., with replays Saturday (3:00 p.m.), Sunday (3:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m., and Monday (10:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m.).
Ne ed morgxn
From: Nashville, Tennessee The Deal: Alt-pop singer/songwriter incorporating soul, electro, and rock elements on his debut album vital The Song: “Carry the Weight” See: Lollapalooza, Cayuga Sound Festival
lovelytheband From: Los Angeles, California The Deal: After breaking through with the song “Broken,” the indie-pop trio is ready to build upon its success at festivals across the country The Song: “these are my friends” See: Lollapalooza, Billboard Hot 100 Festival, Bumbershoot, Life Is Beautiful
Two Feet From: New York, New York The Deal: Singer/songwriter/producer Zachary William Dess—a.k.a. Two Feet—successfully blends minimal rock, alt-rock, blues, and hip-hop styles with thick production elements The Song: “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” See: Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful, Music Midtown, All Things Go
PHOTO BY JIMMY FONTAINE
Wallows From: Los Angeles, California The Deal: Buzzy three-piece whose Spring EP has set the tone for a breakout summer of touring The Song: “Pictures of Girls” See: Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful, Austin City Limits, Voodoo Fest
EAT to the BEAT HOW INSTAGRAM-READY FOOD GOES FROM FARM TO FESTIVAL by Scott T. Sterling photos by Katrina Barber
The vast array of cuisine choices afforded to festival fans today is light years from Wavy Gravy’s “breakfast in bed for 400,000” (cups of granola donated by the Hog Farm Collective) and sandwiches hastily airdropped in from US Army helicopters attempting to feed the masses assembled at Woodstock. With American festival culture kicking into high-gear after the 1999 launch of Coachella, the caliber and quality of food leveled up quickly.
It wasn’t long after the dawn of Coachella when the husband and wife team of Chris and JJ Parent converted an old ambulance into a rolling pizza truck in Burlington, Vermont. Taking their pies on the road as a way to help finance their shared love of following music festivals, the Parents would connect with the promoters of Coachella, where that pizza—now known as Spicy Pie—has become a huge fan favorite and unofficial food of the fest. With up to a hundred workers covering five stands spread across the Empire Polo Grounds (including a twenty-four-hour stand in the Coachella campgrounds), Spicy Pie delivers a fun and upbeat party vibe along with the food itself. Now established at more than twentyfive festivals throughout America, the folks running Spicy Pie keep slinging slices even after the headliners are done. “We stay open until security shuts us down,” manager Tori Tremayne told L.A. Weekly last year of the indie company’s dedication to being there for hungry fans. “We stay open until the bitter end.” The next big paradigm jump in festival food came in 2008 with
the arrival of San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. Featuring a heavy emphasis on eco-friendliness, Outside Lands has made the most of the sprawling Golden Gate Park locale, with dedicated food and drink installations, including Wine Lands and the now-defunct Choco Lands. The Bay Area’s eclectic food scene is deeply embedded in the fabric of Outside Lands, with local stars like Humphry Slocombe ice cream and Thai/Lao eatery Hawker Fare becoming popular on-site food essentials, and the event’s deliciously ambitious cuisine curation putting the rest of the circuit on notice— festival food is very serious business. Also meeting that growing demand for fresh festival foods are the dedicated folks working behind the scenes to orchestrate expansive menus found at events like Chicago’s legendary Lollapalooza. Chow Town is a cherry-picked selection of the city’s finest restaurateurs and vendors assembled to fuel the fans that descend on Grant Park for the annual four-day festival. “We try to have Chow Town highlight local spots as much as
possible, and seeing how Chicago has one of the most vibrant food scenes in the country, it’s quite easy,” explains the fest’s food curator, celebrity chef Graham Elliot. “Charlie Jones of [concert promotions firm] C3 and Perry Farrell approached me in 2008 to be a part of Chow Town,” Elliot continues. “It was so much fun that the following year I was asked to help curate the food offerings for the whole festival.” The chef cites a decided turn toward cleaner, healthier fare as the latest evolution of festival food, reflected in Lollapalooza’s 2018 vendor selection. “Obviously, you’re seeing a younger crowd nowadays, and with that, a greater focus on health and trendy items,” Elliot says. “Juices, gluten-free, veggie-focused, and the like are definitely going to be featured more than ever.” The Chicago chef is responsible for what is considered by many to be Lollapalooza’s signature snack: lobster corn dogs. Besides selling countless numbers of the delicious seafood-on-a-stick treat, it’s become a social media staple. “I think [it’s] just the juxtaposition of luxury and lowbrow,” Elliot says. “Lobster, mayo, corn dog batter
