Coachella A Go Go: After two years off, the biggest festival in California and one of the biggest in the country returned for these past two weekends. Sure, there was no Kanye. That’s probably not a bad thing unless you purchased tickets specifically to see him. But Coachella has always been more about the overall experience than specific performers. By all accounts, The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia were incredible anyway. As was Billie Eilish, unsurprisingly. And hell, Danny Elfman played the theme to The Simpsons.
Meanwhile nothing, absolutely nothing, was going to stop indie-pop artist Bishop Briggs from getting up there, including the fact that she’s heavily pregnant.
“I have been in rehearsals for Coachella, and I’m still planning on running around on stage, drenched in sweat, all those things,” she told us. “I have found out from the doctors that the baby is happy and sleeping during all of the jumping about so that’s good. But I think that it has been a really transformative time, and part of the pregnancy has really been checking my mental health into a righter place. Or at least trying to.”
Briggs recently released two singles, and when we spoke to her prior to the two sets, she was psyched to perform them at the festival. Both are incredibly personal.
“I recently lost my sister, so ‘High Water’ is really a love letter to her,” she said. “I think we all have collectively shared a lot of trauma these past few years, so I hope that we can all cry together listening to that one. ‘Art of Survival’ is really the place that I hope to be. It’s stepping into that positivity and really trying to live my life in the way that I think she’d want me to. I’m going to be performing the two new songs, and can’t wait. I’m ready to just share in that moment. I think we’ve all been going a bit stir crazy, so it will be really nice to have that escapism.”
This was Briggs’ second time at Coachella, and she recalls suffering with serious anxiety back in 2017.
“(I remember) peeing my pants,” she said. “Clutching my knees and rocking back and forth. Just the standard. I was not relaxed at all. But the minute that I went onto the stage, it felt like I could release some of that energy and be present in the moment. So I look forward to doing that again. Maybe with less clutching of the knees and rocking back and forth. A tiny bit less. I’ll try, but no guarantees. Truthfully, I do have that nervous energy whenever I go on stage. I think with Coachella, I’m just really excited to be present and in that moment. The only pressure I put on myself is to make sure that I really lean into the moment and take in what’s going on.”
Canadian singer and songwriter Jessie Reyez said that performing at Coachella is fulfilling a prophecy.
“I’ve been invited a handful of times by friends, just to come under the guise of fun, but I always said ‘no thank you’ because I didn’t want to go until I was getting paid,” she said. “There’s no dancers. No fireworks. No costume changes. I wanted to keep it minimal. It keeps me at peace remembering that despite the reverence around Coachella and despite the rite of passage that this moment is, at the end of the day, respectfully, it’s just another stage. So it’s gonna get what I know how to give. Just me. My guitar. My lit ass band and some songs.”
DJ and producer Sohmi called her Coachella performance a crazy, full-circle moment.
“Coachella was the first festival I ever attended, right when I moved to L.A. in 2016,” she said. “I was going through so many life changes at the time, from being in a new city to starting a new job, to sort of starting my life over with new friends and everything that that comes with. Music wasn’t even in the picture then – I had moved across the country to work for a tech startup based in Venice and was simply going to Coachella to push myself out of my (social) comfort zone and meet new people. Once there, though, it was definitely a transformative experience; I think it reawakened the musical part of my soul that had always been the most ‘me,’ which I had kind of lost touch with for a few years there, and even though I didn’t realize it then, I think it planted the seed for what became an insatiable obsession with underground dance music over the following two years – culminating in my decision to quit tech and give music one last serious shot. If you told me then that I’d be performing at Coachella six years later, I don’t think I would have believed it.”
The wonderfully named Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs shared similar sentiments.
“I get a kick out of the whole sacredness of the event. I always enjoy the outfits and emotions. It’s a big moment in the music calendar, and I’m lucky to get to soak it in and play music.”
DJ and producer Nala said that as a California native, performing at Coachella is a big milestone.
“It lands on my birthday every year, so I always came to the fest to celebrate,” she said. “Now, I get to play, and I absolutely cannot wait to rock out and enjoy it as an artist for the first time!”
Aussie punks Amyl & the Sniffers told us they were planning on “ripping youse up” at the festival.
“Firing it up at a festival we’ve never been to before, sussing out some California culture, represent guitar music,” they said. “Fuck yeah.”
Fellow Australian Hayden James says that it feels very special to travel across the world to perform at Coachella.
“I was originally booked in 2020 to play for the first time and that obviously got canceled, so this is really special, even more so almost,” James said. “It’s going to be a huge moment for a lot of people, fans as well. It’s been two years in hiatus and it’s going to be the first Coachella for a lot of other people as well, not just me. It’s going to be a career highlight for sure.”
Singer/guitarist Life on Planets is similarly psyched.
“Coachella is an affirmation that I wasn’t completely crazy to drop it all to make music,” he said. “I’ve been so blessed to have support from family and friends, and all that hard work and their love has brought me to the next stage. I can trust my vision and aim even higher from here.”
Stockholm post-punk band the Viagra Boys had their tongues in theory collective cheeks when discussing their Coachella set.
“It’s a huge moment in our lives,” they said. “We’ve planned the technically most-advanced event since the moon landing. The pinnacle of audio and live performance will be presented on stage.”
In fact, following their Weekend One set, Amyl & the Sniffers wrote to tell us, “Wish I got to see Viagra Boys.”
Brazilian drag queen Pabllo Vittar said that performing at Coachella is a dream come true. “That is the most important stage of my career so far,” Vittar said. “I’ve planned a show full of energy that would embrace my new singles, the classics of my career and also that all the Portuguese, English and Spanish speaking audience would enjoy!”
Prior to the event, Sohmi wanted to keep her set a surprise. “You can expect the best of what I think a ‘SOHMI’ set has come to encompass: deep, moving dance music drawing from many different grooves, influences, and years,” she said. “I like to play a mix of new cuts, unreleased IDs, and older treasures, as well as throw in an intro or ‘moment’ in the set that comes as an unexpected surprise. I may also be testing out some new music of my own.”
Following the set, Sohmi was delighted with how the set went, describing it as a “blast.”
“While it was early in the day, I was pleasantly surprised by how many friends and fans came early to show their support,” she said. “I eased everyone into a full day of music and dancing with some of my favorite, groovy melodic tracks of the moment, and closed my set with a brand new song that I’m working on right now as part of my upcoming new EP. Can’t believe I get to do it all again this weekend for Weekend Two!”
Ultimately, despite the years off and Ye’s cancellation, Coachella 2022 was still a massive event for the attendees and performers alike, and it featured some historic sets. People are still talking about the fact that Danny Elfman performed the score from Tom Burton’s original Batman movie, days afterwards. Coachella might evolve, but the name still holds a lot of sway.
Meanwhile, the performers are hoping to continue with a successful year.
“I mean, I do plan on having the baby,” said Bishop Briggs. “That’s the first hope. The hope is that the baby comes and is very glittery, cute and into being smiley. That’s the first step. Other than that, I’m really excited about a lot of the songs that are currently being wrapped up, and some of the visuals to accompany that. I can’t wait for everyone to see.”
Briggs recently released a couple of singles, and she says that there’s an album on the way.
“Music is one of my great loves, and I always planned on doing both,” she said. “Being a mom and the happiest version of me being a mom is being in music, as well. Using music as therapy.”
That’s the thing with music – it makes everything better.
Coachella A Go Go: Get all info at Coachella.com
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