GOING IN DEEP WITH YOUNG MARCO AND DAN MITCHELL FOR THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF SUNDOWN CIRCLE: THE FULL CIRCLE
Happy anniversary SUN DOWN CIRCLE!! We are speaking with Young Marco, The DJ who headlined at the first event 5 years ago and is back for this significant anniversary event, and Dan Mitchel, the Creative Director of Potato Head Beach Club who has been at the helm of a lot of the creative changes implemented since the start and was also the brains behind the iconic Sun Down Circle brand which has been showcasing some incredible artists and events in the last 5 years, constantly evolving and never more so than for this years Anniversary event!
SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN BACK ON THE ISLAND! YOU’VE BEEN HERE SO MANY TIMES, WE THINK YOU’RE ALMOST A LOCAL! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU ACTUALLY BEEN AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SPOTS?
Its great to be back! I believe this is my fourth visit. I love coming here, it never gets old. Its hard to pick a favourite spot! I just love zipping around on a scooter and seeing where I end up.
From your perspective, what’s different about Bali since your 5 hour set, 5 years ago at the first edition of SDC? And what’s different about yourself both musically and personally since that unforgettable evening?
Every time I come here a lot has changed. Bali is obviously developing very quickly, but the energy is still the same, there is still magic here. Musically I don’t think I’ve changed much, I still do whatever it is I do. The actual records might have changed, but I don’t really think in genres too much, more in vibe and intent.
Tell us about your recent album, “Bahasa”… It sounds so different to all your previous work and we assume it’s inspired by Bali? Is there any specific moment that made you creatively inspired to dedicate an album to Indonesia? Did you work with local musician? And how do the crowd react when you play tracks from the album?
I actually think it’s not that different from what I have done before, maybe just in instrumentation. I was invited to come to Bali by Island Of The Gods, the record label that put it out. I spent 2 weeks recording with local musicians and making stuff on my own to translate my take on the soul of Bali. Also my grandfather is from Indonesia, so I had some Indonesian influence growing up, the record is dedicated to him and my grandmother. The record is about my roots really. It’s not really a record I play to crowds, it would probably better be suited to listen to at home, but if you wanna dance to it, by all means!
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own sound?
Because of the way I make music, mostly with old machines, no computers, in a very improvised manner, my learning phase was more focused on getting to know the gear rather than emulating others. I actually think people are often a lot more original when they just start out as they work more intuitively because they don’t know what their doing! I try to keep that in my process by not overthinking too much and leaving some space for happy accidents.
Since this year’s SDC marks their 5th anniversary, can we expect something unique from your performance?
I never do the same thing twice, I wouldn’t even know how! Just get amongst it and enjoy the ride!
So Dan, how many years have you been with Potato Head? How does the surrounding of the venue effect you as a professional? And what have been the key changes since you started?
I’ve been Creative Director at Potato Head for 5 years now. Within those five years we have evolved as a brand. We began as a beach club to hotel, lifestyle and hospitality brand and are now expanding to a full Creative Village where we believe “Good Times, Do Good”. That is basically the philosophy on all that we are doing at Potato Head.
What do you think are the difficulties in producing an event in Bali since there is so much competition now? What does it take to make it work?
I think in any place in the world doing events is not an easy thing to do. Especially if you see the amount of work that you have to put into it, the amount of planning, organization etc. In Bali, do I think it is personally difficult? Not particularly because I am very lucky to have a team who know what they are doing and also in Bali, our offering is different to what other venues are doing as we have a take on something that incorporates music, fashion, also all in composing a cultural brand.
This year Potato Head have prepared something extra special to marks the 5th anniversary of Sundown Circle by making it full circle, starting the event early from Sunrise. What does it mean for SDC to be full circle? Are there any big changes for the future of SDC?
So as I mentioned, in the past five years we evolved as a business. 5 years ago we launched Sun Down Circle which was remarkable, we have dance music but to mark the anniversary we want to showcase how much as a brand we have evolved the past five years and the reason why we start the program at 6 AM is to showcase that we have evolved into so many different areas, nourishment, wellness, creativity, and sustainability. From Sunrise with Pyramids of Chi to a communal breakfast and a talk with Lawrence Blair an initiative with Green School and then the evening program with DJs, CC:Disco!, Young Marco, Dea and Belda!!
Potato Head have many signature events… can you describe Potato Head’s state of mind during a Sundown Circle event? Whats separates SDC from other events at Potato Head? What are some of the considerations that go into deciding who’s to participate in the event and how is it different from the first edition?
Sun Down Circle initially come up to celebrate sunset, the Bali sunset. The idea was to bring people together to enjoy the sunset and to supply what we consider to be the best possible soundtrack and bring up local artists together with international guests. I think when we brought this five years ago, it was definitely very different. In terms of music, nobody bookings these type of music artists, and such remarkable DJs. We bring something new and we have been consistent with our music direction since then. We have added a lot more to that and with this fifth anniversary, to showcase that the programming is not just about music, as it is also about wellness, it is about cool experiences, it is pop up, it is design, and there is a big sustainable message in that, like the merchandising we had made out of recycled materials, such as, bags made of used banners, some made of bamboo, to reflect on our mantra, “Good Times, Do Good” on everything that we do.
We’re halfway through 2019, what can we expect from Potato Head next? Let’s see…. Definitely more “Good Times, Do Good”.