It’s What’s On The Inside That Counts – The Value Of A Party

When nightlife is a way of life you tend to look at everything in regards to it in a much different light and have a very broad perspective to take into account when you go out. In my years of being on the front lines and the backside, it’s really interesting to break it all down and build it back up. The good parts are amazing, like providing platforms for artists to express themselves creatively through various mediums and occasionally blow up based on right place right time moments. There’s also the whole being able to pay your rent, car, phone and other bills based on your efforts and productions, that’s always nice. Then you’ve got creating memories and friendships for yourself and others, thus building a great network. Alternatively, though, there’s a lot of danger being in large groups, dilapidated buildings, self-policed venues, being surrounded by drugs, alcohol at all times and people under the influence of them. Not to mention promiscuous people who don’t take care of themselves. There’s a lot of traps and dark sides to all of it, and while I’ve got a ton of horror stories, my focus today will be on the positive elements event production and it may inspire some of you to get into coordinating some stuff together with friends and/or peers alike.

So we all know events come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and can vary from warehouse, nightclub, dive bar, speakeasy, private loft, art gallery and beyond. Some spaces have character like a unique entrance, well-thought out decor and ambiance, some naturally have a good energy and atmosphere, others are just blank canvases. You can create something consistent as a residency and nurture that event for weeks and months and years until it’s a staple in the city you’re in such as Low End Theory, Bananas, Rhonda, Do Over, HAM, We Own The Night, The Lift, etc. or you can just do a series of one off events that are more of a concentrated effort with a specific tone or theme. A lot of festivals start as solid one off events. Whether it’s an open mic night, to a cheese+wine+chocolate eat-drink & draw event, a rave style party, foodie function or a producer or talent showcase. There’s really no limits on what you can and can’t do unless your venue or city has restrictions. That kind of free thinking is really attractive to me and one of the reasons I got into producing events. It’s an interesting rabbit hole and roller coaster that exhilarating doesn’t even begin to describe. What keeps it fresh for me is the fact that I never stop learning, and I’m always surprised when something new happens to remind me that. Since my first parties til now I’ve learned incredible time management skills and the necessity of punctuality. I’m reminded to be flexible and to also just let shit go from time to time. I’ve managed to draft agreements, negotiate terms, build strong communication skills, understanding how to get people in the door and what you can do to make them want to stay as long as possible. Art direction for every flyer and poster I’ve designed, learning the city to know it inside out for wheat pasting, staple gunning and flyering places. The list just keeps going and going and I’m extremely grateful to now posses the knowledge and experience I have through all the failure and success. Trust me, you only lose your rent money a few times before you make sure you absolutely never take an L again.

I think the biggest and one of the most important things you have to gain from events is appreciation of community. An event is generally focused around one specific thing you all have in common. That common bond, between hundreds of people being brought together – creates something special. Once you have that special community, you want to nurture it to make sure it can have growth, longevity and reach it’s potential. Much like a plant without water and sun. This process comes from you attending events, volunteering to help them, spreading the word / awareness. Being observant and mindful of things that could pose problems or cause trouble. I feel that once you’ve been accepted and start being recognized in your community, you’ve got even more influence, impact and responsibility to maintain it. That is unless, you don’t care of course. I’ve met so many amazing and beautiful people by having a footprint in a handful of these groups, and I have to say it’s extremely inspiring and uplifting to witness their growth over time.

These tight-knit communities all over the world are really something not to be ignored and I’ll always admire the effort in pulling all the pieces together to complete the puzzle. We need a strong infrastructure of venues (restaurants, bars, lounges, clubs, and even warehouses, galleries and lofts) to create a foundation for creative expression to thrive and exist. So yeah, I mean I guess at this point we’re rambling and the overall goal is to remind you to support DIY parties, and throw events that contribute to your city and community of choice. There’s so many worlds to explore from Comedy, Art, Music, Fashion, Biking, Skating, Dance and it’s many genres, Foodie, Mixology, Competitive, Sports, and beyond. Find your niche and dive in.


It’s My Party & I’ll Cry If I Want To

 It’s My Party & I’ll Cry If I Want To
3 Short Stories Of Nightlife Nightmares (Hollywood Edition)

1. The Real Slim Shady :  So a few years ago, my girlfriend at the time and I decided we wanted to throw an event in WeHo for our LGBT friends in a venue that was pretty much the perfect fit and vibe for what we were looking for in the party we wanted to produce. At this time pretty much all of the events we were attached to or producing were because of our networks, following and mailing list. You wouldn’t really catch us at something that was wack and didn’t have a diverse crowd of people dancing and having a good time. I can’t quite remember how we met with this guy who was advertising the space but we decided to roll the dice and check it out. Most new venues in LA don’t last long, I’d say a 3-5 year shelf life if they’re lucky, Hollywood/WeHo being even more difficult to maintain. So we go and meet up with this guy, he seems legit. Introduces us to the security, bar manager, bartenders, and proceeds to give us a complete walkthrough of every nook and cranny of the place. We were asking the right questions to assess the situation while given the tour and he seemed to answer everything with the typical responses and expectations. Now at this time, we already had 1 or 2 other events going on in the following month or so, the majority of our funds were in the hands of others for deposits, almost like escrow on a house. So we were pretty tapped out, but we still wanted to do this party as the space was ideal and fit the criteria for our needs. Being that we were pretty much out of our own funds, it was a matter of getting sponsors who have been in bed with us for awhile with other functions, or asking one of our investors. We figured it was too short notice to hit up our typical partners and sponsors, so we got the money from 2 investors. She got 1 half of the bread together, while I obtained the other in lieu of them making a 10-15% on their investments. Having the money ready to go for the deposit on the space, we asked for a contract. The fact that we received the investment from 2 friends put more pressure and emphasis on us having a successful event. Saying as all of our other parties were very lucrative, we didn’t have any doubts about this one being anything but equal if not greater, and honestly we were really fucking excited to do something different. We get the contract for the space, negotiate the terms, kick it back and forth a bit until everything is correct and in order for us to feel comfortable with doing business with the space. After signing the contract, we send off the check as you typically would. At this point we’re ready to go, and start putting together the pieces of making the flyer, booking talent, setting up our marketing and promotional efforts, and generally getting all of our ducks in a row. About 3 weeks out from the event, we need some additional amendments made and we spend about 2 days of not being able to get a hold of the guy. His social media is active, so I hit him up online to no response, a day after messaging him that we couldn’t get a hold of him. All of his social media accounts magically vanish, not responding to emails, phone is disconnected. Oh and keep in mind, we already gave him the $$$ to lock in the date. So at this point we start to sweat a little bit for obvious reasons, let’s not forget the fact that the $ came from (2) people who trusted us greatly adding more fuel to the fire of this whole scenario. I call the venue, apparently in the timeframe of our contract and now, the ownership of the club has changed hands, there’s completely new operators, and nobody seems to know the guy who wrote up a contract and put names of former owners ( who hadn’t been attached to the venue in months ). We look at their calendar, the night that we were looking at is booked with some other event. At this point, I kinda fall into private investigator mode. I type in his name to google, see some old flyers in google images that have his logo on them. I start to look up the other companies/logos I see on the flyers beside his and begin reaching out to all of these random strangers with this whole story. The calls and messages generally started like ” Hello, I know this is going to sound really weird, but do you happen to know of anyone by the name of xxxxxxxx? with a promotional company called xyz?” the first three people I contacted literally had responses like “Wow, that guy again? yeah I know of him, he owes my brother xyz amount of money, if you see him to fuck off ” another answer was like ” Yeah, I’ve got a restraining order against him, he owes my sister a ton of money ” the calls just kept getting more and more hostile as I dug deeper and deeper. At this point, the event is essentially paused til we get to the bottom of the situation, but more importantly was us retrieving this money, otherwise we’d be on the hook for it. I keep going through these old event flyers and looking at the talent, the logos, the hosts, the clubs, and keep contacting more and more people to hear more of the same stories of essentially this guy ripping off about a dozen people, not paying back a cent and getting away with it. Now, I didn’t grow up with money, I’ve worked hard my entire life for everything that I have and I’ve never been the type to just “charge it to the game” or “let someone off the hook” because “it’s Hollywood” or “I mean what do you expect with people in nightlife or promotion”.  I have to admit, I was pretty intrigued to hear all of the different people and stories of how they all managed to get taken advantage of by the same guy, and how nobody really gave a damn about catching the guy. Meanwhile I was hot on the case and building a pretty hefty story, logging these conversations, saving everyone in my phone as (Scammed) – Which mindfully, they still are in my phone if you’d like to see next time you’re around 🙂  even some of these people I’ve since built friendships with! Anyways, back on track – so he still is off social media and hiding, we don’t really have to cancel the event with the venue because they don’t know who this guy is and there’s nothing on the calendar or contract anyways besides forged signatures and other phony information. After about a week his phone is back on, so my girl and I took it upon ourselves to call him every night between the hours of 10pm til 5am about 30x anyways because we were already up and it was no skin off our back. Eventually he said he’d meet up with us with the money after hearing countless voicemails and text. We literally filled his inbox to the point that it couldn’t take anymore messages. We agree to meet at The Falcon in Hollywood to get our money back. I end up waiting in the cold for this fool for almost 3 hours, eventually I see him show up in his pickup, drive by slowly, he sees me and bolts off. You could imagine how frustrating this is to be chasing your money like this. At this point, I start calling up the big homies infuriated explaining the situations, and seeing who’s interested in handling this shit in a not so polite manner. I look back at emails we exchanged, check the source and I’m able to find the IP address he was corresponding from. I plugged in that IP address and managed to find his place on Googlemaps! Low & behold, in the google street view screenshot, the same truck he rolled by The Falcon with and originally picked up the cash from and met us in was there, blocked in by 2 other vehicles in front of the garage on the driveway. At this point, we had already been more than patient. I did reverse phone lookups and more and managed to get a hold of his sister and mother. At this point, I sent over a cropped image of the google street view of his place, said we had already spoken to both his mother, sister and ex-girlfriend with the restraining order and he’ll either get us our money and some extra for the effort or we’ll be by his place to …take what we need to in order to make up for the wasted time, money and recover the balance. Surprise surprise, dude calls us back almost immediately and asks us to meet him in downtown Whittier at some sushi spot. I explain the severity of the issues at hand and state that if he’s not there this time and we don’t get our money returned in this attempt, we will be taking it into our own hands to solve the problem. Fast forward, we’re sitting at the sushi place eating, dude shows up in a brand new tux, gives us our money and then some… says maybe two words. neither of which were my bad or I’m sorry and then just disappears. Annnnnnnnd that’s all folks 🙂 so the bottom line, be very careful who you do business with, keep records, and cross-reference people. It never hurts to research the business and people you are intending on doing business with before actually doing business, that’s just being smart. plain and simple. Don’t Trust Anyone.


2. And For My Next Trick! Ugh, so this was like 2011 or 12 I think? I launched a series called Westside Wednesdays at Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood with some kids I was helping with parties, we featured Warm Brew, Andre Nickatina, YG, Casey Veggies, and Pac Div alongside several other acts. Also had my homies from HamOnEverything on a bill or two – crazy to see how far we’ve all come. I’m only going to focus on one of those shows, because there was just all kinds of fuckery throughout this whole place. Let’s start at the beginning, so let’s imagine you just drove across town to catch YG who was a buzzing artist and blowing up right before your eyes. Now I can talk further about the bullshit I had to go through to even “make the show go on” … like calling my friend Nocando who had a connection to a guy named Brandon who was managing him at the time with Stampede, but we’re just gonna skip over that part and focus on the stupid club shit. Right, so imagine you drove across town to see this artist, you wait in line for 30-45mins while nobody is inside, you finally get to the front. They ask you for ID, then take it it from you, while simultaneously pushing you forward into the venue, so by the time you got upstairs and the bartender asks you for your ID – you realize that you somehow have managed to lose it between the doorman who asked for it prior, and the bar. Sounds like the start to a good night, right? So imagine getting back downstairs and the head / lead guard has your ID, and says they found it on the ground. Furthermore, they say you’re not allowed inside the venue (after paying) without an ID. Then they say if you want to get your ID back, you’ll have to pay them $40 and if you don’t have it, you’re going to have to leave because you cannot be inside the venue without a valid ID.  Fun right? Well beyond that shady shit, so there was a moment where my homegirl Ashley who was working the door caught these guards running side deals all night, basically slip a guard anything from a 20 to a 100 under your ID in line, and he’ll have you step out, and enter through the alternative entry OR just walk you in past the door. Some people would pay in line, get the lineskip, then have to pay again at the door, but would be complaining at that point about having just paid someone (a guard) for entrance. This shit happened at least 5x in the night to the point that it was brought to my attention by Ashley who I then rounded up all the guards with and said stop fucking cutting side deals. We will take care of you guys at the end of the night, just please do your jobs right. Between holding the line in order to get impatient people buying into this garbage technique of a hustle. To the ID thing, to YG’s entourage of 40 bloods then all the people who went in behind them it was just a shit show from start to finish. His set was good, people who got in without the bullshit enjoyed themselves despite the discomfort of the room being packed with people who were there for more security/support than anything. The 30-50 people who got fucked with that night proceeded to write me and sound off. The owner said he’d talk to his crew the next day and take some action (yeah right) – long story short, nothing was done. Our series ended and we got the fuck out to never return.  Again, just a moment of trust, and being on your p’s and q’s, this shit killed the customer experience and definitely ruined some peoples night, and it also cost us quite a bit of money at the door. Some people were leaving after seeing those in front of them just being whisked right in for an additional surcharge.


3. Cruisin For A Bruising –  I feel like I’ll end this one on a high note as this story is kinda funny with some twists and turns. This happened on a Thursday night when LA has a residency called Respect, a dope gathering for people into Drum & Bass, Jungle and similar sounds. The regulars here are/were as consistency as Low End Theory’s crowd is for electronic instrumental production. Always a good time, community vibes featuring emcees, producers and dj’s alike. This event happened at The Dragonfly, a place I’ve blown the roof off of with a few events, and was happy to have a good relationship with. Bear their head guard was always there to greet people and his crew was solid and ethical. Anyways, so I was out doing my rounds, dropping on events that friends were producing and performing at, and was on santa monica blvd passing by and decided to drop in. I grab a drink at the bar, get on the dance floor a little, step outside for some air and to smoke some trees. This girl comes out of the hallway and walks up to me, asks for my name, introduces herself. She’s cute so I talk it up with her for a bit, meet her friend briefly who then disappears and leaves me to chat with this girl further. I ask if she wants to smoke, she says no, I go inside. At this point I felt like I had already been here too long, I normally don’t spend more than an hour or so in a spot unless it’s really jumping, I have friends with me or I just don’t have anymore stops for the night. So I end up going inside by the entry near the photobooth. She walks up and grabs me and begins to start kissing me. Now I’m not mad, again she was cute – I didn’t think she was drunk or on anything at the time so I was like, this is different, let’s see where this goes. back against the photobooth, we go inside of the booth and continue making out a bit. She starts taking off my belt, pants, etc, turns around and before you know it, we’re fucking in the photobooth. Irony here is this isn’t the first, or second time I’ve handled biz in a photobooth, but I had mixed feelings here because I literally just did an event a month or so prior and I genuinely respect the spaces that treat event coordinators/promoters and nightlife pros right. Plus I knew a handful of people there, and really just wasn’t completely sold. Too fast, too soon? Who knows. Anyways, a guard comes to the booth… he opens it up with me pants down. Of course it’s a guard I fucking know, and he’s like “awww it’s you bro? I don’t even know what to do at this point, do you wanna finish? want me to stand outside? I was like nah man, I’m good here it’s cool – I don’t wanna disrespect the spot. So I exchange info with the girl ( which I guess would’ve been smart to do beforehand ) – she says she’s gonna go outside and smoke, I say I’ve gotta bounce to Echo Park. She asks me to come back to her place, says she’s only in town for a few days from the bay. I say I live here, I’ll be around tomorrow if she wants to get together. I promptly go out front ready to leave and Bear calls me out saying “that was you? damn man, with xyz girl? yeah, she’s cute” so he convinces me that the girl is worth going after, verifies her ID wasn’t from LA, and was military. Said her friend was already in the car waiting for her…I tell him I’ve never in my life chased pussy and really just let things kinda take shape on their own. Somehow he convinces me to go with her. She comes out shortly after this convo and then asks me to follow her to her hotel in studio city. At this point, I figured you know, why not – I was already past the point of no return with her so I may as well just go further. I follow her up wilcox, she pulls into 7-11. I pull in behind her, grab some condoms, a gatorade and smartwater and ask if she wants anything. She already has her starburst and whatever the fuck else. I hop back into my car and lower the window, saying “so we’re good, I’ll meet you over there – it’s only about 13minutes away right” and she says yeah, closes the door. Friend is still asleep in the passenger seat. She moves her car into reverse and then slams into the front bumper of a BMW m6, smashing the front lights and grill. Then she immediately pulls into drive and jets out of the 7-11 parking lot and north into the freeway. The dude runs out of the store and chases her car on foot after cursing a bit then hops in his car and speeds out of the lot and up the freeway too. At this point her phones dead, I’m following him and I don’t see her car in front, but I’m assuming that he does with the way he’s driving. Eventually my GPS tells me to get off as the hotel is down the street, I take the exit, sit at the light and then just go to the hotel and wait… Her phones dead, my phones dying. So I wait in the parking garage of the hotel for 15minutes or so. At this point, I’m just like is it even worth it? This is such a crazy night, and now she’s committed a crime. I should just bounce. I express the story to my homie who was the guard by text and then head start heading to echo park keeping in mind that this is exactly why I don’t chase women haha. I get to the gas station before the freeway and think, maybe I should go back and just at the very least see if her and her friend are alright. I go back to the parking garage, the cars there – all fucked up, looking like she backed into the fist of the incredible hulk. I call her phone, dead. I ask the hotel manager/cashier person if he could tell me what room the two girls just went into, he said without a police escort he’s not permitted. I took that as a hint as I should definitely just leave and not come back. I go on with my night, drop by short stop, say hi to some friends, tell the story, shoot some pool, then head home. The next day she hits me up with paragraphs of apologies by text, tells me she’s got another day in town til she goes to Vegas. Adds me on social media, I see she’s got a kid… It was all too much for me. Haven’t seen or spoken to her since. Dragonfly is now closed, Respect DNB has moved. Haven’t seen Bear since (sadly), The End.

🙂 So I hope you enjoyed these stories, with over 7 years of events I’ve got some pretty funny, sad, interesting, cool and exciting memories to tell. Since these are all Hollywood, I’ll probably jump to DTLA next then maybe Westside or EchoPark/Silverlake/EagleRock… Even got some crazy SXSW and 6th street stuff from when I lived in Austin, and a few from when I lived in New York.

The power of music, how strong is your connection?

Whattup Beat Junkies friends & fam!
It’s been awhile since my last post here, almost four months to be exact… Sadly, I’ve probably got another two or three til we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming of my weekly editorials – but it’s great, because this downtime is definitely giving me a lot of content ideas to get you guys more involved.

For example, by clicking here: You can click here to download 900+ Samples & Sounds in STYLSS Sample Pack – Vol 3  then support them here:  Stop Taking Your Life So Seriously

Also before reading further, I suggest pressing play on this – Once you’ve completed that, carry on below 🙂

Anyways, I want to say that I’m really excited to see what new content transpires over the upcoming months as I start to pick up the pen again for you guys (and myself), now with a bit of a different perspective.  The reason for my absence was, after having a wonderful Wednesday evening with my friends (Peyote Beats), roommate Mel, then later meeting with (Kosha Dillz) and (Tesha) at the LA staple Low End Theory where you can normally catch some of the best up & coming performers in town as well as some very notable established ones… I was in a near fatal car accident, I had just gotten back from a funeral and looking to clear my head so I figured I’d go to my home away from home (LET) and catch up with Thavius Beck before he moves to Philly & jumps back on tour with Saul Williams. As well as seeing what Scoop Deville’s up to, as I’ve done shows with him back when TLFI and Get Busy Committee were a thing. Low End will always be a special place to me, it’s where I met my ex-gf 5 years ago, it’s also one of the first places I started being semi-regular at since moving here 7 years ago. I’m very privileged to have worked with the residents at various capacities in the past and look forward to doing so furthermore in the future. Individually all of them are talented, and if you haven’t taken time to listen to their catalogs you should ( Daddy Kev, D-Styles, DJ Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, and also Nocando when he was the host, Frank the doorman & big Sam the Soundbwoy (Who’s birthday is actually tonight, and also happening there ).

After Low End, I took us over to Chinatown to drop in at Melody Lounge and connect with some other homies/homegirls such as photographer Hannah Song & J-Bless. There’s so many things to love about this city after dark, our nightlife is definitely a unique and one of a kind (given the proper tour guide, holla 🙂  After the brief meetup, we all headed next door to Full House to have dinner. Normally after doing events at Grandstar Jazz Club, General Lee’s and the surrounding areas, this is definitely one of the better late night spots (bonus: Their corn chowder is always on point and everything’s family style). Anyways – we had our meals, Peyote got an uber back to his car at my place, Mel got her way home, Kosha split, and I dropped off Tesha…


Mission Accomplished. It was a great night overall, I got to hear some great music, surround myself with good company and since I wasn’t DJ’ing, Rapping or running an event myself. We were done at a reasonable hour. So the story continues (and speeds up)..  After dropping off Tesha and talking about music for another hour, I was headed home and fell asleep behind the wheel, foot on the pedal accelerating to around 60mph at 3:30am. Resulting in having a head-on collision with an electric pole the size of an oak tree trunk. I woke up unconscious, steering wheel/column pinching me between my seat and the car, crushing my ribs and heart in the process. My right leg was immobilized and I couldn’t move it. I couldn’t see anything in front of me besides the white hood of the vehicle crunched up to the windshield (not knowing who or what I hit). Two kids from outside of the driver’s side window run up saying the police and ambulance are on the way, then proceeding to ask if they can help with anything. I’m in shock at this moment, I wasn’t aware of my surroundings at all or what happened. Little did I know, I fractured my leg and broke several ribs on each side, dislocated and broke my hip and worse of all having a traumatic aortic rupture (carries blood to your heart/brain). They bring out a tool similar to a saw of some sort, cut me out of the vehicle, out of my clothes, put onto a gurney and shoved into the ambulance. They hook me up to oxygen, tell me to hang on, tell me I’m going to be alright. Although, contradicting themselves when they speak on their radio to explain the extent of my injuries (which seemingly are much more severe then they are mentioning to me). Some point within this process I blacked out, woke back up to a police officer shoving a breathalizer in my face and talking shit. He was really on one and swore that I was drunk and he had the perfect catch laying on the plate before him. After a few attempts to gain the lung capacity while my ribs were broken and lungs in pain, I was able to blow into it successfully and get him out of my hair. The asshole was too lazy to write a police report and gave me shit the entire time in the hospital for the breathalizer… At Cedar Sinai they brought me to the ICU/ER and performed a very complicated heart surgery, alongside leg and hip surgeries, in which now I’ve got a metal implant in my hip, leg, and stent in my heart.  While the story continues, I’m honestly not even looking to focus on it much further as it’s now something I’m dealing with every day and I’m just blessed and thankful that I’m alive at this point.

So my purpose of this posting was to give some insight as to my current situation – Keep in mind:  I’m on month three of recovery/rehabilitation and doing my best to taper off painkillers and do my therapy to be able to walk again )

After the accident, I noticed that there was a very unique trend going on. Since being discharged and on bed rest, I’ve now had over 150 guests visit me and it’s really emphasized to me how much of a valuable role music has played in my life. I want to say 85% of these people were have come into my life through the power of music / nightlife. Whether it was at events that I was producing, attending, places we danced or jammed, poetry slams, mc/beat battles, dj showcases and more. The one constant thread with almost all of these relationships was music.

Between Chicago House, Detroit Techno, years of underground hiphop, and then 2006′ til now catering to the production community by way of instrumental hip-hop and producer showcases. I’ve been able to create bonds worldwide and again the constant was and still is music.  ( Now if only people would stop calling this my fucking “Kanye Moment” haha

( for reference: his devastating accident left him to have reconstructive surgery for his face. Kanye was laid up in the hospital for weeks. He had no health insurance, paying for everything out of pocket, as he was on the mend he just followed his passion projects and yeah…)

So this had me asking myself, what does music mean to me?  Music has so much to do with so much of what I do, and why I do it. It’s integrated, influenced, enhanced, and dramatically impacted my life in so many areas that I’m finding it even more difficult to describe in further detail . It’s been instrumental in pulling me out of the darkness, and equally beneficial at making the good times that much better and more memorable.  Everyone that was with me on the night of my accident, was brought together by music, each individual relationship. I remember when I moved to New York at 18 music is what carried me into the night with a fake ID and into the clubs where my favorite rappers and dj’s were rocking. Music got me onto stages against competitors and built friendships of them. It gave me the courage to explore areas that I wouldn’t otherwise visit if I’d been distracted by the sounds of the night. It gave me perspective coming from Tampa, FL and growing up on your Miami vibes, then southern stuff from my country cousins to the north and west. When I got up to NYC I got Jersey, Philly, Baltimore… When I moved to Texas, I was getting a lot of chopped & screwed, z-ro & trae, devin the dude, paul wall, slim thug. Every trip to Cali it was underground hiphop, gangsta rap & accompanied by the classic west coast sound that you heard all throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s.

Music is a part of us, it’s a reason to live. I feel like a person with good taste in music is equal to someone that smells really, really, REALLY good. it’s necessary. the medicine mending wounds and moods. it’s your second wind, and the shifting of moons. It’s your personal trainer, it makes you strong, it makes you weak, it’s a mode of transportation, the most valuable thing you own, it’s your religion, your second voice, my favorite teacher and class. I think it’s good to get lost in the static and enjoy the distraction while you build and destroy. Music is an accomplice to all of your passion projects. It enhances, amplifies, reflects, shadows, and while you can’t can’t touch it you can feel it, and while you can hear it but can’t see it. It can answer questions and solve problems, create change, it’s a synonym for so many words. My favorite musical supplements nourish and cultivate.

Music speaks what cannot be expressed, the healing attributes, the power, the healing of the soul, body & mind. No matter what you’re going through, whatever escape, adventure, it’s a drug, prescribed, therapeutic, wake you up, put you to sleep, power, feelings, unite, fulfillment, energy creating movement, you can use it to speak without saying a word, it’s my first love, my last love, my soundtrack to life. Whether used to divide or in this case, bring us together. I don’t need to keep going to make this even more redundant, we all understand the many things music is or can be, and with all of the people who’ve been taking care of me since my accident – I can honestly say music has yet again, saved my life.

Anywho, expect some new content in the upcoming months.
If you’re interested in trying your editorial chops and writing for the beat junkies blog,
feel free to email me:

Lastly, while I don’t feel like I’m living on borrowed time anymore despite the near fatal car accident. I’ve definitely had some forms of enlightenment that I’ll be expressing via my newsletter and I can’t help but stress and suggest how important it is to be grateful for what you have because you never when it’ll be gone. Treat people with respect and appreciation. After all, you don’t want to be alone in the darkness with nobody at your side when you really need someone the most because you’ve spent your life being a dick to your peers.

