Friday, 24 September 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews - Bassline Circus (Issue 5)

Born out of the creative crucible of the nomadic underground, Bassline Circus have woven together scorching performance, awe inspiring feats of skillfully suicidal comedy, dazzling visuals, a slamming groove and a pulsating dancefloor into an eyeball shattering synthesis of the performing arts. Somewhere between a cabaret and a warehouse rave, fluctuating wildly between dizzying gasps of acrobatic insanity and a throbbing explosion of bassline goodness, the traveling crew of performers, musicians, technicians, artists and downright eccentrics have been at the forefront of forging a new life-force for the circus and rave mediums alike...

Can you define what the circus medium means to you. 

Wickedness and goodness. Fun, work, a showcase, entertainment, amazing feats of performing skill, a place of wonder for people to see things they would never see anywhere else, traveling showmanship, bravado, community living, traveling, work, lifestyle.

The word circus invokes a sense of nomadicism – how important has traveling been in the Bassline experience?

Integral, there is no Bassline without traveling………we are a group of traveling showmen/women/people who between us have partied almost every country in Europe, and been as far a field putting on events as India, Iran, Turkey, South America, and have all traveled to too many places to mention… Traveling keeps things fresh, involves completely new input and forces you to go out and face life head on, there is no where to hide away if you are constantly on the move…. Bassline has been pretty much UK based for the last 6 or so years, but was actually conceived out of the ashes of the European festival scene, in a field south of Rome, where it had its first home. Then HQ moved between Paris and Barcelona for a while, before moving to London, where its been ever since.. Bassline is all about movement, there is an inherent restlessness that binds us all together and I think this is obviously common in all circuses and traveling shows...

How important is it to balance performance with inclusion?

Not sure what you mean, but the audience need to feel something for the performer or performance, the point of showing is to create atmosphere, emotion and therefore a sense of experience that the audience can take away with them.

Can you tell us about your community projects and how community roots impact yourselves as artists..

We have been involved in various projects in schools of all levels, and also funded youth projects. I was lucky enough to see early on that there is a whole world out there, seeing many many options for what to do with your life, almost all of them outside the accepted social norm. We are committed to making sure that young people have access to ideas and options that aren’t taught in the narrow confines of school. All communities need input. All communities need varied and wide ranging input, young people need showing as much of the world as possible, not as little. Teaching helps you put into perspective and easy language that which you are trying to teach, coalescing the basics into a solid transmittable platform, from which both you and the people you are teaching can step off with confidence. Often teaching people who have little or no experience or interest in your chosen field make you try harder and be more creative in your teaching methods, often exploring different elements and levels to your chosen skill, and looking at things with a different perspective. We have been involved with many projects at schools all over London over the years, taking our brand of circus into the schools, holding workshops and letting the kids try for themselves the different kinds of skills that we include in our shows.

Normally we then get them to create small performances which are then showcased at the end of the project to the rest of the school, and parents. We have also run projects out of schools, with older teenagers, getting them involved in things they already like, and have a good level of skill at already. The aim of these projects is to help develop the skills, giving them access to equipment and teachers they might not normally have access to. At the same time as this we get them involved in one of our shows or festivals, giving them the spotlight and getting them used to performing to a real audience. This is invaluable stage time for them, and really injects a buzz into the project, which cements the learning experience and gives them a real experience to take away.

How do music, lyrics and performance interact and complement each other in your shows?

The whole point of Bassline is creating a performance of different mediums that synchronize live, so at points they all converge, then split off and separate. I suppose they interact in the same way as most other live performances, whether it’s the theatre or circus, they are all part of the bigger picture that you are trying to portray.

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