Archives for posts with tag: Hip Hop

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It’s great to come together for the purpose of co-creating. Vibe out to my conversation with HxdB and DJ Cure aka Greazus, and catch our show with em’ at Monkey Loft tomorrow. .

 

DD Hello Greazus! And a special greeting to Severine (HxdB) whose been a wonderful element of this blog over the years.

G Sup.

DD So with this collaboration of yours (which I’m loving!), are there certain individual strengths that come to the surface?

HXDB Patrik has a great knack for writing catchy hooks and getting raw ideas out quickly and bringing the heat on the keys. I on the other hand am the one that fusses over the mix and the fine details and the polish..Oh I write basslines like a muh tho! lol.

 

DD There is such power in rhythm to move and entrance. Do you guys have certain memorable experiences seeing certain artists or shows, where you could really lose yourself in the sounds and/or environment?

CURE Definitely. Something that sticks out for me was seeing Bonobo with his full band, they had 3 encores. It really made me want to become a better musician. Any time I’m at a festival and I’ve finished my set, I will let loose. That is my favorite time to let go and enjoy some music I probably wouldn’t get down to on a day to day basis.

HXDB I vividly recall seeing Amon Tobin here in Vancouver at the Commodore Ballroom and being totally mesmerized by the sound. It was his “Foley Room” tour and he played in 5.1 surround. That sensation of being fully immersed in sound, that’s something we definitely go for in many of our tunes.

DD I was having a fun listening to my favorites from your Soundcloud, while watching my favorite anime “Yu Yu Hakusho” on mute (episode 88 called “The True Face of Sensui” if anyone wants to view). It was one of the more menacing parts of the series, and I could easily see the fierce attitude coming through in your productions. I know ya’ll have a fun approach to what you do, but are there some more darker influences coming through?

 

CURE For sure, a lot of these projects will get started on our own individually. For me its like therapy, you know? Taking your mind off life. I will get incredibly blazed and escape in the sounds. Its not all fun and games, and sometimes you need an outlet to blow off stream – might as well make some heavy beats.

 

HXDB I actually listen to a lot of heavy metal and have generally always enjoyed dark sounds, which I feel is a great way to deal with the fucked up things in your life and the dark, “real” moments . With Greazus, we try to strike a balance of dark and light moments and just have fun creating.

DD Looking back to the past in the D&B, hip-hop areas, are there any tracks that come to mind that help you guys lighten up?

CURE Hip Hop and Rap especially are a big part of our lives. I’ve always been a big fan of underground rap, but as far as lightening up, I experience guilty pleasures listening to really ignorant gangster rap. That shit is like comedy gold to me. Dudes like Juicy J (and Three Six Mafia), Asap Ferg, YG.

HXDB I’m a child of the 90s, so that shit is still my go-to for good times. Tribe, Organized Konfusion, Black Moon, De La, etc. I do love some of the new cats like Azizi Gobson and Ferg, but I definitely appreciate conscious rap more than the ignorant shit, even though it is a good laugh. In terms of D&B, I guess tracks like Klute – Phone Call, or old 4Hero always put me in a golden mood. I’m also mildly obsessed with the band Little Dragon and find myself simply, happy when I listen.

 

DD Who are some of your favorite artists interacting with your work, both through featuring tracks in mixes and collaborations?

 

G Our number one collaborator right now is probably Sinistarr, we have a number of tunes with him that we’re all really excited about. He’s kind of like the 3rd member of Greazus, haha. We have also done some cool stuff with our dude Kid Kurse, also from Vancouver (look out for that in the near future), plus our boy Subcorr, which we have a few things going with that are exciting. Sam Binga, has recently given us an incredible amount feedback and support, which has been a real confidence boost and source of motivation.

DD Thinking about rebirth, how has this new creation between the two of you given new life to your solo identities?

CURE For me, I have become more disciplined when it comes to starting and finishing projects, and doing it more consistently.

