In the age of the internet, cross-continental collaborations are commonplace, web lingo pervades daily speak and everyone and anyone virtually has a how-to-produce kit at their fingertips at all times. If you’re looking for an act that defines this age of mass information intake, look no further than Drew Kim and Brendan Neal of Grown Folk. While Drew and Brendan met and began to work as Grown Folk at McGill University in Montreal, they’ve rarely been in the same place at the same time. Whether because of family (Drew’s live in Hawaii while Brendan’s live in Vermont), or visa issues, they’ve been forced to use Skype, iChat and Dropbox as a means of sharing long-distance ideas. With critically acclaimed releases on Australian label Templar Sound and San Francisco’s Icee Hot, the duo has completed collaborations with artists from across the sonic/geographical scale, including everyone from Oakland’s Main Attrakionz to Sydney’s Dro Carey. Unlike other acts grouped under the internet label though, Grown Folk have a strong affinity to the hip hop community (Drew has functioned as Main Attrakionz’ tour DJ in the past) and to visual art and fashion (they both would like to soundtrack a runway show). Grown Folk is that rare act that blends the stream-of-consciousness creativity of the file-sharing era with a distinct IRL grounding, whether that manifests itself on tour, in their fashion choices, or in their kaleidoscopic production approach.
Hit the jump for more on Main Attrakionz’ tour habits, the cohesiveness of the Montreal scene and, of course, aliens…
Over the past few months, Leeds-based producer/DJ Jamie Grind has entered our consciousness and captivated it with his brilliant take on traditional garage. Of course, Grind has been around for longer than that and has been rotating between Leeds, Manchester and London, leading club nights and remixing the likes of Hackman and Rude Kid. Back in February, we caught up with Jamie via Skype and spoke on his past life as an MC, grindcore and how he defines his music. Expect to hear a lot more from this guy in the future.
What’s up Jamie, how’s life in London treating you?
I’m actually living back in Leeds now. I was living in London for a while, then Manchester, and now I’m back in Leeds. I move around a lot!
Are you still working with Modulate?
Nope. We only did Modulate for a few months – I had too many other commitments to be running a monthly club night to be honest.
Can you give a brief background to who you are, where you’re from and where the “Grind” part of your name comes from?
Grew up in a small council house in Leeds. Wanted to be an actor – then realised at 16 that I didn’t. Formed some trashy ‘grindcore’ bands and got the nickname Jamie Grind – which just kind of stuck. Dropped out of college, worked some shitty jobs. Tried a few other musical projects to limited success. Started freaking out a bit. Discovered the DMZ raves at the West Indian Centre in Leeds and started making tunes. Got a couple of decent jobs in the digital industry. Started playing gigs as Jamie Grind. Moved to London. Moved around a bit more, and somehow found my way back to Leeds. And that’s pretty much my life up to now.
When I heard my first Lapalux track, he had just signed to Brainfeeder as their first UK artist. His style was being called “post-dubstep”, which suggests that he heard dubstep, and thought “I should make music too”. The story doesn’t quite go like that. Stuart Howard was a student of sound before dubstep and ‘beat scene’ were even ideas. You can hear it in his 2008 Forest EP, his first release. It’s a world of texture, waves of emotion, and frenetic disorientation that was informed by an intense study and absorbtion of sound aesthetics, with music production being more a means to an end and this pure expression being the end in itself. He creates his boundary crushing sound through a century-spanning sonic palette, always focused on the character of his sound sources and how they work together. With each release leading up to March 25th’s highly anticipated debut LP ”Nostalchic”, his fusion of R&B melodic and harmonic motifs with neck-breaking beats and meticulously nuanced textural movement has fully taken shape, as has his mastery over the most dense yet lucid sound-world in modern electronic music. Lapalux doesn’t use these influences because they’re chic, he does so because his life’s work is to reconcile all these sounds into something beautiful.
I had the great honor of catching up with the man himself in February to talk about what it means to be releasing his first full length album, working with vocalists, and his creative process.
