[TMN Interview + Music Video] Taska Black feat. Ayelle – Dead Inside

You may have been seeing bitbird artist Taska Black’s name quite a bit recently. The Dutch producer has been on a steady rise, seeing overwhelming success in 2017 with singles such as “Where We Go,” as well as his collaboration with fellow bitbird artists Droeloe and vocalist Cut_, “Running Away.” Taska’s most recent accomplishment is his release with soulful singer Ayelle titled “Dead Inside,” and just days ago he released the song’s official music video. Lucky for us, we were provided with the opportunity to speak with Taska Black and learn more about the inspiration behind his music and the video in addition to some sneak peaks of what 2018 will look like for him. Watch the video and check out the interview below!

TMN: Rumor has it you’ve got some huge announcements coming up. Can you give us any hints as to what those will be?

TB: No one thing in particular but I’ve got lots of exciting things happening indeed. Exciting collaborations with bitbird artists and others outside as well. And I might also be working on what I hope is my debut EP…

TMN: How did you get into production? Did you have any classical training prior?

I started taking lessons in violin and piano when I was 4 years old. I never liked playing songs from sheet music exactly how they were supposed to be played so I started improvising my own melodies. When I was about 13 years old I got my first audio interface and Cubase to start recording my improvisations and that’s how I got into production. After years of experimentation I thought it was time to take things to the next level so that’s when I started Taska Black.

TMN: It’s huge to be approached by a creative mind such as San Holo’s. What was your initial reaction when he asked you to sign to his imprint bitbird?

TB: Actually it was me sending a mail to them 3 years ago to show them what I was doing. I loved what bitbird was putting out and San seemed to like what I was doing too. We started talking and that lead into more releases on bitbird. Both San and bitbird have grown a lot over these years and I’m super grateful to be part of the family and to have such amazing people around me.

TMN: What do you love most about the bitbird label?

TB: I think we’re doing something unique in the industry. bitbird really feels like a small family of people with their own vision and their own sound. That’s what San does best I think, supporting people who have their own vision whether it’s in classical music or EDM.

TMN: What can we expect for 2018? Do you have any cool collaborations coming up that you can tell us about?

Lots of new music. Some remixes and new original singles. I’m currently working on some exciting collaborations but unfortunately I can’t reveal any of that yet. I’m also super stoked to be playing my first shows in the US this year. Really looking forward to Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza Paris as well.

TMN: Congratulations on the release of your new music video for your single with Ayelle, “Dead Inside!” Can you tell us a bit about the plot or what inspired the creative direction of it?

TB: Thank you! I really saw this track as a chance to show my experimental side of music to the listeners. I had this vague line in my head “I’m dead inside” so I started building off that thought. When I finished the song with Ayelle we started talking to the director of the music video, Joris Weerts. We shared some ideas on how we wanted to approach the video and give more meaning to the song. I think the track really came to life when we combined both the musical and the visual aspect. The video shows how people are not easily impressed anymore in this saturated era of media and the internet. We wanted to make these feelings of depression heard in order to accept and deal with them, rather than to criticize.

TMN: How would you describe a Taska Black show? Are there any features of it that you feel are signature to “Taska Black,” such as visuals or live elements?

TB: We’re currently shaping the show both musically and visually and I’ve had the chance to test things out on the shows I did with San. I always like to play lots of unreleased music and edits of songs that I’m into. I’ll be doing DJ sets only for a while now but in the long run I really want to incorporate live elements in the show so we’re putting a lot of thought into that as well.

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Spazz Cardigan Takes Over The Dojo With His Own Episode [TMN Interview]

Spazz Cardigan

Pop music has a newer face that you need to get familiar with. Out of Nashville comes Spazz Cardigan, a lone creative ranger looking to break the boundaries of pop music. Just take his latest single for a spin and you’ll see the urban flare he provided in “Episode.”

We’ve been jamming this one in the dojo since it came out and afterward caught up with Spazz just to see where this kid came from and what makes him tick. You can see from his thoughtful answers that he puts his all in everything that he does. We’re happy to give Spazz his own “Episode” in the dojo. Without further adieu, enjoy all that Spazz has to offer in this brief moment in his long – and hopefully quite fruitful – journey.

TMN: How did you initially get into music?