on a stick. The fact that it’s large and fun, and the world lives through Instagram—it’s a no-brainer.” Elliot will be showcasing those famous lobster corn dogs alongside fare from his latest Chi-Town hotspot, Gideon Sweet. “It’s a cocktail-focused restaurant with a revolving menu of small bites— think American style dim-sum,” the chef dishes. “We’ll be doing a double-booth at Lollapalooza with the lobster corn dogs and spicy fried chicken.” Elliot is a serious music fan as well, fresh from participating at this year’s BottleRock festival in Napa, California, where he was “very impressed” by the food curation. He’s shared a delightfully eclectic playlist on his website, citing Michael Jackson, Girl Talk, Wilco, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Mark Mallman as some of his favorite artists. “As for who I’d like to see play Lolla?” he ponders. “I wanna see The Smiths reunite, and maybe Talking Heads.” A newer festival on the annual summer circuit is Las Vegas’s Life Is Beautiful, which, like Lollapalooza, works to inject as much local
flavor into the food as possible. “A big part of it is that the festival is so uniquely Las Vegas. There are a lot of things you’ll find at Life Is Beautiful that you won’t see at other big-name fests,” promises Lee Flint, the event’s food curator. “When it comes to who we want to work with, it starts with looking at our own community. And the Vegas community is also one of the most prime examples of a true melting pot in the United States. We have so much from all over the place here.” Having watched the evolution of festival food at Life Is Beautiful closely, Flint reports that, in 2018, a dish’s looks are more important than ever. “The thing that everyone talks about is something that is not only delicious, but also a great visual piece that can be shared through social media,” he notes. “It’s such a big piece of everyone’s lives today. We’re taking that to heart in terms of not only making sure that we’re providing great quality food, but also hopefully surprising them with the presentation.” And fests aside, finding good food in New Orleans is much like
shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. So it’s no surprise that eating well at Voodoo Fest is as easy as strolling through the Forked Up Food Court. Expect long lines for Dat Dog, the city’s famous purveyor of premier sausages and hot dogs (who do also have a veggie version). Voodoo Fest 2017 food favorites included deep-fried Oreos, courtesy of Rusty Pelican, and Swamp Kitchen’s decadent crawfish étouffée. Food discovery has become as essential a part of the music festival experience as discovering music itself. Fest-hopping across America introduces fans to local food and culture that might otherwise be missed between the roadtrip, the campsite, and the main stage. “[But] it’s still all about the basics today, as it was ten years ago,” insists Elliot, on the ultimate key to curating music fest food. While the cuisine continues to evolve in step with fans’ tastes over each passing season, certain essential elements will always remain the same: “People want simple, tasty food that can be prepared quickly, eaten easily, and carried around.”
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All That Jazz Arcade Fire and Preservation Hall Jazz Band Parade into the Beyond DURING THE COMEDOWN OF ANOTHER RIOTOUS AND RIGHTEOUS JAZZ FEST, WIN BUTLER AND REGINE CHASSAGNE JOINED THEIR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE BEN JAFFE IN THE LOUISIANA SUN TO CONSIDER HOW THEY GOT THERE, AND WHERE THEYâ€™RE ALL HEADED NEXT. BY JENNIFER ODELL FLOOD
Like scores of starry-eyed culture lovers before them, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne drifted into their adopted hometown of New Orleans, extending a Jazz Fest visit by a few days that soon turned into years. On paper, Houston-raised Butler and his Haitian-Québécois bandmate and wife, Chassagne, share plenty of roots with New Orleans, which lies just a few hours east of H-Town, was settled by the French, and gained a massive Haitian population after the Haitian Revolution. But the couple’s connection to the city extends beyond geography and ancestry—a fact their friend Ben Jaffe, the artistic director of Preservation Hall, has become well aware of over the past decade. Jaffe’s Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Arcade Fire team up regularly, especially in any situation where the two parade-prone bands can get away with jumping off a stage and into a crowd, instruments in hand. As the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival wound down this year, Jaffe sat with Butler and Chassagne in a courtyard behind the historic Marigny home that the Jazz Band uses as its studio. The trio of like-minded musicians invited FLOOD to join as they discussed the cultural connections between Haiti and New Orleans, their new Haitian-focused carnival Krewe du Kanaval, and some of the more insane festival situations they’ve found themselves in through the years. 18
photo by Paul Costello
