Category Archives: writings

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring DVS JACKSON Esq.

today we have a nice chat with one of MY personal favourite emcees that i’ve not only encountered in the last decade, but also had the pleasure of working WITH in some capacity. and that’s signor DVS Jackson Esq. this man’s wordplay has long impressed the fuck out of me, and to have him included on Pete‘s #REALHIPHOP LP is something i was kinda hoping for (actually i wanted a whole project to materialise b/w the two, but this is a damn good start).

DVSVEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

DVS: Hello, world. My name is The Most Honorable Right and Exact DVS Jackson, Esq. DVS for short. I started out as a public speaker when I was still in Kindergarten. As I got older, that morphed into singing, then poetry and, finally, Hip Hop. I’ve been an MC for the better part of 15 years, and loving every minute of it. My motivational factors are a genuine love for the culture, a feeling that I have something to say…and the knowledge that after all of these years of dedication I’m still skilled at my craft.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

DVS: My contribution came from Pete asking. Pete and I have known one another for almost a decade. We have dabbled here and there creatively, but there has never been a project tied to us. A vocal guest spot here, a remix there, but never anything concrete. So, when Pete mentioned he had a project in the works and wanted me to contribute, it was just a natural progression.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

DVS: My writing process varies. I tend to write very quickly when inspired or when I have an idea of the intended direction. As such, my contributions to #REALHIPHOP didn’t take very long. Pete has always had a very good handle on what he is trying to accomplish. He also allows space for the artist to express themselves. It was really quite painless.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

DVS: That’s a tricky question. I don’t think there is a real definition of what you consider “real”. Reality is relative. For instance, if you ask me who I listen to in the whip…I’m going to say Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, classics like De La and Tribe…and that’s my version of reality. Now my son, he is a huge fan of Flatbush Zombies. That’s his reality and I honor that. And since I honor his opinion, as well as my own and others who may not have as much “love” for the culture in the traditional sense…I tend not to trash Hip Hop I don’t personally understand or appreciate. I just don’t listen.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

DVS: Chance The Rapper‘s “Acid Rap Mixtape” completely threw me for a loop. Here was someone representative of my eldest child’s generation who obviously had some sense of MY oldhead sensibilities. In addition, he made a very CHICAGO album. There are so many inside references that hit especially hard for someone born and raised in the Go. From wordplay to his homage to Chicago’s “Juke” movement to a playful irreverance i feel the artform is missing….I totally honor and respect that young brother’s contributions to the game.

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

DVS: Well, my latest LP “DVS 4 Alderman” was released on Windimoto Records and is available at most online retailers, with an expanded edition available directly at http://windimoto.bandcamp.com/album/dvs-4-alderman-bandcamp-exclusive-expanded-edition.

I also have 4 EP’s that I’ve released for the unbelievable price of Free.99 available at http://waldorfandstatler.bandcamp.com with my partner in crime/brother from another mother tREBLEFREE. tREB is currently screaming at me to get my vocals in for the next EP…so stay tuned as more Waldorf And Statler is on the way. Thank you sincerely for you interest…and tell Pete Marriott to hurry up and release this album so I can get my cheque. Dreams don’t run off promises, goddamnit.

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring JAZZ

we continue on with our dedicated coverage of all things #REALHIPHOP featuring a short interview with Jazz, who contributed to a couple of the joints on Pete‘s LP. he breaks down his musical history, production/songwriting process and his thoughts on hip hop.

JAZZ (aka Mista Jazzluvah)VEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

JAZZ: First and foremost I am Mista Jazzluvah, formally of the Hip Hop/R&B group WHISTLE. We had such hits as “(Nothing Serious) Just Buggin‘”, “Right Next To Me“, “Always And Forever“, “Barbara’s Bedroom” and “Chance For Our Love“. I have wanted to do music ever since the 4th grade. I got my start in 1985 by way of Kangol Kid and Hitman Howie Tee.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

JAZZ: Well Pete and I go way back to the days before WHISTLE. We both lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn and rocked out in the same musical circles. He and I reconnected about two yrs ago and talked about me coming back and doing my style of R&B. From there he did a track for me and sent me some songs he wanted me to drop hooks on. I wrote the hooks to two joints (“Nice” and “Lookout“) and the rest is history.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