Til next time 🙂
thanks for reading.

ig: @ericspivak

Never Too Late – The Pros & Cons of Age In Music

You know, every year that goes by we all look back and ask ourselves with questions of the past, as we pose goals and strategies to secure our future and attempt to accomplish what we’d like. The quote of another year older, another year wiser to a lot of people tends to resonate well.  Over time, through our experiences, each and every day ( Unless you live a very routine lifestyle ) we acquire new skills, refresh ourselves on old ones, research and discover things we never knew we always loved. Most of this acquired knowledge and experience comes whether we want it or not.

In Music, the way age plays many roles is very interesting considering it can really have a HUGE impact to a lot of aspects. I feel like the older generation of music producers are always in comparison with the younger generations, but like anything else a good portion of them adopt it and adapt to change, much like they did with technology. While others may reject it because it’s secondary or ‘extra’ to a sound that was already in a very good place. Age can make you look at those around you in a comparison manner where you see nothing but accomplishments and achievements and you can utilize those as motivational inspiration points.  You can also look at it in the reverse and find yourself doubting your own abilities because at your age, they were doing much more and better.

It’s interesting, to look at “the tools of the trade that we use to get paid’ (smif-n-wessun)


Younger vs Older
When you’re younger your sound may be more lively, wild and free. It could be more easily influenced and less consistent. There may be a lot of “let me try this” or “I’m gonna leave this part in here and see how it sounds” or “we can mix these two things to make something unheard of”. The point is we’re not afraid to experiment, and alternatively not so worried about the loose threads. Now there are younger artists and musicians who are the complete opposite and see how the more mature and older styles are potentially more refined, mature, strict, and with less color or odd and new shapes. They’ll use that to learn from and kind of get a head start in the race. When you’re younger you’re still interested in sounding like that guy. When you’re older, you’re more interested in being that guy, and not as interested in learning new things. The old dogs or OG’s that nurture and cultivate the youth with their tips, tricks, and the history of a specific sound or style, help extend the longevity and range of which the music can have. While the new kids on the block have to be hungry sponges and interested in pushing the limits, bursting the seams, and making the older guys seem like they’re dated. Which works for the older guys to get motivated to then learn something new and try something different. It’s really a cool little tug of war for self. I know the biggest bump and boost in confidence and my risk-taking was when people I’ve always wanted to work with, were reaching out to me. I used to ask myself when I was younger, what am I doing wrong that they won’t pay attention? Is it my beat selections? Maybe the lyrical content or the cadence doesn’t align? Does my writing suck? Maybe the quality of my music is due to my equipment. Damn, how I wish I was older and could afford something newer and better. The list goes on, but the tug of war doesn’t just stop with being hard on yourself at a certain time in your life when you’re trying to do your best and more creative piece of art. It’ actually impacts your lifestyle too! Imagine a younger artist who’s faster, stronger, better looking. The former you. This guy can go 48hours with 5 bookings in 2 days across 3 cities. The younger guy is down to get the street performance money, the birthday party and wedding money, the nightclub pays me to play garbage and destroy my body money. The younger guy is pretty much down for whatever and has no reserves because this is his career, and these moves all correlate to visibility and revenue. While the older guy may be over all the stuff mentioned above. He also knows how the money shifts and instead, is taking things like corporate clients buying commissioning music, sponsors paying you to represent their brand with your talents bridging an audience, you’ve moved on from the top40 clubs and you’re back to doing what you love OR your love for top40 clubs was so great and lasted for so long, you’re now either a Vegas and Festival level performer or you’re a radio DJ trying to make a difference. I personally get filled with inspiration anytime I see someone I used to religiously listen to in the past, for a live performance for the first time. Not to mention the chance to meet them and see if they were everything you imagined from what you’ve heard and seen, is also cool. If I was older, perhaps jaded and simply “over it” shit like this wouldn’t really matter. I’d probably find myself less motivated to create. The older artist may have more life responsibilities while the other one has time and freedom to travel, even if the whole thing just barely covers and he comes back to having to do rap battles or beat competitions to pay rent. The younger guys are down for collaboration with anyone to get their name out. The older ones make more strategic moves in regards to collaborating. The older guys realize the value in sharing their experiences, environments, and daily interactions in their music. The younger guys are still trying to change the future by putting out what’s now or next. The younger guy may have less financial restraint, therefore can justify free gigs and rationalize doing things that don’t immediately benefit or convert to new fans or listeners.  I didn’t realize how long or deep this conversation goes, and I’m kind of upset at myself for tackling it in this form. But at this point, I think you get the gist of it. There’s two sides to every story, coin, and person. Let the real you come out of everything you create in order to have the most genuine, authentic, and transparent projections. Live at your own pace, and know that your current reality is only temporary.  Collaboration over competition, unless the competition is healthy and progressive. Don’t pass opportunities because you feel that you’re too old, young, or it’s too late or early. It really just takes 1 moment for something that can happen to change your life forever.


5 Artists You Need To Know – Vol 11.


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You can find more work by him at

DJ / Producer – SWISHA

You can catch him tearing up clubs from West to East Coast & beyond. Holla @djswishasweet

Vocalist/Singer-Songwriter – Joyce Wrice

You can reach out to her at: @joycewrice

Producer – Swarvy

You can get a hold of him at @Swrvy

Emcee – Waju


Holla at Waju via @EyyWaju
Hopefully some if not all are artists that you can check out, follow and support in the future. If they are published here, it’s because I’ve caught their live shows, older projects and newer ones and feel they’ve put in the work to deserve some shine much like the prior 10 Artists You Should Know posts. Thanks for listening.

-Eric Spivak
IG: @ericspivak
TWT: @ericspivak
Beat Junkies Record Pool: 


So as I’m doing more artist consulting this month, I’ve noticed that a few of these guys and girls are really struggling on trying to get true feedback and readings on their music. Getting that response is extremely important in the direction you may take an incomplete project, or maybe start a new one. People’s first impressions are generally their rawest, then a second listen or look yields different results ( the “sleep on it” and revise the next day, approach ). Regardless of if you want either of these reactions, you first need to have places to get an unsuspecting listen. So below I’ve made a list of a few ways that have worked for me, and others I work with, hopefully they work for you!

Aux Cords – I know it may sound stupid, or maybe even like a no brainer, but if you think about coffee shops, cafes, diners, uber, lyft, house parties, and so many other places that an aux cord can come in handy, if you get creative with you can literally replace the world around you with your own soundtrack (tactfully) — Note: I say please use this one at your discretion, your music may suck and your taste in music could also suck. I wouldn’t want a room full of people to

CD-R’s turned Data Discs – So I go to anywhere from 3 – 8 events per week here in Los Angeles, it’s not as exhausting, expensive or time consuming as you may think. Infact most of it’s paid for but I will say one thing that really gets my friends is when I’ve got 2-3 in the car and I have my mixes on. I constantly get asked “What is this track, my shazam won’t work” and other similar questions as they look at my LED dash that says SPIV_Untitled28. So I started distributing my mixes and music I intended on mixing or playing out at gigs to the friends who’d roll with me. It’s also great economically because these data discs can hold upward to 80mb (which depending on the size of the songs, could be upward to 150 tracks). Also in 2016′ they play in most systems. So at the start and middle of each month I burn about a dozen new cd’s and when I interact with Bartenders, Security Guards, Event Coordinators, or just have friends in the car or make new ones at functions and I can give them my music. Note: I generally also include a prerolled joint and preface them listening to smoking and ask them to give me their thoughts on it after.

USB – Similar to the above, except smaller and easier to get preloaded with music. You can get bulk orders of usbs pretty in expensively these days. They also have a larger capacity. Get innovative with customization aspects and you can really get your music far in these little babies. I give them out like candy on Halloween, and if I don’t get custom designs, I’ll put a small sticker that correlates back to my social media and just leave them at various unique spots around the city. Taped to bathroom stalls to sticky notes, I’ve put them in envelopes that say “Listen To Me!” and gone around parking lots and garages outside of events that have a demographic I’m trying to reach, and dropping them in any window that’s left cracked open or putting them on sideview mirrors. Get Creative. Your distribution techniques should be unorthodox and untraditional. Be unique in your approach and you’ll go far.

Shortcut Links – Long web addresses are hard to type, and remember. Keep it short and simple, using a site like or other ‘link shorteners’ help people reach your music more easily and faster. You can press these on yellow manila envelopes, but them on USPS stickers, even pull tab signs. The shorter the better. It should either go directly to a download/autoplay link or a place giving people very minimal options of what they can do, and if they like what they see or hear — they should have a way of reaching you.

Digital – Distribution through digital channels is easier than ever with things like Tunecore, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc. Me doing guerrilla and viral marketing alongside business development and growth hacking. I choose to again, go a think differently approach. If you have 5,000 friends on facebook, export your friends list, alphabetize it, organize it, and highlight people who’d likely be down to share your product. Whether it’s a campaign, a service, a product, whatever you have, you know who’s down to ride for you, and there may be some people you don’t know who are also down to ride for you. If the quality of what you have to offer is good, people will naturally share it. I’ve done the angle of having multiple people change their profile pictures across 3 networks all at the same time, as well as create a share/RT/RP campaign that was very effective. There’s also a few other tips and tricks to the digital marketing game to explore, but I had to work for this knowledge, and you shall have to as well 🙂 — Think about the avenues of video channels, live streaming, podcasts and more. You’re smart, I believe in you.

Crowdsource Campaigns – Similar to my mentions above in the retweet/share/repost campaigns. Crowdsourcing is a great way to get yourself heard (and get paid). A very strategic and savvy campaign that showcases creativity, authenticity and ingenuity will definitely help get you heard by peers. Not to mention it allows you to generate revenue if the product is good or they believe in you. I think about having 5,000+ friends on facebook, and then my other social networks then my 25,000 person email list and I think. If each of these people were to share 1 hit song or 1 dope clothing article or just something that has the potential to spread — there’s just so many opportunities that can come from that. $5 x 5,000 people = $25,000 | Most people spend more than $5 daily on stupid shit they don’t need. They don’t need your music either. Make your music that stupid shit they spend their $5 on. Except, make it extraordinary and special, and actually worth much more than $5 so it doesn’t feel, look or sound like a stupid purchase.

Stickers – Not just “stickers” but window decals, murals, wheat paste, billboards, skywriting. whatever it takes. Take into consideration how long these things last, and how inexpensive they are. If they are designed well, they garner a lot of attention and can spread like wildfire in photos and videos. Much like several coveted locations in LA that people use for backdrops for their ” look at me, I’m basic” IG photos.: Much like stickers, stencils are also a valid route, but also more risky – Look into Post No Bills and other signage issues to make sure you don’t get in trouble placing stuff where it doesn’t belong or on other people’s property that it will have a negative result or impact on you. I have some stickers that are in nightclubs and bars that have hung on for 10 years and they STILL to this day get me new eyes/ears that occasionally reach out to me to compliment my music.

Business Cards – The less permanent route. So business cards are inexpensive, they don’t have to be used as “business cards” they can be used as promotional cards. Due to the cost vs quantity situation with this, you can easily throw hashtags, websites, catchy quotes or art and literally give these out EVERYWHERE YOU GO. I used to drop them in checkbooks when I was bartending and waiting tables to every single guest of mine, I’d also leave them on the busses and subways, inside friends cars, bathroom mirrors, literally everywhere imaginable. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the return on investment with these. I do a lot of things in this manner, what is the easiest or least expensive way to make the longest, biggest and best impact. — My only downside to these is environmentally, it’s waste. In general, I am conscious of these things so I do actually use this approach a little less often these days. I suggest making it reusable or plastic like a membership card instead of temporary paper promo.

Brand Alignment – What does your sound invoke? How do people feel when it’s on in the background, or if they’re working out? Is there any feeling in your music? I hope there is. Match the vibe of your style, content, and sound with like-minded people and businesses to get better results. If my music is very uptempo and fast paced like Styles Of Beyond, or maybe some Jungle/Drum&Bass/Breakbeat sounds. I’m probably better off trying to get it to people in the hands of people into active lifestyles, as opposed to couch potatoes or cubicle slaves, who probably prefer something more mellow and downbeat. If you’re loud and flashy, don’t pitch yourself to reserved, closed-minded suits. Find your niche and go for it. I look toward start-ups and publications to offer commissioned original music, production, writing, and songs to, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it definitely has benefits once placed to get you heard.

Collaborations – This is how you bridge an audience. Got a singer/songerwriter who’s really dope? get her acapellas remixed by a producer that’s equally matched and let them play with each others sounds to create something new and fresh. Collaboration over competition any day, every day. I’ve teamed up with Skating, Fixie/BMX brands, Shoe Companies, Clothing Lines, and much more in regards to creating collabs that extend beyond music. Once you get the hang of pitching yourself and your brand/product/service you really gain perspective on how businesses operate, who their markets are, and you can come up with ways of intertwining yourself with them in a mutually beneficial manner that allows you to reach their crowd and vice verse.
That’s it for today’s lessons, I hope you gained something from this and continue to create new and unique ways of getting yourself out there. Feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a line at any of the places below 🙂 If you need help with marketing, promotions, pr, design, etc. I can also help with that.  Please repost this article as it doesn’t just pertain to music and have a wonderful day full of good music and vibes~

Eric Spivak
FB: ericspivak
IG: @ericspivak
TWT: @ericspivak
SC: @ericspivak
Beat Junkies Record Pool: 


1. Martin Ron: @martinronmural
You can find more work here:
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2. Greg Grease: @greazygreg
You can find more of his stuff here:

3. Gavlyn: @gavluvsyou
Check Her New Project Here:

4. Madeintyo: @madeintyo
You can find more from him here: 

5. Anna Wise: @annathewise
You can find more from Anna at or
ig: @ericspivak
twt: @ericspivak

25 Albums To Revisit Or Listen To For The First Time

So these aren’t in any particular order, but I was going through archives of old music at my mom’s place last weekend and it reminded me of how much I’ve been craving just really solid start-to-finish records or ones with replay value. Twice this week I’ve also been tagged in posts wanting my contributions to lists of albums people fell in love with. So below is a part of that, I’m sure you’ve got plenty that you could contribute and add as well. In the next few years I think I’m going to rip everything that I own and let you guys have a field day. In the meantime, revisit these greats.

  • Raekwon – only built for cuban links
  • Dr. Dre – The Chronic
  • The Roots – Iladelph Halflife
  • Murs – F’real
  • Mac Dre – Genie of the Lamp
  • OC – Jewelz
  • Funkmaster Flex – Vol 1
  • The World Famous Beat Junkies – vol 1. Dj Babu
  • Oukast – Atliens
  • Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus
  • Aesop Rock – Labor Days
  • Anticon – Music for the advancement of Hip Hop
  • Atmosphere – Overcast
  • ATCQ – Midnight Marauders
  • Mobb Deep – The Infamous
  • Capone-N-Noreaga – The War Report
  • Redman – What? The Album
  • Cypress Hill III – Temples of Boom
  • The Beatnuts – Stone Crazy
  • Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event
  • Wu’Tang – 36 chambers
  • Slug – God Loves Ugly
  • Eminem – Slim Shady LP
  • The Pharcyde – bazaar ride
  • N.W.A. – straight outta compton

Thankfully technology has allowed us to actually reacquire all of these full albums or just individual tracks we want at high quality on several websites, and some people have also uploaded them to youtube in their entirety. Enjoy 🙂

Also, since I’m not just a biased hip-hop head – If you’re interested in a handful of killer jungle/acid house/trance/techno/dnb tapes, demos and live recordings from the 90’s check this out:    #nostalgia.

-Eric Spivak

The value of a hater and why it doesn’t hurt to have a few.


Adversity in business, relationships and friendships has always been something I’ve paid attention to. I actually have quite good memories of people watching in many environments. When you’re producing events you get to interact with hundreds of people for very short periods of time for a few hours. Behavioral habits and human nature have always been interesting to me. Luckily, over time my curiosity in this matter has actually paid off by making me a good judge of character, and very rapidly.    So this article comes from a near and dear place. Regularly I see friends in art, music, and various lines of business have their ups and downs, highs and lows, get taken advantage of, beaten up, broken down, ripped to shreds, chewed up and spit out. By peers, friends, enemies, frenemies, and any other variation of the sort. The internet has definitely made it easy for people to sound off when they dislike something and want to get their opinion heard (social media, yelp/google+ etc)

We all have them, we know what they are, but here’s a reminder:

A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.

Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock someone down a notch.

Susan: You know, Kevin from accounting is doing very well. He just bought a house in a very nice part of town.
Jane (hater): If he is doing so well why does he drive that ’89 Taurus?”
Now it doesn’t matter what world you are living in, what you do for a living, what you’ve done in the past or where you’re going. The one constant besides change, is having haters. You probably don’t have enough of them to be honest. I know that may sound ridiculous, but there is several theories out there proving that how many people are speaking negatively about you, can directly convert to how successful you become. A lot of this has to do with if someone is repurposing the negative energy into positive. To many who don’t take things personally, they understand this kinda bad mouthing or negative critique can be rerouted and serve positive purpose. It’s a lot like PR where someone will take a bad story, and spin it into something good, striking while the hammer is hot and all eyes are on a subject. Most of the industry leading top dogs have their critics. If you’ve ever worked in food service, you understand that you simply can’t please everybody, regardless of how much you want to.

So let’s speed this up and put it into more of a perspective, do you see ‘nobodies’ on the TMZ, Ellen or Jimmy Kimmel reading damaging blows against themselves? No. These people have reached a level of success to a point that their name is on display for the masses, which comes with a lot of positive and negative responses. In business, we’ve got online review platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google+ encouraging people to sound off on the good, bad and ugly. Which then allows for Reputation Management jobs to come in and do damage control, much like a Manager/PR to a Musician. I’ve made moves in my past that have gotten me ridiculed, in the spot light, and my name and credibility tarnished all over the internet, including being blacklisted by certain people because of them seeing such negative things about me in the headlines. Did that stop me from reaching my goals? starting my own businesses? continuing to follow passion projects and creative projects? Hell, fucking no.  It just further emphasized the power of PR, it showed me that if I don’t respond and essentially ignore or let it roll off my back, that eventually it’ll subside. It made me realize that while all the attention is on me, I can do really good things that win back my audience. Luckily, I learned this life lesson at an early age and allowed it to again, teach me the benefits of having people try to create road blocks and obstacles that otherwise wouldn’t be produced, had it not been for the moves I was making.  Consumer Reports, Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, Countless Music Blogs.

We’re constantly regurgitating hate spew. My only qualm is the lack of consistency in the haters. What an incredible waste of time and energy it is to just follow people achieving? Let alone the flipflopping hate where people play both sides of the fence.    So here’s where the value in haters lies, outside of being motivational, sometimes they point out flaws or things you may have missed. If someone is clowning on your style, or an outfit – perhaps that ‘hate’ is actually an observation vocalized and pin pointing something you missed? Haters can also help give perspective and insight on weak points of things. I remember a guy was hating on a friend of mine’s music for years through online channels and in person. He made it a point to constantly talk shit, to the point that one time he got his jaw broken, but that’s beside the point. Some of the things this guy was saying while funny or made for satire were actually fucking valid points, imagine that? This hater was mentioning how my friends music wasn’t transparent or aligning with his character. Regardless of being portrayed through lyrical content in albums and songs, certain messages could be received or twisted to show my friend in a poor light, and make him seem to lack authenticity, not be genuine and essentially leave himself open to be called “fake”.

After I brought it up to him in a “maybe he’s right” approach, my friend broke down his past work to current and realized it was true. So, in this example his use of the negative energy, allowed for a positive change to come from something intended to destroy, but instead, allowed him to reroute or detour to greener pastures. A lot of us look at haters as envious, insecure, weak, and fearful. A lot of it stems from a lack of not being able to do the same thing deep down. That means you’re doing something they can’t, or perhaps are scared to even attempt to do. Haters, can also turn into supporters. I used to send my own personal work to people who used to talk shit, over and over til I won them over and the hate turned into love. These people are already attracted or interested in what you do at some capacity, why not challenge them and yourself, and try to convert a hater to a fan/admirer? The difference between the two is really just you going from good to great. Haters also help you gain visibility you otherwise wouldn’t get. See who’s paying attention, and instead of defending yourself or enabling the behavior, talk to some of the people who chime in on a real level and give them alternatives? Maybe they are bandwagon riders and agree in the moment, but that’s because they don’t know of anything else you’ve done or have in the bag. The only way to avoid these people is not doing anything that grabs their attention, sounds fun right? You play it safe and tread lightly on eggshells and thin ice with a cloud above you and behind your back at all times. OR you soar to new heights and make them see you, hear you, and love you. To hate on your music, your art, or your event. They have to actually invest some form of interest, time, and maybe money in order to access it. People buy tickets to Dave Chapelle’s standup so they can hate on Dave Chapelle’s standup, and heckle from the audience. Do you care about a little bump in the road, or making money and having a packed house?

So between the valuable feedback, opinions and critique. To the increased awareness and visibility of your brand (free press), to the potential monetary gain from their interest in you. To even discovering weak parts you didn’t even know existed. I say, bring on the haters.  They allow you to learn and grow as an artist and as a person. Just be sure if you are going to ‘hate’ it’s for a just cause and actually valid. Even explain or break down why you are saying what you are saying to further justify and “help” the opposing person or company… That my friends, has lead to me getting paid 250/hr as a consultant, a few thousand a month as a Creative Strategist and Marketing Professional, and much more.
1. They talk a LOT
2. They’re often passionate
3. They tend to be in your market
4. They give you an open invitation to share
5. It’s WAY cheaper than advertising
6. They can make you look good
7. They might be highlighting a grievous error
This list comes from an article by: Matt Cumming which lead to me creating this article you’ve read.

Hate it or love it,  Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams.

Wanna send me some hate mail?
-Eric Spivak


5 Albums You Slept On And Shouldn’t Have

Now as usual, I know some of you have heard these ( it may have been awhile ) but I feel like the current and future generation of readers don’t get enough of this kinda content, so it’s a great opportunity to bridge the gap in this social media age. Share the wealth 🙂

(can’t find the full album of this, but a very very solid project: Grey Matter: Grey Matter)


Alright, so you’ve managed to buy some gear, learn some software and hardware, crank out some beats, memorize some lyrics you wrote, get together the band without interruption or excuses, maybe even released your first song or a handful of projects, Great?… What’s next?

In this Beat Junkies article I’m going to give you 15 ways you can convert — what you know, who you know, and what you’ve learned into something tangible.

1. Street Performing – While this may sound cheesy and the idea is old as dirt, it works. I actually have a few friends who are full-time musicians and get paid quite a bit per shows, have agents, managers, publicists and make anywhere from $2500-5,000 per release who *STILL* do this on occasion for a few hours for entertainment, promotion, networking and more.

2. Streaming Shows – When I lived in New York, I used to do streaming shows through voice chat programs like Ventrilo and Teamspeak where I’d freestyle off the words listed in the chat and charge $1.00 per person via paypal to join the shows that I’d promote through AOL & Yahoo Chat Rooms. It didn’t take long before I created a schedule where once a week I’d do a show from home, with friends, broadcasted to a few hundred all over the globe and make a little under $500 in a few hours. We’d then go hit Fat Beats, End Of The Weak, Club SinSin, Nuyorican and other spots around the city. With streaming technology getting better and more accessible these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could make a few g’s pulling together the right people and charging for an online series/show in a similar manner.

3. Booking Websites – There’s plenty of websites out there that give you the accessibility and visibility for bookings all over the globe. Try to list yourself on these websites for the obvious reasons of it’s just an additional opportunity for you to be seen and heard. Although, these sites actually specialize in fulfilling a need for someone who’s looking for XYZ. Google “music booking websites” and you’ll have some options in this realm.

4. Merchandising & Apparel – Digital & Physical : This is an area that a lot of musicians really miss the mark. I don’t care if there is 10 people or 10,000 people every show you should have merchandise and product for your supporters. It’s income outside of your booking, and you have the flexibility to negotiate because you know what the products cost to make and how much you’re looking to get as a return on that. Plus fans are a lot more interested in purchasing something face to face, rather then online behind a screen. With Shopify, Etsy, Bigcartel, Bandcamp, and a million other outlets online – there’s really no excuse to not have digital merch sales rolling along with your physical stuff at events. Having all of this stuff listed on your own personal website is the best approach.

5. Sponsorship –  If you’ve got a really unique product or a growing / established fan base, there’s a lot of businesses out there looking to align themselves with people who can be ‘ambassadors’ or faces of their brands. Not only can you get free products, services, and special discounts out of this. You can also get a cash donation or stipend for just doing what you do, and having their sticker on your laptop or you name dropping the company a few times a month. There’s actually a very very wide range of structures you can create for opportunities with potential sponsors. websites like even do the legwork of organizing the startups for you so you can see what the companies are about that you’re reaching out to, instead of blindly sling shotting yourself to all these businesses

6. Crowdfunding  While this is a newer concept that’s been adopted and successfully worked into the mainstream. Creating a a crowdfunding campaign is a great way to give your fans what they want, and get what you need, to successfully continue to live off of your art. As you know people purchase things for a wide variety of reasons… convenience, basic needs, replacement, it being limited rare or scarce, a great value, and because it directly supports a person or cause they are already invested in. What I like about crowdfunding is it’s an absolute Customized Solution for your supporters & you to both meet in the middle. I helped a friend of mine with his last 2, $10,000 kickstarter campaigns, both of which he hit his goals (Kosha Dillz). It’s a great way to test your audience and push yourself, as well as build a deeper connection with your fans.

7. Hired Gun  If you’re a good writer or producer, sometimes to take a step back and create ‘ghost production’ or stems and sounds or writings for other rising talent can do collateral damage and bring you into areas where you wouldn’t otherwise be. Over the years I’ve seen a handful of veterans who don’t really care for the spotlight so much, make great careers in composing and songwriting. If creating for others to hand off as their own in exchange for credits and money, you also have the opportunity here to write for film, tv & games. With the way technology has gone in Apps and Mobile, there’s a huge pocket of opportunity here. Take your shelved productions and writings of yesterday, polish them up and try to repurpose them. 

8. Licensing – Typically licensing departments were attached to publishing companies, but now with more and more content being self-published, and an increased interest in indie music several companies have been popping up all around. Photographers, Film Makers, Producers of all sorts. If you get placement in a video game, film, tv show or commercial, this is the mode of payment.

9. Music Supervisors / DJ’s – The people who pick the music that goes out into the radio, tv, podcasts, mixes etc  can create the runoff effect of new listeners discovering you, and digging deeper which hopefully translates into them becoming fans or supporters. One method I’ve done in the past with a PR campaign I worked on was making a list of all the DJ’s I would see pretty regularly in the city on flyers and events, and get all of their emails – create my own little marketing kit and then approach each with a unique message sharing links to music. Sometimes I’d get no response, sometimes I’d get rave reviews, and sometimes they’d take the music and throw it into mixes which lead to me gaining followers and supporters.

10. Brand Alignment & Collaboration – Similar to sponsorships, if you can find brands, influencers, and other ways of attaching yourself to a larger entity. This is also a great way to get a bump in revenue, as well as strengthen your bonds with companies or people that will be growing with or without you. I choose collaboration over competition any day. Just make sure it makes sense to the conceptual integrity on both ends.

