Our entry into the west coast electronic music scene started in October, 2000 after walking into a Keep Tahoe Deep at Sierra Nevada Pizza (aka SNP) for a Halloween party. Then Pata Place became a staple in “dj culture” for us in North Lake Tahoe, who hosted djs three Saturdays per month and where we fell in love with micah j (then known as DJ sWiTcH…and you better get the lettering right!). He played in North Lake all the time because it seemed that the South Lake music scene didn’t have a lot of support for house and breaks in early part of that decade. In fact, a lot of people who called South Tahoe home seemed to trek up to North Lake for the shows.
Putting on events can be really tricky in Tahoe. Shoulder seasons, weather, a lack or overabundance of snow, competition, and ticket prices all influence turnouts, and simply putting on a concert or party is truly what we call “strategic gambling.” For many years many promoters stayed away from shows in South Lake as it didn’t seem there was the crowd for underground electronic dance music. That started changing after Bassnectar sold out Montbleu Showroom in March of 2009. Of course, electronic music was blowing up everywhere at this time and more shows were happening all over the lake. Mindful Massive stepped up to the plate in 2010 and began promoting intentional events in South Lake Tahoe.
Good music draws a good crowd. Mindful Massive started similar to how many promoters did. Booking and supporting local acts that they loved and producing shows with a focus on vibe and a certain genre of music. What kind? Ryan Kandell says “we like to promote all varieties of music but really our main thing is bass…if the bass makes you move, were into it. Lately we have been into the psy bass genres of psychedelic stuff, but overall we like music that makes the dance floor move.”
And move they do! Both Mindful Massive “club” shows and Bass Mtn Fest keep the dancefloors moving with great beats and vibes. You may wonder….how did this start…well we were able to grab Ryan for some questions that helped us get to know even more about him…..
FB:” Where are you from?
RK: I was born in Peekskill, NY but moved with my mom to Tempe, AZ when I was three. The majority of my growing up was spent between my Mom’s in Tempe, AZ and my Dads in Los Angeles, CA
FB: What’s your background? Does it involve event production?
RK: My background in music production starts with my own personal music. I started playing the alto saxophone for my middle school band. After alto sax I moved on to bass guitar, which I played all through high school, including in a punk band. Also during high school I started my own car stereo business building and installing subwoofer boxes for friend’s cars. I would say I was always into speakers, loud music and good parties from an early age. In college I met a musical mentor, my friend Casey aka Safi’s Lab who at the time fronted a reggae band, and truly shaped my current taste. Also in college we began to throw renegade parties in the woods, organizing a way for a large amount of people to gather under the radar. After graduating from N.A.U in Flagstaff, AZ my fiancé and I knew it was time for a change and we decided on Tahoe. My Degree is in Arts Management which is basically running an art related business, I would say that’s exactly what I do.
FB: Who was your favorite band when you were 11 years old?
RK: When I was 11 I was huge into Rage against the Machine! I would say that was my jam then and still today!
FB: What influenced you to start putting on shows?
RK: I would say it was a few different things. It seemed to me at the time South Lake (Tahoe) lacked a sense of community when it came to the “show scene.” There wasn’t anything happening regularly enough to appease the group of friends we had come to know. I was also growing my own dj career at the time and needed places to book my friends and I. It almost came out of necessity, We all wanted to play music and no one was really doing what we wanted to regularly besides Fresh Bakin’ of course who has always been a huge mentor to us.
FB: What have you learned since you started doing Mindful Massive?
RK: Nothing is as easy as it seems from the outside. Lots and lots of hard work over a long time and one day you look back and say damn we have done quite a bit! I’m more humbled and stoked to be doing what I love every day. It blows me away the caliber of people who want to do business with us, and I just want to continue to push the scene as much as possible.
FB: What are the challenges of doing a weekly?
RK: Time,money and the constant evolution of music. Everyone expects that since we do it all the time, it costs nothing and is easy to do, none of which is the case. The weekly has made me realize the importance of planning and time management. It has also made me truly understand how important it is to have a network of support and a team as incredible as the Mindful Massive!
FB: Do you have a favorite genre of music?
RK: Reggae for sure, hands down. Although I don’t book a ton of roots reggae or reggae bands, my heart is 100% into that vibe.
FB: How many times have you threatened yourself “I’m quitting!” in the past year? Has your opinion of music, the industry, people or anything else changed? How?
RK: Well, this year only once so far I think?! I believe its impossible for my opinion of music to not change on a daily basis, especially at the rate that music evolves. In just the 4 years we have been doing this I’ve seen the music completely shift and I’m sure it will again many times over. The adaptation is the sort of the fun in it for me. As for the industry, its corporate like any other corporate industry there is more downs than ups and dealing with the jumping of hoops has taught me a lot about business. It makes me chuckle every time I read a ridiculous artist rider asking for certain flavor smart water and only organic seaweed snacks…funny that they are “all about the music” right?
FB: What do you see as a goal for Mindful Massive? Any plans you can clue us in on?
RK: Mindful Massive is expanding…starting late this summer you can expect to see Mindful Recordings, a full service record label. Mindful Recordings will be launching with the intention of growing our local artists through national exposure and record releases weekly. Mindful Massive will also be bringing more shows through the Tahoe area and teaming up with Fresh Bakin’, Future Strange, Rambo Productions and Bass Heavy to do so! Lots of big things in the works!
FB: How did Bass Mtn come about? What challenges do you see in producing a boutique festival? Do you have plans to grow the event?
RK: Bass Mtn started as a “seed party”; meaning that we planted a seed for something larger with a very intimate gathering at the top of echo summit 4 years ago for free. The directions to Bass Mtn 1 were only given to the 13 dj’s who played and a few hundred people came. This really got the ball rolling for what is now Bass Mtn. As festival producers we really get to show people our perception of the “perfect festival” and for us being “boutique” is very fitting. We want to stay small, intimate and create life long connections through Bass Mtn. We are a place for people to inspire each other, dream of a new world and create that world together. The biggest challenges for us with doing such a small gathering is our big imaginations; we always want to build a more beautiful festival, with more art and better music and there is a certain point where you have to be very crafty.
FB: What’s your take on the festival scene right now? What do you like/dislike about it?
RK: I think the festival scene has exploded which is good and bad. There are more people interested in new paradigms than ever before and I credit that a lot to the festival world. Mainstream culture and festival culture are starting to blend, which is creating a whole new generation of festival goers all who want to participate in this movement. As festival producers we have more power than ever with our intentions and values and I personally believe that we should be using this power to educate people and inspire.
FB: Who are some of your favorite artists?
RK: Right now I’m feeling Kalya Scintilla, Whitebear, Dubcoling, Roommate, Sizzla, Capleton, Tipper, The Polish Ambassador, Duffrey, Nominus, all my Massive Family,
FB: How has your pug Karma influenced you in life?
RK: Well my pug is the first animal I’ve really owned as an adult. She’s taught us a lot about responsibility, caring for another little being is hard work…and her personality constantly keeps my smiling and laughing. I would say she has brought a ton of joy into our lives, therefor she has helped sculpt my career immensely!
FB: Please describe your “signature” dance move?
RK: I would say I’m not to much of a dancer but when I do dance I tend to just let it go…get into the beat and forget all about my surroundings completely.
FB: When did mindful massive officially start? RK: Mindful Massive officially started around 4 years ago, We have been doing our weekly Massive Tuesday at Whiskey Dicks South Lake Tahoe for 3 years now and have no plans of slowing down one bit!