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Interviews

ASL SINGLES CLUB ART

With their feet firmly set in Vancouver and their sights set high, the fledgling ASL Singles Club label/clothing line is one of the most inspiring outfits operating today. Headed by Vancouver residents 8prn, Heartbeat (s) and Chef, the label has already released a series of impressive singles from Nick Wisdom, Autem and Rook Milo. We were lucky enough to grab 8prn for a quick conversation about ASL and ended up roping the mysterious Mr. Chill into contributing a guest mix on the part of the label. Mostly 4/4 fare, the mix features upcoming ASL material from Prison Garde and Sleepyhead as well as a few well-placed unreleased jams from the likes of Motions (formerly of Grown Folk) and the Amsterdam-based Presk.

Who is Mr. Chill and who makes up the ASL family? Is it mostly a Vancouver-based thing or more of a global affair?

ASL is run by Chef, 8prn and Heartbeat(s), with some help from Mr. Chill, an older dude who invests in us. The fam extends to the artists who release with us as well; Rook Milo, Autem, Nick Wisdom, Sleepyhead and more to come. At the moment we are majority Vancouver based, although we have releases lined up from artists in other cities and countries; Montreal, NYC, and London.

Hit the jump for full interview and track list…

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rexx life raj

Today marks the release of Berkeley rapper Rexx Life Raj’s Godspeed mixtape, an eclectic collection of tracks that draw from the Bay Area’s rich musical history as well as more national sounds. Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to sit down with Rexx (birth name Faraji Wright) and dish on Berkeley High School, James Blake and his former life as a Boise State football player. Read on to get the inside scoop on one of the most exciting young rappers on the West Coast and download Godspeed below…

Hit the jump to read the full interview…

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neana art FINALDrum tracks are simultaneously primitive and futuristic, drawing on both history and an admirable refusal to kowtow to the past. Modern drum tracks often utilize breaks that are decades old, but sound like nothing ever heard before. Over the past few years, labels like Night Slugs, Hessle Audio and Keysound Recordings have been delving into the realm of drum tracks, their respective artists massaging the ‘nuum sounds of grime, jungle and techno into a whole new beast. Peverelist, Pearson Sound, Objekt and more have set the pace for this fresh, percussive sound, but lately a new crop of producers, Akito, Visionist and Helix to name a few, have taken the torch and ran with it. Today we’re focusing on London-based Neana who’s garnered quite a bit of attention in recent months as a constant fixture in Bok Bok’s Rinse.FM mixes.

Drawing on a wide range of influences including noise act the Fuck Buttons and jazz drummer Roy Brooks, Neana has honed his ultra-percussive sound through a series of bootlegs, taking on the likes of Kingdom, Dizzee Rascal and Kanye West. As for Neana’s guest mix, it’s a 45+ minute exhibition through kicks, snares and breakbeat science, broken up with Jersey club and ballroom. Neana draws from American and British producers equally, amalgamating the wildly popular sounds of London with the still relatively insular sounds of Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Jersey. Check out and download the mix below and hit the jump for the track list and Neana’s favorite drum tracks. We bet they’ll surprise you in the best way possible.

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grown folk

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…

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jamie grind

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.

Stream: Jamie Grind – “Something You Should Know”

Hit the jump to read the full interview…

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lapalux

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.

Continued after the jump…

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natasha kmeto

Photo by Patti Miller

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.

Hit the jump for the full interview…

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monolithium

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.

Hit the jump for the full interview…

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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.

Hit the jump for the full interview…

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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.

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