INTERVIEW AND ARTICLE BY AREEN KOJIKIAN:

Big shoutout to Euphoric for asking me to get coverage of the Cirque Du Freaks event featuring Father Bear. It was definitely one for the books!

Cirque Du Freaks is a new age cabaret with live bands, DJ’s, burlesque and belly dancers, aerialists and odd characters alike. You can always expect to experience the unexpected when walking into one of their events. This night was no exception! It was held in the legendary venue The Mint LA, which was established in 1937. It is considered a local landmark and many music greats have not only played here but broke here too. Stevie Wonder, Willie Dixon, and Ray Charles to name a few.

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The event featured Lantz Lazwell & The Vibe Tribe, Alixcia & the Dirty Lil’ Rock Band, Dj Oh Diggz, and one of our favorite DJ and producer duo’s Father Bear playing that dirty booty bass from outer space!

I arrived just in time for Lantz Lazwell and The Vibe Tribe a rock, soul and jam band led by Lantz Lazwell, who also happened to be celebrating his birthday. They were getting down to some funkadelic sounds and the crowd was loving it. The Vibe Tribe featured a lot of special guests that were rotating on the drums, microphone, bass, and guitar, throughout the set. Some notable guests included Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction on the drums, Angelo Moore & Norwood Fisher from Fishbone on the bass, Eric McFadden from P-Funk and many many more! They were full of surprises and even played a rock and roll funk cover of “Get Low by Lil John”. Nathan Harvey from TV Broken 3rd Eye Open also graced the stage with them and rocked out on the drums.

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Next up we had a very sexy performance by Alixcia and the Dirty Lil’ Rock  Band. The crowd was already going crazy before, but once Alixcia hit the stage it pushed everyone over the edge. She was a crowd favorite and interacted with the audience a lot, performing lots of crazy dance moves and even inviting people on stage to join her. Her passionate lyrics and amazing voice was accentuated by her talented live band. They put on an overall killer and fun performance, keeping the audience guessing what was going to happen next. They were also joined by some special guests  featuring Lantz Lazwell and even Bryan Steele from Father Bear hopping on the mic for some unexpected rapping.

Last but certainly not least, the cherry on top to an already crazy night, Father Bear joined the stage for the final performance of the night. Father  Bear is an electronic DJ and production duo from Los Angeles, that fuses live hip-hop vocals with durrtyy trap, funky glitch hop, and booty bass from outer space. They had the party going from the second they started playing. One of the best things about Father Bear was their stage presence, you can’t help but dance when the people on stage look like they are having the time of their lives.The energy that they put out was infectious and every single person on the dance floor was moving and grooving. It was a great change of pace to the night and flowed perfectly well after all the funk and rock and roll. The live vocals added a fun touch to the dirty electronic beats and it seemed like everyone was letting out their inner animals.

Bryan rapping Brock channeling wisdom (lol)

Overall, it was a wild assortment of fun characters and personalities meshing to create a fun and immersive experience, bridging the gap between audience member and performer. The Mint had a very authentic feel to it and brought out some soulful performances by everyone. If you’re ever in LA make sure to stop at this historic spot and count your lucky stars that Cirque Du Freaks happens to be the ones hosting the extravaganza. We had a chance to catch up with Bryan and Spencer of Father Bear after the show and ended up having a hilarious conversation.

Father Bear is an LA local production duo consisting of Bryan Bstee Steele and Spencer B’rok, they fuse live hip-hop vocals with dirty trap, funky glitch hop, and booty bass from outer space. Their fans say “Nobody spins dirty booty poppin music like papa bear!” Their stage presence, positive energy, and thunderous bass put the bounce in every party they play.

We got a chance to sit down with them after their show at The Mint LA and get to know them on a deeper level…

So we’re at The Mint LA and you guys just had this whole party popping, we’re very excited to hear the mix you’re going to release on Euphoric.net!

(Bryan:) Yes, we are releasing a mix that we did live at NAMM on the Peavy Stage on March 6th, which is also on my “bear”thday!