HXDB Personally, its been really nice to gain a new focus and perspective. I feel like I don’t have to cover as much territory with my solo act anymore and can focus my sounds a bit more clearly for each.


DD
Coming up tomorrow, we here at Disco Droppings along with Tom Kha will bring Greazu$ down from Vancouver to play the Spectrum show @ Monkey Loft. Whatcha guys got planned for this party, and is this your first time as a duo playing in Seattle?

G Here’s the thing, we never plan our sets. We play b2b ourselves and love to just wing it. Vibing with the crowd and picking cuts to hit the right places at the right time. We both have incredibly similar taste in music, so its really fluid for us to navigate through different styles and bpms and still build and maintain a strong vibe in the dance. We want to go off too! haha. This will be our first time playing together in Seattle actually, but we’re mad stoked to be playing at Monkey Loft and to rock with all our Seattle fam. Let’s git it!!!

 Greazus – Twitter Soundcloud Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon

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For my first interview of 2015, I talk with Newaxeyes. We’ve become friends recently, and I wanted to share their mindset and energy both on the site, and at our monthly “Disco Droppings Presents” where they will headline this week. The band has donated some gif previews of their visuals, which you’ll see spread throughout the feature. Alright, let’s drop in..

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DD Whatsup Newaxeyes. I feel we have been drawn together for a reason. I connected with your diverse style, and willingness to push things. Happy to have you headlining “Disco Droppings Presents” at Kremwerk on the 19th.

NWXYS Thanks very much for having us. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.

 

DD It’s definitely been a trip for me, spending more time with your music. You guys have mentioned trances, how do altered perceptions play a role in your art?

NWXYS We generally seek to create sounds that reach the listener at a sort of pre-intellectual level, so that there’s less interference going on and the music can be taken in more directly. When we are at our best is when we feel more or less “entranced” and when we are letting the music happen in its own way, without the constant real-time analysis that can be poisonous to a piece.

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DD We’ve both been placed on a variety of music bills, where have been your favorite environments so far?

NWXYS We love to play with hip-hop beats people, psychedelic rock bands, modern composition types, performance art groups, harsh noisers, you name it. From the outset, we have always wanted to fluidly interact with a broad spectrum of styles and genres to carve our own chameleonic sound, so we’ve been happy to be invited to very disparate sorts of bills. Even better is that we tend to be received well by diverse audiences, maybe offering something atypical and challenging to the environment.

 

DD In addition to the music, I’m intrigued by your visual element. Tyler’s Instagram for example, definitely see an eye for catching things. And the logos and artwork you use work super well. Is this a group effort or do certain members of the band focus here?

NWXYS We all met more or less through our time at Cornish College of the Arts (Bret wasn’t a student but it sometimes felt like he might as well have been). Will was the only music student – Tyler was a photo/video art major and Jordan was in for graphic design. So it’s very natural for us to shape a visual aesthetic concurrently with the music. We’re lucky in that between the four of us we have the skill set to handle pretty much every aspect of the project. Tyler creates the majority of the photography and makes our videos. Jordan makes the logos, website, and most posters.

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DD Where have your most impactful inspirations for Newaxeyes come from?

NWXYS It’s all over the place. When we started out, we were listening to a lot of Oneohtrix Point Never, Death Grips and Demdike Stare – electronic-oriented stuff that tends to be simultaneously physical and cerebral. But we all have such eclectic tastes and personal influences that it would be difficult to answer generally. From a non-musical standpoint, we are all fascinated by data, the societal effects of the Internet, and forces of power and influence hidden from public view.

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DD Lastly, how would you describe your upcoming live set alongside Sphyramid, Raveghost, Dream Beat, David Comito and I?

NWXYS We have this super inconvenient habit of writing new material and reshaping old stuff until pretty much the day of the show, so that’s a bit hard to answer. We’ll be playing some bangers though. Being that it’s Kremwerk and Disco Droppings, we’ll possibly lean more heavily on dirty dark dance vibes.

