A Euphoric Conversation with Govinda [Interview]

Shane Madden, most widely known as Govinda, will be hitting the stage at Euphoria Music Festival in Austin, Texas in just a few days, and what better way to get ready for Euphoria than getting inside the mind of the Austin native himself? Madden isn’t a musical act who will simply push “play” and dance around the stage while his music plays behind him, he is an artist who embraces organic sound and soothes his listener’s ears with the sweet sounds of his violin. Not only is the art, the science, the fluidity, and the precision of music important to Madden, but visual stimulation is an important factor in his performances as well. With visual projections, belly dancers, and live instruments, a Govinda performance is something that everyone should see whenever possible. Gypsies, music theorists, festival-goers, and lovers of all music will find that Madden’s creations have the power to transport the listener to a cultural, sensual wonderland, and will have even those with the heaviest of feet dancing like gypsy souls. Below we discussed Madden’s musical history, his influences, his performances, and what it is like being an Austin native.
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Jazzy Cherie: You often play the violin during your sets, what other instruments do you play?

[box]Shane Madden: I play some keyboards, guitar, and sing a little.[/box]

JC: At what age did you start playing the violin and what made you choose the violin instead of another instrument?

[box]SM: I started when I was 8 after I heard “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” I went on to study classical violin and never learned the song :([/box]

JC: In what other ways, besides your violin, do you incorporate your classical training into your electronic music?

[box]SM: I have a degree in Music Composition so I write and arrange with a large music picture rather than the approach a DJ might take. I like to use real instruments and explore mic’ing techniques using Protools. Very old school…[/box]

JC: What inspired you to make the transition from classical to electronic music?

[box]SM: I heard trip-hop for the first time. I knew I needed to make beats after that. Naturally, I added in the knowledge I had to make a unique sound with violin.[/box]

JC: How do you think having a live instrument in your music adds to your performance and sound?

[box]SM: It makes it very unique . When I started blending violin and beats 20 years ago no one was doing it. I always felt it balanced the sound and made synthetic music more human and organic music more precise. It also makes the electronic music more accessible to people that haven’t been exposed to it.[/box]

JC: Your music is very eclectic and has some gypsy roots, what or whose music has inspired your musical repertoire?

[box]SM: I was inspired by my ancestors and the music they listened to. Part of my family were gypsies and ended up settling in Spain. Also my grandfather’s dream was to take me to Romania to learn violin from the masters.[/box]

JC: What did you grow up listening to?

[box]SM: I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s so I listened to the music of that time. My parents were in the music business so I also was exposed to more obscure stuff like art rock. Peter Gabriel’s Genesis, Supertramp and stuff.[/box]

JC: Listeners and even you have described that your music has a “spooky” quality to it. What about your music do you think makes it spooky?

[box]SM: I love minor keys and half tones. I was also inspired by Dead Can Dance back in the day so my style just developed that way.[/box]

JC: How else would you describe your music?

[box]SM: Cinematic, visual, and sensual.[/box]

JC: You are usually accompanied by visual projections and belly dancers during your live performances. What made you want to incorporate so much visual eye-candy into your shows?

[box]SM: I love dance and performance art. I grew up with it all around me. I always believed that if you are going to “see” a show then there should be something to see. Otherwise just put on the CD.[/box]

JC: You are performing at Euphoria Music Festival in Austin, Texas this coming April. What is it like performing at a music festival in your hometown?

[box]SM: I love it because the local people and fans have helped shape me as an artist. I have been performing in Austin for 16 years and have so many friends that will be a part of the weekend.[/box]

 JC: What is your favorite thing about Austin that might draw in people who aren’t from the area?

[box]SM: Amazing food and an intensely rising action energy with very sexy people everywhere![/box]

Catch Govinda on Saturday at 5pm at the Dragonfly Amphitheater at Euphoria Music Festival this weekend if you want to see and hear an unforgettable performance. Other musical acts at Euphoria include Pretty Lights, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Thievery Corporation, and the Emancipator Ensemble. With 40 acres to play and dance on, the Colorado River nearby, camping, amazing art, and tons of workshops, Euphoria has everything to make any festival-regular happy.

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