11. Agents x Managers – These people are working for themselves, by working for you. They don’t get paid, unless you get paid, so they have to make sure you get paid. Long story short, while both serve two completely different roles. They also work together in a similar manner. You also don’t need either of these unless you reach a bit of a peak where you can’t handle the inbound requests or demand for you and it’d make sense to give up a little piece of a pie in exchange for having more pies to eat more often.

12. Music Publicist – People often come to me with questions about what a publicist can do for them in regards to their music, and I have to remind them how publicity doesn’t sell records. If you see a jump in sudden jump in sales or interest in you after taking on a publicist, that doesn’t necessarily coincide with having great PR. A publicist is brought in to your team to be a bridge to the media. The media is typically your editors/writers/content & segment producers etc.. competent publicists know what to do with a talented artist or musician. Before looking into one, be sure to create a list of ‘minimum’ results to be expected for the amount of pay x work hired and consider anything ‘beyond’ that a gift 🙂 —  A publicist isn’t around to get you record deals, marketing situations, agents, management, gigs or anything else in relation to those things. That’s what your management is for. A solid Publicist should be able to hook you up with any and all of the above “but” that’s the “gift” part I just mentioned.  This article is about eating off of your work,  and not so much defining each part of this industry, so to cut to the chase on how a music publicist can help you do this. Look at various “music pr and publicist campaigns” and check out the lead times vs costs and results for various article placements, reviews, interviews online and off. You’ll be surprised to see how much juice they can add to your career.

13. Session Work – If you’re a producer or an engineer, there is a lot of ‘session work’ out there if you’re hungry enough to look for it and get it. As a session musician, you can be a background vocalist, guitarist, drummer, do adlibs, work on other people’s work, and be a ‘subtitute’ of sorts. It’s cool and unique, brings you in quite a few different areas of work and also allows you to network with others in the industry whom may have interest in what you’re working on yourself.

14. Cover Gigs – A lot of people kinda ignore this whole little pocket but it’s actually a nice cushy area, with lots of opportunity, that is if you don’t mind making your art into a novelty temporarily. The good part about these types of gigs is they take a unique talent, interested in learning other people’s material and sound in order to imitate it in a proper or original way. In the same way that a stylist may take a page from a magazine, and remake that look but swap the one or two things out they think should be different. Cover gigs can bring you corporate parties, birthdays, weddings and more. You can also always use these as a platform for pushing your original material to the attentive audience if you’re good. I feel like the last cover band I saw was a Beastie Boy Cover Group… They were dope, and I would’ve paid to see them again with friends. Covers are also ‘safe songs’ because they are generally popular already and with that, you can potentially get a residency gig. Build familiarity with the crew at your residency, you may get your own night, which then you’ve got your own stage, sound, bar, lighting, and money coming in!

15. Teaching – Now obviously this isn’t one for everyone, but several musicians share their knowledge and experience by teaching it to others, as a service which costs money, because nobody works for free ( or at least, you shouldn’t ). This is a great way to supplement your income and you’re practicing, as well as refreshing yourself and your skills at the same time.

I didn’t mention Promotions, Marketing, and PR much because those are things that are reinforcement to whatever you’re currently doing.   The article here: How To Book Better Gigs More Often   OR this one: 10 Sureshot Ways To Get Heard By Who You Want or maybe even this one: What Makes Good Artist Great.  At the end of the day, I think we all know that talent and hard work should always reign supreme so don’t give up on your dreams if they don’t immediately convert. In Closing, “Dont get high all day and try to survive on snacks, alone. Put in the effort. Eat a meal, my nigga… Love y’all!!” – William Redd Thedford IV

Wanna reach out?
Eric Spivak
ig: @ericspivak
twt: @ericspivak
Beat Junkies Record Pool



James Jirat Patradoon
jirat1 Untitled - 2 

Suzi Analogue

DJ Morse Code ( 1/2 of POOLS )

Kadhja Bonet


Since wordpress makes it difficult to create space in postings sometimes. The people featured above are pretty easy to find online and shouldn’t be slept on:

James Jirat Patradoon / Kadhja Bonet / Suzi Analogue / Faimkills / DJ Morse Code 


Can You Dig It?

While I feel like the argument will always exist of vinyl vs digital, and preference of which you’d like for varying reasons beyond sound quality, artwork, and more… The entire market has shifted, especially in the rate of which we consume and discard music. It’s changed so drastically that by the time I finish making a mix an hour long mix with all new music, there’s another 500 brand new tracks put out. It’s almost impossible these days to stay on top of it all. For someone like me who’s a bit of a digital hoarder/collector this is a problem. I also pride myself on being “that friend” who’s always putting people up on that new new ish. That part is what I want to really focus on here.

Now we all know how Music Discovery has drastically changed over the years, but now more than ever has it been in a weird place where the quantity trumps the quality per accessibility of equipment and self publishing. I don’t wanna necessarily call it over saturation, as I don’t believe in having too much of a good thing being a problem. Especially for music lovers, creators, and performers.

Beat Junkies Record Pool 😉 Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, GooglePlay, Pandora, Mixcloud, Beatport, 22tracks and a million others.

I generally suggest using the Favorite, Like and Bookmarking features, or keeping an archive in shazam, then going to your main computer and individually purchasing each individual track that you ‘liked’ through these platforms. You automatically build a playlist with this route, as well as don’t have to waste money on the rest of the project that may not be as good as the track(s) you’re purchasing. All in all it’s just a very pragmatic and practical way of acquiring new music.

Markers and tracking is a great way to stay organized as well. I used the “like” buttons as checkpoints when digging digitally, so if I don’t go on soundcloud for a few days, I can scroll down until I see the last track I “liked” in order to see where I stopped listening, and where to pick up again.

With bandcamp, you’ve got the curated bandcamp weekly series that you can dig through – if you hear an individual song in that mix that you like, you simply click on the artist name to go to their full project the song is off of. From there you can also see if an album is released independently / self-published, or released on a label. Which gives you the option for digging deeper into their catalog or discog, alongside potentially discovering a whole world of music through a boutique label you didn’t know exists that puts out a lot of a similar sound.

You can subscribe as a fan to these acts in the same way as you can follow them. This puts you on their mailing lists so you can literally know if they do any kind of upload at any time.

All of these methods are valuable ways of keeping your finger on the pulse and your catalogs growing. I also suggest checking out which is curated by 120 influential DJ’s, as well as which has over 10,000 beat tapes dating back to posts in 2006′ when people like Ta-Ku, Kaytradamus(kaytranada), and many others were submitting music our way.

Hopefully this helps some of you discover some new music, and organize some old music, and re-evaluate how you acquire and maintain your collections. peace, til next time

(across all platforms) : @EricSpivak

10 Favorite Valentines Jams Of Yesterday & Today

10. Chris Brown (feat. Ludacris) – “Wet The Bed”

9. Trey Songz (feat. Drake) – “I Invented Sex”

8. Avant – “Making Good Love”

7. R.Kelly – “Your Body’s Callin”

6. TLC – “Red Light Special”

5.  112 (feat. Lil Zane) – “Anywhere”

4. Ginuwine – “Pony”

3. Usher – “Nice & Slow”

2. LSG – “My Body”

1. Jodeci – “Freek ‘N You”

5 Albums You Slept On And Why You Shouldn’t Have

Marco Polo – Port Authority

The U.N. – UN Or U Out?

InI – Center Of Attention

Blu – Below The Heavens

Fashawn – Boy Meets World



FREE before 10pm (with RSVP) / $10 after 10pm.
21+ / More Details Coming Soon
GorillaMic x Strictly Beats x Beat Haus present:
***LAX Beat Haus Pop-Up***
From Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA to speakers near you!
Join us for an instrumental evening of banging beats, slaps, booms and baps as we dig deep and explore some of the cities top producers through this exclusive Beat Haus Pop-Up happening in LA on Saturday, Feb 6th, 2016.
– Lineup To Be Announced Soon
– Special Guests, may or may not get mentioned 🙂
This event will be happening at Union, one of LA’s largest and newest venues (FKA CatchOne) – The show will also be streamed online to hundreds via link that can be found here.
“Beat Haus is an instrumental showcase.
From humble beginnings in a Brooklyn basement to traveling the US repping instrumental music & beat culture that spans hip-hop, electro, experimental & beyond.
Beat Haus is a a Brooklyn based event series, Radio Show and Label.
Universal Vibes.

Brought To You By #GorillaMic & #BeatHaus


Faith 47 – is an internationally-acclaimed street and studio-based artist. Following an active street art career spanning more than 15 years, her work can now be found in major cities around the world. Using a wide range of media, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate – from found and rescued objects, to time-layered and history-textured city walls and their accretions, to studio-prepared canvas and wood.  Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth. In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.

Her first solo exhibition, Fragments of a Burnt History (2012, David Krut Gallery, Johannesburg), considered the transformation of Johannesburg into a more representative African city, exposing the harsh realities of day-to-day life and capturing the remnants of South Africa’s complex history in a personal and symbolic manner. Through the creation of an immersive environment in the gallery space, this work challenged the viewer’s detachment. Her solo exhibition, Aqua Regalia (2014, London & 2015, New York), further extends the possibilities of immersive spaces, enveloping the viewer into a sacred ‘room’ filled with collected objects and other intricacies from everyday life that – together with figurative paintings – explore the notion of the mundane as sacred, celebrating the discarded and unwanted as holy.

faith1 faith2

Vince Staples – is an American rapper from Long Beach, California. He is one-third of the group Cutthroat Boyz, alongside fellow California rappers Joey Fatts and Aston Matthews. Staples was also known as a close associate of Odd Future, in particular Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt. Staples is currently signed to Blacksmith Records, ARTium Recordings and Def Jam Recordings. He came to prominence with his appearances on albums by Odd Future members and his collaborative mixtape titled Stolen Youth, with Mac Miller, who produced the majority of the project. In October 2014, he released his debut EP Hell Can Wait, which included the singles “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede”. His debut album, Summertime ’06, was released in June of last year (2015) and has gotten critical acclaim. *He was also chosen as part of the XXL Magazine 2015 Freshman Class. It’s crazy looking back to see how far he’s come, I think it was about 2010 when him, mikeg, syd, speak, nikko gray and a few others were rocking my showcase inside the Fox Hills (now westfield) mall in Culver City. Since then I’ve done plenty of other shows, even worked Camp Flognaw/OddFutureCarnival doing merchandising and pushing Vince’s goods. Bottom line, It’s great to see the climb/growth/progress of people who are dedicated convert to success in the eyes of many.

Astronautica – 23-year-old Los Angeles native Edrina K. Martinez is Astronautica, one of Alpha Pup Records’ newest artists. Bringing a unique style of lush electronica and a playful sense of exploration to the label, the young producer is a fresh face to the thriving local beat scene. Learning to play guitar by ear at an early age, Astronautica soon began mixing her own samples and beats. Quickly becoming addicted to the burgeoning beat sounds of the West Coast, Astronautica is now a full-fledged member of the movement. Been lucky enough to catch her more then a few times live, and recently had her play one of my showcases – definitely a sure bet for a solid set, every time.


IllFightYou – This is IllFightYou ( Glenn, Uglyfrank, and Khris P ) I Couldn’t find a real bio or much info on them, but I’ve been listening to these guys for quite some time now and putting up homies on them after playing out their music in the whip or at shows. They did a pretty thorough interview last time they were in LA with Intuition for his program Kinda Neat ( which can be heard here ) they also rocked LowEndTheory and a few other shows. Music speaks for itself, check it out below and more on their soundcloud.

Bibi Bourelly –

Bibi Bourelly is a Berlin-born Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. She wrote the Rihanna song “Bitch Better Have My Money” and features on “Without You”, a track by Lil Wayne that features on his 2015 album Free Weezy Album. She also co-wrote and features on Nick Brewer’s Top-20 UK debut track “Talk to Me” and she’s featured on Usher’s single “Chains”.   Bourelly is of Moroccan and Haitian descent. She was born in Berlin, her father being the guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly and her mother, the head of the art department at Berlin’s House of the World’s Cultures. She moved to America in the tenth grade to pursue a music career, first ending up in the Washington, D.C. then moving to Los Angeles. Her break came after a producer she had been working with online, Paperboy Fabe, arranged a session with Kanye West, who isolated her in a booth. The result was Rihanna’s “Higher”. She also wrote the singer’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”, which caused some controversy after Houston rapper Just Brittany claimed that Rihanna had plagiarised the song.

In April 2015 Bourelly issued her own single, “Riot”, an effort to prove to people she was “authentic”, detailing how wanted to be heard and recognised as a legitimate musician. Bourelly is also involved with quite a few other projects and artists which will soon come to light. Most recently being her features beside Usher & Nas…. I mean c’mon son haha. bright future ahead.


Step 1. Don’t be MeekMill or Stacey Dash. (joking)

These days, the internet has become one of the most instrumental, and sometimes detrimental building blocks for success. Although a big obstacle for many is learning how to navigate the landscape and figuring out the most effective methods of getting what you want, to who you want with the least amount of resistance for the lowest cost and the fastest, whew… Sounds like fun, right? At least, the ever-changing environment of what channels we use to distribute our content keeps things fresh, and requires us to be aware of new platforms to quickly adapt to for that ‘edge’ being first to: myspace>facebook>tumblr>soundcloud>twitter>bandcamp>instagram>snapchat>?????  –  After years of blogging, consulting, doing PR and producing events – I still have to keep my finger on the pulse of most outlets in order to know what’s best for the artists and brands that I work with and represent. That said, I’m going to share some advice below that should assist you in reaching the goals mentioned above as the title of this is how to get heard by who you want, which is synonymous w/getting what you want.

1. Ethics & Integrity – Are fundamental and part of the basics to this whole thing. Think about the impressions you leave with people, whether that be communicated via email, in person, or even on social media. Your online persona could be just your ‘way of expressing yourself’ or feel more vocal about things, but you have to remember that it’s all a reflection of you. Much like recording over someones production without asking permission from the original producer or creating a remix to something then pushing it as if it was requested just to ride the wave of the popular artist who’s original song is getting play. Common sense plays a big role in a lot of this, but if I have to explain that then I’m wasting your time and my own. Try your best to maintain artistic integrity – if an opportunity arises that doesn’t change the alignment of your direction, branding, presentation and fabric that holds your product unique. by all means – go for it. Although, on the b-side if you’ve got wavering ethics or conceptual integrity it can be seen from a mile away and that may prevent some people from connecting with you on a business or personal level alongside turning your audience away because you weren’t true to what you might do or say. ex: The hip-hop head who starts to experiment with other genres (Which is completely fine) or worse, the hypocrite who outs themselves on and off record.

2. Trim The Fat – Keep correspondence short, nobody needs your life story. From your bio to your press kit, to your messages for collaboration or even attempts to volunteer or get involved with things bigger than yourself. KISS ( keep it simple, stupid ) being short and straight-forward in correspondence and requests will make it easier for the recipients to respond quickly in a similar manner. No means no, but months or years later could mean yes. As long as you keep it short.

3. No More Parties In LA – LA and NY are meccas of culture, entertainment, fashion, music and art. People come here on a 30-day to make it plan and either burn through everything they have and go back home or they make moves strategically and do things right so they can live off of their craft almost immediately. Then there’s the 9-5’er or freelancer who supplements their income with a balance til they are doing what they love full-time. Anyway you cut it, I think another important part of getting heard by the right people ( or at least, who you want to listen ) does require the legwork of going out and networking. There are several websites that will tell you what’s going on in your city at any given moment, and each one is a gateway drug to more events, much like flyergum that ends up on your mirror/dash after a party… I’m not suggesting you street perform or start soliciting people while you barista or wait tables. On the contrary, I do tell people to create a calendar of events that they go to each month that are beneficial to what they are doing and where they are trying to go. There’s so many different groups and demographics of people to reach, and you only have so much time and money to do such. Going out on a decently consistent basis allows you to see performance spaces and other shows in which you’ll potentially be interested in performing at, gain inspiration from and again – spread your art among the masses.  You can drop your music with event coordinators, promoters, venue owners, talent bookers, deejays, and other people of potential importance when you’re checking out the nightlife as well.

4. Sampling – If you’re seeking placement or licensing situations, be smart about your sample usage. Unless you have the money to pay for clearance, most of the time that amazing track of yours is going to require a lot of additional work and money to have actual use. It sucks, but it’s part of the game and a very expensive, time consuming one at that. Try to create original compositions so your work is original and has more flexibility, thus allowing you more opportunities in where it can take you. Otherwise, seek the originators of that music, request permission to repurpose their work and who knows – you may not only get their approval but several additional stems and pieces to work with. Dare I say, sometimes it works out that if they like what you put out there, you can collaborate with them on an official level because of a mutual respect or interest. There’s no better feeling then after years of trying to work with a certain someone, them finally responding to you and inviting you to meet up and build. Most of the guys and girls I’ve wanted to work with almost 10 years ago, I’ve now done shows or projects with and consider friends today.

5. Presentation & Packaging – If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, it might possibly be garbage, or at least that’s the place it will end up if your presentation isn’t on point. The easiest way I’ve found to clean up your presentation is working with a designer who’s actually into what you create. Someone who would be excited, and benefit from working with you and creating for you. I can’t even count on both hands and feet how many designs I’ve done for free that I call “portfolio” to make myself feel better about not being compensated for them, only to have them start hiring me when their money was right. It was all original work for artists who I believed in, and little did I know would be moving mountains several years later and remember my efforts in supporting them. This is a good reminder of how things you do in the past, can help you in the future. Working with the same people creates a good synergy, relationship and creates consistency in your branding. If everyone’s on the same page, you’ll gain some form of identity from this and it’ll benefit you tenfold as opposed to hopping around with every photographer, video guy, designer and stylist you meet. Last note on this, keep in mind what I said about trimming the fat, because this also applies to overproducing or going too-minimal with your work (whether art or music). There is a happy middle ground which you should hopefully reach.

6. Submissions – Unless it’s a very small mb file, do not attach files to emails that you’re sending out to labels, blogs, promoters and more. Nothing is worse then being on the receiving end and finding out someone just left an elephant on your doorstep that you didn’t ask for and now you’ve gotta call up a moving company, wasting time and money to move it so your important packages can arrive. Always be mindful of your recipient, this includes how many paragraphs that will be ignored inside of your email. You’ll have a higher success rate on having your hail mary passes reach the end zone if you consolidate and simplify what you’re trying to say. If the goal is to just have someone hear your music on the other end, make it as easily accessible as possible – no download links, no attachments, god forbid you have to sign-up to some new service to get to it.  Just simply upload it on a platform where the person clicks once, doesn’t need to be logged in, and they end up at the file with a functional Play & Stop button with volume control and leave the rest in their hands. It’s really that easy, and if you’re not getting a response from said bloggers, editors and more – they are either too busy, not interested, or you need to change your approach.

7. Unique Approach – In a perfect world, a great idea or solid product would just fly on its own and create an abundance of wealth and opportunity for the creator of such things so they could reinvest in themselves. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world and everything requires a solid gameplan because there’s levels to this sh*t.  Having a unique approach will definitely help you get what you want as this shows you’ve thought outside of the box, and managed to think differently in how you present yourself, product or service. A few years back I had 2 friends ask me to redo their resumes. I asked them what they wanted to do, why, and what makes them think they are the most suited for the job. Both answered all the questions with confidence and with enough good reasons for me to move forward. Little did they know, if I didn’t feel like it would be sensible, I would’ve told them my opinion and suggested they work with someone else out of respect for their time and my own. One resume was for a new luxurious bespoke cocktail bar opening that would be extremely difficult to get into and had practically a 12 step hiring process. The other was for one of the biggest music festivals worldwide that happens annually in SoCal. For the bartender, we sat down and analyzed all the collateral the bar had released through press and media outlets. We took a screenshot of their menu, names of their drinks, their color schemes, and the overall idea/concept that they were sharing and integrated all of this into a resume. Her resume looked exactly like their menu, and had unique accents and design elements that were deemed clever or witty, ex: instead of where the bars website, address and phone number were, it had her contact information/Website/LinkedIn. She printed this on a thicker resume cardstock similar to a diploma and delivered it to this bar. From the moment they received it, others were called into the room to check it out, surprised and excited to see the efforts put in by this potential candidate to get the job. The story gets deeper, but to summarize – she got the job for being different and unique in her approach. Against hundreds of people trying to get the same position before and after her. It was this, that paved the way for her to stand out and gain the attention of the audience ( getting heard by who you want ).  While the other person I mentioned was applying to Coachella and basically had me create an entire promotional kit with backpack, shirts, stickers, flyers, a poster, lanyard and more all with personalized/flipped-Coachella branding, so instead of any of their details, it had his resume and credentials. This included a flyer with him playing every stage lol… Instead of sending it off to Goldenvoice, he actually ended up taking it with him to an interview in Hollywood, CA for an advertising agency and got hired almost on the spot. I can give a few other examples that I was involved with things like this in music/art etc but I absolutely encourage anyone to push the limit on creative application and distribution of themselves. This includes when you are producing Cassettes, Vinyls, CD’s and more.

8. Working In Reverse – This is sometimes a good process to accomplishing goals, I’ve done this a few times when assembling press kits and reworking resumes. As another example, there was an artist a few years ago that approached me about wanting to get on a festival. I looked at their guidelines for submission, who the headliners were, the openers, the region, and had to work in reverse to tear it all down to step 1 of what would give this girl the best shot at getting picked up for it. I started with the region, where she had already done many shows in the area with some of the biggest names that came into town fitting for her genre of music, so it was easy to make a list of these venues and shows she’s played, alongside the likes of who she performed with. That built value in her potentially bringing more attendees/promotion/ticket buyers to the festival due to familiarity.  I continued to roll down their lists of steps required to get “on” and looked at anything else that would give her an edge when applying. When we worked through all of those, it was a matter of how we served up her introduction email, organized the rest of her content to be most fitting for the acts performing and type of festival (omitting tracks that didn’t make sense or wouldn’t be of interest, and pushing the ones that were/would be instead ). We were even so detailed to change the photos on her press kit out to show a different side and that she’s rocked stages with thousands in the crowd before instead of the smaller venue, intimate, candid shots she had there prior. The list goes on and I’m sure you get the idea, but long story short – she got booked/paid because she had the basics down, but also learned how to tailor her pitch, after deconstructing the event and making a roadmap to reach her intended destination and audience.

9. Good People Are Hard To Find. – From managers, editors, event producers, curators, bloggers, and more. When you find people who genuinely appreciate what you say, do, and the direction you’re going. Don’t fuck up by letting them vanish, and don’t push them away with an ego. Everyone is trying to be the best they can be in their field, and who knows what their long term goals are. Some people you’ll work with from the start of their career and find helping you out a decade later just based on your consistency in being dedicated to your craft and humble in your ways. Others you’ll show a little bit of promise to, they’ll spot it early on and they will ride for you til the wheels fall off opening doors along the way. It may not be fun to weather the storm over and over again, but that persistence and patience pays off most of the time if you aren’t making the same mistakes ( not to mention it helps end the cycles of factory farmed creatives with mass distributed content that’s unhealthy clickbait, fodder and fluff distracting people from actually being productive). Build your team wisely and keep it thorough.

10. Asking. – They say a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, but an open one can potentially get smacked for saying the wrong thing. Be tactful in your choice of words, especially if you don’t know who you’re talking to. I know people who blame being introverted or anti-social to their lack of success in their industry when realistically it’s a matter of them not speaking up and asking for what they want. So instead of getting the help they need or want, they’ll bitch and complain about it (which also, has the same result) until they give up entirely or fall into some mental sickness like depression. Asking questions, gets answers and people like to talk. Don’t be afraid to do some outreach and remember, what’s the worst that can happen, they say no? or there’s no answer? Note, Please & Thank You still work in whatever year it is that you’re reading this article and last but not least. Don’t be an askhole, you’ll never get what you want if you continually ask for advice and then do the opposite, people notice and they remember. Asking is better then assuming, and that it’s better to ask for forgiveness then permission thing is definitely bullshit. That means you ‘assumed” the outcome of your question, and decided to do something because you weren’t strong enough to pose your request properly enough to get the results you desired, that shit is wack.  Learn how to communicate better and you’ll see that most things aren’t as difficult as you think. Lastly, don’t name drop unless that person will vouch for you, it’s not going to give you any points if you’re lying, and if someone like myself decides to do a verification text. “xyz says he knows you, and you’ve worked together, is he cool? ” and the results come back negative, you just blacklisted yourself with 2 people at once…

So that about covers it, I hope you learned something new or found some tips within that will help you reach your goals in whatever it is that you’re aspiring to be or do.


Wanna reach out? 
Eric Spivak
ig: ericspivak
sc: ericspivak
Beat Junkies Record Pool

What Makes A Good Artist Great.


Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to encounter and work alongside some amazingly talented people from all walks and industries. For a few of them, that “something special” was instantly seen through the first interactions til the last, and for others it sometimes took a little longer for me to understand, hear and see what everyone else was talking about.  It started to really make me question what divides the amateur from the pro and what’s the difference between a good artist and a great artist.

I personally feel a great artist can be defined by having a unique and special distinction among their peers. Whether that be art, music, even an athlete in the way they pitch, swing, shoot, or pass. Whatever it is that they do should be ‘timeless” or “classic’ and very difficult to imitate or duplicate. They tend to be original in what they do and how they do it. Beyond those abilities and attributes a great artist should be passionate about their work, because they are naturally creative and feel the need to produce. For some, I’ve heard it being described as much of a necessity as breathing, and if they can’t breathe (create) they feel like they are dying. Now, maybe that’s a bit dramatic or dark, but I can kinda understand the metaphor, especially looking at how many artists die of substance abuse when seeking desired results. I think humility and awareness also play giant roles in further dividing yourself from the pack. Modesty tends to be one of the shared qualities of some of the most successful and celebrated people of the world… They are traits that aren’t easily forgotten and tend to come with an attitude that creates a level of comfort and confidence in most settings, whether collaborative or flying solo. Awareness, is another large part of dividing the good from the great. I believe a true artist is aware of the power of their work, their surroundings, and what is necessary to create the intended response with their product. They use their art/talent responsibly (unless you’re kanye west or donald trump) and reserve their energy for when it counts. Being aware of your audience, platforms, and history allow you to move with the direction of your market. Trendsetters may have their finger on the pulse, but originators are the ones creating the trends for them to follow. Which brings me to organization and discipline. Obviously this falls in line with general rules for success, but this may very well be one of the biggest factors of dividing good from great. Being organized could mean a world of difference in how someone structures their career/life in a creative venture. A great artist can go back to their original works and pull bits and pieces to create or complete new puzzles, a good artist would probably have to dig through emails, phone numbers, old unlabeled discs and tapes in order to repurpose or utilize old materials, which just sounds exhausting if you’ve been doing something for 10+ years. A professional artist knows to be organized and disciplined in their life in order to be reckless in their work. I read into about 8 different articles on this topic before really trying to write about it and also asked a few friends whom are all accomplished and established in regards to what really makes the difference between good and great. In that process I stumbled across the writer Drew and his article below and I felt it’d be worth sharing as his breakdown is pretty comprehensive.

Are you a “Professional” Artist?

I’m not talking about if you have a corporate sponsorship or whether or not you are earning the big bucks.  I’m not even talking about quitting your day job, if you have one, and living on ramen noodles and Starbucks (because even if you’re poor you still need your Cafe Mocha) What I’m talking about is changing your attitude and the way you think about your art.  What you’ll discover is that more often than not people will take your art about as seriously as you do.

