Mystic Grizzly talks Manifest Gang, future collaborations, & more before his Gem & Jam debut [Interview]
Here at Conscious Electronic, we’ve been fans of Ft. Lauderdale-based DJ/producer Mystic Grizzly for quite some time. Known to his friend as Jordan Hoffman, the Manifest Gang founder had quite the busy 2019 in the bass music underground. With appearances at Tipper & Friends Suwannee, Backwoods, Infrasound, and Wakaan Festival under his belt, the experimental bass artist also released an outer worldly album in Satellite Work as well as a short player on Bassrush Records.
Now Mystic Grizzly is primed for an even bigger 2020. With Gem & Jam, Okeechobee, and Sonic Bloom already on the docket for 2020 festivals, Mystic Grizzly is bringing his awakened approach to live performance all over the country. It’s a style of music, one we like to call intelligent or conscious bass music, whose intention is all about bringing listeners to present moment, into spiritual alignment and conscious awakening. It’s also an approach we got the chance to speak to him about rather in-depth in this exclusive interview.
From his approach to music to future collaborations to his favorite VJs and more, we had the chance to sit down with Hoffman ahead of his Gem & Jam Festival debut this weekend in Arizona. The festival takes place around one of the largest gem and mineral show in the world, which fits perfectly in line with Hoffman’s worldview. Mystic Grizzly takes to the stage Friday night on The Onyx stage.
Also check out Mystic Grizzly’s Manifest Gang Mixtape in our Midweek Mantra Mix series.
Hey Jordan! Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. I know we’ve gone back and forth before over Twitter about how our two missions are perfectly intertwined. That is, to create and foster channels for consciousness-raising in the dance music world. So my first question for you is:
CE: How does your line of bass music seek to raise the vibrations of your immediate audience in the crowd? How do you see this reverberate across your online audiences?
MG: For the immediate crowd, I like to feed them vibrations that I channel from higher places. My sets will usually include some sort of spoken word message about either love, unity, etc. Also I love to play out songs with noises that really catch you off guard to make sure I have the audiences attention in order to make them tune in to my set even more.
CE: Want to ask about your artist collective you helped found, Manifest Gang. What sparked the idea for such a name and how do go about driving the collective’s concept or overall vibe? How/When did you decide that this was something you wanted to do?
MG: The name came from an experience I had years ago where a group of five of my friends including myself all together intentionally helped each other manifest our short term goals over the course of two weeks. We set daily alarms and every day at the same time we would all meditate for about 30 minutes and focus on each other’s goals and visualize each other accomplishing these goals with a two week deadline. At the end of it, every single one of us successfully manifested what we were seeking. It became very apparent the power in a group of people focusing their energy and thought into bringing something into fruition. So ultimately, we were a group (gang) of friends manifesting each other’s dreams. This all happened about four years ago and over the course of time I knew it was part of my mission to spread and share this knowledge. I quickly realized music was one of the best ways to spread messages to the masses.
CE: So what is the mission of Manifest Gang, in a nutshell, for our readers?
CE: Can you think about a time when your music really helped someone in the crowd? Or perhaps a fan reached out to you online about how your music changed their life for the better? I have a feeling we agree on the notion that music is the universal language for connection, for healing, for transformation and ascendance. Just wanted to know how that’s manifested for you in a material way.
MG: I had someone tell me they were able to speak and converse with their dead father during my set at Infrasound two years ago who had recently passed during at the time. They told me my music was a catalyst in bringing that experience to them. He said it changed his life and gave him so much clarity, closure, and reassurance to be able to experience that communication with his father who crossed over…. truly incredible and very humbling.
CE: Can you tell us anything you’ve got in store for Gem & Jam? I’m sure you’ve been to the Phoenix area and have a good sense for what this crowd wants. But also, seeing as how Gem & Jam is centered around one of the world’s largest gem and mineral shows, I’m willing to bet the festival draws a more consciously-attuned base. What are your plans set-wise for appealing to this kind of audience?