JAZZ: Well I write what I feel. I am a songwriter/producer myself so I just get the vibe or hear the track and give my viewpoint of what I hear. There are too many so called producers who aren’t that at all. I am a throwback to the days of Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, LA and Babyface, Gamble and Huff, Teddy Riley the list goes on. My Job is to make a song better. It doesn’t matter if I wrote it or not.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

JAZZ: Real Hip Hop is hip hop from the soul. The kind of hip hop that takes you to a time and place that you cant forget. No matter what time frame or style.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

JAZZ: I am feeling anything that has a flow and substance with good lyrics. I will always love hip hop even when I don’t like certain rappers or songs. I came from the essence of the block party and tape days. I feel like I am a singing Emcee. I flow on R&B.

V.

THE #REALHIPHOP FILES // featuring LaVeda DAVIS

as part of this BLAUG’s ongoing coverage of all things #REALHIPHOP, we got individual interviews lined up with most of the artists and contributors to Pete’s project. we’re kicking it off with the lovely LaVeda Davis. she breaks down her art, her process and how she came to be on the LP.

LaVeda DavisVEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?

LAVEDA: Greetings. My name is LaVeda Davis. I’m a singer/songwriter originally from Miami, FL, and I have been singing as long as I can remember. My father played music all the time when I was growing up. I heard Luciano Pavoratti, Leontyne Price, Sarah Vaughn, Johnny Hartman, Otis Redding, War, Brooke Benton, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, SalSoul Orchestra, Barry White, Issac Hayes, Santana, Ohio Players, Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Motown, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Bassey and many others.  I knew early on, that I wanted to sing.
I stay driven and inspired because I love music, and want to leave behind a catalog of great songs.

VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?

LAVEDA: Pete reached out to me and talked a bit about his upcoming project (#REALHIPHOP) and said he had a track in mind he wanted me to hear, and wondered if I would be interested in writing the hook and a few ad-libs if inspired. I fell in love as soon as I heard JunClassic. The track is dope, and I was humming to it immediately!!
This is the second time working with Pete. He remixed a single of mine (“Second Skin”), that will be released in the near future.

VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?

LAVEDA: Pete has been the only producer that had a theme in mind. Other than that, I am given free reign once I receive tracks. Generally, I listen several times, and let the music dictate what the story will be about. There have been rare occasions that a title will come first; and I will begin there. But usually, I will be lead by the mood of the track.

VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?

LAVEDA: For me, “real hip hop” is the raw, honest and imperfect soundtrack to our lives. You want to wear the message like a piece of armor.

VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?

LAVEDA: Anything by JDilla, flips my wig. I haven’t a clue to what is going on right now. What I have heard, doesn’t make me want to hear it again. So when I need my fix; I go old school (Tribe/Pharcyde/Slick Rick/Poor Righteous Teachers/De La Soul/Raheim/EPMD/KRS-1).

VEE: last but not least, where can people go to check out your music or to get at you for shows or features?

LAVEDA: Thanks so much for the invite. Was a pleasure chatting with you.

For Booking and features:
bookinglaveda@gmail.com
Manager – Stevie Robinson.

My new single was just released on HSR Records (#42 on Soulful House/Traxsource):
I SECOND GUESS MYSELF

SPEECHLESS (The Remixes)

LET LOVE HAPPEN (EP)
FACEBOOK
SOUNDCLOUD
TWITTER #1
TWITTER #2.

V.

THIS TERRIFYING INTERVIEW!

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sometime last year i had the accidental pleasure of flicking onto Melb’s local community TV station, Ch.31, and being transfixed by the controlled madness of a 6-episode series entitled This Terrifying Ordeal!. after subsequently tracking down the show’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and eventually watching all 6eps, the fanboy switch kicked in. everything about the self-described “zero budget” show was clicking with me somewhere deep in the loins, and i HAD to e-friend the minds who created it. after watching the series a few times over, i felt the need to help get the word out, & what better way then to pick the brain of one of the co-creators, Ms. Emmy Gates (Matthew “Rhombus” Macaulay being the other).

V: howdy doo! how are you doing this fine morn/day/eve/morrow? can you please introduce yourself to the folks at home?

