What is going on? You are listening to the mushroom revival podcast and today we have an amazing guest, who might say que pasa Mufasa. And if you don't know this podcast, we go deep into the wonderful, wacky mysterious world of mushrooms and fungi and we're here to take you on a journey into that world. We go surface level, but we also go really deep and bring on guests and experts from all around the world and today we're actually in person in Chiapas, Mexico with my man Dennis Walker. What's going on men?
Speaker 2 0:47
Que pasa Mufasa knee how Shalom salaam aleikum What's
Speaker 3 0:51
up everybody? huge honor to be here. Hello to everyone out there and yes, it's a beautiful day here we've got some foraging under our belt this morning found quite a number of m&e does different and when he does and, yeah, had a wonderful day. So my name is Dennis Walker. I am the host of myco printer podcast and a producer of myco centric media. I've got a platform called myco printer that interviews fungi entrepreneurs from around the planet, which is how I initially connected with Alex and many other great guests of the mushroom revival podcast. And I am just really stoked to be here and looking forward to this next couple of years as more and more folks get really turned on to the wild and mysterious world of mushrooms.
Hell yeah. And we're in your podcast recording studio right now in San Cristobal de las casas and we have mushroom products everywhere we just spent the day mushroom hunting we found some good some goodies today we found I found a give a lulu entomopathogenic fungi species on a spider which was super fun and then we found a bunch of this red red mushrooms that are they called you years what do they call?
Speaker 3 2:04
Yeah a bunch of you use the word up. Why you Why is the tote co indigenous word for Amanita which is the largest genus of mushrooms and they're abundant here and also something that the locals, the toad seal and the tent sale and various different indigenous groups and the local Mexicans love to eat. So UA fest is happening right now, which we're going to get into shortly. But it's a celebration of the mushroom culture and the robust food here in Chiapas and specifically in the highlands of Chiapas, where San Cristobal de las cosas is located so yeah, that was a couple of great finds today and a lot of roots Sillas. And we found some real Marya, we found quite a few other ones. No Lactarius today, and it's still pretty early in the season. That mushroom season here typically ranges from middle of June till the middle of October. So I think we still have a lot of gas in the tank there.
You Yeah. And and so this is my second time in San Chris. The first time was last year. And we also found a bunch of amazing things. We went to the jungle into a place called last new beds, and we found a bunch of cordyceps they're a bunch of amazing mushrooms. Different climate than it is now. And you know, it's just such a magical little town and it's what an hour two hours away from Mexico City and up in the mountains really high elevation been losing my breath a lot so much mounting and going up hills. But what what got you this is a two part question what originally got you into mushrooms. And then what brought you here to some Chris?
Speaker 3 3:43
Totally. So when I was 17, I had a very cathartic, transformative low dose psilocybin mushroom experience between the junior between my junior and senior years of high school. And I remember being completely blown away by how this small handful which was about a half eighth of motions. 1.7 grams could have such a powerful effect on me and such a magnetic effect. And I had a really wonderful experience and felt bonded with my friends saw ozomatli play, it was a great Latin jazz fusion band saw the sunset. So I had that kind of quintessential cathartic experience that people talk about with mushrooms. And after that my next question was, what happened? What are these things? Where can I learn more about these? And by extension there I started learning over the years more about the wider world of fungi. And I think it's a great entree point for a lot of people because I grew up not really interested in mushrooms. For me mushrooms were the weird shaped things that were at the salad bar that it didn't touch or you know, the stuff you peeled off of your pizza. I had no concept or knowledge of functional mushrooms, cordus EPS reishi, Lion's Mane, et cetera, et cetera. But I didn't know that this this psychedelic experience that I had was something I wanted to learn more about. And there was a lot of overlap with my upbringing as a Christian just thinking about hearing about these transformative meditative experiences that people have when they go into prayer and things like that. And so I just wanted to learn more about it. I started poring through arrowhead forums, great website, if anyone's unfamiliar arrowood.org. And then I went to college in San Francisco got tapped deeper into the legacy of mushrooms and of psychedelics. And really just in the last four years or so, I've started to really expand and look more at the broader fungi kingdom of everything that's going on Trad Cotters book, organic mushroom farming and micro remediation totally blew my mind. That was the first time I'd heard about mushroom packaging. And I started following Ecovative has started following myco works in the last few years and learning about mushroom materials. I know you've had a lot of these guests on the podcast. And you know, just the deeper you go into it, the more you realize the abundant use cases just all over the planet people, you know, from indigenous groups to start up companies to Department of Defense and NASA and things like that, like so many people are investigating the potential of fungi for so many different reasons. And there it is why I started myco printer podcast is I really wanted to talk to all the people who devoted themselves to building a fungi centric business with my motivations being that I feel like entrepreneurs harness a lot of influence and power. And that oftentimes business drives policy and culture and regulation, things like that. Like I think about the tech culture coming from, you know, my schooling years at the University of San Francisco, these people who were leading into the internet and building tech companies, they were so far ahead of regulations, and ahead of us laws and things like that, that, you know, it's almost hilarious to watch Mark Zuckerberg testify in Congress, and they have no idea what he's even doing, and you know how to keep up. And I kind of saw the same potential with fungi with some of these companies and thinking about not necessarily a fungi company, but someone like Patagonia how much influence they can wield and the culture like as far as protecting biodiversity and kind of, you know, driving consumer behavior, creating a product that people want to buy. And there, I saw a lot of opportunity for people building fungi, businesses, to create these solutions that would drive market based decisions that could also have a lot of influence in the future of the economy. And that's my take on it. And it seems to be a few years just like yourself, ahead of, you know, this mass widespread adoption. So I think I just got in a good time, and have now done about 115 episodes, interviewing people from 20 plus countries on six continents. And I pride myself in interviewing people who are totally unheard of who have no platform outside of their local communities, alongside people who have, you know, seven or eight figure businesses. I think it's really inspiring that someone in a refugee camp in Syria is learning how to grow oyster mushrooms and sharing them with the community. Josephine Naka Conde who has been on mushroom revival. These stories to me are success stories, and I want to see more and more of that, and I want to support and platform as many people as I can, you know, all over the planet.
