Galimatias – Blowback [TMN Interview/Single Release]

Galimatias
Blowback

LA-based Danish producer Galimatias has been featured many times here on The Music Ninja. Known for his decadent piano chords and swirling melodies, Galimatias makes some of the most soulful tunes out there today. Transcending genres, he effortlessly blends together aspects of soul, jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. Galimatias has always hit us with sultry, emotional tunes that can instantly set the mood.

To help kick off your week, I’m excited to share Galimatias’ new sinful single, “Blowback”. Paying homage to one of his main musical muses, Matias samples Barbara Lewis’ 1963 soul classic “Hello Stranger”. Subdued electronic elements overlaid on pulsating rhythms and tight R&B beats create some characteristically sensual vibes on this track. Galimatias throws in his own ad-libs and vocal riffs; part of his effort to incorporate voice as part of his musical arsenal. Lewis’ sensual crooning is not overpowered whatsoever– showing Matias’ mastery of blending together such different musical elements.

As a TMN favorite, Galimatias has been interviewed by us before. I was lucky enough to catch up with him again, as he enters the newest phase of his solo career. Listen to the track above and read up on the interview after the jump: Continue reading

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Lil Debbie Talks New Album, The State Of Hip-hop & Rising Talent [TMN Interview]

Respect is earned, it’s not simply given out to anybody. Unfortunately for women, that respect is even tougher to come by in the creative world especially, but one OG boss who has been doing her own thing for years – gaining mad respect and praise from all crowds – is Lil Debbie. The rapper, model, weed connoisseur and fashion designer isn’t someone who will be going away anytime soon.

Lil Debbie has set up a foundation that is going to last. She’s come from music and that has laid the groundwork for a successful multi-faceted career. Moves will always be made, but her latest move hearkens back to the music by means of a brand new album, OG In My System. Complete with eleven tracks, including her lead single “Summer,” this LP sees Debbie taking her sound to new territories.

Stagnant isn’t a word in Lil Debbie’s vocabulary. Over the years she’s released an incredible amount of songs, each time out taking steps to offer fans something a little different. The Bay Area beast is a legend in her own right, but the tale isn’t over. We’re sure to have more music, as you’ll find out below. Lil Debbie recently stopped by the dojo for an interview, answering questions about her new album, where hip-hop is currently and what artists she has her eyes on.

TMN: Let’s start with a totally unfair question, which song is your favorite on the OG In My System?

LD: “I Get It” has to be one of my top 3.

TMN: Can you give us a rundown of what it was like putting together this LP?

LD: It was interesting, I’m always evolving, developing and progressing so it’s interesting to watch my inner self grow – going through sadness and bossyness.

TMN: What makes this album different from your previous work?

LD: Well for one I’m experimenting with Auto-tune, also I’m playing around with melodies and flow switch up. Definitely trying out new things and playing around while I still can.

TMN: Why did you choose to release the single “Summer” first? How much fun was it shooting the music video?

“Summer” represents such a lighter time of my life, I felt like it was necessary to drop that first. The video was a lot of fun, I honestly had no clue I was even going to shoot a video. Me and my girls just decided one day to play around with equipment we brought out to the islands. Most of it is just random footage of us wandering around by ourselves getting stoned and lost.

TMN: Being a stoner myself, I have to wonder… approximately how much weed went into the making of this album?

LD: POUNDS.

TMN: You’ve released an LP or mixtape every year over the past few years, looking to keep that going in the future?

LD: Yea, you know me, I’m not a quitter.

TMN: You recently did a project with the Barong Family. Looking to work with dance music producers more often?

LD: Yes, I love dance music and I love creating with all types of producers. I was sooo blessed to be able to be apart of a Barong Family project!

TMN: As someone who doesn’t stick to just music, what other ventures do you currently have going on right now?

As of right now I am working on my marijuana brand cakes, which is an edible line but I also do carry live resin and a cakes marijuana strain. I’m also working on other things for my fans but as of right now this is one of my main focuses.

TMN: Is there something you have yet to get your hands in that you would like to?

LD: Yea some Rose Dom Perignon! LOL.

