No Cameras Allowed – a SUPERGOOD Interview

No Cameras Allowed, a film about sneaking into music festivals across the globe, sold out its premiere at the Wiltern Theater on July 23, 2014. In a familial atmosphere, approximately 1,300 attendees laughed, cheered and sat stuck to the edge of their seats in awe of the film.

The film chronicles James Marcus Haney’s journey sneaking into music festivals around the world and documenting his experiences. Initially, Haney had no intention other than catching some good shows, chasing a girl, and getting some footage for his personal collection as a film student at USC. When Haney sent a collection of his footage to Mumford and Sons, the band invited him to join them, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show on the Railroad Revival Tour. However, joining the tour resulted in his dropping out of USC, with only two weeks left before graduation.

No Cameras Allowed successfully surpasses the efforts of what today’s American Apparel ads and endless sea of over-saturated Instagram photos seek – but ultimately fail – to do: to inspire our generation’s creativity. It is also singular proof that success needn’t be defined by a piece of paper.

Having snuck into festivals and shows over the years it was a bit of a trip down memory lane and a reminder to up your hustle. If you sit around on an idea, someone else will beat you to it – but that’s okay because we need more cool people doing cool things.

At the screening’s conclusion, Haney and his friends “Acid Chris”, “Grim Grim” and Ryan Chen took the stage for a brief Q&A, followed by a tasteful acoustic set from LA rockers, Young the Giant. Here at SUPERGOODMUSIC, we had the chance to catch up with “Acid Chris”, otherwise known as Chris Lorello, to chat about his thoughts on life, music, and his drug of choice.

SUPERGOODMUSIC (SG): How did your parent’s react to learning about your drug experiences?
Chris Lorello (Lorello): They’re really conservative, so they don’t think of psychedelic drugs as tools for expanding consciousness. Let’s just say that. But, they respect that I’m on my own path, and they know I’m not an addict, nor will I ever use hard drugs like coke, heroin or meth, etc. They see me working extremely hard every day to pursue my creative talents and hone my crafts, so they’re not putting any pressure on me to change course yet. I should add that I actually posted a Facebook status promoting the film that explained to my mom that I was donned “Acid Chris” in the film. She had no clue before that.

SG: Did the film take any liberties on your character for the sake of the story?
Lorello: No. There was just a whole lot more to my story that was cut due to time restrictions.

SG: Is “Acid Chris” still an accurate representation of where you’re at in life?
Lorello: Yes and No. Yes, because I’ve been a strong supporter of LSD since the very first time I ingested it, and I still am, though I’ve never been a fan of the word “Acid”. It’s kind of a violent word with a negative connotation. It scares people away. My friends and I thought LSD should just be called “Beautiful” because that’s probably the most common word used throughout a trip. No, because I would never identify myself by a drug. It’s limiting, and like any character it tends to put you in a box in the public’s mind. I’ve been an artist since I was very young, so getting recognition as “Acid Chris”, rather than my art, feels like a double-edged sword. The exposure creates opportunity, but it’ll be a challenge to grow into a respected artist, beyond the nickname.

SG: Three pieces of advice for sneaking into a music festival?
Lorello: Be patient. Be creative. Be fearless.

SG: Dream festival lineup?
Lorello: This a dream right? The Beatles, Blink 182, Brand New, The Arcade Fire, Phoenix, Bon Iver, GROUPLOVE, Vacationer, 1200 micrograms, Vampire Weekend, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart.

SG: Favorite festival and show? Any festival you wouldn’t go to again?
Lorello: Favorite Festival – Coachella…even with all the bros, attention hoes, and growing popularity, there’s nothing I enjoy more than frying in the California sun with my best friends, beautiful girls, and the mountains in the background. Favorite show? Paul McCartney. Hands down. And, that’s coming from a John Lennon fan. Never been to a bad festival.

SG: Did getting to know artists you admire change your relationship with their art/music?
Lorello: Admired artists and relationship changes my relationship with their music, but they have completely changed my relationship with my own music, as well as giving me priceless advice about the “business” side of things. Their support has given me so much more confidence, and I saw that behind the scenes, a lot of musicians are not technical masterminds. We’re all learning new stuff everyday, and there’s not really any rules. One specific example I’ll share comes from Andrew Wessen, guitarist for GROUPLOVE.

We were on this trip in Mexico with Marcus and a slew of other characters, and I had written this tune, but its time signature was funky. It changed from the verse to the chorus, so I kept trying to rework it all into traditional 4/4, but Andrew was trying to convince me it sounded better the way I conceived it. I just kinda gave up on the song, then a month or so later, I was watching a documentary about the recording of Sgt. Pepper, and George Martin described how Lennon came in with the tune “Good Morning, Good Morning” completely unaware it had one of the wonkiest time signatures out there, and they didn’t try to change it. They made it work. I realized Andrew was right. I needed to embrace the weird time signature, because that’s what made the song unique.

Being up close and around musicians I’ve admired has also revealed that the real ingenuity of songwriting is melody. Music is an expression of emotion, so it doesn’t matter if you can’t play a guitar like Clapton or sing like Freddie Mercury. If it’s coming from your heart, you can inspire, heal, and entertain the whole world with one chord.

SG: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from the whole experience?
Lorello: If you want to break away from the pack, if you want to achieve something greater than anyone can imagine, if you want to become your highest self, if you want to die happy…take leaps of faith and the universe will catch you. Face your greatest fears and you’ll be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Other than that, put your ego aside, surrender, float down stream, and enjoy the ride.

If you would like to see more of Chris Lorello’s work, visit Follow Chris on Twitter and Instagram @acidychris

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