By Julian White-Davis, Photo Editor
Hands sway through the air; feet jump up and down as sweaty bodies collide with each other in a moshpit at the front of the stage; a massive LED video wall portraying psychedelic images stands in the background.
It’s high noon, and the whole school is jiving out to a live performance of electronic dance music conducted by Manatee Commune.
The artist, Grant Eadie, held a surprise performance for the students on June 2 and stuck around afterwards to answer questions from the crowd, give away free vinyls of his work and do a short interview with the Riptide.
Community member Debra Heesch was responsible for organizing everything to get Manatee Commune out to the island for this exclusive performance.
“I work for the Paramount Theatre,” Heesch said, “but to give back to the island on a volunteer basis, I organize music.”
Heesch has previously brought popular musicians to the island, such as The Shook Twins and Mike Love.
She, along with a handful of friends, paid Manatee Commune out of pocket to make this show happen. Simon of Stage Works donated the LED video wall and volunteered along with his staff Laurie Perkins. Record Producer Martin Feveyear along with VHS technical staff set up the sound system and engineered the performance.
After the concert, Eadie sat in the grass with his shoes off and sunglasses on in front of the school and began to talk casually about his experience thus far in the music industry.
He started out his musical career with the unlikely choice of orchestra — given his current genre of electronic musical production. He made the switch while attending college at Western Washington University when he started studying music education.
“Music production is so fun because you get to practice and make mistakes and can kind of hear it all and experience it all in real time,” Eadie said, “and that’s how I kind of fell in love with it. It’s so funny. When I try to pin … it all down, it’s impossible. It kind of just all happened. It definitely wasn’t intentional.”
He has played at many music festivals in the area, such as Bumbershoot, Summer Meltdown, Sasquatch, Capitol Hill Block Party and Bonnaroo with crowds of 5,000 people or more.
“The first time I played one of those really big shows, it was pretty wild,” Eadie said. “I think what was weird was I was just so used to being able to feel people’s energy so individually. At Bumbershoot … I played at Key Arena for like 6,000 people. The stage itself was like a 300 cap room, and so to fill that up by myself was in a way kind of lonely.”
He has been on this “project” of Manatee Commune for about two years now and has plans for the next few years.
“I’ve been [working] on this recent, full-length album now for about seven months, so I have some really big remixes coming out, which is going to be really fun,” Eadie said. “I’m just traveling the U.S. right now, just working with artists that I’ve really fallen in love with and really gotten excited about. The project is becoming very national … featuring a lot of people, which has been really fun. So that’s kind of my immediate goal — just to get out and meet people and have fun and get in studios and experience that kind of stuff. There’s some big stuff in the works.”
Check out the Riptide’s tv.vashonsd.org for the full, filmed interview with Manatee Commune!