On your “bear”thday! I’m curious as to why you guys are named Father Bear?

(Bryan:) The name Father Bear comes from when we first started working together like 4 years ago. We didn’t have a name for the project and I was hangin’ at my house with a couple of friends. It was 3 in the morning and my friend just started rambling about how good Burning Man used to be, how it’s changed and “Back in my day blah blah blah”. Our friend Evelyn was like “Oh please Father Bear tell us more stories of the days of old and how things used to be good”. And it really just immediately hit me that I liked that idea for a character, you know, this like sage, wise character who’s got all these stories to tell…Like the guy you see across the room at a party and you want to make sure to talk to him before he leaves but by the time you get over there he’s gone. So we kind of settled into that name and then expanded on that.

Ended up creating a character for it and making him an outer space character who travels time. Sort of like an intergalactic time and space dimension splitting gypsy that travels through the cosmos throwing parties for aliens. And Spencer and I are just the conduit through which he communicates his adventures.

Wow. That was quite an eloquent answer. 

(Bryan:) Journalism degree! (all laughs)I like that.

I like that.  You guys are the “wise guys”. So how did you guys meet each other?

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(Bryan:) Oh this is great actually. What was it 2011 Burning Man?

(Spencer:) Yup. No no 2012?

(Bryan:) Nah I din’t go to BM in 2012. So it had to be 2011. Yeah, So a friend who I was sharing the RV with had a ride share with a guy named Spencer who he said is super cool. So we pulled up in the RV to my friends house and Spencer is standing out on the sidewalk`with a neon cowboy hat and his big orange beard. He’s got one Tupperware thing filled with like dry goods food and one back pack and he’s just super ready to go to BM for his first time! It was my fifth year I think and he got in` and was great energy and positive. I was immediately like “I love this guy he’s awesome” and we just started connecting about music and decided to start making music shortly thereafter.

(Spencer:) We’ve pretty much been inseparable since that moment. Burning Man brought us together pretty much. And you know we come from different musical tastes but I think we meet right in the middle. I think our music is a good combination of that.

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Yeah I was actually going to ask you guys. What is your duo dynamic like, both live and in the studio?

(Spencer:) I think we equally share basically every aspect of writing music. We work really well together. Where my weaknesses are his strengths are and where his weaknesses are my strengths are. So we often sit in the studio and we like to vibe out together. We honestly just lay down a beat and each of us take turns sitting at the controls just having a lot of fun.

(Bryan:) And we’re both producers so we both will work on stuff individually and bring it when we get together. We each play like 3 tracks or so and collectively decide if it is a track we want to pursue. Lot’s fall by the wayside and some we choose to pursue that we think have a strong foundation.

(Spencer:) And Bear Bounce!!

(Bryan:) Yeah a nice little bear bounce.

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The bear bounce is important! Who are some of your musical influences? 

(Spencer:) Well if you want to go way back in the day growing up with ACDC and Van halen and all those groups definitely influenced me. But if  I were to say a Dj nowadays or producers, Skrillex has really pushed me to where I am today. Just watching him do what he does makes me want to work harder every single day.I know it’s a generic answer but he has definitely done it for me personally.

(Bryan:) Oh he’s a fantastic producer. He’s top notch for sure. Love & Light, Griz, Pretty Lights, Opiuo, Knife Party…

Your music is very, I don’t want to say ratchet, but it gets people going…

(Both Laughing) It’s ok! You can say ratchet! We embrace it!

You embrace the ratchetry! So why did you guys decide on this style of music?

(Spencer) Well no one else is exactly doing it the way that I think that we’re doing it. We played around with lot’s of tracks when we first started getting together. We really first started playing with future bass and also glitch hop. Glitch hop really was our first foundation. Which was really cool but the more we started dropping dirtier bass sounds in those sets we kind of saw the crowd moving in a different way so we kind of started moving toward that direction.

It was making us feel good it was making the crowds feel good and we just kind of followed the sound. We kind of let, again, Father Bear just tell us what to do and we just kind of followed it and it’s been working really well for us.