And one of those rad groups being fun Garia, which is local to here in Chiapas, and super cool group. I got to meet Ezekiel a year ago. And then is it Maria, the chef, Carla, Carla. Yeah. Super sweet. And then now, Alex, this year, is a new member that I met, and they're helping throw on this fest that's happening here. And just a really good group. Ezekiel is a genius. And he's so humble. And he just knows every single mushroom that you put in front of him, and he has a photographic memory, and he'll know the Latin name, and he'll give, you know, a long spiel about every single mushroom that you put in front of him. And he's just so humble and incredible. So how did you link up with Fung Garia? And can you give a little plug on what they're doing here in Chiapas?
Speaker 3 9:04
I'd love to Yeah, so it's a pretty small town here. And there's not many people who are studying the local foods. I think that number is increasing rapidly. But I was doing it independently and going out on forays by myself. And I was asking local indigenous groups about the mushrooms and that's one of the special things here is we're in Mexico, but it's a heavily indigenous culture to that have a lot of legacy working with these mushrooms. And it's a confluence of different worlds. So you have someone like Ezekiel, who's university educated, he knows the phylogeny he knows the taxonomy, the Latin names, etc. And then we're also going foraging together with people from the tuxedo indigenous groups and towns who have Mayan names for these mushrooms and they have ethno psychological uses that just being around that and that being able to amplify that and translate it into English is something that's really special. So, Ezekiel put on The first event that from Garcia did here about two years ago, and I saw something posted around town that there was going to be a mushroom for a, I had been going by myself, just you know, out there trying to figure out what these different mushrooms were and a lot of cases, we find new new discoveries new species for Chiapas, that have never been recorded in the scientific canon. And that happened today as well, I believe. And I immediately hit it off with the group and just really, really valued the expertise that was presented, but also the way they go about their business just so humble, so focused on serving the local populations. And also so welcoming of me, and probably one of the distinguishing or most touching moments from my relationship with Juan Garcia, is when they celebrated their one year anniversary. And they actually delayed it because I was out of town. And they said that they wanted me to be present for their first year anniversary, and just felt so touched to be a part of that. And I often tell the story that I get, I get to go to a lot of conferences and cool stuff now, and get to be in these kinds of like, high profile sort of situations. And yet, I'm just so much more humbled and gratified a lot of times to be out on forays with a team like foon Garcia, who's doing it, not for the cloud, not for the fame, they're doing it because they're trying to serve, they're serving the local populations. And that's their calling. And there's something really special about being around that kind of energy and devotion and dedication.
Yeah, seriously special people, and it's an honor to meet them as well. And it's, it's awesome to also see your journey, develop over the years. And I remember going on your podcast way back in the day and and you went from kind of a more serious tone with the micro printer podcasts. And now kind of being known as like this jester, so to speak in the psychedelic space and making these fucking hilarious videos. Total satire, like doing these, these amazing videos on Tiktok, and things like that, which is blown up like crazy. And it's awesome to see, you know, not that many people are doing it. And it's so funny to see the space like we're talking about psychedelics here, like, and people are so serious and like so, you know, wearing button up shirts, and they're like, really clinical, and you know, really dry and here you are like wearing a speedo, like making the most ridiculous videos ever. And it's like that is the that's the energy of psychedelics right there. It's like, there's so wacky, they're like the best Joker's ever. So, how did this satire come about? And how has it evolved over time?
Speaker 3 12:44
Oh, I love it. Yeah, I just figured out I'm really good at looking like an idiot. Just kind of like this pompous. So, yes, I did the podcast very seriously and actually continue to now. And about a year into the podcast, I did a satire video totally top of mine. To promote the podcast, I just said, Okay, Instagram reels our thing. I'm gonna make this goofy character video and just see what happens. And it went crazy, like, and I heard so much feedback from people I respected like people from all over the planet who independently reached out to me and said, what was this like this? I know. So you know, and so many people were saying, Oh, my friend sent this to me, you know, it went viral in the true sense of the word. And then I realized, oh, I can do this video a bunch of different times a bunch of different ways. And it drove growth, you know, really quickly, I went from being someone who just another white guy with a podcast, you know, there's plenty of us, and to being like, oh, this person kind of has this not so serious take on this space that has gotten increasingly serious. And I just kind of pushed the envelope with it and said, Okay, how far can I go? I lean into the principles of improv, you know, so I would give myself and often do one hour to come up with the concept, write it, shoot it and edit it, so that my whole day is not spent running around a speedo or whatever. It's just, you know, part of my identity. And it just has become pretty successful and well recognized. And a lot of people that I respect have reached out to me over the years and said, we like what you're doing. We think this is great. And it's led to me getting invited to, you know, speak on the main stages, you know, share the stage with people like Graham Hancock and Rick Doblin and people like that. And another thing I've heard a lot is that a lot of the Western Psychonauts and people like Terence McKenna, the Shoguns, Timothy Leary, etc, they all were very funny people. And a lot of people I know who knew them have told me that and said, like, that's something that this quote, psychedelic Renaissance is missing is like, it's a lot of people coming in from a very serious perspective, you know, but that a lot of the torchbearers before us, at least in the Western sense. Had a very light side. A lot of My buddy a lot of humor. So I just realized, like, Okay, I didn't even I wasn't trying to do this. This wasn't my goal. But it was so well received. And it also helped the platform overall. But I thought, Okay, this is something I have to follow. And it's ongoing. And I'm flying out to Hungary in two weeks to emcee, another massive festival. And I really, really appreciate all those opportunities. And it's something that gives me great joy too.
