Exclusive Interview: Todd Stoops of Kung Fu, RAQ, and BangBang

In the post Aura glow, Sensible Reason sat down with master of key Todd Stoops, of Kung Fu, RAQ, and BangBang to talk about his Aura Music Festival experience.

1. So how did you enjoy your AURA?


I had a fantastic time at AURA!  One of the smoothest-run festivals that I have attended (let alone performed) – the hang was epic as well as the beautiful site and the (mostly) beautiful weather


Aura Music Festival

2. you played with, Kung Fu, BangBang, Brother Bean and sang with the Pets, was the whole weekend just like one big jam session for you?


Indeed!  I also played with Dopapod and The Werks on Friday night to round out the craziness – it was like band-camp meets SXSW meets “Fear And Loathing”…

3. do you play different styles and keyboards while playing with different bands/artist or is it always the same stoops keys we all know?


I don’t consciously change styles when performing with different bands unless the material calls for it – I love playing with musicians that are listeners; the end result is everyone creating their own part of a sonic landscape rather than the “listen to me solo!!” vibe – There were certainly a bunch of great collective moments during the sit-ins that weekend.


4. How did you feel your reception was for BangBangs 4th show? Was it great having multiple special guests on stage?


I thought it was great – the crowd was digging on it and dancing, and that’s really all you can ask for…  I wanted BB’s set BangBangto host a “keyboard summit” of sorts so I was grinning ear to ear and psyched to have a bunch of my ridiculously talented friends up there ripping it with us – After the set a kid came up to me backstage and said “it was great to hear 4 keyboardists playing synths and a drummer create dance music live that would normally all come from a laptop” – that was kind of the point, to get a bunch of voices happening at once.  And all of those players are beasts in their own right, so it was really entertaining as well


5. What was the highlight of your aura it could be on stage  or off stage, but what was the most memorable thing from the weekend?


Hmm…  Something that you can actually print?  Because I vaguely remember a scenario involving an alligator, a fire-dancer, three  pounds of raw chicken, a midget…..  Uh nevermind!!


Hahaha no but seriously it was probably the group of us that were invited up to sing with the Pets during “Instant Karma” – we were all saying that it felt like “We Are The World” – tons of fun


6. I know that many of the artists that played AURA are your personal friends, but if you had to choose what was your favorite performance of the weekend.


That’s really tough.  All the bands kicked some ass and I witnessed great moments from every band that I saw, friends or not – If I had to pick a favorite all around “performance” I would give that up to the live artists!  There were so many fantastic artists throwing up live painting while the bands were playing – really amazing stuff!  At one point there was literally an armada of easels in front of the stages with artists going bananas.  Really cool to watch!

Greg Sarafan

Greg Sarafan founded Greg Sarafan’s Sensible Reason in 2007. He started blogging for HeadCount in January 2011. Soon after he organized and ran a small but successful charity festival called Binghamtronica to benefit HeadCount and OxFam America. He is a Team Leader in NYC as well as Artist Relations representative for HeadCount. Greg has BAs in political science and art history from Binghamton University. Greg has a J.D. as well as a Certificate in Intelectual Property, Media and Privacy from Brooklyn Law School . Greg also volunteers for OxFam America as a Concert Outreach Coordinator. In 2009 Greg presented his theory of Artistic Stylistic Transmission in the Royal Mughal Atelier at an art history symposium at Ohio State University.

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