Q&A with GENIUS LOCI FESTIVAL Founders Henry Pope + Eduardo Manilla : Where Music, Yoga, Surfing and Camping Come Together in Beautiful Baja, Mexico!
Posted On 22 Oct 2015
The wonderful organizers of GENIUS LOCI were able to re-create the magic in Baja, Mexico once again for their our third edition this past June. If you are looking to jump on board and make a journey down south for the music, yoga and surf camp in the future, read on! The rugged surroundings and pristine surf in Baja foster an intimate bonding environment that quickly has become the stuff of legends. Enjoy the video below to see what GENIUS LOCI is all about!
Genius Loci is a carefully curated intimate event complete with a fantastic music lineup, yoga taught by amazing instructors, environmental workshops, and surf lessons. Genius Loci and its organizers are excited to travel off the grid and share with you the spirit of adventure, creativity, community, and activism.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with founders of GENIUS LOCI, Henry Pope and Eduardo Manilla between their busy schedules. Read more in their chat below!
Hi Henry! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Henry – Hello world! I am great! Sitting in sunny Venice Beach but working in a not so sunny studio. Today, I am working on T shirts for Genius Loci, the Genius Loci wrap video, and a few new tracks that I am going to release. Hopefully, I can squeeze in a surf as well. Eduardo is off exploring Tokyo so he is not around today.
Eduardo – Hello Nicole! I finally got the chance to chill and answer this amazing interview for you guys! I’m currently in Japan travelling for 1 days and i’m writing to you from the bullet train to Kyoto.
So, first things first, you just returned from another successful Genius Loci in Mexico. How was it?
Henry –Third time was the charm! Seriously, every year has been better than the previous. This year at Genius Loci, the waves were fun, the weather was perfect, and the music and yoga were world class . We are extremely blessed to see this little love child blossom into beautiful event.
Eduardo – Genius Loci 2015 definitely surprised me because the good vibes were through the roof, the music was very funky and we left the location way cleaner than when we arrived. Definitely a good year that I won’t forget anytime soon.
For those that are not as familiar with GENIUS LOCI. How did it get its start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to make this festival happen?
Henry – We started as a group of friends that traveled down to Baja for a New Years Eve party. After the New Years gathering had such an amazing turn out for a very informal event, a thought that was in the back of my mind for years was rekindled.
I always wanted to do something similar to Burning Man or a traditional west coast festival, but do the event directly on the beach. Instead of sweating it out in the desert, why not do an event where we can surf, swim, and enjoy the ocean? We knew Baja was remote enough to do so, and now we knew at least some people would be adventurous enough to follow us down there. Now all we had to do was find a location….
Eduardo – It’s a good story with different angles. A good short version of it is that Henry and I are djs who love hosting parties. Back in 2011 we hosted and dj’d a New Years Eve party at a private compound in Baja with 50 of our favorite friends who we call the “Venice Tribe”. This particular event was the catalyst which inspired us to create a summer campout on a beach.
How did you find the location and why that particular locale?
Henry – The gods of great fortune lead us to the location of Genius Loci. It’s a magical place that the indigenous people of Northern Baja have been coming to for over 10,000 years. It’s a space the rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul. It is beyond special.
What is your background in the music / festival scene? How did you get your start in the music world?
Henry – I have been playing in bands since I was 14. After diving head first into music production, DJing, became a natural part of my evolution. Music production and DJing have become two of my biggest passions in life.
From an event production standpoint, I have volunteered and worked with the DoLab since 2009. I can unequivocally say they have served as source of inspiration and helped out tremendously along the way.
Eduardo –I’ve been producing and hosting events since I was in college. I’ve always liked entertaining and after I started djing my involvement in event production grew up exponentially. Some of the events I’ve produced besides Genius Loci include art shows for the Venice Art Crawl, various concerts, and currently hold a monthly residency night at Townhouse Speakeasy in Venice.
What did you learn between festivals that you felt you wanted to infuse into this year’s GENIUS LOCI?
Henry – Well, the number one thing we wanted to do was make sure that the wave pool was turned on this year! And we achieved that…All lame surf jokes aside, we stepped up our social media game, improved communications/ directions to the festival attendees, worked tirelessly to improve the music lineup, improved the lighting, stepped up the visuals big time, and made strides in our yoga installations.
Eduardo –I would say that one of the most important values is the sustainability / leave no trace mentality of our event.
Since we are a music publication…I’m curious, what was the first album you bought yourself?
Henry – I think the first album I bought was “Somery” by the The Descendents… shout out to all the punk rock kids out there.
Eduardo -The first album i was able to buy myself with my own cash was “The Colour and the Shape” by the Foo Fighters.
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
Henry – When my brother and I were really young we had a Fischer Price record player. We would constantly play Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Looking Out My Back Door” and dance around our room like monkeys on moonshine.
Eduardo – That would have to be “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis. I guess it might be because of its Beatles/John Lennon vibes in that piano intro.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Henry – Most of the stuff I have been digging, ends up in my mixes on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/henry-pope
Current Artists: Nicolas Jaar, The Acid, DFA 1979, FullCrate, new Trent Reznor collabs, San Holo, 20syl, Kalais, Kedric, KMLN
Eduardo -As i’m writing this I’m listening to Claude Von Stroke’s Birdhouse show which is serving as the soundtrack to my adventures in Japan. I’m also streaming my favorite KCRW music shows on this trip through their app and it makes me feel like I’m back home on the Westside.
What’s on tap next for you? What are you most excited about for this year?
Henry – I am excited to release new music, finish the Genius Loci T shirts, and throw some Genius Loci Decompression parties 🙂
Eduardo – I’m very excited about playing at the Latin Grammy after party again this year in Vegas. It is a huge gig and I’m honored to be invited for a second spin. Also on the works are our New Years weekend festivities in Baja which is a much smaller and intimate gathering but just as memorable and fun as Genius Loci.
Please enjoy these promo videos below to get you even more excited about venturing down south!
Andrew Keegan and Full Circle
Check out the Full Playlist of videos from 2014
Founder of Genius Loci, EDUARDO MANILLA – AT THE LOCATION!
See you soon in beautiful Baja, Mexico and to learn more and purchase tickets, visit the GENIUS LOCI website as more information rolls in HERE . And to help bring solar lighting to Punta Cabras home of GENIUS LOCI, please check out the crowd funding page to do so HERE .