The sponsor interviews – Mukuna Gig Guide

We’re delighted to have the folks from Mukuna on board for Webstock. They’ll be bringing the beats during the conference and after-parties and turning the water into funk. We caught up with Jefe and Lisa from Down the Road, the coolness behind Mukuna.

Webstock: So what is Mukuna and the Mukuna Gig Guide?

Mukuna: The pat answer is that it’s a database of music event listings accessible online, on your web-enabled mobile phone and by SMS return text. It’s also a content syndication system that radio stations, venues and promoters use for updating the gig guides on their sites.

The name comes from a genus of tropical vines, mucuna. The seeds are considered good luck and the flowers are pollinated at night by bats. Grows everywhere, hard to kill.

Another answer is that it’s an itch that we needed to scratch. It’s a project we’ve been thinking about since 2000.

Webstock: How did the two of you meet and end up in New Zealand doing this?

Mukuna: It’s a twisted story, involving a lot of geography, but it goes something like this. Lisa and I met in San Francisco during the dot com boom in the late 90s. We were living in the same part of town, working from home, running with a crew of common friends. For our second or third date we moved to Costa Rica for a year, based on a job posting on Craigslist. Then we went to Chicago for a year, and then to Japan, where, coincidentailly, we both had lived prior to meeting.

Have web skills, will travel. We’re basically migrant field hands, moving with the harvests.

We ended up in NZ because Lisa’s a dual citizen (and I’m like a piece of good luggage). She grew up in Mountain View, California of Kiwi parents–her old man’s been hacking since the early 70s, and tells a great story of how a young Steve Jobs once stopped by their suburban garage for a look-see.

Up until a couple of months ago we’d been based on K Road, Auckland’s last bastion of bohemia, as they say. We moved to Wellington because we wanted to start covering the music scene in this fine town, and figured the best way to do so was to settle in and get amongst it.

Mukuna’s core team is now up to five–two in Wellington, three in Auckland–but the crew extends much larger, and includes radio and club DJs, bands, promoters, venue owners, music critics, professional punters and a few wiley types at the fringe. It’s this network that makes Mukuna what it is. Metcalf’s law in action, you could say.

Webstock: What sort of music can Webstockers expect to hear during the conference?

Mukuna: Nerdcore.

Webstock: Jefe – your five top, all-time, desert island albums?

Down to the Promise Land: 5 Years of Bloodshot Records (Bloodshot, 2000)
Rolling Stones – Black and Blue (Atlantic, 1976)
Q-Tip – The Renaissance (Universal Motown, 2008)
Herbie Mann – The Evolution of Man Anthology (Rhino, 1994)
Dr 22 featuring Tame Iti (Self-released EP, 2004)
Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey, 1996)
Oh, and Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (Interscope, 2004)
And Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (Tamla, 1971)!

That’s more than five, isn’t it. And I’d only have to be on that particular island for like, a weekend, right?

Webstock: Lisa from Down the Road – your five top, all-time, desert island albums?

Lisa from Down the Road:
Bill Withers – Still Bill (Sussex, 1972)
Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (Atlantic, 1973)
Erma Franklin – Soul Sister (1969)
Socalled – Ghettoblaster (JDub, 2007)
Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet (Decca, 1968)
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (Island, 1985)
Aesop Rock – Labor Days (Definitive Jux, 2001)

We’re not the best counters πŸ™‚

Webstock: We note the absence of early years Flying Nun and of any Dylan, but commend the eclectic nature of the choices! And look forward to the music. Thanks guys.