E: hi there! my name’s Emmy (Emily) Gates. i’m one of the co-creating, Rhombus-wrangling, Norwegian-slaying members of the T.T.O! ensemble.

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V: before we delve into the swirling miasma of turgid thoughts and misanthropic adventures that is This Terrifying Ordeal!, give us a bit of a background on your regular non-camera life thus far?

E: oh boy. i was born mousey-haired, freckled and shy. my greatest achievement in society’s standards is that i have done 3.8 years of a four year teaching course. then abandoned it. now i sell tickets, own ferrets, and am happy. i think that’s it.

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V: as you may already know, i just happened to stumble onto your show while randomly perusing Channel 31 one night, and was thrown right into the middle of Episode 2, and was permanently stuck there until the credits rolled. i know i was one of the first fanboys to emerge, and was wondering what the response has been like from the general unsuspecting populace? was getting the word out about the show hard or did the online presence on Facebook and YouTube help?

E: i think it’s STILL stuck in a friends/friends-of-friends ripple. we got a few fan-persons, but i don’t think we’ve really found our niche yet. it’s hard to pitch a show to people when you can’t even describe it to them.

 

V: the show touts itself as being “zero budget”, yet you were all able to create entire worlds with distinct characters and present it in a way that seemed you WEREN’T zero budget. what is it like creating a zero budget project, where do you source all the materials & locations and was the lack of budget ultimately a blessing (to spur creative solutions) or a hindrance?

E: i loved it. as the Art Director, an unemployed student living off roughly $20 a week, everything was sourced from op shops and childhood dress-up boxes. and my braaaaaaiiiiiin. making essentially all of the props myself (though Luke and Lauren were quite a help when needed) was traumatic. we had deadlines, we had no money, and everything was made in one-go. if something didn’t work i had to make it work. God Bless Super-Glue.

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V: i understand the individual stories were all written by different authors, with different directors. did the Rhombus/Emmy co-creatorship oversee these or was it left up to the writer/director? what individual responsibilities did the extended cast and crew have?

E: i’d like to take credit as the evil dictator of the project. i think we all collaborate well as a team. if we didn’t we’d all have killed each other years ago. we assigned certain roles to everyone for each shoot, but due to varying schedules and the sporadic nature of our shoots, we often just had to feel our way through it.

 

V: what was the process of actually getting the show on the air like? how did you approach Ch31: did you make the show first? or sell the pitch first and then make it? or did you show them a demo reel/trailer first?

E: i think we… half made the first episode first? it’s hard to remember. the stories all spawned from little ideas Rhombus and i had. we wanted to make comic books, films, adventure games… then just thought – why not combine it all and make a ridiculous anthology show!

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V: being an avid fan of any and all things considered “stoner” viewing, i really cottoned on to the flow and vibe of T.T.O!. though i don’t necessarily think you were ALL on something to even conceive of such entertaining and creative stuff, the show does lean toward the abstract more often than not. what were your main inspirations, were there any homages we might have missed and how did you guys come up with and develop all the original characters?

E: personally, i’m as sober as can be. i just have the mind of an 8 year-old. and hence my main inspirations were shows and things i loved around that age. we were initially going for a ‘kids playing in their backyard’ kind of vibe for the show. which worked it’s way into cardboard/paper costumes and family dress ups. and filming in Matt‘s backyard! the Bacchus Marsh area was a huge inspiration for us. the range and beauty of the surrounding areas was magnificent.

 

V: is an episode fully scripted or are there a lot of on-the-spot additions and subtractions?

E: well… they start fully scripted! i’d say they wind up about 75-90% accurate in relation to the script. depends how much Luke is involved. that’s not a rip. he’s a great improviser. we did have to chop and change a bit though, depending on timing and improv.

