Author Archives: Ash El Gamal

Catching up with Netsky at 1015 Folsom, SF 11/23 [TMN Exclusive Interview + Event Review]

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Netsky
Come Alive

Ambitious may be an understatement in describing Belgian producer Boris Daenen, better known as Netsky. By the age of 23, he had released two innovative drum ‘n bass albums showcasing his brilliant brand of liquid funk and placing himself in electronic music’s elite as part of Hospital Records. Taking advantage of the energetic percussion and wobbling bass of DnB, Netsky layers cross-genre melodies that draw influence from soul, jazz, hip-hop and funk making for an undeniably infectious sound and living up to the origins of his moniker.

In 2012, shortly before releasing his second album, Boris turned his attention towards performance assembling a band of talented musicians capable of keeping up with his fast-paced productions. Dubbed Netsky LIVE, the band consists of Netsky, keyboardist BABL, drummer Michael Schack, London’s Script MC and vocalist Billie. Not only is playing EDM live a tall feat from a technical perspective, but logistically it is a much more costly and risky endeavor. Nevertheless, Netsky, who could easily sell out shows worldwide as a solo DJ, takes this risk because he believes that it is the most powerful way to convey his music.

We caught Netsky LIVE at the intimate 1015 Folsom in San Francisco last weekend and it was without a doubt one of the most electrifying, energetic performance we have seen all year. The band seems fit for a stadium, which made seeing them in a smaller venue a special experience for the crowd whose feet were off the ground more often than not. With over two years of experience under their belt, every part of Netsky LIVE feels polished–Netsky takes on the overarching melodies, BABL absolutely shreds on the keyboard, Schnack keeps up with seemingly impossible breakbeats and Script gets the crowd amped as the musicians focus on their respective roles. Although Billie marvelously took on most of the vocals, at one point Boris even busted out the vocoder breaking his mostly quiet on-stage demeanor. We were honored to have the opportunity to sit down with Netsky, one of EDM’s most genuine stars, before the performance to talk about Netsky LIVE, his musical influences and his upcoming album. Check out the interview below and Netsky LIVE’s upcoming US tour dates here–it’s not a show you want to miss.

TMN: How’s the tour life treating you?

Netsky: It’s the first time with the band that we do a full 30-day tour with the bus, which is fucking mental. Because it means 30 days of no privacy and sleeping in a bunk. But it’s fucking amazing, I’ve got to say. You need the right team for it but once you have the right people for it, it’s amazing.

TMN: So, this is your third stop in the US after a couple shows in Canada. How’s the reception been so far? Anything different you’ve noticed in the crowd?

Netsky: Yeah, I think so. We started in Canada with Victoria and Vancouver and the day after we did Seattle. Even that was a bit of a change from Canada. It’s been fun. The crowd in Seattle was amazing and Portland was really good. Portland was a bit strange because they had to block off half the club for 21 over folks. It was funny because the left side was jumping the whole time with all the younger crowd and the right side was just getting wasted basically. It’s really cool to see the difference between those two.

TMN: Can you talk a bit about your musical background?

Netsky: I got into music at quite a young age. My dad is a massive record collector. He just loved showing me music that I hated back then. He just wanted to be the cool dad that showed me good music while I was listening to just pop music when I was young. After a while it worked because he got me into 70s, Motown and Marvin Gaye to 80s music and Prince and some reggae even. He just got me really interested in music. I started researching music and actually becoming a fan of bands. I started watching bands play. And then for some reason I started getting into electronic music, which was a fucking revelation. I loved the idea of being able to make music on your own on a computer. I was really obsessed with that when I was younger. I got into drum ’n bass then because I love the energy and how you can combine it with different sounds. I was listening to a lot of hip-hop back then and soul. Some producers would take those samples and make them into dance floor versions of them. I love that.
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[Hip-Hop] A$AP Ferg – Talk It (prod. Clams Casino)

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asapferg
" Talk it " Produced by: Clams Casino

