This week, we had a chance to sit down with Co-Founder of the Do LaB, Jesse Flemming.  The Do LaB has a massive presence on the west coast and can be described as one-part Coachella, one-part Burning Man, one-part warehouse party, and totally fun.  We got to talk about their flagship festival, Lightning In A Bottle, and a whole lot more.  Check it out below, and let us know what you think!

So how did the Do Lab come into existence? I know it was you and your two brothers, but how did you ultimately start the Do Lab?

 The Do Lab: Well, we had all moved to Los Angeles around 10 or 12 years ago. We started out doing some small parties with friends, because we really enjoyed doing it. And eventually people started asking us to set up decorations and sculptures at their events, and it kinda turned into a business. After a while we all decided to quit our jobs and start a business so we could do that.

 

Is working with family beneficial? What do each of you bring to the table?

I can’t speak for every family, but for ours it works very well. We all bring unique skills that compliment each other. I focus on music, primarily and I do most of the bookings for the Do Lab. My twin brother, Josh focuses on the design and creative look. He designs all of the structures and the visual design elements that we put out there. Our other brother Dede does all of the logistical challenges, like operating the big events and putting the pieces together.

 

How did your partnership with Coachella end up coming into existence?

About ten years ago now, we sent a proposal to Coachella in order to set up a 60 foot dome and bring in some sculptural elements. They hit us up and said yeah sure, we’d love to have you do that. So we went and did it and snuck in some speeches and had some friends play some music and it just turned into a little party within the festival. We’ve been going back ever since. It’s been a really cool relationship with those guys.

 

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At what point do you think you guys became such force to be reckoned with at the festival? Like you said, it was just a dome at first and now you guys have a full lineup and a massive stage.

I’d have to say it was the third year there, they challenged us to do something that no one has ever done before, to do something different. It might have been 2007. They challenged us to do something different and my brother and I had to design this whole crazy area that is like no one had ever seen. We pulled it off and I think that was the first time people started to really recognize us. That particular design is our logo today.

 

Since then you guys have continually grown, will you guys continually do so in size or become an official stage? What are your future plans?

Well, I don’t know that we’ll ever become an official stage, but our area is becoming bigger and our structures are getting bigger, as well as our lineups. This year is actually going to be interesting because every year we’re always in the center of the field, but this year they moved our spot. They’ve expanded and we have a whole new area. So it will be a bit different.

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So new topic: Burning Man.  You guys have been known to throw some of the craziest parties on the Playa, what is it like to set up camp there in the middle of the desert?

 

Working out there is incredibly challenging and difficult, but it’s rewarding. We’ve done some pretty cool projects and as long as you are working with a good team, it’s a lot of fun. The conditions can definitely make things a bit stressful though. 

Do you guys think you’re going to bring back a Sound Camp this year? or just stick to art pieces?

 

At the moment we aren’t planning on doing anything at Burning Man this year, because we’re planning on launching a new festival this Fall. So we’ll probably be busy planning that this Summer. We’re working hard on the permits for the location. it’s going to be called “Into The Wild” and will take place in late September in southern California.

 

What do you think about how Burning Man has evolved over the years into this international icon of a festival?

 

I think it’s awesome. Anything changes and grows, and everyone has their own opinion, but I think they’ve done a good job marketing and getting more people. It teaches people a different way to live. The more people they get to experience this sort of thing, the better off the world will be.

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So, Lightning in a Bottle. Your flagship festival has grown exponentially over the years and has seen some of the heaviest hitting bass musicians in the industry. Have the venue changes been made to accomodate larger audiences? Is it due to permits? How come you guys are going to Lake San Antonio this year?

 

Well, this will be our 3rd venue in 3 years. It’s a pretty difficult thing to do because every time we have to redesign the whole festival and figure out all the logistics. We’ve never left because we’ve wanted to, only because we had to. So this particular time we had to move because we didn’t feel like the welcomed us the way we want to be welcomed, and the sound ordinance there is something our audience can’t deal with.

 

Are renegade camps going to be allowed this year, and does the venue allow for sound to go past midnight?

 

Right now, the plan is to have our stages go until 2 am and we’re working on permits to have lower volume late-night sound. So we’re still working on it with the county.

 

What does Lake San Antonio have to offer for this year’s attendees?

 

This is definitely one of the most unique and beautiful locations we’ve ever found. It’s gonna be very different and we’ll be completely secluded in a beautiful valley with a great view. It’s on a huge lake bed. Because of the drought, it’s actually dried up, but when it comes back we can swim.  I’ve been up there seven times now for location scouts and we’re planning out all the details. It’s incredible, and we’re really excited about it.

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Taking a concept from the Playa, how do you guys take your interactivity into account?

 

The goal for us is to have every area of the festival to be interactive, we want people to be interacting with each other, with the art, with the music, so we’re always trying to make that possible.

 

ES: Random question: is there any reason the splash pad would turn off at very random times last year?

 

Yeah, people think we were shutting it off, but really the problem was there were so many people in it and it got so dirty that the filters couldn’t handle it. We had to shut down the splash pad to keep cleaning it out. They said the filters looked like chocolate milk.

 

Can you explain to me the importance of the Temple (at Lightning In A Bottle) in your opinion?

 

It’s the heart of the festival and it’s where people come to take a break. There’s a lot of young people who are coming to this festival looking for wisdom or spiritual advice and we’re trying to come up with an area that has these components. It’s a huge part of the festival.

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We saw you guys uploaded a mock lineup for “Lightning in a Butt Hole”. It was hilarious, but underneath was a comment that said “March 4th.”

Yeah that’s when the real lineup is coming, it’s almost finished. It’s going to be the biggest lineup to date.

You can find more about The Do Lab and Lightning In A Bottle below:

https://www.facebook.com/TheDoLaB

https://www.thedolab.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LightningInaBottle

http://lightninginabottle.org/2014/