So what are some of the warning signs of an Amateur Artist?

1) Amateur Artists wait for Inspiration

While a professional artist will make a point sit down and work on their art every day, an amateur only works on their art when the “mood” is right.

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ~Jack London

Professional artists/writers/musicians know that you can’t just work on your art when inspiration strikes them or when the moon is in the seventh house of Aquarius, the true creative professional shows up and does something every single day.  It may not turn out to be that great and it might eventually find its way to the dumpster or recycling bin, but a professional shows up and works no matter what.

2.) Amateur Artists work until something else comes up

A  professional artist does not simply sit down for an hour and write half a chapter or paint a few strokes on the canvas and call it a day because their favorite television show is starting in ten minutes.  A professional artist/writer/musician continues to work until their muse has used up every last bit of creative energy in their body and then keeps on working just to make sure that nothing is forgotten or left behind.  A professional knows that the first hour or two of work is simply a warm-up exercise until their fickle muse finds them worthy of her attention.

3.) Amateur Artists are constantly changing their focus

A professional artist knows that it takes years if not decades of experimentation and practice to perfect their craft.  While an amateur tends to change their style or medium as the mood strikes them, a professional artist knows that a “jack-of-all-trades is a master of none”.  Even though professional artists have been known to change their focus as their work and skills evolve, they do this only sparingly and often only within their chose medium.  In other words, painters continue to paint, writers continue to write, and musicians continue to play.  Of course there have been professional painters and musicians who are also very good writers and vice versa, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of us would be far better off focusing our time and energy practicing and honing our chosen craft rather than risk diluting our creative power.

4.) Amateur Artists believe that if they build it, you will come

A professional knows that there is more to being an artist then simply creating art.  They know that there is only so much macaroni and cheese and spaghetti their family will eat before they will be dragged down to the employment office to get a “real” job.  Professional artists never get too attached to their artwork because they know that someday they will have to sell it in order to have the opportunity to create more art.

Professional artists understand that they not only need to know how to create their art, but they also have to know how to market and sell their work as well.  They make a point to find out who their potential customers are and where they hang out. They also know that they need to develop a relationship with these potential customersbeforethey ask them to pull out their wallets.  Professional artists understand that in the 21st century they will need to create and build their reputation as an artist online as well as in the real world.

5.) Amateur Artists believe that success will happen quickly

While an amateur artist believes that it will only take a year or two to create their reputation and have their career take off, a professional artists knows that this process will often take much longer than they imagine so they understand the importance of getting started immediately.

For a professional artist, art is not a hobby or a pastime, it’s a business which is why they insist on treating it like one. They not only show up everyday and work at their job, but they also know that they will need to work their way up from the bottom just like they would in any other profession.  They are in it for the long-haul and are willing to work on all aspects of their business (creating, networking, marketing, consuming) a little bit each day because they understand that true success will arrive in years not weeks.

6.) Amateur Artists believe they don’t need schedules or organization

While the amateur artist embraces the idea of the artist as a hippie free-spirit who doesn’t need to follow society’s rules, the professional artist knows that one has to be organized and disciplined in their life in order to be reckless in their work.

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work. ~Gustave Flaubert

A professional artist knows that it’s  important to honor their creative productivity time and save routine time-sucking tasks like answering e-mail and updating their Twitterand Facebook accounts to a later time. They know the importance of scheduling their activities, organizing their work space, and avoiding distractions can have on their creative  productivity.

7.) Amateur Artists never finish their work

An amateur artist is always busy editing, revising, reformatting, redoing, and re-recording their work to ever consider it finished.  This not only keeps them from moving on and working on the next piece or art, but it also keeps them from having to release it to the world.  They tell themselves that they are simply “perfectionists” and with just a little more time, they could get it right.

“The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections are your guides–valuable, objective, non-judgmental guides to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.” ~David Bayles

Professional artists have learned that their art is a process and nothing they create will be perfect.  They have learned to accept this and they continue to put their work out there anyway knowing that some people will criticize and not understand it.  They understand that the sooner they finish one piece the sooner they will be able to begin work on the next piece.  Each work therefore becomes not a destination but simply a stepping stone on their journey.  They don’t make the mistake of overly identifying with a piece of art or making it part of their identity as an artist.  They simply let it go, knowing that the experience will have taught them what they needed to know.

8.) Amateur Artists are too busy learning to do anything

Amateur artists are often so busy reading books and attending workshops that they rarely have any time to create art. Professional artists know that there will always be more to learn but that does not stop them from making the mistakes and learning as they go along.  They know that the best teacher is almost always experience, and the faster they make these mistakes, the sooner they will learn what they need to know.

Books, classes, and workshops are great as long as they don’t prevent you from actually creating your art.  A professional doesn’t worry about knowing every technique in the book and doesn’t get bogged down by the “what-ifs”.  They simply learn the basics and then get to work discovering what they need to know as they go along.

9.) Amateur Artists isolate themselves from the artist community

As artists/writers/musicians etc.. we are not only creators but we are also consumers. We must surround ourselves not only with the work of others artists in our field but also the artists themselves.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  ~Stephen King

If we are writers, we need to read other people’s work.  If we are musicians, we need to listen to other people’s music. If we are visual artists, we need to look at other people’s art and photography. We don’t do this in order to become envious or to start another round of pity and self-loathing.  We do this because we need to get outside of our own heads and see the world from a new perspective.

We also need to connect with other artists and the larger arts community.  Far too often amateur artists tend to isolate themselves from other artists because they either feel envious of their success or unworthy of their attention.

Being a Professional Artist means. . .

Being a professional artist means, above all, taking your art seriously.  If you want to become a professional artist, writer, photographer, musician, or any other type of creative genius; you need to do what the professionals in these fields do.  Being a professional is not about having fancy business cards or making lots of money (although that’s pretty cool too!).  Being a professional simply means that you have decided to take this creative obsession of yours and make it into your career.  Let’s face it, we create our art because we want and need to.  We don’t do it for the money, but we also have to realize that without the money, we won’t have the time or energy to create our art.

Strive to learn from those who have gone before you, do what you have to do, and always Live Your Art!


5 Artists You Should Know — Vol 7.

Sir Anderson – Just stumbled across this guy the other day per a friends mention on the internet and low and behold, I dug his stuff and like magic – he’s now featured here. Maybe next time I mention him I’ll have a lot more to say because I’ll actually have met him 🙂 check out David’s work below:

ART12 art1243

He’s on the right path with his mixed media work and I feel like it’ll only get better and better, so continue to check his page out and show some support (not to mention, his work at the moment is pretty reasonable)

Doc Illingsworth – 
I’ve listened to this guy for years and always really dug his versatile sounds and constant interest in kinda bringing something different to the table. I feel like Detroit takes hip-hop seriously and you can hear it infused into most of the creations from that city. Illingsworth I used to feature on StrictlyBeats and also pass his music along to friends who may have no heard of detroit cydi, him and ErikL. I want to say since 2006′ I’ve seen him reach new heights and recently saw him kill it out here at Low End Theory, alongside several other platforms that have given him some positive light. Humble cat, deserves what he gets and I hope he continues to push the ante with a quality sound that’s undeniable. Hopefully someday he can find that “illonthehunt instrumental’ for me 🙂

You can support his new project here:

Linafornia – 
I have a big heart when it comes to seeing people go from tragedy to triumph and Linafornia is definitely someone whom I feel can give you that story. In Los Angeles, she’s quietly made waves in the scene that she’s supported mutually for years on nights and weekends. I feel like I’ve physically been to the same events with her at least 100x now and she’s always shown love to anyone and everyone who reciprocates and deserves it. I don’t wanna get into her car accident and story or too deep into detail in regards to how amazing this girl is but I do want you to know she’s a real one and you can hear it in her music, which realistically only started surfacing in the past year or so. In a short period of time she’s garnered attention from our Bananas crew to Beat Cinema, Low End Theory, RUN and more. Great sample selections, unique change-ups, cut points, loops and mixture of lo-fi and high-end sounds to make you zone out, as I’ve done when having the pleasure of catching a set, or rapping on it. Her debut album “YUNG” comes out Jan 22nd, 2015, keep your eyes peeled and follow her through social media.

Zack Sekoff – 
Started listening to this guy back when he lived in LA (he may be back now), next thing I knew he disappeared to go to school on the east coast, and I had a CD of his that I played until I couldn’t anymore… Heard about him through the grapevine of the beat scene, and our LA underground community, he was also close to peers like Speak, Westside Ty/Beeper King, and many others. This dudes musicianship is nuts and one can only assume he’s continued to progress and impress. He’s been quiet for quite some time now but steadily working under the radar to produce big sounds that boast his talents across many styles and formats. Zack’s won plenty of competitions, worked with the likes of Thundercat, Austin Peralta, KCRW’s Anthony Valadez, and a slew of others. His diversity is endless and I think without sounding like a total fanboy I should just let you decide for yourself.
He’s got a new album coming out soon, I highly suggest following him on Soundcloud & Twitter. Remnants of a Winter Sun” out 1/15

Bryson Tiller – Bryson Djuan was born on January 2, 1993, in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother died when he was four years old. He has three siblings. Tiller started receiving massive internet attention from music industry insiders with his breakout single “Don’t”, which he originally released on his SoundCloud page. Early co-signs from record producer Timbaland and Canadian rapper/singer Drake led to major label attention for Tiller, with him eventually choosing to sign a creative partnership with RCA Records. Announced on August 25, 2015 : T R A P S O U L debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200.  Talking about his musical style, Tiller said, “It’s just trap and hip hop-influenced R&B, the perfect marriage between hip hop and R&B.” Tiller has cited American singer Omarion as his biggest influence. Other influences include R. Kelly, The-Dream, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and Drake. Critics have compared Tiller’s style to Jeremih, Drake, Ty Dolla Sign and Tory Lanez. Keep an eye on him, because his promise continues to show through his consistency. I mean fuck… he’s already reached over 30 million plays on more then 3 of his songs/videos, not bad at 22 years old. Here’s a few great joints:

That’s All 🙂
-SPIV / Eric Spivak

Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions directly via:

twitter: @ericspivak
instagram: @ericspivak
snapchat: @ericspivak

5 Albums You Slept On (and probably shouldn’t have)

1. O.L.C.: Operation Left Coast : features some of the West Coast’s more prominent hip-hop artists. Don’t expect the notorious gangsta style so often associated with Cali but rather the more straightforward and golden age-influenced hip-hop sound associated with Dialated Peoples and Jurassic 5. Some of the better-known artists here include the Beat Junkies, Freestyle Fellowship, Dafari, Tash, and Phil da Agony. Those who appreciate good-natured lyrics, deft rhyming, and flashy turntablism rather than blunts, bitches, and Benzes should have plenty to savor on O.L.C.: Operation Left Coast.

2. Melodious Monk – The Forbidden Drug Many may have taken the time out to get to know Mr. Melodious Monk. It may have been through his first release “Ghetto Blues” that was found floating through the net, it may have been with the introduction to his lyrical language through the album “GUNS” or the intense gritty experience of “Hymns”. This may just be your first time getting a chance to hear about his story, some have only heard of Melodious Monk through his work with Vast Aire, Mighty Joseph and many of his associates but his story goes deeper and The Forbidden Drug is the first of many chapters that will bring you into his lyrical visions.

3. Too Many Zooz – Fanimals EP




5. Brock Berrigan – Diamond In The Rough

The Listening Booth : How To Define, Describe and Get Your Music Placed.

The Listening Booth : How To Define, Scribe, and Get Your Music Placed.

Shall we jump right in? So, as we know, a cohesive music project should have a certain level of flow to it from start to finish, much like that of a movie or book. Some people go into it blindly and just create until they can’t anymore, then look at all of the pieces to the puzzle they just created and attempt to organize or order them in such a way that it produces a new, solid, original composition. Others start with a theme, idea, or parameter as in how long they want it to be, what sound they are trying to create, who they are looking to reach, and other restrictions to keep the train on it’s tracks. Often times when people are asked to describe their music, the response is a comparison of artist ABC and XYZ or things that just aren’t relevant or accurate depictions at all. It’s a shame, because sometimes the incorrect labeling or tagging of a product can get it shelved or dismissed completely.

I’m writing this because recently I’ve been commissioned to do a few bios for some artists and they couldn’t really tell me what their sound was. So without doing it for them, I felt it was important for them to learn how to define and describe their sound on their own.

I referred them to an article I read a few years back that had some valuable points;

When deciding to start a blog promotion campaign for your music, it is important to FIRST take a few minutes to really think hard about yourself, your music, and your fans. What makes your music so special, and different than everybody else’s? Bloggers will usually only feature music that is high quality, and that stands out from the rest of the pack.

Grab a pen, whip open a notebook, and jot down some defining words about you and your music, using the following categories:

– Personality
– Hometown
– Type of music (genres and subgenres) and lyrics (if any)
– Similar artists
– Lifestyle and interests
– Fan demographics (age, sex, location, etc)
– I decided to take a few minutes to write down some defining characteristics about The Formatters (some guys I jam with occasionally). Here’s some of what I came up with

cited here by chris bracco

The words you came up with could actually hold some good weight in regards to finding your music on the internet, so it’s good to hold on to them and build/elaborate further.

One metaphor I’ve used to put things in perspective is a roller coaster. What is the goal of your music? Do you want to shock the audience the moment they hit play, then ease them into something smooth, slow and constant? Do you want to build them up slowly then take a plunge from the highest point? Do you want to throw them through a loop or two halfway in between? Is it more of a narrative ride or is it a vibrant instrumental focused record where you can hear all sorts of influences and styles thrown together like two coasters swirling around each other. I mean whatever visual aid helps you express your music to someone who can’t hear it, is always a great approach.

So now to move onto understanding the placement situation. This is kind of a difficult one as the landscape of music discovery is getting broader and broader with different mediums of listening. In order to accomplish the lic. and publishing ends you definitely need to have the first part down of being able to describe and define your sound.  Music directors and supervisors aren’t always receiving the newest or next best tracks, just like not all blog submissions get heard or posted. Accessibility is important for visibility therefore be sure to make sure you’re covering all of the major platforms when getting your music out there. Also have clear information in your tagging so if someone likes what they hear they can find and correspond with you directly in a quick manner.

For a few years I did game testing for Sony, Activision and a few other smaller studios and one thing I noticed is playing the games with no sound,  always had my mind rolling on what they could slip in to enhance the current game play and environment. Big sports franchises and racing games normally provided ample opportunities for more uptempo, 140-160bpm stuff, whereas RPGs and more cinematic games consisted of atmospheric, abstract instrumental lining. An important part of music that you’re looking to pair with visuals is making sure they compliment as opposed to overdo or outshine.  Like everything else, there is a process involved with getting your work in the right hands, and attempting to meet with the top-level people right away isn’t really something to be bothered with. Instead, seek out smaller / up & coming production studios, app / game designers, small or indie films, or producers of content that’s not going to be seen by such a broad audience. After having a few songs fit with a certain vibe or pace, you start to accumulate a portfolio and build a bit of a track record for what you’re looking to do. The expansion of games and streaming content over the years has definitely created a mass of opportunities that are just an email or piece of mail away. Keep in mind, if you are producing original music with vocals, that 70% of all music that is licensed are instrumentals. Find and network with music publishers. Create a library of stock music that you can pitch around. Have an EPK to accompany your work (who knows, there could be something in your bio or background that strikes interest in the potential user of your content). Sites like Tunecore can help you really monetize your craft in these avenues, as well as places like Taxi, Pumpaudio and Rumblefish if you’d like to sell off your content to 3rd party stock music companies. Your big picture should be something along the lines of once you’ve had a few placements through these kinds of interactions (submitting and follow-ing up), then you can contact the companies directly and further build that relationship. This will further bridge the distance between their demand, and your supply thus making both parties happier in the end if they like your sound(s).

I hope all in all this helps you have some more knowledge with the topics at hand. Some great research material would be looking at games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, FIFA, NBA LIVE, MADDEN, Need For Speed, and a few other series to see the kind of music they have on their OSTs. The show Empire currently has some friends making that crossover as well from just being a successful xyz artist, into being a successful xyz artist, who’s also receiving royalties for their placements and work on said show.

Forbes Top 12 Video Game Soundtracks Of All Time

Good Luck, and Happy Holidays
-SPIV / Eric Spivak

Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions directly via:

twitter: @ericspivak
instagram: @ericspivak
snapchat: @ericspivak

5 Artists You Should Know — Vol 6.

Hueman – Allison Torneros, known as Hueman, is an Oakland-based graffiti artist and painter. Her best-known works include a Nike-commissioned portrait of Kobe Bryant, a mural for P Diddy’s Revolt TV office and “Ritual”, a 9-day, free-styled, floor-to-ceiling mural installation in a 5,000 sq foot warehouse space. In 2013, Hueman was one of the first artists commissioned to paint a mural after Los Angeles lifted its street art ban. Her biggest canvas to date has been a 90-foot wall at San Francisco’s Ian Ross Gallery. In May 2014, Hueman was named one of LA Weekly’s People of the Year and was featured on a limited-edition cover of the issue.

In 2015, she and Daniela Rocha, founder of Rocha Art, curated Wander and Wayfare, which featured murals painted around San Francisco by eight female street artists, as well as a gallery art show. The event “will be an annual exhibition and mural festival that plans to brighten the future of the San Francisco art scene.” In July, she also participated in the second annual series of Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans, organized by PangeaSeed in Cozumel, Mexico. Hueman’s latest solo exhibition Just One Moment runs September 19, 2015 through October 10, 2015 at Mirus Gallery in San Francisco.

Hueman’s signature style includes bright colors and elements of abstract portraiture. Her work has been described as a product of “free association.” “Drawing first abstractly and without a definite idea, she will return to the work several times and refine images she sees in the primary, elemental composition.”

The name “Hueman” comes from the feelings she had after starting to paint murals for the first time. In a profile in Juxtapoz, she states,”I began painting murals after a dark period in my life when I felt like there was nothing left to lose, and when I painted big for the first time, it was like a light switch turned on. Once I got out of my studio and onto the street, I was using my entire body to paint, I was talking to people, I was collaborating, I was in the sun. I felt alive again. I literally felt human. That’s where the name Hueman comes from.”

Since street art is a medium notoriously dominated by men, Hueman is especially notable as a female breakthrough artist. Hueman graduated from the University of California Los Angeles in 2008 with a degree in Design & Media Arts. She is Filipino American.


Kamasi Washington
– is an American jazz saxophonist, composer, production editor and band leader. Washington is mainly known for his tenor playing. Washington was born in Los Angeles, California, United States, to musical parents and educators, and was raised in Inglewood, California. He is a graduate of the Academy of Music of Alexander Hamilton High School (Los Angeles) in the Beverlywood neighborhood. Washington next enrolled in UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology. There, he began playing with numerous faculty members such as Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins and band leader and trumpeter Gerald Wilson and released the Young Jazz Giants album in 2004. He has since played along with a musically diverse group of musicians including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock,Horace Tapscott, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Flying Lotus, Francisco Aguabella, the Pan Afrikaan Peoples Orchestra and Raphael Saadiq. Washington played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and released a solo album, The Epic in 2015.

– Sydney Bennett, known by her stage name as Syd tha Kyd or more recently Syd[2] (born April 23, 1992) is a singer, producer and DJ from Crenshaw, Los Angeles, California.[3] She is one of the main producers in Odd Future and a singer, producer and mixer in the neo soul group The Internet with Matt Martians. She is the main producer for Odd Future rapper Mike G and the older sister of Odd Future member Travis “Taco” Bennett.

Growing up in a musical family influenced Bennett’s interest in music. Her mother aspired to be a DJ and her uncle is a reggae producer out of Jamaica. As she explained, “I began wishing I could take credit for some of my favorite songs. That was when I started to make my own – I only began singing on my own songs when I really started writing.” When Bennett was 14, she built a small music studio in her home and worked on sound engineering before getting into production.

For the first half of her high school years, Syd attended Palisades Charter High School. Bennett felt left out and had few friends at Palisades and moved to the Hamilton Music Academy, which she considered a more open-minded school.  Syd began making music while she was still living with her parents. Syd’s stage name was given to her by her big brother, Ty, as a kid. After growing out of it, she reclaimed the name when she joined Odd Future. Most of the group’s original songs were recorded in Syd’s house, also known as “The Trap”.

Thundercat  Stephen Bruner,  better known by his stage name Thundercat, is an American multi-genre bass player, producer and singer from Los Angeles, California. He has released three solo albums, and is most noted for his work with producer Flying Lotus, and crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. Recently, he appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly.  Born into a family of musicians, Bruner began playing the bass at an early age: by 15 he had a minor hit in Germany as a member of the boy band No Curfew. A year later he joined his brother Ronald Jr. as a member of the Los Angeles metal band Suicidal Tendencies, replacing former bass player Josh Paul.

Along with his band duties Bruner is also a session musician, acclaimed for his work on Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah (2008) and Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma (2010). He released his first solo album in 2011, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, which featured production from Flying Lotus, and was influenced by 1970s fusion artists such as Stanley Clarke and George Duke. The next two years saw a return to the recording studio with fellowBrainfeeder artist Flying Lotus, with contributions to the Lotus’s Until the Quiet Comes (2012) and You’re Dead! (2014), and the release of Thundercat’s second album Apocalypse (2013).

Bruner has been described as being a major contributor to and “at the creative epicenter” of Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly.

Flying Lotus –  Steven Ellison, known by his stage name Flying Lotus or sometimes FlyLo, is an experimental multi-genre music producer, electronic musician, DJ and rapper from Los Angeles, California. Flying Lotus has released five studio albums‍—‌1983 (2006), Los Angeles (2008), Cosmogramma (2010), Until the Quiet Comes (2012) and You’re Dead! (2014)‍—‌to increasing critical acclaim. He has produced much of the bumper music on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. He also contributed remixes for fellow Plug Research artists including Mia Doi Todd.

In 2012, Ellison began rapping under the persona Captain Murphy, based on the Sealab 2021 character of the same name. Ellison kept this fact a secret for several months, finally revealing his identity several weeks after the release of his first rap mixtape, Duality.

On November 15, 2012, Captain Murphy started a website and posted a 34-minute video titled “Duality” that featured his music as well as archived cult footage and lilfuchs-produced animation. The video album was to be named Du∆lity. He then began hinting at a deluxe version with separated tracks, bonus tracks and instrumentals. On November 28, Murphy released the deluxe version for download, along with the launch of a merch line. The mixtape was released with separate artwork for each track, created by lilfuchs.

On the night of the deluxe version release, Murphy played his first show at the Low End Theory in Los Angeles, California. He performed his set in a cloak to conceal his identity, but towards the end of the show, he revealed himself to be Flying Lotus.

Recently, Captain Murphy has released singles including “Between Villains” with collaborations from other musicians. Flying Lotus has been planning to release a rap album as Captain Murphy but its release has been delayed. So far multiple tracks have been recorded with stars including Kendrick Lamar.

*Most materials cited from public domain sites /

How To Party Professionally And Win At Nightlife

For some, going out in a big city like Los Angeles or New York can be a grueling task, and actually rather unappealing. Between dressing up, coordinating where to meet up with friends, pregaming? whos driving? whos parking? is it worth the cover? what’s PlanB and C? what’s the afterparty, then the afterparty to the afterparty? Who do we know who will get us in free? how can we skip the line? what is the perfect time to arrive? will they trip on us smoking? and a million other questions all take place in the heads of partygoers everywhere. Which can lead to a lot of anxiety, stress and lack of interest in going out all together.

In this post, I’d like to tell you how to wash away the worry and forget most of the stuff above and have a more pleasant experience when going out.

So In my experience of throwing a party once a month for the past I dunno, 8 years now I suppose, that’s over 80 parties of my own, sometimes I’d even do multiple per month, not to mention bookings to Rap or DJ which is a whole nother topic… I’ve managed to make the party going experience rather turn key and simple. Do you need to spend 8 years to learn the tools of the trade? No, because you’re reading this post.

First let’s start on attire. Never wanna face rejection based on your appearance? we all know black is always in style, but always keep a wardrobe change in the car. If you’re not driving, or you’re takikng a lyft or uber, layer yourself properly so you can’t get discriminated on based on your dress, a button up can cover a loud print, a jacket can cover a loud button up, and both can be taken off and wrapped around your waist or bag if you’re female. Hats? Snapbacks are versatile because you can snap them around a belt loop if the place doesn’t allow hats. Kicks, should always be something that is versatile and can fit in anywhere, with several styles of dress the not a sneaker but not a dress shoe kicks are generally best, again, black is a sure bet you won’t have an issue.

Secondly, let’s take a look at parking. Loading Only first and foremost, the yellow curb – learn the rules with this, it will help you out dramatically. For free parking local to the venue you’re going to, if the obvious free street parking isn’t available, look for a business that has no reason to have anyone on site during the hours you’re there or on the contrary a place that’s open 24hrs. Another good approach is food trucks. They normally take up unconventional parking spaces from car wash parking lots to various other ‘closed’ or ’24hr’ locations. For safety and security sake, I’d rather throw $3 into the taco truck tip jar, and give them a business card, explaining i’m parked behind them and to contact you if you face getting towed. I’ve probably done this over 40x and have yet to get a ticket, or towed, or a scratch on my vehicle (and I normally get free food by the time I’m back to the car), not to mention didn’t have to pay for the $20 valet to bump Ace of Bass through my aux, dig through my center console and joyride my whip while I’m inside. If you’re ever unsure about if you want to be at a specific venue, I suggest leaving on your hazards and locking the doors, checking out the spot and coming back out. The battery won’t die from your hazards running, and generally the perception is that you are “waiting’ or “loading” something. I’ve even gone to the extent of locking the doors, leaving my hazards on, and the trunk open (with nothing in the car or trunk of course) so it was assumed that I was picking up or dropping off something. Perception. Again, I don’t co-sign my behavior here or condone or suggest you do everything mentioned in this post, but at least it’s entertaining and stuff to think about.

Third, bouncers and doorgirls are gatekeepers. The only people above them are the owners/operators. If you become a regular at a venue, they tend to remember you, if you make a good first and lasting impression. Be cordial and come correct. If something doesn’t go your way, they are at capacity, someone is allowed in before you, etc etc — patience, and kindness tend to win people over. Not only will this action help you build rapport, but you could potentially skip the line, and get in free. Be memorable, be smart, be friendly. be genuine. There is never a need to slide a $20-100 bill under an ID to get in, that’s a sucker move. If you’re throwing a party, make sure you know who is working for you. Your guards could easily tax everyone in line before they even get to the doorperson who’s collecting entrance covers. Which thus kills the amount of cash someone has on them to spend money at your bar, thus leaving you with lower your bar sales, and less money at the end of the night, and guards who just made an additional few hundred on their shift. The doorperson and security guard are the first and last people you see at a nightclub, respect them and appreciate them and they might just let you slide next time around. Build relationships through time and consistency in your attitude and you’ll be skipping lines and covers in no time. Just make sure once you’re inside you spend some money to support the venue, nobody likes a freeloader, and without you, there’s no them. Remember, these kinds of ‘passes’ don’t come often and definitely aren’t given to just “anybody’. Earn your keep then enjoy the castle. Note: Never buy a camera and claim to be a photographer for entry, that fucks it up for other people. Also “saying you work there” is a great way to get your card pulled and you blacklisted as well. Get to know the staff, and you’ll get what you’re looking for. Wait in the shortest/VIP line and be honest saying you’re not on any list, but if you wait here for a bit, is there any chance you can get in without waiting in the regular line ( surprisingly enough, your honesty may just work for ya ).