Last week, Natasha Kmeto let loose the Dirty Mind Melt EP on Portland label Dropping Gems, an eclectic collection of vocal-driven tunes that balance precariously on the precipice of a number of contemporary electronic music genres. We were lucky enough to catch up with Natasha and get the lowdown on the new EP, her favorite “Ableton performers” and her upcoming Sophomore LP. One might expect such a new, yet highly respected artist to feel some pressure going into only her second official release, but Natasha was/is as cool as ever and is ready to take on the world. Plus this girl loves to dance. Read on below to get the inside scoop on a truly inspirational musician…
Hi Natasha, where are you right now?
I’m just chilling in my apartment in Portland.
So you just finished up a little tour of Colorado and California, how did that go?
It was good. I had four flights in five days so it was a little bit brutal for travel, but I had fun.
Despite your traditional musical upbringing, your music is decidedly experimental, what has influenced you to think outside of the box in that respect?
I’ve always been more inspired as a fan—with all forms of art—with art that’s more progressive and trying to break new ground. I think the idea of doing something that’s trying to be different is just exciting for me.
Over the past few yeas, the prevailing trend in the electronic music realm has been to laugh at traditional genre barriers, embrace internet culture and engage in constant, often impersonal collaboration. The positive results of this trend are obvious, namely new sounds popping up on a daily basis and collaborations that could never have existed only 10 years ago. The truth is that the internet’s self-congratulatory nature has lent a lazy edge to this trend though, allowing artists and labels to gloat in the most minimal progressions, effectively stunting real, meaningful sonic experimentation. Victoria, British Columbia’s own Chris Long, who produces under the Monolithium moniker, has touched on several ephemeral sounds across his first two EPs, but one would be remiss to toss him onto the ever-expanding heap of musical voyeurs. We spoke with Chris a few weeks ago via a shaky Skype connection and dished on his sophomore Bounce 4 Life EP, his sub|division club night, mutually exclusive listening practices and his favorite New York MCs. Unlike most of the internet production mob, Long exhibits the qualities of an actual music fan, expressing an adoration for everything from gully New York hip hop to Swedish math rock. This is clear in Long’s intricate productions, which draw feelings and colors from his divergent influences rather than borrowing actual sonic signifiers. Read on to get the full scoop and cop Bounce 4 Life here
Let’s get the silly stuff out of the way. Who are you? Where are you from?
My name is Chris Long. I was born in the North of England, close to Manchester, and lived there until I was 11, then moved to Canada, lived in Winnipeg, which is where I really grew up. That’s kind of where I cut my teeth in terms of “who I am.” When I was 19, I basically started moving across Canada and I’ve spent the last decade in Victoria BC, which I love to bits. I’m a music junky, I’ve been hugely into music my entire life, especially urban sounds like rap music and techno. Although I’m into hella other shit as well.
The auteurs of one of the finest, most groundbreaking electronic albums in recent memory, Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, recently embarked upon a quick jaunt across North America to showcase new material from their upcoming full length and a more developed live show. While the members of Mount Kimbie took in some Los Angeles poolside vibes the day before their LA appearance, (reviewed as an incredible musical journey in which the concepts of time and place ceased to behave according to their usual rules and regulations) I had the pleasure of sitting down with them and hearing their answers to my star-struck, stammered queries. The transcription that follows sheds some light on the intentions with their live show, a few of the more technical aspects of their live and studio setups, the creative process, and more. They confirm a new record out on Warp before summer of 2013 and hint that some James Blake collaborations may see the light of day in the upcoming year as well. I had a fantastic time chatting with this pair of gentlemen and am pleased and honored to share their insights with you.
devonwho has spent the majority of his life on the West Coast. He grew up in Oregon, has lived in LA on two separate occasions and now resides in San Francisco. I tried to get him to say which was his favorite, but he wouldn’t budge. Unlike many of his contemporaries, his music reflects each locale’s divergent sounds in one or another. Last month, we exchanged some emails with Devon and got the low down on his favorite food city, crowds in LA vs. SF, funk and the desire to work with MC’s. Get to know the beatsmith/taco enthusiast below and hit the jump for more.
You’re originally from Portland, but have also resided in Los Angeles and now San Francisco, right? Where are you right now?
