Grateful Web Interview with Govinda

Article Contributed by Michelle Mi | Published on Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grateful Web caught up with Austin, TX-based Govinda just before he plays at Wakarusa. A master of combining classical music with electronic influences, Govinda discusses his musical passions, what you can expect from him at Wakarusa and his many musical influences.

GW: You’ll be at Wakarusa very soon – what can we expect to see from you this year?

Govinda: A completely unique stage show with all new dancers and flashy costumes to wake your lazy asses up. Not to mention a few new tracks specifically made for this lovely Sunday morning.

GW: You’ve played in Arkansas quite a few times; I actually saw you playing at a place called Hogridge Hollow. I’m pretty sure it was pouring rain that night. What are some of your most memorable shows?

Govinda: Well that one will never be forgotten..jaja..however, one of my faves will always be Lightning in a Bottle 2012 and Halloween at the Parish in Austin with Tipper a few years back.

GW: You’ve shared the stage with a fair number of talented musicians – who would you like to play with that you haven’t already?

Govinda: Hmmm, maybe Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance.

GW: What artists do you look up to? Who are some of music’s greatest innovators?

Govinda: Mostly classical and folk music. I love Madredeus, Shakti, and a bunch of obscure gypsy music.

GW: What’s your favorite instrument that you don’t play?

Govinda: Sitar

GW: How did you first get introduced to the idea of combining your violin talents with electronic music?

Govinda: Well, I fell in love with electronic music after college. I had been playing violin classically for many years and wanted to blend the two. It was a unique sound back then. Pre-Beats Antique and pre-Linsey Stirling.

GW: Do you have a favorite composer or movement?

Govinda: Tchaikovsky and Paganini...for different reasons of course. 

GW: How did your upbringing influence your musical career?

Govinda: I had a very unique upbringing. My parents were in the music industry. My mother is a singer/songwriter and novelist as well. I grew up with art and culture as a central focus in the heart of the internationally unconscious, Central Texas. I was striving to blend my world around me with idealism and fantasy. 

GW: What makes a great live show?

Govinda: I believe the visual aspect is just as important as the music. People are coming to "see" you. Not just hear you. I always focus on preparing a show with a healthy handful of eye candy.  I also think that keeping energy and mystery keeps a strong presence alive on stage.

GW: How does playing at an outdoor music festival vs. a show in an enclosed venue change your performance?

Govinda: the biggest differences are the amount of people and the fact that there are no sound checks and stage setups. It’s one after another. Much has to be done on the fly in a festival. Other than that? Bugs.

GW: What are some of your most influential songwriting inspirations?

Govinda: Love, sensuality, dreams, spiritual elevation, space travel and mind expansion. 

GW: As a classically trained musician, what opportunities do you see to use the combination of electronic music and classical music as an educational tool?

Govinda: It can open minds to hearing new types of music that were previously not liked. I have a lot of fans that don’t even listen to electronic music. They are drawn in by the violin and live aspect. I also have ravers and party-goers that seem to have a new passion for the instrument after hearing it played in the dance music context.

GW: How would you describe your music and live shows to somebody who has never heard of you?

Govinda: An audio-visual feast more decadent than a vampire's blood bath mixed with a sensual, mind-expanding journey through the heart of the Goddess.

GW: Anything you’d like to say to Grateful Web readers?

Govinda: Always live your dreams and dance your heart open.