Fourth, bartenders. Whether it’s a dive bar or a fine-dining high end exclusive members only club. The bartenders are the strong backbone to the business, they generate the most revenue for an establishment. You’ve got several types of bartenders, from the handlebar mustache steampunk speakeasy guy, to the refined polished smooth talker, to the loud and obnoxious to the cool, dynamic and diverse. Regardless of their style, whether quickserve, quantity/volume or higher dollar, listen to your problems and slow roll you tender. They all have a pretty heavy workload. Patience, yet again, is one that gets you far here. We notice you at the end of the bar waving your money around screaming for attention, which generally gets the opposite result. In the same manner, where we also see the person with their mouth shut, patiently, calmly waiting to be approached. Bartenders remember your behavior, and sometimes your tips too. If they are generous and give you a drink or two on the house, you should tip for the cost of that drink + a few dollars on top of that. Getting to know who’s helping you out, is also very useful. Remembering names, and conversations you share, that way when you return you can follow up and pick up where you left off, like long lost friends. I like to generally only be served by the same bartender(s) and get to know them. Building rapport is never too difficult and eventually they’ll remember what you like and take care of you as long as you take care of them. I think you’ll see the trend here is just being mutually beneficial, give a little, get a little, til that little becomes a lot. Think about it like Vegas comps… the more you spend, the more you get back, in hopes of you coming back or introducing others to their business because someone, somewhere, is going to drop some bread (hopefully).

Fifth, promoters / event coordinators. These people are good to know for obvious reasons, if they can get 200 people to a club, bar or lounge, chances are they know several of the attendees and are well connected, to some extent. They wear their brand on their sleeve (sometimes literally) and you begin to trust their logo and invitations knowing the quality of events they produce and the demographic of crowd they yield. The ever elusive ‘guestlist’ is something that comes with relationship. One way to boost your points with a promoter, event coordinator or owner/operator is promoting their venue. Even the smallest of efforts can create the biggest differences. With social media, it’s very easy to track and see who’s down for your cause. In the old days, people who wanted to “get in” with me, I would hand 10lbs of flyers to and see who came to the events with them (knowing whom I gave which flyers to, so I could see the efforts of said people). I’ve gone to the extent of pulling my sponsors in, and my own personal resources to improve other people’s events and fill in gaps, at no cost or expectation of return. If there is a specific party you like, build trust with authentic motives and help the party grow and improve (if you are indeed genuine and sincere it will be recognized by your words and actions and you’ll be in, in no time). Just remember, No Means No. If you are asked to stop doing something relating to something bigger than you, immediately take that advice, and heed with caution. I’ll never forget someone who was promoting for me and was pushing the event to the complete opposite demographic so the people who showed up were angry about the music and crowd not being what they had imagined and gotten pitched a week prior. Arriving Early, Staying Late, Picking Up Trash, Buying Drinks for others, Even getting water for security or soundguys. It all gets noticed by the coordinators and promoters, or manages to find it’s way back to them. Normally doing the most, in a subtle and tactful way, will yield a positive response from those whom you’re looking to win over or get in with and hopefully it’s not for selfish purposes. If you support certain promoters/coordinators by consistently showing up at their events as a paid attendee, eventually the conversation can open for you to request a few favors, and once those get granted, showing your appreciation in various ways, will help you receive similar treatment in the future. Not being a douchebag helps too, we see you online and off.

Lastly, Food — Check it out, so there’s like a +1200% markup on liquor and food, for the most part is really difficult to monetize. I’m not going to go into the economics here, but I will say it’s “easier’ to give away food, then it is a drink. If you have no money, and you want hotdog lady to give you some food. Bring her business. Plain and simple, when you have the bread, be generous and take care of them. If they are regular vendors, they’ll remember you and again, you’ll be able to get ‘special treatment’. Pretty crazy concept right? Treat regular people like they are special, and receive the same back. Most of these people are cash only, and I remember one occasion where I had no money. Instead of borrowing from friends or begging. I asked the woman and her partner if I brought them 3 people for food, if they’d give me a free plate. That’s just one example of how to get ‘free food’ but another route is reviews, leaving positive reviews on places based on your own experiences (which were hopefully positive, so you don’t have to lie) allow for easy rewarding from businesses and vendors alike, it’s already hard enough to get visibility, but it’s valuable for them to build a reputation around their services. Another thing you can do is also take their card, and get them additional work. You refer them to work a few times, and not only are you getting free grub, but you’ll also get paid.

*So that about covers it, you didn’t actually think I was going to tell you how to sneak in through backdoors, swapping bands and badges, white labeling drink tickets, how to get open bar at any bar, and other trade secrets of an underground hustler did ya? sigh. Pay your dues, and you’ll get the key to the city, and trust me, it’s well worth the wait.While I can’t remember the last time I’ve paid a cover, waited in a line, or had to pay for a drink, to this day I STILL manage to find unique and regular ways of returning the favors and taking care of those who take care of me. Whether that’s bringing additional new faces to a party, having someone get a round of drinks, tipping 20-40% and cultivating relationships.

Connection / Communication / Consistency / Patience / Integrity / Awareness / Perception


Follow me on:
snapchat: @ericspivak
instagram: @ericspivak
twitter: @ericspivak

note: I go out to anywhere from 5-10 events per week, sometimes 3-4 places in the same night / I produce over 24 a year ( even DJ’d at Mas Malo tonight in DTLA, tmrw at SmogShoppe, Thursday at Crazy Girls etc.. / Born in Chicago, raised in Tampa, lived in NYC, ATX, and currently LA. I’ve worked festivals like EagleRockMusicFest, Low End Theory Festival, Camp Flognaw, Broccoli City Fest, Paid Dues, Rock The Bells, SXSW, CMJ, A3C, Brokechella along with several others. All of the advice given above is from personal experience, and everyone’s experience when going out is different. Although I will say that if you look at  your outings, there’s likely several ways to end complication and save money/time while improving your good time.  As one of my business partners always reminds me, Remember, how you do anything, is how you do everything.  The reason I mention festivals is because a lot of my involvement with those stemmed from smaller parties or versions of them and my continued support / attendance / volunteering lead to opportunities that are available for anyone.

5 Albums You Slept On (and probably shouldn’t have)

1. Oddisee

2. Dela

3. Nosaj Thing

4. Goldlink
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5. Apathy

5 Artists You Should Know — Vol 5.

Kehinde Wiley – Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley, engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world.

By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.

Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of black and brown young men.

Initially, Wiley’s portraits were based on photographs taken of young men found on the streets of Harlem. As his practice grew, his eye led him toward an international view, including models found in urban landscapes throughout the world – such as Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro, among others – accumulating to a vast body of work called, “The World Stage.”

The models, dressed in their everyday clothing most of which are based on the notion of far-reaching Western ideals of style, are asked to assume poses found in paintings or sculptures representative of the history of their surroundings. This juxtaposition of the “old” inherited by the “new” – who often have no visual inheritance of which to speak – immediately provides a discourse that is at once visceral and cerebral in scope.

Without shying away from the complicated socio-political histories relevant to the world, Wiley’s figurative paintings and sculptures “quote historical sources and position young black men within the field of power.” His heroic paintings evoke a modern style instilling a unique and contemporary manner, awakening complex issues that many would prefer remain mute.

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Find out more of his work at:

– is an American singer and songwriter. Her 2013 debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, earned praise from music critics and contemporaries such as Solange Knowles and Björk, and was listed in various publication’s year-end lists. Seeking to make the mixtape sound like a remix album, Kelela added her own vocals over instrumental tracks by DJs from Fade to Mind and Night Slugs.

A first-generation Ethiopian American, Kelela was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland and graduated from Magruder High School in 2001. She has been based in Los Angeles since 2010. After transferring from Montgomery College to American University, Kelela began singing jazz standards at cafés. In 2008, she joined an indie band called Dizzy Spells and tried to sing progressive metal after meeting Tosin Abasi, whom she later dated.

Having moved to Los Angeles, Kelela connected with Teengirl Fantasy and contributed to the group’s 2013 album Tracer on the song “EFX”, which led her to meet Prince William from the label Fade to Mind. He introduced her to the sound of the record label and its sister imprint from London, Night Slugs, which Spin has described as “one of the most distinctive sounds in U.K. dance music, a mutable hybrid of grime, house, electro, R&B, techno, hip hop, and dubstep.” In May 2013, she appeared on Kingdom’s “Bank Head”, and five months later released her mixtape Cut 4 Me for free. Harriet Gisbone of The Guardian has described the album as “an experiment for the production team, the first time the production crew had used vocals on their club tracks.” In March 2014, Kelela was featured in Bok Bok’s song “Melba’s Call” for his new EP.

On March 3, 2015, Kelela announced the forthcoming release of her Hallucinogen EP with a video for the project lead track “The Message”, produced by Arca (who’s also produced for FKA Twigs).

Catch more Kelela following her social media pages, or the Fade To Mind website:


Elaquent – Canadian-based producer Elaquent is certainly no rookie in the thriving beat scene. Known for his smooth, soulful style; his off-kilter, neck-break beats; and his obsession with Batman and Sega Genesis, Elaquent is finally beginning to reach his full potential. Elaquent, or “eQ” as he is also known by, has been making his mark on the independent beat scene in a big way over the last few years, with a large discography of well received instrumental albums. Since the ninth grade, eQ has been mastering his production techniques, creating a sound uncommon to the crop of other local producers. Citing J Dilla and DJ Premier as some of his earliest influences, eQ has become much of a fan favorite among beat afficionados in Toronto. After a string of successful releases, including “The Scenic Route” , “Green Apples and Oranges”, and most recently, “Good Karma”, eQ has taken his show on the road, armed with his trusty SP-404sx loaded full of beats. Having toured all around the United States and many parts of Europe, eQ shows no signs of slowing down. Signed to HW&W Recordings (based out of Los Angeles), the prolific producer is already planning a number of albums, live shows and collaborations. Needless to say, Elaquent is on the come-up. Video Interview with the man himself:

For more on Elaquent, you can check out his Social Media pages, bandcamp/soundcloud or website:


Mick Jenkins –  On January 13, Mick released his first mixtape, The Mickstape. In August 2012, he Released his second mixtape entitled The Pursuit of HappyNess: The Story of Mickalascage. Listed producers include After The Smoke, Swisha House, Chris Calor, Quincy Banks, Chuck Inglish, Vanilla, and Dijon.

In the Fall of 2012, Mick returned to Chicago and began attending YCA (Young Chicago Authors) a youth center where his first a cappella verse caught the attention of local artist and leader of Chicago’s Pivot Gang collective, Saba. Shortly after, the two collaborated on Heaux for Saba’s 2012 mixtape GETCOMFORTable.  Jenkins is a member of a hip-hop group called Free Nation. Other members include Prop, J-Stock, Burman, and Maine The Saint. Free Nation promotes creative thought without accepting narrow views imposed by the powers that be. This group believes that when you find a way to combat the status quo, you are free.

In April 2013, Mick released a mixtape entitled Trees and Truths. It quickly became a local favorite, buoyed by acid jazz-influenced production, biblical allegory and lacerating lyricism. The project was by far his most lyrical body of work and caught the attention of Chicago’s incipient gatekeepers. A few months after its release, a collaboration with Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa came in the form of a single entitled Crossroads, which received attention and praise.

2014 – July 2015: The Water[s] & Tours

In July 2014, Mick received significant attention after the release of his single/visual Martyrs, which juxtaposed harsh societal truths with a catchy hook. The thought-provoking single held various underlying messages and subtle notions. Martyrs has led people such as Timbaland, among others, to reach out and praise Jenkins for his musical talent and intricate lyricism. Mick continues to find creative ways to convey his message and on August 12 released his project The Water[s] which has garnered national attention. Centered on the idea of comparing water to life’s truths, The Water[s] serves as Jenkins’ breakout project and has received much critical acclaim. Shortly after releasing the project, Jenkins announced he would be touring during the fall on the 2014 Smoker’s Club World Wide Roller’s Tour along with Method Man, Redman, B-Real, Trademark da Skydiver, and Berner. He had his first official tour in February 2015 with Kirk Knight,Noname Gypsy and Saba Pivot. He was on tour with Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry for Phase 1 of their World Domination Tour.

On July 20, 2015, Mick Jenkins announced an EP titled Waves, which was released on August 21, 2015. Mick Jenkins began streaming his new project in full via NPR’s First Listen on August 13, 2015. Wave[s] is the follow up to Jenkins’ critically acclaimed 2014 mixtape, The Water[s]. For Wave[s], Mick continues to keep the collaborators confined to those within his inner circle. The project features the likes of Sean Deaux, Saba, and TheMind. Mick will also be North American tour with French producer STWO from the end of August through the beginning of October.

Catch more of Mick here:




Teeko – While Teeko’s notoriety over the last decade may come from his superhuman Turntablist repertoire — DMC, ITF and Guitar Center champion, co- creator of the Vestax Controller One, recording for Mark Ronson, D’Angelo and others, his creative prowess naturally extends to his work as a keyboardist, writer and producer. He has also received accolades by the world-renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, receiving the Milestones Innovative Producer’s Award. Teeko has also been recognized by the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, being the first DJ/Turntablist invited to perform. In recent years, he has teamed up with acclaimed fellow bay area producer B.Bravo to form the modern bass/funk outfit, Starship Connection. Hitting festivals across the country bringing new elements of live performance in the electronic music scene. His recent culmination of skills on synths, turntables and production have taken his live sets to new hights including several exciting collaborations with Dj Craze, Salva, Dj A-trak, Ruckazoid and more. All in all, the man is at one with his art, no matter what his device his sound continues to take exciting new shapes while effortlessly blowing minds and breaking necks.

“Teeko is a constant innovator, one of the rare DJs who pushes boundaries of what turntables can do musically.”
– DJ A-trak
(Fools Gold / Duck Sauce)

The pre-order link for that includes gratis track “Bruh Bruh Do Him Thing” when you order. This is his latest project for Dj Craze’s Slow Roast Records.

You can also get more of Teeko @ and

*All tracks are free download and listeners can donate to him by pressing the heart (“Send Love”) button that appears after they create an account. 

“Teeko is a constant innovator, one of the rare DJs who pushes boundaries of what turntables can do musically.” – DJ A-trak (Fools Gold / Duck Sauce)

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet? shortcuts for success in the internet era

These days the internet has definitely thrown a monkey wrench into the way artists rise, fall and survive. You can have a great video or song and dance go viral at any time and in less then 24hrs garner millions of views. You could get remixed by a well known and established artist athen get picked up to their label/signed overnight. You could even have music placed in a 30second commercial or picked up for the theme song of a online tv show and get offers from licensing companies and residuals for the life of the show.

It’s really crazy to see the wave of advancement, adapation and transformation the entire music industry has gone through over just the past decade, it’s pretty incredible to say the least. The rise & fall of tidal, applemusic, soundcloud, bandcamp, tunecore, and the hundreds of other sites out there are really reshaping the music world.

The Basics:
In business and people, this idea goes hand in hand, you need to have the basics in order to proceed to the intermediate and advanced areas of whatever you’re aiming to do. Walking before you run, not putting the cart infront of the horse or biting off more then you can chew. In music, I’d say the basics are having your Name and the meaning behind it, secondly your logo and branding, third would be your bio/story fourth would be your online presence and last would be an overall branded package.

Having these things will give you a solid foundation, and from it will innately bring structure, which would be followed by your own leadership ( unless of course, you’re at the point where you need management, representation, an agent, etc ) | which by no means, am I suggesting those last things (mgmt/agent etc being a requirement)

So that was:

1. NAME / reason for it

2. LOGO / colors/theme (there’s a reason corporate standards come in with big companies using the same colors on everything they do)

3. BIO / background – we’ve all got stories, highs and lows, and this is a brief look at you.

4. Social Media / this is just getting your accounts in order and making sure they have matching names, so you are found the same way across any network, much like a website that is ‘responsive’ and visible in the same manner, across any device (phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, etc)

5. #EXCLUSIVE HASHTAG / this will help you archive as you go, and it will let people also take a peek into how far you’ve come, where you’re going, and how relevant or recent certain posts or articles are. This is your online signature if you will.

6. WEBSITE / websites are very important because they are like a brick & mortar store, except visible from anywhere in the world, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 a days a year. This is the sign outside of your store, this is the wallpaper inside your store, this is the music in your store, this is the merch in your store. This is literally a store hahah. It should have all the things listed prior to this point, some content of your best video/photo representation, and then a contact page.

7. Electronic Press Kit – This is everything on your website, wrapped into one comprehensive package, while an EPK is great for sending out to blogs, PR people, magazines, talent bookers and more. The point would be to get it down to “onesheet’ therefore it can also be printed on a nice cardstock and physically mailed to more valuable potential clients and partners. It should be easily downloadable on the website into a PDF file type. This is an easy way to get looked at as being a serious artist / professional because you’ve got all of your other ducks in a row. It’s much more appealing to a label, manager, agent, or booker to scoop someone who has it all together with the stuff mentioned above, as opposed to having to do a ‘development’ situation which requires someone else to produce all of these things for you.

8. BUSINESS CARDS – I’m pretty good with organizing business cards based on what field of work they are in, and transfering the information to my phone and spreadsheets to make sure I can keep in contact. While some people think cards are dated, I probably get asked for 5 per week in my outings here in Los Angeles. This is just another opportunity for you to extend yourself to others. Less expensive and faster then printing the epk to hand out to everyone like a resume, and cheap enough that you can leave them with check presenters when you pay bills, drop them into tip jars, let a few go at once, etc etc.

That’s all the “busy work” that are prerequsites in my opinion for you to become successful in the music world. Now sure not everyone needed or had these things to make it, but it definitely separates who’s ready to get to the next level and who isn’t, alongside who has their shit together, to put it bluntly. The DIY route is also not the best suggestion for this, get all of this stuff professionally done in collaboration with someone you trust who does high quality work, otherwise you’ll end up redoing everything in 6 months and wasting time/money. Buy once, buy right.

Finally, so like it, love it or hate it – those are the breaks and above are some of the best ways I can suggest for you to streamline your own success. The music is equally important, to the image you portray. This isn’t difficult stuff to do, and not too expensive, so why not?

As the saying goes “Remember that it takes 13 hours to build a Toyota and 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce.” The idea being that if you want to achieve big goals and accomplish your dreams, you’ve gotta significantly invest in yourself.

That said, I’m now offering web & graphic design services and branding packages to all of you… ( kidding, kind of 🙂

Enjoy your week! Til We meet again.

ig: @ericspivak
twit: @gorillamicspiv
fB: espivisdope

What’s in a name – the value of identity in music

What’s in a name? The value of identity in music

In industries with more clutter then most garage sales or storage units, we all know it’s difficult enough to make a name for yourself… So some may ask why one would be interested in changing their name?

Sometimes changing names can spark new interest and opportunities for someone alongside allowing them to break new barriers and into different markets. Several also look at doing this as a form of reinvention or a second life if you will. In some cases, you’ll catch artist doing this to supress a negative blow they may have taken, and other times as a loophole from a lawsuit or maybe to avoid other types of conflict… Occasionally you’ll see a symbol removed, name shortened or abbreviated, perhaps with different spelling because they realize how difficult it is to find them on the gigantic black hole that is the internet. Then there are the people who do it for no reason.

Check it out – so you are your brand, right? This means everything you say, do and create with your “name/moniker’ is an investment in that brand (you). If you look at any business that has tried to go through this process for whatever reason, they normally follow a process before they ever attempt to completely change their name. A name change is drastic and generally a last resort decision.

As I mentioned the reasons definitely vary in regards to why someone would want to do a name change, whether trying something different, looking for more privacy, a name that’s more accepted and picked up by search engines among other reasons. My suggestion before even looking into it, is to try a new logo or style. Color scheme or quote/tagline/slogan. As an artist, you could try swapping your appearance. If you had braids and wore timbalands, lettermans’ tommy boxers, and rope chains before, obviously you could go in another direction and it’d be a drastic change. Subtle changes to your subject / content matter could also yield the response that you want. Collaborative projects under a new name are always a good route.

Where I come from, your word is all you have and your name is attached to that. We care about what you say, and more importantly what you do, and those two things being aligned. If you think your name isn’t catchy enough or you’re just having issues on deciding which to stick with — Try out a little market research, use friends or people on social media (yes, there is a difference) and gather 10-20 opinions on circling names they prefer. Have them prioritize their top 3 to 5 from a list you give them. if everyone is picking the same ones, chances are, those are your best bets as they are frequently chosen above the others, and they are the most identifiable.

So all in all you can see it really just boils down to preference, how much you value your name, what accomplishments and failures are attached to it,

Always introduce yourself by your artist namem And start using it more and more to train people to remember it when they see you. Unless of course it’s a professional setting and your name will raise questions or concerns.

5 Artists You Should Know Vol 4.

On this episode of 5 Artists you should know, i’m featuring more guys and girls I’m very fond of and really hold a lot of respect for. They are all shining examples of what I consider to be an artist, integral, humble, modest, professional, supportive, hard-working, consistent, unique and dynamic. Most of these attributes I feel get reflected within their work and I truly hope some of you become supporters of them after looking a little deeper beyond this post.

Angelina Christina – This artist resides in Venice, with a workspace off of Washington Blvd near Lincoln and you can find her work all over the place. Most recently the pieces that got a lot of attention were in the black rock desert where she had murals covering structures at Burning Man. For years now I’ve recognized her work and pointed it out to friends in passing, as well as shared it with friends online because I think it truly is immaculate.

::: CHRISTINA ANGELINA x FIN DAC ::: DTLA TIME LAPSE ::: from Landon Taylor on Vimeo.

Art Basel 2014 with Angelina Christina from Inside The Void on Vimeo.


Dibia$e – Every time I see this brother he’s always got a smile on his face and some words of wisdom. He’s definitely been an inspiration to several people in the beat scene. I’ve seen him advise up and comers on how to be patient and develop their sound / earn their keep, as well as seen him school others in big beat battles and competitions.  I feel like I originally met him going to Project Blowed and freestyling to beats he had playing from his car/boombox years ago. Although I’ve been supporting him by way of StrictlyBeats and have instrumentals from close to 10 years ago laying around from him, it’s still refreshing to catch his sets today because they are still just as entertaining and innovative as ever… It’s always crazy for me to see people evolve and grow so many limbs and branches, taking steps forward, backwards, left and right. It’s the tango of life and the longer you know someone the more you get to witness these amazing journeys they take.
He’s got a ton of projects you can dig through, including some great green llama music. definitely dig this guy up if you haven’t already and enjoy the variety of sounds he pushes.

Reverie – While I followed her music a bit because of the buzz coming from the eastside of LA, I originally met this lady in person at the W Rooftop (formerly Drai’s) when I was co-promoting a Slick Rick show with STH, ladies were free all night so as you can imagine, a lot of dope ones were in attendance that evening. That night I believe she rolled with Fawksie1 and another homegirl and I remember this night because it was the same night my house got broken into, studio got busted up, tear gas from cops ruined crops and more, the list goes on… Anyways, that’s nor here nor there. Since being briefly introduced to her by either Fawks or Jelani that night, I quietly kept tabs on her, as I paid attention before but not nearly enough. Even when I was in ciphers, on huskey radio, hard n the paint, and other places more and more I’d hear her name come up at random. I never knew I’d get to see a person bloom like I have this chick. She’s since traveled internationally, her music writing and delivery has gotten extremely smooth. Her live shows are as raw and solid as I’d hope some of the male artists I’ve seen were/would be. Not to mention she’s a voice to a ton of girls in Cali who support the fuck out of her. I’m really happy to see this chick kinda 0 to 60 her career into what it is now, because it’s truly a representation of how far someone can get when they are passionate and dedicated to what they’re doing.

Jo Def
– This guy I’ve been lucky enough to book a few times back before Soulection was what it is now, and he’s always been extremely cordial and humble with his interactions with me and others. It’s that kinda interaction that carries you far in a city like this. Him and his roommate who you’ve also heard of (Esgar) have been cranking out jams for awhile now that fit in a lane of their own. I’d say something between Instrumental Hip-Hop/Experimental/Beat & Bass Music into a Footwork/Juke zone. I can’t quite place my initial interaction, whether it was StrictlyBeats submission, the Soulection/HW&W showcases or Low End Theory, but either way he’s kept it 100 from the get go and continues to create a plethora of great tunes that I can actually play over and over again without getting tired of them. Since he doesn’t vocalize too much online, I’d suggest digging through his catalog as he’s what I’d call a “sleeper” … much like Despot, and countless others who release very good quality shit, very quietly. Anywho, below are a few examples of what I’m talking about, hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ill Camille – I guess the common thread here is integrity ( which ironically, falls in line with this post I made awhile back on:How To Book Better Gigs More Often.” – Ever since the first time I heard Camille, I was blown away with how on point her entire sets were. Great voice, lyrics, stage presence and well-rounded show, all packaged nicely. It’s a struggle to maintain the audience attention and interest but she definitely commands a stage with ease. I can dig this because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people with all sorts of promise, buzz, backing, a million friends in support and they just completely bomb with people trying to sneak out of the exit or to the bathroom/patio as soon as the performers back is turned. She’s got credits with Kendrick Lamar / Jay Rock and other TDE cast & crew, always maintains a positive attitude (or atleast when I’ve seen her out and about) and she tends to keep good people around her. Since were nearing the end here, I’d rather just let the music speak for itself.  It reminds me of a mixture of Eternia, Lil Kim, Psalm One, Invincible, Jean Grae, and a few others. I like the diversity and accuracy in her delivery and the not so subtle approach to handling business on a mic. Enjoy!



SPIV / Eric Spivak
I hope you enjoyed this article, feel free to leave feedback in the comment box below, and share it with friends. Keep checking into for updated music in the Record Pool (get an account for all the exclusives) and stay up on the blog posts like this by following me or

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twit: @GorillaMicSpiv
ig: @EricSpivak

20 Songs To Itunes And Chill To.

No particular order, but if you rip and download all of these to put on your ipod, I’m sure they’ll serve you or … them, well.

1. Montell Jordan – Get It On Tonite –
2. Lil Kim ft. Lil Cease – Crush On You –
3. Genuwine – Pony –
4. LL Cool J – Doin It –
5. Tweet ft. Missy Elliott – Oops –
6. Kelis – Bossy –
7. 2pac – Do For Love –
8. Snoop Dogg – Lodi Dodi –
9. Ginuwine – Pony –
10. Chris Brown ft. Ludacris – Wet The Bed –
11. Truth Hurts ft. Rakim – So Addictive –
12. D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does It Feel) –
13. Mary J. Blige ft. Method Man – All I Need –
14. Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell – Beautiful –
15. Miguel – Adorn –
16. Janelle MonĂĄe – PrimeTime ft. Miguel –
17. Twista – Wetter –
18. Next – Too Close –
19. Ginuwine – So Anxious –
20. Blaque Sperm – Noxonyl Rhymin –


twit: @GorillaMicSpiv
ig: @ericspivak

5 Albums You Slept On (and shouldn’t have) pt. 3

All of these albums bring me to a special place and time, and definitely got fair play and several spin cycles til they were rinsed. If you’re familiar and have listened to these before, I’m sure you’ll feel some kind of way, and if you haven’t, I hope you thoroughly enjoy some of these great projects.

