Telekinetic Walrus looks like a gang of interdimensional beings on a concert tour across space-time.
This Miami band's stellar live shows are a tripped-out electronic circus of operatic vocals, rhythmic tidal waves of bass, and uplifting sonic landscapes that weave their way around your chakra like a wireless connection to a higher power. The crew's stage wear visually approximates a 1965 acid quest, and its audiences are known to follow suit.
Here's what producer Y Diz had to say about Basel money, internationalism, and being called a "tropical GWAR."
Crossfade: What do you have going on for Art Basel week?
Y Diz: A bit of everything. I'm playing some synth at Dorsch Gallery for the Brandon Opalka installation. He built this whole crazy elaborate cave where you hear synths while you're crawling through it. And when you get out of the cave, you realize that it's me playing live. I've also been installing art for Sadie Coles at the Miami Beach Convention Center, hanging a bunch of stuff. Also, the band works out of a warehouse where we have a t-shirt business and we always have work with that. Then we have a big show for the Moksha Art Fair and we're also working on our new full-length album that's dropping February 2015.
What is Moksha Art Fair like?
It caters to really eclectic and fun people looking to have a good time and experience great art.
What would you say to out-of-towners to encourage them to visit Little Haiti?
If you really want to experience the Miami undergound scene and see some real funky stuff, you need to come to Lemon City. We're doing a later-running party, so after whatever events you need to go to, you can come to Moksha, enjoy yourself, and have fun with our killer stage show. We're gonna be playing at 2:30 in the morning, and the place stays open late.
Wasn't Alex Grey live painting on stage while you played last year?
Yeah, that was awesome. I feel like Moksha in Miami is the home of all super-psychedelic weirdos. It's where all the fun happens. It's where the freaks and circus people convene with all the visionary artists and electronic music, roots, and reggae. Ray, the owner of the gallery, is a great friend of mine and we've been working together now for years. I do a lot of stuff in collaboration with Moksha. He lets me run my Ableton Live group out of his gallery and we have a cool symbiotic relationship.
I saw you guys play a whole set on the streets of Wynwood on NW Second Ave. one year. That shit was cool.
Yeah, that was 2009 or 2010 during Basel. That was actually the first formation of the band with Eden Grey. And this year is actually the Walrus' one-year anniversary with our current lineup. It's gonna be a monumental performance.
See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Bar Guide
How many people in the group?
There's six of us: Time-Zoo Keeper is our vocalist and opera singer, Corinne Stevie is an MC and also does all our art work, Komakozie is an MC and also the reigning beatbox champion of Miami, Faun 5000 is our sax player, and Buffalo Brown, who is also in Elastic Bond and Cog Nomen, is our guitar player. Then there's me. That's six, right?
Can you describe your live show?
It's definitely a spectacle. We've been compared to a New Age Parliament Funkadelic. And a "tropical Gwar" -- that's a funny one, I guess from our costumes. We do a high-energy live performance with saxophone, guitar, three MCs, one of whom is a beatboxer, and me dropping beats.
How do you like Basel week?
For me, I love it. It gets crazy, which also in turn provides business opportunities and ways to make money. I'm a freelancer, so it's a lucrative week for me, because so much is going on.
Do you think Art Basel promotes or fucks over locals?
Ultimately, it supports it. But it's not just about locals, it's a much more international thing that is also a good time for local people to meet people from other places that they might vibe with. Overall, it's a great thing for the city.
How was your recent tour?
Fantastic. We did the Southeast and four festivals, including the main stage at North Carolina Grassroots Festival with a closing set for our biggest crowd yet. That got crazy and led to more shows in NC at Asheville, Winston-Salem, and Carrboro. We also did Mooniest in West Palm Beach and Fantasy Fest in Key West.
How does bass play into your sound?
Bass is a huge part of our music. I'm from Atlanta and grew up listening to Southern hip-hop. Can't help but love me some Miami bass. I'm all about the healing low-end frequencies that shake your insides in good way and make you feel real nice.
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Telekinetic Walrus. As part of Moksha Art Fair 2014's closing party. Saturday, December 6. 7th Circuit Studios, 228 NE 59th St., Miami. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $30 plus fees via brownpapertickets.com. Ages 18 and up. Visit mokshafamily.org.