TMN: Style is something you own and there’s no better, more permanent way to express style than with tattoos. What has been your latest addition and what’s next?

LD: I recently got legs in the air with panties sliding down the legs and two nails that are just filling in some space on my arm in between two other tattoos. I never know what I’m going to get tatted I just get things last minute.

TMN: Where do you think the rap game is at currently and where do you see it going?

LD: The rap game is in a dope dope dope dooopppeeee space as of right now. There’s a lot of freedom for artists to express themselves and a lot of outlets. All blessings!

TMN: Can you tell us some up and coming talent in the Bay Area that everyone should know?

Everyone should check out my girl that is super clean, her name is Aliky, check out her Instagram which has all her music info @Aliikyw. Also another girl that is dope that can also sing is Natty Kay, her Instagram info is @NattyKay7.

OG In My System was released today and is currently available on iTunes and Spotify.

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NVDES – La Nvdité Vol. 1 [TMN Exclusive Interview & EP Review]

NVDES
Do You Think About Me

LA-based music collective NVDES has made a few appearances here on TMN. Led by frontman Josh Ocean, this free-flowing art project is teeming with joyous energy and has gifted us with many feel-good jams, like this one. NVDES’ music is delightfully fun, meshing pop sensibilities with modern punk vibes.

NVDES received global acclaim for his last EP, Life with Lobsters in 2016, earning a feature on Zane Lowes’ Beats 1, and reaching the Spotify Global Viral Chart. So, naturally, we were excited to hear NVDES’ latest EP, La Nvdité Vol. 1, which is out now on Kobalt.

The opener of the 5 track EP, “May and June”, perfectly encapsulates the infectious energy that NVDES songs display so frequently. Dancy beats in combination with the electro-punk sound of that guitar will make you forget that summer’s coming to an end soon. In juxtaposition with this track, “Do You Think About Me” does an excellent job of showing the emotional range that NVDES possesses. This wistful track inspired by a long-distance romance maintains that summery feel while pondering over a melancholy topic like a strained love. Check out the music video for third track “Dancer From New York” below:

I was lucky enough to chat briefly with NVDES’ Josh Ocean about the collective, and this latest project. Read up below! 
Continue reading

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VOLAC Talks New Track and Japanese Drift Cars [TMN Interview]

Volac
Wait A Minute ft. Peazy 616

This Russian producer and DJ power duo has been making waves with releases on Tchami’s label Confession, AC Slater’s Night Bass and have joined forces with LA-based DJ/producer DESTRUCTO to create a G-house infused anthem “What I Got” which received over 1 millions streams on Soundcloud. Now VOLAC brings us a brand new track released on Night Bass and a tour announcement.

“Wait a Minute,” the duo’s recent track, continues to incorporate their G-house and hip-hop infusion to bring us another dark clubby hit that features the vocals of Peazy 616 and keeps us falling more in love with their over all production style. We got the chance to ask them about their No Love tour which kicked off in the US August 3rd in Santa Barbara, the new track, their thoughts on the Holy Ship debacle and more. Make sure to check out the track and click here for a list of tour stops and tickets.

TMN: How did VOLAC come to fruition?
VOLAC: We’ve been friends since childhood and both started listening to and loving electronic music early, so we tried making tracks together. When we were very young, we were creating a very different kind of dance music from what we produce now. After two years, we started to prefer deep house. Then, we continued on to do some G-house and bass house music. Volac was born very simply! One day we were making a track with a lot of vocals, and when we were saving it, we used the wrong two letters—“L” and “C.” We saved a track with the title “Volac” and loved the name!

TMN: Any previous background in music?
V: Volac is our first project as a duo. In the beginning we tried to making more EDM type music… but this wasn’t for us. We’ve been growing step by step though 😉 Started from the bottom hahaha

TMN: You have had some releases on same amazing labels such as Confessions, Destructo’s Hits Hard, and Night Bass – How does it feel to be recognized buy such strong producers? 
V: To get respect from great labels and high profile producers is always really cool. We definitely feel a responsibility to create really solid tracks for each release on these taste making labels, and love putting together our best tracks for these releases.

