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Bootsy Collins shows us how it’s done

Friday 11/25

On the plane now, I’ve traveled the majority of my 15 hour trip home back to LA. Funny how you can feel so happy and so sad at the same time. The goodbyes were tough – we all went through an experience that was like half boot camp and half winning the lottery, and we all shared it together. The whole trip was surreal, and the last day was certainly just that. Not only did the one and only Bootsy Collins give an incredible lecture filled with inspiration and lots of laughter, he described in detail his inception into the music industry, touring and recording with James Brown, his induction into Funkadelic, working with Snoop Dogg, Deee-Lite and more. Bootsy even stayed around for our end-of-term listening session, sitting in the room with us for two hours as we all played demos of what we worked on. The guest engineers picked tracks randomly and we listened, and when the song was done the collaborators were supposed to stand up and take a bow – except instead each time the participants would just run to each other and hug and dance and jump around. It was one of the most special and bonding parts of the session for sure.

Break bread with the OG.’s, Torsten and Many – big respect to the founders of RBMA

After the listening session we ate Mardi Gras cake (FedEx’ed to us from New Orleans by Mannie Fresh and his manager as a thank you… wow), popped champagne and all started dancing around and hugging and going crazy in the lecture hall… some folks were crying, others laughing, everybody screaming and going wild. I felt really high from the experience, really happy and energetic. We moved the speakers into the kitchen and an impromptu dance party erupted as the chef fired up the BBQ grills they brought in for us – proper summertime vibes even though it was the coldest day in Madrid since we’ve been there. My last minutes at the Matadero complex I found myself eating BBQ ribs while we all danced with Bootsy and his lady to “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre, Bootsy’s “I’d Rather be With You” and other hits that he made and collaborated on. Bootsy is the funkiest, coolest, nicest, most humble dude on the planet… he stayed with us until the very end of the Academy session.

All in the family – Benji, me, Phoebe, Marco and Oliver

Of course the going away nighttime event was a jam-packed mega club with another insane lineup. My sis Ronika from Nottingham did a set of her retro-infused pop tunes… she did amazing I was really proud of her. Then Peaches was up deejaying some abrasive techno and even some growly dubstep – she is an awesome performer, even if you don’t dig her selections. In the side room it was L-Vis from Night Slugs who consequently started a mosh pit, playing some twisted house shit and some really ill ghetto bass. Afterwards I snuck backstage to get a good view of Tensnake who was playing a live set in front of at least 3,000 kids… talk about vibes. But then I got one of my biggest awakenings of the session – Running Back Records’ Gerd Janson played the best DJ set I’ve seen in years. I met people that said they traveled far that night just to see him… some said he’s the best DJ in the world right now, with which after seeing the set I completely agree. I’ve seen him around the complex during the session and said what’s up to him, but he never let on that he was an absolute badman. (Ninjas operate in silence I suppose) Holy shit the tunes he had!! Vintage disco and boogie meets minimal techno – the perfect dance music. That was the very last musical set of the entire session for me, and it hit the spot. At that time it was 6 am, and the shuttle was coming to get me from my hotel in 45 minutes! So I said some goodbyes and snuck out, barely made my shuttle and boarded my plane home in totally shock of everything that just happened.

Two of my favorite voices – Jesse Boykins III and Andrea Balency

Reflecting back on everything – RBMA is the best thing happening in the music industry, period. There is no festival that has the amount of quality talent they bring through, there is no educational institution that brings together the legendary lecturers and the creative environment they did for us, and there is no music industry conference that is actually genuine where you meet people and have it not be contrived. There is a reason that this is year 14 of the Academy, because every single person on the staff is a true music lover, and they’re all passionate about making it happen. To the RBMA crew, they’ll forever have my gratitude and allegiance – it’s the least I can pledge in return for the experience of a lifetime. I guess this concludes my diary entries for my experience at Red Bull Music Academy 2011 Madrid. I hope everybody who read this gets inspired to apply next year, you won’t be sorry. As for me, I’m not stopping until I’m on the other side – sitting on that couch as a lecturer some day. 😉

Me and the funkiest motherfunker to ever funk (as Bootsy would say)

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