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V: okay, we’ve come to what i’m calling the stream-of-consciousness-happy-funtime-thing-with-the-thing-rapid-fire-questions. they are a result of me re-watching all 6eps in one sitting and taking various notes:

who came up with the funkyass intro sequence?

hahaha! that was made in five minutes. after about 20 hours total of messing around to make our intro sequence work, we’d hit our submission deadline. so we took a screen capture from the original pilot, added a kaleidoscope effect and i added a nifty font. the theme tune is what really makes it work in my opinion, which is entirely Rhombus‘ genius.

who is Eduard, and why is he obsessed with Pavlovia?

i have no idea.
actually, Pavlovia was a ‘we don’t want to be able to be pinned down as racist so let’s invent a country.’ originally it was an erratic homage to Pavlov, then people kept thinking of Pavlova, so we ran with it. both reference salivation anyhow.
Rhombus originally made T.T.O! as YouTube shorts, years ago, edited from old movies in the public domain… and presented by Eduard

 

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if it was in your power, would you like to see the world switch to a Bag Of Rats-based economy and why?

God yes. maniacal laugh economy would suit me better, though. i’d be the richest gal in the world.

i found the music to be highly complimentary to the entire series, who handled the tunes/soundtrack/score?

RhombusRhombusRhombus. there were other people involved, and although their involvement was amazing, i’m giving all credit to Rhombus. because he magicked up whatever we needed, and it was always brilliant.

-what are the pros and cons of being a Slinky Pompadour?

pros: slinky arms. ridiculous voice. adorable offspring.
cons: unflattering angles of my bottom available to the public. being unable to see/breathe.

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-socks vs shoes: which is the superior race?

shoes gots the funk.

-approximately how long did TBWFF (“The Boy Who Found Fear”) wander for until happening upon an advanced superior race of dog, presumably some time in the future?

i would say approximately 37,000 years. but it’s debatable.

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-would you guys ever consider releasing a soundtrack? the song that the Ravenous Flesh-eating WereBear boogies to is quite fonky.

Dunk‘s to thank for that one! i’d love to. Rhombus has this crazy idea of us starting a family band and playing the songs live. i’d love to make music videos for some of the tunes.

-aliens vs a family of angry dolphins. who wins?

depends what kind of alien. ask Zombie Douglas Adams.

-if PumpkinLove could retrieve his legs from the garage with ease, what would be the first thing he did?

i really like to hope he’d shave.

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-what makes a Hobo Tree grow?

wistfulness. the urine of homeless dogs.

-speak briefly on the hidden dangers of Apple Schnappes?

it turns you into a pompous git. but that’s barely hidden.

 

-“The Desert Ballroom” is one of my personal favs (up there with “Pumpkin Patch Epiphany”). the story manages to maintain plot and narrative within the disjointed and twisted nature of the looped story (which cleverly involves our ‘host’, Eduard (not really a question, im now realising)).

you liked P.P.E? masochist.

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historically speaking, whenever a tv show did a musical episode, it would always require extra work. was there more prep time and rehearsals involved for “Pumpkin Patch Epiphany”?

OH GOD IT WAS HORRIBLE DON’T MAKE ME THINK ABOUT IT. we had to cut out our favourite character! i played a stoner platypus! he was amazing. and completely superfluous. we also got rained out about… 3 times? dang Melbourne weather. no rehearsals, though. never any rehearsals.

 

explain the origins of The Messenger Man?

flying pie man. don’t question it.
okay. am i going to do this? Naked Earl Maxal is an anagram of  Alexander Kalma, one of our crew. based on a mad lib i did regarding Rhombus and i about 3 years ago.
that’s right Alex. you’re the flying pie. that explained nothing, sorry. the whole pie part? i don’t even know.

how much does a coffee cost in The Escherland?

$3.70

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what is the Winding Deathowl’s dayjob?

door-to-door trumpet sales.

the crowning glory in the series is without a doubt “Dios del Rabano” (aka The Radish God), which also features one of the series’ truly terrifying moments courtesy of Emmy and her machete. where did you guys shoot the majority of this episode, and what was the length of time everyone spent, on average, creating each episode (from beginning to end?).

we spent approximately 1 weekend filming per 15 minutes of final footage. that’s it. no rehearsals. that’ s not including the two years Rhombus and i spent discussing everything. 24/7. hoo boy.

 

V: and i guess finally, how can the good people of Earth get in touch with you guys for: praise, criticism, possible future work, sexual propositions, Hobo Pie recipes etc.?

E: come visit me! and our ferrets! or visit us virtually via this@terrifyingordeal.com / facebook.com/terrifyingordeal.

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V: thank you so much for your time and for sharing your creative brains with the rest of us. hope to see more of your work(s) in future. any final thoughts you’d like to add before i disappear under water into the bathtub, Eduard-style?