And it's pretty hard to be kind of that jester character, you know, like, I can make memes, I can make jokes, I can be funny at times, but you almost kind of have to be in you have to almost embody that as your being, which is really rare. You know, and like, also, it's, it's, you know, you're pissing a lot of people off during comedy, like, you're not, not everyone is going to find you funny. But real comedians, like the way they deliver it is so skillful, that you can, you can really poke fun at people's wounds and like their sensitive spaces and make them laugh at the same time. Without them, you know, putting so much of a boundary up and like a wall and them getting mad at you, you know, and that that's super skillful that like, you know, you can poke fun at these things that no one else wants to talk about. And be able to kind of like, you're you, you have a foot in all camps, like you, you always kind of have that white flag flying where like, no one can shoot you, you know, like, you're like, almost immune to like anyone being mad at you because, and that's so skillful. So like, how do you? Is it hard for you to you said that you've kind of always been a jokester since since you know, growing up in school and stuff like that, like, do you find it hard at times to play this satirical role? Or is it like, so organic for you?
Speaker 3 16:57
It's pretty organic. And I realized pretty early on that it's about due diligence if you're going to take on a subject, that instead of just running your mouth about something if you actually study it, and you learn it, and you can present a nuanced take on it. And you do it in a satirical way. It presents a lot of opportunity and a wide berth. And a great example of that. I've often been asked by people like, is there any concept or topic you've taken on that has been maybe too much and something that you know, piss too many people off. And I'm constantly trying to find that boundary. You know, I'm a big fan of South Park. I'm a big fan of Danny McBride and Jody Hill, Eastbound and Down. And like these are very in your face over the top franchises and series and one example of a very tightly wound and historically ingrained situation that I've taken on was going over to Palestine in Israel in person and staying at Bank C's hotel, the British artist, Banksy is a very politically active artist. And I learned so much about that situation from both sides and from both communities. And I took on that situation and the wall. You know, I grew up next to a border wall in San Diego. So Tijuana and San Diego. So I've been very active in sort of a border community where this kind of artificial boundary in a lot of ways separates these people, and it becomes this huge geopolitical issue. And I took it on with satire. And that actually catapulted me to a lot more opportunities, because people from these very entrenched influential organizations are watching this videos, you know, I made a series of them and sharing them. And I got really good feedback from people from both sides saying, nobody's doing this take like nobody's doing it, you know, this is such and I realized, like, satire is a Trojan horse, where you can take on these very difficult conversations and things that are blowing up in the psychedelic space, because really what the psychedelic space is, it's a bunch of different things to a bunch of different people. And it dredges up a whole bunch of historical wounds, you know, the legacy of colonization. And now you have profiteering going on and opportunism and just, there's a lot of open wounds, and there's not a lot of good diplomacy happening. And I think that's a reflection of the broader media ecosystem, and kind of the politics of our world in general. It's like, we're kind of running out of diplomacy and citizen diplomats. And I said, I want to be a citizen diplomat, you know, my, what's my goal? I want to create humor, levity, Joy, I want to try to bridge gaps and worlds, people from vastly different backgrounds, bring them together, and like maybe we're not going to solve all the problems overnight, but maybe we can bring a different lens to the way that we look at some of these things. And I think that's also why I love mushrooms so much as they bring people together. Like you look all over the planet. You're gonna find an indigenous group in Paraguay and an indigenous group and in Norway who are both using mushrooms, right, you're gonna find food Garcia having conversations with the local chameleons here. And these are people from vastly different worldviews and a lot of cases that are uniting and bonding and sharing their experiences. As of mushrooms and forging together and learning together, and it's something that gives me great hope for the future and something I like to call fungi diplomacy.
That's awesome. And you have, you know, all these different characters that you've made as well, like Don Chad and Amethyst Jaguar and things like that, do you do you have a running list of the characters that you go back to?
Speaker 3 20:22
Yeah, I have a few, I have a few that are still up my sleeve, Don Chad is probably the one that broke me through. And that's like this very arrogant, self assured pompous, white spiritual guru. And definitely as a reflection of what I would say maybe who I was once upon a time, because going back to my schooling in San Francisco, I was that person who just discovered mushrooms and then starts evangelizing. And, you know, everyone needs to try these, these are going to solve all your problems. And like, I'm really fortunate that social media, you know, didn't have the same kind of sort of liberal mushroom and psychedelic expression that it has now, in that I got to be that kind of idiot in my own little echo, chamber and circle, you know, instead of doing it for the world to see, and also having been around, you know, traveled a lot, having been to Bali have invented to Luma, ketosis cetera, I feel like I've met this archetype of person who just like, wants to sell you the solution, and that, you know, they're the top dog, and they will show you the spirit world and all this, and like, you know, power to them, if that's what you're doing. But I also think that it's really easy to satirize that type of character. And a lot of my Mexican friends and indigenous friends from all over the planet, also really appreciate that I bring that lens because it's pretty, like sickening or annoying to a lot of people to have these, you know, white people come down, open up a healing center, you know, in the Amazon, pay their kitchen staff $3 An hour yet they're charging, you know, $300 a day, those power dynamics are really skewed. And I think a lot of people are tired of it. And funny enough, like this is stuff that's extremely controversial still in the psychedelic space. But doing it from a satirical lens, for whatever reason, just makes it that much more approachable, where people are, like, look, this guy kind of gets it and I just, you know, so that Don Chad kind of broke me through and then I've got Amethyst Jaguar, and that is also based on kind of a real person, you know, they're amalgamations of people I've met and like experiences I've had. And it's kind of the same character of just like, a really pompous, like sure that, you know, you're the top dog and like, I'm going to franchise my healing center out and like, sell you the 12 step program or sell