about your Haitian roots was eye-opening. It’s rare to meet other people who have the same interest and curiosity about music and appreciate other musical centers like New Orleans. Regine Chassagne: I’ve always been attracted to New Orleans because I recognize a lot of Haiti in the air—the walls, the people, the music, the way of life. When I was, like, fourteen years old, I would play this song that I learned by myself, “Do You Know What It Means [to Miss New Orleans],” over and over. One of the first cassettes I got was Louis Armstrong and I would just listen to that all the time. Then every time we came here, we’d play and I’d be like, “Wait, this...place!” And then we’d come back and, “Ah...this place!” And then we played a few years later, and after Jazz Fest we said, let’s just stay here for a few more days because it was the end of the tour and every time it was just, “I can’t leave this place!” Ben: You were still discovering Haiti then, too. Regine: I went to Haiti in 2008 for the first time. Win Butler: I started to learn about Haiti through Regine’s family. Around Christmastime, we’d have dinner with her aunts and uncles, and that was really my first exposure to somewhere where I was the only non-Haitian. Everyone would sit around the table talking about Haiti and music. Sometimes it takes coming from the outside to appreciate what’s special about a place. When we come to New Orleans or go to Haiti, it’s like there’s diamonds in the ground everywhere, and if you’re from New Orleans or Haiti you might not see that.
photo by Paul Costello
Ben Jaffe: Going to Haiti with you and learning
Ben: It’s interesting how that appreciation for history touches the creative process. When my parents came to New Orleans, part of [their interest in Preservation Hall] was them being outsiders and having their minds blown and not being able to understand how there weren’t places that were celebrating this thing that existed here. Win: I felt that way about Montreal. I’m American. I don’t have this burden that a lot of Englishspeaking people from Québec feel in a Frenchspeaking province. There were so many great people there. I got so much energy coming into it. When you get to combine your energy with other
people’s, you can always do something a lot more interesting. Krewe du Kanavale is a great example: It’s this collision of our world and your world and then we’re trying to do something positive with it. FLOOD: Festivals can be creative collisions, too. Win: The cool thing with festivals is it’s a much larger and more diverse group of people than any show you’re playing on your own. If you’re in the right festival at the right time on the right year, and your music is happening for those people in the right way, then there’s an energy feedback that can happen with this large group of people that’s pretty special. I don’t know how to explain what FFLLOOOODD
photo by Jennifer McCord
“We get out there and Win’s telling security, ‘No, I don’t want to just march in the pit, we’re goin’ out there.’ And they pull the gates open and somehow we get into the audience at Coachella and they’re rabid. It was insane, it was like being in a mosh pit.” — Ben Jaffe
the magic synergy is that makes it happen. FLOOD: When was the first time your bands shared one of those synergistic festival moments? Ben: The first time was at Coachella [in 2014]. We met you down in the pit—you came out with your Daft Punk helmets on and everybody went crazy. Win: Every year that was the joke! Like, “Oh, is Daft Punk gonna play?” So we figured, let’s just pretend Daft Punk’s playing. Ben: And then the helmets came off and everybody was like, “Huh? They’re Daft Punk?!” It was really the first time we had done an unplanned, unsecured parade into an audience of that size. 20 FLOOD FLOOD 20
We’re seasoned paraders, but… Win: People in New Orleans know how to make way and behave. You don’t grab the tuba player for a selfie here because everybody here plays tuba. Ben: We get out there and Win’s telling security, “No, I don’t want to just march in the pit, we’re goin’ out there.” And they pull the gates open and somehow we get into the audience at Coachella and they’re rabid. It was insane, it was like being in a mosh pit. I was like, “This is cool! And nobody has any idea what the fuck’s going on right now! This is great! Everybody’s completely lost their minds! Win’s trying to destroy Coachella and create some
chaos!” [Laughs.] That kind of led to everything else since then. Win: Then we did it in Paris and it was easy—the Parisians are really down. Ben: The one we did in Madrid was wild. Win: That one went a little crazy. We left the arena without a plan. I led us outside but there was kinda nowhere to go. We also paraded with you in Cuba. That was cool because it’s not really a parading culture, but they definitely got it. Ben: Well, it’s just like New Orleans: there’s the rhythm and you’re dancing. It was really beautiful. Win: We also did that before we knew anything about New Orleans. Our shows were always in the crowd. Regine: Even when we had a stage, we would start and finish in the crowd. For years before I was playing with Arcade Fire, I was playing with my medieval band [Les Jongleurs de la Mandragore] and we were playing in restaurants, at fairs, at
