Archive

Interviews

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.

Hit the jump for the full interview…

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Everyone and their mommas love to predict who the next big MC is going to be. In New York, that usually goes along the lines of predicting the next Nas, Biggie or Jay. I’m not going to fall into the prediction trap, but I will say that Bardados by way of Brooklyn MC Haleek Maul is making waves. I spoke with the 15 years old via Gchat last week and I can honestly say that he is one of the most intelligent, self-aware teenagers I have ever met. More than anything Haleek wants to be influential as an interview and not in the sense of being the most outspoken or most wealthy. We dished on uncomfortable topics like break ups and homosexuality in hip hop, as well as the role of performance and music video imagery. Haleek is set for a massive summer with the Oxyconteen EP due on June 14, a mixtape with Chicago duo Supreme Cuts on the way as well as several undisclosed projects in the wings. Read on to get inside the head of on an artist who I hope to see influencing the masses (although he only needs an audience of five) in the coming months.

Read More

Photo via Juliana Bernstein

Over the past year or so, Diamond Bar native Co. Fee has established quite a following across the West Coast. The LA beat scene can get crowded at times, but he has managed to dig out a particular niche for himself somewhere between time-tested soul-sampling hip hop and modern club beats. We caught up with Co. Fee after his set at Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival (find our coverage from Day One and Day Two) and dished on his crew My Hollow Drum, the process behind his last EP Easy Listening, opening for Erykah Badu at Low End Theory last April and his love of Bollywood samples. Look out for Co. Fee’s debut LP in late Summer/early Fall and an EP with Ohio MC Note. You can cop Easy Listening over at Alpha Pup. Find the rest of the interview after jump.

Read More

The ability to network on the web is a key skill for any young artist to possess in today’s music landscape. I’m not going to get into the demise of the record industry here (the New York Times produced a great infographic on the subject), but the resonating effect of the drop in record sales has been palpable. Connecting with artists, labels and collectives from across the country and world should be a key goal for any artist on the come up. Recently, we spoke with an artist who has utilized the web to astounding effect. Ryan Hemsworth is a 21 year old producer from Halifax, Nova Scotia on Canada’s far east coast. Halifax resides in a quiet corner of Canada, known more for its harbor and the cult TV favorite, Trailer Park Boys, than any form of hip hop or electronic music scene. As nearby Toronto and Montreal have gained notoriety for their abundance of innovative, young producers (Jacques Greene, Lunice, Zodiac, etc.), Halifax has remained a sleepy coast city. Hemsworth has responded to the lack of a local scene by extending roots to New York, Oakland, and even Paris. He is a member of the Green Ova crew, and has done extensive production work for Main Attrakionz and Shady Blaze over the past several years. More recently, the Bromance Records crew (Brodinski, Gesaffelstein, etc.) has been showing Hemsworth love. As a result, Hemsworth’s brand of “cloud dance” as he jokingly terms his music has become wildly popular in blog world, via remixes of artists as disparate as Grimes and Three 6 Mafia. Hemsworth is one of the most talented artists making music right now and has his foot in the door of stardom. I would not be at all surprised if he has a Clams Casino-esque presence in blog world, or if he has his hands on this year’s LiveLoveA$AP. Hit the jump to read the whole interview. You won’t regret it. Find Ryan at:

Facebook

Twitter

Soundcloud

Bandcamp

Read More

Photo by Madeline Feig

The Inland Empire is known for suburban sprawl, biker gangs and not much else. It is the region East of Los Angeles that stretches from somewhere around West Covina to San Bernardino. Despite its proximity to LA, it is about as far a stretch from the beaches of Santa Monica, art galleries of Culver City and clubs of Sunset Boulevard as you can get in the state of California. So it came as a huge surprise when we found out that a beat scene (albeit a small one) is present in the quiet town of Claremont, CA. A few weeks ago I was introduced to Beat Cinema, a hip hop, experimental, beats, funk, soul and psychedelic night at the Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue Lounge. Claremont is a small college town swimming out-of-place in the extended suburban and industrial sprawl of Los Angeles county. It is known fondly as “the city of trees and PhD’s,” and couldn’t be more displaced from the streets of Lincoln Heights where the fabled Low End Theory takes place.

There was no doubt in my mind that I had to check Beat Cinema out. Low End Theory is a mecca of sorts for people like us, and the idea that Beat Cinema could provide at least a portion of the culture, community and musical talent supplied by LET was enticing to say the least. We spoke with Beat Cinema’s founder, Rick, about a possible interview. This Tuesday, the night’s bill boasted (DJ) Nobody, Portland’s Quarry, Alpha Pup rep Dot and all the club’s usual residents, so we decided to make an appearance.