That is all correct! I’m currently living in San Francisco. Have lived in Los Angeles twice and also, Philadelphia for a brief stint. Was born in Oregon and raised in Portland.
Which is your favorite city on the West Coast?
Tough question! Don’t think I can really narrow it down. I’ve spent time in a bunch of the different cities on the west coast and I feel at home in all the places I’ve lived. They all have their own unique charms.
Favorite food city?
I’m gonna have to say Los Angeles.. I fucking love taco trucks. All Mexican food for that matter.
A beat cypher, what a novel idea. Could be interesting. Those were my first thoughts when a friend mentioned TeamSupreme to me. It sounded vaguely enticing, but an unrealistic novelty in reality. 12 producers using the same two samples and contributing one minute of beat action? No way that could work. If conducted by the wrong people, I figured it would be an utter disaster. Well what the fuck do I know? Directed by Dane (The Great Dane) and Preston (of Virtual Boy), TeamSupreme has been churning out their unique “cyphers” since April and have garnered respect from across the hip hop and electronic music spectrums. With a monthly spot at Los Angeles’ La Cita in place and a stable of producers ranging from (DJ) Nobody to Boreta of The Glitch Mob contributing to the weekly volumes. We wanted to find out more about the process behind TeamSupreme so we shot some emails back and forth with Dane and Preston. Here are the results. Can’t wait for Volume 3,000 to drop.
Give us a play by play of how TeamSupreme was consummated?
Dane: Me and Preston were hanging out and we decided to have a little unofficial project to make a beat in an hour at the same BPM with the same vocal sample, “My team supreme, stay clean” (a Biggie quote). After we finished up we put them back to back and thought it would be cool to try it on a bigger scale with more producers. That first little project turned into TeamSupreme Vol. 1.
Who all is involved with TeamSupreme at this point? Is everyone located in LA?
Dane: We started with just our close producer friends mostly in LA or Orange County, but now we have people sending in beats from NY, Colorado, Portland and more.
Preston: Our usual suspects consists of Papi, King Henry, Great Dane, Preston James, Djemba Djemba, Fuzz, Kloud, DJ Nobody, Dot, ELOS, Kenny Segal, Nalepa, Snorlax and Colta. We’ve also had many guests including Boreta of The Glitch Mob and Kendo of Two Fresh.
Amid the Evergreen trees and towering mountains of the Pacific Northwest, an emerging bass music music scene has spread its roots. From the experimental, earthy sounds of Dropping Gems (check out our interview with Aaron Meola and DJAO here) to the space age riddims of Ill Cosby’s Car Crash Set, the Northwest is quickly becoming a breeding ground for forward thinking electronic music. Simon Ho aka Cedaa is spearheading that movement. With a spot on Kingdom’s prodigious Fade To Mind label, Cedaa has melded the worlds of Chicago juke and Southern hip hop with effortless aplom. We spoke with Ho this past week in Seattle to find out more about his background as a drummer, favorite live experiences and faulty press sheets. The 21 year old is one of the rising forces in the West Coast’s distinct brand of club music and is pushing the proverbial bass music envelope in exciting, new directions. Hit the jump to catch the full interview.
If you follow major media outlets, electronic dance music is all the rage nowadays. It has all the makings of a major news story: money, fame, drugs and overblown egos. Up here in the Pacific Northwest though, we have our own spirit of electronic music spearheaded by the Dropping Gems collective/label/production company. Made up of 10 artists/groups spread from Portland to Seattle, DG is one of the foremost purveyors in forward thinking electronic music, not just in the Northwest, or on the West Coast, but across the globe. For those of you unacquainted to the DG sound, you can check out (and download) the impeccable Gem Drops and Gem Drops 2 compilations.
We were lucky enough to have a conversation with label head Aaron Meola and Seattle-based DJAO about a wide range of topics. We spoke on DG’s DIY ethos, electronic music as an innovating force, psychedelia and more. We learned that DG is a tight knit community of artists with an admirable, envelope pushing mindset regarding performance, community in music and friendship. Catch the whole interview after the jump. It’s well worth your time to dig into the minds of two of the most interesting figures in music.