168 - Mikey Lion & Malena Grosz on Festival Time, Life-Changing Trips, and Community in COVID


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This week I talk with Mikey Lion, music producer and co-founder of Desert Hearts, and Malena Grosz, creator of The Party Pro Toolkit and director of Stargate Reunion, about the pandemic’s distortions of time and community, flow states and festival time, gatherings in the No New Normal, running a festival and record label at the same time, comparing the potentials of festivals and urban nightlife, the impact of stage design and architecture on how community events shape individual experience, the tension between intimacy and scale, my hatred of silent disco and multiple simultaneous competing sound systems, DMT and other life-changing experiences, the good parts of tribalism, psychedelic integration.

We start talking about the initiatic inspirations for both of them as festival producers…and then things get weird. And beautiful and raw and real and intimate — surprisingly, intensely so. Mikey talks about a very bad trip and we help him integrate it.

We aim to close with two questions: What would you tell people in the future if they had forgotten how to party? And what, if they’re better at partying than we are, would you want to ask them?

But then we get to talking about the future of festival economics…

Mikey Lion: Spotify | SoundCloud | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Desert Hearts: Spotify | SoundCloud | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Malena Grosz: Party Pro Toolkit | Future Fossils 96 | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

From the press release for Mikey’s new LP, For The Love:

“Before nurturing his brand and record label into the behemoth that it is today, a young Mikey Lion had been living with his parents and questioning the direction to take his life. Mesmeric album closer ‘Talking To The Trees’ with its lush synth layers and gossamer vocals, sketches out how his path was revealed to him. During a fateful psychedelic trip, he was guided to spread love and community under the banner of House, Techno, and Love that fans know today. Desert Hearts was officially launched in 2012, and the rest is history."

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People & Topics in this episode:

Malena Grosz, Peter Dodds, George Carlin, Burning Man, Coachella, UtopiaFest, Firefly Gathering, Stuart Davis, Aliens and Artists, Topher Sipes, Trinumeral Festival, The War of Art

Related episodes:

David Bronner, Shane Mauss, The Teafaerie, Lydia Violet, Tricia Eastman, Rak Razam and Niles Heckman, Dennis McKenna, Jessica Nielson and Link Swanson

Program Info:

Episode edited by my amazing wife, Nicole Taylor. (It’s even more amazing that she did this when you listen to me divulge our relationship on the show…)

Theme music by Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.

I transcribe this show with help from Podscribe.ai — which I highly recommend to other podcasters. If you’d like to help me edit transcripts for my upcoming Future Fossils book project, please let me know! I’m @michaelgarfield on Twitter & Instagram.

Affiliate Stuff:

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And for my fellow guitarists in the audience, let me recommend you get yourself a Jamstik Studio, the coolest MIDI guitar I’ve ever played. I just grabbed one this year and LOVE it.

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