Johnnie Walker The Journey, which will be held on December 13, has a lineup of progressive artistes this year. Phorum Dalal speaks to Bonobo, Paul Potts and bassist Michael League of Snarky Puppy to find out what’s in store
Every music festival has its own charm and Johnnie Walker The Journey’s strength probably lies in the fact that it wants to inspire its audiences.
“While curating this festival, our emphasis was on finding individuals with phenomenal back stories as we felt that their journeys had to be as inspiring and progressive as the festival itself, which includes music, film and performing arts,” says Bhavesh Somaya, marketing and innovative director, Diageo India, the organiser of the event, which launched last year.
This year, the festival will host a performance by Dislocate, an acrobatic aerial theatre group founded by Kate Fryer and Geoff Dunstan in 1997 and a screening of the film, One Chance, based on Welsh singer Paul Pott and his quest to win the first season of Britain's Got Talent in 2007.
Excerpts from interviews with artistes Bonobo, Paul Potts and Snarky Puppy:
Q. What sort of music does an instrumental fusion band play?
A. If you had to put a gun to my head and ask me the genre my music lies in, I would say, instrumental pop music.
Q. What can we expect from the show?
A. Apart from audiences having fun, we want to give the show an element of surprise. We only rehearse before the song. We just come and perform and that means, every show is different!
Q. Your music has been described as operatic pop. How would you explain this genre?
A. Operatic pop is a genre of music where pop music is sung in an operatic style. My aim has always been to break the barriers that divide people from any kind of music, not just opera. Music should be inclusive.
Q. Which artistes influenced you?
A. I love the work of Celine Dion, and also my idol, Jose Carerras.
Q. Tell us about your background in classical music.
A. After listening to La Boheme at 16, I fell in love with opera. I was treble in the choir at Christ Church, New Zealand. I spent all my savings — around £12,000, including £8,000 which I won answering music questions on Michael Barrymore’s game show My Kind Of Music — on opera singing courses in Italy.
Q. Tell us about your music background.
A. I grew up listening to different kinds of music but electronic music interested me the most. I was in a band in the ’90s and listened to jazz more than hip hop. I studied in Brighton, which influenced my music greatly.
Q. What type of sets do you plan to play at The Journey?
A. My live show is worth three years’ work. It comprises a six-piece live band, which focuses on the bass guitar and electronic music.
Q. What impact does the music scene in the UK have on electronic music worldwide?
A. The musical landscape has changed a lot in UK, especially London. There’s a lot of bass music, influenced by techno, being played today. I think electronic music, which had taken a backseat for a while, has regained its energy.