The Stoned Society Interviews The Carnival

The Carnival has evolved since our first two meet-ups in The Hague and Amsterdam, to much more than an act. We recently met up again at Coffeeshop Bluebird in Amsterdam for an interview!

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From left to right: Mauro from The Stoned Society and Marcellus & Viola from The Carnival. Picture: Derrick Bergman / Gonzo media

It was the third time we met up, the first time unaware of each other at the Harvest Party in Coffeeshop Cremers, The Hague. The second time at the Cannabis Culture Awards during my stay in Amsterdam for the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup.

The Carnival has evolved since then, taking entertainment to a next level. “We are the Carnival” makes Marcellus clear.

[quote_right]”The crowd is the real attraction. We are just their catalyst”[/quote_right]

The idea is to involve the crowd and let them be a part of The Carnival. By handing out the fluorescent sticks for example, letting people participate and awakening their inner, playful self, Marcellus explains.

“Why not put people in the show? Instead of telling your friends after a music gig “I watched” or “I heard”, after being part of The Carnival people say “I did” and “I made”. We want people to ask themselves constantly “What’s going to happen next?”.

“After The Carnival, you too are the artist. You don’t just watch.” Viola nuances. “You can wear whatever mask you like.”

Marcellus: “The crowd is the real attraction. We are just their catalyst. The entertainers. Out of love.”

Viola smiles and explains: “Friends of ours actually fell in love during one of our gigs. It has been two years, and they still are together!”.

I explain to them that reminds me of this movie called “My Dinner With Andre“, during which two men just talk and discuss life by using the theater as a metaphor.

They haven’t heard about the movie before, but I refer them to YouTube where you can see the full movie.

Picture: Derrick Bergman / Gonzo media
Marcellus (left) and Viola (right) during their gig at Coffeeshop Cremers. Picture: Derrick Bergman / Gonzo media

The Stoned Society: Now I’m curious. What’s the story behind the two Italians coming to The Netherlands?

Both: “We met at the Jazz Academy in Rome, the Saint Louis College of Music, where we both studied but quickly hit roadblocks. We couldn’t find jobs, only in our own circles and so we decided we were going to break the wall of conservative Italy. And so on April 1st,  we packed all of our instruments, socks, shirts and went on a 21 hour drive to The Netherlands. At first, our parents and family thought it was April fools, but a couple of weeks later we both found ourselves a job and we played our first gig in June in Delft. The first day, we slept in our car at the parking lot of the Ministry of Finance in The Hague. We wanted to come to the Netherlands for the liberal values and multicultural society and it being pretty much the center of Europe. And The Hague is somewhat the center of the Netherlands. Ever since, it has been a blast.”

The Stoned Society: And so, what is the connection with cannabis?

Viola: “Cannabis has been hugely important to us. One way another, we always talk about supporting cannabis legalization during our act. You can hear it in our song “Stress Release” for example.

The Stoned Society: Why “The Carnival” name?

Marcellus: “The energy of atoms around us, the body itself is a mash-up. When we are 2-3 years old, we are all the same. Only later we decide what to act to play and wear. Life’s like a carnival”

[quote_right]”The faces, the moment, the energy, is actual air. It’s amazing to witness and feel”[/quote_right]

“In a funny and positive way” Viola adds.

Marcellus: “Like the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: everything flows”.

She: “The faces, the moment, the energy, is actual air. It’s amazing to witness and feel.”

He: “Just swim in the flow”.

He: “We try to keep the spirit high, feel alive. You are being afraid of being too good, afraid to wish for good and hope.”

Morphing from water to fire, at their recently recorded gig, the crowd was handed out fluorescent sticks and without any instructions, they became the living seaweed. They participated and became the act.

Ending with The Doors’ “Break on Through to the Other Side” and jugglers from Soulfire Netherlands, the transformation was complete. The last bit has been included below.

After taking a couple of pictures, Marcellus and Viola dropped me and VOC Nederland spokesperson Derrick off at the nearest train station, we said goodbye and split our ways.

In the evening, I found myself in my home city of Eindhoven in Music Venue Popei in talks with the sound and light technician Floris. He remembered The Carnival recorded a video clip at Popei, after seeing the gift I got from The Carnival.