As we walked into the Hip Kitty around 9:30, we were greeted by leather-wrapped booths and a large upscale bar; the venue was, in fact, a jazz club. The only real indication that this was Beat Cinema was the assortment of turntables, mixers, MPD’s, and APC’s on a long table at the front of the room. We found Rick and walked out to the patio to get the interview started. Outside, there was a DJ playing some Domo Genesis, a black and white film being projected on the far wall and (DJ) Nobody mingling with the crowd. This felt more like it.

Beat Cinema first started out as a movie night curated by Rick and his sister. Rick started DJing in between films as a sort of intermission, and eventually got the idea to combine the two concepts; thus, Beat Cinema was born. Rick says his motivation to begin the project stemmed from fatigue and annoyance after one too many 40-minute drives into LA to see shows. Beat Cinema’s debut featured The Gaslamp Killer and Ras G back in September of 2009 (an event Rick still considers one of the best Beat Cinema’s), and the concept took off from there.

In the years since, Beat Cinema has brought in a wide variety of impressive guests, such as Samiyam, Mono/Poly, Tokimonsta, KNXWLEDGE, Salva and more. Dublab took over for a night and Daedelus, Matthewdavid and more made appearances. Despite the impressive list of artists they’ve brought in, Rick likes to keep the night low-key, preferring to avoid the type of promotional flyers that he considers “litter;” according to him, 90% of the beat scene probably hasn’t heard of Beat Cinema. It really is a hidden gem nestled in the expanse of the Inland Empire. Cult classic films still regularly, but the emphasis is now decidedly on the music.

This is not your average club night, though. The crowd is slightly older than you would expect, and there is far more milling about and socializing than dirty dancing. In one perplexing moment, a middle-aged couple began ballroom dancing in the middle of Quarry’s set. With stuttering bass music blaring, the couple pulled off moves with aplomb as the younger crowd watched from afar with wry smiles. Like I said, this is a far stretch from your typical LA club.

In the middle of the conversation, Rick told us a story about his roommate’s birthday party a few weeks back, where Flying Lotus just happened to play his new album for the party guests. It goes to show that even out here in the desert, the sense of community in the beat scene is still apparent. Claremont is far removed from Lincoln Heights, but Beat Cinema is closer to Low End Theory than you’d think.

You know that sensation you get deep inside your brain when you realize you’ve found something big. When a movie, meal, song or any other type of creative inspiration hits you in the dome with an unexpected force. That’s the feeling we got when we first came upon Brooklyn-based producer/DJ Baauer’s Soundcloud. It is no secret that we love our hip hop-influenced, maximalist bass music, nor that we have a soft spot for some ignant Southern shit. Baauer represents the perfect intersection between the two. So we reached out to him for an interview and couldn’t be more pleased with the result. For years, Baauer was a 4/4 house and electro DJ going by the name CapnHarry, “a joke name to match the music I was making.” Around six months ago, he switched up his style to hip hop and Baauer was born. He didn’t abandon the dance music ethos he had established as CapnHarry. Instead, he translated it into hip hop, making the biggest, most souped up beats imaginable. Taking cues from Southern hip hop and UK bass, as well as his brethren at Brooklyn-based collective Trouble & Bass, Baauer has gone from virtual unknown to having his tracks played out by Lunice and Hudson Mohawke. This interview has a few gems in it thanks to a quirky coincidence and will give you the inside scoop on an artist that has been making waves from small clubs outside of Los Angeles to the streets of London. Check the full interview after the jump.

Read More

Back in 2011, a beat tape/album was released by an unknown producer named Room E out of San Diego. Penguin Child was full of warm synths and skillfully chopped samples and turned out to be one of the year’s best. After sending the album to North Lodon DIY label Proper Songs, the label decided to pick up Room E and re-release the album. It is set for a May 14 release, but several songs can be previewed and the album can be pre-ordered. We spoke with Room E about a number of topics, including the San Diego hip hop scene, his studio and live set ups and his influences in the electronic music world. The San Diego producer was more than amiable and gave us some great insights into his production process, musical history and more. Find the full interview after the jump and look out for the proper release of Penguin Child on May 14.

Find Room E at:

Facebook

Soundcloud

Bandcamp

Read More

Our favorite radio station, Seattle’s KEXP, caught Vancouver BC dream-pop songstress Grimes for a short in-studio performance back in February, shortly after her album Visions was released. Crouched on the studio floor surrounded by tangled chords and knobs, Grimes delivers three ethereal songs through a mixture of layered instrumentals and drum tracks, keyboard melodies and super-delayed, innocent-sounding live vocals. Beginning with her song “Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U),” and continuing almost immediately into “Genesis,” she then stops for a short interview with host Cheryl Waters before finishing out her set with “Be A Body.” Check out the full video below.

Via.