De La Soul at the 3-day Synch Festival

De La Soul emerged in 1989 with their splendid debut album «3 Feet High and Rising,» a groundbreaking and spirited blend of samples and styles that, for many, embodied the future of hip-hop. The group remained active throughout the ’90s with further releases, tours, and fruitful collaborations with acts like soul diva Chaka Khan. Last year, the act released its eighth album, «The Grind Date,» which featured contributions from the film director Spike Lee. The talented trio from Long Island, will play its first-ever show in Greece this Sunday at the Lavrion Technology and Cultural Park, some 50 kilometers southeast of Athens, as part of the second Synch Festival. Kathimerini spoke to band member Posdnuos, born Kelvin Mercer, ahead of the show. You were regarded as pioneers early on with the release of your first album. Was that a burden, artistically? No, because, quite simply, we love hip-hop and music in general. We love soul, James Brown, many different types of music which are a source of inspiration to us in our effort to produce heartfelt work. Do you agree with the widespread opinion that hip-hop today has separated from its roots? Hip-hop’s getting bigger. Technology has advanced considerably and changed the scene drastically. But that’s not the problem today. The problem is the lack of knowledge that prevails and leads to dull work without dimension. That’s apparent in the majority of video-clips, where all one sees is men and expensive cars surrounded by gorgeous women. That may be appealing imagery, but life has many other dimensions that need to be projected. How much have De La Soul changed over the years? When we first emerged, I was 18 and lived with my parents. At the time, I was saying that I play hip-hop and will never sell out. Today I’m 36, I have three children and think a lot more before I accept or reject something. You were regarded as the «hippies of hip-hop» because your lyrics hailed peace and love. I’ll use that as a pretext to ask whether you’re happy with American politics. I’m not politically active, but I do have a political conscience and, because I have a good understanding of what’s going on, I’m trying to make my children responsible individuals. I want them to learn to respect different types of thought and philosophy. Do you see some form of censorship taking place in the USA today? To a certain degree, it exists in the mass media. At other levels, though, I haven’t felt such a thing. I believe in this country and its freedom of speech principles, which were always very strong. Lots of people I keep in touch with abroad believe that in America we don’t exactly know what’s happening, but I’d like to say that lots of people are aware and are protesting accordingly. Innovative acts at Lavrion event Some 60 musicians and DJs, 36 hours of electronic music, four stages, 200 experimental short films from around the world and exhibitions make up the agenda at this year’s Synch Festival, which runs tonight through Sunday at the Lavrion Technological and Science Park outside Athens. Now an ideal festival venue, the park once housed the country’s first power-generating plant. Besides Sunday night’s headliner, De La Soul, other main acts include Tuxedomoon and Tortoise, who both perform Saturday. Local acts on the agenda include Constantinos Beta, the former frontman of Stereo Nova who has been pursuing a solo career over the past decade or so. His performance, prepared especially for the Synch Festival, will focus on video art. Other Greek acts on the agenda include Milto Eph, Mechaorga, Nightshift, Marsheaux, and Elecktroware. The festival’s overall theme is «synchronization,» or new international musical trends. The event’s film section, Synch Cinema, intends to establish itself as an outlet for innovative work, both Greek and foreign. This year’s Synch Cinema will pay homage to Zbigniew Rybczynski, a Polish filmmaker who won numerous prestigious industry awards internationally. During his renowned career, Rybczynski, known as Zbig, explored various possibilities of innovative filmmaking, as well as digital art, analog video and high-definition technology. Getting there and back The organizers are providing round-trip bus services from Syntagma (Othonos St) and Athens International Airport (parking lot) for 6 euros. SYNTAGMA today & tomorrow: Syntagma-Lavrion, 5 p.m., 8 p.m.; Lavrion-Syntagma, 2.30 a.m., 6 a.m. Sunday: Syntagma-Lavrion, 4 p.m., 8 p.m.; Lavrion-Syntagma, 1 a.m. AIRPORT today & tomorrow: Airport-Lavrion, 6 p.m., 9 p.m.; Lavrion-Airport, 12.30 a.m., 5 a.m. Sunday: Airport-Lavrion, 5 p.m., 8 p.m.; Lavrion-Airport, 12.30 a.m. (For further information, call 210.638.6200.)

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