Our very own Beat Junkie Record Pool Ambassador & Toronto legend Dj Grouch of the mighty Turnstylz Crew along with his associate Dj Ritz have made a new mix joint for you to light one up! It’s called the “Up In Smoke” Mixtape.
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.
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:
“TOP DEFINITION: Hater
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.
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)
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 22tracks.com which is curated by 120 influential DJ’s, as well as strictlybeats.blogspot.com 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
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.
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 http://kindaneat.net/illfightyou/ ) 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.
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:
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)https://www.facebook.com/artofsiranderson
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 🙂
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:
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.
Syd – Sydney Bennett, known by her stage name as Syd tha Kyd or more recently Syd (born April 23, 1992) is a singer, producer and DJ from Crenshaw, Los Angeles, California. 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 / https://www.wikipedia.org
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.
Kelela – 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).
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: elaquent.com
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.
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)
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.
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 Theorywhich 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 Jhené 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 http://www.alphapuprecords.com/ 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.
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.
Our very own Rhettmatic was featured today on Bonafide Magazine, a trendsetting music/culture magazine website from the UK. He did an exclusive mix for the website called “Rhettmatic x Bonafide Beats”aka “Flavors From Beatjunkies.com” Vol. 3.
“22 years on and the group shows no sign of resting their hands. Having celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2012, they’ve opened up their Record Pool which allows people to buy their own exclusive Beat Junkie approved edits. And of course there’s this DJ Rhettmatic mixtape, exclusive to Bonafide, – Flavours from BeatJunkies.com Volume 3, is, as you’d expect, the dopeness.”
1. 5. Fingers Of Death 1 – Dj Paul Nice (Rhettmatic Scratch Intro) 2. Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka (Beat Junkie Sound Edit) – Heltah Skeltah feat. O.G.C. 3. Resurrection 95 (Extra P Remix) (D-Styles Edit) – Common 4. Black On The Block (Melo-D Edit) – Pete Rock & CL Smooth 5. Funky Drummer (Dj Day ‘Cut Out The Lights’ Mix) – James Brown 6. Give It Up (J.Rocc Edit) – Kool & The Gang 7. Alright (P-Luv Intro Edit) – Janet Jackson feat. Heavy D 8. Body Heat (Flaunt Edwards Edit Long Version) – James Brown 9. I Hear Music (P-Luv Intro Edit) – Ultimate Touch 10. Awake O’ Zion (J.Rocc & Flaunt Edwards Edit) – Twinkile Clarke 11. Good Life (Melo-D Edit) – Inner City 12. Got A Love For You (P-Luv Edit) – Jomada 13. Gurubeats 2 (Who You Stealin From) (Rhettmatic Edit) – Guru (Arthur Baker & John Robie) 14. Numbers (Live Version) (Melo-D Edit) – Kraftwork 15. Mirror Vibe (Kendrick Lamar vs Cashmere Cat) – The Hood Internet 16. Batteria Break – Gamblin Pete 17. Are You That Somebody? (P-Luv Edit) – Aaliyah 18. Veneno (Phoreyz Edit) – Beauty Brain 19. Braces Tower Dub (Melo-D Edit) – King Tubby
Thought I would start something in the same vein as our “Throwback Thursdays” Video Series….this time, it’s “Mixtape Mondays”. During these segments, I’m going to post up some of old & new mixes from the crew, as well as the homies, & other mixes that I think that they’re dope. If you’re at work or just cleaning the house, just press play & hopefully you like our latest blog series.
Our first mix is from Shortkut, in honor of him & the Triple Threat DJs competing in the Redbull Music Academy Culture Clash this Wednesday (Oct. 1st) at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. This recording is from his live set from The Boiler Room TV audio/visual show……Enjoy!
It’s been 13 years since the 9/11 attack……a lot of lives have been lost & affected since that faithful day.
In honor of 9/11, I thought I post up this particular song from my group, The Visionaries, which the title of the song is aptly called “Nine Eleven”. The backstory of this song is that it was actually made on that faithful date: 9/11/01. After the fall of the New York Twin Towers, the fellas (2Mex, LMNO, Dannu, Key-Kool, Lord Zen) felt inspired to go straight to the studio & to record a song, to get all their emotions out after watching too much media coverage. I added scratches the day after. The outro vocal on the end of the song belong to my man D-Smooth, who was a producer, the A&R for Up Above Records, & a New York native. We thought it was appropriate for him to get on the song and say a little something since he was there when it happened. This song is featured on the album, “Pangaea”.
We, the Beat Junkies, would like to salute to all the men & women, all the families, all the firefighters that were affected on 9/11. God Bless You All……
You may have noticed in recent months that we’ve been very active on social media with our videos and merchandise. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for quite some time….we know that you’re curious to see what the Beat Junkies have been up to. Well folks, here it is……..
We’d like to welcome you to our newly designed, revamped website. It took us awhile to restructure, as we’ve been working very diligently for well over year to get everything ready. As you can see, we are back with a sleek new design along with several new additions to the site….but for the most part it’s business as usual, Beat Junkie Style!
One of the new features here at beatjunkies.com that we are proud to share is the Beat Junkies Digital Record Pool. Yes. The Beat Junkies started an mp3 record pool, personally curated by us for the DJ community and music enthusiasts alike. Collectively, we decided to combine our experience as DJs and tastemakers to provide a quality music service for DJs apart from existing record pools in the industry. As avid record collectors, we are definitely looking to fill in the gaps and share some of our most prized vinyl records with the public – custom edited in a DJ friendly format exclusively for you! Our digital record pool is a monthly subscription service, and was carefully designed for Professional DJ’s looking to expand their collection and deliver quality multi-genre DJ sets.
For official Beat Junkies product and apparel, be sure and check out our merchandise store!
We’d like to extend our thanks to our contributors, web design, and our web development teams for their creative effort and dedication to producing a quality website on behalf of the Beat Junkies. And of course, a very extra special thanks to you, our loyal friends and followers for your continued love and support. We encourage you to browse through our site at your discretion, and as always, your feedback is appreciated!