photo by Jennifer McCord photo by Jennifer McCord
places where you are right in front of the person, where there are no special lights or sounds. Long shows, like eight hours, weddings, on the lawn, in the streets, in the subway... Ben: That’s so much like New Orleans—not having electricity, playing long gigs, anywhere, anytime. Regine: I think it’s a cool challenge to retain the intimate directness of a performance that has no screen and no stage and no lights but to try to use the tools to still get the message and the feeling through. I saw a lot of people on this tour we just did go, like, “Oh my god, I grabbed a stranger’s hand on this song and we were just crying together!” I loved performing in a circle because it kind of made it less about us and more about just being there together. Everybody can see not only us but also everybody else, so it’s kind of more about the moment. Win: Before we had ever been to Mardi Gras, we had been to Carnival in Haiti and in Trinidad, and we had played in Brazil, so we had some exposure to the universality of that culture. I kind of miss doing festivals like Lollapalooza in Latin America, where you’re on so many dates with all the same bands, all taking the same puddlejumper flights. You really get to hang out with artists and get to know each other and make friends. We met at Bonnaroo, right? Ben: That was hilarious. It was 2011, and we had just broken through to play Bonnaroo. My friend, [photographer] Danny Clinch, was like, “You have to see this band,” so he snuck me backstage. It was unbelievable. I had no idea a band could take what they had recorded and bring it to the stage that way. So I’m trying to take it all in on this little platform behind the stage, looking at the stars, and then I
22 FLOOD photo by Paul Costello
community that’s already engaged in the city, so it was about, how do you make everybody more aware of what’s here already and celebrate that? FLOOD: Then the profit went to support the Preservation Hall Foundation, which works to preserve New Orleans’ music and cultural traditions, and the KANPE Foundation, which started around the same time. Regine: KANPE means “to stand up” in Haitian Creole, so the goal was to have the families in the community stand up on their own and have a decent livelihood. I’m really happy about how it’s working. KANPE works in rural Haiti in villages that are isolated and have basically no resources. We started in 2010 in a village that’s very hard to access. We chose that place in collaboration with other organizations that determined it would basically
be the worst-off place we could go. The idea is focusing on one area but attacking the spokes of the wheel of the cycle of poverty at all different angles at the same time. There’s a lot of progress done that way, because you don’t just need one thing to get your life back together. It needs to be constant and it needs to be all of it. Win: It’s like with Ben after Katrina. A lot of the stuff he was working on had to do with getting musicians back but also getting health care for musicians, getting their homes back, getting people access to their instruments. It isn’t just one thing, and it comes from this place of love. Regine: It comes from a place of love and of listening. It’s like music. If you’re gonna help somebody, you really gotta sit down and listen because the answer is there.
photo by Jennifer McCord
hear, “Thank you and goodnight.” All of a sudden, the whole band is around me. I didn’t know you, and I’m like, “OK, um, how are you doing?” I think you went back to do an encore but for this moment I was in the huddle. Win: Ben’s one of those dudes where if he’s backstage, he looks like he’s supposed to be there because he’s basically been there for his whole life. Ben: We met again at One Eyed Jacks, late one night after a Voodoo Fest show. After Hurricane Katrina, I just wanted to bring everybody back [to New Orleans]—bring Dr. John back, bring everybody. We sponsored a stage at Voodoo and then we created this whole area where everybody could hang backstage. Win: When we were in the finishing stages of [Everything Now], we played Voodoo Fest and we had the crowd sing a snippet of the main melody of [the title track], which is difficult, trying to get a lot of people to sing a song they’ve never heard before. But it made it onto the record—kind of a big singalong crowd bit in the breakdown. Ben: A festival can also leave the window open to create something new. Like us creating Krewe du Kanaval was something we thought was needed here. Win: In a way, Krewe du Kanavale was paying tribute to the original Heritage Fest by having it in Congo Square. Ben: My dad was one of the founding members of Jazz Fest and they didn’t have a crew to clean up Congo Square after the festival the first year, so my mom and George Wein’s wife ran to the A&P and grabbed trash bags and cleaned up at the end of Sunday. To be able to do something this significant and for it to actually have a profit to share with our foundations is unbelievable. There’s a Haitian