TMN: You have a tour kicking off this weekend – what are some of the stops you’re most excited for? What are the feelings you like to induce on the crowd with your music during shows?
V: We are super excited for each show, but we’re probably the most excited for HARD fest, and Elements festival coming up this weekend. When we play we love moving the crowd with bass heavy tracks – we mostly enjoy playing our own music.

TMN: Any opinion on the news of Live Nation trying to push out Destructo
from Holy Ship?
V: We know that Holy Ship is one of the best boat parties in the world and that Destructo is great promoter and we don’t know exactly why this is happening. We hope that everything with his career will be cool and look forward to playing some of his parties in the future and continuing to collaborate with him!

TMN: I really dig the new track, the incorporation of the hip-hop vibe really stands out compared to other tracks- how’d this track come about?
V: We always try to combine house and hip-hop styled music. This is something we’ve been doing for some time now, and we love combining these two elements. “Wait A Minute” started with an awesome vocal from Peazy 616 and we built a super heavy beat around it – we’re really happy with how it came out.

TMN: In such a now saturated market what’s your advice to producers on making music that stands out in general?
V: Everyone should focus on crafting their own unique style. Copying anyone else just leads to more of the same music; you really need to work on creating something special and new. Spend as much time in the studio as you can!

TMN: Anything special on the horizon other than the tour and new track releases? 
V: We have a bunch of awesome VOLACAST guest coming up and the videos are getting even crazier & funnier. Other than music, we’re thinking about buying an old Japanese drift car lol – we’ve wanted to
get one of those for so long haha.

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Trademark Talks NEW CITY Remix and More [TMN Interview]

So far Summer has been treating mashup, and DJ veteran Trademark well with a featured ‘Made in America’ playlist via YourEDM and a recent remix for NEW CITY’s “Dirty Secrets.” Trademark does a fantastic job of taking the soulful record by Pop/R&B Canadian producers NEW CITY and creating something airy for Summer, a perfect time for the chilled out synths and strong vocals that are prominent throughout. We imagine sand between our toes, warm nights and flickering fire flies and with Trademarks upbeat touch to the slower original he’s easily created our mental picture. We got a chance to catch up with Trademark about music industry challenges, his process in creating his recent hit, and more. Check it out below.

TMN: ​What h​ave​ been some of the more challenging aspects you have faced in music as years have passed? Production wise, booking wise, and general music industry?

Trademark: One of the most challenging aspects has been to balance my mashups and edits against other artists that have been strictly releasing original music. The music industry, especially in electronic music, sometimes has a negative reaction to artists that purely release mashups. It’s a fair point to some degree, but over the last nine years I’ve worked really hard on creating a brand that revolves around combing some of the best music out there into new songs. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work directly with artists and producers who recognize that what I’m releasing can get their music to new audiences, and having their permission to make these mashups is definitely validation that there’s a space for my music in the overall landscape. It’s only gotten more fun to play shows across the country where even if everyone in the room doesn’t know my music, I can surprise people with fresh takes on pop records and big dance tracks.

TMN: Your New City remix made it onto Kaskade’s Konnect playlist, congrats! How does it feel when artists of that caliber pick up your music? Who have been the ones you have ‘fan girled’ over the most when getting recognition for your music?

Trademark: ​Thanks! It’s always pretty crazy when a big artist gives you support on a track, and Kaskade was definitely one where I had to take a step back and realize how ​wild that was. For about a month straight, Tiesto was playing a new mashup of mine in each of his Club Life radio shows. Hearing him intro each of my tracks was a big fan girl moment for sure.

TMN: ​What was your artistic process like when creating the New City Remix?

​Trademark: I had been listening to NEW CITY’s other song, “Coachella” before I got the opportunity to remix “Dirty Secrets”, so I already had a lot of ideas about how to work with the record.​ I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overshadowing the vocals on the verses because they’re so strong on their own, but also give the track really solid percussion and a bouncy bassline. The hook really came out of a natural progression from the verse, adding the vocal chops and some big synths to round out the chorus. I think the finished product has a solid summer vibe to it, something easy to get carried away with making music this time of year.