A$AP Ferg‘s debut album, Trap Lord, was one of the most pleasant surprises in hip-hop last year making his follow-up a highly anticipated project. In preparation for his sophomore album, Ferg will be dropping a mixtape on Black Friday and tonight he let loose a particularly exciting collaboration from the tape. Teaming up with innovative producer Clams Casino, the Harlem emcee goes avant-garde with a stream-of-consciousness flow over a minimal, distinctively eastern-influenced beat. As Ferg vents about a variety of topics ranging from the ongoing injustices in Ferguson to his personal relationships to his fans, the beat gains intensity until the song goes full instrumental allowing Clams’s ominous production to take center stage. Ferg’s flow on this cut brings Kid Cudi to mind with its melodic rambling qualities adding yet another dimension to his already versatile repertoire. Give this one a spin above–Ferg Forever drops this Friday.

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[Chill] Tegan and Sara – Walking With A Ghost (Manila Killa Remix)

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Tegan and Sara
Walking With A Ghost (Manila Killa Remix)

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of their classic album, So Jealous, indie pop legends Tegan and Sara will be releasing a re-issue of the breakout project, which will include five remixes along with a book titled Jealous X that looks back on their journey over the last decade. Today, we get the first official remix from the project courtesy Manila-bred, DC-based producer Manila Killa as he takes on Tegan and Sara’s hit ”Walking With A Ghost.” Taking advantage of an already infectious original, Manila Killa adds a tropical twist cooking up some much needed summer vibes as we approach winter. You can pre-order Jealous X, which is out on December 23rd, now here.

[via Stereogum]

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[NEW] MNEK – The Rythm

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MNEK
The Rhythm

UK vocalist, songwriter and producer, MNEK, has quickly established himself as a hit-maker with “Ready for Your Love,” his infectious collab with Gorgon City, “Wrote a Song About You,” his breakout solo single and a load of high-caliber production credits. His soulful vocals have a way of meshing with electronic production impeccably making for a sound both danceable and relaxing–a prevalent quality with a number of our favorite up ‘n comers. His latest offering, “Rythm,” is no different continuing to demonstrate this equilibrium. MNEK’s vocals shine as the backdrop builds until the 1:15 mark when a minimalistic groovy bassline is introduced accompanying a looped vocal sample. “Rythm” makes for the perfect first cut to kick off your Friday evening. Give it a spin above.

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Chaz French talks Honesty in Hip-Hop, Inspiration and Overcoming Adversity

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Chaz French
Intro (prod. by Super Miles)

Authenticity has always played a particularly important role in hip-hop music for a variety of reasons. As an art form, rapping allows for condensed, concise and detailed lyrical expression often times putting artists in a position to reveal the depths of their personality or, in some cases, fabricate one altogether. The former approach lends itself to longevity and, maybe equally importantly, to differentiation because at the end of the day if an artist is truly being them self, no one can replicate the life experiences expressed through the music–offering a genuine connection with and impact on the fans.

Early last month, we came across Happy Belated, the debut EP from DMV emcee Chaz French. From start to finish, it may be one of the most honest records we’ve ever heard and, for Chaz, has really proven the perfect way to connect with, and continue to expand, his rapidly growing fan base. At only 23, he has already gone through a plethora of relatable life experiences from spending time homeless to having his first child to grappling with his inner demons and every last ounce of it is poured out in his music. Through its broad range of emotions and a pronounced duality, Happy Belated is not only meaningful but also powerful in its ability to inspire listeners to stay true to themselves, embrace their flaws and fuel success through adversity.

We had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Chaz French in-depth about a variety of topics ranging from his relationship with fellow rising star GoldLink to inspirations to religion and, just as we expected, he kept it 100% real. Read this deeply personal conversation and grab a free download of Happy Belated below.

Download: Chaz French – Happy Belated

TMN: You just came off tour with GoldLink in his supporting role for SBTRKT. How quickly did that all come together?

