Just some random musical musings on Veld and the two headliners.
Day Two bested Day One.
Great lineup, tons of variety for everyone in attendance. I think the organizers underestimated the pull that some of the artists would have. I would have loved to see Cosmic Gate, Tommy Trash but in particular, Gareth Emery, throw down on the main stage. The cozy confines of the tent (minus the poop) suited them just fine.
Of the sets that I, myself, happened to view in person, I would have to put Gareth Emery, Tommy Trash, Deadmau5, Ben Gold, Avicii, and Max Vangelli & AN21 above the rest. Honourable mentions to Cosmic Gate, Bassnectar, Cazzette, Knife Party, Pierce Fulton, Aly & Fila, & Steve Angello. Everybody else gets a meh.
Deadmau5 put on a good show, but nowhere near his best I believe. Even with the technical difficulties, the show was still enjoyable and featured some of his better tracks. With that being said, you can definitely tell that this guy is not in a great place right now and it showed in his set. While his more tech-leaning material is great (and sounded incredible at Downsview), I felt that his set was very linear. It just never seemed to reach that peak that I thought it would. Considering that it was his hometown gig with 20,000+ in attendance, I really thought he would bring it and give it that over the top feel.
Pains me to say this, but Avicii put on a great, if not the best, set and show of the weekend. I haven’t been a big fan of Avicii for some time now (predictable sets, productions, onstage body movements and attire), but I could not hate on the work he did Sunday night. Everything was on: song selection, transitions, performance, crowd engagement. For two hours straight he literally had everyone’s emotions encapsulated in a knob on his mixer. It literally felt like when the set had reached its apex and there was no way he could top it, he somehow just nudged it a bit further. Basically, he took it to “whole ‘nother level” (holy shit, the unintended pun right here) a bunch of times. He managed to do what Deadmau5 failed to do in my opinion in creating a performance that featured virtually no low points. Kudos (could still work on the song selection though).
Here’s the first video in a six part series highlighting the lifestyles of select Nike athletes on and off the court. The series will feature original tracks from emerging artists with ties to the sport as the athletes give an inside look into their diverse stories away from the game. The first video features the song ‘Always On’ from Harlem’s Vado and takes look at Team Nike players Adris “2 Hard 2 Guard” Deleon and Quinton “T2″ Hosley.
For those of you lucky enough to live in or around Toronto, the city’s premier music festival NXNE is setting up shop starting next Monday. The week-long festival showcasing upcoming musicians and groups, will feature over 600 acts along with interactive media and discussion panels on all things music.
Since myself and the guys here were keen to get in on the action, we teamed up with a couple other Toronto blogs (This Bonus Track and Torontette) and some local bands to put on an Official Showcase for the festival. The Vinyl: AUX Afterparty is going down Saturday, June 18th at 8pm, live from the M5V Warehouse at 367 King St. West. SpacePack favourite Freedom Or Death will be performing, along with Bravestation, The Wilderness and Dinosaur Dinosaur. Swing by for some good music, sexy people (can’t really guarantee this, but I’m optimistic), and your chance to see the people behind SpacePack in the flesh.
Had the opportunity to catch up with Killer Reese One and DJ Troublemaker, together known as King Fantastic. Read on to find out what the two had to say about L.A., the current state of hip hop and what their plans are for the rest of 2011.
Any inspirations behind your music?
Killer Reese One: The westside. Gangsta shit.
Troublemaker: Eating. Los Angeles. Women.
Do you have any particular goals for your music? Personal? Social?
KRO: I’m trying to drown out the lesser thans, make sure that other products pale in comparison. That way, all we have left is the cream of the crop.
TM: To continue and maintain a career as a dj/musician/producer. Make girls happy. And, gain the respect of my peers, while leaving a legacy.
What was original gameplan for when you two started on Finger Snaps and Gun Claps?
TM: We met and decided to record one song and see how it went. Then it was three. Then it was 5. Then is was 8. Then it was 10, which became Finger Snaps and Gun Claps. It was this wormhole that led us to where we are now… recording, touring, making videos. As Reese would say, “Doing fly shit.” I’m speaking for Reese now.
KRO: It’s ok for you to speak for Reese sometimes. Reese don’t mind. Reese ain’t never been about that shit! I’ve been watching “The Other Guys” a lot. Shit was funnier than I thought it would be.