TMN: ​​I’m sure you’ve acquired more influences as the years have passed, any current artists really motivating you right now?

​Trademark: I’ve been listening to a lot of Lost Kings, Elephante, Gryffin, Party Favor, and Cheat Codes. I try and put a lot of melodic elements in my mashups and now in my own productions, so keeping up with those five recently has been a good starting point for me to get inspired about keeping melody in ​whatever music I’m making.

TMN: You’re very well known for your mashups, mixes etc., is there any original music in the near future from you?

​Trademark: Absolutely. I’ve spent a lot of time working on my own productions and remixes over the last few years, getting ready to jump into fully original material. I want to make sure I’m giving my fans the best music possible, and I think everyone will be surprised with some of the new stuff rolling out soon.​

TMN: You’ve been DJing since about 2009, how do you keep it challenging? Anything new you’ve learned using the equipment?

Trademark: ​Every time I play a set I feel like I’m pushing myself to be more unique and creative. In 2009 I was playing long sets at bars or parties, maybe three or four hours at a time. Recently I’ve been playing for an hour or an hour and a half, but I’ve learned a lot from those extended shows about trying to shape my music over the course of a night. I try to never map out what I’m playing because it lets me make decisions on the fly and put together the best possible set. Working with the crowd is super essential to being a good DJ, and you limit yourself if you have a preconceived idea of what people will like.

TMN: What is your best advice on mastering the art of DJing and providing a great show for the crowd for those just starting out?

Trademark: ​I think everyone will tell you, jumping off of my last point, that you learn new things as you go. The best way to learn is to play as much as possible, and if you can get in front of a crowd ​that’s even better. I was lucky to have low pressure gigs early on like bars and small parties, but even when it was in front of just a few people, you’re still testing yourself in a live environment. Take every opportunity someone gives you to get out and play music, make those connections, and challenge yourself to do something different and exciting each set.

TMN: What are some things you know now that you wish you had known when you first started out?

Trademark: ​I’m not sure if there’s a specific set of things I wish I had known when I started, but ​it’s still amazing that I’ve been able to push this project into 2017 and beyond. The fans that have been there since 2008 have seen a trajectory that has never strayed far off from what I originally was doing. Music changes, but adapting without sacrificing your own vision entirely is a huge part of artists that have lasted a long time in the industry. I try to keep that in mind with everything I’m working on, and especially now with remixes and originals coming out, I want to always give my fans the best music possible.

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HAMi Stops By The Dojo To Talk Bass Music, Skateboarding & 40oz Cult [TMN Interview]

HAMi
"Go Hard" UZZI X HAMI [BASSRUSH PREMIERE!]

Most producers were something before they were making money as a music producer. Most weren’t professional skateboarders, but for HAMi that was the case. Before heading up 40oz Cult with Dack Janiels and Wenzday and making bass-heavy hits, HAMi was shredding along as an official member of Emerica. Now instead of traveling the world with a board, he’s taken up traveling with some new equipment.

HAMi stopped by the dojo just before the release of his new song, a collaboration with UZZI called “Go Hard” that lives up to its name. We got to talking about his past as a skateboarder, the parallels between the skating and dance music scenes, as well as how he made the switch from one to the other. Enjoy listening to “Go Hard” while you read through HAMi’s in-depth responses. When you’re done, grab “Go Hard” for free!

TMN: How did you end up making the move from professional skating to making music?

Let’s start by saying I grew up in Las Vegas, my skater friends and I would spin vinyl when it was too hot to skate outside. I also had a few friends who were older and they would go to these warehouse parties, sadly at the time I was too young to go but still tagged along. I remember sneaking into these parties by hopping barbed wire fences, so that was the beginning. Fast forward to 2009, I was on a “Emerica” Skate tour called “The Wild Ride”, we rode motorcycles across the states, camping, skating, etc, long story short, I crashed my bike going 50mph and broke my clavicle and shattered my scapula along with a head injury and a tons of other random scrapes and bruises. I was now bedridden for 2 months.