E: i don’t actually use my real voice once in the entire series. and… i’m not as disgusting in real life. i promise. thanks for watching us faff about. and if you didn’t watch… thanks for nothing.

LOVE,

EMMY.

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V.

Re-Introducing: PETE MARRIOTT

not long ago this blog released its debut mixtape series, similarly-titled: CONFESSIONS OF A CURLY MIND Vol. 1. it ended up being one of my favourite mixes to ever compile, as i got to be exposed to a shit-ton of new and old music i woulda never heard otherwise. among them, however, was Pete Marriott, a musician whose previous works had already spoken for themselves as far i was concerned. from him, i can always count on quality. after treating us to a rough cut of his newly-released vintage-era hit “The Kidnapping” (featuring emcee Romance) on the mixtape, i got to recently speak with Pete about his current status within all things deemed creative, artful even.

V: Mr. Pete Marriott! since last we spoke you were in the process of dropping “The Kidnapping”, the unmastered snippet version of which appeared on this blog’s debut mix series. the song got quite a bit of positive feedback, a lot of friends and associates would specifically point that song out to me as a highlight in the mix. so how did the release of the single go and how have the people reacted to it?

P: i’m very grateful people are enjoying “The Kidnapping” and that the hip hop world is finally getting the opportunity to hear my dude Romance. he deserves this success more than anybody involved in this record, so to see this particular record do well on the radio mix shows and how it’s charting is a nice victory for us.

i’ve recently done a regional radio promo tour flying from city to city visiting radio stations having lunch and dinners with DJs and bloggers to discuss the new record and our new imprint The BRKLYN Collection and day by day we’re gaining more support among DJs and Bloggers we’ve yet to meet with across the country and abroad. things look like they are moving in a positive direction.

V: it looks like you’ve got a GRIP of new stuff about to hit our ears. what’s in store/coming out soon, what are you currently working on and how is all this work impacting your life?

P: to introduce The BRKLYN Collection as an authentic music imprint we’re doing this Summer Singles Series of records i produced and remixed. “The Kidnapping” opened up everything and since then we’ve released an art house single featuring Killah Trakz called “Plant The Flag” which is also doing well on radio, a instrumental single called “The Rebirth of Mr. Soultronica” is on deck and we’re also about to drop a new art house single featuring JunClassic soon.

we also got a few new remixes on the way. i very recently done a remix for Frank Ocean that I turned in not too long and i got a new Erykah Badu remix i produced that i’m very excited about. Mark Fauver of the Aaron English Band and Noel Brass Jr. of Afrocop sat in on the mastering session with me for that one and their reaction to it was very positive which is a pretty strong indicator to me that i done a good job with it.

life has been busier than usual. there’s an interesting assortment of new records and artists i’m producing and two music related projects i’m not at liberty to discuss yet that’s on deck, but for the most part, my production and remix calendar is progressing very nicely which has been making this year quite a pleasant time in my career.

i feel very fortunate and i appreciate all the people who are seeking me out and those who have been very receptive to working with us. just good energy all around.

V: what is the “Art House Hip Hop Movement”?

P: aside from music i’m extremely interested in other creative disciplines such as photography, design, filmmaking and fine art. other musicians, producers and recording artists i’m friendly with share similar interests and i wanted to have an outlet to express myself in ways i felt the underground hip hop scene has limited me in the past.

the movement is pretty much about branching out and spreading your wings beyond making hip hop records and bringing visual arts to the table. i personally want more than just the music, so instead of waiting for it to come around i’m taking it, building with other underground artists and producers who feel the same way and we’re bringing something new and different to the table.

V: how are artists/producers attempting to stay true to hip hops roots in 2012? and is it difficult to engage a modern audience with sounds inspired by golden era hip hop or is there still a real hunger for it?

P: it’s a very interesting time. i’m seeing these very dope new cats like Earl Sweatshirt, Joey Badass and Rid Jetson doing an updated version of my very favorite era in hip hop music and loving it because it all falls right on time with my releasing music i recorded 25 years ago like “The Kidnapping”. it’s a confirmation of what these kids really want to hear and i’m excited about this, because we’re offering them the real late 80’s early 90’s flavor with my forthcoming album rather than a recreation of it.

i actually made records during the golden era of hip hop that sound like what the kids are doing today so to see what i done 20 plus years ago come back around full circle makes this is a very beautiful time for me as a practitioner of real hip hop music because it’s a personal vindication of sorts.