Rawkus – VA – Soundbombing II

Factor Chandelier – 13 Stories

Apathy – Eastern Philosophy

Psalm One – Death Of The Frequent Flyer

Hieroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision

How To Get Paid To Play – Monetizing Your Craft


There’s a great divide of artists who are paid to play, those that pay to play and those whom just perform for free their whole careers. I think one of the biggest hurdles for musicians or anyone in a talent based profession is how to get compensated appropriately for your time. Asking for things in general just
seems like a taboo concept to most, but after awhile of doing a job without being taken care of, you really should renegotiate your situation before it gets too late and harder to get out. This goes for models, actors, actresses, photographers, promoters, bands, rappers, dj’s, producers, engineers, writers and
generally anyone who does ‘favors’ or things ‘for trade’. When you open up the doors for people to get something for nothing, or a discount, they can either realize the value in what their getting or they can take it for granted and expect you to give it up for free, over and over again.

Here’s a few ways you can protect your investment (time) and to prevent getting taken advantage of by so-called industry professionals and the likes.

Justify Your Contributions – What you put in is what you get out. If you are actively seen promoting the show you’re on, manage to bring a few new faces out, show up on time with all the right gear, and ready for the transition before and after your set. I’d happily book you again, and would likely give you a bonus that you weren’t expecting as an additional thank you. This also falls in line with getting guestlisted for shows, or receiving free drinks. If you get a free drink, tip at least 2x what you’d normally tip. If your skipping a $20 cover, promote the show beforehand and push some new heads there, as opposed to the very last day 30minutes before it starts, then asking for handouts. Remember, nobody owes you anything… Which brings you to the next point.

Invoices – Always work out your financials upfront. be transparent, and aim to get deposits prior to the show. I normally ask for half before and half upon delivery of services.

This leaves me incentive to finish for the remaining balance, and leaves the client not completely assed out losing 100% if you don’t deliver.

This also protects you if they “made no money’ or ‘overpayed XYZ” and have nothing for you, or want to make a million other excuses up about why they can’t be a standup individual that keeps their word. Also if you don’t deliver, or under deliver you can always give them the $$$ back, or overcompensate to make up for it if something comes up that hinders your delivery/execution/performance.

Their trust is on the line paying you upfront. They are invested, and you should be too. It’s a valuable way to increase your equity in the eyes of whomever is booking you, if you deliver a homerun, you’ll continue to get pitched opportunities.

Another route of getting compensated for your performances is having an itemized list or breakdown. While it may seem a little extreme, it does help the other party understand where you’re coming from.

An example is below:

+ Gas x Time
+ Performance ( think about what you feel your show is worth, take into consideration everything and remember to be realistic. )
* Keep track of your drinking – if a drink is $7-14 and you’re given 10 tickets, that could be $70-140 from the bar sales.
While it’s shady, I’ve seen promoters take into account how many drinks artists have, and take that $ out of their payment.
+ Keep Track of your guest/attendees
– Keep your guestlist minimal – each person you left in free, is a cost to the promoter.
Total Payout=
– Do Be sure to take into account the distance you are going for an opportunity.
– Remember not all that glitters is gold, and not every opportunity is a good one.

– Don’t be afraid to ask for more money.
– Don’t be afraid to reject gigs that are too far or requiring you to go to extreme lengths.

Good communication will help you establish better rapport and a clear line of communication, so your expectations are met and everyone is happy.
Lastly, back to the subject title: Never Pay To Play.

I could go on for days with this but here’s the low down on why you should never do these shows.

Your crowd isn’t engaged, they don’t know nor do they care about anyone on the bill besides you and “possibly’ the headliner who’s decently known. They will  likely buy tickets or pay the cover to support you, but leave shortly after your set. The same thing will happen with the guy performing before you and after  you. If you’re lucky, some people from the last guys set will hang around sipping their overpriced drinks while staring at their phones in the corner. The synergy of pay to play shows is always horrible because there isn’t a cohesive point of interest. It’s like being stuck in a cramped elevator with someone
who smells, but you have to get to the bottom parking garage. You’re not there because you want to be, you’re there because you have to be.

You paid… You bought into a nigerian prince of the industry offering you an island in the sky of Hollywood next to the broken wings of fallen angels beside a cemetary of hopes and dreams. If you pay to play, you’re literally giving yourself an uphill battle because you have to sell X amount of tickets in
order to regain your initial investment, and then even more sales in order to make a profit after you break even. Are you a musician? or a Kirby Vacuum salesman? You shouldn’t have to be going door to door with tickets, that you paid for, that have no cash value.

Even if the headliner is someone you’ve always wanted to perform with or meet in person, it’s still not worth it. Even worse, most people who do these shows like to add to their bios they’ve rocked stages with XYZ and ZXY, mindfully the terms or details aren’t included on the terms in which they played the show. Anyways, I could keep going but the point is made, just don’t do it. Don’t enable the Sean Healy’s of the world to keep producing shows that bring together a socially awkward crowd and giving hope to
artists while taking advantage of them.

You could have all the talent in the world with no money,
or you could have all the money in the world with no talent.

So the bottom line is, the guy/gal with more money, will be able to buy their way ahead. The guy with the talent will gain community and a level of respect that cannot be bought. So that’s it, again, just my opinions – feel free to message me if you’ve got a problem, or leave it in the comment box. I say take
the road of least resistance, keep your guard up, don’t become starstruck, and value your time because it’s the only thing you don’t have the luxury or purchasing.

Good Luck.


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twt: @GorillaMicSpiv
ig: @ericspivak

Damage Control ( how to recover from live show disasters )

We’ve all dealt with them, whether it’s the girl who comes up to make a request for Return Of The Mack, Aaliyah, Beyonce or Drake and manages to spill that ice cold triple vodka tonic all over your gear. Perhaps you’ve dealt with the venue who has the megabass overpowered soundsystem, but the power grid is ran by 12 energizer batteries taped together. Maybe it’s not even an “act of god” type situation that is out of your control, but rather your crates and individual tracks not being read through Serato, Traktor, warped/scratched vinyl, or broken needle?

What happens if someone breaks a string? What about if the power goes out? What do we do if the next act doesn’t show up to relieve you and you have to then do an unexpected extended set? Tracks won’t read, now you have no music? Uninvited Guests jumping on the mic during your set? What if a member of the group doesn’t show up? Missed soundcheck and now it sounds like you’re playing through a babymonitor? Whatever it may be, I highly suggest preparing for the worst, but expecting the best.

As an event coordinator, emcee, and DJ I’ve dealt with a large amount of fuckery in the past 8 years of doing this stuff and I’ve managed to pretty much learn from each situation and implement it into practical preventable methods to assure they never happen again.

1. Arrive Early – This will solve a lot of issues, and answer a lot of questions. – If you arrive early you can generally see the setup, everything that is on hand and available, and have enough lead time in case something is missing or you brought the wrong gear.

2. Double Up – Nothing’s worse when you have the only cord in the house and someone steps on it yanking it out of it’s socket, or perhaps the tip got bent in your bag, or maybe it’s just malfunctioning. Obviously having more than one rca/xlr/usb/whatever it is that you need on hand for ‘worst case scenario’ situations is better than having to borrow from others or worse, not having anything at all. I’ve seen friends blow big gigs in this manner of being unprepared.

3. Never Assume or Expect – All venue owners are different, just like the soundguys and the gear. Never assume or expect them to have the serato or traktor box you need, the laptop stand, technics, a rane, cdj’s, or whatever it is you want or need to play on. If I bet on how many times venues I’ve done gigs at haven’t had appropriate or proper gear for their setup to be 100%, I’d definitely be washing your car window for spare change right now. Sending your tech rider/needs in advance is a great way to get confirmation from the venue that they will have everything you need and want, and there won’t be any surprises upon your arrival. It’s become second nature for me to send these with every gig because I make it a contingency that my payment be reliant on them having a proper setup.

4. Locks / Safety / Security – If you see there’s an opportunity to lock your belongings in a safe area whether it’s behind the bar or somewhere else back of house. Take a photo of where you’ve put your belongings that way you have record of it, and make sure it’s locked and secure. I’ve seen sooooooooooooooo many people get jacked in the clubs (no pun intended), all because of their lack of necessary precaution toward where to put their belongings. You can even buy a $40 bike lock if you’re paranoid or just that much more cautious and lock your stuff to the bottom of the DJ rig/table.

5. Verify / Synch Tracks – I normally try to go through my music before a gig, not to create a premade playlist, but to make sure a handful of tracks picked at random will play out, and then especially the ones I want to play out. I’ll never forget a Birthday Party I was playing in the Redbull Dogtown Suite at The Erwin Hotel in Venice where none of my music was playing, and I was getting slammed with error messages. I ended up literally using hotel wifi and downloading every single track I could think of right before I played it. It was like a game of connect the dots, live as I searched for a 320k track to Rip from sites like Offliberty/KeepVid/Anything2Mp3. So that brings me to the mention of those sites. If for whatever reason, worst case scenario your tracks aren’t playing out, and your USB’s aren’t connecting or loading your stuff either – An alternative method is always downloading new music or streaming it live via Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube etc (just make sure there isn’t commercials, ha!)

6. Batteries/Backups – Always have your battery charged therefore if someone hits a power strip or something gets flicked off somehow, that you’re not screwed as well. The captain doesn’t “have” to go down with the ship. Plus you can manage to play it off if the sound comes back quickly.

7. Levels / Volume – Redlining isn’t cool, blowing speakers, isn’t cool, WE CAN HEAR YOU. The louder you play, doesn’t make a difference on how much they’re feeling you or the music. Plus there is probably someone at a larger board that is connected to your little 4 channel mixer who is making sure you don’t do such things to damage the sound equip. If you preset your levels to a 75% volume mark you can normally prevent the soundbwoy war from happening, and have the engineer adjust you to an appropriate setting. The lower you play, the louder the house has to turn their system up anyways, and you’ll have less of a chance of the ‘safetys’ going off muting you completely or overheating the boards which will maintain a smooth party/show

8. Microphones – There is a way to hold a mic right, that allows you to be heard loud and clear on just about any type of mic, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been booked to rap on a shitty mic that has my voice muffled and bass / treble / mids way out of wack. It makes a difference with people hearing your lyrics or hearing mumbling patterns. Buy your own mic, keep it with you for gigs, and you’ll never go unheard again. Plus there’s no excuse besides the system if the sound is bad because you know the quality and clarity of your mic, plus again it’s one less time you have to rely on “them”.

9. Setup – If you setup your gear prior to your set you can likely assist with a clean and smooth transition. If you know the set times, it’s always good to be around the stage 15mins prior, and if you can start plugging in without interfering with whomever is currently performing, you should definitely do so ( nobody likes dead air )

10. Don’t Drink? – When you drink, you are impairing yourself and a lot of time you’re not at your best… You’ll look worse in photos, and probably do things you regret or say things you don’t remember. Same goes for general rec drug use and other things that may throw you off your game. If you are doing a paid gig, treat it like a job – because it is. Moderation is everything, and I know they’re free, but make some new friends passing the free drinks off to those who aren’t starting/maintaining/ending the party instead. 🙂   ( note; drunk people tend to leave shit behind, I’ve come up on plenty of cords, usb’s and more that I’ve returned to people the next day because they forgot them, this is synonymous with backpacks, needles and other gear)

Regardless of anything, keep a positive attitude and your head in check and things should work out in your favor. Get deposits of half upfront and half upon completion that way promoters / coordinators can’t screw you out of your payment.  Have a few memorized jokes, or maybe an acapella verse if you’re an emcee, that way if the sound goes completely dead you can still carry the show along while the technical difficulties are figured out.

Hope this helps you as it’s helped me 😀 good luck out there 😀


Fb: Eric Spivak
Twt: @GorillaMicSpiv
Ig: @ericspivak

Pow Fest 10 Year Anniversary


In honor of 10 Years as a website (543 years in Internet time), we’re throwing a party to celebrate.

It will feature some of the best musicians in LA, some of the best musicians not from LA, and some of the best rapping holograms the world has ever seen. (I know holograms are out this year, but we never pay heed to trends.)

There will be special surprise guests, DJs, food trucks, maybe even a Pop-A-Shot if I can fit it in the Echo patio.

You can buy tix here (early bird special is only $15)

Here’s the line-up (more to be announced closer to the date)

Delroy Edwards


Open Mike Eagle




Chester Watson

The Outfit Tx

Jordan Raf

Kweku Collins

Red Ferguson

More Details Here

5 albums you slept on and why you shouldn’t have pt. 2

All of these projects have a special place in my heart for a time of music that was amazing. Perhaps you’ll feel the same way, and hopefully hear something new. It’s really interesting to see how far we’ve come and how the whole landscape of music continues to evolve and change for better and worse. Regardless these are solid projects that I suggest buying off Amazon or Itunes if you haven’t already. Enjoy.

De La Soul – AOI : Bionix
De La Soul is an American hip hop trio formed in 1987 on Long Island, New York. The band is best known for their eclectic sampling, quirky lyrics, and their contributions to the evolution of the jazz rap and alternative hip hop subgenres. The members are Posdnuos, Dave and Maseo. The three formed the group in high school and caught the attention of producer Prince Paul with a demo tape of the song “Plug Tunin'”. With its playful wordplay, innovative sampling, and witty skits, the band’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, has been called “a hip hop masterpiece.”

It is the band’s biggest commercial success to date, with their subsequent albums selling progressively less, despite receiving high praise from critics. They were influential in the early stages of rapper/actor Mos Def’s career, and are a core part of the Spitkicker collective. They are the second longest standing Native Tongues Posse group, after the Jungle Brothers. In 2006, the group won a Grammy for their collaboration with Gorillaz on the single “Feel Good Inc.”

In early 2015, they announced plans to release a Kickstarter-funded upcoming 9th studio album ‘And The Anonymous Nobody’ in September 2015. The album tracks are said to be the result of multiple improvised jam sessions. The album will also feature guest appearances from artists such as Damon Albarn, Little Dragon, David Byrne and 2 Chainz.

Favorite Track:

Full Album:

Handsome Boy Modeling School – White People
Handsome Boy Modeling School was a collaborative project between renowned hip hop producers Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Dr. Octagon, Deltron 3030) and Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, Gravediggaz, A Prince Among Thieves). The collaboration lasted between 1999 and 2006 and resulted in two albums, featuring a vast cast of guest rappers, singers, comedians and DJs.
Handsome Boy Modeling School was a conceptual hip hop duo that parodied and acted as a commentary on vain, consumerist, materialistic, and self-absorbed members of upper class society, such as supermodels and people from old money. The pair often satirized upper class snobbery and perceived beauty.

Favorite Track:

Full Album:

Def Squad – El Nino
Def Squad is a rap supergroup consisting of Erick Sermon, Redman & Keith Murray. Jamal is considered an honorary member of the Def Squad. Before officially forming as a group to release an album in 1998, they had each been featured on tracks by each other. The Def Squad was formed following the disbandment of the Hit Squad, who broke up after the struggles between EPMD members Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith. The Squad continued to record on each other’s solo albums.

Favorite Track:

Full Album:

Little Brother – The Minstrel Show
Little Brother was an American hip hop group from Durham, North Carolina that consisted of rappers Phonte and Big Pooh (from 2001 to 2010), and DJ/producer 9th Wonder (from 2001 to 2007). The group produced four acclaimed studio albums and six mixtapes during their nine-year existence. Little Brother was highly regarded among fans and critics.

Favorite Track:

Full Album:

Joell Ortiz – The Brick Bodega Chronicles
Joell Ortiz (born July 6, 1980) is an American rapper and a member of the group Slaughterhouse. He was born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, New York. Ortiz grew up in the Cooper Park Houses in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, formerly signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment record label. He was featured in the Unsigned Hype column of the March 2004 issue of The Source Magazine and was also selected as Chairman’s Choice in XXL Magazine. During the same time Joell also went on to win the 2004 EA Sports Battle which earned his song “Mean Business” a spot on the NBA Live 2005 soundtrack. The same year he was offered a contract to Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def label. He released his debut album The Brick: Bodega Chronicles in 2007. He went on to release Free Agent (2011) and House Slippers (2014).

Favorite Track:

Full Album:

5 Artists you should know – Vol 3.

Retna was born in Los Angeles, California in 1979. Since first creating a name for himself in the early 1990s, Retna has become an “eternal broadcaster” of sorts, shining a light to the kinetic urban soul of Los Angeles. The name RETNA itself evokes the timeless power, movement and visual vibrancy behind the artist’s acclaimed work. His work merges photography with graffiti style and paint, time with color, couture with street culture, the spiritual with the sensual, and fluidity with grit. Whether his paintings hang in a gallery or wall on the streets of Los Angeles, they serve as a retina through which we view the urban journal of contemporary art.

At an early age, Retna was introduced to L.A.’s mural culture. While still in high school, he led one of the largest and most innovative graffiti art collectives the city has witnessed. He is perhaps best known for appropriating fashion advertisements and amplifying them with his unique layering, intricate line work, text-based style and incandescent color palette reflecting an eclectic artistic tradition. RETNA became just as notorious for his ornate painting technique as his timeless style: he used paintbrushes mixed with the traditional spray can. Many of his pieces synthesize the line between fine art and graffiti, between power and opposition, between tradition and advancement, between the past and future. In 2000, he had his first group exhibition at the Contemporary Corruption Show at 01 Gallery in Los Angeles. He released his “Men of the Cloth” series at the Mendenhall Sobieski gallery in Pasadena, California in 2006.

Risk x Retna Collab

Today, Retna traverses between the galleries and streets with ease. In addition to being aligned with the Art Work Rebels and Mad Society Kings Art Groups, he is a member of the internationally exclusive art collective, The Seventh Letter, whose influence on contemporary street art encompasses the globe. In December 2007, he contributed to a large-scale mural project with El Mac and Reyes called “La Reina del Sur” at Miami’s Art Basel. His most recent projects include an exhibition titled “Will Rise” at Robert Berman Gallery and an installation called, “Street Life” at the LA Weekly corporate office.


Tiron & Ayomari

LA based duo TiRon & Ayomari (a.k.a. T/A) blend an overtly musical style with forward-thinking and honest perspectives that make them one of the most exciting new hip hop groups to emerge in years. Unafraid to defy convention and cliches that usually bound rap artists, the duo has slowly built a substantial buzz by releasing absolutely no filler material – only carefully crafted songs, projects, performances and visuals. Their new album, “The Great New Wonderful” hosts an eclectic, genre bending hip hop fusion sound defined by T/A as “urban americana”.

Also suggested listening: “A Sucker For Pumps


Jake One & Mayer Hawthorne – ( Tuxedo )

JakeOne:  grew up in Capitol Hill and moved to the North End of Seattle when he was 15. He started making music on a Casio keyboard in 1992. He attended theUniversity of Washington and gave a tape of his music to a friend who worked in a local record store. One of the store’s other employees, the DJ Mr. Supreme heard the tape, and when he set up his Conception Records label, he used Jake to create backing tracks. The first record he produced was Eclipse’s “World Premier”. His early influences included Pete Rock, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, and Marley Marl.

He was a part of the G-Unit production team, The Money Management Group. His first album credited to Jake One, White Van Music, was released on October 7, 2008 on Rhymesayers Entertainment, which features contributions from Brother Ali, Young Buck, De La Soul, M.O.P., Freeway, DOOM, Slug, and Keak da Sneak.

He has had tracks included on the soundtracks to films such as Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (50 Cent’s “I Don’t Know Officer”), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift(“Jake Alert”), and Gone Baby Gone. [8][9][10]

In 2010, Jake One released two collaborative albums, The Stimulus Package with Freeway and Patience with Truthlive. He also produced Brother Ali’s full-length album Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color on Rhymesayers Entertainment.

Mayer Hawthorne:  Formerly DJ Haircut, Hawthorne is a Grammy-nominated American singer, producer, songwriter, arranger, audio engineer, DJ, rapper and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles, California. “Mayer Hawthorne and The County” is a name Andrew Cohen often uses when performing or recording as Mayer Hawthorne with other artists. In Cohen’s words, “The County” is basically anyone who plays an instrument or sings on his album. It is also his band when he performs live. Cohen also performs and records hip hop under the stage name Haircut, sometimes as part of the groups Jaded Incorporated, Now On, Tuxedo, and Athletic Mic League.


Together with Mayer Hawthorne, Jake One forms funk duo Tuxedo. Their self titled debut album was released on March 3, 2015 through Stones Throw Records.



Little Simz – An English rapper, musician, actress and singer. Following the release of 4 mixtapes and 5 EPs, she is set to release her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons on September 18th 2015. After several months of auditioning by the BBC for the show Spirit Warriors, it was announced in June 2009 that Simz had been cast in the supporting role of Vicky.
In 2012, Simz joined the cast of E4 (TV channel)’s TV series Youngers as Meleka. Age 21 Little Simz brings a new level of intelligence, creativity and musicality to the British and Global Hip Hop arena.
Primed for international success following a sizzling hot response to her Blank Canvas mixtape, some of the most influential entities in entertainment ­from Snoop Dogg to Zane Lowe and publications including The Independent, Noisey, ID and Dazed are all co­signing and predicting stratospheric levels of greatness for the young rapper and musician.

Simz is often nicknamed “Bars Simzson”‘. She describes her music as rap and experimental. She’s also performed alongside Estelle, Tinie Tempah and Ms Dynamite. She’s rocked the BBC 1Xtra Prom in 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall, alongside a full orchestra led by Jules Buckley. She can also be heard on the Leave to Remain film soundtrack, performing the song Leave It As That. In early 2013, she appeared on BBC Radio 1 Xtra to discuss her performance at the Hackney Weekend. She has since gone on to receive critical acclaim from the likes of Zane Lowe, Dizzee Rascal and Revolt TV


Bishop Nehru – 

Bishop at age 13 made jazz tracks and hip hop instrumentals under the name “Kelz Scott” soon being changed to the name Kile Kanvas at age 14. He released his earlier works on the Odd Future forum and other forums like Hypebeast, Lookbook, and many more. Odd Future Talk was the forum that gave a then young Nehru listens. WorldStarHipHop named Bishop Nehru the Youth Rap Talent of the Week in July 2012 for his 8-bar freestyle over Mos Def’s classic “Mathematics”. Nehru was featured on as part of their Who’s Next section, which showcases rappers who are next to blow up. He also had the song make its way to Power 105.1’s New NY with Jovonn “The Don” in February 2013.  as well as opening for Wu-Tang Clan on their 20th Anniversary European tour. He chose his stage name from a combination of Tupac’s character in the movie Juice, noting that the character of Bishop inspires him “to go out and get mine, you’ve got to earn respect” and Nehru is taken from the former prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who worked closely with legendary peacemaker Gandhi.

Musical career 2012–present: Early mixtapes and signing to Mass Appeal Records
When he was 16 years old, Bishop Nehru released his debut mixtape, Nehruvia, a 13-song project that included production from DJ Premier, J Dilla, Madlib, MF DOOM and more.[4] He followed that up with strictlyFLOWz which was presented by New York radio personality Peter Rosenberg and the UK’s DJ Semtex.

In August 2013, it was announced that Bishop Nehru and MF DOOM would collaborate on a project set to be released via Lex Records and Noisy Cricket!!. After a Kendrick Lamar show in Brooklyn, Fuse News captured the Cali emcee speaking to Bishop Nehru praising and giving advice to the young artist. On May 22, 2014, it was announced that Bishop Nehru, Boldy James and Fashawn were the first signees to Nas’ Mass Appeal Records. On June 5, 2014, Dizzy Wright and Bishop Nehru released a free collaborative EP titled BrILLiant Youth EP. LRG said, “For our Summer 14 Campaign not only did we feature Dizzy Wright and Bishop Nehru in our lookbook, we also joined them in the studio for a 3 track EP featuring production by LRG brand ambassador 9th Wonder”.

NehruvianDOOM was released on October 7, 2014. On October 7, 2014 Nas announced via Twitter he will be the executive producer on Nehru’s forthcoming album. His single, You Stressin, is featured on EA Sports NBA Live 2015.

His project with Doom is here:
NEHRUVIANDOOM grew out of a meeting at London’s famous jazz venue, dive bar, the 100 Club in April 2013 where DOOM and a then 16 year old Bishop Nehru were booked to play. DOOM was immediately impressed by Bishop Nehru, an mc prodigy who has been co-signed by Kendrick Lamar and described by Nas as “the future of music”. After the show, DOOM and Bishop stayed in touch on e-mail, DOOM sending new beats and Bishop sending back his vocals.

A year later and a couple of studio sessions behind them, the work has taken shape. The Metal Fingers production, and Bishop Nehru’s classic flow makes it sound like they found missing Ampex reels from ’94. The album is the first full length studio album produced by DOOM since ‘Take Me to Your Leader’ in 2003.

THE INTERNET – Killed your favorite artist while so-called taste makers ruined their favorite outlets.

So there once was a blog named Dope, and a bunch of guys and girls who took notes.
They would go around their whole town and collect every crown, magazine, album, and coat.
Then would throw down the realest shit they ever wrote, on said blog as their next job, to see if the masses would pass the vote.
Whatever was featured, would get love or get ethered and eventually sink, blow-up or just float.

Alright, so maybe I shouldn’t attempt to be so poetic about the situation.
I titled this article, The Internet killed your favorite artist while so-called taste makers ruined their favorite outlets because I’m finding it more and more difficult to find consistent streams of genuinely good sounding music with original melodies and samples, content and more. It’s really bothersome, I remember there was a time that I’d have a bookmarked folder with over 40 blogs that I’d check out on a weekly basis. Currently, that folder doesn’t exist outside of my blog StrictlyBeats (which I’m not linking, because this isn’t a promoted post), and occasionally I’ll go on XLR8R, Pigeons & Planes, ThisSongIsSick, DoAndroidsDance and the countless others just to explore their “Best Of….” or “Top Songs This Month” sections. For someone who lives and breathes this shit and works with artists far and wide of several genres, it’s extremely disappointing to find such a disconnect between what we consider quality and publish write-ups and reviews around or push to the front lines, in comparison to what misses the boat. Is it just standard that I have to dig through 5,000 records to find 20 solid tracks that I can play out (if they are even of 320k / Wav / Flac quality) and actually will move people or myself? Is the standard in the blogosphere to just push content out non-stop with a million contributors who all have different backgrounds and tastes, and hope that it comes together as some monsterous aggregator of good shit? Or maybe it’s on the user / reader to make the decisions of what they like and dislike, so it really is further emphasizing the flooding the market with subpar content?   I guess when you go from “household blog” then get ‘acquired’ by that big brother blog network with daddy’s dough, conceptual integrity goes out the window, because you’re now being paid for your work, so why should it matter MORE, you’ve done your time and now is your kickback.

While I understand the financial security that comes along with doing something “for the love” or maybe just because deep down you’re passionate about it, may not be all that good. It’s the other factors that really help you feel good about what you’re doing and allow you to rationalize and justify such. Maybe it’s just me, perhaps I’m crazy and out of my mind but doesn’t it just make sense that The Best should rise to the top, while the average or worst should get suppressed to the bottom? It’s a matter of opinion, it’s also a “money play” to project and share things based on other incentive, but then that ruins, damages and devalues not only the person spreading the gospel, but the products/services they are pushing (which could very well be what you’re consuming with your eyes and ears as we speak).

