Going Deep with Perry Farrell, Plastikman, Anna Gabriel, and Bassnectar

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Artists performing at and participating in Coachella face an endless stream of interviewers, asking questions about everything from their new projects to their summer tours. That’s why we decided to switch it up by querying a few of our favorite musicians — Perry Farrell, Richie Hawtin (a.k.a. Plastikman) and Lorin Ashton (a.k.a. Bassnectar) — and one inspiring filmmaker, Anna Gabriel, about some bigger-picture ideas, from how they want to feel in their last moments of life to what qualities they appreciate most in friends. Check out their thoughtful responses and our best photos from the festival after the jump.

Perry Farrell

One of the undisputed godfathers of alternative rock and the creator of Lollapalooza, Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell is a mainstay of Coachella, credited with reviving the festival after its rocky beginning in 2001. We caught up with him on the last day of his ninth year to get his take on a few key questions.

Flavorpill: What’s your idea of happiness?

Perry Farrell: Being around music in a relaxed way; making it, listening to it, and all the things that magnetize to that moment.

FP: What’s your idea of misery?

PF: Misery is being inland, without an ocean around, and without the people that live by the ocean around. Also, having to pay attention a lot harder than I’m used to — being serious. Immaturity has its virtues. Not wearing the suit and tie, it keeps you youthful.

Lucent Dossier

FP: What’s your chief characteristic?

PF: Glowing, warm, positive energy.

FP: If you weren’t yourself, who would you be?

PF: Hm. If God said do you want to trade, not that I would, but I’d have to say David Bowie because his voice is so great.

FP: What’s your favorite virtue?

PF: Non-aggression; peacefulness.

The Glitch Mob

FP: What motto do you live by?

PF: It’s not what you do that kills you — it’s what you don’t do

FP: What do you want to feel before you die?

PF: I get a little fearful that I’ll be very sad, so I almost want to say that I don’t want to feel anything. But then, I don’t want to be unconscious. So there’s your answer [laughs].

FP: What natural talent would you like to be gifted with?

PF: I would love to be able to be an incredible basketball player.

FP: What do you appreciate most in your friends?

PF: When it’s crunch time, they converge and help me get the job done.

FP: What is your present state of mind?

PF: I couldn’t think of a more perfect life. Even what I don’t have in hand is within arms reach.

Richie Hawtin (Plastikman)

Richie Hawtin’s highly anticipated set at Coachella this year brought a new dimension to his reputation as a minimal techno DJ, with a harder, heavier sound and innovative technology that blurs the distinction between artist and audience. His iPhone app SYNK activates only during his live show and, as he puts it, “gives you access into my show, to control mechanisms, sampling, triggering—displacing who is performing, who is in control. Great performance is not just about who’s on stage—it’s about that whole physical thing. Our app does not let you pretend to be part of the experience when you’re 3000 miles away; it heightens the experience of being there with us at that moment.”

Flavorpill: What’s your idea of happiness?

Richie Hawtin: Nice weather and friends.

FP: What’s your idea of misery?

RH: Long Berlin winters.

LCD Soundsystem

FP: What’s your chief characteristic?

RH: Impatience… and indecision.

FP: If you weren’t yourself, who would you be?

RH: Richard Branson

FP: What’s your favorite virtue?

RH: Honesty

The Gossip

FP: What motto do you live by?

RH: Regret what you haven’t done, not what you’ve done.

FP: What do you want to feel before you die?

RH: Relaxed and accomplished.

FP: What natural talent would you like to have?

RH: Tree climbing

FP: What do you appreciate most in your friends?

RH: Perseverance

FP: What’s your present state of mind?

RH: Nervous anticipation. There’s so many interesting things I can do right now, so many great contacts, cool technology, and amazing ideas I have that I can fulfill. People are finally noticing after like 20 years that electronic music is a really powerful force, and that ties into live performance, entertainment, arts, and culture. and that’s what we’re really into right now. So also overwhelmed a bit, in a good way.

