Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Operation MonkeyFace

Almost exactly a year since we faced off with the monkey in Smith Rock State Park. Since we now have the video to share, I thought I'd share the story-

Here's the vid-

Here's the story-

It was a smokey day in Southern Oregon, I packed up my subaru and jetted off. I thought I'd be going to Canada for a music festival. As I passed Smith Rock a few hours into my drive I decided to stop and take some pics of the infamous Monkey Face so that I knew what I'd be facing when it came time to mash up there with a drum set. Our kickstarter that we attempted to fund my vision hadn't come through so I was curious as to how we were going to accomplish this qwest. But I knew where I wanted to jam my drums. And I knew it'd be worth filming. 

3 weeks later I still hadn't left the park. I wandered the desert for days meeting all the right climbers and playing my drums all over the park, dragging them up and down the dusty slopes. I walked around telling people of my wild plot to play my drums on the giant Monkey. Luckily for me, most of the people who frequent/live at Smith are just as nutty and love to live for the adventure. I soon had a crew of badasses that agreed to help me with my goal. 

Now it was time to convince the filmers that I would not be wasting their time by having them cruise down to capture the venture. A few phone calls later I had Jerred North and Neil Karstetter convinced that it would be a worthy trek. (Luckily they had another job in Redmond that happened to time perfectly.)

Day 1 

When they arrived it was on. We had rented a tripod and had 2 days to accomplish this madness. It started with a nice spliff, and luckily our "sherpa" and I had hidden my drums in a cave half way up the park already. The journey was tough and definitely tested our limits both physically and mentally. The sun was hot and we had a lot to do in a short amount of time. 

Our friend Lorn climbed up there and set up the tyrolean that we used to get ourselves, our drums and camera equipment to the face of the monkey. Tying in to the line for the first time was the most nerve wrecking moment of the journey. Heart pumping and scanning a 250 foot drop and knowing that I had to "drop in." As we trolled all our gear over the line, the extreme exposure became less of a big deal. We finally got all of our gear across. It was then time to face the "panic point" the most extreme exposure of the climb. After a few hours of crossing people and gear over the line we finally had me, the drums, Tito (guide) and our film crew at the top. 

As we got squared away and set up at the top of Monkey the weather started to turn on us. The drums were fully set up and I was able to jam a bit, but the wind was picking up big time and we could see a storm on the horizon. I proceeded to take a bit of "medicine" knowing that this would be the jam of a lifetime. We were able to film for a bit but it soon became clear that the storm was headed right for us. Lightning, high winds and my elevated brain. Epic. As the storm rolled upon us like a wave our spectators on the edge of the cliff began to disperse quickly. The vibe began to feel like danger. Before I knew it, it was me alone on the monkey, facing the fear of being struck. I looked into the sky, feeling the intensity of the wind and told the Universe "this is not my day to die." Tito and Cam were getting the film crew safely into the cave on the monkey and I was staring at my drums wondering if I should play through or bail. All of a sudden Tito's head appeared over the edge of the monkey and he yelled that its time to come down. I walked to the edge and strapped in. As he started to belay me over the 450 foot fully exposed drop I began to giggle at the ridiculousness. 

We watched the whole storm play through along with an incredible sunset from a cave on the monkey, still 300+ feet in the air. It felt damn good to have the shelter though. Those were some of the best spliffs of my life. After the storm passed we had to climb back up past the panic point to stow my drums in their bags. We had to leave them at the top. We descended the monkey and crossed the line under the moon. By the time we had hiked back to camp we were beat. Sleep time. We knew we'd be getting up at the crack of dawn to do it all again because the storm had stripped us of our money shot. 

Day 2

Woke up early, prepped our gear and made our way back through the park to the monkey. This time was a lot smoother because we had worked out all the kinks on day one with using the tyrolean and our drums were already waiting for us at the top.

After spending an entire afternoon the day before up there the exposure was no longer as nerve wrecking. This time the weather was with us. The camera team made their way to their position and I set up my drums. Now all I had to do was play them! The jam felt great with a 360 degree view of the valley below and the outlying mountains on the horizon. I played through the sunset, and let the filmers get their money shot. Bangerang.

I waved goodbye to Jerred and Neil from the top of the monkey and watched them climb back into the desert. Their job was done for the moment. We then set up camp inside the cave and spent an epic night up inside the monkey. Finally relaxed. Our work for the film was complete.

