After we did our “Pick-Your-Tickets” weekend last week, it was made clear to me that I wasn’t crazy in how excited I am for the arrival of Cypress Hill’s Smokeout Festival next weekend. About 75% of the winners chose Smokeout tickets over [lastfm]Arcade Fire[/lastfm], [lastfm]Anberlin[/lastfm] and many more, reaffirming my suspicions that Smokeout is the place to be in October.
I decided to get on phone with one of the masterminds behind the whole project, [lastfm]Cypress Hill[/lastfm]’s B-Real, to get the scoop on next week’s show. We talked everything from how they got [lastfm]Incubus[/lastfm] on board, who [lastfm]Manu Chao[/lastfm] is and the hype around him, bringing the dance tent back into the mix, dabbled into the history of Smokeout & it’s possible expansion, discussed the addition of the consumption (weed-smoking) area, as well as a whole lot more.
When I asked B-Real to give me one sentence on why people should come to Smokeout, he had this to say: “If they want to get their mind blown musically, visually and in every other realm, come to the Smokeout and experience it for yourself…it’s like no other festival.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself.
First thing’s first, if you want your chance to win tickets to this epic show, click the link below.
I wasn’t surprised at all when I asked B-Real who he was most stoked on seeing and who people should look out for. “I definitely want to see Incubus. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them so we were excited to be able to grab them and get them on the bill. Also, I want to see Nas & Damian Marley. I’ve had a chance to see them one other time at Rock the Bells, and this is when they were doing their first set of shows as Nas & Damian Marley as a group. So I’m looking forward to seeing that. Collie Budz too, he’s like one of my favorites. I’ve seen him before in other settings and he has a really good show so I’m looking forward to seeing that. But I really really want to see [lastfm]Deadmau5[/lastfm].”
[pullquote quote=”It wasn’t like our typical Smokeout lineup, so we thought, ‘If we’re gonna bring the dance tent back, let’s do it huge.’ I mean Deadmau5, Paul Oakenfold and the rest, it’s just ridiculous.” credit=”B-Real”]The dance tent is one of the major draws this year, as excitement continues to build around Deadmau5 and the other major DJ’s. “That [the dance tent] was always in the equation when we first started Smokeout, the dance tent was a really big part of it. We tried to integrate the dance movement within the Smokeout and it turned out to be a big hit for us. The last couple Smokeout’s we really didn’t go hard on it the way we normally would. On this one, we felt that we have such a different lineup. It wasn’t like our typical Smokeout lineup, so we thought, ‘If we’re gonna bring the dance tent back, let’s do it huge.’ I mean Deadmau5, Paul Oakenfold and the rest, it’s just ridiculous,” says B-Real.
Next we turned our attention towards [lastfm]Manu Chao[/lastfm], one of the festival headliners. Manu Chao is a name I’ve only heard of, so when people started going nuts when they heard he was going to be there, I had to find out why.
“Well he’s got a great live show. That was something a lot of people bugged out off of. I mean we’ve always kind of try to have like a Latino-type of flavor to the show.
This was just taking that to another level. We try to have all these different genres co-mingle in the show, mix it up like the European festival, and always try to have that Latin flavor there. Bringing in Manu Chao on this one, it pretty much took it to a whole other level because I mean, he’s great live and he’s been around for a long time, puts out great music and has a huge following and we got such a great response on putting him on. People were just surprised that the two headliners would be Incubus and Manu Chao because usually the Smokeout is more hip hop and either metal or real rockish. This one’s a little different and the fans have responded to it, which is good. We’re excited, I really want to see how the crowd reacts to that.”
This year, Cypress Hill will be performing their self-titled album in it’s entirety, including hits like “Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk” and “How I Could Just Kill A Man,” which was covered by Zack de la Rocha and [lastfm]Rage Against the Machine[/lastfm]. I asked if the whole “front-to-back” theme started at the last Rock The Bells, and to that he said, “Well actually that started at last year’s Smokeout. We did our Black Sunday album from front to back on the first day, because it was two days last year. On the first day we decided, ‘Ok, well we don’t want to play the same set that we’re going to play on Saturday so let’s figure something out.’ Chang, who’s my partner in Guerilla Union, he was like, ‘Well if I could make a suggestion, why don’t you guys play Black Sunday? We’ll create this set around it that looks like your album cover.’ Fortunately, a lot of people responded to that and it turned out to be really cool. Chang implemented that style on Rock The Bells this year and had great success having [lastfm]Snoop Dogg[/lastfm] do Doggystyle in it’s entirety, [lastfm]A Tribe Called Quest[/lastfm] doing their thing…pretty much the whole damn bill. We were like, ‘Alright, we’ll carry the tradition on for the Smokeout at least and we’ll play our Cypress Hill self-titled album.'”