 

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Newaxeyes – Twitter Soundcloud Facebook

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– Jimi Jaxon

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Let’s jump straight into the Souled Out debut album that’s become a wonderful part of my life. If you need to catch up on Jhené, head back to my Soul Master feature.

 

Through the Sailing Souls mixtape, the Sail Out EP and now Souled Out we’ve been able to clearly see the world through her lens. There’s this intimate relationship that I along with her massive group of admirers have developed . I am uplifted by her energy, and think of her not just as a distinct artist, but a spiritual guide.

Leading up to the album’s release, the first preview came in the form of “To Love & Die (feat. Cocaine 80’s)”. Compared to everything I’ve heard from her up to now, this one really comes out swinging. The beat is the most hard hitting and punchy production on the lp. And in keeping with her style, the lyrical concept is emotionally gripping to say the least.

 

I remember being in a lonely place when I bought Souled Out at Seattle’s Everyday Music. I got back into my car, popped that CD in and went on a ride. By the time the second track started, “W.A.Y.S.”, I couldn’t help but cry a bit. She just released these bottled emotions I was holding, and it all felt wonderfully therapeutic. It was a reminder of the power of music, to convey feelings and journey inward and out.

 

 

Rarely do I read features on artists and think, “these people really understand this artist and created something that matches their vision”. Look no further than her recent features in Complex and Vibe Vixen. They really speak for themselves.

So yeah, this is medicine. Let it in.

Jhene Aiko – Twitter Facebook Soundcloud

jheneaiko.com

– Jimi Jaxon

 

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To start off, I’ll say that Porter Robinson’s ‘Worlds’ show was one of the best I’ve ever seen! It was in the same room and on the same stage that I saw Daft Punk in 2007, when my interest in electronic music first started. Being there got me on a path to be an artist myself, start this site and eventually do this interview present day. I saw and felt some similar things, both shows representing originality, top-notch stage/light productions, emotional depth, perfect cohesion and the ability to create different versions/edits of their songs, new and old. 

So rare that I can speak with someone whose had a hand in bringing such a memorable show to life.  They just recently wrapped up a massive U.S. tour, and are now preparing for the final shows in South Lake Tahoe (California), London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Luxembourg and Australia. Cheers to every person involved in this tour, both mentioned and not. And of course, thanks to Porter Robinson for crafting this beautiful album. Now, onto my conversation with ‘Worlds’ VJ and show collaborator, Ghostdad..

 

DD Hey man! So kool to have you on Disco Droppings a second time. Onto even more massive things!

GD Thanks man glad to be back!

DD In the first part of the ‘Worlds’ live tour documentary, Porter mentioned the two of you spending four straight days in one place, figuring out how to execute this live visual show. Did your own experiences and inspirations come through in this collaboration? You worked alongside each other in 2012 as well, and I’m curious about your fingerprint on this next level..

GD Those four straight days were spent editing the show. The content itself was developed over a much longer process and involved many artists. All the illustrated animation you see in the show was directed by Invisible Light Network who are also in NY. There was recently a great write up about their process in Animation World Network. I met up with Elliot at ILN a few times while his team was at work, and also made a batch of visuals for the show. I had been playing around with 3D stuff using Blender and Photoshop, and Porter was really feeling the low poly vintage 3D vibe, so a lot of what I made was in that zone and added a nice contrast to the 2D animation. Porter was back and forth with all of us through that process before I collected all the footage and brought it down to North Carolina for the fabled four day editing session.

So my role kind of shifted from creating content to edit mode. We ended up making some new things too that week from existing material or as transition pieces. Our goal of cutting all the visuals to music ahead of time, was to do something that was super tight and related directly to the beat or sometimes individual instruments in the live mix. We wanted to emphasize things with tighter cuts to the beat rather than fades or transitions. Luckily this goes in line with how I like to perform visuals. I think Porter and I share the goal of wanting to catch the viewers attention unapologetically. There’s something inherently dazzling about video that lines up with a song, but we both like it when it really hits you in the face and doesn’t leave your senses to interpret the timing or the mood. That way you can just chill out and feel it completely.