V: along with yourself, a cat by the name of DVS has been one of my fav hip hop artists for a hot minute. you recently remixed a joint from his new release, and now a full length collab LP is in the works. can you touch on that briefly or is it still too soon?

P: i’m glad that my helping DVS out with that remix got the mix show DJs to pay attention to him and open quite a bit of closed doors for him in radio, DVS is an awesome lyrical talent who i actually believe in as an artist, but as of now… a Pete Marriott and DVS album are not in my immediate plans. it’s nothing personal against him, i’m just simply recusing myself from the very idea of working on that particular project.

V: what’s your process like these days and what is your preferred gear?

P: i’m in a very good creative space right now. i meet with artists over Skype and discuss their musical goals and create music around that conversation. i’m not into stockpiling beats and making beattapes, that process is inefficient and a complete waste of time for me.

i prefer to build a customised record for an artist completely from scratch. that’s the way we did things back in the days and the music making experience was far better back then because we took our time and placed our energy into making a solid record rather than trying to hammer out as many songs as possible to see what sticks.

when i start working on a track i think about moods and colors the artist conveys to me in our conversation beforehand and i sample my drums into my Casio RZ-1 which gives me a great 12-bit sound. i produced my very first single “Let’s Make Some Noise” when i was 15 years old using that very same drum machine that’s why my drums have that extra heavy crispness to it.

i sample my stereo loops using my Ensoniq ASR-X and ASR-10 because they have a deep rich low end to them that sound and feel even better when i resample them to Maschine where i edit all my loops and drum sounds with great precision.

i also have a Akai S900 that i use to sample my Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster guitars and my Washburn bass which i record using Tascam 134 or 238 decks depending on how dirty i want it to sound.

and i have a modest collection of hardware and software synths like my Casio CZ-5000, Yamaha TX-81Z, Komplete 8 Ultimate which includes Kontakt and if i were ever to brag about anything, it would be about my Kontakt library. my Kontakt library is nearly at 2 terabytes as it is right now. i’m also becoming addicted to building equally strong libraries for Maschine, Massive and Reaktor.

there are some who may say that’s overkill, but those are usually the guys who are married to one sound and style. i’m a strong believer in being versatile and having a expanded musical range as a record producer so if i get to work with artists like Fiona Apple, Joss Stone or Taylor Swift I want to be more than prepared for that situation.

V: from what i can remember you’re a fellow champion of the lightweight but heavyduty FL Studio rig, one which i’ve personally used for over a decade. it seems every random producer i’ve ever met and had a conversation with chooses to utilise FL as their main (or secret) weapon. how long have you been messing with FL Studio, what are its overall advantages compared to more popular programs/setups and what led you to using it in the first place?

P: i’ve been a FL Studio user since version 2 which is the epicenter of my studio today. Alex Abellard of the Kompa band Zin’ introduced it to me at his studio in Brooklyn while working on a project together. i was very stubborn and not open to the idea of using software. in fact i was all about the MPC during those days but he made me realize how much easier it would be for me to do sound design with it and that’s how I got roped in.
FL Studio is extremely powerful and way ahead of its time, other DAWs are just beginning to catch up to it and i think what makes it much more valuable to me is that’s it’s such a flexible application that’s lots of fun to mix a record with, it’s almost too much fun which is why i think i spend so much time in my studio. it’s just addictive in that manner.

i’m currently mixing a single that has a very heavy drum sound with orchestral flourishes and jazz overtones. i’m able to create complex automation sequences that allows my string section to vary in levels during particular musical cues while changing room sizes and EQ settings within those passages, this gives the listener a true sense of emotion while listening to the song and i’m doing it so quick and smooth that these transitions are not easily noticeable, but on the subconscious level you’re feeling these movements within the mix and that’s part of what makes my production stand out.

FL Studio makes it simple for me to enact such complexities into my music because it was brilliantly designed to do so much while having a such a fun experience doing it. i don’t think there’s anything lightweight about FL Studio at all, it’s just a smarter DAW than the others.