After that, I had to go through physical therapy for an additional 8 weeks. Around this time I pick up my first laptop, I always knew skating wouldn’t last forever so at this point I came to realize I needed a new passion. Music has always been a major part of my life, even before skating, so with that being said I knew music would keep me the happiest and passionate overall for the rest of my life. I didn’t know that at the time, so I just continued to pursue skateboarding. During that time I also was trying to develop a sound as a musician on the side, playing guitar writing hooks and verses. Once I had that down I needed a way to record it, so I started using “garageband” to record my song, and out of necessity I learned how to build a drum beat.

It wasn’t until 2011-12 when I was gifted an All-Access pass to Coachella, and I witnessed Caspa and Skrillex, mind you I had no idea what dubstep was at this time but all I kept thinking was these people are killing their sets, and that was when my life changed. I became obsessed with all forms of Dance Music diving as deep as I couple possibly go, primarily drawn to the raw energy that Dubstep carried naturally. From there all I did was funnel my passion for skating into my music.

TMN: Can you tell us a little about 40oz Cult and who else is involved?

So 40oz Cult issa CULT! Dack Janiels, Wenzday, and myself are the forces behind the scene. Its an open format Collective/ Label/ Clothing brand (comprised of professional skaters, artist, graphic designers, filmers, photographers), with a background in skateboarding. We go about treating the CULT like a traditional skate company, we are a in-house family and friends operated organization. Honestly it’s for all the people out there that choose to be the oddball, people that choose to make moves when people say it’s a bad idea, for the individual that follows their gut.

TMN: Your collab with UZZI just dropped, how did that come to fruition?

So, we both just had releases on the Buygore Fresh Blood Vol. 2 and during the anticipation to the release we had a super thread that we would all coordinate post and what not. I just reached out to everyone involved and passed around my music, and the UZZI boys (Melo and Geoff) were equally as enthused as I was to get a collab going, and from there on out it flowed easy. S/O UZZI! Go check them out they’re definitely a force to be reconned with!

TMN: Who are some other artists you would want to collaborate with?

This is a tricky question only because there are so many amazing artists I would love to collab with! Skrillex, Datsik, Excision, Borgore, Getter, Flux Pavillion, CASPA, RUSKO, 12th planet, Ghastly, NGHTMRE, Funtcase, Protohype, The Frim, Barely Alive, Virtual Riot, Dubloadz, Trollphace, P0gman, Bloodthinnerz, Yakz, Svdden Death, Half Empty, Uber, Subtronics just to name a few.

TMN: Are there any parallels between dance music culture and skating culture?

Yes, most definitely they are both a pool of talented Individuals that chose to do something out of the norm. They have taken a chance to pursue their passion, and by doing so pushing the craft into places no one could ever foresee. I speak for everyone, not just the artists, but the promoters, managers, agents, TM‘S, pyro guys, sound guys, any and everyone involved.

TMN: What do you see coming in the near future for dance music?

So in my opinion dance music is just really getting started, I’m really proud and excited to see what come out in the next 5 years, now that there’s an influx of really intelligent and creative people that have access to unlimited amount of information. History has a tendency to repeats itself, but in this case, the sky’s the limit!

TMN: What’s to come from HAMi this Summer and Fall?

So currently I’ve been in the studio non-stop! I have 6 unreleased bangers that I plan to release this year… Not including collabs with Yakz, Cosma, Goldplate, Swage and Dack Janiels!!

First up is my latest single “Draco” which is dropping on July 11th, 2017 via Bigtooth Records. Keep your eyes and ears open for that one! Catch me in LA as well! I will be playing in July, date is TBD but I promise you it’s going to be LIT! Stay tune for upcoming tour dates in your area!

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Donkong Join Us In The Dojo With New EP [TMN Interview]

DONKONG
No Boy ft. Agent Lexie & Zorro (PREVIEW)

Distance is meaningless if you’re willing to make things work. Despite distance, Donkong was born. The duo comes out of Germany with unique dance-hall style influenced tracks that aren’t what you would expect to be coming out of Europe.