you the program that gets you healed. And I think obviously, there's a lot of shortcomings there. So those are a couple and then I've been doing puppetry, which I'm really into. I love the role of the puppeteer, historically, and have studied and have been parts of puppet groups and the puppets here was a sacred role in a lot of cultures. Like if you look at Indonesian puppetry, and you know, I was just over there and the puppeteers are passing on the religious texts, and they're mimicking different voices, and they're singing and their role is sort of like as this moral moral compass in a way, like passing on morality tales, which is also something I've heard Danny and Danny McBride talk about. I'm a big fan of that. His mom and the church where he grew up was a puppeteer and what do these little Bible stories with puppets, and the more I started studying it, I realized this popped up in so many cultures like back in the Roman culture, and like, you look in different parts of Africa, there's documentation of puppets, puppet troops and traveling troops going by canoes up river to pass on their texts and their morality tales that help guide their societies through these kind of easily accessible little skits like Pixar is kind of the same vein. So I've got a couple of puppets and that's something I've been leaning heavily heavily into as well. One of them is here in the studio, it's his name is Rick Doblin ganger. Because it's Rick Doblin puppet,
it does really look like him. And the funny thing is, like, you know, in, in medieval times and stuff like that, almost like the puppeteers and the, the jester would get a free pass, you know, and they could make fun of the king, they can make fun of royalty, and not get their head chopped off. Right. And that was kind of like, the only socially acceptable time where you can poke fun at at the king or the royalty was like, during these plays, or during puppet shows, or doing, you know, only by the gesture, you know what I mean? And it's, I think it's good for us as well, you know, to laugh at ourselves and be like, I'm done chat sometimes, or like, um, you know, whatever. And I think psychedelics do the same thing. Like they're the biggest jokesters ever and for some people, maybe the joke goes over their head, like and there'll be like, Oh, I had a terrible trip. And it's like, well, maybe there was just like, holding up a mirror and, and it's like, sometimes you just gotta laugh. Sometimes we're like a piece Shit, you're gonna laugh at it, or like, wow, like, it's, you know, sometimes you gotta look at the mirror and be like, I was acting so silly for like, X amount of time and like, Thank you mushrooms or psychedelics for like holding up the mirror, and showing me this, this character that I've been building and like that I've been just acting a fool or whatever. And I think like psychedelics are just, they're almost like your little jester that are just there. They're creating, you know, these funny scenarios, and they're showing you like, Dude, don't take life. So seriously, it's like, it's all pretty funny, you know? And so you, you've traveled all around the world. And, you know, you say that people are pretty in a bubble about the psychedelic industry only kind of happening in the US and some parts of Canada. But what other places do you do you feel like are up and coming? Or have a pretty strong, psychedelic industry that you think that people should be talking more about?
Speaker 3 26:10
Totally. So yeah, there's psychedelic use all over the planet. And even that word is like etymologically loaded, you know, psychedelic like, as the massive tech medicine that they're doing here with with mushrooms since time immemorial, is that psychedelic? A lot of them probably wouldn't call it psychedelic. It's more of like, an ethno medicine, you know, it's just part of the culture. So that's a perspective I've heard voiced very recently, as about, like, psychedelics is very much like a Western lens to look at things, you know, and but as far as the psychedelic industry, like a couple places are definitely up and coming. I want to say Trinidad and Tobago is passing legislation. And I know that they're there. So you know, Jamaica is kind of known as a hub right now, because they never criminalized mushrooms or other entheogens. So there's quite a bit going on there. I'm sure you're familiar with that. And most of the listeners are. But there's other couple Caribbean islands that are developing an industry because they see that it brings tourism, they see that people are interested. And that's a huge lifeline for especially, you know, post COVID Where there's the economy is tough. And there's a lot of just economic hardship. Tourism is a huge lifeline. So if you see Jamaica as a proof of concept that it's bringing in people, you know, the sky's not falling in, it's still pretty, pretty well regulated, then I know a few other countries in that area are looking. One interesting note, I used to live in Saudi Arabia, and in the MENA region NBN. A, they recently had the first public psychedelic conference and friends of mine were involved with putting it on, and had the first public conversation about psychedelics in the MENA region, in Abu Dhabi, and they had the Minister of Health in Abu Dhabi involved. I know you've had higher oil, Jalen who's a mutual friend of ours, you know, she's talking about psychedelics openly as a woman in Saudi Arabia now. And I think that, that that is one example, another one, which is going to continue to get more entrenched more talked about, I think, is Israel. And for example, there's going to be a psychedelic medicine conference in Israel this December. And there's a lot of biotech, a lot of research. So from a strictly sort of, like medicalized perspective, I think that is going to continue to be to make headway as far as the psychedelic industry over in Israel. And there are definitely a few other places. Of course, the Netherlands has a lot going on. And they've been known for having psilocybin mushrooms, although those were, I believe, criminalized in 2008. And now it's truffles because it's sort of that loophole, which I'm sure a lot of familiar a lot of listeners are familiar with. But I recently had Zeus to Pato on the podcast, who's a neuroscientist researching a lot of things about psychedelics and perception in the brain, at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and he painted a picture of the freedom of research that they have over there in the Netherlands. So I think that we're going to continue to see more things happening coming out of the Netherlands with the psychedelic Renaissance. And England is got a lot going on. Oh, well, Australia, of course, just legalized. So I'd say that's a big one. But England has breaking convention, and they've got the psilocybin access rights group, which I've been looped into a little bit, who are going full bore trying to get the house, you know, the political system and powers that be in England, to regulate and approve psychedelics. So I think we're gonna see regulated psychedelic use popping up in the next five years and a whole bunch of different places. And it's going to be sort of clinical and medicalized and regulated, and I have my own feelings about that. But I also appreciate that a lot of people want that safety and scrutiny and legitimacy, and that it's gonna work for a lot of people.