V: you’ve also done work for other producers in terms of sound design but now you’re only willing to go so far as the mixing of the record. what made you come to this decision?

P: let’s put it this way. i had to make a business decision for myself as a record producer first and foremost, because it got to the point where the business of doing sound design for hip hop producers was no longer in my favor. aside from the money, i want my credit and these guys don’t want to give that credit up because the way they see it their fans, who are mostly aspiring producers themselves, will lose respect for them which in my opinion is a ridiculous notion.

i mean i understand the part where their fear of not being seen as super as they make themselves out to be could be derided, but the idea of you losing fans because you don’t really do it all in the studio is absolutely silly to me. i believe record production comes down to leadership in the studio, that’s why guys like Dr. Dre and Diddy had and continue to have great runs as record producers because they understand it’s about leadership first and foremost.

but then you got these guys who pride themselves as beatmakers and they don’t want people to know that a guy like me built their drum sound, programmed their synth patches, recreated samples for them. so i pretty much grew tired of it and decided not to do sound design for anyone else but me and i’m not gonna call out any names but some of my former clients newer records are not on the radio. is it a coincidence? you tell me.

now as for mixing, i mostly offer that service to beatmakers who don’t know how to mix a record let alone oversee a mix. there’s a lot of dope beatmakers out there but not too many of them are involved in the actual record making process.

as a DJ i used to get disappointed by this, but i’ve come to accept it for what it is thanks to conversations with Kev West who revealed to me that a lot of the artists don’t want to be produced by producers who’s name they don’t recognize, which basically is just another form of starfucking and that’s deeply sad. the majority of these new artists just want you to email them a beat and they record over it. i can easily go on the attack and point out how stupid that is of these artists, but why waste my time putting that sort of energy out there?

i’d rather work for beatmakers who have a clear idea of what they want their music to sound like and they can sell the artists on the fact that Pete Marriott, a veteran record producer with multiple major and indie label credits, will be on the mix. and if they are willing to pay extra they can get it mastered by the mastering engineer i work with.

that right there gives that beatmaker instant credibility and the power to take control and lead that artist’s record thus increasing their value and budgets. just like with my sound design i have a very selective client base, but the difference here is not only do i get my money, i get my credit too.

V: have you done work outside of hip hop? are there specific genres you’d like to tackle or do you go with the flow?

P: of course! i’m a record producer who just happens to do mostly hip hop records, because that’s what i’m known for, but i’m no way in any form limited to just hip hop music. i have depth range that extends far beyond hip hop.

i’m currently searching for the next Fiona Apple to work with. i want a female singer/songwriter that is on Sylvia Plath levels of poetry, yet bold enough to really go there musically, but i don’t want her to be an MC that happens to sings, she gotta be a full on vocal artist. i don’t know when i’ll come across such an artist, but when i do i will know it and i will jump on it and make it happen.

V: the mantra “Hip Hop Is Dead” has been around for a little while now, and it’s my personal opinion that it’s insulting to even suggest such a thing when there’s dudes like a Pete Marriott out there not only keeping the genre and the culture alive, but also churning out HOT tracks. so was hip hop ever truly in dire straits? was it a record-selling tactic? and what do you think the future of hip hop will look and sound like going forward?

P: let’s be honest, hip hop did go through a very bleak period where there lots of musical missteps in both the mainstream and especially in the underground. there was a very stale period where so many cats were only sampling and chopping soul records which not only got very boring and stale quickly but it was done in very bland ways that was pretty banal.

it unfortunately was a low period in hip hop music overall and people finally woke up from that slumber and now you’re seeing the return of the jazz sample fusing psychedelic rock, metal, funk, reggae and soul and it’s being layered in key rather than just chopped, and because of this the hip hop audience that got bored or annoyed with soul chopping will return and new hip hop fans will fall in love it with.

i have no crystal ball, if i did, i’d use it but what i do have is the ability to listen to the people and what they want out of the music. i don’t know if it’s the insulation of the Internet or what it is, but i find that most of these new guys behind the beats today are not listening to the people and they don’t go into the clubs and observe what the people are reacting to.

maybe i have that advantage because i’m a DJ, which is why i think it’s easier for my records to get on the radio without my having to compromise my integrity, but that comes from paying attention to the people. like the EPMD record says “give the people what they want.”