I was always dancing and singing around the house and church as a kid, but I started learning piano when I was 8 and taught myself guitar from there. I spent a few months of my 4th grade year in a children’s hospital after some surgical complications, and that was what sparked the writing bug when I finally got home. I started writing non-stop and playing constantly, so it felt natural to start trying to learn to produce; I saved up for a summer and bought an old 4-track tape recorder and made the first demos that I threw up on Myspace back in 2006. Once my parents realized I was going to take music seriously (lord knows I wasn’t turning in my homework) they started taking me to bars for gigs and nurturing my impulse to create, which is honestly the biggest blessing in my life.

TMN: What were some of your favorite musical acts growing up?

I really just loved music generally. As a younger kid it was straight 90’s boyband pop; Nsync and Michael Jackson were massive for me, but as I got older and started playing gigs I became enamored with rock music and rock history. The Beatles are definitely the most important band in my life up to present day, but acts like The Who, Sex Pistols, and The Clash were paradigm-shifting for me. I grew up in the middle of the emo explosion as well, so for a certain few years it was non-stop Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Gym Class Heroes, Panic!, Get Up Kids and My Chem before Kanye’s “Graduation”, Nas’ “Illmatic”, Wu Tang, and the early Odd Future mixtapes woke me up to hip hop later in middle school. I also got really into Lady Gaga for a moment in high school; she struck me as very rock n’ roll from the get go and I fell in love with how fearless she was. There were probably more, but I’d say that set of influences created the framework I listened to music through until I was living on my own and discovered funk.

TMN: Instead of college, you chose to move to Nashville for music, what made you pursue that straight out of high school?

I’d been making the drive to Nashville every day for a few years with my Dad — we had an agreement that if I stayed on top of my grades I could continue trying to develop as an artist so I would go to co-writes, or go to vocal coaching, or play writer’s rounds, just always trying to develop a network. So around October in my senior year I had a mentor say to me “You can put music on hold for 4 years and sink yourself into debt, you can half-ass school and music, or you can go all-in on music and use the network you’ve been building to hit the ground running and start working.” So I chose the latter and tried to not look back. I actually love learning though, so even without college I still spent the next four years watching 1-3 lectures online each week or sitting in on lectures at Vanderbilt.

TMN: In three words how would you describe your sound?

Pop without borders.

TMN: Can you tell us how your song “Episode” came together?

Tony and I got set up on a session together back in November and just vibed instantly. His studio is a bit of a fantasy space for me — as soon as I walked in I started geeking out over his instruments and gear and that was all it took. We really didn’t even talk that much beforehand, we just started throwing out a few albums we were both digging at the time [Smino’s “blkswn” and MXXWLL’s “Beats Vol. 1”] and that sparked a pretty immediate groove that started with the song’s opening bass line. Tony & I went back and forth instrumentally and the song more or less created itself in the span of an hour or so.

TMN: Who are some artists you’d like to collaborate with in the coming years?

Flying Lotus, Kevin Parker (from Tame Impala), MXXWLL, and Robert Glasper would be a dream to jam with. I’m also in love with Declan McKenna — I would marry him if I could, but writing with him would be just as wonderful. Monte Booker is also making some incredible music and would be a blast to collaborate with.

TMN: What’s 2018 looking like for you?

Right now I’m just trying to stay focused: keep getting the music out to as many people as possible, keep writing better material, and keep playing better shows in front of new people. I’ll be dropping more music through the year and will hopefully get out on the road a bit. I’m really just grateful for the opportunity to create and for it to connect with people.

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[Music Video] Michael Push – Tell Me Why (feat. Stevie)

Summer can’t come soon enough. With the sunshine comes a hole heap of catchy house records fit for the occasion. Some of those have come early, including “Tell My Why” by Michael Push and the vocalist Stevie. Today we’re sharing with you not only the song, but the lyric video. Trust us, it’s one you’re going to want to know the words to.

“Tell Me Why” is the perfect song for your poolside playlists. It may not be quite warm enough for the beach or a pool, but this one will serve you well even if you’re just at a house party or in the club. Michael Push’s melodic musing has just enough pop elements to make it crossover track, but not so much that it waters things down like many producers have been doing. “Tell Me Why” is currently out now on digital platforms. Alongside the video, we caught up with Michael for a quick chat

TMN: How did you come up for the idea for the video?

MP: I wanted a documentary-style video, considering the sound which is very summery, I couldn’t think other than beaches, palm trees, sun, and people having fun. The guys from 351 Studio have been brilliant, helping me transforming my ideas into visually striking images.

TMN: How long have you been making music for?

