Kyrian is our creative of the month! A man of many talents, he is a music producer, entertainer, and throws unique events and classes at his artists space Creatington. IG @kyrian_bobeerian @creatington. Interview by Meesh.
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Seattle. I moved to England when I was 9 for 4 years and lived in a small English village. I was back in Seattle 13-16 years old. When I was 16 I left school to start traveling and going to festivals to perform so I was kind of living all over the West Coast for a few years. I settled in British Columbia outside of Vancouver for 6-8 years and had a little studio out there.
You have lived all over, what an experience! So when you left school you just knew that was exactly what you wanted to do?
Yeah totally. I got really into music when I was like 11 or 12. I was into the Beastie Boys and that was my gateway to hip hop and weirder music. I went to a Beastie Boys show in London when I was 12 and it was like a real London nightclub. This was late 90s. Seeing that I was like “wow this is my shit!” Turntables, DJs, beats, and I got super into the underground beat culture.
I started going to raves when I was 13. I was looking for the vibes. Through that I found the after parties then I found the people who did the dope underground raves. I got into that whole world and it’s what excited me the most. Connecting with people, the music, performing, that's when I started beatboxing. I started performing at festivals and clubs. I went to Burning Man when I was 16 and performed a bunch there. I knew beatboxing at festivals would lead me to the next thing, which it did.
With the Fungineers, when did you establish the name and overall idea?
We kind of did a bunch of Fungineers development stuff back at our studio in British Columbia. It’s where I taught myself to do photos and videos. It was like this magical artists retreat in the woods. Then I was like “why am I living in the middle of nowhere?” It’s beautiful but there’s not a big community, no opportunity, and it just felt like I needed change so Los Angeles was kind of naturally the spot to come try it out.
I knew I wanted to create something similar to what we had up there. This magical, other worldly, creation space in LA. I started beatboxing as my first kind of artistic and music endeavor and then I was very into doing weird things. My friend Katie and I would get high and do fun, weird things. People would ask what we did and we would say, “I’m a Fungineer.” It’s like the mindset, you can play with life and you might as well create it how you want because it’s more fun that way.
That’s how we started coming into it, just doing more weird performance stuff. My friend had this mouse hand puppet at her house one day and I picked it up and was beatboxing and thought, “woah puppets that beatbox!” That set me off on this whole other thing where I was less about me and more about using creative energy outside of myself and focusing it on the puppet. I did a couple puppet experimental things for a year, probably 2003-2004 and then formed the Fungineers as a puppet group in 2004.
Can people book Fungineers for events?
Yes definitely. We do all sorts of shows. We have been performing at festivals for over 13 years and that was our start. We do a lot of club shows, private events, etc. We also have the ice cream truck now which is something we began doing a few years ago.
What year did you start Creatington? How did it all begin?
When I moved to LA like I said I wanted to have something similar here. My homie Greens who has been doing stuff with Fungineers for a long time lived in LA previous to that. He’s an epic choreographer, dancer, character performer and all sort of things. I was like, “Hey I want to move to LA. We should get a warehouse and make it this awesome creation place.” That’s when we partnered on Creatington. We got the space and named it Creatington after probably 6-8 months. When we got it, it was completely empty so it was intensive buildout that we did mostly ourselves. We got help from professional builders for certain things but it was a very hands on process the first 4-5 months.
The main initial goal with Creatington has been to be a creative space for us to use. There are 4-5 artists who have studios here at Creatington. We wanted our own dream creation space and in dong that we have this resource that we can share with other people and we want to try out new things. When we were trying to think of a name, we wanted it to be town-like. The inspiration of the buildout of the studio was these different houses, like a creative town. We’re all in here doing our own thing but we’re in it together. How do you make creative sound like a town? Creatington!
What kinds of classes are currently happening at Creatington?
Currently the only regular ones are dance at the moment. There's a popping class by Slim Boogie whose like this amazing pop dancer. We have different dance battles and workshops that happen here. It's mostly dance but were actually about to expand soon starting this year with a variety of classes. We want to have more learning events. Combining different creative things together.
What are types of different learning events are you looking to have?
Learning different things that you wouldn’t necessarily be into or think you would be professional at but learning various artistic crafts that you can apply. I want to learn the basics of sewing. I want to take a master class for costume designers and I’m not trying to be a costume designer. You see that in a way that's presenting an easy, interesting way for you to realize, “oh it's something I do and it’s something you do in your medium as well but it's different.” This offers perspective and gives you a bigger sense of community. You’re like, “oh all these humans are trying to create something”, and it’s a way to connect with people in a short, productive way.
Putting yourself in a new position is good for artists. I’m pretty hermit-like and like to create my own world and stay in my bubble. Even though I don’t like it, I know it’s good for me to put myself in new situations, get out of my comfort zone, and see new things. I may not feel like leaving the studio to go take a pottery class in that moment but then I know it’ll be good for me if I do.
Part of how I work to is knowing I’m a hermit and I’m probably not going to get out to the world all that much so I need to have it happen around me. I create it in my world so that I can do it. Thats part of why we want to do more classes at Creatington. It’s a personal goal to have them around and feel more inspired.
What are goals for Creatington?
One of the big goals is to have it be a place that reflects our personal aesthetic and vibe that we can bring other people into so they can experience it from a new perspective or create in it. So you come to an event where someone is planning the things happening but behind that is a whole backstory, myth, sort of thing. We’re not doing it for money, we’re doing it for art and for ourselves. Let loose, be inspired, try new things.
It needs to be in some way a new experience where it’s a little unexpected. You have a reference but you’re taken out of your comfort zone a bit. It’s something that as artists we try to create that with our art but then as events people forget that something that is important. Every event we do we’re trying to outdo ourselves somehow. We want to have an experience that has its own flavor. We grow from the challenge and it makes us get better rather than being on autopilot constantly doing what we know works.
Favorite project you have worked on this past year?
There’s a lot. 2019 wasn’t one specific project. I refocused and committed more energy in my own personal projects which I've always been kind of doing. Since moving to LA and starting Creatington, doing videos and other things, I had less time, energy, and real focus to work on my personal projects. It was really nice to get back at that. I would say no to some jobs to have time to do the things I wanted most. For me, I need some kind of creative space to be able to dream big. I was very grateful to make more space and spend time on my own bigger dreams so that was my favorite thing.
What are the challenges you face as a creative and how do you overcome them?
For me, I think I try to get reinspired or switch the focus to something else. Like if I have been working on a project for too long and just staring at it or listening to it for so long, I’m just like ugh! Sometimes I try to attack the project from a different angle, take a walk and think about it. Sometimes I’m like “fuck it, I’m going to redo my closet right now.” Anything completely different to try and get inspired by that. To get the other thing out of my head so when I come back I feel like I have some sort of new energy.
Best advice you have ever received or anything inspirational that you live by?
I would say the Four Agreements, it’s a classic. They’re great for artists, they’re great for everyone’s life in every way. Look at them creatively and try to apply that to your creative process, especially when working with other people. It’s one of those books you go back to.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
My big goals right now are a Fungineers TV show that we have been working on for several years and are in the process of pitching it. Movies, video games, big tours, Creatington becoming more of a community space. The big goal for that is to be a membership club that would have different creative studios artists could use. Classes, workspaces, events, and eventually get a second location. Another goal with that growth is having a nightclub in Los Angeles that would function as a few different things but be a solid spot for people to go to.