Listen: // Little Big League – “Tropical Jinx”

Tropical Jinx

I’m gladly digging out my flannel from the way way back of my closet as I type this.  This Philly-based foursome, Little Big League, is channeling forth all the grunge and emotions of 90s alt-rock music in their latest track, “Tropical Jinx”.  Ugh – singer Michelle Zauner reveals some serious vulnerability on this track.  So heartbreaking in the best way imaginable.  GIRL WHO HURT YOU?!  Let me hug you. :(

Tropical Jinx will be out on 10/14 via Run For Cover.

Q&A: DJ Sliink!

sliink

Whoever said ‘club music is dead’ was sadly mistaken. When you’ve got a producer like DJ Sliink in the studio, the genre gets a revival every time a beat is laid down. Straight outta Jersey, DJ Sliink lives and breathes club music. At just twenty-one years of age, he still holds Jersey club pioneers like DJ Tim Dolla and DJ Tamiel close to his heart, but he’s got enough knowledge and drive within him to forage his own path.

Listen to any of the sounds in DJ Sliink’s catalog, like his Vibrate EP from February; his most recent $ NJ $ mixtape; or his latest collaboration with Berts on Beats and Trouble & Bass on “RRR U”, and you’ll hear classic club breaks and true Jersey soul fatefully blended with trap and heavy bass.  DJ Sliink is creating an essential new school club music hybrid that pays homage to the pioneers of yesterday and hypes up the new dance music disciples of today.

With lofty innovation and a work ethic that never sleeps, DJ Sliink has made quite a name for himself in 2012.  His Vibrate EP, released by Body High, slayed every dance floor it came in contact with.  He bridged the gap between dance music and trap music this summer on his tour with Flosstradamus.  He’s been valiantly pushing his own label, Cartel Music, with releases dropping all year.  He recently mixed an hour long set for a feature on Diplo’s “Diplo & Friends” radio program on BBC Radio 1.  His $ NJ $ mixtape, bursting at the seams with his own original productions, serves as a mission statement for his unique sounds.  Plus he’s Twitter verified!  Instant street cred here on the World Wide Interwebs.  All of these things and then some have prompted major publications, like Vibe and Fader, to name DJ Sliink as one to watch in 2013.  So it’s about time you get familiar, yes?

The good homie Nadus recently hooked me up with DJ Sliink and we talked about how he started producing, what it was like coolin’ with Flosstradamus all summer, and what’s next for 2013.  Read on!

Cool Breezy: How did you get started DJing and producing Jersey club? Are there any particular DJs or tracks that inspire your creativity?

DJ Sliink: I started when I was about 15-16. I actually got inspired by my younger brother who goes by the name “ClubHeadSliim”. He was always [the]more outgoing and dancing type. This dude was really into music. I always stuck to sports. I used to always see him making beats on this program and they sounded pretty cool! One day I decided “Let me try” [and] from there on I always came in and worked on little beats. Other people who inspired me were Jersey Club Kings DJ Tim Dolla & DJ Tameil. Every party I went to, they just laid it down!

CB: How do you think Jersey club sets itself apart from Baltimore and Philly club?

Sliink: I think it sets itself apart by concept. In Jersey club, I think it’s more thought of stuff and strict dance floor music. Don’t get me wrong, I see Bmore music to be a bit more soulful and [with] a deeper background. It’s definitely much more slower with a lot more breaks. Philly club is really fast and reminds me of footwork, but really good!

CB: You recently wrapped up the Nomads Tour with Flosstradamus. What was it like being on the road with them and what was your favorite memory from the tour?

Sliink: It was so amazing being on tour with these guys. They were really down to earth and they are vets. The really understand the game well and I like how they work. My favorite memory had to be the last day of tour, when we all thanked each other and said how much of a great tour it was. One final time, we all got on stage when “Test Me” came on [we] wet the whole crowd with water. It was amazing – such good times.

CB: So far you’ve worked with producers like Brenmar, Nadus, and obviously Flosstradamus, to name a few. Do you have any dream collaborations you’d like to make happen?

Sliink: I love those guys. I would love to work with Pharrell, Manny Fresh, and Timbaland. These guys really had me vibing to most of the music I heard growing up. It really would be a honor!

CB: What’s something people may not know about you?

Sliink: Haha! I’m a really great basketball player ’til this day. I used to be a basketball star when I was a little younger. I also can cook everything! Cookin italian dishes is my favorite. I can also draw. I used to sketch a lot. Music has taken up all my time, but I don’t regret it.

