Photosynthesis 5.0 – My Writer’s Journey

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By Damen Smith-Draeko — This was the fifth in the series. I’d made the third and now this one, Photosynthesis 5.0 in Neah Bay Washington. Through opening day anxieties, incredible performances, really engaging people, and inspirational interviews with some of the most compelling and thankfully very accommodating artists I’d ever met, it all turned out to be an even more enriching experience than I would have ever dared anticipated. I love Neah Bay. I haven’t been in love with a place like this since Okinawa. This was perhaps different because it’s at the northern tip of my home continent. I was born in North America, so I’m thinking that there is more of a natural connection here than with the sub-tropical island in the Far East. As I stare from the beach, watching the spouts of migrating gray whales from just within the horizon, the smell of the pounding surf and the roar of the ocean, I realize how I absolutely need to get out of the city a lot more. A lot more! Ah, but I’m digressing. Let me talk about my positive experiences at Photosynthesis. Let me give the shout-outs to everyone who made it possible. And very importantly, let me bring you into the interviews I had with some very gifted and socially-aware artists. Let me get back to the overall good time that was had by all.
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After a three hour trek of great conversation and wicked laughter, narrowly avoiding both a speeding ticket and a citation for a third break light being out, (no joke, it was really out, and yes, we were really speeding), Seth DJ Manos and I, arrived at Photosynthesis 5.0 at around 2:15 AM.

DJ Manos is really a very good dude. Our conversations ranged from seriously discussing our respective military service to laughing to the point of tears at construction signs reading “End Road Work”. He imagined himself at a Tea Party rally and I imagined myself at a Westboro Church protest holding one of those big orange construction signs with its bold black sans sarif font reading, “END ROAD WORK!” We’d be hoisting them with the same fanatical fervor as the protestors around us. “END ROAD WORK!” It is truly amazing how an interjection can change the dynamics of any sentence. I love the random.

Without rewriting his aforementioned bio (see link above in 2nd paragraph), I’m just going to summarize my chill-out/interview with Seth by saying that I have met few bros as eclectic and stable in objective. His fervidness for the Electronic Dance Music scene extends way beyond just playing music. As was with so many of the artists I interviewed that weekend, he is without the big ego, being more involved with the evolution of thought and the spirit of a viable community in which everyone is an important component to be acknowledged. He’s also madcap in that he loves the random (as I do), hosting a monthly event, Monster planet here in Seattle. “Monster Planet is a monthly happening at which some of the area’s top improvising electronic musicians gather to spontaneously compose in front of garish sci-fi and horror films. Things get very trippy very fast, especially if you’re imbibing absinthe.” – Dave Segal

And… Seth is also a shapeshifter. Yep. Here he is in one of his rare forms on the decks. Seth shapeshifted.

Overall, I really think that it was our mutual geek out over Mystery Science Theatre 3000 though that really brought it all home for us, giving us (lol) real common ground.

You can listen to DJ Manos here.

When we arrived at Photosynthesis that morning, thankfully it was a warm. Unfortunately, however, it was raining buckets, which meant that I would have to set up my tent in the dark, wet, unfamiliar campgrounds. Seth had a DNB set in the Big Top Stage. He was about to go on. I’d have no help there. Already soaking wet, I was off (surprisingly rather enthusiastically) to find a place to set up my three-day residence.

More later…