V: thanks for your time sir! i know you’re a busy man these days. just wanted to add it’s been my pleasure to watch the Marriott empire grow n grow. lookin forward to all the new music!

P: thank you very much V, i’m truly grateful for your taking interest and being apart of your mixtape series. this is a great time for music and i’m glad to be in the midst of it.

V.

KYLE interviews MR. DALVIN @ YouKnowIGotSoul.Com

the excellent folks over @ YouKnowIGotSoul.Com recently got a chance to catch up with the one and only Mr. Dalvin DeGrate. he drops his thoughts on all things Jodeci and also gives up some tidbits from Da Bassment days. my favourite moment by far has to be his short but awesome story regarding how his standout track with Static, “True O.G.”, ended up getting selected for the Dangerous Minds Soundtrack (was a geek moment for me personally as that is one of the nastiest songs of all-time).

[READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE]

or listen below:


+ the afore-mentioned hot joint by Dal & Static, thank fuck someone had the ears and the wherewithall to put it out there.

 

V.

C.O.A.C.M presents…5 Questions with: INSPIRED FLIGHT

photo by Justin Lee

1. what’s your name(s), where are you from & how did you get involved with music?

our names are Eric Poline (a.k.a. Openoptics) and Gabe Lehner (a.k.a. Chavez) and we both were born and raised in coastal North County of San Diego. we have both been big fans of listening to music since being young kids, especially hip-hop. in third grade Eric started learning guitar, which he kept up till he got obsessed with turntables, DJ’ing, and scratching in junior high. i, Gabe, grew up with a father who played guitar in bands, and in tenth grade i got the bug to learn myself. he taught me guitar and music theory, and i was so into The Beatles then that i got obsessed with songwriting. Eric and i each kept along our musical paths until we met each other in 2007.

2. how did your particular track in the mix come about/is there a story behind its creation?

Eric had a really cool signal chain going on in his home studio of a Korg Triton on a really cool patch going through a Roland Space Echo, into a Fender Twin Reverb guitar amp. he had come up with the chord progression synth part, like how the song starts, and i thought it was so cool when he showed it to me that i said we should work on it right then. then next thing we knew “It Always Takes” had pretty much been born, and it was one of the first songs we actually made together.


3. who or what inspires you to create? and how do you STAY inspired?

for both of us everything inspires us to create, whether that be all kinds of different music we hear, or just life in general. we stay inspired by continuing to listen to music, putting effort into collaborating with people, and by doing as much awesome stuff as we can all the time when we’re not making music.

4. your opinion on copyright and the sharing of music? (specifically tunes made by unsigned, under-the-radar and bedroom artists that are then shared by fans?).

in our case that is absolutely necessary, and we encourage people to download our music, even if illegally through torrent sites, and then share it. the fact that our career is where it’s at is because so many fans have done just that. it is kind of weird that we live in a culture now where people feel entitled to get music for free, even though its a livelihood for many artists, and takes a lot of energy, time, and money to create it, but since that’s how it is we embrace it and just want our music to be heard. we put out a lot of music for free, as do many other artists these days. we think it’s stupid for big artists and labels to come down hard on fans with lawsuits, or even threats of lawsuits, for illegally downloading and sharing music.

5. the best place to listen/download/buy your tunes? and any final words you’d like to say to the Internets?

the best place to listen to our stuff, and buy it, is inside of the gift shop next to the flamingos at the Boston Zoo. If you can’t make it there then www.inspiredflightmusic.com is definitely the second-best place. as for final words, please stay tuned to what we are doing right now because we are nearing completion of our second full-length album, preparing to put out some other projects this year on our own Create Fate label, gearing up to do some touring and play some music festivals, and we will be releasing some free remixes soon. thanks for the love!

i’d like to personally thank Chavez for reaching out n getting in touch with me about the inclusion of their track. their original version doesn’t appear, but it proves how dope the song is on just the lyrical/vocal tip too. i’m very glad to have y’all be a part of it. YES i’m still pimping this mix lol, listen/download at the following spots: .zip/.rar/Soundcloud.

V.