CB: If some insane apocalyptic event occurred and for whatever reason you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Sliink: This is easy lol. I would choose Bone Thugs “The Art Of War”, G Unit “Beg For Mercy” and The Vibrate EP. :)

CB: Between the raging success of the Vibrate EP and the Nomads tour, it’s safe to say you’ve had a pretty exciting year. So what’s next for DJ Sliink?

Sliink: I really enjoyed this year. This year was pretty much a worldwide intro for me. What’s next for me? I have 3 EPs dropping with Flosstradamus, Brenmar, & MikeQ. This is something everyone should look out for. I’m trying to reach out to all genres that’s in my state’s favor.

CB: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming DJs and producers?

Sliink: I love to see young people grind! They need to keep grinding. Everyone has to start somewhere. I almost gave up on music a few times. Never give up!

Q&A: Cosmo Baker!

cosmobaker


(Tracklist located at the bottom of the page)

Imagine one of your favorite DJs.  What characteristics rank high of exceptional DJ talent?  Is it grace behind the decks?  An extensive knowledge and non-discriminatory passion for music?  Being ultra intuitive and tuned into the party people on the dance floor?  The ability to just have fun and get creative with it?

This is Cosmo Baker.  He’s been in the game since before I even knew there was one.  Philly-born and now Brooklyn-based, Cosmo Baker finds love in all styles of music – whether it be disco, funk, R&B, rockabilly, or hip-hop.  Not one to be pigeon-holed, he just wants to make you dance any way you know how and he does it because it loves it.  Simple as that.  No gimmicks, no ulterior motives – just a true passion for all styles of music.  In fact, check him out live and it’s almost like an educational experience as he showcases songs you may not have heard yet in styles you might not listen to on the regular.  It’s as if he’s gently nudging you outside the box with an assuring, “Hey, I think you’ll like this” kind of vibe.  My advice?  Trust him.

Cosmo Baker is known for mixing records of all genres, which is what landed him a residency and title as co-founder of Brooklyn’s infamous “anything-goes” soiree, The Rub, with DJ Ayres and DJ Eleven back in 2002.  Back then, parties were still one-dimensional and super homogenized, playing the same genre for hours, but armed with deep crates and a natural DJ’s intuition, Cosmo Baker flourished and stood out amongst the rest. He has recently moved on from The Rub, but the drive and talent that has been moving him from the very beginning is still very much in motion.

Take a listen through Cosmo Baker’s SoundCloud page and you’ll realize two things: 1) He’s incredibly innovative and his vast knowledge of music is timeless and will rise above any trend. 2) He’s having such a good time that soon enough you’re gonna be cutting a vicious rug and you won’t even know what hit you until it’s too late.  That kind of knowledge and passion is truly one-in-a-million and it really translates to music aficionados and party people all around the world.  That feeling is not one to be passed up.

He’s just that dude.  I was lucky enough to talk to Cosmo Baker about his crazy record collection, what makes a good party, and how he got to where he is now.  Read on!

Cool Breezy:  Growing up in Philly until you moved to Brooklyn in the early ’00s, you’ve lived in two essential cities that each nurture their own wonderfully eclectic cultures. How has each city impacted the way you feel about music?

Cosmo Baker:  Well I first moved to BK back in 1994 and stayed there for a couple years, so I was able to catch what I think was the tail end of a really great era of music and clubbing culture. When I moved back in ’03 the city had undergone a serious transition through the Giuliani era, the rise of the bottle service scene, and of course 9/11. But New York will always be #1 – the current and spirit is really like no other place on earth. And Philly, of course, is such a soulful city, and it’s the soul of Philly that really runs through my veins. So being able to lay claim to both places is an amazing thing to me.

CB:  What was young Cosmo Baker like? Was he always a music nerd?

Cosmo:  Oh for sure, I was always a nerd when it came to that. When I was younger I played music -violin, guitar, drums, and of course just listened to a massive amount of tunes that were on the radio and video shows. Not even to mention buying cassettes and records and whatnot. By the time I went into high school I already had a massive amount of tapes that were mixes that I recorded off of the radio. That’s a little bit how it all started with me, and how I became known as the guy with all the music. Then once I really got into the digging mentality and started mining all the local record shops for jazz records and prog-rock records and all that stuff, that’s when the nerd aspect really shot into overdrive.

CB:  The streets say you’re an avid record collector. How deep is your collection? Also, do you remember the very first record you ever bought?

