Hidden Track Interview: Scott Murawski Part Two – Jungle Jam, Max Creek 2013, Producing Mike Gordon and Much More

Today we bring you the rest of Parker’s chat with guitarist Scott Murawski (Pt. 1) In Part Two, Scott tells Parker about what attendees can expect at Jungle Jam 2013, what Max Creek has in store for 2013 and shares a bit of news about the recording process for the new Mike Gordon album.

PH: I was watching a video of the Trio and I have to admit, it was pretty hypnotic. Probably a combination of the incredible camera work with the cameras on the neck of your guitar and all over the stage as well as the lush surroundings and the extraordinary music that you were playing. It seemed like you guys were totally dialed into each other – it was mesmerizing.

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[Estimated Prophet- Bk3 - Jungle Jam 2012]

SM: Yeah, it is very cool. I haven’t seen that footage, they had cameras everywhere. The film crew had a camera stuck on the end of my guitar, cameras hooked up to Bill’s drums, everywhere. I want to check that out for sure.

PH:  It’s such great footage and such a great environment down there at Jungle Jam. I can’t make it to Costa Rica, but I sure would love to see some other BK3 dates in the coming year.

SM: Yeah, I’m really hoping that that can happen, absolutely – as a matter of fact, I’m going to push to make that happen.

PH: So Jungle Jam 2013 features the same lineup as last year: Zach Deputy, Ryan Montbleau Band, BK3, Max Creek and Oteil. Tell me a little bit about how this all came about. What’s the history behind the lineup?

SM: The Doce Lunas resort is the place that Mike, Bill and I did that benefit down there. And Creek’s manager, Eric Freitas, came down for it. He got kind of chummy with the owner of Doce Lunas and the owner was interested in promoting more shows down there. The whole thing is kind of Eric’s brainstorm. As far as the acts that we picked, Ryan has been a friend of Creek’s for as long as Ryan has been around. We’ve been friends with him forever. And Zach Deputy is just one of the coolest musicians on the planet as far as I am concerned and as far as what he can do just by himself. So both of those bands just have something that lends themselves to the tropical vibe somewhat. They are all really nice people too.

It was really cool to have them last year with BK3 and Creek and with the whole different super jams that we had where whoever wanted to get up and play, got up and played. We did one in the afternoon and one on Saturday and one on Sunday night as the final deal. It is just an infectious vibe with everyone so psyched to be playing with everyone else and the chemistry is just so good between all of the musicians.

The environment is very cool. The resort is just absolutely gorgeous. The field that we set up on is covered with every type of tropical plant and tree that you can think of and you are basically on the edge of the jungle. There’s a great vibe especially in the middle of January when it is snowing up here in New England and you are down there playing with some of the best musicians on the planet. It is a fun time for everyone, there’s such a communal spirit between the musicians and the crowd. Everybody is very relaxed. Very loose. It is a great hang.

PH: So people attending can expect to interact with the musicians, have conversations and interact in a way that they are probably not accustomed to at any other festival?

SM: Absolutely. All the musicians stay at the resort. We all eat together, we rub elbows, you can chat with anyone walking around. Very relaxed, very casual.

[BK3 - 2012]

PH: What would blow someone Jungle Jam for the first time away the most?

SM: Oh my God, Costa Rica, first of all, is just amazing. The countryside is just absolutely stunning, plus we are right on the coast as well, so the ocean is right there, the beach is right there. The little town (Jaco) has great food, restaurants and shops. Doce Lunas itself is just amazing – it is gorgeous with a fantastic in-ground pool, a great restaurant and a great bar. I was blown away the first time with the awesome beauty of the land, the jungle, everything. There’s zip lining, hiking, surfing and all kinds of stuff you can do. The first time we were down there we spent 10 days.

There’s an active volcano down there which was pretty mind blowing with shit just spewing out of this…you can see boulders the size of small houses popping out the top and come rolling down the side. You really get the feeling when you are there that you are not in Kansas anymore between the rain forest, the jungle and everything. You are definitely somewhere else when you are down there – I guess that’s what really blew me away the most the first time.

PH: As far as the four days of the festival itself, does every band play everyday? How does the scheduling work?