I think people like ZaneLowe, Skream, Plastician, Mary Anne Hobbs, Annie Mac, Stretch & Bobbito, Sway & Tech and several others set a standard years ago and still do to this day, of what Editors/Bloggers/Writers/Curators of platforms should be doing. Whether you’re an event coordinator/promoter, a basement producer, bedroom DJ, or just all around music lover – You should really be mindful of what you share with others, as you could be putting someone up on game and perhaps opening them up to something new, and if the quality isn’t there, that persons idea of a format/genre may be blurred or tarnished.  The issue with blogs I don’t get is, if you’re telling hundreds and thousands of people who are on your platform to gain knowledge/information/product or “their fix” if you will of something they are interested in, wouldn’t it make sense to do it even better then the next guy so you can keep them coming back? I think this is why I have some admiration for drug dealers, they get this model of if you’re consistently on time, with a good product, and you can get that product to be better without decreasing in quality – you become ‘the man’ if you will. You inherit trust, and build your own social value in the process which carries over into your product. The next thing that comes along with that is your word traveling and carrying weight, thus opening more doors.

I knew a writer one who was behind the scenes for a nationally known publication, I’d say the majority of his content was just fluff and filler to reach the end and may as well have been some lorem ipsum dummy text. He was on the payroll for years and when he could get Free Backstage Passes to a show, or wanted to create a private Meet-N-Greet with an artist, he’d create the necessity of an interview for someone who really was just in his radar per physical appearance. Social Media helped further said shenanigans to a larger audience, thus making it look more successful and the content gaining even further traction. Then you see an overnight celebrity / monster being made off an entitled editor with misinformation and a ulterior motive publishing.

If I sound upset about this, it’s because I am rather disappointed in the majority of the big guys. I feel like there is a huge lack of responsibility and accountability for The Complex Network, Fader, Spin, Rolling Stone, and countless other meccas of all things noteworthy consistently feeding the masses GMO-Music/Art/Fashion. Can someone with a voice, besides little ole me step up and tell them how to restructure so they actually serve a purpose in this world besides producing sponsor backed open bar parties with buzznames in order to gain subscriber data and traffic that is later sold to a larger entity while they feed you by email and social media little slices of their bullshit pie?

Perhaps I’m just lacking a feeling of solidarity from the back end of these paper mills because I’m seeing a lot of fluff on the front end, which results in people like myself and my peers wasting a lot of valuable time digging through garbage bins for that diamond in the rough. I feel like, maybe it’s a lack of appreciation for their roles as editors and contributors? Also it could have to do with a similar entitlement privileged person problem that I also noticed while I was working at the 1515 Broadway Viacom building in Times Square for MTV. I noticed everyone around me could give a fuck less about their opportunity to create breakthroughs for an industry. The hesitation and anxiety people would have when thinking about expressing themselves creatively in a corporate environment that was supposedly based around providing quality music and culture to the masses just seemed terrifying to most.

Who cares though, after all people are going to like what they like, write what they write, share what they want, and do what they want anyways. I’m not aiming to change the world with this article, drag anyone through the mud or muddy any waters. All I ask is that you Do Better and help us evolve because currently the whole music game is looking grim and AppleMusic, Beats1, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Mixcloud, and the billion .fm start-ups and music apps aren’t doing much better.

You’ve done a good job preventing forest fires, now let’s aim to create less musical mortality so the millions of curators, appreciators, and creators worldwide can have something to fuel their lives.

Lastly, I’ve been burning CD-R’s in Data Disc form so I’ve got 700mb’s of music I can put on them. 100 CD’s cost less then I spend on food in a single seating sometimes. I then distribute these cd’s to everyone I come in contact with based on their musical taste. As for keeping it safe? I get Free LA Weekly’s and rip out their pages to wrap them, because most of the content there is just as bad sometimes.  This allows you to expose people to new artists, sounds, genres, and really gives them a mystery box grab bag to enjoy. If you don’t have an outlet like social media or some blogging platform – I highly suggest doing something like this if you are about quality. I already mentioned my lyft & uber stunt (that was prior to creating but now this has deemed good at creating connections and spreading great art/music/fashion with your peers.

No hard feelings with anyone whom I may have mentioned in here. Hell I should be apologizing for the tangents and direction of this, but hopefully it had some value to someone somewhere.

Leave feedback below if you’d like, or you can reach me on instagram @ericspivak or twitter @gorillamicspiv


Lock Yourself In A Room Doing 5 Beats A Day For 3 Summers

This past weekend, was the second annual Low End Theory Festival and it was phenomenal. To catch you up to speed, I’ll start with what LET is.

Low End Theory is a magical place where deejays, producers, emcees, vocalists, musicians and beat junkies of all walks unite on a weekly basis. It’s an institution in Los Angeles, and some follow it religiously enough to call it their church.

Whether it’s the fact that the place is 18 and up, or maybe the booming Pure Filth Soundsystem being tuned to make your bones rattle and ovaries twerk, perhaps it’s the countless who’s who that randomly show up (such as Thom Yorke, Prince, and Erykah Badu to name a few).

October marks 9 Years of Low End Theory which is brought to you by Daddy Kev ( founder of Alpha Pup Records ) DJ D-Styles, DJ Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, and Hosted by Nocando. All adding their own special sauce to the mix, you can catch a wide-variety of performers on 1 of 2 stages any given Wednesday in Boyle Heights at The Airliner.

The reason I titled this entry “Lock Yourself In A Room Doing 5 Beats A Day For 3 Summers” wasn’t because I think that this such sound advice from Mr. West, but rather just a reminder of someone being dedicated to a craft, regardless of how many shapes it takes. The majority of this lineup I’ve been following for years and have really witnessed the growth in their sound through various releases and I as well as many others have been lucky enough to interact with many of them through Low End Theory, Beat Cinema, and other platforms that focus on this genre of music. It’s really cool to see guys who started in their basement play center stage in front of thousands before the likes of people like Flying Lotus & Thundercat. A lot of these guys used to actually go to events with boxes of cd’s and just hand them out freely with hand-drawn/cut/photographed packaging, just cd-r’s and cassettes hoping they’d somehow reach someone who somewhat cared enough to follow up and actually purchase or support them further in their journey… It used to be a very DIY effort, coming from a genuine and pure place that was much deeper than youtube views and soundcloud plays. I think the process really created some very humble and modest artists because of the patience involved in really getting heard by “the right people”. That same mentality was getting people shine on stages like Low End Theory along with many others, and in-turn picked up for mini tours and festival opening slots, as well as traveling opportunities.

To me, this festival was like a holiday for all the people who’ve waited in line week after week only to hit the door and the place being at capacity while their favorite artist performed inside. It was a special treat that was mutually beneficial for the performing acts, the attendees and supporters, as well as the format/genre/sound as a whole. It brought together a ton of amazing people, visuals and sounds that I don’t think you’d catch anywhere else in the city, and best of all is it was an organic showcase. All of these acts have performed prior on the weekly Low End stage and never for a moment did it feel like some corporate backed function where they slap stickers all over the Lamborghini, thus maintaining the integrity of the event.   From JhenĂ© Aiko, Dom Kennedy, Earl Sweatshirt, Childish Gambino, and even Shia Labeouf there was no lack of star power in the house and I feel like people left satisfied with a longing for more… That being said, check out explore some of the acts that were on the lineup further through Soundcloud & Bandcamp. Support what you love and drop by Low End on a Wednesday to see what it’s all about.  Shout out to Kev and everyone who made the event happen,  all the performers who got to express themselves – I truly can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year. Below is a full recap, end of the show clip with FlyLo and a photo from Nocando from the indoor stage.

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Low End Theory 9 Year Anniversary

The 2nd annual Low End Theory Festival, occurred August 8, 2015 at the Shrine Expo Hall and Grounds, Los Angeles, CA. Performers included Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Teebs, Jonwayne, Ras G, Mono/Poly, Samiyam, Dibiase, Alix Perez & EPROM, Milo, Open Mike Eagle, Mndsgn, Free the Robots, Great Dane, House Shoes, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Astronautica, Sister Crayon, Cazal Organism and Elusive. LET residents Daddy Kev, Nobody, the Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles and Nocando also performed. Low End Theory Festival 2015 was presented by Goldenvoice, and sponsored by Roland in conjunction with 808 Day.

Creative Process – How To Get In The Zone, And Stay There.

Hey young world, Whether your medium is dance, music, writing, art, photography or a wide-variety of other interests. The one thing that is constant is the requirement of a good creative process. Unfortunately, the fuel to the fire that lives within is something that can sometimes be scarce, difficult to unlock or seem nearly inaccessible ( writer’s block ). In the next few minutes I’m going to give you some tips on how to Master your high, without the aid of vices such as alcohol, marijuana, and other substances. Consider this your Toolz Of The Trade – all methods tried and true that have been applied by myself and have assisted my peers in their processes.

1. Create a regiment or routine that can easily become a healthy habit. This doesn’t have to cost money, it’s just an investment of time. Several successful people of the arts, sports and business swear by specific methodical thinking. They create patterns that generate desired results, and repeat those patterns so much that their consistency is unrivaled. You can develop and fine-tune all of the patterns you create until it becomes second nature and you start to experiment with the formula / sturdy foundation you’ve just built. Simple examples would be how you take a jumpshot or dribble a basketball, your positioning on the ball to where you look at on the rim or backboard. In music you practice in a similar fashion with holding a microphone, there is a way to cusp the mic that will guarantee you are heard clear & loud regardless of soundsystem, stage, or quality of microphone. I don’t know how many MC Battles I’ve won or Ciphers I’ve rocked where people never learned how to hold the mic right. As you can imagine this also falls in line with proper Deejaying/Turntablism, and execution of specific power moves or gestures when dancing. If you listen closely to the production of people like Swizz Beats, N.E.R.D. or 9th Wonder you can hear and deconstruct their process, and realize they too use this simple yet effective method to getting the ball rolling creatively. While I hate the reference, 8Mile kinda also showcased the “pre-workout(performance)’ when Eminem was in the bathroom prior to stage time. Athletes, you can watch do similar things as well. So you see, this is not bound to any specific craft or skill set, but just a ‘process’ to create consistency in your output. Try telling yourself, how you do anything is how you do everything.

2. Remember, you are a product of your environment. People tend to reflect what is around them, even subconsciously at times which places them in categories for labeling or prejudgement. Keeping yourself around better people and different environments, can yield really amazing results. A collaboration over competition mindset will definitely allow you to open up to new possibilities with your projects. In the same sense that, taking a nightly walk listening to instrumentals, or finding a cozy unique space with nice floors to dance on can generally inspire you to do more of what you love. I think the people who do this best are skaters. Headphones in without a care in the world and an almost fearless mentality. Just doing what they do best or at least what they love, alone or with peers getting better and better everytime they jump on a board. All of this because they are mastering their landscape/environment(skatepark). Imagine trying to play your music to a bunch of people who don’t like the genre/format? Or being surrounded by several emcees that are all rapping Cat In The Hat lyrics over top-40 autotune joints. Chances are you will be more inclined to produce similar subject matter and content and garner results the same, all because you’re only familiar with what is around you. So with that I say, explore. go for a bike ride, drive aimlessly somewhere, take a shower, work out of a college cafeteria, do something different to let those ideas Rise To The Top.

3. Your current reality is temporary. This meaning, anything and everything can change in a split-second. That being said, if the suggestions of creating patterns and processes, or changing enviornments as mentioned above isn’t your cup of lean. Maybe it’s time for a change? I say this in a way that I don’t want you to abandon what you’ve been doing all this time, or sell everything you have to go in a different direction. I’m telling you this in the manner of
there is a lot of cross-over in every line of work and hobby, especially creative ones. Is there any part of your process that requires a second set of eyes, ears, or hands? Maybe you can skillshare and trade what you know about what you do to someone who does something completely different that still requires a solid creative output and use of developed/acquired skills. I remember when I used to get frustrated with being booked for shows with promoters who’d create thirsty fliers, I’d normally end up coming out of pocket myself to pay someone to redo it up to my standards. Eventually that costly process lead me to download the trial versions of a few programs, and then ask if any friends were interested in learning how to breakdance, write music, rap/sing, or produce events – In exchange for teaching me Graphic Design. Sure enough I had a few people, one of which has really become a remarkable singer and has put down the brush and photoshop, quit the agency and pursued her career long enough to make it a livable thing. Meanwhile, the skills she helped me acquire allowed me to create additional income for doing a ton of design work of all sorts. Now I can take my songwriting abilities and tie them into posters or more impactful projects (still creative) and the best part is EVERYTHING that you produce, complete or incomplete, is still an original work (unless you’re a biter) and in turn can be dropped into a “portfolio” to give you some leverage when presenting it to others. Embrace change.

4. Retrospective. It’s always important to look back, whether it’s to your first few creations and the timeline to where you are at currently. You can almost see a character form from the variety of materials that come from specific times in your life where you’ve had ups, downs, lefts and rights. This creates a lot of understanding, awareness, pride and many other feelings that can translate well into whatever you are currently working on. I know I’ve got some of my favorite pieces ‘pinned’ to walls, framed, burnt to cd’s, and on zip-drives. I think a lot of people don’t put into perspective how far some people have come to get where they are. They jump on the bandwagon when they are a winner and forget about the back catalog or all the unsuccessful attempts to make it happen. Perspective, and being retrospective are always valuable additions to a creative mind and a healthy process. Think differently and you’ll be able to build self-worth out of dusty projects, and you may even get inspired enough to rework/repurpose them for current or future use.

5. Write Daily. Even if you aren’t a writer, this helped me out immensely a few years ago because I was hitting a lot of adversity and facing obstruction left and right. Whether it’s one liners, metaphors, looking at objects and creating questions then answering those questions. You already talk all day for free via Social Media, why not refine your writing abilities and harness a basic form of communication that will carry over into assisting you in other areas of life? Pros and Cons lists are great for decision making. Grocery Lists and Budgets keep you thinking, small witty one liners or metaphors, puns and punchlines. When you’re happy, sad, angry, writing is such a powerful tool that we sometimes forget to use it because we’re too busy thinking about the next line or worse, speaking before thinking. Whether you hit a dollar store for a pack of pens, and a notebook or you go for something more sophisticated, I encourage anyone, from any creative path to explore the world of writing. Beyond changing your mood, it can definitely help you analyze your work even better.
That’s it for today’s update – Hopefully some of this stuff was or is valuable to some of you. Feel free to drop a line in the comments below and share this with peers.

5 Artists You Should Know – Vol 2.

5 Artists You Should Know, will be turning the spotlight on five select artists that you should probably check out and support, if you don’t already. While the internet has definitely bridged the gap for aspiring talent to reach new heights and larger audiences faster than ever before. It’s also created a bit of a great divide and surplus problem in regards to the quantity of projects not matching the quality expectations that we were once accustomed to. While I won’t say that it’s all bad,  It’s definitely thrown the music industry into a whirlwind and really requires more finesse and strategy than ever to really push your way to the top. That being said, the goal of this section isn’t necessarily to give you deep interviews that talk about your favorite rappers prior charges, drug habits, or executive producers who squandered away their royalties. Rather the focus and goal here is to provide a platform of discovery, exploration, and hopefully put you up on some talented individuals you’ve missed in the streets and on the web.


Mimi Yoon
( Artist )
I remember years ago when I was producing functions for the Downtown Los Angeles Artwalk and I came across this amazing woman’s work. I spent a few hours in a gallery that showed her stuff in hopes of the opportunity to physically meet her and personally thank her, exchange contacts and keep it moving… Unfortunately, It never happened and I found myself drunk from the open bar watching others also admiring her work in a similar manner. So when I got home, I decided to look her up and see if I could find out more about her process, how long she’s been doing it, and where I can catch more of her work. While she’s got an online store located here: you can see a lot of her work, and progress shots at

Bad_Girls9885955 mimimi


Nocando / Jimmy The Lock / Burnout

( Emcee  )
Nocando is a diverse and versatile Los Angeles veteran who’s carried the torch for emcees of all walks. Between hosting the institution that is Low End Theory, and having countless ciphers outside of the blowed/kaos, his accomplishments span far and wide in the Battle Rap Circuit, to also being an independent artist producing original material. He even started his own label ( Hellfyre Club ) on Daddy Kev’s Alpha Pup Records. Countless times has he risen to the occasion to really showcase  what it means to be a powerhouse musician that withstands the test of time. He’s really learned how to adapt with the market/landscape of music and remain relevant all while also being a father, and modest leader to many. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine the rapper I met years ago in NY during Jumpoff, then again out on the Slauson line to reach the levels he has… It’s really been great to witness his growth, and I look forward to seeing/hearing what’s next. Below is a sampling of some of my favorites of his discog – You can also support him on social media, soundcloud, bandcamp and itunes, or catch him at Low End Theory every Wed.


Dumbfoundead / DFD / Parker

( Emcee )
Dumbfoundead is another inspirational story who I’ve had the pleasure of working / rapping with in the past and seeing rise from the bottom to reach new heights and surpass expectations against all odds. From the Rap Battle world to the Music side of things, to even having his own channel that’d spotlight budding talent and give them another platform to be heard (Knocksteady). Dumb has really gone through a great transformation and an amazing amount of growth as an artist, selling out shows all over and really throwing down for Korean Artists everywhere. He’s another shining example of hard work paying off in a big way. It’s funny because I remember years ago at this graffiti shop called 33third when I was in town for a short trip, I was in a mc battle with him that was hosted / judged by  Pharaohe Monch & Percee P… Even at this time, you could tell he had a great amount of support from his peers (project blowed) and a passion for the game. With witty wordplay, funny punchlines, and a solid delivery he took home the prize. Since then he’s made huge leaps working with a lot of your favorite artists, producers, dj’s and more in shows worldwide, and created ample collaborations and efforts to bring up other artists. Anyways, I’ve posted a few tracks below for you to familiarize yourself with this talented individual that you should know about if you don’t already. Again, you can support him on social media, soundcloud, bandcamp and itunes, or catch him at his Spam & Eggs events in KTOWN.


Open Mike Eagle

( Emcee )
Open Mike Eagle is a unique subject to analyze. His work varies from satirical dark humor to subtle subliminal honesty, smoothly delivered over interesting production choices and sometimes accompanied by his friends that range from Aesop Rock to Blockhead to Hannibal Buress. From being a teacher, to a father, to a radio/podcast host and most importantly a class act. Mike has managed to really mess around with a variety of sounds in his process and progress, and now I think has really kind of carved out a lane of his own. From the same school of rap that Nocando & Dumbfoundead came from (Project Blowed) he’s definitely proven his worth reaching audiences of all types in several different mediums and platforms, alongside continues to break boundaries  and reinvent himself through his output. I remember this guy coming to the blowed with a cardbox box of cd’s to sell that he pressed him himself and each time the content, production, and overall product just got better and better. You could tell he was appreciative of every single person who believed in him enough to support his art. These days with the disconnect of digital purchasing, I feel like it’s should be a necessity for artists to continue to create physical copies and connect with their fans in this grass-root approach. Mike is definitely a phenomenal artist and making moves faster then we can keep up. So catch him if you can via Social Media, check out some of his podcasts, live shows, music and more.

( DJ / Producer )
Always with an open mind, Ele has been influenced by a multitude of sounds. Even though she goes back and forth between mixing platforms, she spent her first 10 years DJing strictly vinyl – seamlessly blending mostly deep house, hip hop and drum n bass. In 2009, Ele started dabbling in production and within a couple years released various singles like her Down 4 U remix, which earned her the spotlight as a producer. In 2013, she released her first official EP “Noir”, which got her featured on several known music blogs such as URB Magazine and Giant Step. Her EP also featured artist such as, Abjo (Soulection) & M31RK (RMG). She currently holds a residency at “Culture” every 3rd Wednesdays along with Abjo (Soulection) & JR Jarris, at North Park’s AC Lounge.  You can also find her every 1st Thursdays at her 2nd residency along with Andre Power (Soulection) & Sufficient Sounds at the popular Art in the Park monthly – which fuses music and art.  Ele continues to spend most of her time in production and has also teamed up with Half Bad Society, a Brooklyn based music collective. Keep an eye out for more of her work and collaborations! Be sure to dig her up on social media and check out her individual projects, I really cosign this woman and I’m happy to share her production any chance I get.

10 Steps To Stardom – Going From Studio To Stadium

These days, it seems like being an artist just isn’t enough. The whole new basket of responsibilities that comes along with the internet / digital territory has left people with so much more to worry about besides what matters most ( the music ). Below I list 10 steps to get you from studio to stage, and stage to stadium.

1. Branding – Personal Identity is a VERY important piece of your entire career. A logo, Specific Colors, A Certain Style, Maybe a signature intro, outro or action that you are known for and remembered by. Branding is by far one of the most effective methods of getting you off the ground. People need to be able to identify with you, and quickly. If you are starting to brand yourself, you should be using a logo that’s clean, clear, and easily read. The same goes with color choices. If your branding is too much like other people or companies, it can get lost or easily mistaken as theirs. If your branding is too unique, it could end up being difficult to read and may leave breaks communication. Branding is important when people are trying to discover you, as well as support you. I commonly make the analogy to wrestler’s of the 80’s/90s’ when mentioning individual branding. They are perfect examples of wearing it all on their sleeves, and being “in character” at all times. Make something memorable, be unforgettable.

2. Promotional Collateral – Materials like merchandise, promotional cards, pins, stickers, and other things that help spread awareness of you are very important. Once again, if they are unique or stylish enough they can be utilized as a conversation piece. Whether you sell them or give them away, the biggest goal here is to have things to leave behind for them to remember you by. If you have materials that create an emotional connection with the audience – you’ll receive even better results/response from it. It’s also a nice touch to send someone a cd and include a “bonus item” that they weren’t expecting. When doing artist management and development, I normally start off people with 10,000 “promotional cards” that have their logo on one side, contact info on the other, and tell them to leave them anywhere and everywhere that may have potential traffic that can send them to hear and interact with your product.

3. Open Mics / Being Active – Whether you want to stay in your basement or bedroom making music or you want to go party every night. As you know, most of this business is based around who you know, connections and communication are key for staying on people’s radar and getting opportunities. If you make music that fits a specific demographic, look at where those people are in abundance, and spend your time there. Create consistency in going to specific outings and you’ll end up meeting other people who also frequent the places, this also allows you to easily weave in and out of conversations. If you can actually participate in the activities at these said venues, even better! This game is very much out of sight, out of mind and this forces you to interact with others who could be potential customers or collaborators.

4. Collaboration vs Competition – Teamwork makes the dream work right? Sometimes a collaboration can yield an amazing response and is often used as a way to ‘kickstart’ careers or bring someone up with you. If you are unknown, but work with a producer, dj, or other artists that are more known, it can help you cross-pollenate and really expose you to different demographics. The best types of partnerships are the ones that make sense and have a bit of synergy already. Having people who are already more established co-sign or vouch for your talents by joining you on different parts of a record, is a great look and addition to your artist resume/press kit.

5. Professionalism – Sadly this one still somehow manages to be elusive and forgotten. This is pretty simple. Arrive on time to all meetings and appointments, remember there is a time and place for everything. When people ask what you do, answer in confidence. Nobody likes a “trying” anything, don’t be an aspiring Blank, you are either all in, or not in at all. When interacting with promoters/event coordinators, other talent performing, the venue staff, and beyond. It’s extremely valuable to make connections with all of these people because you never know who’s listening and watching, let alone where they are connected beyond the current show. When someone is on point and organized with all of their cords and equipment, they generally get offered more gigs because they are reliable and easy to build with. Even when sending emails to bloggers, and filling out festival forms. Use proper english, good etiquette, don’t get too cocky or arrogant, and maybe even offer to help if you’re just going to be waiting around otherwise. A little effort goes a long way.

6. Save Money – Having access to a decent bankroll can definitely help you climb faster, especially when you can pay different publicists, editors and more types of people or services that help you push your product/brand out to the masses on a larger scale. NEVER pay to play, if the show requires something like this, simply don’t do it. You will end up wasting your time and money performing in front of people that were guilt tripped or forced into a room together, only to see 1 person, and that in itself leaves people standing around disengaged with the show or gone with the wind as soon as the first breeze swings through. When you can pay for better production, guest drops or features, dj cuts, mixing, mastering, mailers, booking venues, and more. You want to stretch your dollars as much as you can and only utilize what you need. Some people save up and book themselves onto their own tour. With sites like Airbnb and Googlemaps this is becoming an easier and easier task. If you decide to tour, you can save money in a variety of ways by pre-planning and seeking deposits prior to arrival of each location. Once you see a larger demand in certain cities, you can utilize your funds to go back as well as aim to target specific areas of the city with a concentrated marketing plan.

7. Packaging / Presentation –  Presentation is a key to success. This can boil down to album artwork, your cases, vinyl sleeves, designs, colors, fonts, even the wrap/packaging. If you have unique packaging, that comes as a real thoughtful piece. People take notice, and they remember it, and your art then becomes a collectable or limited piece that correlates with you. Think about unique methods of delivering your content to the masses, or specific and more important VIP’s.

8. Distribution – Once you have a physical or digital product, how are you going to get it out there? Distro is generally provided by labels, PR companies, some creative agencies and large digital/physical retailers. Unless you are phenomenal, let’s face it – you will have to put in work to move units. Finding a good distributor is kinda like buying a new car. You know it’s going to cost you quite a bit, but that cost is negated by what you gain from it, and how far it can take you. A good product with great distribution, can really catch on like wildfire and end up all over the world very rapidly via internet. Bad distribution can leave you with a surplus of product and nobody who wants to buy it or share/sell it. Before joining a label or signing a contract for releasing an album, definitely do your research on what options are the most feasible for you. I generally suggest aligning your type of music, with the brands or labels that best promote to that audience. You want to stay in your lane, but don’t be afraid to step a little beyond and ask questions, because a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.

9. Manager / Agent – While not always required, still important – normally a good manager will give you the focus and direction to make good business decisions and help you become a more well-rounded performer. An Agent can help you get booked for more gigs, as their career is built around relationships that require talent. They are literally a middle man, take care of them and they take care of you. Represent them poorly, and you could potentially have the reverse effects of what you want. Some of the best managers really make or break an artists career. You can be shaped and molded into an even more influential powerhouse with the right support backing you. If you are at a point in your career where you may be getting less offers, and few requests to be involved – it may be a good time to look at these types of people to see what they can do for you.

10. Perform / Practice – You’d probably be surprised to know what percentage of professional musicians do not practice once they get their big break. This causes them to eventually fall off or forget the basics that were at one time in place to create consistency in their careers. I understand this stuff may be a no-brainer, but you can never have “enough” practice in a  specific craft. We are also creatures of habit and bad habits die hard. Never performing and never practicing equals the jogger who just got the cast off his leg, only to break it again. Normally what you put in is what you get out, and this is one of those cases where if you take it seriously, you should be able to get the most out of your shows, instead of trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

“You can market ‘til you are blue in the face – hire the best PR or radio motion company in the world – but unless you have what people want you have nothing. No matter whether you’re recording your 4th studio album or your first, you’re always a work-in-progress of becoming your best yet, and quite frankly, you can never dig too deep or work too hard on your music.

