Q&A: An Interview with Movement’s Pineapple Guy

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
June 06, 2016

Q&A: An Interview with Movement’s Pineapple Guy

Photo by KoPhotoVogue

Photo by KoPhotoVogue

If you attended Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit this year, it is more than likely that you either spotted or heard of the Pineapple Man.

During the festival weekend, and the days following it, Facebook became alive with sightings of the Pineapple Man. Countless videos, photos and even memes were posted celebrating the exotic fruit held aloft by a man donning a blue scarf. Hundreds sang his praises, while also wondering just how he managed to hold the large piece of fruit up in the sky for so long throughout the three days.

Despite the many questions, one thing was clear: the pineapple made people smile, enhancing their festival experience in a way no other fruit has possibly ever done before. In a sea of techno black, the tropical fruit added color and united people both at the festival and in social media groups in the days following the weekend.

I had the chance to get to know a little about Perry Finley, aka the Pineapple Man or Guy, with a quick chat following the fest. Despite having the pineapple well over his head for approximately 20-24 hours over the weekend, he assured me that his arm was completely fine ahead of our talk! You can now follow the Pineapple in action via Facebook!

I spotted you at Movement several times, first in the RenCen hotel lobby I think, then of course at the festival. How could I not? You were everywhere! Is this the first festival where you made an appearance as the Pineapple Man?

The pineapple has served as a loyal companion at a few festivals. Gratifly 2014 – a small Burner gathering in South Carolina that is no longer happening – was the first event at which I began toting my succulent associate. Since then my commitment has escalated with this past Envision and Movement really taking it to the next level.

Why pineapple? Why not mango, or a melon?

Mangos are a dime a dozen and melons are too pretentious.

One of the many Pineapple memes posted on FB. Credit: Adam Dannewitz

One of the many Pineapple memes posted on FB. Credit: Adam Dannewitz

What is the significance of the pineapple?

First I have to stress that the pineapple was never about me. It was about everyone else. There are a few reasons:

  • Pineapples are a universal symbol of hospitality. Everyone is just looking to find their niche, and music festivals feel like “home” for many people.
  • The sacred geometry present within the fruit’s structure is fascinating. Without diving too far down the rabbit hole, it’s a reminder that we are all connected and every gesture ripples way beyond the source.
  • It’s an awesome way to meet people. Some of my closest relationships have stemmed from carrying around a pineapple. If nothing else, it’s a great conversation starter and shows you don’t take yourself too serious.
  • Portable and recognizable.
  • High nutrition density.
  • Delicious.
  • Pineapples like techno too.

Was there a point where you almost gave up and thought to yourself, “Man, holding this pineapple up all day just isn’t worth it!” If so, what kept you going?

Nope. That pretty little pina was like a lightning rod throughout the weekend. Every smile, laugh, and gesture channeled that positive energy right into my arm and kept that pineapple pumping at all times.

I like to draw parallels between commitment to holding up the pineapple and commitment to any thing else in life. Consistency is key in any pursuit. From a social standpoint, Movement was like a blank canvas and the pineapple was my medium. Walking in on the first day I was thoroughly intrigued at the idea of what would happen if I just held this thing over my head every feasible moment while inside the venue.

Within a few hours I had people calling me “Pineapple Guy”. Groups were using me as a landmark to find their friends, the DJs were getting a kick out of it mid-performance, and – above all else – it was making people smile; that’s really what it’s all about.

It was truly mesmerizing to watch the impact of the pineapple spread over course of the weekend. We all possess the ability to change the world, one pineapple at a time.

Photo by Dave Eckblad

Photo by Dave Eckblad

Do you eat pineapples or do you consider it a sacred fruit that must not be consumed?

Pineapple is a staple of my daily diet. It’s the fruit that keeps on giving. At the end of the festival, we cut it up and everyone in our crew shared some.

How long did you train your shoulder for, prior to the festival?

I do my best to maintain a daily yoga practice. Without that there would be no pineapple. You’d be surprised how conducive the skeletal system is to hoisting that bad boy over your head. Once you get your arm in the proper alignment, the shoulder just kind of falls into the socket and there’s not really much muscle fatigue.

Dave Eckblad

Photo by Dave Eckblad

Did you expect your antics to ever go viral?

Definitely not. I anticipated a positive response but never expected it to cross into other festival groups on Facebook (apparently it has been blowing up within the Holy Ship! communities) or to be turned into a meme. I guess I can cross that one off my bucket list.

What was your favorite encounter that stemmed from carrying the pineapple?

I had a guy come up to me and we engaged in the typical small talk. He insisted on buying me a drink and ran off to one of the vendors. Unfortunately, our crew was migrating and I had to run. I told his friends that I couldn’t wait around but to thank their friend again for the offer.

At least 2 hours pass and this guy comes up to me at an entirely different stage and gave me the drink. He found the pineapple. It was the same drink. He carried it around the entire time. That single gesture made the entire thing worth it. Pretty sure it was a pineapple vodka too.

Was it your first time at Movement?

Indeed it was, and it will not be my last. I thought I was pretty music-savvy beforehand but, after attending Movement, I feel like I’ve been lied to my entire life.

Photo by Paul Es

Photo by Paul Es

Who were some of your favorite acts?

Dubfire, Maceo Plex, Get Real, Chris Liebing, and DJ Tennis in no specific order.

Though not technically the festival, Carl Craig’s Q&A session at the Detroit Institute of Music Education leading up to Movement was something special. That instilled a heightened level of appreciation in me and allowed me to experience the festival in an entirely different context.

What was your favorite after-party?

Paradigm Presents No. 19 vs. Visionquest on Sunday. That Kenny Glasgow b2b Lee Curtiss set had me feeling some type of way, although they wouldn’t let me bring in the pineapple. I had to hide it in a bush on the side of the venue. Thankfully it was still there when we got out.

Blank Code & Oktave at The Works on Friday was up there too.

Perry Finley and his beloved pineapple

Perry Finley and his beloved pineapple

Are you planning to come back next year? If so, who would you like to see booked?

Absolutey. I’m a big fan of Tube & Berger’s label Kittball Records. Anyone from that roster would be a treat. Otherwise, I’m content. Movement is one of those festivals where you can walk to any stage at any time and be exposed to quality music. Paxahau does an incredible job booking talent.

Where can we expect to see the Pineapple next?

Symbiosis (Northern California) is the next one for sure. Elements (Brooklyn), Shambhala (Vancouver, BC), Imagine Festival (Atlanta), Suwannee Hulaween (Florida), Groove Cruise Miami, CRSSD (San Diego), Ultra Music Festival (Miami), Envision (Costa Rica), and Movement next year are also on the radar.

Of course, you can expect to see the pineapple pop up throughout the South Florida/Miami scene all year.

 

Thank you Perry, I appreciate your time and commitment to improving people’s festival experience, as well as the strength of your arm and shoulder. I look forward to next year, and seeing the Pineapple raised in the Detroit sky once more!