Cosmo:  Hah, the streets are talking! Well, I’ve been collecting for the majority of my life, and once you get into the habit of buying vinyl, at least for some people, it never goes away. And I never get rid of my stuff, I just keep it in the collection. I know for a fact that my first record was Elton John “Bennie & The Jets” on 45. I am not sure what my second record was hahah… At this point I’ve lost count of the number in my collection, but last I checked several years ago I had over 15,000 pieces of vinyl, and that doesn’t include like maybe 3,000 to 4,000 on 45. It’s sick, I know.


(Tracklist located at the bottom of the page)

CB:  You’re known for playing every genre under the sun, whether it be funk, electronic, or hip-hop music. Do you have a personal favorite? What are some records that move the dance floor no matter where you are?

Cosmo:  Well I love it all. If you don’t limit what you listen to why should you limit what you play? And that’s just so much fun than just limiting yourself to one particular genre. But that being said, it all comes down to me being a hip-hop DJ at heart. That’s where I come from and that’s my roots, so I can never overlook that. However, I think that if there’s one thing that I love to play, that just makes me feel energy like no other, it’s probably like classic disco joints. Those records were just scientifically engineered for dance floors.

CB:  You were one of the founders of the famous, Brooklyn-based, “anything goes” party, The Rub. In your experience, what makes a great party? Of course the music depends on the particular format, but overall, what kind of music and vibes set up the night for an overall success?

Cosmo:  Well the Rub guys kind had a real pure idea when it was first started, cause the incentive was just to play really great, non-homogenized, classic tunes in the club. That was something at the time which was just not really getting that much respect or reaction in a lot of the mainstream clubs. And when they asked me to do my first few guest appearances that first year it was because I already had a reputation for playing that way. So when we all got together and decided to solidify this as an official thing, it’s pretty much because we all had a crystal clear vision of how and what we were going to play. And we did it with conviction. So I think that’s one of the most important things, just really believing in what you play and doing it with heart. That helps create the connection with the listeners, and when you have that connection, all it does is grow. You grow artistically, the crowd grows with you, and on and on.

Cosmo Baker – “On One” (Mixcloud)
DOWNLOAD HERE!

CB:  So far in your extensive DJ career, you’ve released some exceptional music, toured the world, and have remained in the highest standards of DJs and party-goers alike. You’ve also made the transition from the “classic” days of DJing with turntables and records to mp3s and CDJs. All-in-all, it seems to have been an overwhelmingly successful ride so far. With that being said, do you have any advice for up and coming DJs and producers? In your opinion, what makes a truly great DJ?

Cosmo:  Well thanks so much, and yes it’s been quite a ride! I have to say that I am truly blessed because, even with lots of talent and hard work and focus and dedication, there’s still no guarantee that one will be successful. So I have to really pinch myself every day. But for real it’s definitely not as easy as it looks, so anyone that’s trying to break into the game has to have the right motivation. You shouldn’t get into it for the money or the fame or for the glamorous (that sometimes are not so glamorous) trappings of the lifestyle. You should get into it because you have a love and a connection to the music, and a true desire to spread that love with people. That drive is to me what really makes a great DJ.

CB:  2012 is coming to a close and 2013 is right around the corner. Have you had a fun year? What’s next for Cosmo Baker in 2013?

Cosmo:  Well I already have a ton of shows already booked for 2013 all over North America, as well as Europe, Asia and The Middle East. So that’s going to keep me busy. And I keep on saying that I will FINALLY get to work on my original music, and I think that with all the changes in my career that I went through in 2012 now I have the free time to actually make that a reality. But all in all it’s just gonna be a great one!

“Low Ceilings And Red Lights”
Tracklist:
Big “T” Tyler “King Kong”
Big Maybelle “That’s A Pretty Good Love”
Howlin’ Wolf “Down In The Bottom”
Etta James “7 Day Fool (Whiskey Barons Edit)”
Lou Courtney “I’ve Got Just The Thing”
James Ray “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You”
Shirley Ellis “The Clapping Song”
Bill Haley & His Comets “Birth Of The Boogie”
Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five “I Want You To Be My Baby”
Gloria Jones “Tainted Love”
Little Esther Phillips “Mojo Hannah”
Just Brothers “Sliced Tomatoes”
Maggie Threatt “Soupy”
The Roe-O-Tation “Special Category”
Della Reese “It Was A Very Good Year”
Mickey & Sylvia “No Good Lover”
Bo Diddley “Bo Diddley”
Little Junior’s Blue Flames “Feeling Good”
Big Mama Thornton “Hound Dog”
James Brown “Get It Together”
Link Wray & His Wray Men “Run Chicken Run”
Santo & Johnny “Sleepwalk”