We discussed how Smokeout has been expanding and getting bigger these past few years. “We’re going to actually try to make a tour out of it and take it on the road, at least in the Rock The Bells fashion. Not a full blown 36-date tour but pick the major markets and take the festival there, and maybe even try to take it overseas…we’re just trying to solidify it here and make sure people know this is like tradition that we’re trying to carry on in California. But we’re going to try to take it everywhere else. The only thing we ever try to do is really top the lineup from show to show. It’s going to be very hard topping this lineup next year. We’re just going to try to keep bringing a quality festival and try new things. The thing about our festival which is different than everybody else’s is not only the style in which we throw it, but we have our medical marijuana expo that’s jumping off there.”
“There’s the consumption area and then there’s the medical marijuana expo. [pullquote quote=”It’s gonna be really cool man, I wish I could split myself in 5 pieces and experience it all at once.” credit=”B-Real”]It’ll be in another building and then there’s the garden where the consumption on site will be, so if you have a medical marijuana prescription or card, you take your medicine and go in there, and consume it there. We also have our marijuana stoner movie night, which is going on in the dome. They’re playing 4 movies and rotating them throughout the day. It’s gonna be really cool man, I wish I could split myself in 5 pieces and experience it all at once,” he says.
He also added on about the consumption area, “It’s definitely making history because we’re the only music festival who’s attempting to do this. There’s conventions that do such things, but not like this. But as far as music festivals that are driven by music primarily, nobody ever has done that.”
I started jabbing him with questions about Incubus. How did they get on board? Was there a past relationship or was this all spur of the moment? “We’ve been friends with them. We’ve met them on several occasions, even back in the day before they exploded on the scene. When we came up with this lineup, we were trying to figure out who could really anchor this thing in. Their name came up and we were like, ‘Well you know, shit. We’ll see if they’re down to play,’ because a lot of bands are afraid to play the Smokeout because of the same reasons some of these venues didn’t want to carry it, because of what it means and some people get sketchy about it.”
“And Incubus, they were like, ‘Oh, well it’s Cypress Hill, those are our friends. Yea, let’s do this.’ We have to really thank them because I mean they were getting great offers from many different promoters to play California and they decided they’d only play for us this particular time around. It ended up great. When a lot of people heard about Incubus jumping on, it was like all of a sudden I started getting the phone calls, ‘Hey man, so how can my band get on this bill?’ from out of the woodworks. A big part of it is Incubus signing on to do the Smokeout and it gave us a whole different crowd. They took a chance on us and that was great. We definitely appreciate them for taking that shot with us.”
“In relation to the other Smokeout’s, as far as the ticket sales and stuff like that, we’ve never seen the tickets go so fast until we put Incubus on there. One year when we had [lastfm]System Of A Down[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Limp Bizkit[/lastfm], I think it was the third Smokeout, that was the other year that tickets went like crazy because Limp Bizkit was really crackin’ at that time. It reminds me of that time, right now. They’re (Smokeout Fest) going way better than they were back then and it’s just a trip because all these years later it’s always still a gamble to throw these things. To see people just coming on in like, ‘Oh man, this whole lineup is crazy.’ It’s just great man, we’re all excited.”Vodpod videos no longer available.
Before I let him go, I had to ask if there was any new Cypress Hill material in the works. “We put out our new album earlier this year called Rise Up, but we will be working on some other stuff shortly. We’re not going to take the 2-3 years in between records as we’ve done in the past. We’re going to jump right back in the studio on this break that we have and come up with some different stuff. We’re always constantly on the grind with our music. We’ve been trying to create a whole different domain with the B-Real.tv, so if anybody wants to check it out we have programming all week. People can log in and check it out.”
When I asked if they had any tricks up their sleeves for Smokeout, he responded, “Yea, we do. But I don’t want to spoil it yet. I can’t be the spoiler today.”
Dammit, I want to know now!
Make sure to get your tickets to Cypress Hill’s Smokeout Festival here, this is a show you surely don’t want to miss.