MP: I started creating some decent productions since 2004 although the first official release happened later in 2008 under a different nickname. The first single as Michael Push called “Freeze” is dated 2012 and it reached #3 of the MTV Top 10 Dance chart, between J.Lo and Madonna.

TMN: You’ve changed styles and direction in the last 2-3 years, can you tell us about that?

Absolutely, there are plenty of songs in different styles just waiting for the right moment to be released. Despite the style, all my tracks tend to be real songs, which you can strip down, play with a piano or guitar and they still work.

TMN: What is your favorite city to play a show at?

MP: Loving the pool parties in Miami, especially when in my city (London) is snowing.

TMN: What DAW to you prefer to use?

MP: I’ve been using Cubase since the beginning an that’s the core of my studio, but when it happens I’m not scared to use other DAW’s.

TMN: Where do you see dance heading in 2018?

I’m looking forward to hear something that will change the rules and will be an inspiration for everyone. I don’t see all this sub-genres we have now dying anytime soon.

TMN: What is your plan for the rest of the year generally?

MP: I’m not planning to stop the releases, one of my wishes at this point would be doing a cover of a song I’ve been inspired in the past. Time will tell…

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Big Time3 Enter The Dojo With Epic Radio Mix & Q&A [TMN Exclusive]

BigTime Radio Music Ninja Mix

It’s been a bit since we’ve shared a mix, so we nabbed an exclusive treat from the New York City trio Big Time3. To heat things up this Winter, Big Time3 cooked up a fiery – and often nostalgic – mix for your ears and body.

Complete mostly with remixes, this booming collection of energetic tracks is forty-five minutes of dance-driven fun. The trio have been making moves and are carrying out their big plans this year. From touring to releasing new music, Big Time3 have some ammo in their chambers. We caught up with the group for a quick chat to supplement the exclusive mix. Dive into both and enjoy!

TMN: What’s this year looking like for touring?

We’ve been gearing up the past few months for a spring tour to showcase our hit song “Moving On” and to share our different style of music. We are still locking up a few more dates but we have a broad spread of places on the east coast. First stop of our tour will be at Noto in Philadelphia playing with 3lau on February 23rd. In March we will be playing a few local clubs in NYC and Long Island as well as traveling to a few schools in upstate NY. April we are working on a festival which will be huge for us as we can engage with more fans and play our new music for them.

TMN: Can you tell us a bit about the mix you guys put together?

This mix is a blend of new remixes with some timeless favorites. We like to dabble back in time and evoke emotions out of people where they can hear something that will remind them of their childhood and fond memories they had listening to music then.

TMN: Are you guys looking to release any music this year?

We have been working on a few tracks that we want to release in in the Spring and Summer months. Music is an art and we like to take our time and perfect our sounds and the vocals. We have two tracks, “Dead Weight” and “DM” that we have been working on for the past few months and we plan to release them soon. “Dead Weight” features Robbie Rosen, a former American Idol which is different from the BIGTIME3 signature sound. “DM” is more of a future bass track and will be crowd pleaser.

TMN: What’s your favorite song of 2018 so far?

Drake started off 2018 with a really good album. Our favorite song is “God’s Plan” and we will be releasing a remix to it in the coming month.

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Take In The Past, Present & Future Of sundial [TMN Interview]

who cares!

Do you think you could work alongside the person you were in a relationship with? Could you live the dream together, doing exactly what you wanted to do? That’s just what sundial is doing. This exceptional duo of Berklee musicians consisting of Jisu and Dorothy have come to brighten your days with their poppy musical presentations.

Their latest track “who cares!” has already made its way around the internet and is continuing to do so with positive feedback from listeners and industry figures alike. sundial took their classical training and applied their knowledge to electro pop and are coming up with incredible records that are further bridging the two genres together.

We recently caught up with sundial in the dojo to talk about how they came to be, what they’re into and what we can expect from them for the rest of the year. Expect it to be a big one! Enjoy the stream of “who cares!” while you dive in and get to know these two talents.

TMN: How did you two end up meeting?

s: We were grabbing food with mutual friends during college!

TMN: What made you want to put together the Sundial project?

s: We decided we wanted sundial to be a serious project once we made “your scarf”. We were messing around on Ableton together and came up with the idea, “we’re excited for life”, and knew that we wanted to continue making music together and sharing our stories with other people.

TMN: I’m intrigued by the name, how’d it come to mind and what made you stamp the project with that monikker?

We were brainstorming while eating chinese take out outside our dorm room one night. We love the idea of life, nature, time, and staying in the present, and we felt that sundial was the perfect word to encompass all of those things.