 

DD What is the feeling like this time around? Compared to the “Language Tour”?

GD We’re very proud of this show. Ben Coker also had a tremendous role in preproduction. He designed everything you see on stage including the clear table Porter performs on. His sleepless nights came in Vancouver when we put the rig together for the first time and he really got into the nitty gritty of programming the lights.

We were proud of the Language tour as well, and that gave us a chance to try different things. On that tour Porter could change up his DJ set, and we could try different things with the visuals and lighting and see how our styles all fit together. But for the Worlds tour Porter had a very solid vision of what he wanted his music to LOOK like, and that gave us a chance to think about how we could best present that vision live ahead of time.

So we’re intensely proud of Worlds as a touring production and very thankful for everyone who helped put it together. We worked with a bigger crew on this one and it wouldn’t have been as consistent a presentation of an amazing show without a solid team to see it through.

DD As I’ve taken in everything surrounding ‘Worlds’, it’s given me new insight into the reality I find myself in and am creating. These fictional universes have given me fresh eyes to see what’s out there. How has all this translated for you?

GD Sometimes I think about all the places we’ve been these past few years and how those can inspire fictional landscapes. Like the coastline in Australia or the highway that takes you into Hong Kong. We’ve seen some really beautiful places in both a natural and urban setting. Tokyo of course another amazing place just to be immersed in even for a day. Some of the stuff I make is collage based and uses photos so I like to think about how I can relate fictional landscapes to places I’ve been. It’s a nice way to remember.

DD For days and days after the Seattle show, I had lyrics and melodies swirling around in my head. You spend more time with this imagery and music than most, do you find your mind superimposing these environments into your day to day travels? Having your vision glitch out in a way?

GD By the end of this tour I knew every frame of the show. I could probably hear a song from the album now and see what’s on the screens in my head at that exact moment. I’m also way too used to being in dark theaters all day. Staring at the screens every night definitely leaves some of the images burned into my eyes. I’ll have to spend some time in the daylight and see if anything does glitch out in my vision. Could be interesting!

DD Any especially special moments on tour so far?

GD San Francisco was a really big show. 7000 people showed up and were all totally feeling it top to bottom. That was a definite morale boost early on in the tour. The Aragon in Chicago also stands out as a really cool show just because of the history in that theater. Old theaters always have sort of a spooky magical feel and in that one we took a tour of the catwalks above the ceiling and got to check out the old pipe organ that still plays from the balcony. And finally the 9:30 club in DC was an incredible show. DC is an awesome town for live music, in part because the 9:30 Club has always placed emphasis on keeping their venue all ages and making it really comfortable for concertgoers. That kind of puts the focus on the show a little more I think. The crowd there was singing every song.

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*Concept pictures credit to ILN on Tumblr

*Transparent gifs provided by Ghostdad on Tumblr

DD I watched this behind the scenes documentary about Blade Runner. Ridley Scott would play the soundtrack to the cast and crew during filming to help immerse everyone further. Is there anything similar to that for the crew/yourself as you travel all over?

GD Soundcheck before the doors opened was a good daily ritual on this tour. It was Ben and I’s chance to make sure the show was working and in synch and also make any changes we wanted for that day. Porter would also come out and watch the show, or sometimes just chill on stage and work out some new synth parts. It was a good chance to make sure everyone was on the same page before showtime.

DD And how was that opening DJ set you did for one of the shows?

GD Oh yah that DJ set was fun!  I didn’t really plan it out so I was sort of playing random jams. People seemed to dig it though so maybe I should do some more! I used to DJ a lot but have been more into production and the visual thing the last couple of years.