MG: This will be my second time ever playing in Arizona and I’m very excited. I usually freestyle my sets so I’m gonna feel out the vibe then do my thing [laughs]. The majority of my set will be original music though I know that!
CE: You’ve recently gotten to test out some downtempo on the road. You called this a “galactic journey set.” How was the response? Is this part of a larger EP or studio album? Can you give us any details on forthcoming releases?
MG: My journey sets seem to go great and I love them because I get curate the full spectrum of music in those sets because I have an hour and half to play music. I have an all original mixtape (The Manifest Gang Mixtape Volume 2) coming out very soon as well as a full downtempo EP which is very close to being done.
CE: How’s Florida life? I know the underground bass community out there is thriving, so what is it to be constantly immersed in that kind of niche creative community?
MG: The Florida scene is massive and tight knit at the same. It’s awesome to watch so many people so passionate about music and creating an entire community. It’s easy to build a solid fan base here due to the amount of kids who are so immersed in the whole scene, but you gotta get out there and actually immersive yourself in it as well, not just release music from your home.
CE: Craziest or most outlandish story working with a promoter or festival…and go.
MG: Recently just had a show planned in Michigan with Mersiv and Angelic Root which sold out before doors opened in a 1K+ capacity venue, right when I landed in Detroit an hour before the show started, I was told the entire show was cancelled a few minutes before doors opened due to weather issues Mersiv. It was such a massive shock and everyone didn’t know what to do and we all low key panicked. I was in shock for the next three days (haha). I was planning for that set for a while and was extremely excited and ready all day. So we just ended up throwing a house party. What a time!
CE: In the past, you’ve had the opportunity to work with Tipper & Friends during your Manifest Gang after hours takeover. I was actually in the crowd for that and was blown away by all the low-tempo. How was that for you? Was there ever an “aha” moment out at Suwannee where you felt like you had (in a sense) made it? What did you take away from the whole weekend?
MG: Tipper and Friends didn’t have association with our renegade but they did unofficially approve it of us doing it. It was definitely a blessing watching all of that come to life and having it all go smoothly without anyone shutting it down. We had over a thousand people each night which exceeded our expectations by a lot. Definitely a magical time and we plan on doing it again next Tipper and Friends at Suwannee!
CE: Any upcoming collaborations you can tell us about? Or any artists you want to go on the record and say “hey, I’d like to collab with this person”…?
MG: Got some things cookin with Thought Process, Benji Robot, Dark Matter, Freddy Todd, and even LSDREAM. I have more unreleased music with a bunch of homies but those are the more recent ones. Also myself and Serious Jorge are starting a side project which is releasing some time later this year!
CE: Who’s your favorite visual artist? Any particular VJ you’d love to work with in the future?
MG: I work a lot with my boy Rex Affects who does live visuals and does sick work. We performed together at Wakaan fest and at my Black Box show. Check my mans out!
CE: How has touring with Mersiv gone for you on the Beautiful & Filthy tour? Any break through or stand out moments? Did you guys by chance cook up a collab while out on the road?
MG: I wasn’t on too many stops with Mersiv on his last tour, but we’re definitely gonna work together on music at some point, that’s a given. We’ve been talking about it for a while now.
CE: Your most recent short player was released on Bassrush Records. I only wish is was longer. How was working with such a renowned label? Did you have to make any creative sacrifices at all? Anything else you want to tell us about working under the Insomniac umbrella?
MG: I was actually really surprised to have Bassrush so interested in my extremely weird music. Wasn’t sure if they were gonna be down for it. They were super stoked on all 3 songs so that worked out great (haha). The people over at Bassrush/Insomniac are all extremely awesome and very easy to work with. Very grateful to work with them. I assume that release will lead to more opportunities in the future!
Information seeker. Dog lover. PhD drop out. College professor by day, EDM photographer by night.