Yeah, we were we were talking the other day about the Michael Pollan effect. And, you know, like you touched upon psychedelic use Is are entheogenic use has been a thing forever. And, you know, there's a theory that it actually helped our evolution from monkeys into into proper homosapiens that we are now. You know, and so, you know, they've been been a thing forever, but now they're they're kind of hitting legislature in a lot more places, right? And so we're seeing this almost Michael Pollan effect, which is, you know, these psychedelic communities have been here forever. And but now we're seeing kind of the, the average Joe people kind of be like, Oh, okay, it's now it's now legal. So therefore, now I can, I can do it or you know, Michael Pollan is talking about it, therefore, now it's okay to you know, to talk about these things now. So, so it's a very interesting time. And, you know, I am, you know, you brought up the conflicted thing I am, you know, for things like MDMA and things that are chemical based, that are so easy to laced with other things, it is important to have really clean things available for mushrooms. You know, it's I haven't really heard of anyone ever lacing mushrooms. So it's, it's, and they're so easy to grow so cheap. So I know there's a lot of frustration by a lot of people with this kind of institutionalized psilocybin industry, which you've been making fun of a lot, which is great. But you know, what, what is your stance on on the the upcoming industry? What are some pros? Any any people out there doing it? Right? And then what are what are things that you've been kind of poking fun of that? That's, that's happening in the psilocybin industry right now that you feel like shouldn't?
Speaker 3 31:59
Yeah, totally. So one of the easiest low hanging fruit for satire is a lot of the VCs who get into the space and the funds who really don't know what they're dealing with. So like, I did a onion style article A little while ago, about like a VC, who's forced to eat one gram of mushrooms for every million dollars, invest in the space, because I'm actually friends with a lot of these people now, and they'll pitch me ideas. And in some cases, I'm like, you don't really have a background with mushrooms. And I can tell and we can talk about it. And that's fine. You know, I think that it is an ecosystem that's happening. And I think that we need to have a robust ecosystem and not a super hierarchical, you know, hey, this, this worked for us in cannabis. So let's repeat the exact same patterns and the way that we roll out psychedelics, I think that's something that is not going to serve many people to be honest. So that's one easy, low hanging fruit is just kind of like, you know, everyone can make fun of a rich person punch up. That's one of the principles of satire to that, like, it's punching up, you're not punching down, you're going for these people with influence and power and money. And a lot of cases, as far as people doing it, right, I think anyone who's leaning into a harm reduction lens, and recognizing and acknowledging that a lot of psychedelic use, a lot of mushroom use is 99.9% of it is happening outside of a clinical medicalized context, including some of the people who are trying to drive and bottleneck and restrict access to this legal model. They had their experiences outside of a clinical model, like in a cases, in some cases, on a yacht in international waters. And it's like, okay, it's very humorous to me, and hubris stick to me and actually just met this individual recently, that somebody would, you know, have that type of experience. And then a few years later, two or three years later, be actively involved in writing the legislation about how people are allowed to access these things. And I've run into that, like, pretty repeatedly. You know, I think we call it founder energy. There's like this founder energy of people who have been successful in other industries. And then they want to force you know, mushrooms or psychedelics into this certain rigidly controlled model, because that's how it worked when I was in tech or in finance. And part of me wants to be like, Yo, dawg, you need to just eat a solo macro dose, if you're going to try to get into this and to the level, you are, like, get to know the mushrooms a little bit, you know, so that's one angle of it. But as far as like the harm reduction angle, I think that there's quite a few people doing great work and not necessarily just limited to mushrooms with the broader sort of psychedelic field. But dance Safe is a great one. I think what dance safe and Michelle Gomez are doing is just incredible work. I think Arrowood you know, I mentioned that earlier. I'm a huge fan of Arrowood, open source, unparalleled, super, super insightful and comprehensive and I just got to introduce them at the psychedelic science conference and meet them. And like that's where I turned after I had my first mushroom experience and I turned to food of the gods. I turned to Arrowood pored through trip reports, try to learn everything, you know, try to try to be as tuned in as I could and be educated about you. So I think that's a huge thing is like we need to educate ation before regulation. There's interest in companies, stakeholders who are trying to drive regulation. Yet all of this gray market or black market, illicit, whatever you want to call it use is happening. And there's a whole market there that I've personally estimated, don't quote me on this, you can quote me, but it's in the 10s of billions of dollars. It's a massive industry. And I base that off of a number of different metrics that we can get into at some point. But it's a massive industry, you go to LA or New York City, or you know, you just click go online, it's not very hard to find mushrooms right now. But what about like accurate, up to date, non judgmental, harm, reduction, inflammation, and I speak from the optics of being a former high school teacher, and hearing my kids talk about drugs and not being able to speak to them about it, because of legal issues or whatever, you know, like, I would have been fired. Essentially, if I had had honest conversations with my students about drugs. That's a really fucked up way to approach drug education. You know, dare is still active in 75% of us school districts, and they're still preaching abstinence, just say no, but the data, the research, just look around. Everybody is eating mushrooms. So how can we, you know, maybe encourage that or support it, and a framework of like real world data driven, non judgmental, Hey, be safe, don't go eat five grams in public your very first time, like, maybe there's a better way to do it. So that's something that I think is really important that I tried to lean into also, with the satire is education as like, okay, you know, no one's going to shame you for doing this. I think it's a great thing that a lot of people feel called to do this. Maybe you don't want to mix your substances. Maybe you don't want to eat mushrooms, you know, when you're out drinking at the bar your first time. And I just think that's a really critically overlooked area of what's happening right now.
So this might be a loaded question. But, you know, if you had unlimited funds, and limited time and an unlimited team, what would you do?
