Feature Interview with BLUNTFAKTORY a.k.a. Gordon Blunt

GI BLUNTEm – “I’m curious, as a kid who were your musical influences?”

Gordon – “As little kid I really liked Gary Newman. It was the first electronic music that I ever heard. Oh, and ELO, they had awesome videos and qusai electronic music. When I got a bit older, I went through a heavy metal and punk phase…I was obsessed with No Means No and listened to a lot of Metallica.

Music changed for me however, when I was out on a fishing trip and The Future Sound of London’s song “Papa New Guinea” came on. Everything changed. I wasn’t in a good head space at the time and then this song came on… I was staring at the horizon and all of my worries seemed infinitely small, and as I stood there listening to it; the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. That moment impacted my life enormously. “

Em – “Whoa, that’s a mind blow.”

Gordon – “Yeah, it was a crazy moment.”

Em – “You were interested in the Rave scene. Take me from there and how your career evolved into music and visual production?”

Gordon – “I was an artist and a commercial fisherman in my early twenties and realized that I needed to move to a bigger urban centre to get involved with the art and music scene. I uprooted to Vancouver from Victoria in 1994. A bunch of my friends rented space in a Warehouse, using it as an art studio by day and a raging party space by night. The studio was called Urban Evolution on Richard St and had this thirty person elevator which took two people to open in order to get in. People couldn’t just show up to the studio, they would need an invitation that we would personally hand out to them at clubs and bars. The parties were massive, ranging from 400-800 people strong, ripping it up to techno and a bit of house. That’s how it all started.”

Em – “Which festivals have you been involved with?”

Gordon:

  • Shambala 2001-present; Rich-E-Rich and Team Fractal
  • Summer Love 1995-on
  • Sound Wave 1999-2010
  • Tall Tree – Since the beginning!
  • Rifflandia – 2012
  • Whistler Gay Ski Week – 2001-2008
  • NY2K Sydney Australia – 2000
  • Love Sydney 2001- 2002
  • AVIT – Brighton England and San Fran – combined music and visuals

GB4

Em – “A little bird told me to ask you about the Fractal Forest at Shambala…”

Gordon – “In 2000 I petitioned to create a visual show for Shambala. I drove up and did a demonstration, which they liked, and in 2001 I was assigned to work with Rich E Rich in The Fractal Forest to create a visual show. We set up video, film and slide projectors in the trees and used this piece of truss that hung on the tree to climb up and down, as we did this all manually. I think we finally got a ladder last year (laughs). Now we’re using 10K video projectors and mapping. The visuals are insane.”

Em – “What is the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened to you at a live show?”

Gordon – “We flew to Toronto and did a visual show for The Flock of Seagulls. Everyone said that they were hard to deal with (they had broken up and only 2 members from the original band were still involved) and I knew there was tension. I mean you could cut it with a spoon. The new angrier Flock of Seagulls looked like a heavy metal band. It was like they were reinventing themselves. They played their hit song “I Ran So Far Away” and then started into this insane heavy sound. There was a crowd of 1500 people and I’ve never seen a venue pile out so fast. It was like a fire alarm sounded and the building was burning down.”

Em – “You’ve clearly met some pretty amazing people over the years. Is there a musician, DJ, co-worker, artist or person that stands out for you?”

Gordon – “Black and Blue in Toronto or Cindy Lopper, she was cool. She got drunk before the show and mixed up the song order which totally screwed us up with the visuals! Oh, and Maceo Parker , a Jazz musician, who was the backup band for Prince. I kept getting these phone calls from a club the night that Prince played, but I was in Hawaii on vacation, so I didn’t pick up. Turns out they wanted me to do visuals for Prince. It’s the greatest gig I never did.”

Em – “NO WAY!”

Gordon – “Yep, I’m never going to get over it.”

GB2

Em – “Have you ever seen a puppet show performed live during a set?”

Gordon – “What?” (Smiles)

Em – “Someone told me to ask you about puppets.”

Gordon –“ (Laughs), I started as a DJ in the 1990’s, focusing on ambient and chill music. Friends of mine said that I needed to start spinning beats, but since I was already an established VJ, I wanted to play and create visuals at the same time, since no one really does this. I linked up a camera to a mixer board and a projector. I would play with puppets, which would be projected onto a screen behind me. It was AWESOME. As a kid I wanted to become a puppeteer, so this was combining a bunch of different interests. “

Em – “So, it’s Jim Henson meets vinyl?”

Gordon – “Hahaha, yes!”

Em – “What is your affiliation with Tall Tree?”

Gordon – “I was doing a gig at Sugar Night Club with Master Craft, and the club owner who also worked with Quioa introduced us. I met Mike Hann (Quoia and current Director of Tall Tree), who (on a side note) got me into the Whale Watching business. I am forever indebted to Mike Hann for getting me into whale watching, but don’t tell him I told you that!

Anyways, Quoia and Radio Contact were running events together, and after Song and Surf (which was a major hit), they wanted to create a music festival. Tall Tree was born. And that’s how it all started.

Since the beginning of Tall Tree Music Fest, I’ve been fortunate enough to VJ the whole thing. One year, after Current Swell played, I was asked to DJ the rest of the night. It was hilarious because I couldn’t see anyone in the crowd because the lights were so bright. It honestly looked like I was playing for three people, but I didn’t care. The best thing about Tall Tree is that I get to VJ and DJ, it’s amazing. I’m very fortunate to be able to do this. Honestly, Tall Tree is a rare event where you have live music, DJ’s, visuals and artists all coming together. People have equal footing, and I love that.”

GB3

Em – “Are there any bands/DJ’s that you’re especially looking forward to this year at Tall Tree?”

Gordon – “Honestly, I’m looking forward to everyone. But, if I had to choose, I’d have to say: A Tribe Called Red, Small Town DJ’s, The Funk Hunters, DJ Trevor and Quoia.”

Em -“If you had five tips for festival goers this year at Tall Tree what would they be?”

Gordon:

  1. “Come prepared for the best of times and the worst. Do not let the weather prevent you from having a good time.”
  2. “Pace yourself. Don’t blow your load on the first night or too early in the day. Cruise and savor the day.”
  3. “Remember to eat at least twice a day and make it good food.”
  4. “Hydrate, always drink water.”
  5. “Keep your eyes peeled for people who haven’t followed this. Take care of your fellow partiers. Find security or first aid. Always help.”

Em -“If you were a tree, which kind would you be and why?”

Gordon- (Pauses, sits back in his chair and laughs), “an Arbutus Tree, because they exist only on the west coast close to the water. They’re long lived and from a distance they seem like any other tree but when you get close their kind of weird.”

We high five.