The LEAF offers a very different experience than the one promised by this weekend’s inaugural Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit. The first is a celebration of creativity in a pastoral setting, with styles ranging from Americana to world music.
Mountain Oasis digs deeper into its chosen area, offering world-class electronic acts alongside a smattering of other styles. King Britt, an energetic DJ from Philadelphia and a great fit for both concepts, played LEAF last weekend. On Saturday, he’ll hit Mountain Oasis with the U.S. premiere of his techno-operatic fusion, Fhloston Paradigm.
Xpress caught up with Britt to get his thoughts on both festivals.
Mountain Xpress: If you were attending Mountain Oasis as a fan, what acts would be at the top of your list to see?
King Britt: Well, Actress, Laurel Halo, Tara Busch and Deltron 3030 … amazing!
How about at LEAF? Who did you want to see there? How did your excitement for that compare to your anticipation for Mountain Oasis? I worked with Zap Mama a few years ago on an album I did. We did a few songs, and I remixed Poetry Man for her and [Michael] Franti. Dr. John, I have been a fan of since a kid, so I’m stoked. Also to DJ there, bring something new to the ears.
What are some themes or narratives you've been working with recently in your music? Well, with Fhloston Paradigm, I have been focusing on the combination of analog electronic music and operatic vocals. Working with Pia Ercole on many of the songs has taken the album to a whole next level sonically and emotionally. Our presentation for Mountain Oasis will include my friend Mike Todd on visuals, who has amazing knowledge and balance between technology and humanness. The album is a post-apocalyptic sonic narrative but with a lot of hope.
How did you come up with the presentation you'll be doing at Mountain Oasis? I have been working on Fhloston for a while. It’s been one of my favorite projects because I have gotten to use all my synths. Preparing the live show is a bit tricky, but working with Pia Ercole and Mike Todd, I can’t ask for a better team.
Tell me about your collaboration with Pia Ercole. Why do you work well together? Just musical chemistry and similar interests in sonics. Like-minded revolutionaries.
The music is a combination of analog electronic music and operatic vocals. How's that going to work? Well, you will see at Mountain Oasis. Think Fifth Element and Blade Runner.
Have you tried anything like this before? Tell me about the challenges of matching those analog sounds with operatic elements. No challenges. You just need a singer who is willing to not be ruled by classical training. Pia is into both opera [and] jazz, and [she’s] a DJ!
Why was Mountain Oasis the right place to premiere this in the U.S.? The lineup made perfect sense, and I looove Asheville.
Are there any acts at Mountain Oasis that you feel are doing similarly far-flung fusions? Tara Busch and Laurel Halo.
In general, how important are collaborative projects for you? Do you prefer them to working solo? I love both. As an only child, I have selfish days, and days where I long for collabs and like-minded comrades.
Besides music, what are you looking forward to most at Mountain Oasis? The clear air in my lungs and showing my lady how dope Asheville is, so we can retire there.
Alli Marshall contributed to this report.
who: King Britt presents Fhloston Paradigm with Pia Ercole
where: Diana Wortham Theatre, 2 N. Pack Square. mountainoasisfestival.com.
when: Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.