TMN: Can you describe your sound in three words?

s: Snap, crackle, pop.

TMN: Speaking of your sound, you just released “who cares!” on Seeking Blue. Tell us a little about the song.

s: We tend to get too caught up in seeking validation from other people, and that could really affect the way we see and love ourselves. So, we created this song to remind people not to care about what other people think of you, because they don’t define you.

TMN: When you’re not making music, who are you listening to?

Jisu: Camila Cabello, Logic, Mura Masa, Selena Gomez.
Dorothy: Kehlani, Tori Kelly, Taylor Swift, Tom Misch.

TMN: If Trump’s America made it law that musicians could only collaborate with five artists, who would your five be?

s: Jon Bellion, Kanye West, Julia Michaels, Cashmere Cat and Diplo.

TMN: Hard not to notice your streetwear-esque style! Coincidence? Intentional branding? Any brands in particular you guys would love to collaborate with?

s: We both love street style clothing. From growing up in a city to skateboarding, fashion was something we were always aware of. We usually go for more minimal pieces because less is more. We love brands like Adidas, Champion, Supreme, CDG, or anything that has clean designs really. If any of those brands were interested in using our music, we would be so blown away.

TMN: What are some of your milestones for this year?

The past year was crazy for us because we achieved so much more than we thought we could. When we first started sundial, one of our biggest dreams was to release a song with MrSuicideSheep’s label “Seeking Blue”, and having already done that is super surreal for us. After playing our first show, reaching our first million plays, and meeting our fans and some of our idols in real life, it inspired us to dream bigger for the new year. In 2018, we will finally be graduating college, releasing an EP (or two), and playing our first headline show. We’re so excited and ready to see what’s in store for us!

TMN: With that in mind, what can we expect in 2018 to get you through those milestones?

s: Lots of new music, lots of performances, and lots of memes

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James Franco & Tim O’Keefe Unveil New Visual Remixes For Daddy Project [TMN Premiere]

We’re starting the week off with a bang thanks to Daddy. The band comprised of James Franco and Tim O’Keefe have put together a huge remix project for their album Let Me Get What I Want that isn’t just a collection of remixes. The original Daddy tracks got in the hands of remixers and those remixes got in the hands of visual artists.

In the dojo today we’re premiering two of those trippy videos, both being flips for Daddy’s “I’m A Sword Swallower” single. If that wasn’t enough for you, we got in touch with the remixers to get some insight on the project. The first remix comes from Tim O’Keefe himself and the other is from Concret. Monday doesn’t have to suck and Daddy is here to make it all better with their new videos available exclusively in the dojo. Dive right in and enjoy!

TMN: What made you decide to remix “I’m A Sword Swallower” instead of having someone else jump on the project?

TO: I’ve been composing and producing music for quite a long time before I worked with James on Daddy. My background is in electronic music and I even used to throw raves back in the 90’s. When we decided to do a remix record, I wanted to reinterpret one of my own songs, but from a completely electronic and dance perspective.

TMN: How did Concret come into the picture to put their take on the single?

I first met Diego from Concret through Andy Rourke when Andy worked with Daddy on the Let Me Get What I Want LP. Diego was studying architecture at the time in Italy and also wrote a column for the Italian Architectural Digest, where he would interview musicians about how the cities they live in influence the music they make. He had done an interview with Andy and Andy suggested me as another musician to interview. Through that interview, we got to know one another and have thought about finding ways to collaborate ever since.

TMN: On top of the remixes, we have videos for both of them, how did that get added to the project? How did you choose visual artists to partner with?

TO: Daddy has always been a very visually driven band. The original Let Me Get What I Want album was also released as a full-length film album. With the remix album, I thought it was a great opportunity to bring in filmmakers and video artists I’ve met over the past few years and see what kinds of short music films they could make for the remixes. Each one of them is someone I personally know, have worked with before, or always liked what I’ve seen of their work. This remix album was a great opportunity for me to collaborate with them.

TMN: What was your plan of attack in taking on “I’m A Sword Swallower” for Daddy?

C: The idea from the beginning was to loop the voice and create an interesting melodic and rhythmic game with the other percussive elements and with the new arpeggio to give the remix a different kind of pathos from the original one.

TMN: In 3 words, how would you describe your remix to people?

Enjoyable, complex, emotional.

TMN: What was your reaction after seeing the video for your remix for the first time?

C: I loved the aesthetic of the video. I really love minimal video art, it gives more possible interpretations to the remix.

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