Chaz French: Me and GoldLink are like brothers. So, a lot of the tour shit that happened with us was organic. He’s always trying to set me up. We’ve got another record that we did on his now project that I don’t think I can speak on but we performed that record in his set. And it just escalated from there so once the SBTRKT tour happened, it was like, “Come on brother.” I did a couple dates. It was fun.

TMN: I know that you grew up on Gospel music around the house. When did you first get introduced to hip-hop?

Chaz: I always looked at music videos and stuff but really was just listening to hip-hop because that’s what everyone else was doing.

One day, I was watching MTV or BET and I saw the Kanye “All Falls Down” video and I was like “Woah, who is that?” I knew Kanye West, but that song did a lot for me. It was just so honest. That was the first artist that really got to me. Then, when I first heard Kid Cudi, I was like “Oh my god, this is so next level.” Not even the fact that you don’t know if he’s a rapper or a singer, or even just his all aesthetic. But I’m just really into honesty and it was the whole honest music thing. Those two really did it.
And of course, old Lil Wayne like Da Drought 3. Then, when I moved to Texas, I gravitated to the whole down south, chopped & screwed movement. It was just so dope to see as far as unity and their whole movement.

TMN: When did you first start writing raps?

Chaz: I was real young. I started writing raps just as a release. It started out as boredom. I was alway on punishment, I was always in trouble as a younger Chaz French. So, I would just be bored and always in my room. I did a talent show in 9th grade and the reaction was great. I was like, “I could take this, foreal.” Then, I started going through actual things—life hit me. I wasn’t always this honest rapper, this open guy. When life finally hit me, which was around 17 or 18, I feel like that’s when I grew more as a person, but I became a better artist as well. And I didn’t even know it. The bullshit I went through when I was 17,18,19, I didn’t know it was bettering me for now. Continue reading

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Giraffage on his New EP, Musical Inspirations and The Based God

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San Francisco producer Charlie Yin, aka Giraffagepaints a radiant, colorful picture through his music. As a true student of R&B (seriously, he remixed The-Dream‘s Love/Hate album in its entirety), he has crafted an experimental electronic sound with the perfect sensibility towards the hits of the 2000s. His latest EP, No Reason, has a notable depth and cohesion that feels playful and supremely soothing, yet fully dance-floor ready. With its lush melodies and sonic plot twists, the project awakens an encompassing range of emotions and senses making for more than just an auditory experience. In a way, the music feels like a physical place with its ability to transport the listener to a whole new dimension–something we all need some times.

We were lucky enough to pick Charlie’s brain with a few questions about his new project, musical inspirations and dream collaborations among other topics. Enjoy this fun conversation and stream his phenomenal EP below. No Reason is out now via the always on-point Fool’s Gold Records and is available for purchase via iTunes. Giraffage is also in the midst of an international tour–check his upcoming dates here

Giraffage
Hello

TMN: When did you first start making music? And was there a particular album, song or artist who really inspired you at that time? 

Giraffage: I started making music near the beginning of high school. At the time, I was really into pop-punk and technical math rock stuff.

TMN: One of your original monikers was Robot Science. Do you see that as an alter-ego (like Caribou v. Daphni) or was that just the original iteration of Giraffage? 

Giraffage: I saw that as a learning experience more than an alter-ego, a lot of songs were just so unpolished and poorly mixed. However it did help me learn the ins and outs of releasing songs to an audience. Robot Science still has a special place in my heart.
Giraffage
Tell Me

TMN: The prevalence of soul & 90s-early 2000s R&B in the current electronic music landscape across sub-genres is hard to ignore. Both more broadly and for yourself, what is it about those eras of music that you think has brought them back to the forefront?