Day 3

Woke up early and it was our mission to get the drums back down from the monkey and back across the line to real ground. Sketchy mission but it went smooth. The exposure was no big deal at this point. Theres a spot where the path is only a foot and a half wide and huge exposure to a 400 foot drop and I had to keep traversing back and forth and back and forth with every drum to get them to Tito who was then lowering them to the cave mouth down below. I was beyond stoked when this task was over. I was harnessed in but a fall would still have been a solid drop before the rope would catch. By the time we had all the drums back across the line and to solid ground I was more than happy to make my way across. That was it. I then packed my drums to a shady spot and decided to come back and get them later. (My amazing friends ended up bringing them back while I was in town having a celebratory beer!) The feeling at this moment was unbelievable. My part in operation Monkey Face was over, I had jammed one of the most epic places I could think of and I knew that Jerred and Neil had some footage of the first ascent of monkey face with a full drum kit.

Check out our Behind the scenes footage of the qwest!

Jerred then did an incredible job making that footage into what you see now on the vid. The hardest part from there was coming up with the soundtrack. We had found an amazing song by a band called Tune Yards and everyone involved had agreed that it fit the video perfectly. The lyrics even repeated
"don't take my life away" over and over! We decided to use it and were ready for our release. Jerred decided 3 days before release that we should contact Tune Yards management to see if we could use their song and we were denied. So the search continued.

I decided to contact Ananda Goldsmith and Luke Estes aka SugarBeats because I knew they were local and had met them a few times. I also knew they were great musicians. We showed Ananda and Luke the video and they were stoked for the challenge of creating a track.  After a lot of trials and learning curves it still took a lot of time and effort to come up with something that everyone thought worked well with the film. We finally just started from scratch. We ended up doing live recordings of my flute, didjiridoo, djembe and drum set and they did an organic mash up of all of it to come up with what you now hear with the video! Big ups to them for spending hours and hours in the studio making it magical.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Actual JamQwest Mission Statement

Last time I tried to write our mission statement I got distracted with our onesie photo shoot! So here's the deal with JamQwest.

JamQwest Mission Statement:

JamQwest is an ever morphing manifestation channeled to my brain during an ayahuasca ceremony on my travels in South America. This to me is a  way to make this journey of life one of passion and purpose. JamQwest is based on the principles of extreme adventure, joy, creativity and a desire to blast beyond societal boundaries and barriers. To create something that has never been seen or done before.

We are an ever growing, ever expanding tribe of artists, dancers, and musicians on a quest to raise the vibrations of the world and expand peoples consciousness by sharing new ideas, positive & inspiring media, and festivities meant to expand, heal, express, enhance and enlighten.

As we grow, we aim to create a network of awake, tuned in people that share the same desires for healing and creative freedom. People who are ready to spread the light and help us with our goal of crystal gridding the world, as well as join in our healing ceremonies, our sun gazing meditation hikes and our mind blowing videos. As we continue to generate funding we aim to send healing stones and grid patterns to fellow "questers" in places in need of healing to create a grid throughout the world.

Most of our funding comes through the sales of hand painted hats,  Festival Qwestable JamQwest Onesies and hand painted ladies panties. All of our clothing is represented by our logo which is an eyeball with a Sri Yantra as the pupil. The eyeball represents vision- for all that is created starts with having a vision. The Sri Yantra is a very powerful symbol which is a representation of the union of divine masculine and femine. It is comprised of nine triangles which represent the masculine and feminine, and intersect to create 43 smaller triangles which are symbolic of the cosmos or the womb of creation.

We've opened ourselves up to the abundant flow of the universe so we expect to continue to generate more funding through our parties and sponsorships with the release of our first video: Operation Monkeyface.

We believe in a world of limitless possibilities. As this way of thinking shows up through our art, music and films, our hope is that people will be inspired to believe the same.

All of our festivities and videos take place in the depths of nature where our creative passions are unbound and flowing. Nature allows our creativity to come out without conscious thoughts. That's where the extreme adventure comes in and JamQwest gets exciting.

Other news- Operation MonkeyFace is set to be released on July 1st! We're finishing up our track with SugarBeats which means our creation will be ready to be shared with the world!  We're hosting an Alice in JamQwestLand Tea party to celebrate! I'll be releasing a date and more info on that soon! Check out our JamQwest Facebook to keep up on details!