Favorite artists, groups?
KRO: E40, Andre Nickatina, Devin the Dude, Ice T, Tool, 80′s and 90′s rnb, Trick Daddy, Pastor Troy, The Bird and The Bee, Lovage, Rick James, Bill Withers, Lamb of God, Suicidal Tendencies, Jimi Hendrix, Cuban All Stars… let me know when I should stop. All I do, all damn day, every damn day, is listen to music. It helps me get by, just like weed.
TM: The Clash, Beastie Boys, Gang of Four, Hall and Oates, Johnny Cash, M83, Milosh, Outkast, Rolling Stones, The-Dream.
Best strand you ever had? And where can I get some?
KRO: F1 x Gods Gift. They used to have it at “The Farmacy” on Abbott Kinney. Haven’t seen it in a while.
What’s your opinion on the current state of hip hop and rap music? Invasion of the hipsters?
KRO: Josh, please do the honor….
TM: Very little “true” hip hop exists, and the majority of rap, and/or people impersonating rappers, is greater (in size) than ever, but exponentially weaker (in talent) than ever. It is a culture commodified by outsiders, who have no culture of their own, who then, in turn, cannibalize themselves.
Favourite thing to do L.A.?
KRO: I drink, smoke, eat, fight, and fuck at the beach. I avoid going inland as much as possible. I have 3 felonies and one strike, so I avoid shenanigans when I can.
TM: Drive up PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) past Malibu and kick it at the beach.
When are we going to be hearing new material from you two?
TM: In the death of summer.
Who’d you like to work with in the future?
KRO: Jay-Z, Rick Rubin, Cee Lo.
TM: DJ Quik, Jay-Z, Mark Trombino, Trent Reznor.
Origins of the track ‘On Q’?
TM: The beat for “On Q” was the first one I made, and an impetus for the sound of the album.
KRO: Josh’s soul on the beat, and a fun little night, back when I used to party in Hollywood like that. One of my “fuck off a couple stacks” nights. Back when the income was expendable. It’s also my favorite production on the album.
Plans for the rest of 2011?
KRO: My son’s (Raider Alexander Rivera) first birthday. Oh, and rapping, and touring, and Europe. I got my passport back.
TM: Make more videos, record more music, and shows, shows, shows.
Quick promo shoutout to our friends at the newly launched Pickmix magazine. The UK-based fashion mag is releasing their 1st issue on May 1st with Dawn Richard of Diddy-Dirty Money gracing the cover. The magazine will be available online, and in print in the cities of New York and London.
In anticipation of the release of Freedom Or Death‘s new album Ego this past Tuesday, I got the chance to catch up with Sway, one half of the Toronto duo. The official release party for the album is taking place tonight at the Steam Whistle Brewery, so make sure to reach to catch Freedom Or Death in the flesh. Interview and a couple of streams from the album below.
Rich: How does it feel now that Ego’s finished?
Sway: Anxious. There’s not much you can do as you release your baby that you’ve worked so hard on out into the world to be judged, and for people to form an opinion on. The pre-release stage brings about a lot of questioning.
R: What’s one element that really acts as the foundation of the album?
S: Ah tough one, but definitely lyrics. Throughout the whole process lyrics was the part that came last as we would start with a beat and work it into a melody. The lyrics act as the glue that ties everything together.
R: What do you feel you improved upon the most between the Freedom Or Death EP and Ego?
S: Singing, production, performance. We stepped up our game in all facets for the record. I also feel that we had a greater work ethic, we were a little more directed, or concise I guess you could say, in what we wanted to accomplish.
R: Explain to me a little bit about the origins of the track ‘Inside’?
S: It all started with a riff that Fernandez sent me, which worked itself into a melody. The track itself deals with being in a dark place and coming to accept the terms of that place. Like coming to be comfortable with where you are is the only way to deal with it. At the time there was the story of the homosexual kid that had been bullied in the U.S., so I think that influence the song a bit as well.
R: Your favourite track from the album?
S: Personally, I’d go with Human.
R: You guys played SXSW last month, how did that go?
S: It was a shitshow. You really don’t have any time to see anything other than what you have scheduled. Luckily we were fortunate enough to play five awesome showcases, but other than that it’s really become an overcrowded and over saturated event.