Giraffage: I think a lot of big producers nowadays were growing up listening to that era of 2000s r&b. As a result, the influence definitely carried through. For me personally, even though I love pop music nowadays, I think pop music back then had a lot more catchy hooks and overall more clever songwriting and technicality to it. People are starting to appreciate musicianship and that kind of stuff more than ever these days.
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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Talking G-House, Touring and Dirtybird with Shiba San

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The Key Ft Kelis (Shiba San Remix)

House music, which far outdates EDM as a genre, has a pretty fascinating history continuing to redefine and segment itself with each new generation of music. Withstanding the test of time effortlessly, House music today maintains relevancy by sticking to its core vision–keeping a dance floor steady grooving all night. Few artists represent that spirit better than Parisian DJ/producer, Shiba San, an emerging force partially responsible for the prevalence of the hip-hop influenced subgenre, G-House. Building each song around an enormous bassline, Shiba truly engineers for the club making his live sets infectiously danceable, often outperforming headliners at major festivals. Casual fans may know him best for his addicting hit single, “Okay,” which found its way into the sets of DJs literally in every corner of the world, but Shiba has also built a dedicated following on his Soundcloud almost purely through the posting of his flawless sets, which include endless unreleased originals and remixes. As of late, though, he’s been unleashing full versions of these potent tracks as he prepare to release an EP next year.

We had a chance to catch up with Lord Shiba, as we like to call him, about his inspirations, favorite places to perform and his future plans with newly joined label Dirtybird Records. Check out the interview below and enjoy some of Shiba’s gems, including his most recent remix above, through out the article. If you have a chance to catch him live (upcoming dates here), we’d highly recommend copping a ticket and bringing all the turn-up available.

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 I Remember (Shiba San remix)

TMN: First of all, thanks so much for taking to time to answer some questions! How’s the road life treating you?

Shiba San: Tough!!!!! It’s obviously nice to travel all over the world, meet new people and discover new music but I’m not getting a lot of sleep!

TMN: What is your first musical memory?

SS: Classical Piano.

TMN: You started DJing at a pretty young age in Paris. At that time, what kind of music were you spinning and how did coming up in that unique scene shape your sound?

SS: I started with Chicago House, then got into Hip Hop. I was nuts about scratching.

TMN: Artists such as yourself, Amine Edge & Dance are really bringing G-House to the masses. For those not as familiar, how would you describe the sound you guys are developing? And what is your relationship like with the Cuff artists?

SS: Amine Edge & Dance invented G-House. I was interested because the mix of hip hop with Chicago house sounds was getting me back to my roots/first love. I don’t really know the other artists from Cuff, I only released one EP on Cuff. Amine Edge & Dance are great people, they are friends, I love what they do and the way they are.

Shiba San
West Side Connexion (2014 Remake)

TMN: As a fan of both genres, I always love to see the ways hip-hop production styles trickle into electronic music whether it be in dubstep, trap or, in your case, G-House. Who are some hip-hop producers and artists, past and present, that have been particularly influential in your sound?

SS: I’m not sure they influenced me but DJ Premier and Pete Rock are my all time favorites. But I would say that DJ Mustard is the closest to the G-House sound.

TMN: On a similar note, if you had an opportunity to do a full project with a contemporary emcee or hip-hop producer, who would it be?

SS: Drake, Jay Z or Rick Ross.

Shiba San
Okay (Preview)

TMN: I’m sure you get a question about “Okay” in just about every interview, but it really does a great job of capturing your sound with its fat bass line and minimalistic big-house sound. What is your approach when you sit down to create a track?

SS: I don’t have a particular approach. I basically turn on the computer and play what goes through my mind. Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it’s not. I make it rest for 2 days, if I find it interesting I keep it, if not I throw it away.

TMN: “Okay” dropped as part of the Dirtybird BBQ compilation tape. What’s your relationship like with the Dirtybird team and how did it come about?

SS: I met Claude (Von Stroke) in Paris when “OKAY” was already #1, it consolidated our relationship (laughs). I met the other artists from Dirtybird at the Hard Day 0f the Dead Festival. It was great, I’m a fan of most of them. Justin Martin is an influence for me. He came to the party in SF when I was playing, it was really special. I love this label and the artists from the label. I’m very proud to be part of it.
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