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Living Light [Sonic Bloom Interview] [AfroMonk.com Exclusive]

time June 30th by Clear Shadow authorTags: , , , , , , , ,

Discover Living Light

Sonic Bloom, the Unified Field, the place of Discovery. “Discovery” has been a key word for me within the past couple years, a place of the found into consciousness and open awareness, especially through music in the transformational festival lifestyle. Living Light was a recent discovery for me through a compilation called “Resonant Mind” released by MerkaBa Music in May. Living Light is the solo project of Psylab keyboardist Eartha Harris and she illuminates world beats with soothing dub electronic beats & melodies meant to lighten your mind, body, & spirit.  Prior to the 9th annual Sonic Bloom venture last weekend, I discovered that her soothing presence would be performing and so I sought to discover more upon her upbringing, and the story behind Living Light. After a stellar performance at the Hummingbird Stage on Saturday, we sat down for a chat about inspirations behind her music, past music projects, upcoming album releases, intuitive dreams and experiences guiding her way, and her overall intention in life, all whilst being surrounded by the breathtaking panoramic mountain views of South Park, Colorado – and thus, a very profound and powerful conversation formed.  Shout out to Lovemore Creations for a beautiful moment of life that was captured through photography.

•How long have you been producing music and was there a certain event(s) in your life that inspired wanting to become a music producer?

Well, music and I go way back – haha!… Apparently when I was one years old I often would wake up my parents singing! As I grew older, playing music was always my top fascination. I was lucky to have very supportive parents that were always able to provide me with musical outlets. It started out with a little Organ that I played through my toddler years, then a Commodore 64 in elementary school with a music program on it, and then I graduated up to portable Yamaha synthesizers through my elementary and teens years, eventually with built-in sequencers that I wrote my first full pieces on!

But when I was in college is when I first started learning music production on computer. My first electronic project that I was involved in, which I was a part of for about a year, is a group called The Machine of the Garden and it was the first time I was actually involved a real professional electronic act. Then, from 1998-2006, I had a solo project called Project Sphere, all of which was self-produced. The music is somewhat similar to what I produce now under Living Light but with my own added vocals. That said,  I wasn’t really a part of a sub culture that was ready for that sound back then, so around 2007 I joined up with a band named Psylab, and I actually stepped away from production and dove into 100% live-keyboard playing. I’d often play 4-5 keyboards live at any given show. It was a wild ride!

•What kind of genre is Psylab?

All electronic, but also all live, and we’d play multiple genres. Some called us “livetronica”, but we were often categorized with jam bands since we did a lot of modal improv stuff even though we were electronic dance music.  We played everything from dub to house to psytrance to drum & bass. We honestly felt we could experiment with any genre since we were playing it all live. So that was an amazing experience, but it was definitely like going through a touring boot camp though. It was grueling to be on the road all of the time with all of our massive amount of live gear that we needed in order to perform.

Performing as Psylab Keyboardist

When did Living Light come to Light, what’s the story behind it? ( Continuation ) 

It was actually born on December 21, 2012. I was fortunate enough to have a friend of mine who is a Biophoton Therapist (which is a very cool healing modality) lead a ceremony that weekend at our house in Boston, and I remember seeing this viral video of a Mayan Elder Speaks on 2012 and he said that between December the 20th and 22nd:

“You’ll have one idea, and that idea is your life’s calling, write it down right away because it could be fleeting, but when you have it, you’ll know it…”

And so while I was in this ceremony I had this vision of our sun cresting on the Earth’s horizon, and our whole galaxy cresting on the edge of a giant wave in space-time, and all matter and space connected through frequency, and all existence coming from star-stuff, from light. I then began talking with my friend about Bio-Photon Therapy, and at that moment she mentioned that it translated to “Living Light”.
I then jokingly said…

“That would be such a great band name!”

…and that’s when I realized that was the personal vision. And the more I thought about the meaning behind the name, the more it made sense to me – light as in photons, and light as opposed to heaviness. I had an insane desire to travel the world with my music, but I needed to lighten my load in order to do so. I couldn’t get past the East Coast with the full band since we had so much gear – and it was nearly impossible to afford to fly out to festivals.  I realized those multiple meanings behind the name in that instant, and that I could live lightly by starting up this side project – putting a whole band on my back! And that’s when I decided to take this break to go back to music production.

And there’s more meanings – like living non-materialistically and environmentally responsibly – living lightly upon the Earth. We are technically all living light – we come from stars, ancient sunlight, and now finally our culture is working in earnest towards using environmentally responsible renewable resources.

There’s also even a mind set of living lightly. I was very bogged down into the western fear mentality behind news and politics for a long time. We have an almost cultural obsession with the negative. Then I went away to southern India, where technically things are also dangerous, but there is also a colorful playfulness that permeates, and there isn’t this nonstop fear propaganda that you see in the western world everywhere. But then I came back home to Boston just a few days after Boston Marathon Bombing tragedy, and I was greeted with intense terrorist propaganda everywhere – from billboards to infomercials on wide screen TVs all asking if I was “ready for a terrorist attack?”. The contrast was striking, and I quickly came to realize there was no greater fear than fear itself.

So all of these are meanings that are open for interpretation for each listener, and all of these are influences behind the sounds of the first album “Ecliptic Visions” -  subtle messages I like to hint at through the music, through tones, textures, and samples of people you’ll hear in the tracks.

•Musically speaking, which artist(s) have been an inspiration to you?

One of my main inspirations is this obscure group called the Saafi Brothers. I first heard them in 1999. They have this beautiful dub groove that when you listened to it, no matter what mood you were originally in, you just started to feel so at peace. They incorporate such uplifting frequencies. They are definitely one of my main musical inspirations and have been for the last 15 years or so. It was only recently that I discovered the other light-minded & inspirational frequencies such as OTT, Bluetech, Kalya Scintilla, and Desert Dwellers.

Living Light

•Your track “Perihelion” was just featured on “Resonant Mind” by Yaygons’ “Merkaba Music”, how does it feel to be featured on such a forth-moving conscious music label?

So blessed. I mean, between Yaygon and Desert Dwellers. Desert Dwellers actually found me at my second Living Light show and they signed me on the spot. They’re my main label, Desert Trax, and they’re such lovely people to work with.

It’s all a wonderful family that I give thanks every day to now be connected with. Everyone knows each other and works together so symbiotically and peacefully.

•What festival did that happen at? When the Desert Dwellers signed you?

PEX Summer Festival 2013, The Philadelphia Experiment in Maryland. I still have my wrist band on because that was a moment that changed my music career.  I had an intensely vivid dream the night before where I was talking with two of my favorite musicians about how I really wanted to travel with my music, and well, long story short, they said,

” Find a festival we are both playing at and we’ll show you the way…”
I then suddenly woke up, immediately opened my laptop, and at the top of my Facebook news feed was the PEX Summer Festival lineup and  – boom! Both artists were listed right there as headliners. I do a lot of dream work, so I immediately thought to myself, “I’m supposed to go to this.” I immediately bought a ticket, and a camp invited me to play a couple of unscheduled Living Light sets at a chillout dome. Treavor Moontribe and Amani Friend from Desert Dwellers were at one of those sets, and after I finished, they offered to release my music on their label, Desert Trax. I had been a fan of their music for years, but this was my first time meeting them, so needless to say I was pretty honored!

They’ve been a great support team in getting my music and name out and plugging me in with other light-minded individuals within the US festival circuit. In all my years as a musician, this is the fastest any project of mine has taken flight, and I would not be where I am today without these 2 beloved brothers and this whole beautiful sonic soul family.

Me: “So this was only a year ago?
LL: “Yeah, yeah!”

Aside your track, what other artists did you dig on that compilation, was there a new discovery?

Yes, all of them are great, but a new pleasant surprise was Mr. Squatch. I just discovered him on this comp and absolutely love his work!

If you could live anywhere in the states, or world, where would it be?

Well, I’ve been in Massachusetts my whole life and knowing I’ve lived in Boston for 18 years, I decided that this Spring I wasn’t going to do a 19th Winter in Boston [chuckles]. So, I am actually currently checking out areas. I recently stayed for a week in Santa Cruz right before playing at Enchanted Forest. Santa Cruz is pretty lovely, so right now that’s looking like my next destination. But [looks around] Colorado is really beautiful too! and Asheville, NC also has a really great vibe to it. So I am definitely spreading my wings. Relocation is on the horizon!

__________________________

Living Light is on the right track of discovery as she is building momentum in the conscious and transformational lifestyle, she’s ultimately found her life purpose, a light of inner calling. This certified Yogi has new projects in store, so make sure you keep your eyes pealed for this one as her magical and transcendent vibes will embark a transformation within you! The newest release will be coming out this September, a remix album of her current full length “Ecliptic Visions” called “Ecliptic ReVisions” and will feature remixes of her tracks by predominant and forth-moving psydub, tribal, and sacred bass master minds: Kaminanda, Bluetech, Suduaya, Skytree, Smokesign, Erothyme, Supersillyus, Icaro, Heiss, Pr∆na, Om Frequency, Subcreature, and more.  The next Living Light full length album “Tales from the Karman Line” is already in the works with a projected release date of Winter 2015.  Step out of your shadow and let the living light clear your being and align your chakras. Take a moment to escape and return to your spirit origin of light and let the universe’s synchronicities flash back and forth through light triggers of imaginable twists and deep-rooted intuitions composed of dub frequencies.

•Other recent appearances have included tracks on Heiss’s “Awaken(D)” remix album, and an upcoming Desert Dwellers remix EP•

Living Light -Perihelion [MerKaba Music]

Living Light – ‘Ecliptic Visions’ Preview [Desert Trax]

Living Light – First Light  [Ecliptic Visions]

Category: Afro Monk Exclusives, Downloads, Downtempo, Interviews, Mid Tempo, Music, News, Reviews, Uncategorized | commie No Comments »

Interview with the Founder of Euphoria Music & Camping Festival

time April 16th by Clear Shadow authorTags: ,

Euphoria Music and Camping Festival 2014 is back for its third year with a whole new transformed look and fresh new feel that was made possible by the collaboration of creative and forth moving mindsets, and it’s less than two weeks away, so get your passes if you haven’t already! I sat down with Mitch Morales, the founder of Euphoria, at Cenote, a restaurant off of East 6th here in Austin, TX and we talked about the creation of Euphoria, their expectations, their stellar diverse music lineup, and the new features for this year’s event such as camping, yoga, workshops, and art/installations! Mitch had some very interesting things to say, check it out:

What was your initial inspiration to create a festival three years ago?

It all started with going to a bunch of festivals the summer of 2011, all different kinds – EDC, Outside Lands, Electric Forest, and Art Outside which extended to the Fall of 2011, and really falling in love with the community, the crowd, and the experience of it. That feeling of going into a festival for a couple of days and somewhere along the way losing yourself and being able to find something there that you aren’t able to experience in a three or four hour concert. I feel that within the first two hours of a concert people are worried about getting drinks, finding their friends, and then the next thing you know the headliner comes on, and it’s all about the headliner, and then it’s over. So yes, just falling in love with the idea of creating an experience for people.

We initially thought it was going to be an easy thing to just, well, to create a festival, we had no experience in booking music, no experience on the actual stage production, we had nothing. I mean, I had like some basic marketing experience with ads and had a decent handle on social media, but, from besides that, nothing. We took the next six months and tried to figured it out and when day one of Euphoria’s first year in April 2012 came around… it was definitely a real eye opener….we realized it wasn’t going to be that easy – we had a lot to work on. I’ve always really wanted a challenge that I was passionate about and I think this was it. Fast forward to now and we’ve assembled a solid crew and we’re looking really good for two days, the venue is awesome, probably, I don’t know, maybe close to double the amount people from last year, which was about 3,000 per day…we added camping, which is probably the biggest addition that I am happiest about – being able to provide that experience for people so that they can show up Friday morning and not leave the experience until Sunday.

Why did you choose to name it Euphoria?

At the time we were trying to come up with a name, we had made a short list, but a lot of the names that we thought about were already taken. Really tried to keep it simple, but wanted to give it a powerful, uplifting vibe. I mean, it is the place where you’re “Happy” right? It can obviously have some interesting connotations, you know, a lot of things do, but we are trying to transcend away from those connotations and ultimately just want people to experience a euphoric state through the music and culture at Euphoria; we want to create a space where you can escape from the real world for a couple days and find your happiness.

So, you did mention camping earlier, what are other new features are included at this year’s Euphoria?

On top of camping, being back close to Austin was really big for us…also finding Carson Creek Ranch, which is an amazing venue on the banks of the Colorado River – you can see downtown, the skyline from the property, it’s surreal. See, we want everyone to camp, but we know that’s not everyone’s thing, so being close is key. We want people to be able to easily get there and it also adds to the safety of things because we can offer free shuttles from downtown through Bus to Show.  Also, just the time of the happenings this year, the doors are open at 12pm and go into 2am each night, and it allows us to put in a lot of additional programming in, and not just music but also art, performance, and bringing in art installations from, one being “The Fractoid” all the way from California which is really cool, so yeah, just basically developing the full festival experience versus last year, which was more of like a glorified two day concert.

One huge difference I noticed about this years Euphoria is the musical lineup and it’s diversity to its previous yeas.  Tell me a little about that and what triggered that change.

Well, I’ve always had a very wide musical taste…growing up in Texas I was more into Texas Country and Houston Rap, and my dad always had me listen to a lot of music from the 70’s such as The Eagles….a super wide variety. I also moved to and lived in Australia for a year and it was almost never impossible to not be exposed to house music, which is really big there, it’s still really big there, everywhere around the world. It was then that I fell in love with electronic music like trance and house, definitely European styles. So still at the time, I was way more into that genre of electronic music and it got a little tricky when it came to bookings acts knowing we didn’t have any experience with it… agents would throw all kinds of everything at us. I always wanted to have Jamtronica flavors in there too…we booked artists such as Archnemisis and Zoogma in 2012, and we had a stage dedicated to non-Euro styles with artists such as Supervision and Govinda, so it’s not like this years lineup just came out of nowhere, we have slowly been diversifying the music lineup as we continue to build Euphoria. And last year, we tried to keep the diversity going stronger but due to space limit at White Water Amphitheater more acts were limited, but we added artists such as Eoto, The Polish Ambassador, Conspirator, and Michal Menert.

Austin’s live music scene has really flourished this year…we felt the need to bring that vibe even stronger so we partnered up with Having a Ball Productions in Houston, and Kevin Woods with Inside Out Presents in Austin, TX to re-create and twist the feel of Euphoria for its third year. They were already entrenched in that scene and had buy-in through The Parish and through some other venues here in Austin, and it was through that and belief and trust that made everything come together, which really made me feel comfortable. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard because some people mention they only recognize half of those names on the lineup and, you know, if that’s what people want then that’s fine but for me, music festivals should be 50% of seeing the artists you really want to see and 50% of discovering artists that you didn’t even know existed but are going to fall in love with. I hope that people that aren’t too much into EDM are going to really dig Simon Patterson and others that are used to EDM will discover Beats Antique and be completely mind blown! That allows them to look them up after the festival and discover other acts that are similar to Beats Antique… it’s all about discovery and potentially finding your nitch you never really knew existed.

Which artists are you most excited about seeing live the end of the month?

It has got to be somebody I haven’t seen before…I’ve seen the majority of the bigger acts, but I think somewhere between The Floozies, Koan Sound, Simon Patterson, and Boombox. Well, the artist that I listen to the most is Simon Patterson, he has a lot of different styles that he can bust out at any given time, a very versatile artist. When we were booking the talent, a lot of people seemed worried about the lineup’s diversity, but that shouldn’t be the case. Something I am very interested to see is how all of the different genres, and the fans of those genres kind of co-exist. I mean, one doesn’t leave the stage right away, you know, so seeing that flow of people discovering different styles of music — just giving the audience the opportunity to discover something that’s not Mainstream EDM– there’s a ton of amazing music out there waiting to be discovered.

What kind of impact do you want to leave on people after the festival? Is there some sort of message you want to spread?

As far as a message, I think it’s about acceptance, I think that the “scene” has become so fractured. Being able to be open to new experiences and music – if it’s good music, it’s good music , if it makes you dance, it makes you dance – that’s all that should matter, and I hope this is a stepping stone for Austin to start bringing some of those fashions back together. Who cares if it’s one way or the other, or if it’s this type of person generally at a show versus another, that shouldn’t matter. People should be smart to understand that you just don’t have to like one thing, and, on that same note, I hope that just doesn’t stick to the music. There are things that are associated with…like, I don’t want to go as far as to say that we are a transformational festival, yet, but that’s the direction we aspire to be. It’s one of the reasons we are bringing the workshops, the music, the yoga, and the art all together in one place. I think it’s important to be able to give people exposure to a new environment that they didn’t even know existed…especially people coming from small towns. I grew up outside of Austin, and the world was very small to me, and traveling and living in a different country for a long time gave me the awareness of other things being out there. I don’t know if everyone else will get the chance to travel and live in a different country, but if that’s what you want to do, then do it. Giving people a global music movement perspective can definitely start opening doors. The goal is just really being part of the movement, having a positive impact, and I think we can help with that.

Category: Interviews, Music, Uncategorized | commie No Comments »

Bluetech Interview: LIVE at Art Outside 2013

time December 19th by Clear Shadow authorTags: , ,

 During my time at Art Outside, I had the pleasure of sitting in with Bluetech, a psybient producer who creates a varied selection of downtempo/ambient music using digital synthesizers and software production. Evan Bartholomew’s passion for music and tropical plants is unreal. He talks about what inspires him on a daily basis, giving back to the community, and his view/opinion in regards to what he thinks is key in today’s highly competitive music production/styles.

“…every morning I go out and I go check, with my cup of tea, and see what’s got new leaves on it- that totally inspires me to go in the studio.”

 “… and it’s not even a particular style, it’s music that has soul and you can hear it right away whatever the genre is.”

 “…you know, if music is about community, and about life, and about love, and about creating energy, then it should also give back and feed something other than just me and my own ego…”

“…the only way to win at the quote on quote, “game”, is to not play the game… to focus on being the best you can possibly be with your own individual voice; to speak the things that are in your own heart; to strive for the goals that you set for yourself, and respond to the things that move you…”

Category: Interviews, Music, Uncategorized | commie No Comments »

ProJect Aspect | Automagically | Interview

time October 3rd by Taradactyl authorTags: , , ,

ProJect Aspect, CO producer, DJ, and co-founder of the legendary Mile High Sound Movement, has been absolutely killing it lately! His new full-length album, Automagically, comes out on October 6th…. and you’re in for a treat. Throughout Automagically listeners will revel in the upbeat vibes that he thoughtfully lays out. Each song perfectly different from the last, the album takes you on a pleasant roller coaster ride through Jay’s spirit. It encompasses so many different rad elements, making for a diverse and absolute album. One minute you’ll be listening to a soulful track with gorgeous piano notes, and the next you’ll hear one with beautiful world music-like components. Then after that, a wubby and percussive piece. I also love the contributions that his homie Kruza Kid makes throughout the album; they are quite the dynamic duo. The track entitled “Mouth and a Half” pretty much made my day when I listened through. He also included “Pura Vida” which always makes me feel like I am sippin on a ice cold beer on the beach in Costa Rica; one of my favorites of his.

I can’t really illustrate how much I dig ProJect Aspect’s signature sound that fuses lazer bass with beautiful harmony. His music gives me an indescribable rush of emotion. It’s seriously really difficult not to move when I am listening to his music! This guy has obviously got a knack for creating frequencies that lift you into a state of bliss. He has an excellent sense of rhythm and an amazing ear for melody. He definitely brings that all to the table during his brilliant live performances, which is a blessing to us all! The guy knows how to get a crowd moving, there’s no doubt about that.

Did I mention how genuine of a guy Jay is? I had the pleasure of seeing and chilling with ProJect Aspect (and his girlfriend Ashley most of those times as well, who is one of the raddest chicks I know) a few times this summer, and he was great to be around every time. I look forward to seeing them again which will be soon, I’m sure! I got to ask Jay some questions about music, life, and more… see what the mastermind has to say!

1. You have been out to California/Nevada a few times in the past couple of weeks, and you were also on the bill for various music festivals this summer. Is it awesome to get out of CO where you get to experience new places and faces? Must feel pretty good J!

Jay: Yes, it feels amazing to get out to different states and communities, every experience is truly unique and special. I make music to express myself, it speaks for me, so I feel blessed when I can share that with new people in person.

2. What do you enjoy most about mixing live? You seem to love every second as much as the next… at least according to your epic bass face!

Jay:  The thing I like most about performing live is the potential of limitless possibilities. When I play live, i walk up to my set completely unplanned. I usually don’t even know what song to start out with until I’m ready to go. I use Ableton live and I have roughly 100 original tracks in front of me at my disposal. Anything could happen. I love being interactive with my music, I love playing live just as much if not more than creating the music, but the combination of creating and performing is magical.

3.What’s your most memorable experience regarding music? Can you describe it to us a bit?

Jay: My most memorable experience regarding music would have to be my first time seeing a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. This venue/Park has been very special to me in my life. Going rock climbing and hiking as a kid, this legendary spot holds a dear place in my heart. In 2005 I saw my first Red Rocks concert. The music consisted of; The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphreys McGee, Keller Williams, Micheal Franti, and New Monsoon. This 2-day event was truly life changing and eye opening for me. I looked at music in a different light.

4. I know that you have a lot of genuine love for your fans. Multiple people I know have been impressed by your shining personality and humble demeanor. What do you have to say about musicians who become egotistical?

Jay: I really have no place to talk about other musicians personalities, everyone is different and handles situations in their own manner. Most musicians I meet are very good to their fans and personally I look at my ‘fans’ as friends because I feel like i only gain friends, not fans.

5. Who in your mind is leading the scene from a production standpoint versus from a live performance standpoint? Who are your favorite producers at the moment?

Jay: There is SO MUCH good music out there it’s difficult to say who my favorite producers are. I would have to say my favorites are my friends, The Mile High Sound Movement. Other than that I would have to say Tipper is a boss and will always run the game.

6. Any other inspirations in general?

Jay: Other influences musically are Umphreys McGee, String Cheese Incident, Phish, and STS9. In general my family is my biggest inspiration. I am surrounded with so many beautiful, talented people, I am constantly inspired every day.

7. How has everything been so far with 1320 Records? What a great thing to be a part of!

Jay: Being with 1320 is a dream come true. I have looked up to STS9 for as long as I can remember and it is an absolute honor to be a part of their family. Honestly it is still a bit surreal and will probably remain that way for a while. I am just very grateful to be on a label with so many great artists.

8. You have an album titled Automagically coming out on October 6th… what inspired you in the making of this album?

Jay: This new album is a collection of music I have written in the past year. Everyone I have met, every piece of visual art I have seen, every sound I have heard, and every experience in this past year has been my inspiration for writing this album. It captures the beauty I am surrounded by every day.

9. Who are your go-to mastering engineers, if any?

Jay: I do everything myself, from start to finish. It may not be the most professional approach, but it works for my style and it fits my live sound.

10. What are the top 5 plugins / VSTs / synths that you use and/or recommend?

Jay: I use a ton of VSTs, I’d have to say my favorites are Massive, and FM8. I use Maschine for my drums.

11. I had a great time seeing Unlimited Aspect live… do you think that you and Ronnie (Unlimited Gravity) will continue to collaborate?

Jay: Unlimited Aspect is an indefinite project. We are just scratching the surface with our writing and collabing. We are practicing a new live set feat. guitar, Vocals, Keys, and other live instrumentation. Ronnie and myself are only beginning our UA journey. Stay tuned for our debut album to be released early next year.

12. Can we expect any collaborations with anyone else from the Mile High Sound Movement crew?

Jay: I’m always collaborating with Kruza Kid(The other founding member of MHSM), you can definitely expect to see more collabs with other artists as well.

13. You helped found the MHSM. Is it still going strong in CO? I have been seeing you guys pop up on a lot of Denver bills, as well as ones outside of the state.

Jay: MHSM is still going strong, we are helping with the 10/6 show at Cervantes with myself, Mochipet, Thriftworks, and Kitty D. We are trying to expand and hope to start up a MHSM tour soon!

14. It seems like your amazing girlfriend Ashley gets the pleasure of traveling to a lot of events with you. Does her presence at a performance push you extra hard to crush it?

Jay: I am so grateful to have my girlfriend by my side. She inspired me to stay grounded and creative. She hears my music more than anyone so it is important to me to keep my music and live sets interesting. It is amazing that she is able to travel with me, it definitely helps me feel comfortable in new places.

15. And lastly, a completely unrelated but important question… what are you going to dress up as for Halloween? I know your fans are dying to know.

Jay: I honestly haven’t had a chance to think about my Halloween costume. Always been my favorite holiday so we’ll see what i come up with. I’ll be playing with MartyParty on the Saturday before Halloween in Boulder, that should get pretty freaky!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME JAY! Looking forward to the release of Automagically on October 6th!

~Taradactyl~

Category: Dubstep, Glitch Hop, Interviews, Mid Tempo, Music, Reviews | commie No Comments »

Sugarpill Interview | Space Foray

time August 17th by Taradactyl authorTags: , , , ,

Get ready to be taken to a new dimension, because that’s what you’ll experience in listening to Sugarpill’s new album, Space Foray on Muti Music. It’s well thought-out, beautiful, and vibrant. I love the bounciness of BlipSquip. Then there’s the unique-sounding Space Foray, which I have a very hard time sitting still while listening to. I can honestly say that there isn’t a track on the release that I dislike, which is a rarity. Having been a fan of Sugarpill for years, I thoroughly enjoy listening through this album. Also be sure to check out his track “Bring It Back” on the new Gruntworthy We Are the Future Volume II; it is for sure one of my favorites from the whopping 74-track compilation. I can hear his unrelenting improvement through time; he is definitely on top of his game right now! You can see this in both this release and his unparalleled stage presence while playing live this summer. Poppin’ champagne bottles and choosing just the right tracks for the crowd at the right times, Sugarpill was a pleasure to see a few times over the summer…. highly recommended. Kids were raging and getting down like no other at his live shows; exactly how it should be! Seeing much of the Headtron crew up on stage with him at Lightning in a Bottle was pretty awesome.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sugarpill, and he had some interesting things to say. Check it out:

1. Your latest album, Space Foray, comes out on August 16th. What inspired you in the making of this release, and how does it compare to your past releases?

SP: This album is kind of a culmination of a bunch of things that I’ve been trying to bring together in a single release for a while now. I have been really stoked on the idea of putting out a release that crosses a lot of ground all the way through. I write a lot when I’m traveling as well as at home in the studio and each of the songs on the album come from a different part of me because they were all written in different places in the space and time of my life. I wanted this album to have a lot of variation so I chose this collection of songs because they touch different musical elements in terms of tempo, melody, harmony, and sound palate, but at the same time they still connect in this way this is like a single journey to some far corner of space. My ultimate goal in putting this release together was to do it in a way that when I listen to it, I couldn’t tell whether I was on some inner journey in my mind or on a completely external journey somewhere in space. Trying to get a single expression to do both of those things is something that I’m working try to embody in my music all the time.

2. Do you have any other deep-seeded passions aside from music and all that revolves around it?

SP: I’m really into life and learning, but without getting super long-winded, I’ll just say that they pretty much stem from that.

3. You are a master of Ableton and have educated many on the program. What motivated to help others gain skill at your craft?

SP: I learn a lot from teaching. Helping other people understand things forces me to think about them in new and different ways that I would probably never arrive at without that external stimulus.

4. I’d love to hear more about your mastering process, as many have attested to your talent, and my ears most certainly agree. What outboard gear do you use, if any?

SP: I don’t use outboard gear… which is a bummer, but I’m working on upping my game in that department right now. Right now I choose software that has really good analog modeling.

5. What plugs and techniques would you recommend to others who want to master their own music?

SP: I’d recommend that anyone looking to get into it read the ozone manual, it covers all the basics and gives you a single piece of software to learn and practice on.

6. You played at a handful of shows and festivals this summer… from Cervantes to Emissions to LIB to 5 Points. What was your favorite DJ experience this summer, and why?

SP: Picking a favorite is impossible. I kind of live a constant forward motion mindset, so it’s really tough for me to isolate a single favorite. All I can say is that I’m continuously blown away by the places I got and the people I meet.

7. Do you like to change it up quite a bit, depending on what sort of crowd you’re playing to? Or do you find that sticking to your signature sound is what you prefer, for the most part?

SP: I play pretty much 100% original sets these days. So I try to write a variety of different sounds and vibes into my songs so I can play to different different sets at different times. I think all my songs probably have a sound that’s sounds like me, but I definitely have to keep it varied so I don’t get bored with myself.

8. The Headtron crew seems like an awesome group to be a part of. Would you say that this has been a support group conducive to your growth as an artist, as opposed to being on your own?

SP: Have something like the Headtron crew has definitely contributed to my growth as an artist. We’ve got kind of a song club where we can all share ideas and honest critiques. On the non-music side, we’re all pretty close as friends so being able to cross the country and have homies in most of the places is really dope.

9. On that note, may I also ask about the origins of the lesser known Steaktribe?

SP: Steaktribe is just what we call grilling and not using utensils. Im not even sure what it’s become other than that, I’m just pretty passionate about making food with my friends and I guess I can get pretty stoked about it.

10. Can you tell us anything more about your collaboration with Gladkill? I’m pretty sure people are eager to know what you guys have in the works!

SP: We’ve been talking about making music for a while and we made a track a while back when I was in sf for a show. We actually got the chance to get in the studio for a few days after 5 points. I think our sounds work really well together because they’re already kind of similar in some ways so when we get together we can really expand on the sound because it’s like getting to work double time. We both come from pretty similar music backgrounds and have a lot of the same tastes so we’re already on the same page in the way we think about the music. I should say that it might be a minute before we finish this release though because we are only working on it when we can physically be in the same studio together. I’m really excited about that fact actually because I think the email collabs have become so prevalent these days. The difference between collaborating on music when you can look at each other and talk is huge. It’s that type of shared experience that makes the output so much more human than the email/Facebook/Dropbox collabs where I think it feels like you’re playing a video game with someone who could just as well be a stranger you’ve never made eye contact with.

11. Have any collab name ideas been thrown around yet?

SP: Rigatoni Danza is the working code name. But seriously no, right now it’s just Gladkill and Sugarpill

12. And how about Swordfight, can we expect something from you and ChrisB. anytime soon, or is that more of a casual affair?

SP: There will be more swordfight. The lazer battle is ongoing.

13. Where did your signature comment, “(.Y.)” stem from, and do you actually say “that’s tits” or something of the nature in real life?

SP: One of my students was really into making ascii genitalia a while back. I mean like really into it… he thought it was one of the funniest things ever and at some point I noticed people saying “that’s tits”, so it started as a joke on that phrase.

14. How do you feel about the controversy over music leaks and illegal file sharing? Do you think this is a serious issue for growing artists, or should they focus their energy on other things?

SP: I think making music is the most important thing, and I think artists should focus their energy on making music that they really want to hear. I think music lovers can tell when something is good, and if there is a way for them to support that in order to keep the music happening, I think they will do that. And if no one pays for it at the end of the day and all along you’ve been making music you actually love, then your energy was well placed.

Thank you Sugarpill, we look forward to jamming to your beats come August 16th!

~Taradactyl~

Category: Artist Spotlight, Downloads, Interviews, Music, Reviews | commie No Comments »

Ali Berger | 110 Love EP

time December 4th by Mr Ed authorTags: , , , ,

Ali Berger is only a junior in college and already killing it.  His new Ep 110 Love which will be released on Dec 5th on Street Ritual Records has been on constant repeat this week as my motivation to move into my new home.  Resulting in a few unexpected dance parties!   This celebration of funk, delivers 4 sexy tracks with flavors of glitch hop and old school electrofunk!  If your looking for Rhodes synths, amospheric pads, classy wobbles, and a solid drumbeat to match there will be something here for your fancy!  I have yet to catch a live show, but from what I hear his live PA shows are a funky mixup of on-the-fly arrangements, remixes, and mashups.  With his sound starting to blow up hopefully I will be able to catch a show in the next year.  Until, then we can hear him on his frequent visits to Glitch FM where he rolls with the Lost In Bass crew from Boston

Here is what Ali had to say for himself after I chased him down this week!

How long you been producing?

I remember finishing my first few tracks (ones that I never released) in 2008, but  I had messed around before then. i really got serious in 2009.

DAW?

Ableton Live. I’ve been using it since 2006 when I was doing bad but fun electric bass live looping jams.

Whats your setup for production?

I have a Windows laptop with a some free VSTs I like and Ableton Suite 8. My main controller is a Novation 25SL mk2. I also have a bunch of hardware that I don’t use very often–a Korg EMX, an Akai S2000, a Roland VS-880, and a Roland Alpha Juno 1. I did do seven tracks over the summer using only that hardware (they’re at http://alibergermusic.com/hardwareweekly), and I’m probably going to go back to that workflow for another project some time.

Performance setup?

My laptop, the Korg EMX for live synths and sequencing, the 25SL for channel volumes, filters, and effects, and a monome 40h kit that I built, which I use for clip launching in Ableton. I wrote a script for it that makes it act like two 4×6 APC40-style grids. When I perform I play a live set, so all my tracks are in 4 stems and separated into different loops for the different sections of the song. I have two sets of four channels in Ableton, so I can have two of my tracks going at once, mix different parts from different tunes, apply effects, etc.

Play any other instruments?

I used to play electric bass. I can still groove on the bass, but now I mainly play piano–I’m taking jazz lessons for school, which is a lot of fun.

What inspires you to make this music?

Funk! Hearing anything that grooves makes me want to make tunes.

Favorite artists at the moment?

Lately I’ve been really into Addison Groove–he has a cool way of performing live and there are a lot of videos of him online. I’m also a huge fan of Space Dimension Controller. Eliot Lipp’s new album with Jasia 10 is great too; it was his Beamrider EP that really introduced me to this kind of music and he’s been killing it since then (and before then too).

Major influences?

When I started playing bass I was listening to Larry Graham, Parliament, Average White Band… all kinds of funk, basically. I’ve been looking for ’80s-ish synth-based stuff over the past 6 months, listening to a lot of Trouble Funk, Techmaster P.E.B., and The Time, to name a few artists. I also love Rhodes pianos. Anthony Smith, the keyboardist from my favorite band (Global Funk), used that sound a lot with that group and I use Rhodes sounds in pretty much every track. Global Funk is easily the #1 influence. At the end of high school I spent 2 months listening to just the first hour of ONE of their live shows. As in I barely listened to any other music. Positivity, groove, and most importantly honesty really drew me to Global Funk and I try to put all of that into my music.

Best moment of last year?

Probably opening for Eliot Lipp in Boston. I was just going to see him play, but then when I got there the promoter said their first opener cancelled and asked if I wanted to play. I was all over it.

Your favorite track at the moment to get the crowd moving?

Since I do the live set, it’s usually one of mine… right now it’s probably “Honey, I’m on acid”. (http://aliberger.bandcamp.com/album/honey-the-kids-are-on-acid)  It’s the first track where I really felt comfortable at 130bpm. When I play it live I have a 303-type acid bassline synth going and I get to go crazy with the filter/LFO stuff.

Tour plans/release plans for the next year?

I’m actually only a junior in college, so that takes up a lot of time, but I will be making a huge effort to get booked in CA somewhere (hopefully several places), and I have to play at least one festival. I have a couple in mind that are within reach. And I’ll be playing around Boston a lot, as I always do. As far as releases, I have at least one single I’m gonna finish soon, and I really want to do a full-length concept album. I need to have a solid plan for the album and I think I’m getting close. It will involve outer space and some kind of psychological journey, I can promise that much.

What are your plans for nye?

Chilling with friends in NJ!

What are your tricks for getting creativity juices flowing?

If I don’t have ideas, I try not to force myself to work on tunes. Whenever I do that I make bad music. Sometimes I stand or dance around while I’m producing, to feel more live energy. I try and hear in my head what would make the track groove harder. Also, usually I start a track with a musical idea (like a bassline or a chord progression or a sound, beat, whatever) and try to go as far as I can with that. Then when I run out of ideas I need something non-musical to direct where the track’s gonna go. A story, or some idea of what the track is really about. Then that tells me what sounds or arrangement things I need to do to finish it.

Your From Boston,  Jersey originally  (same here)   How is the east coast bass scene?

I was actually really surprised when I came to Boston at how great the scene is here. It’s not really good for kids under 21, but I quickly figured out some ways around that. There are a bunch of weeklies that put on glitch hop/bass music/dubstep/live electronica: Music Ecology, The Drop, The Monday Mix, and Wobble Wednesdays. Music Ecology also just started a new night called Genesis, which I think is on first Saturdays. All the people running these nights are friendly and awesome. People come out and support, and there are a lot of nights in nearby cities too. The scene isn’t huge, so pretty much everybody who makes or plays electronic music knows everybody else who does. That makes it really easy to meet people. I love the scene out here, basically.

Anybody else you are working with?

No collaborations going on right now, but I have a lot of people I want to sit down with to work on tunes and some of them will happen this winter for sure. That’s all I wanna say right now :)

Im picturing big things for this young producer in future years and appreciate the time he took to answer some of my questions.  Go grab the EP on December 5th at Addictech!

Category: Glitch Hop, Interviews, Music, Reviews | commie No Comments »

Asa | Interview | Artist Spotlight

time April 12th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , , , , ,


Asa recently posted that he was looking for some blog support on an interview done over at the Greek Dubstepforum. I gave it a quick read and decided that I’d help him out. If you follow me on Facebook or some of my rants on this site I’m sure you’ll see why I agreed to this. It seems like the movement and attitude is spreading. Let’s not forget to mention genuinely being embraced by everyone with a free mind. This dude has a lot of passion behind what he says and isn’t afraid to speak his mind despite knowing it’s going against the ‘norm’. This is one of the reason I’m building a label right now. There aren’t enough outlets and places to get things like this pushed. That traditional dubstep sound is dying but that’s ok as long as it keeps evolving. The idea of 140bpm and heavy bass isn’t a formula to live by in dubstep. Hell if it was up to me forget about the bass lines and just fill it in with more melodic synth lines.

Here is the interview!

So who are you ?

My name is Asa, that is my birth name as well as my ‘alias’ or whatever you want to call it. I am a producer/songwriter from the UK, i am based in a small city on the south coast of the country, about half way between London and Bristol.

When did you started with producing and where does your style derive from?

I started ‘producing’ back in school, when i was about 15, i guess? but of course it was nothing serious, at the time my musical background was in choirs and i played piano – which has definitely contributed towards the way i write a lot of my music now. But in all honesty I’d say my production derives primarily from being sick and tired of hearing so many generic artists, i just wanted to hear something different. I make tunes for myself mostly, it’s like therapy, ya know? its personal and it’s intimate, well it’s intimate until it’s released anyway. then it’s the listeners property, which is the way it should be. For me, it just has to evoke an emotion in the listener, wherever that be on headphones in a dark room by themselves or it be on a huge sound system amongst thousands of other people – it’s got to induce some sort of emotional response. that’s the purpose of music, right? otherwise there is no point. In terms of dance music, I grew up listening to mostly garage, just a lot of 2-step and some dnb really, amongst a lot of other music of course. Bands like Sigur Ros & Incubus amongst plenty of others have as much influence on me as my contemporary ‘dubstep’ producers. But that is definitely where a lot of my rhythmic patterns stem from, for sure.  The Skippy 2-step drum patterns, i love them. I still find my garage collection to be the most varied and interesting music i have, obviously there is a lot of nostalgia involved with my relationship to the tunes, but garage did get killed off and recycled into dubstep and grime pretty much. That’s the way this music works, there is this continuum of bass music in the UK that just keeps churning out new ideas. hence why i get so frustrated with generic production traits – it’s the downfall of scene’s in the context of this music, you HAVE to do your own thing, and i think that principle is where my style derives from. I do my own thing.

What do you respond to the whole thing about dubstep and heavy bass. Is it just a trend?

Well it’s just the ridiculous amount of mid range lfo abuse i hear. I mean, i mostly only hear it when residents are playing that stuff before me at bookings. But don’t get me wrong, the producers I’m closest with like KOAN Sound, Statix & Culprate – they  make some of the hardest stuff around – but it’s so well executed, i get just as excited about a new Culprate tune as i do about a new Burial one, and that’s the way it should be i think. Good music is good music. But there definitely is a lot of poorly produced dubstep, i know that much. there is not enough space in the mix downs in most dubstep tunes now. No room for the sub frequencies to be the prominent focal point in the mix. Which was the only ‘rule’ in Dubstep in the first place, if you can even call it a rule. It had to be around 140bpm and have emphasis on sub bass, the rest was up to the producers individual creativity. That’s how it should be. Me and a few of my friends have all been writing music around 100bpm recently, after becoming somewhat disillusioned with what people think ‘dubstep’ is now, we have just reached a point where making music defined by one tempo just isn’t plausible. We don’t want to do that, as much as dubstep is and will continue to be the home for our music. There really has been a very notable divide in the scene over the last year or two; it’s clear to everyone involved on either side. A lot of people on one side hold a lot of animosity towards what is now commonly associated with the tag dubstep; as a result they are deliberately pushing further and further away from the cliché production techniques which is a positive creative drive for sure, but I for one am still more than happy for my music to be tagged as dubstep. I still think the best thing about the genre is its diversity, so if producers like me try and distance ourselves from dubstep, and then what hope does it have? Creating sub-genres is like pushing yourself into a corner, setting up more boundaries; it will only limit people’s creativity.

Your last release is ‘Sweeter Things EP” and let me tell you, we like it so much. whats next? are there unreleased or new tracks coming up?

Ahhh that’s awesome, i am glad you like the EP – i was a bit hesitant about it, i mean, it’s music i make for me and a few close friends to listen to and I know it’s not what most people are used to hearing. So it’s really good to know that some people have picked up on it and get the point of the tunes, that sort of thing is really cool. I really appreciate it whenever anyone tries to connect on a personal level and say that they like the tunes, that sort of thing really means the world to me. As for new releases myself & KOAN Sound just done a remix for Kito & Reija Lee’s EP on Mad Decent, which has been getting huge support and a great response recently which we are really happy with. Right now I have a whole bunch of remixes due for release – the list is so long i wouldn’t even know where to start. The same applies to collaborations, I’m still working with my core group of friends more than anyone, mostly KOAN Sound, but I’m now getting to work with some of my favorite artist’s, which is something i am really happy about. I apologize about being so vague and not mentioning artist’ names, but i have realized recently that it is good to keep such things under the radar until they are completely finished and on top of that I’m simply just not allowed to talk about things until certain dates etc. I write music all day, everyday. So there is no shortage of new music, it’s just an odd period for me and my friends at the moment – a lot of decisions being made with labels and all that kind of stuff, so a lot of our tunes are in a state of limbo at the moment.

Where do u see dubstep/step/future garage going? *just another trend like minimal techno

I really do not agree with the whole genre branding thing, as I’ve said. To me – ‘Future Garage’ is one of the most ridiculous tags i have ever come across. I could sit here for hours and moan about why i disagree with it, but it’s not worth it. i just don’t agree with it. It’s dubstep, don’t call it anything else. there is something in it for everyone – that has been the whole point of this music from day one, it was the main principle that attracted me to it, ya know? The scene is thriving, regardless. There is so much good music consistently being put out. that’s all that counts – it is not a ‘fad’ or ‘trend’. its just another part of this constantly evolving bass music continuum that we are so lucky to have in the UK. Creativity is thriving, the underground really is glowing…

What u know about Greek Dubstep in Greece in general and if u have any thoughts to play here?

I have a dear friend of mine who guys by the name of ‘Skru’, he goes by other alias’s also, but he is a great soul and has so much passion for the music. He has always supported my stuff since i started, but other than that i know very little about the scene in Greece. I hear about events occasionally from my friend, but that is about it. it is obviously a place i would love to come and play, meeting people and traveling is one of the best things about music – it is what I am most thankful for out of all of it. I hope i am lucky enough to have a Greek promoter want to book me someday!

Tell us some of your favorite source for sounds. VST plugin’s , DWA’s, hardware…

I don’t like to talk about production methods so much, for a lot of reasons really… I think sharing knowledge about production and such things is one of the most important things, no doubt. But i prefer to do it on a one to one basis – I would happily teach or show anyone how i go about putting this sort of music together if they were willing to just sit there and learn. Making tunes brings people together, the people I value the most in my life are the ones I have met through music. the whole networking side of it so important. Production tutorials and things like that seem to be a bit too ‘paint by numbers’ for me, it cuts of that human experience of writing music. The fun and the vibe you can get from working on music with someone who approaches it in a completely different way is one of the most exciting things for me. Sitting around with KOAN Sound and just working on tunes have been some of the most beneficial moments of my life. Do you know what I mean? i will say this though – i record all my own foley sounds, i have my own production palette. Well, i hope i do anyway..

“I made this for you” , i have to admit that was my first ‘contact’ with ur music, its one of my fav mix’s and i have the question if the title and the hole mix is ‘personal’ to you. maybe a girl ?

Well, i really don’t know if i should talk about these things… but it’s ok i guess. i mean, I am personally invested in it all for so many reasons. But they are not going to be the same reasons for the listeners, if that makes sense? I really don’t want to come across as pretentious. I just like making tunes, that all. so yeah, Essentially, a lot of the music i have made in the past was as a result of a very messy, break up from a long term relationship –a lot of it is about telling stories for me. It’s like therapy, it really is. That situation is well in the past now of course. so in regards to the mix entitled ‘I Made This For You’, it is in relation to another person… the key is in one of the first track names, that is all i will say. she knows who she is and that is all that matters

5 tracks I am into at the moment

Ed Sheeran – The A Team (KOAN Sound Remix)

Culprate, Tekka& Sticky Disco – Finger

Earl Sweatshirt – Earl

Joy Orbison – Sicko Cell

Asa – Sweeter Things (eleven8 Remix)

Interview done by: dubstepforum.gr

Category: Artist Spotlight, Dubstep, Interviews, Music, News | commie 1 Comment »

Stephan Jacobs, Chris B, & Sugarpill | Interview

time February 11th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stephan Jacobs


As one of my favorite artists of 2010, Stephan Jacobs has churned out one addictive track after another over the past twelve months. With a decade of experience already under his belt, Stephan continues to sharpen his skills to deliver some of the most ear-catching glitch-hop tracks coming out of the West Coast right now. He just finished up some fresh magic with his remixes of SamplesDrop Bombs and +verb’s Cough (to be released Feb. 1 on Addictech via Muti Music) as well as a collaboration on Level Attack with Sugarpill and Naada (links at the bottom of this feature). Here Stephan talks a bit about his goals, reaching his creative peak and his ultimate message to fans.

TGD: Looking into the new year, what would you say your artistic goals are? Were there any particular turning points or notable moments in 2010 that helped to shape these goals?

SJ: Well, My primary goals are to keep making music and continue to refine my personal sound. I would also like to consistently release new music and travel more with my music. Basically continue to improve doing what I am doing.

2010 had some really good highlights; Playing at Coachella was a huge turning point for me. I was really happy when we made it to #1 on soundcloud’s “What’s Hot”  for my collaboration with +Verb – “Blind Dreams”; seeing that so many people were listening only pushed me harder and forced me to raise my standards for myself.

All in all 2010 has been a big year for me in all ways. My personal improvement and passion for music has never developed so rapidly as it did for me last year.

TGD: Along with the high demand for your music comes a huge amount of travel; how do you maintain your steady stream of new tracks? Would you say constantly meeting new people and seeing new places provides more inspiration, or more distraction?

SJ: Traveling in itself is so transitional. I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel with my music and bring it to different people in different places and see how they react to it first hand.  Of course, I love playing in my hometown but it feels nice to get out and play in a place where you don’t often play and maybe you’re taken less for granted.  I also think it’s great to get to visit a homie when you’re touring in their town and sometimes I even get to collaborate on a track with someone while I am away. Can traveling be distracting to me? Umm that depends on how much partying I do. LOL. Even if I have been gone a while I come back and it takes me time to get back in the swing of things.  I think most of the time traveling pays off more than its slows me down though.

TGD: What do you require to reach your creative peak? This can be a place, a time of day, a mindset, a person; absolutely anything.

SJ: I feel like music can effect me emotionally so much and when I am making music I feel like the sounds are influenced by my state of being too. Sometimes my creative peak can come out when I am extremely happy but it also comes in a completely different way when im sad.

Sometimes to improve my creative workflow I just need something as simple as a good walk, a cup of coffee and cigarette, or just to step away for a minute and come back to it later with a fresh mindset.

TGD: What is the ultimate message you are trying to send through your music? What aspects of your own personality do you think are reflected in your work?

SJ: I think any musician ultimately just wants people to relate their music to their own lives. It feels nice when each individual person responds to music in their own way and has their own individual experience of my music. In the same way it feels nice when musicians make music in their own style. Individuality is so important, otherwise it’s not as special when you create something unless it is your own. I love that one of my songs can relate to someone’s specific memory and as [a] musician in some weird way I get to be a part of that moment.

When I choose to do a remix, I choose a song that I like that relates to my personal experience of that song.  Then I want to accentuate that feeling in my own musical language.

TGD: Tell us a bit more about your collaborations with Chris B. and Sugarpill; how they came about and what effect each of you has had on the other’s artistic growth.

SJ: I think they are both strong individuals, they are my good friends and they both have very specific styles of there own. It’s nice working with them cuz it’s nice to blend those styles together and see what happens, the feeling of being in the studio and vibeing off each other is priceless.

My interview of Stephan is the final installment in a series of three features I’ve put together spotlighting him as well as Sugarpill and ChrisB (code-named the TRIPLE-THREAT TRIFECTA INTERVIEWS, or T.T.I. for short – scroll down to check those out).

For more from Stephan Jacobs, please visit his website,SoundCloud, Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • Download Level Attack (Stephan Jacobs & Sugarpill feat. Naada)
  • Download the Samples Drop Bombs remixes album, featuring two tracks with Stephan Jacobs

Chris B.

I’ve mentioned several times how 2010 was a big year for a lot of us, but perhaps none understand this as well as Chris B. A long-time guitarist, Chris grew uninspired by the limitations of the instrument and eventually discovered bass music and digital production. After buying his first computer a mere year and a half ago, Chris B. is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after performers on the West Coast.

TGD: You’ve told me a bit about your rapid evolution as an electronic artist; what were you doing musically before you started experimenting with Ableton? What are the biggest ways you’d say your life has changed over the past two years?

CB: Well I have been playing the guitar since I was 11 years old so about 10 years now. The first electronic music I was ever really exposed to was Sound Tribe Sector 9 back in 2004. They completely blew my mind because they fused live instrumentation with the electronic element which I had never even seen or even fathomed before. This was right before Artifact was released when those guys were on fire. Around 4 years ago I kinda started to fall away from playing guitar because I reached a peak in my playing and became sort of uninspired musically. When I was 17 I went to my first rave and that’s when I was really exposed to straight forward electronic music. Of course most of it was electro garbage but still marked a turning point of my musical taste. I had my hippie roots and the whole candy cane rave thing wasnt really doing it for me. Raves were more of a social experiment for me and I wasn’t really into the music. Not too much longer after this I became really good homies with my hairstylist Omri. It was kinda weird because he said that I reminded him of himself when he was my age. Going to mad Grateful Dead shows and raves too. He was the one who first told me about Burning Man and exposed me to bass music. He was just getting into producing music himself so I would go over to his studio and just watch him make tracks and he would pretty much give me the watered down version of what was going on. It was all over my head at the time and didn’t realize that that would be my next musical passion. Finally when I was 18 and went to Burning Man for the first time I realized that all these new sounds that I was listening to were what was really inspiring me. At the beginning of 2009 was when I really first started showing interest in trying to Dj with Ableton. I would download the trial version of Ableton onto friends computers and burn a cd with a bunch of tracks and just start fucking around trying to teach myself since I didn’t have a computer of my own. At that moment I became infatuated with it. I naturally had an ear for it due to my prior musical training and caught on quick. That summer I would go around to several festivals like Sonic Bloom and Rothbury and set up a renegade stage with some friends and throw down late night sets. People would go nuts but it still wasn’t doing it for me, I had to start making my own tracks to fully be satisfied with my musical potential but I still didn’t have a computer of my own. To this day lack of equipment is what is really holding me back. I still don’t even own studio monitors! Anyways right before Burning Man in 2009 I got my first computer and shortly after that I took Ill Gates electronic music workshop. Not too long before that all I had done production wise was write a couple hip hop tracks for my friend who was a mediocre producer and MC. After taking that Ill gates workshop it made me realize that I didn’t know jack shit. I kinda just sat on the knowledge I obtained and didn’t really do anything with it. Shorty after that I had met Sugarpill for the first time and showed him a couple jingles I wrote and he saw the potential in me. I was still not taking it seriously at all until I went to Manifesto Gathering in Costa Rica last year. I brought my computer with high hopes of potentially playing a set out there. Now this was Marty Party’s party and people who have played it in the past were people like Ooah. Turns out I ended up playing 3 sets and people loved it including Marty. At that moment I realized that I could actually achieve this and the only way to do so was to produce my own music because I already had the dj thing on lock. That’s when I really started to hit the grind. This was exactly a year ago. Since then Ive been geeking out as much as possible. Sugarpill has definitely helped me out a lot along the way. Evan has been there for me not only as a teacher, but a close friend and mentor. I owe pretty much everything to him. It was definitely cosmic how we fell into each other’s lives, some crazy force of nature that is way beyond any of us.

TGD: In terms of artistic guidance, who would you say are your biggest influences? Why?

CB: I have tons of different influences, mostly my friends. A lot of my friends growing up were insane jazz musicians so the bar was always high musically. All my favorite shit is all stuff my friends make in all sorts of genres. I hear something they do and now I’m at the point in my production where I can come back at them with something that makes them raise their eyebrows.

TGD: Where have you yet to play that is a top spot on your list of tour stops? What are the elements of this place that make you want to perform there?

CB: Right now I would really love to play at a Do LaB event or one of An-ten-nae’s events up in SF as well as several festivals this summer. As far as places I would like to play, I dunno, thats a hard one. I’ve already played on the beach in Costa Rica which is one of the most beautiful places on earth as well as Burning Man. Europe, Australia or Canada would definitely be cool. The scene in Canada is going off right now.

TGD: You have great chemistry with Stephan Jacobs and Sugarpill both musically and socially. How important would you say it is to collaborate with other artists whose company you can appreciate both on and offstage? Would you say a friendship is necessary to achieve the best possible collaborative effort?

CB: I am definitely fortunate to have friends like Stephan and Evan. I definitely think its important to dig the other person’s music in order to collaborate and make something dope. However, I don’t necessarily think friendship is required to achieve the best possible collaborative effort but it definitely helps. Look at Pink Floyd. Those guys fought all the time and they made some of the most incredible music of all time. Also Stephan and +verb have made some banging tracks together and they haven’t even met before. Not to say they wouldn’t become good friends if they did meet, but yeah you catch my drift ;) When Stephan and I first starting writing tracks together, we didn’t know each other very well but it definitely was the bridge to our friendship. It definitely does help to be homies with someone when writing tracks because if you are in a room with someone for hours on end working on something who your not vibing with personally, I’d imagine you would drive each other nuts.

With two fresh new releases (“Malefic Planet” w/ Sugarpill & a remix of Samples’ “Drop Bombs”), ChrisB. is already starting 2011 off on the right foot. March 4th marks the exclusive drop on Addictech of his debut EP, What’s Your Fantasy, (featuring a collaboration with another one of my favorites, Gladkill) to be released on Simplify. To stay updated on this artist’s upcoming events and new music, please check his Facebook and SoundCloud pages.

Sugarpill

Featured on this episode of TGD:radio was Sugarpill, a high-energy melody maker based out of Los Angeles. Evan has a brand new EP scheduled to drop this February and was so kind as to share one of these highly-anticipated tracks with the TGD:radio audience. I had the chance to ask this cutting-edge artist a few questions; below are his responses!

TGD: From getting to chat a bit, it seems as though you have experience in several fields outside of music. When did you make the decision to shape a career out of your talents and what prompted the commitment?

SP: I don’t think it was really a decision in a big sort of way, things just seem to happen and I just keep working hard at whatever I have the opportunity to do.

TGD: How would you say your sound has evolved over the past year? In comparison, what would you consider to be the hallmark elements of your music?

SP: I’m pretty sure my sound has evolved a lot in the past year. I think I probably broke through a major barrier because now I actually complete way more tracks and get them sounding much more clear and polished. I used to record and produce records for a band that I was in and for some reason when it came to my electronic stuff, I was just slacking on applying those techniques up until about a year and a half ago.

I’d like think the most prevalent elements in my music are bass and glitch, but it seems like I’m really stoked [on] really strong melodic content. I feel like the melodies draw me in and chill out some of the harshness of the glitch sounds.

TGD: What do you have coming up in 2011 so far that you’re most excited about?

SP: Right now I’m stoked on my next release. It’s a 4 track EP coming out on Simplify Recordings. It’s going to be prereleased on Addictech.com on Feburary 4th. I kept to a lot of the elements I really liked about my last release and also cleaned up some of my techniques, so hopefully it shows. I also tried to add a little more of a contrast between the tracks across the whole EP so people could either play a single track out or just listen to it straight through.

I also have a little mini tour I’m working on in Feburary to support the release. Its looking like I’m going to be in Los Angeles 2/4, San Francisco 2/10, Portland 2/11 and Arcata 2/12 so far and definitely have some more to come that I can’t announce yet.

TGD: Your sets are packed with energy; for someone who’s on the go so much, where do you find the inspiration to maintain this so consistently?

SP: I don’t really know, I just really like getting on stage and playing music. I’m usually a pretty mellow person, but when I get up there I feel like its my chance to let loose and the whole thing just takes over me.

TGD: What’s your take on the creative process behind your collaborations with Stephan Jacobs and ChrisB.?

SP: Collaborations are a really interesting thing for me. I definitely think the stuff that I have made with Stephan and Chris has been some really amazing work that we’re all really stoked on. The process is pretty simple it kind of just works itself out. We just get in a room together and take turns “driving” ableton and recording each other. Its really nice to have the momentum of another person working on the same thing to push you to make something a little better or try something a little different than we might do alone.

For frequent updates on Sugarpill, please check his website, Facebook,Twitter and SoundCloud pages.

Category: Glitch Hop, Interviews, Music | commie No Comments »

Rusko | Brostep

time January 28th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , ,

I have been known to be quite the advocate of anti-Brostep. Recently I was interviewed by a local music blog here in Dallas and was asked if I were to ever play Rusko and my thoughts on the whole brostep thing. The response in the online text clearly says No I’ll never play it. I want to clear things up on that. I’ll never play Rusko because it generally is music most people have heard. Why play a Rusko track if everyone in the crowd has probably heard it and every other DJ rinse the crap out of the tune. If Rusko wants to send me some dubs then sure I’ll consider it when I do want to take it to a hype level.

I never had anything against the guy more so that I had something against the DJ and people who would play Brostep ALL through their set. It’s as if going out was a competition to see who could play the dirtiest set in the night. Yeah sure crowds love to get wild and go crazy. He even describes that the music isn’t really heavy metal which I referenced in my interview as well yet there are guys like Borgore who are saying fuck it why not throw some metal into a set and break the club out into a pit. Yeah sure it’s fun but please when every DJ is doing that all night it’s a bit aggravating.

When I do actually go out to a bar/club it’s for the music and there use to be a time where dubstep didn’t mean brostep and their wasn’t such an emphasis on melting peoples faces off. I cringe every time I hear “melt face” in some sort of way. Variety is key. My only concern is how this take on playing more melodic stuff is a major trend. It’s as if melodic is the word of the time now just as deep was for awhile. Even in a recent interview I saw Datsik do with the homies in Seattle, Splatinum, said how he is starting to do a lot more stuff with melodies and making it more ‘melodic’. Don’t be a cop out now and only play melodic stuff or deep stuff. Give the journey of music different landscapes. Hell throw in a little ghetto crunk in there sometimes to ha.

Much respect to Rusko for this even though it seems like it’s a bit overdue haha but we all knew that even one of the Brostep kings couldn’t possibly be that bro. Despite being one of the kings of Brostep the issue is what he and the sound has amassed in the American DJs who do this all the time.

Category: Dubstep, Interviews, Misc, Music, Videos | commie 7 Comments »

Two Fresh | Interview

time January 26th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , , , , ,

Two Fresh, the Asheville-based trio consisting of twin brothers Kendrick and Sherwyn Nicholls alongside drummer Colby Buckler, is currently completing a string of tour dates all over the country and I had the chance to check out their performance this past Saturday in Tuscaloosa, AL. I’ve seen these guys play a few times now and they never disappoint; by bringing high-energy rhythms paired with dope basslines and phenomenal live drumming this group guarantees to remain a crowd favorite. Here I ask Kendrick Nicholls a few questions!

KZ: I’d like to start off by acknowledging the amazing community Asheville is building up right now. As some of the key figures in that scene, what would you say are the developments you’re most excited about? Who are you most proud to represent Asheville with right now?

Kendo: I’m really excited about bringing back the love of something
weird, I mean that in a way that, people will come out with no expectations. I feel like every time I go out now I get to see something that pushing the envelope.  I am most proud to represent our crew Labcoat (Bookworm + Jables + Peripheral + Shweez + Kendo)!  We’re getting recognition outside of NC, and hopefully inspiring others to be creative.

KZ: You just kicked off the Air Mail Tour; how’s it been so far? Are there any particular stops on this one that you’re particularly amped on playing, or that you haven’t gotten to play before?

Kendo:  The tour has been great.  We got to bring some of our favorite
acts out with us.  We’re really looking forward to Brooklyn and
Chicago, those are two of our favorite places to play.

KZ: As the creators of some of the most refreshing, genre-defying tracks being put out right now, I’m curious as to what your major pools of inspiration are. Not necessarily just other artists, but rather any source of an experience that led to your experimentation with sound.

Kendo:  the inspiration that drives us to keep making more, is just
the feeling of making something you never thought you would be capable
of.  Its the best feeling to stumble upon new techniques and to be
able to hear how that is different then your last work

KZ: Tell me a little bit about your other projects; what does Lab Coat have coming up that we should be gearing up for?

Kendo:  We have an album that will be released Feb 15th called “Air
Mail” on Elm and Oak  as well as 1320 Records. Also another
compilation from all the Labcoat members as well as close friends.

KZ: If you had to name only one goal you’d like to accomplish in 2011, what would it be and how will you get there? Why is this most important to you?

Kendo: The goal for this year is to keep our audience, eager for new
music,new art, and new inspiration. I feel its essential because
without that eagerness, we’d be listening to the same hits over and
over.

You can see Two Fresh on their current tour alongside Mux Mool (whose Tuscaloosa performance was the first live set of his I’ve seen – definitely don’t want to miss out on this artist as well).

-Kate Zaliznock

Ps: Afro Monk will be opening up for the Dallas, TX date 2/3 so be sure to check that out if in the Dallas region!

Category: Dubstep, Glitch Hop, Interviews, Music | commie No Comments »