The Black Sheep Interviews: Shpongle
- Article by Jessica Sommers
- April 11, 2012
You’ve never truly felt “shpongled” until you’ve been to one of Shpongle’s unforgettable performances. We got to chat with Simon Posford, half of the brainchild behind the British psychedelic-electronic duo that’s about making awesome music just as much as it’s about trippy visuals and having an amazing experience at the show. The man behind the six-eyed mask talked to us about goals (or lack of them) and their new set The Masquerade, which just embarked on tour in the US. Check them out during Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL, May 25-27th, or go online to twistedmusic.com/tours and find out when they’re at a venue near you.
The Black Sheep: How did you get involved in playing electronic, trance music?
Simon Posford: I guess I took a terrible path in my childhood at some point and got involved in a bad lot. I was playing in bands at school and stuff like that, playing at local girls’ schools, which was fun. Then for some stupid reason I choose playing electronic music.
TBS: When did you take the leap from making cool electronic music to putting all these psychedelic visuals with it?
Simon: If you’re going to DJ these days, you need to put on some kind of show. We do Shpongle with a live band, which is such a spectacle. We have Brazilian dancers, contortionists in a box, giant florescent Slinkies, not to mention 12 band members on stage. It is psychedelic music and it is mind-expanding stuff, so you need to have a good live show and a good visual show to go with the music.
TBS: Last year you performed with The Shpongletron (a huge DJ booth with lights, screens, and video mapped images projected onto 3D images), and this year you’re performing with The Masquerade. What’s that all about?
Simon: For The Masquerade we actually built a structure called The Glyph, and it’s sort of like The Shpongletron on steroids. It’s trippier, more mapping, just cooler, more psychedelic, more awesome, and I’m a little bit closer to the crowd.
TBS: Why the word ‘shpongle?’
Simon: The word Shpongle came about by my musical partner Raja Ram. He had taken some mind-expanding substance and he was wandering around a festival and he said, “Oh Simon, I’m really shpongled.” It was suppose to be a mix of several words that came out at the same time; spangled, stoned, monged, all these words that he wanted to express all sort of fell out of his mouth into one word, “shpongle.” We got a good laugh and thought that we should probably use it as a band name. After that festival we made our first track, and “Shpongle” was just perfect.
TBS: When you started Shpongle, did you have any goals in mind?
Simon: We never really had any goals, I sort of like not having goals. If you have your goals and you attain them, then now what? Then you set another goal, and then you make this cycle of boredom. If you don’t make your goals, then you’re in a cycle of disappointment. So, we didn’t really have any plans. All we really wanted to do at the time, and continue to do, is to have fun and make music that we want to listen to, and that’s really all I’ve ever done. I do a show that I want to see and maybe that I want to take drugs to. People that don’t like [drugs] don’t have to, because the show has that similar affect on the brain.
TBS: What kind of inspiration do you use for your music and your props?
Simon: Everything inspires one, I think you’d have to have a heart of stone and a mind of mush to go through life without being inspired by the universe we live in. You know, the smile of a stranger or the woman you love, or a raindrop making its way slowly down your window. It’s all about having an open mind, then you’re open to these influences - the sheer beauty and joy and love and inspiration that the world has to offer around every single corner. Whether you have to bust that mind open with psychedelic drugs or if you naturally let it open like a lotus flower, then it doesn’t really matter.
TBS: Okay, true or false: do you put some sort of hallucinogenic-chemical in the air during your concert to get everyone on the same level?
Simon: Wouldn’t that be fantastic? I would love to be able to do that, but it’s probably illegal and I’m barely allowed in this country as it is. That’s the only reason not to do it though!
TBS: After your show is all said and done, what’s your beverage of choice?
Simon: Alcoholic, vodka and soda. Non-alcoholic, ginger ale or Coke, not water.