Interview: Jesse Flemming, co-creator of The Do Lab and Lightning In A Bottle
USD Radio spoke with Jesse Flemming, one of the creators of the infamous Do Lab collective. They discussed Coachella, Lightning In A Bottle, sustainability, and music. Be sure to check out The Do Lab’s music festival incarnation, Lightning In A Bottle, May 27-30th in Silverado, CA.
By: Chuck Cartwright
Chuck Cartwright: How was Coachella?
Jesse Flemming: Coachella was awesome–it was a great experience
CC: Has it kind of just gotten bigger and better every year?
JF: It has definitely gotten bigger and better, this year we actually built three art installations inside the festival as opposed to just one. I don’t know, we really can’t help ourselves building things bigger each year. It’s stuff that’s pretty difficult to do but somehow we pull it off.
CC: Awesome, I know Coachella has introduced many people, including myself, to The Do Lab. What exactly is The Do Lab at its roots?
JF: At its roots, The Do Lab is a collective of artists; of friends and family, and of poeple with like-minded beliefs. We really like to create amazing experiences for people through art, music, and community.
CC: Speaking of music, how do you guys decide on/find the artists you book?
JF: We’ve just been around this scene for the past couple years–some people call it the West Coast Bass scene. It all kind of grew out of Burning Man–there are just so many amazing electronica artists. A lot of them are friends, and it has just grown into this network that we are connected to.
Our goal as a festival is not to be like Coachella or a lot of the other big festivals who book the biggest, most popular acts in the world. We’re really trying to show people this whole scene that has grown right here at home on the West Coast. We always just choose the artists based on who we like the most.
CC: So would it be fair to say that Lightning In A Bottle is a culmination of everything that The Do Lab has been doing for the past couple of years, manifested into its own festival?
JF: Absolutely! LIB is a blank canvas and we can paint the picture any way we want to. For us, we are trying to create the next generation of music festivals. We’ve been going to festivals since we were little kids, and now we are really just trying to bring something unique to the table–education, workshops, yoga, art.
CC: Do you forsee a problem in the future with maintaining Lightning In A Bottle’s credibility, along with the core values of The Do Lab as the festival gets larger and increases in popularity?
JF: I don’t think so–there are a lot similar events popping up, and we we’re happy about that. It’s really a community thing, where it’s about bringing people together. Yeah there’s great music, great art, and tons of things to do, but in the end, people walk away with tons of new friends and relationships. It’s pretty amazing–it’s all about the people.
CC: So how many folks are you anticipating for this year’s festival?
JF: I think there will be somewhere between eight and ten thousand people, which would pretty much be our capacity. We think it might sell out this year.
CC: It seems like there is a lot of on-campus buzz pertaining to LIB here in San Diego, and I think a lot of that is because of the credibility of The Do Lab, but also due to the acts you guys booked. Can you comment on how you decided on Pretty Lights and Thievery Corporation to headline?
JF: We wanted to book a diverse lineup, but really in the end we wanted to book music that we listen to and that our friends like. We’ve been fans of Pretty Lights for years now, trying to do a show, and this year it finally worked out so we’re pretty excited about that. And with Thievery Corperation, same kind of a thing–we actually met those guys at Burning Man a couple of years ago and we’ve been talking about doing a show together ever since. So this year was the year and it finally worked out.
CC: I noticed on the Lightning In A Bottle website, that there is a huge focus on sustainability– what kind of unique or innovative programs are you implementing this year to make the smallest impact possible on the festival grounds?
JF: All of the normal stuff–recylcling, using biodiesel fuels for our generators, a free water campaign aimed at eliminating plastic water bottles at the festival. A lot of festivals sell water as a source of profit, but for us we’re more concerned with people not having to buy plastic water bottles. That’s the basic stuff, we really want to educate people about the small things that they can do at home, which is why we’re providing a whole range of workshops to learn how to grow your own garden, or grow your own medicine…to even growing/creating your own cleaning supplies. All small changes that people can implement to make a big difference.
CC: Lastly, for anyone interested in attending Lightning In A Bottle, what’s the one underlying theme or mission of the festival and The Do Lab as an organization that you’d like festival attendees to be aware of?
JF: I would just tell people to come prepared for an experience that is unlike anything else–Come with an open heart and an open mind to meet new amazing people, learn some new things, and have a great time while doing it.