Anna Gabriel

Filmmaker Anna Gabrielle, along with Hunter Heaney and Chris Holmes, took up up residence in a makeshift recording studio at Lacoste’s Coachella House just outside festival grounds to further their work on The Voice Project, a nonprofit that supports women in war-ravaged Northern Uganda in leading peace and reconciliation efforts. One of major tools the women have been using is music; they spread messages of peace and forgiveness through songs that travel by word of mouth and over the radio, reaching former child soldiers in hiding and welcoming them back home. The Voice Project raises awareness and funds for the women through their website voiceproject.org, which documents the “cover chain” of artists who spread the movement by covering each other’s songs.

Flavorpill: What’s your idea of happiness?

Anna Gabriel: I’m doing this documentary in Cambodia following a girl whose parents both died of AIDS [who] grew up in a garbage dump. She once said to me “just smile every day, and you’ll feel happier”. Even when you feel like shit, if you just start smiling, it makes you feel better. And by smiling at others, you give that same energy to them.

FP: What’s your idea of misery?

AG: Being hurt by people you love. Though I don’t know if that’s actually misery after the conditions I’ve seen people in. The last time I was [in Cambodia], seeing these babies with no clothes in makeshift strollers with no parents, just crying, and you just want to pick them up and take them home — that really hits me a lot of the time.

Fever Ray

FP: What’s your chief characteristic?

AG: My laugh. I’ll laugh at any joke — I make my friends feel extremely funny.

FP: If you weren’t yourself, who would you be?

AG: I always wanted to be Jane Austen. I don’t know why — if I had a past life, maybe [that era] is where I was.

FP: What’s your favorite virtue?

AG: Kindness

FP: What motto do you live by?

AG: Treat people as you want to be treated yourself.

FP: How do you want to feel before you die?

AG: Nicely, with no pain.

FP: What natural talent would you like to be gifted with?

AG: Music

Florence & The Machine

FP: What do you appreciate most in your friends?

AG: Loyalty. And a sense of humor is important.

FP: What’s your present state of mind?

AG: Overwhelmed. It’s been a manic few days, and I’m excited to get home and chill out for a moment. It’s exciting too, since I work really well with a lot of energy. But I can’t do it for too long — I need to take a break and breathe for a second.

Lorin Ashton (Bassnectar)

Lorin Ashton’s explosively energetic sets as Bassnectar spin his audience through soundscapes that range from the heaviest, raunchiest subfrequencies to gorgeously dream-like melody and back again, weaving them into a genre all his own and moving crowds all over the world. His inaugural set at Coachella exceeded expectations with new sounds, expansive visuals, and an unparalleled energy that pulled a massive congregation of festival goers into the Sahara tent at sunset.

Flavorpill: What’s your idea of happiness?

Lorin Ashton: Life is such an incredible, beautiful, mysterious gift. Any opportunity to explore this miracle, and share the awe with other people makes me happy. But happiness seems to be a natural response to the absence of misery.

FP: What’s your idea of misery?

LA: Any obstruction to happiness

Bassnectar

FP: What’s your chief characteristic?

LA: Obsessively driven

FP: If you weren’t yourself, who would you be?

LA: Everybody else

FP: What’s your favorite virtue?

LA: Empathy

FP: What motto do you live by?

LA: Treat others how you wish to be treated.

Temple by Tasseograph

FP: What do you want to feel before you die?

LA: Peace and gratitude.

FP: What natural talent would you like to be gifted with?

LA: I wish I was completely sustained by one hour of sleep and one food pill. As much as I adore sleeping and eating I would love a 23-hour day to adventure and work more.

Bassnectar

FP:What do you most appreciate in your friends?

LA: Fascinating creatures who are authentic, empathic, genuine, peaceful, creative, inspirational, vulnerable, defiant to injustice.

FP: What is your present state of mind?

LA: Due to your questions, it’s pretty idealistic.

Bassnectars photos by Elliott Dunwody. All other photos by Natasha Blank.