(Bryan:)Yeah it’s been an interesting exploration of our sound. I think we started with dubstep like 4 some years ago and then it kind of evolved into glitch hop and then we wanted to slow it down…you know that “bear bounce”…so now we’ve kind of evolved into that trap and future bass kind of vibe.

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You guys played a really cool track at the beginning of your set that was more future bassy. Can you tell me more about that tune?

(Spencer:) Yeah that’s the new sound we’re working towards.

(Bryan:) “Syzurp”! I think Syzurp is a brand new one that we’ve been tinkering with and it’s about a kitten who gets all turns up on that syzurp. Alixcia who played tonight with her awesome band, The Dirty Little Rock Band, at One Love Festival she drank a little too much chocolate sauce and got a little hyphy in the woods. I’m talking about actual chocolate sauce, this is not a euphemism for anything. I’d never seen an adult on a sugar high like that before and it was like she was bouncing off the trees because she slammed Hershey’s sauce for 7 seconds. It was insane. So I was like we have to write a track about a kitten on syzurp. So that’s what we did. And I think it’s got to a good place.

(Spencer:) Yeah but it’s a future bass kind of vibe that we’re going for these days.  A little future bass with trap. We’re trying to infuse it all. Trying to push the boundaries that no one else is doing.

You guys have a really great stage presence and you have so much fun on stage that everyone can’t help but have fun. What advice would you give to people who are a little shy on stage?

(Bryan:)I think a lot of the vibe that Spencer and I try to create – we both come from live music backgrounds, from being in bands. There’s nothing more boring to us than watching a DJ stare at his laptop. Humans want to be stimulated visually as well as with sound so we try to just be as interactive and vibey as possible and really get the crowd involved.

(Spencer:)We’re genuinely having fun up there. That’s our music that we’re playing and we’re getting to see the crowd react to it you know it’s fun for us to be spinning it up there and interacting with the crowd so we’re actually having fun.

(Bryan:) Yeah this is my happy place, playing our music on stage and watching a dance floor of people just pop lock and droppin their booties and getting weird with it.

I love that. Yeah so just have fun. 

(Spencer:) Just have fun! Just enjoy yourself that’s it!

(Bryan:) Get weird with it and don’t worry about it.

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So you guys played at some fun parties last year. Like Boogaloo, One Love Fest, Burning Man just to name a few. You opened up for some notable acts like An-Ten-Nae, Diplo and more. So how do you feel like 2017 went for you?

(Bryan:) 2017 was an awesome year. I think it was a big year for us as far as evolving our sound. We played not as many festivals as we did in 2016, where we were just like wall to wall for the whole festival season, like every other week. 2017 we played a few less festivals but were in the studio more and I think it really helped our production to just have some time off and evolve our sound.

(Spencer:) 100%! I couldn’t agree with that more. It really focused us in and made us sound  the way were are today. Absolutely.

Nice. Do you guys have any plans for 2018?

(Spencer:) We have LIB booked, we’re on the Pagoda Bar.

(Bryan:) We’ve got some big releases coming up on Gravitas Recordings that we’re pretty excited about. I think this is going to be a really good year for us. We’re excited.

We’re really excited to hear your mix for Euphoric.Net. Can you tell us about that? Any juicy new tracks you guys drop in there?

(Spencer:)Yeah absolutely there’s going to be about 3 or 4 new tracks that you haven’t heard that we’re going to drop on there that we’re really excited about that we’ve put a lot of time into our production and it’s gonna be awesome. Promise!

(Bryan:) Curtis the venue manager is giving me the stare down saying time to go. Love you guys!

(Bryan:)We’re so excited to have this mix coming out on Euphoric you guys are awesome and the mix we’re releasing from the NAMM show was a great time. It’s all original music, wall to wall so I hope you guys enjoy it!

(They both bear growl)

There you have it folks! Bear cubs out!! Make sure to check out the mix from their performance on the Peavey Stage!!

HUGE THANK YOU TO FATHER BEAR!! AND HAPPY “BEARTHDAY” BRYAN!!

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Photos by Areen Kojikian @ MINT LA