Speaker 3 36:55
So happy you asked that the first thing that jumps to my mind, I'd love to build out the myco printer incubator, which the first time he came down, we were doing the incubator, I've always kept stuff as grassroots, as local as family based as I can. And I'm more about like quantity, or more about quality over quantity, you know, I'd rather have 10 people that really want to dig in their heels and like work together and build relationships, then, you know, like, try to do some pyramid scheme where I sell a course to 1000s of people. So I think an incubator would be awesome to have like a call it a retreat center, but less so about like focusing on trying to do ceremonies and healing and more focused on like, best practices and building a myco paranormal venture. And for me, a big part of that is like the unconference style, it's about putting people in the same room together, putting a zekiel, and you and Carla in the same room as my friend, Kevin Strieber, who's here, and myself, sharing ideas, and putting in supportive infrastructure to help people you know, like, one of the things that myco printer is built to do is to help people develop a sense of business acumen to there's so many great cultivators and mushroom people who have so much passion, but like, then the business it's really hard to grow a business and you know, better than anyone, so like, you know, how can we bring in some people who understand how to incubate and drive a business and, and build and at the same time, people who value mushrooms and who aren't just always bottom line driven. So I think that's the first place that I go is like building out more of an incubator. And then another one would be, I call it spore funding, but funding these little micro or micro projects around the planet, because that's the stuff that like, really puts tears in my eyes like I could honestly give a shit if another la serial entrepreneur builds a billion dollar mushroom brand. But like when someone in Bangalore or you know, Bangladesh or somewhere in the Global South, like Josephine is able to lean into this concept of myco printer ism or fungi entrepreneurism and make a tangible impact in their community that just makes this huge ripple effect. And I would love to be able to support that and I'm doing that a little bit. I'm going out to India shortly to support their first mushroom festival and you know, a number of other projects that I'm diving into. And I would love to just do that indefinitely and just jump on a plane to Uganda jump on a plane to Paraguay or whatever, and go make my network and my resources and whatever expertise I have available to people who are actually working with mushrooms to to uplift their community and make tangible impacts.
So I've been I've been kind of grappling with this for a while and I think you may have answered it, but you know, it it seems like there's so many people jumping into this space and a lot of people are just coming in with the not the best intentions, right? They don't. They have zero background with mushrooms. They don't really care about mushrooms or helping people honestly and they're just trying to, you know, cash out. This is the next gold rush and they're looking at you know, Catch your bag. And they're like using the wrong Latin names or using the wrong pictures. They, you know, they're, they're wearing a suit, they've never eaten mushrooms in their life. And they're you know, and it's, it's the same story of like the same characters over and over. So it I've been grappling of trying not to gate keep the space and I want it, I want anyone to enter the space, I want everyone to get into mushrooms, but I feel like, I do feel like there's kind of a right way to do it or go about it and or there's definitely wrong ways, I guess. And, you know, I really like your approach. There's so many people in this space that, you know, if someone is being a little slimy, and they're lying to people just to make more money, you know, people, it hurts them, and people get frustrated in the space. And I feel like you're one of the first people to like, just come at it in a very comical way, which is very light. And you know, what, what is your what is your stance on? Like? How do you? How do you like to approach people that you feel like are maybe doing the quote unquote, wrong thing? Like, how do you how do you? What's your stance on? Like, how to point people in the quote, unquote, right direction? If that makes sense?
Speaker 3 41:24
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense, a huge one is building a rapport first. And that's where I bring up diplomacy again, as I've just noticed, this tendency, and a lot of spaces be politics, or business or whatever, for people to silo themselves off from each other, and develop opinions and perspectives about people without ever actually really engaging that one on one. And I realized, like, a lot of these characters, like, you know, stakeholders, their reputations precede them. And then I talked to people were like, Oh, that guy's a asshole, or whatever. Like, Have you ever talked to them? Nope, nope. Just, you know, read press releases, and this and that. So I'm like, Well, why don't I just go talk to them and hang out. And that's a big part. And I think by building that trust you like getting into the boat, psychedelic industry, it's been very strange, because I came from a total outside weirdo oddball perspective. And then all of a sudden, I was getting invited to these conferences and press passes and offered all these opportunities and see, interview this person. And I think a big part of it was even talking to that some of the people now they're like, Oh, we thought you were like a hostile, you know, critical journalists or whatever. But actually, we just think you're really funny. And that's a good thing. And I've noticed, like, I've been able to influence some of these different characters just when they're like, maybe there is a different way to do it. And I think a lot of people right now, they walk on eggshells, and they're quite afraid. And I like to say like, the biggest advantage and independent creator, a small brand like myself as is we can be weird because like, the larger brands are afraid to piss people off, you know, they're afraid to say the wrong thing. Well, that just creates this not very psychedelic environment, to be honest to me, like true, psychedelic, sort of the true psychedelic nature is to be open to change, open to having your mind change, to be open to dialogue. So like, why are so many people in the psychedelic space won't quote, closed off to these things? You know, like, for me, I like to attack myself verbally and satirically, because it's like, Look, I'm not above any of this, like, I'm this, you know, pretty affluent, white male in the psychedelic space, like, I'm low hanging fruit for satire, you know, not for a second, do I take myself too seriously. So that's a big one is like establishing rapport, and also not really having an agenda. I feel like that turns people off, when it's like, I'm gonna go take down this specific person or this specific company, it's like, no, like, maybe I'll target them with a satirical video or roast them. But I'm moving on, you know, I'm not out here hanging out on Twitter, trying to bring down some company or whatever, that's just not my style. So yeah, diplomacy and rapport is a huge one. And then bad actors do need to be called out like, and, you know, sometimes it requires a little bit of tact because, like, some cases, futurists light someone up and go after them. That might not that might just shut down any opportunity for dialogue or meaningful change change, you know, so I think that, that being nuanced and diplomatic and going about it, and depends on the severity of the grievances, maybe that they're bringing to the table. So somebody is a bad actor, they need to be called out. And I think that that has happened, and that will continue to happen. But as far as like this whole, psychedelic community and the industry and like people's motivations, I just think that we have to get to people get to know people on a personal level, give people time to change their mind. Like that's the whole point of psychedelics to me is that you should be able to change your mind if presented with very clear information that you know, what you're doing is not in the best interest of the community or the industry etc. There should be a critical mass at some point, but to get there requires time patience, diligence and diplomacy.
So for someone who I always see as this chipper smiling person, like, I feel like it's almost impossible to get you in a bad mood. What has been the hardest part of this journey and it could be one day or just kind of a, a more general like, overall this, this has been a bit difficult in in, in, in making all this satire and making all this content making all these connections traveling all over the place like what what has been the hardest part?