R: Looking around at the music business in 2011, what do you see? What’s the current state of music?
S: I honestly think that music right now is how it should be. We went through a period where there was a lot of safe music, but right now is good.
R: Odd Future?
S: Merely the Wu-Tang Clan of the 2000s, that’s all they are really. People right now seemed to be more inclined to move away from that safe brand of music, more willing to seek out something different.
R: I give $500 to blow on a night on the town. Where are you going and with who?
S: First stop LCBO then most likely a jam at my place.
R: If you had to go out though, where would it be?
S: I’d round up some friends and I guess we’d start at a local bar first. We’d probably blow through the $500 in a couple of hours, so back to my house to party. Either way, there’s going to be a house party.
R: Rum or vodka?
S: Gin. I guzzle that stuff like an old Englishman.
R: You watch any of Toronto’s sports teams?
S: Not in particular. I’m a big futbol fan, so I follow what goes on in Europe a bit more. Real Madrid is definitely my team if I had to pick.
R: Favourite food? Place to get a good eat?
S: Julie’s Cuban Cafe on Dovercourt. I like it more for the atmosphere but I’m also a big fan of Cuban food.
R: Dream show, who and where?
S: Freedom Or Death playing an empty coliseum with all our fans. That or a super intimate setup would be really cool.
R: Who would be in your iTunes Top 25 if we were to check right now?
S: Been spinning some Frank Ocean of late, he’s ill. But um, CEO, Robyn, Glasser, Wild Beasts, Wild Nothing, Asher Roth, Cee-Lo Green, Theophilus London, Major Lazer, Broken Social Scene, The Folds, Adele.
R: Artist or band that I should check out?
S: Robyn’s new record. It’s something that both Fernandez and I like at the moment.
R: What drives you to make music and perform?
S: Other music, art, culture. It’s all really inspiring, but the fact that I’m good at making music makes me want to pursue it more.
R: What do you think is the one thing that you’ll take away from this project?
S: Patience. You definitely have to be patient with you art as there’s no guarantee that it’s going to coming out exactly as you had planned.
R: What do you think sets you apart from other acts in 2011?
S: The technicality of Freedom Or Death, the fact that there’s two of us writing and just one performing is pretty unique. We also get a lot of people telling us that they find it hard to place our music in a specific genre. I feel like we bring a fairly diverse offering to the table; like Ego has tracks that are acoustic and other tracks that are suited for more of a club or social environment.
R: What do you guys have planned for the rest of 2011?
S: Touring, songwriting, writing for a new record. In August I’ll be touring in Europe, so yah some fun times ahead.
Really interesting documentary that explores the emergence and evolution of the electro genre here in North America. Stephen Alex Vasquez set about to document the music, culture and the participants of the genre and what possibly lies ahead. The Electro Wars includes interviews with names such as A-Trak, Steve Aoki, Lil Jon, and Laidback Luke to name a few, plus some hype tracks throughout. When you’re done with the trailer above hit up Pitchfork TV for the full stream of the documentary (this week only). The film’s broken up into fourteen, 4-10 min chapters which makes it easier to watch.
Some unreleased Kid Cudi popped up last night. The track which has been tited ‘Capcom’ is an old reference track Cudi did a while back for producers Chad Hugo (of the N.E.R.D./Neptunes) and Kenna. The track will most likely not be on his upcoming A Man Named Scott mixtape.
In other news, Kid Cudi has also announced that has quit smoking marijuana. Seriously.
I dont smoke weed anymore. Ill leave it to the kids. Im 27 with a business to run and i need to be alert and focused with my mind strong. For those who still get it on, smoke one in my memory as your favorite lonely stoner. This is not a joke. I know most of you wanna see me all drugged out and fucked up and i know misery loves company, but im sorry those days are over. I had a good run, Amsterdam and all. Im happy being sober. Im happy being a new me. Giva fuck who thinks of me different, you didnt care about me in the first place if you cant be proud and happy for me for growing and starting a new chapter. Im not your puppet or your tap dancing drug addict here to be your miserable muse, i always made music for me to help myself find understanding. I have finally learned from the words in my songs. I love who loves me and who really cares about me.