Also our online shop is now life so you can rock the JamQwest gear and support our cause! JamQwest on Etsy


Saturday, May 31, 2014

JamQwest Mission Statement

Since Operation MonkeyFace JamQwest has evolved. We have a manager, Elife Don, and our tribe is multiplying. JamQwest is morphing from one mans psychedelic journey to play the drums to an organization destined to spread our high vibrations in a wildly creative format. We've collected some amazing fire spinners and dancers, and have developed a full line of JamQwest gear including adult Festival Qwestable JamQwest onesies, hats, shirts, and stickers. 

As a tribe we throw desert parties to bring awareness to our cause, we've been known to throw bonfires with trampolines, drums, saxophone and our fire boys in the middle of the desert. Onesie clad we rock and create, riding tricycles through towns that need to see something weird. 

JamQwest Lifestyle:
 A lifestyle where anything and everything is possible. A lifestyle where starry night desert bonfires and didjiridoo sunrises are the norm. Where we as a tribe are willing to face the elements of mama nature and push ourselves to our physical and mental limits in order to bring forth our untampered creativity.

Where we feed each other strawberries and laugh, spreading abundance and joy wherever we choose to be. Bringing awareness and consciousness to those who have fallen into societal traps or ruts.

 We move as a tribe shining our brilliant creativity through our art, whether it be playing drums, spinning fire, dancing, painting or building altars to give gratitude to the divine.

 To help spread this message we are creating videos that capture the essence of our flow- our hope is that a flame will spark in those that watch it, a spark of inspiration. And people will begin to think.

Here's some photos from our Sunrise Photoshoot:

Our first video is coming soon! JamQwest operation monkey face is finally nearing completion and getting ready to be brought to the public eye!

Also if you like what you see in the photos with the hats or JamQwest onesies our online shop is coming soon! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hats Complete, Onesies in, track getting more and more delicious

Good news! Now have 3 different styles of JamQwest hats complete with more styles in the making. Also received my first shipment of Festival Qwestable JamQwest onesies and now am in the process of making them fully decked out for festi qwesti season which is quickly approaching! I'll have pictures of the onesies as soon as they're fully functional with the JamQwest logo, scarves, hide-a-pocks and sacred geometry hoods.
 JamQwest hats

The video track is progressing nicely just spent the last 3 days recording and editing in JamDome to come up with the drum, dij and flute aspect of the track which will await sugarbeats' electronic additions
Sugarbeats working some magic

Also, as the video comes closer to completion we've been crafting big plans for an awesome release party for the JamQwest vid. Stay tuned for more details, it will be the first ever live showing of JamQwest followed by a full set by Sugarbeats. LogicDesigns is working on a badass event poster now which will be released as soon as we pick a date to release our baby into the world!
Ryan of LogicDesigns putting in work to create an eye catching event poster

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vid track

I'm happy to announce that JamQwest has teamed up with the one and only SugarBeats to create a killer soundtrack for the JamQwest monkeyface vid.

You can check Sugarbeats on pandora or on facebook
We were about 3 days from releasing the video with a soundtrack from a band called tune yards but luckily Jerred decided to email them and ask their permission to use this track (which at the time seemed to perfect to let go of) and upon hearing back from them we found out that their management nay sayed our using the song.  So began the qwest to custom create our own JQ sound. 

Now SugarBeats has agreed to be the "unofficial" JamQwest dj they're working on pumping out an awesome track which will feature my drums, but mixed into their geniusly candycoated beats. Stoked to keep the creativity flowing out of Oregon with these doods being from Ashland. 

What does it mean to be the Unofficial JamQwest DJ? 

It means that Ananda Goldsmith and Luke Estes, the two brains behind the sugar coated beats are not only helping to create an incredibly mind bending soundtrack, but they also have decided to cruise with us for our next JamQwest vid. So add some Dj electrobeats to the list of wildness to come. 
 Side note- in the process of creating JamQwest onesies! They'll be embellished with the JamQwest logo and decked out for festies and qwesties. Stay tuned for more info/how to acquire<3

Monday, March 31, 2014

JamQwest Logo

JamQwest Logo has been created! Logic Designs did a wikkid job at making a sweet logo to rep the qwest. Stikkin some moves on gettin some cool gear made now- Onesees n hats for sure. Some stickers.