Donkong’s most recent project shares this sound. The No Boy EP features two singles, each with their own distinct sounds that show off the duo’s ability to be diverse. Upon listening to the EP, we had Donkong come join us in the dojo so we could get to know them and their recent EP a little bit better. Now, you get to enjoy all of these goodies for yoruself, so stream the title track preview while you read through our questions with Thomas and Joe.

TMN: Thanks for joining us, guys! Congratulations on your “No Boy” EP. How did the idea for this one come about?

THOMAS: Thank you very much. No Boy started as collaboration with our friend Zorro. He did percussion and I built the main synth that sounds so much like a brass sample that we could have saved some time on by just picking a brass sound. Nevertheless it was our first attempt to do Breakbeat. Same with Ammunition – we tried to combine a more traditional dancehall vibe with bass sounds. We’re quite experimental and always try to do things we haven’t done before.

TMN: You’re known for your innovative, genre-inclusive sound which seems to span a wide variety of musical influences. How did you both work to hone the “Donkong” sound?

THOMAS: We’re constantly discussing it and over the time there seem to be certain sounds that reappear. We still think the variety of what we do is too big. So we recently decided to do no more DNB… we have a DNB song coming after No Boy. What a coincidence.

TMN: Can you tell us a little about how you started making music together?

JOE: We live 500km apart from each other. The first time we got together in the studio and wrote “Jawz”, Thomas got sick. So he ended up on my couch and we Skyped every other hour to talk about the song and new ideas. Even though our first session was kind of a mess, Jawz turned out to be one of our best and original tunes so far.

TMN: What’s the scene like in Germany? Does the music go down a treat?

The scene is very small and that is also why we had a hard time playing gigs over the last years. Electro and Dubstep went down hill and suddenly all the cool parties disappeared. Then Hip-hop DJs started playing Trap, so no need for extra Trap parties. Germany is Techno land and everything that’s electronic but not Techno seems to be „not cool“ enough on the big scale. This seems to be slightly changing right now. Hopefully we and our friends can help with that.

TMN: So tell us a bit about how you found the process of making this body of work. Did you find that the inspiration flowed as soon as you hit the studio? Or was it tricky to pinpoint the specific sound for this one?

THOMAS: I guess it’s more about what we avoided to do with these songs. We don’t wanted them to have a typical club arrangement. Hopefully it makes a big difference for normal listeners. The sound is a combination of elements we also use in other songs, but we tend to build new sounds that act similar instead of re-using the old ones. Very often you start with an idea to make something specific and end up with a completely different song. Luckily these two ended up like what we had in mind, but it was a very long journey which took us over a year.

TMN: You’ve teamed up with Feral Is Kinky, Agent Lexie and Zorro for the EP. How did you all end up working together?

THOMAS: Like I said, „No Boy“ started with being in the studio with Zorro and having the basic idea for it. Then I met Lexie on one of Marten Hørgers‘ legendary BBQs, played her some beats and later on, while being pregnant, she recorded the vocals for it.

JOE: We haven’t met Feral in person yet, but she was working with some friends of us (Symbiz). Her style and voice was very unique, so we contacted her and asked her if she likes to work with us – sometimes it’s that easy.

TMN: You’re known for your excellent remixing skills (reworking tracks for the likes of Major Lazer, Krafty Kuts, Hudson Mohawke and TNGHT). If you could pick any artist, who would be top of your remix list?

Normally you want to remix a song that you think lacks something- or at least doesn’t fit your set. So it’s hard to pick an artist, because the people we admire tend to do very good songs, so our job gets a lot harder. Most of the time a remix that just takes the original to another tempo is quite boring. It probably would be something very different from our style, something with vocals preferably.

TMN: Can you tell us a fun fact about the Donkong project that fans may not necessarily have guessed?

The biggest fun fact is that we’re actually two people. Most of the time people think Donkong is one person.

TMN: What’s next for Donkong? Do you have any more musical treats for us in store this year?

There’s a lot to come. There will be some more free treats in the next weeks. A VIP mix of our single „Brilliant“ and a song with Marten Hørger. And we will bring more own original stuff as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

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