Speaker 3 45:32
Yeah, a couple of things come to mind. One is being constantly tied to a screen or my phone. That's not really the vibe. It's not what I want to do with my life. But I've also built a location independent digital business, and I knew that getting into it. So there have been plenty of times when like, I'm, I'm motivated to work in the morning, I'm on my laptop at 6am at 6pm. And I'm you know, six copies deep. And I realized, like my wife's downstairs cooking dinner, and I'm up here doing some stupid editing for some inconsequential video. And like, that gets to me, sometimes, unfortunately, we spend a lot of time together. But I don't want to indefinitely be putting in 12 hour days staring at a screen. Okay, so that's one. A second one is like there's some definite anxiety about having built something that becomes bigger than what you intended it to happen. Like, I've realized a few times, like, words have consequences, things you do have consequences, maybe not even for you like someone got fired for reposting one of my videos. And then, you know, I felt bad about it. And they were like, Well, you didn't really do anything wrong, you know, but at the same time, like, I had a conversation with them, like, you know, the community, they're like, things have consequences. And like, so just, you know, and also beyond that, like getting into these situations where people want you to make a comment or a statement or take on something. And I think okay, well, like I would love to support you. But at the same time, like I don't one of my life mottos is I seek to avoid Imperial entanglements, you know, like, I'm not really what is it going to be who've me to, you know, throw my hat in the ring to try to be some political bargaining chip for, you know, between companies or whatever, maybe to some degree, but also, I'm uncomfortable a little bit with like, wielding my influence in that way. And I'm very comfortable in my little lane that I have. So yeah, those are things like going to conferences, or, you know, having people come up to me, and like, want me to take on some specific issue that's been a little bit hard. And then you can keep all the people happy all the time. That's I learned that as a high school teacher, where like, sometimes I'll make a piece of content or something. And like, quite often, it does not offend everyone or anyone. But then sometimes like, you know, someone will be upset about it. And I'm just like, Okay, well, I'm sorry. Sorry, sorry for party rocking. But yeah, for the most part, it's been a really great journey. And what kind of contextualize is and puts it all in perspective, for me, is just the community that I built and the feedback that I get, and that's what keeps me going like, and it's not the feedback coming from like the top down, like, oh, this CEO thinks I'm cool. Like, that's great. When that happens. It's from the international community. It's from the people, you know, who are the outsiders and the odd balls. And I like to think like, you know, one of us made it, if you will, like, there's plenty of people paying for press out there. There's plenty, plenty of people who are coming from other influential positions, but I'm like a weirdo, psycho, not oddball, and to like, get put in the rooms with some of these, you know, corporate executives and diplomats and things like that on the international stage. I feel a great sense that like, I do speak for a lot of people they say they're like, dude, like, you're nailing it, you're saying exactly what I would say if I was in those situations.
We who got fired? I don't know if you can name drop anything. But But what what happened there?
Speaker 3 48:44
Yeah, it's it's a touchy situation. But it was basically, I made a satirical account of a major conference. And this was when I was like, first getting into the game. And I just completely roasted them because there is a big issue with accessibility. And I named it and like, there, and I've since talked with the conference organizers and the other people. And that was the same kind of lens where they're like, We didn't really know you. We didn't know like what side you were on. I'm like, not on a dog. But let's hang out. Let me figure it out. I'm like, I didn't even know who you guys were, I didn't even know who was producing this. I got invited. I went, I told it like I saw it at that particular time. And you know, people who work for companies who are invested in that space, they sort of have to uphold the toe the company line, and not all company lines favor, you know, pointed satire and running around in speedos, etc. That being said, since then, I've made great inroads and relationships with a lot of these people. And that particular individual definitely upgraded and is definitely in a better position than they were. And like, we're all cool with everything, and we just work together recently. But when it first happened, there was a sense of, hey, was I complicit in this and like, What could I have done differently, you know, for just a simple piece of content to catalyze because someone amplified it or retweeted or whatever that that was isn't enough. And fortunately though it never slowed me down. And I think it absolutely ended up working in the favor of that individual.
Honestly, I feel like if anyone's gonna get mad at satire, they deserve more satire. You know, if like, anyone's gonna go to like a comedy show, and get mad at it, like, they need to go to more comedy shows? No, like, they need to laugh more, we're just talking about that we just had tacos, like, a couple hours ago, we're talking about I think it was you that said about, like, kids laugh, like, you know, three or four times 400 times a day. And we need more of it, you know, when when COVID hit, things were really serious. And like, I was reading a lot of the news. And it was really, you know, like, it was kind of a gray cloud over my, my spirit and I had to, like, unfollow every single news source. And I just watched like, an hour of Stand Up Comedy every single day. And I felt a bazillion times better, you know, there's something really healing to just like laugh at really, you know, normally serious things. And it's, it's, like you're saying a great Trojan horse to start the conversation and have some lightness around usually serious things. So you know, I appreciate it. I know a lot of people appreciate it. You know, there's gonna be a couple of people out there that get a little more defensive. But I think those are the people that need comedy The most, which is great. And so you're, you're about to go to Europe for you know, a few months, and then you're about to head to India for a mushroom festival. What's next for myco? Printer? What's next for your satire? What's next for your world travels with what's going on? What are the next steps in your life?
