Datsik talks about LA, his Firepower homies, and the future of dubstep [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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TMN: Hey dude! First off, thank you so much for being our artist of the month for January, and for letting us come on board for the Ninja Nation tour.

Datsik: Absolutely. I appreciate all of the support!

TMN: Let’s talk about the upcoming Ninja Nation tour, which kicks off this week. What can fans expect from this tour?

Datsik: Well, first of all, this tour is going to be louder, bigger, and it’s going to have different, crazy, and awesome artists. Some of them are from Firepower and some of them are just homies. We have Kennedy Jones, we have ETC ETC, TRUTH, Barely Alive, Bear Grillz, Twine, Trolley Snatcha, Fox Stevenson, and I think that’s it. They all rotate in and out of the tour.

I’m super stoked. We just upgraded to Vortex, so we have some 3.0 now, and it should be pretty crazy. It should make for a pretty fucking awesome experience!

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argonaut&wasp – Higher Ground [TMN PREMIERE + INTERVIEW]

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argonaut&wasp
Higher Ground

There’s a song that has been in heavy rotation here at TMN HQ, and it has been since July of last year. We’ve been patiently waiting for a new song to appear from Burlington-based indietronic duo argonaut&wasp, and luckily for us, we’re getting to premiere that brand new song.

Dropping today out of your favorite musical dojo, “Higher Ground” is a delightful return to the blogosphere, providing a smooth, funky bassline, a powerful chorus, and light, accentuating synths. Harnessing elements from multiple genres, it brings us right back to where we were when we first heard tunes from members Trey and Theo.

Coupled with today’s premiere is a quick Q&A sesh with these two. Press play and enjoy the read.

argonaut&wasp’s new EP Future Protocol is out February 20th.

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more info.

TMN: Hey guys. Thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for us! Before we even kick things off, we gotta know…how did you come up with the name?

Trey: Right around the time that Theo and I had started collaborating I was introduced to the writer Ambrose Bierce. I fell in love with his satirical prose and fearless muckraking journalism. Beyond his style, Bierce had a compelling story: He disappeared to Mexico and has never been found—rumor has it he linked up with the famous rebel leader, Pancho Villa!

Anyway, Bierce wrote for two columns, The Argonaut and The Wasp- I fancied the name and brought it up to Theo.

TMN: We still listen to “Pistol Pump Funk” religiously. It’s such an eclectic blend of genres. Where’d the inspiration for that tune come from?

Trey: I was listening to a lot of UK garage at the time and really trying to learn how to get that swing and jerk of the drums/bass down. While it now sounds nothing like that, the bones of that track really just stem from experimenting: the two-tone synth patch and groundwork for the drums were the result. Lyrically- the track encompasses the same overall theme of the songs on the rest of the EP—a ‘coming of age’ story and learning how to stand up for your ideas and inspirations… “You won’t take me, from these city streets… I’ve had to crawl for miles, now I’m on two feet…” (Pistol Pump Funk).

TMN: After that release, you guys went quiet. What were you up to over that time?

Originally, this EP was going to be a fall release. So our plan was to have the single, “Pistol Pump Funk”, drop in the summer and follow up shortly after with the rest. However, we decided to take an extra couple months and re-visit the studio. We had been playing extensively in the Burlington area with our live band, and we really wanted to capture what they brought to the tracks on stage as well as we could on the record. Controlling the balance between the extremely dynamic workings of organic instrumentation and the locked-down synth work took a ton of editing, mixing and re-producing.

TMN: We once again find ourselves experiencing numerous influences with “Higher Ground”, which that has us curious. What does the creative process look like for you guys? Since there are elements of classic instrumentation and electronic elements, what goes in first?

Trey: The creative process begins with Theo and I developing the roots of the track (synth hooks, chord progressions, drums, vocal ideas and e-bass) and then the organic elements are added (finalized vocals, guitar, etc…). We then work with a talented group of musicians (Kevin Whitehead, Alec Donkin, Willoughby Morse, and Max Freedberg) to track and record live instrumentation that we cannot recreate using computer technology. Then Theo and I take back into the studio, make sure everything is crisp, and then send it off to our amazing sound engineer Jonathan Doyon for a master.

TMN: How many other songs are on the upcoming EP? Is it meant to be listened to as a whole, or is it more so a collection of songs?

There are three other tracks on Future Protocol (one of which has been already released with a music video – “Pistol Pump Funk”). The other two tracks will be coming out in the next few weeks…the EP is definitely meant to be listened to as a whole but each song stands alone strongly. As noted in an earlier question, these tracks work together to express a fairly singular theme; this is our first compiled body of work and a huge step in maturation and development for ourselves as both artists and individuals—these songs tell that story. The entire EP will be available with a limited physical release as a CD (artwork designed by the wonderful Elizabeth Goodspeed) and also available on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, etc.