Here’s some addtl information from Cari Cole – (Celebrity vocal coach, artist development expert, and new music business mentor)

101 Things Every Musician Needs to Know in 2015:

1. Practice your craft every day. That’s the only way you’ll exceed expectations (yours

2. Sing every day, it takes an unbelievable amount of practice to be great. Don’t let
anyone tell you otherwise – ever.

3. Train your voice. A pro vocal coach will make you sound 100x better and much faster
than you could on your own.

4. Think ridiculously positive, you’re going to need every single ounce.

5. Train your brain to beat the odds, not succumb.

6. Expect success and don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t happen overnight. It never

7. Create powerful mantras that help you regain your strength, i.e., “I am brave”, “I am

8. Have boatloads of patience. You’ll need every milligram.

9. Prioritize. Musicians are not wired for business naturally and are easily overwhelmed
by the lengthy to do list. Every Sunday, sit down and prioritize the top 3 things on your list for
the week ahead.

10. Don’t fight your musician nature. You are supposed to be highly sensitive, ridiculously
creative, and super anxious. It’s part of what it takes to be a “creative”.  So you can stop
beating yourself up now :).

11. Don’t be permanently knocked down by rejection.  If you’re doing your job right, you will
be rejected, many, many, many times. It’s a sign you’re on to something (unless you’re not.
Sometimes it’s because you’re just not there yet #itsalongjourneyworthtaking).

12. Take more risks with your art. Great artistry often steps outside the norm or is inventive.

13. Stop comparing. Comparisons distract you from your own path.

14. Perform as often as you can. Put in your 10,000 hours. Nothing less will put you
on the front lines.

15. Don’t skimp with your musicianship. It shows.

16. Make the best music on the planet and don’t stop until you have it. Period.

17. Make the music you want to hear. Stop trying to please everyone else, and please
yourself first – it’s infectious.

18. You can market ‘til you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t have what people want ~
you have nothing. #backtothedrawingboard.

19. Create your music masterpiece. First and foremost you are an artist – not a marketer.
Music comes first.

20. Write songs that tell your truth but hit universal truths at the same time. When you
write from your truth, it becomes an instant branding tool.

21. Don’t cave in to rhymes. That means focus on content first and rhyming second.

22. Don’t leave filler lyrics in your songs. Every word of your lyric is precious
real estate, choose words carefully – use synonym finders to be more innovative.

23. Study songwriting, don’t take stabs. Songwriting is like golf, you suck most
of the time until you don’t.

24. Write melodies that fit your voice and how it wants to move. Nothing is less
compelling than an under developed or over-reaching melody that makes a
singer sound worse or less than they are.

25. Write songs that fit you as as an artist, not just good songs – there’s a difference.
If you don’t know what I mean, check out the links below.

26. Develop your signature sound, one that is instantly recognizable and undeniable.

27. Write songs that are hard won. Stuff that was cathartic for you.

28. Fall in love with why you are different.

29. Write music that offers people something more.

30. Be relevant. Make music that makes sense to the musical climate.  You can
be vintage but don’t bury yourself in an era without having some modernizing

31. Follow music trends but don’t copy them. By the time you release yours it will
have passed.

32. Put your ear to the ground. What’s happening in rehearsal rooms and on the
street is the next wave – not what’s on the radio. That’s already gone

33. Stand out, don’t fit in. Don’t be a copycat.

34. Become a master of your craft. Your competition is.

35. Make broadcast quality music. Nothing less.

36. Work with top notch producers and that doesn’t always mean top dollar. Their
work speaks for itself.

37. Only work with producers who produce the kind of music you can imagine for
yourself and nothing less.

38. Want amazing off-the-hook kick ass vocals on your next record? Work with a vocal
arranger (links below).

39. Don’t devalue your music with a crappy brand that hurts not helps. Elevate yours.

40. Send out a regular monthly newsletter. That means the same day, same time every
month. Consistent marketing builds trust.

41. Have an email opt-in in exchange for something incredibly awesome that your fans
will want and please don’t use the phrase “free music.” Come up with a compelling title
for your giveaway (maybe the title of your songs).

42. Hire a VA (Virtual Assistant). And if you don’t know what that is or why you need one,
check out the links below.

43. Engage with your fans – find out who they are and talk to them. They will love you.

44. Go way out of your way for your fans. Fans are who support your career and pay you.

45. Nurture your dreams, they need your constant watering or they wither and die.

46. Have BIG dreams. Don’t be afraid to dream big, big dreams create momentum.

47. Don’t overlook the details, they’ll nip you in the bud every time.

48. Things take way longer than you think, so plan for that and plan way ahead.

49. Always use strategy. Never ever do anything in the music business without a strategy
behind you. Careers are created, orchestrated and manufactured. You want to build on
every last move.

50. Plan out your year. Start with your goal and reverse engineer.

51. Don’t release your whole album at once. It’s a waste of marketing potential. Use each
video or song release as an opportunity to shout out and grow your list.

52. Find where you fit and then chart a course to make it happen.

53. Grow a pair of balls, women included. You’ll really need them.

54. Don’t ask permission
 just do it.

55. Don’t change with the flavor of the moment, stay on your course and it will pay off when
the pendulum swings back your way.

56. Give graciously, people applaud generous natures.

57. Be outrageously bold and true.

58. Speak your truth, it’s what people really want from you – the rawer the better.

59. Share in other peoples success, it will attract more to you.

60. Praise others publicly, you’ll win instant friends (and possibly real ones and not just cyber

61. Stop chasing big names in the business. Find the people that resonate with you and rise up
with them.

62. Research anyone you meet and everyone you want to meet in the industry down to their
picture so you can recognize them when you meet them.

63. Shout out about people who help you. It’s really, really, really good karma and will come
back tenfold (it’s a small world.)

64. Share your knowledge, don’t be stingy. You could change someone’s life.

65. Share your successes small and tall. Sometimes the smaller stuff  makes a bigger difference.

66. Work with people smarter than you (that includes everyone on your team.)

67. Be generous with praise and short on criticism.

68. Learn the difference between good and great, criticism and discernment.

69. Elevate your brand. Have a killer pic and image that visually nails the sound of your music.
Your music isn’t enough to speak for you – it’s a visual world.

70. Make your website an experience for your fans.

71. Be a trendsetter, not a follower.

72. Pay attention to marketing trends.

73. White is in, black is out. Lose the white type over black backgrounds. Follow the leaders,

74. Don’t use basic marketing tactics that you learn from online marketers, music marketing
is a little more fickle than that. While there are similarities, music marketing follows slightly
different rules ;)). Study the right stuff ~ check out the links below.

75. Name your fans and have a #hashtag page title on your site just for them.

76. Stop thinking there is a one-size-fits-all plan for success in music. There isn’t.

77. There are many artist paths, knowing yours is a key to helping your carve your unique

78. Find your next destination and then plan the route.

79. You don’t need a manager. Not until you are making at least $50K a year from your music.
Build your career first. Everyone else does. Except Justin Bieber and he doesn’t count.

80. Work with people who believe in great music and who will tell you the truth, even when
it’s hard to hear.

81. Not every music industry person is created equal. Don’t give the same weight to what
everyone says.

82. Filter advice, but listen to everything worthy.

83. Stay clear of negative people, they’re not good for you, no matter how important they are.

84. If there are holes in your artistry or business acumen, get the highest level of help you
can find. Not doing so will gravely keep you from your success.

85. Know how the music industry works. As Mary J. Blige says “the music industry is no
place for people that don’t know things.”

86. Keep your head up – high, even when you don’t feel like it.

87. Don’t be pretentious, or name drop. It’s compensating for your lack of faith in yourself.
Develop more self-esteem. You can do it.

88. Practice being exactly where you are for one week (not projecting into the future) and see
what happens.

89. Don’t push the river. The river can’t be pushed and there is a reason it’s flowing at the
pace it is.

90. Read the subtext. It’s not what’s being said, it’s how it’s being said that matters.

91. Don’t put your faith in people, put your faith in yourself.

92. Develop a stronger relationship with yourself. It’s the only one you really have.

93. Forgive easily. Everyone is doing the best they can given who they are.

94. Have big goals but low expectations.

95. Honor your impulsive nature (it helps you move forward), but never make hasty decisions
that you’ll pay for later.

96. Don’t release music just because you have a deadline or you’ll release stuff that is under
par. But always operate under deadlines, just move them back without a second thought.
Music first over everything else.

97. Don’t worry if you’ve promised a release date you’ve missed, things always take way longer
than you think. Just quickly apologize and talk about the improvements /progress/ journey!

98. Follow every artist you can find that you believe in and then shout out about them. This
creates a rich community of support when you need it. And don’t fool yourself, you’ll need it.

99. Don’t vie for attention or adoration from others. Give it to yourself. You’ll stand way taller
and shine brighter.

100. Believe in yourself more than your mother, family or friends do or did.

101. Always fight hard for your music and don’t make anyone wrong in the process.

If any of that speaks to you – it’s what I teach and preach.

5 Albums You Slept On (and why you shouldn’t have)

From years of running Strictly Beats ( a benchmark in Instrumental Hip-Hip / Beat Tape sites ) and also trying to merge another popular blog that I was a part of HHB ( hip-hop bootleggers ) I’ve been digging music for years online and off. Some of my favorite artists have faded away, while others have stood the test of time and found ways of navigating through the changing music environment. I feel like these 5 albums were really amazing pieces of work that would’ve gone a lot further had the internet been more like it is now. From content to production, delivery and cadence, and the emcees/producers/dj’s involved. These projects definitely had a fair share of quality control and all deserve a second life / resurface. Check them out in their entirety, and tell a friend…

1. Stories About Nothing : Intuition – Los Angeles, CA

2. Stick Figures : Prolyphic & Robust – Chicago & Rhode Island
( Unfortunately I can’t find a full album link but you can purchase it at the link below )

Click Here For Full Album

3. Rhyme Asylum – State Of Lunacy – London, United Kingdom

4. Symbionese Liberation : Third Sight – Los Angeles, CA

5. Force Fed : IDE – New York, NY

You may also like these posts:


Wanna reach out? 
Eric Spivak
ig: ericspivak
twt: gorillamicspiv
Beat Junkies Record Pool: 

How To Book Better Gigs More Often

How To Book Better Gigs More Often

In my 10 years of working at various capacities in and around this industry, I never once took into consideration how difficult, complicated and overwhelming things must be for aspiring talent that lacks proper guidance to “make it” as they say… We all know the internet has provided several articles, tutorials and resources for people to independently help themselves become as aware and knowledgeable as possible. With the addition of social media and platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, it’s become even easier for you to project yourself to the masses and correspond with potential investors to your brand (fans).  My question is, what happens when you get offline? Like, ok great! You’ve been featured all over the world and your mixes, songs and videos have thousands of plays, you’ve got a little blog traction and managed to open for a few established acts that you can namedrop into your bio, but what’s next?   I feel like several talented people hit this peak and then unfortunately start questioning what they are doing or drag their feet. This is when we start to look at other options like Agents, Managers, PR/Publicists and Peers for help.

*Now I must really like you guys, because I’ve decided to put together this basic visual aid to illustrate what happens at this moment.

Untitled - 14
Alright, so that was quick and painless right? Now I’m not saying all artists follow this pattern, but through the ones I’ve mentored, managed, and coached from the sidelines and on the field. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was a very real and common thing,

so congrats, you’re not alone.

Here’s my tips on how to land more bookings, more often (and help improve your overall self)

  1. Be Transparent. In all interactions. any communication. I know I don’t have to tell you how far integrity, modesty and honesty go but I’m going to anyways. You don’t know how many times people have asked me to manage them bragging about working with this person, or that label, or performing on xyz stage while I smile and nod. Then get home, reach for my phone, shoot a text out and see if what you said is true. – Technology is a blessing and a curse, it’s your choice on whether you want it to work with you or against you. One of the easiest ways to avoid it malfunctioning or not working out in your favor is keeping it 100.
  2. Friendliness – I understand you may not like Joe Blow’s music, or think Kristi Kokane and The Kirkland Krew  are trash, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude or disrespectful. In an industry where all you have is your word, use yours wisely and for good. It costs nothing to be nice, and there isn’t a gun to your head to support said act, but you could have one at your head if you decide to speak up and degrade someone else’s efforts. Social Media may sometimes encourage bad behavior, but you can use it to showcase your personality and really leverage friendships and new connections, just by being positive.
  3. Organization – Having your EPK (electronic press kit) in order will surely help you get more placement and better gigs. Business Cards & Websites are synonymous with this as well.  For me to take someone seriously, I need to know they’ve invested in themselves before they are trying to ask for money from me. No Joke, I spend a quarter of the year re-producing these for people who went on craigslist or through a friend and got a price hookup, but an abomination of work. Make sure you put your best foot forward on all fronts.  Collecting Emails and Numbers then dissecting them when you get home, into an excel spreadsheet is a great way to work on your organization and launch concentrated marketing efforts. This also goes for making a list of Radio Stations, Blogs, Magazines, and other areas that you want to reach utilizing their submission addresses & emails.
  4. Put some Bass in your voice – Confidence, not cockiness, when introducing yourself to others at events will  go a long way, throw in some humor and you’re in! If you are at an event, whether performing or not, chances are the people who produced it are also in attendance. Now keeping in mind there is a time and place for everything. I don’t necessarily suggest going out of your way to bother these people ( I am one of these people ) but if you do happen to cross paths with them. Say a quick hello, introduce yourself quickly, and depending on the vibe, either keep it moving or pay them a compliment. First impressions go along way, and set the tone for any future correspondence. Small talk isn’t required, and what you say “can” hurt you, so use some tact. Depending on your approach, you should’ve opened the door for yourself to at least see each other again, briefly and have a slightly longer conversation, until eventually your rapport is at a point that you can share your music. Who knows, you may even get requested for your EPK. You can be proud and accomplished without being arrogant or conceited, much like a vegan or crossfitter can be a vegan or crossfitter, without telling anyone they’re vegan or do crossfit.
  5. Support by attending! – Another great way to get the attention of the players in the scene is being active. Seven years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t know much of anyone or anything with an exception to people I’ve met in the past when they were on the east coast (NY) or the south (ATX) for specific events (Jumpoff/SXSW/etc). Now I’m happy and lucky enough to say that I’m known throughout several scenes and circles and get warm greetings, because of my consistent support and interactions. By frequenting events that fit a demographic you’re interested in, you’ll open several doors because generally the attendees are interested in the same things as you. The best part is, not all of them are there promoting themselves, and several potential fans are listening and watching you move. This is where that whole first impressions are lasting thing comes into play. If you connect with others in social environments and keep it cordial, you’d be surprised how far that goes and where it translates into your income. If you do the opposite keep in mind that those who you talk to, can talk too. If you go to an event consistently enough, you get to meet the residents and coordinators casually, which opens the doors of opportunity if you get along. Two things I DO NOT suggest is, attempting to get booked for events you haven’t attended more than a few times, and DO NOT become a pushy overbearing salesperson. Nothing is worse then the guy who interrupts the conversation or cipher to push his latest frisbee. Again, use tact (and common sense) because you never know who is watching.
  6. Think Outside Of The Box – I dropped a mix on 200 cd’s a few months back and gave them to L.A. Uber & Lyft Drivers. This mix + my cards got my website traffic boosted by 1200 people, I made 17 new connections on social media, and my soundcloud had a few addtl thousand plays on the week. When I worked for Viacom/MTV Networks in NY at 1515 Broadway – I used to sneak into the library and mail room and stick my event flyers & cd’s into everyone’s cubby. When I was in high school I dropped my poetry and a mixtape into the women’s locker room 3 vent slots on valentine’s day and made a lot of people happy 🙂 – These are just examples of the lengths in which I’ve personally gone to reach a broader demographic. Sure the internet is great between Reddit, Buzzfeed, Social Media, and all the other outlets. Although if you want to make a real splash where you’re the small fish in a big pond, you’ve gotta be creative. Find unique methods of packaging and delivering your content to people. Think about who you want to reach, and where they will be. I used to always be amazed by all the luxury vehicles Los Angeles had floating in the streets daily, to the point that I started asking anyone in a 80k+ vehicle what they did for a living? The result? some blew me off, some told me, and some followed up with “Why do you ask” and took what I had to offer ( a business card, resume, and cd ) and managed to connect me with some top industry professionals. I urge people to never be afraid of the unknown, and just weight “what’s the worst that can happen” before acting to yield best results. As long as your promotion and marketing attempts are not disruptive or destructive, I definitely co-sign pushing the ante on distribution tactics.  *Note: This does not include tagging the side of the 10 freeway with your soundcloud link.
  7. Professionalism – I can’t count on all my fingers and toes how many times people have shown up late, complained about irrelevant bullshit, gotten too tipsy/turnt before their set, or too faded on the patio when they should’ve been setting up.  If you want to be treated like a professional, act like one. Show up early, make yourself useful, show that you’re invested in the show and it’s not just a quick snatch & grab of some promoters cash by promoting the event to the best of your abilities. ( Trust me, social media has definitely made this task a no-brainer for you ) – If you are granted a few guestlist slots, don’t abuse them by showing up at the door every 5 minutes giving my doorgirl lip about letting a broke homie in. If they spent the time/money to get to your event, they’ve got the financial means to support you. Not to mention, let’s be honest – the doorgirl may throw you the fuck out. Please bring all required music on a USB/Phone/CD and have a backup, unless you like performing acapella or over other people’s instrumentals. Do not hastle promoters or coordinators for drink tickets, we understand you can’t survive on water all night, and need to get your booze to boost your buzz and confidence levels. Be supportive. I can’t stress this enough, I’m not talking emotional support, or child support. Applaud other acts, watch your time, don’t infringe on others by going over your designated slot, and don’t be a dick.  Make it easy for us to pay you and book you again. I’ve noticed the talent that gets booked the most, tend to have their shit together (being organized) and arrive on time, perform on time, say thank you, abide by the house rules, are responsive by text/email, and can send me an invoice via venmo, square, paypal, etc. if they aren’t paid the night of. As in any career, being a professional will take you far and doesn’t go unnoticed. Act like you know.
  8. DIY – Do it yourself, alright so you are determined to get on. You don’t do “Pay To Play” showcases (never do p2p showcases), you’ve hit the Open Mics on a weekly basis for a few months now. You’ve gone to nearby cities to try to get a feel for a different crowd. You’ve done everything I’ve said above before, and then some… At this point, I’d suggest trying to throw your own event. Now event production and coordinating is *NOT* for everybody, and *NOT* to be taken lightly. I cannot emphasize enough how much we don’t need more poorly put together functions that hang on by a thread and waste people’s time and money. I’m also not saying that if nobody will book you, then you book yourself. What I am saying is, if you have established a bit of a name for yourself, you can draw a decent 15-50 person paying crowd, and you’ve made a few connections through the events you’ve supported. Maybe it’s in your best interest to produce your own function. Find a venue, work out a deal, run it by a few friends to make sure it’s a solid one, book yourself to perform and a few supplemental acts that make sense for your sound or theme of the night. I know when doing talent booking and artist management/development with people who have no names. I was able to build names for them by producing a series that featured them as residents or near-headliners. You can do this for yourself without too much difficulty, but I really only suggest taking this route once you’ve reached the minimum requirements mentioned above, and already do everything else listed within this post. I’d hate to hear you followed a beat junkies blog posting from some guy named spiv and got evicted because you put your rent on the line and had a poorly designed flyer and a weak lineup with no gas.
  9. Be Yourself. – Most of this stuff above is self-explanatory, or one would think. Unfortunately, I see these tools of the trade get tangled up and forgotten very rapidly, especially when one gets a little shine. At the end of the day, people will book you based on who you are. If they aren’t booking you, it doesn’t mean nobody likes you, it means you’ve got room for improvement. Never stop practicing and progressing to be the best you, that you can be. If you’re not seeing the results in what you’re doing, change what you’re doing, or how you’re doing it, until you see the response you want to receive. The Los Angeles and New York markets for music are savage, and the fakes, jakes, and snakes get weeded out quickly. You have to learn before you earn, and always keep a guard up. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No party or event is worth losing sleep over. Overcompensating for accomplishments you don’t have yet, is unnecessary and you are only as good as your word, so keep that shit golden. None of the things mentioned in this article prevent you from being yourself, and at the end of the day, the real ones get the work.

Maybe in the next Artist Essential piece on The Beat Junkies site, I’ll we can break down the differences between expectations and duties of Agents, Managers and Publicists.

I hope you enjoyed the first Artist Essentials posting on The Beat Junkies blog. 

I’ll leave you with this last nugget of advice. At the end of the day, It’s all about how you serve it up.

If you have the worst food in the world and it looks amazing — People will give it a shot.

If you have the best food in the world, and it looks like shit — People won’t touch it.

Swap out food with Events, Music, Art, Film, Photos, etc and the lesson is the same. Presentation, Connection, and Communication are Keys To Success. Don’t do anything rushed or forced, don’t put out half-assed looking event flyers or album artwork. Spend a little extra time and money on things you value most, so others can recognize that when they feel, see, and hear the product you are delivering, especially when that product is yourself.

Hope this helps you land more bookings,  as it has for a handful of others whom I see living off of their craft. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

For anyone with a problem with this article, they can check out my friends video  – Otherwise, we’re back in a week, next Wednesday with another post. If you missed my last one, you can check it out 5 Artists You Should Know 


Wanna reach out? 
Eric Spivak
ig: ericspivak
twt: gorillamicspiv
Beat Junkies Record Pool: 

5 Artists You Should Know – Vol 1.

On the first Wednesday of each month, we’ll be turning the spotlight on five select artists that you should probably know, if you don’t already. While the internet has definitely bridged the gap for aspiring talent to reach new heights and larger audiences faster than ever before. It’s also created a bit of a surplus problem in regards to the quantity of projects not matching the quality expectations that we were once accustomed to. While I won’t say that it’s all bad,  It’s definitely thrown the music industry into a whirlwind and really requires more finesse and strategy than ever to really push your way to the top. That being said, the goal of this section isn’t necessarily to give you deep interviews that talk about your favorite rappers prior charges, drug habits, or executive producers who squandered away their royalties. The goal here is to focus on discovery, exploration, and hopefully to put you up on some talented individuals you’ve missed in the streets and on the web.


Bisco Smith

( Artist )
Bisco Smith, is an artist steadily in search of his own personal truth and most raw expression. His aim is to blend his experiences in life with the energy in the moment and create work that moves, questions, and inspires. His work is a blend of graffiti deconstruction, graphic design, and fine art that captures the untamed energy and uncharted environments of street style and expresses a sense of duality, spontaneity, and movement. He is currently living and working in Venice, CA with New York and Miami on the sides. Currently looking for a wall near you.

(Collaboration with Afrika_47)

For more info, commission pieces, and original work inquiries please contact Bisco by email: say the Beat Junkies sent you. You can also find him online at



Aaron Cohen
( Emcee  )
Aaron Cohen is an artist from Seattle, Washington. After graduating high school, Cohen moved to New York and began his music career. Known for his laid back flow and dark yet catchy hooks, Cohen’s lyrics interweave cynical observations of the world and himself. Cohen has previously released mixtapes via Mishka Records as well as Decon/Mass Appeal. Cohen’s music utilizes a wide range of production styles, but tends to lean towards more ambient sounds as displayed on Cohen’s newest release “Home Less.” Cohen has toured in Europe and the United States. He is working on a new untitled EP for release later this year. Cohen is a member of New York City based collective “Inner City Kids.”

Notable collaborations:
Flume, Ryan Hemsworth, A$AP Ty Beats, Tommy Kruise.

A couple weeks ago, a TV station in France called OFIVE TV had some crazy technical difficulty and ended up playing one of his music videos on repeat for four days straight. Obviously, it generated a lot of buzz out there. Here’s the video that got stuck on repeat:

You can hear his new EP “Home-Less” here: and his new video ft. Alexander Spit here:


Untitled - 3
Henry Canyons

( Emcee )
LA based rapper, Henry Canyons, transcends your typical boundaries of hip-hop identity. The self-described Brooklinite-French-Jew took to music at a young age; from his training as a jazz saxophonist to his teenage years spent in Brooklyn ciphers, his melodic style and bilingual lyrical integrity reflect a diverse musical background. After graduating college, Canyons moved to LA intent on following his passion for the art form. Since then Henry has steadily worked at his craft, putting out several different projects. “the Brooklyn-turned-LA native stays within a lane equal parts humor and quality hip-hop, generating  impeccably delivered lyrics.”  Emerging as a new artist on the scene, Paul Thompson of Passion of the Weiss assures listeners that, “Fortunately, the man at the mic has your attention. Canyons casts himself as the young Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can—alternately reckless and over-thinking, but with enough inimitable cool to pull it off.” Below is a link to his latest project that features smooth jazzy, boom bap-centric and introspective sounds guaranteed to leave listeners wanting more.


Zackey Force Funk
( Producer/Singer/DJ )
Zackey Force Funk was born into this wild world in Tucson, AZ in 1974. In and out of prison since the age of 17, ZFF began producing on pirated software his brother gave to him once he had given up a life crime to focus on writing tunes and raising his family.

First discovered by Kutmah back in the golden era of Myspace, Zackey’s signature “Force Funk Sound” swiftly grabbed the attention of a number of formidable producers. Collaborations followed shortly after with the likes of Salva, Lazer Sword, Lorn, Baron Zen, Daedelus and B. Bravo, as well as forming the group Demon Queen with Tobacco. As these tunes were scattered across various labels, finding their homes on their respective collaborator’s projects, ZFF continued to hone his style, delving deeper into the psychedelic future funk realm of which he has created for himself. The fruits of his discipline all add up to his forthcoming debut LP entitled ‘Money Green Viper”, to be released in July of 2014 on LA based collective Hit+Run.

When Zackey Force Funk isn’t robbing banks with baseball bats he’s rocking late night discotheques with soul songs for the armageddon.

Below is a link to his album on Hit+Run called Money Green Viper, which was also released on a limited edition emerald green skin vinyl by his crew.


( Producer / DJ ) 
Vinny is one of those silent but deadly artists’ with extreme versatility in his production. You can tell he thinks about every sequence, sound and sample incorporated into his tracks and isn’t afraid to do something different. These days when the market is flooded with so many repetitive sounds, it’s very refreshing to have guys like this creating more of an abstract mood music to take you through your week.  He’s based out of Long Beach, and also part of the Soulection crew, occasionally you can catch him live in a beat or dj set spreading more of the good vibes throughout dance floors across your city. Modest. Creative. Solid.

Below is what he had to say about his instrumental project titled “Vista” which is also embedded below and available for Name Your Price. Pick it up and support him if you get a chance to.

” Dedicated to & inspired by the people in my life. Each track is named after someone who I feel has made a huge impact on my life & the way I see the world. I got sounds that reminded me of them (favorite songs,movie scenes,etc.) and made tracks from those samples after I would spend time with to them..or even just think of them. I tried to put whatever emotion I had from those moments into song form. During the time I was making this project I had a lot of things going on with my life..working on these songs helped me get my mind off everything. It was great because I didn’t have to leave my own room to go to another place,all I had to do was close my eyes and listen. It was a fun idea that turned into a whole project that helped me more than I thought it was. I’m happy to share it with you. Much love to anyone who supports my music & all I wish for is to inspire some minds…”

Til Next Time.