SM: Yeah, I think every band plays every day. It gets shifted around. Zach plays a set in the afternoon or maybe a set with Ryan or one of the bands. There’s a bar in town where when after the music stops at the resort, everyone goes there and Zach plays by himself. Again, lots of the scheduling is loose too like whoever wants to play- we pencil in set times but there’s lots of mixing it up:  Bill will sit in with Creek, Oteil will do the same or others will play with BK3, there’s lots of mixing it up. Each band will get to stretch its legs and do full sets, but there’s plenty of stirring the pot as well.

PH: Well that seems like an unbelievable four days. What are you most looking forward to at Jungle Jam 2013?

SM I’ll tell you one thing, I’m sure looking forward to getting Creek back down there again. Last year, our drummers, Biil and Jay, were brand new so the band was going through a transition. I am looking forward to Creek being in a lot better state than we were a year ago not that it was bad a year ago, but we’ve been rehearsing a lot and Bill and Jay are really stepping up the plate so I’m looking forward to Creek being back down there and running on all cylinders.

And I’m ALWAYS looking forward to BK3. That to me is just one of the most freest musical projects I’ve been in and scariest at the same time. So I’m very, very excited about that. Any opportunity that I get to play with Oteil or Bill is great.

For Ryan and Zach, it was their first time down there last year and they were still feeling it out the first couple of days. So everybody going into this year will be more at ease. Not that anyone was tense or anything, but by the last day everyone was really in the full spirit and I think we are probably going to start off with that spirit this year.

PH: And 2013 as a whole?  What is on the horizon for you besides Jungle Jam? Any fun things coming up?

SM: Well, Max Creek is trying to get to Colorado and California in 2013 which we haven’t done in a number of years so I am really looking forward to that.

I am looking forward to the recording process with Mike especially since we’ve pretty much decided that we are going to use a producer. I’ve never really worked with a producer before and working with Mike, it is going to be a high-end, quality producer. I’m excitedly looking forward to that. Beyond that, obviously the BK3 stuff, that’s a given.

I work a day job, so there’s only so much time to play music in any given year. It’s kind of like pick and choose your battles and figure out how to maximize my time the most, that’s what it really comes down to. But between those things, BK3, touring with Mike, recording with Mike and expanding Creek’s horizons back into the West Coast again, those are really the main things going on with me.

PH: Sounds like a fantastic year! Thanks for the time and sharing so much of what is happening next year. Anything else you want to add?

SM: Well yeah, the Max Creek’s New Year’s show is actually really interesting. We are putting on a show at the train station at the old Union Station [Downtown Hartford] which I haven’t been to since I rode the train way back in the ’80s.  We haven’t done a New Year’s in Hartford in a number of years and that was always our home base and we did a number of them years ago. Plus, just playing in a place as weird and cool and as historic as the train station down there, I think it is going to be a blast!

Oh, when you asked me about highlights of 2012, I guess I would add one more and that would be what we do up at Lake George in New York for Halloween. That was really cool…Lake George, that venue up there, has a great vibe where it is a hotel and resort kind of thing. You come for the weekend and you don’t need to worry about driving or getting pulled over or being too fucked up, you can stumble back to your room after the set. It’s just a really great vibe, and the people there are incredibly nice and take great care of us. It’s right on Lake George and it is scenic and such a cool place.

PH: Wow, that’s great…sounds fantastic.

SM Yeah, we’ll be doing more shows there too.

PH: Awesome, I’ve always loved Creek and will keep an eye out for those shows and of course Hidden Track will too.

SM: Excellent. I’ve been a fan of Hidden Track for years. It was one of the first blogs that I followed with my RSS burner.

PH: Cool, I totally appreciate that. Scott does such a great job corralling a bunch of people who are really passionate about the music and as a reader myself, I think it comes through that the people writing, reviewing, photographing and contributing really enjoy it.

SM: Yeah, I’ve liked it for years. People are passionate about what they are writing about and great reviews and I’ve discovered quite a bit of new music that I never would have found otherwise. Very cool, very cool.

PH: Well great, thanks again for the time and good luck with New Year’s, Jungle Jam and everything else coming up in 2013. Hope to see you around.

SM: Thanks.

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For complete booking info and more details on Jungle Jam:  Jungle Jam

Scott Murawski Website

Max Creek

Mike Gordon Band


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