DD Any last words? Seriously wish you all the best with the remainder of the tour and beyond. You’re doing reallllly superb things Ryan.

GD We’re looking forward to some good shows in Europe and Australia! I’ve also got some other projects I’m working on for the new year including music from my band WIN WIN and a new website that will showcase the visual work I’ve done with several artists these past few years. So stay tuned for that!

Ghostdad – Twitter

djghostdad.com

porterrobinson.com

– Jimi Jaxon

DD Hello Terence, welcome to Disco Droppings. What are you up to?

Z Thanks, man. Stoked to be a part of Disco Droppings, lots of good stuff on here. Definitely in good company. Just been working on Zoolab tunes as well as getting a new electronic project started with a good friend of mine. Been working hard trying to get a new track finished for the upcoming show.

DD Your latest release, the Voices EP is my personal favorite. Quite the display of cohesion, balance and moving emotions. What was your process finding the proper samples for this release? Did any of them come from unconventional or surprising sources?

Z Thank you, I truly appreciate that. I definitely agree that it is the most cohesive thing I’ve made thus far and am definitely happy with how it turned out. Well, the way I usually end up doing things is getting an instrumental pretty much done and framed out arrangement wise, then thinking about how the vocal samples are going to work out. I have a huge library of acapellas, so it’s just a tedious process of listening to the instrumental on loop while wading through loads of samples. What’s fun is that about half of the time if not more, the sample that ends up making it in is from a song I’ve never even heard. The exception to that process on Voices EP is the vocal on the song “That’s His”, which is an Arthur Russell sample from a song I heard on KEXP and immediately knew I had to mess with it. As far as the most unexpected, I won’t say where but there is definitely a Get Up Kids sample in the mix. 12808777294_fc55a74c93

 

DD Me and you can relate. We both have experience working behind-the-scenes in the music community. How has your work with Neumos, Barboza and The Crocodile helped you evolve as an artist?

Z I’m glad we can relate on that. Not even because it’s “cool” or anything, it just really gives you a different perspective on the world of live music. What it did for me was get me off my ass! I’ve been tinkering with making solo music for probably eight years and only played my first solo gig in August of last year. I would always tell myself that I wanted to make something of it, but wasn’t actually making the moves to actualize it. Working at the venues, and seeing people doing exactly what I wanted to be doing night after night made me realize that I had no excuse not to at least give it a go. Since I’ve had that mindset I’ve been finishing tunes and playing shows semi regularly and really that’s all I can ask for. The only real challenges that I’ve faced regarding making music have been my own personal downfalls. I can honestly say that my biggest flaw as a person is impatience, which has definitely translated to problems finishing up tracks at the pace I could be. I’ve been working hard on getting better at it though!

DD April 10th, you’ll be at Seattle’s Kremwerk venue (FB Event), alongside Big Phone, Kiife and DJ Db Cooper. I looked at some KEXP show reviews, where you opened for Com Truise, Phantoms, Mas Ysa and Lawrence Rothman and you got warm receptions. You’ve said that you’ll be playing tracks you’ve never played out before, are these older productions or a preview of a Voices EP follow up?

Z Yeah Gerrit Feenstra from KEXP wrote up those shows and said some really kind words, which I really appreciate. But yeah opening for Com Truise was the last show that I played and was by far the best reception I’ve had thus far, and definitely the most fun I’ve ever had playing a show. It’ll be a combination of both old and new. I have another four song EP in the works and I’ve been playing versions of three of those songs live in my last few sets. For this show, I hope to bust out a version of what will be the fourth song on that upcoming EP, as well as some stuff from Voices that I’ve been leaving out of the live sets. I really want to play “That’s His” but its so down tempo and creepy. I’d rather get people moving and keep the vibe up.

Zoolab – Soundcloud Facebook Bandcamp

Photo credit: Brittany Brassell

– Jimi Jaxon