TMN: We’re hoping this EP kicks off some bookings for you. Is there anywhere in particular that’s on your list once that starts happening?

We are planning on starting in the northeast and going south. We would love to play venues in Montreal, Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington DC this Spring. While we are not disclosing much of our “Future Protocol Tour” just yet, we cannot express how excited we are to share some big festival dates soon.

What would be the holy grail of events or venues for you guys?
‘Chella Bra!

TMN: Alright, last one. It’s a bit odd, but we ask this to everyone. If your music were an animal, what would it be?

In fact our music is an animal, one indigenous to Peru… the alpaca.

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Get To Know: Inpetto [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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German production and DJ duo Inpetto have just released a sublime single on Dirty Soul, an imprint of renowned dance label Be Yourself Music. Titled “Never Too Late” and featuring vocalist Bryan Finlay, it allows the pair to show of their musicality and attention to detail in impressive style. We caught up with Inpetto to hear a little more about their take on deep house.

When did you first both sit down and make music together, and has it always been a part of your family?

Funnily no other (known) family member besides us has a musical background. It was around 1995 when we discovered our interest in making music and spent more and more of our money and time on it. We then did a couple of our own tracks that we sent out to some music labels. Finally in 1999,our first track was released – this was the start of our musical career.

What pulled you in about the Jerk & Bastard remix?

We love that remix, because it is a complete rework of our track just using the sax and the vocals combined with amazing sounds and driving beats. You have to love the kind of remixes where the remixer made a complete new track by using only the main part like the vocal or main melody of the original – like we always do.

When DJing at your live shows do you both take on separate roles, how does it work?

Well, because we are two people, the situation comes where you have different opinions. Someone has to have the last word on decisions, which is the older one. But that doesn’t happen very often!

Outside of electronic music, what do you find yourselves listening to and do you think this is apparent in your productions?

Actually we find ourselves listening to any genre, but not every genre is an inspiration for our tracks. We are big fans of alternative/indie rock like Daughter, Josè Gonzalez or London Grammar, which might play a role in how we use melodies in our tracks.

What do you have planned for the New Year, maybe an EP or even an album?

We have a couple of new, maybe surprising tracks signed in the first part of 2015. Stay tuned, but theres no album planned yet…

 

 

Dirty Soul Recordings
Inpetto Feat. Bryan Finlay – Never Too Late (Original Mix) [Out now]
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[SF Giveaway + Exclusive Interview] Buku & Willy Joy w/ Washed Out & Make It Funky, 12/5 @ 1015 Folsom

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Willy Joy & Buku
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Bass music is in a constant state of evolution with new sub-genres emerging each year. The artists who shine in an often over-crowded space, though, are those who manage to be unaffected by the current trends around them. Two producers who stand out in the realm of trap/dubstep/future tunes are Chicago’s Willy Joy and Philly’s Buku, who recently teamed up for the two-track Meaner & Leaner EP. While Willy brings a festival-ready, big-room sound, Buku provides a far-out bounce and funk making them a force to be reckoned with as a duo–both in the studio and on stage.

Buku and Willy Joy will be taking over the upstairs room at 1015 Folsom SF this Friday, December 5th, as part of their Meaner & Leaner Tour and we’re excited to be offering a couple VIP passes to the show, which will also feature sets from Washed Out and the DJs of Make It Funky SF among others. We also had a chance to catch up with Willy and Buku in advance of the show to chat a bit about their musical backgrounds, the tour life and how they first met. Enter the contest and enjoy the interview below–if you win, you’ll also get a meet & greet with Buku & Willy in case you’ve got any questions for them we haven’t already asked! Please keep in mind that all participants in this contest must be over the age of 21 and bring a valid ID to the venue to pick up their tickets. The winner will be notified via email Friday morning. Tickets are also still on sale and available for purchase here.



 

TMN:  Thanks for taking the time guys! First off, can you tell us a bit about how you first linked up? A Chief Keef show was involved, right?

Willy Joy: The first time we met was when we were booked on the same show in Washington, DC. It was in a big complex, and Chief Keef had a show in another room of the building. We kept sneaking away from our own show to go watch his. It was a definite bonding moment.

TMN: What caught your attention about each other’s sound?

Willy Joy: Buku has such a strong sonic identity – you can instantly tell if a track is his, and its such a dope, cohesive sound. I’m always drawn to people finding originality in established forms, and he’s carved out an entirely new lane for himself. That’s a long winded way of saying his tunes bang super hard.

Buku: I was and still am infatuated with the amount of energy Willy has in his music. From listening and playing together, I’ve learned quite a bit how to keep the party going wild. When he plays his tunes and special edits live, I usually have to grab hold of something concrete nearby.

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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 performances 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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[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

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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.
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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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