Speaker 3 51:51
Yeah, so I'm giving myself permission to take the slow ride, I think that a lot of people getting into psychedelics who are new to it, want things to happen super fast, and they expect it to scale super fast. And that's actually screwed up the industry in a lot of ways. You know, there's a huge amount of capital poured in and 2019 Everyone's burned through those runways, psychedelics are still not legal, you know, it's not a pretty picture sort of from speaking strictly from an industry and business perspective. So I'm giving myself permission to take the slow ride and kind of build year by year. So I'm on year three right now. And when I've two and a half years, so when I get to year three, I'm definitely going to upgrade a few of the offerings and features. But I'm in the process of systematizing right now, because one of the other challenging things is like spinning a lot of plates, like, I'm on, you know, eight different social platforms, I've got a newsletter, I've got a podcast that goes out regularly, I've got a website that I contribute content to. And like, I'm pretty much doing all of it, you know, I have a few friends here and there who will pitch in, but I don't want to do that I want it to be sort of crowdsource community based. And so that's something I'm actively looking into is like how to create more of a community where Pete and I have contributors, and people who feel it's worth their time, who want to be a part of this and want to help me build it. And if anybody out there is listening, and kind of likes what I'm putting down, I'm absolutely open to collaborations and to building together. So yeah, when I hit year three, in January of 2024, I'm definitely going to be rolling out a few more offerings. And then as far as traveling Yeah, I'll be in Europe for three months, I have a few keynote speaking gigs. And this is something that's all come up within the last year where like, you know, I've been able to speak at breakin convention in England and psychedelic science billed as the largest psychedelic gathering in history and have emcee duties, second, California psychedelic conference, et cetera, et cetera. And I'm super comfortable on stage. And that's something I've noticed that even people who have great, you know, PhDs and distinguished academic careers, maybe that's not their skill set as the public speaking, engaging. So as an example of what I'd like to do more of and what I've been getting invited to do, is to emcee to give give keynote speeches on stage. And oftentimes, this just happened, I'd like to do it more get paired with an academic who has a PhD who covers that ground, but admittedly, that person is not very good at public speaking. So I think that there's a real opportunity there, you know, to have the legitimate academic research side covered, and the satirist entertainer gesture, and it's worked really well. And I've gotten a lot of incredible feedback from people being like, yeah, you need to be at more conferences, because, I mean, we're talking about psychedelics, specifically here. And with mushrooms and psychedelics. Like I fell asleep during a talk on psilocybin at a conference because it was a talk about graphs and numbers and charts. And it was like 2pm after everyone's been out partying, and everyone I've talked to, including a lot of stakeholders at major companies in the space have been like, yeah, like there's needs to be more of a Merry Prankster energy like you look at psychedelics and like there's this trickster and Merry Prankster energy and what a disservice to everyone if we're completely strip mining them of That and presenting them as numbers and data. Now at the same time, that stuff I think is really important. It just needs to be part of the package. It can't be the predominant focus. We can't have a bunch of, you know, Michael Pollan doppelgangers which I have seen coming in, you know, Italian silk suits and talking about q3 projection numbers or whatever. Like, that doesn't map super well, on to psychedelics, you know, it definitely has its place. In my opinion. I'm not like an anti corporate sort of anti industry type. But I am into having a more comprehensive, accurate picture. And at the end of the day, like I figured out that humor is its own form of therapy. And just as a quick way to wrap this up, Dr. Julie Holland is one of the most respected figures in the space. And her husband, Jeremy, I believe is his name. They were contemporaries of Terence McKenna. They've known everyone, he came up to me in Austin at a barbecue and just talked my ear off about like, how valuable humor is in this space, and how like when you make someone laugh, they're bubbling up a lot of repressed energies and things that are coming from really deep parts. And you know, hearing it from someone who's part of sort of like a really medical established, you know, respected couple, or person in the space those things give me the breath that I need to continue and sort of be like, okay, you know, people people are into what I'm doing. Let me figure out how to be even weirder. And that's the last bit that's the the hill that I'll die on is that like, psychedelics are weird if we try to strip them of their weirdness, and make them this sterile, sanitized clinical version. I think we missed the boat in a big way.
Absolutely. So where can people follow your journey wherever you are in the world and laugh their ass off at your videos.
Speaker 3 56:41
Totally just Google myco printer NYC o p r e n EUR a lot of people call it micro printer. And that's not it. And I just don't want to correct them. But myco printer, I'm pretty active on Instagram. I'm active on Twitter. Now. LinkedIn, tick tock all the social medias. It's a thing that takes a lot of time. But I really love reaching an audience and connecting with people I answer every DM, you know, I'm super amenable to collaborations because this is what I want to do. Like this is what people call my eka guy is having a media business talking about psychedelics and platforming and building with other people who are interested in doing it. And also people not just focused on the bottom line. You know, that's the other bit I mentioned. It's like, I think making money is great. I like nice things. But like, there's got to be more to the story. There's got to be something more driving it. So like if any of this resonates with anybody who's listening, happy to work with you. And I'm also not a No at all. So like I'm super into if someone wants to come on and educate me something you know about something like, please get get a hold of me just Google myco printer, find me on Instagram, send me a DM, you can email me at myco email@example.com. And thanks a lot Alex. I really appreciate the invite here, man. And it's a huge honor to be here and I'm I'm tickled.
Well, it's it's amazing to do it on your couch in San Cristobal. And yeah, that's a wrap. We gotta get back to having fun here and going to the mushroom festival. And for people out there who've never been to Mexico. It's It has amazing biodiversity of mushrooms. So highly recommend coming. Food is amazing. Mushrooms are amazing. I mean, it's such a large country and so diverse in so many different ways. So if you've never come here to Mexico, and you want to experience it, highly recommend it. And thank you for everybody, no matter where you are on the planet. I know he got listeners worldwide. So thank you for tuning in and tuning in to another episode. We don't have a Patreon or any way that you can donate directly to the show. But we do have a website, mushroom revival.com We have a bunch of mushroom products from gummies to capsules, tinctures powders, so check that out if you want to get something for your yourself or a friend and family. If you don't want to pay anything, we have a giveaway going on, which is the there's a link in the bio we also have a bunch of free educational content there we have blogs, free ebooks that you can download on the site, and so much more. And if you want to leave a review that would go a long, long way or just tell a friend something you learned during this episode or another episode or just any fun fact that you have on mushrooms to tell friend family member weird random person that you meet on the street to get them into the world of mushrooms and keep this mycelial web growing. And listen to more comedy laugh. And, as always much love and may the spores be with you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai