Archives for the month of: October, 2013

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It’s been a month since I saw the world debut of Machinedrum’s Vapor City album for Decibel Festival 2013 in Seattle. I still haven’t recovered.

I want to delve into the ridiculously impressive and varied delivery of Travis Stewart’s newest album but first..

I feel like that live show didn’t get the proper credit it deserved. After searching through over 50 reviews of Decibel Festival this year, Machinedrum’s Vapor City performance was mentioned 5 times. This is a travesty to me. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but many of the reviews/mentions or lack thereof add to my frustration when it comes to music journalists. The way of writing used by many who about music can be boring as hell to me. Saying the bass was “heavy” for one, so dry. Aren’t there more ways to describe the bass? How does it make you feel? It just comes across as lazy to me. Now, it’s not that all these reviews were bad, I just had trouble connecting with them. I’m no expert when it comes to writing, but my approach here is to be more personable and speak from the heart, instead of this sometimes distant, analytical place.

Many journalists probably don’t take nearly as much time thinking about their writing, as the artists spend creating their art. They pour their lives into music, just to have it regurgitated back online in a less imaginative way.

So here’s my perspective on the Vapor City show from someone that was IN IT; goin’ wild in the crowd as an ecstatic fellow fan, artist and music journalist for Disco Droppings. There was absolutely no way my roommates and I were going to miss this. We got there early and saw Giraffage open. Really kool dude, his set was uplifting with it’s own personality. He seemed to understand the weight of importance, playing alongside a titan like Travis Stewart. When it was time for the main event, Travis quietly came on stage, picked up the guitar and started playing the chords to “Center Your Love”. I had heard the whole album many times already via a leak (shh), so I knew every track. I was dumbfounded to see drummer Lane Barrington feverishly playing alongside Travis. I would be lost in the music, freakin’ the fuck out and would forget the drummer pounding out these super fast, meticulous rhythms. Then I would look over at him, and just freak even more. Travis was also singing throughout the set, demonstrating his versatility as a performer.

I knew what kind of visuals I was in for after watching the futuristic/cray “Eyesdontlie” music video, directed by Weirdcore. A press release states, “The video, directed by Weirdcore, was developed from visual references and art work for the album and the upcoming live tour. Weirdcore worked with the midi data from the track and used the track stems to create the video. The neon images react to the midi and some of the distortion is reactive to the sound as well.” Watching the show, we got to witness an expanded display of the Vapor City districts. The visuals cut out early,  but just that small amount of imagery was powerful enough to say the least.

 

I’ve never heard it that loud in Showbox Market. I’ve also rarely experienced a performance that pushed the crowd to such a rapturous and primal place. The only other time I’ve felt this utter abandon of the self, was at Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 show in Seattle. The crowd became a pack of wild apes, and Machinedrum alongside his drummer and visuals were the monolith.

A friend came up to me right after the Vapor City show and said something like, “that was everything I wanted from music and so much more.” About as big of a compliment as you can get as an artist I’d say.

Ok, I got that off my chest.

A piece of this release that isn’t getting much recognition (besides the music itself, which is beautiful from beginning to end) is the website. If you head over Machinedrum.net you’ll see a gray landscape with the Vapor City districts colored in black. All the pieces together resemble Africa to me, and as you move your cursor over each section you’ll see things like “Gunshotta Ave”. Click, a small quiet loop plays “Gunshotta” with the music video embedded.

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The “Njord District” is also available now, coinciding with the release of Machindrum’s RA Podcast mix, centered around the same location. All the other districts are currently offline, saying “‘Vizion Centre’ will be unlocked in Dec 2013”, “‘Vapor Park’ will be unlocked in Jan 2014” etc. It’s a magnificent idea; spreading out the release and giving people additional content and deeper understanding of this world Travis has dreamed up. Become a citizen of Vapor City through the site for updates on the districts, and Citizen-only bonus downloads. 

 

In addition to all this we have the Vapor City tour itself. Boiler Room did a 3-part series for the album in NYC, London and Berlin. We got to see the first ever performance of Dream Continuum (Om Unit + Machinedrum), plus Lando Kal, Fracture, Braille, Mike Slott, Jimmy Edgar, Scuba and of course Machinedrum among others. The tour runs until December 14th, with upcoming stops in Belgium, France, Ireland, England, Italy, Canada and the USA. It would be a sad, sad thing to miss.

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– Jimi Jaxon

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– Jimi Jaxon

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I connected strongly with Take Care, and recently I started listening to Nothing Was The Same from start to finish. This album, and Drake in general seem comfortable in their own skin. Its got remarkable atmosphere, a solid range of intensity throughout the tracklist and a confident attitude. The execution of melody, song structure and sonic quality are precise, representing greatness in my eyes.

 

Drake told XXL, “Take Care was about connecting with my city and connecting with my past and sort of still feeling guilty that I’m not in love with one of these girls that cared about me from back in the day. Now, I’m 26, I’m with my friends, I’m making jobs for people, I’m making memories for people that will last a lifetime. I don’t need to be in love right now. I don’t need these things that I maybe once thought that I needed to feel normal and feel righteous about myself. I think for the first time in an album I’m content—not satisfied—but proud of where I’m at as a person.”

I can feel that Drake believes in himself, and I like the way he encourages his crew and city of Toronto.

 

Production on the album was handled mainly by Noah “40” Shebib with additional support from Hudson Mohawke, Nineteen85, Jake One, Mike Zombie, Detail, DJ Dahi, Chilly Gonzales, Majid Jordan, Boi-1da, Allen Ritter, Sampha, Jordan Evans, and the man himself, Drake.

My other favorite tracks from NWTS are “Furthest Thing”, “From Time (Feat. Jhene Aiko)”, “Wu-Tang Forever” and “Connect”.

 

I should take notes from Drake. I like how he has fully embraced his role as an artist. In his mind like with all of us, there are pieces missing, voids to be filled, but the choice of what to focus on is ours. Appreciate where you are, and utilize your position to its fullest potential.

Drake turned 27 yesterday, October 24th 2013.

 

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– Jimi Jaxon

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Crafting some of the sassiest and most memorable mixes I’ve heard in a while, and looking damn good doing it. It’s time to turn up the heat on Disco Droppings, Joey LaBeija is in control. In this interview we talk about his House of LaBeija family, influence, how his mixes come together and his connection to the CuntMafia Warehouse parties in New York.

 

DD You are a part of the House of LaBeija, the first voguing house ever started. You are also the only DJ in this crew. As ballroom and vogue culture continues to spread, you seem to be in an ideal central spot. How would you describe the house, its significance and your role in the whole thing? 

JL Being a 4th generation LaBeija has been a blessing. Everyone in the house is so loving, supportive, goal oriented and driven.  One of our LaBeija mottos is ‘we are a family first and a ballroom house second’. Every single one of us, even our Father Tommie, has a hustle and a struggle and it feels really comforting to know that we are all in this together. The house was quiet for a while in the ballroom scene, and as members of the house, we are all doing our thing to make sure everyone knows WE ARE BACK.  I got inducted to the house shortly after my first international gig in Tokyo. I knew that my life as a DJ was slowly but surely about to grow, and I wanted to do it in the name of LaBeija, helping bring the name back to the forefront in and outside of the ballroom community.

DD What has influenced your style as a DJ? 

JL I am not much of a voguer, I only vogue when I’m turnt up with my boys smoking blunts at the crib or when I come out the shower feeling soft-n-cunt. Ballroom music is just a fraction of what I like to play…I think growing up in New York has influenced my style as a dj more so than anything. Growing up here I was a floater, never really hanging out with one specific group of people. I went to school with guidos, hung out with punks on St. Marks, cruised for trade with fags on The Pier, and smoked L’s and drank Korbel with my ratchet bitches on the block.  Each crew had a completely different influence on me musically and I think it shows a lot in what I do.

 

DD In addition to an obvious gift with music, you have really rad style. I don’t really have a question about your style, but I just want to commend you on looking fucking awesome all the time. 

JL Thanks boo ❤

DD I enjoy the names of some of your mixes, such as “Tales From The Bedroom” and “Good Sex & Night Terrors”. Do you often think about themes when pulling together your track lists? 

JL Going into a mix with a theme in mind is really important to me. I like to think of those mixes in particular as pages from my journal because they tell a little bit of a story. I didn’t pick tracks for either of them…I recorded them live and played strictly off of my emotions. The titles came to me after listening to them. I wanted Tales From the Bedroom to be a panty dropper mix; something you could listen to while gettin yacked by your [in]significant other. Good Sex & Night Terrors is my favorite..for me, it is story about how much of a nightmare it can be balancing your hustle, loving a dude and being a bad bitch which is exactly what I was going through while recording it.

 

DD I read in a past interview that you’re planning to expand your friend CuntMafia’s Warehouse parties in New York. These look extremely diverse in terms of the crowds you attract as well as extremely successful in general. How is that coming together? I hope you guys come to Seattle, I’d love to help in any way!

JL Contessa and I are always curating something crazy. Me her and my best friend Shawn Leigh had a great success with our monthly party ‘Iconic’ this summer. I decided to pull the reins on it for a plethora of reasons, the main one being none of the venues really felt like home, which is why we moved the party around every time. But when we find the right home we will bring something back to life for sure. Throwing warehouse parties involves a lot and can be really difficult when you don’t have a rich white man fronting/investing the money for you like other warehouse parties here. Thats why I respect Contessa, she may be wild as fuck and will rage on you like no other, but all of her success is self made and self invested. She’ll take a struggle over a stack of cash any day cuz she’s ACTUALLY about that life.

DD What artists have you the most hyped right now?

JL GIRL!. There has been so much good music coming out recently it’s almost TOO much to handle. I’m really loving everything coming out from Fade To Mind right now. That Kelela Album is has been my bible since it dropped. Kingdom’s Vertical XL is genius, and I’m like crying in anticipation of NguzuNguzu’s new ep coming out. Don’t get me started on Drake’s NWTS…that album has me slow winding for hours at end. 

DD Any last words?

JL For booking inquiries contact: JOEYLABEIJA@GMAIL.COM

 

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– Jimi Jaxon

 

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Link / Credits to Sugur Shane for sharing