Cosmo Baker Top Ten Mix 14
Tracklist:
1: Miguel “Adorn (Sammy Bananas Bootleg)”
2: Brett Johnson “Slow Down Baby (Severino Remix)”
3: Rihanna “Nobody’s Business (feat. Chris Brown)”
4: Bobby Caldwall “Carry On (MyKill Edit)”
5: Rhye “The Fall (Maurice Fulton Alt Mix)”
6: First Choice “Let No Man Put Asunder (Moplen Reprise)”
7: Late Night Tuff Guy “Do I Believe In God (LNTG Muscles Mix)”
8: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs “Your Love (Waze & Odyssey Remix)”
9: Duke Dumont “The Giver (Original Mix)”
10: Pelifics with Electric Youth “Wish It Could Last (Marius Våreid Extended Disco Version)”

BAKERS DOZEN BONUS
11: Cerrone “Misunderstanding (A-Trak & Codes Club Remix)”
12: Recloose “Chamois”
13: Jeffree “Mr. Fixit (Recloose Edit)”

Meet Your Moombahtonistas (#5): Jon Kwest

kwest

A man of true diversity and versatility, Jon Kwest soars under the radar.  It’s not his style to be out in the limelight, flaunting his creativity.  He’s more of a “behind the scenes” type guy, and while that’s extremely humble of him, unfortunately it often leads to him being quite underrated.  Currently a resident of Philly, Kwest hails from my charming city of Baltimore.  He produces amazing Baltimore club music and despite my selfish desire to see him perform a club set in Baltimore, he is fully submerged in the moombahton scene.  I’m not mad at that at all.  He’s one of the most productive and meticulous moombahton producers in the game right now, only releasing tunes that are top of the line productions.  You won’t see any throw-away tracks coming from this guy.

While his moombahton productions vary in vibe from time to time, he’s known for creating this particularly smooth, soulful sound by replacing sirens and rave horns with house grooves and R&B vocals.  One of my favorite moombahton productions of his is “Dreamin’”, which samples vocals from that Christopher Williams’ tune, “I’m Dreamin’”.  Not exactly the standard moombahton rage tune, Kwest’s “Dreamin’” has this morning glory vibe to it.  He excels at producing tracks that are just outright super soulful, straddling the line between moombahton and moombahsoul, the hybrid of moombahton and R&B, which explains his heavy involvement with David Heartbreak’s Moombahsoul Compilation releases.  Kwest has seen his own productions featured on Heartbreak’s moombahsoul releases, as well as tracks he’s collaborated on with Heartbreak and DJ Melo.  This is where he thrives.  Don’t get me wrong – dude can rage.  But he stands out when he makes moombahton for the ladies.

As far as the subgenres of moombahton go, so far we’ve heard moombahcore, the hybrid of moombahton and dubstep, and moombahsoul.  But last week, Jon Kwest extended his creative reach by releasing Dust Mask, a compilation of new tunes that present a brand new hybrid of moombahton and UK hardcore (listen above).  Despite the lack of an official moombahname, Kwest found enough parallels between the two genres to be able to form a fresh and energetic hybrid, funneling the heavy synths of UK hardcore and the familiar dubstep wobble into moombahton zone at 108bpm.  On Dust Mask, Kwest slows down UK hardcore and revives these classic rave tunes by adding the sexiness of moombahton, reeling in all sorts of party people by appealing to both new school moombahton heads and old school ravers.  With these types of musical innovations, the moombahfamily just gets bigger and bigger by the day.

As a fan of moombahton, you owe it to yourself to see Jon Kwest live and in action.  He played a killer set at Moombahton Massive Tres in April.  And two weeks ago at the Artscape festival in Baltimore, he performed a set that was so heavily saturated in moombahton exclusives.  Tonight, he’ll be at Red Maple in Baltimore for Serious Dynamite’s first ever moombahton showcase.  Admittedly, the party people in Baltimore haven’t latched onto the moombahteet as well as its DC counterparts, but who better to open the floodgates than Jon Kwest himself?  And finally, if you can’t make it to Baltimore tonight, you better make plans to see him at U Hall on August 18th for Moombahton Massive VI.  It’s gonna be the biggest problem DC’s seen since Marion Barry.

(Tonight, Serious Dynamite begins at 10PM.  Get there early to enjoy $5 mojitos and boombas, and $3 Red Stripe until 11:30.  Plus, moombahton all night!  It’s a no-brainer.  Where else would you wanna be?!)

Anyway, I was really lucky to be able to catch up with Jon Kwest.  I had so many questions for him but I didn’t want to stifle his productivity so I kept it short.  We talked about the characteristics of moombahton that drew him to the genre, which producers are currently rockin’ his world, and what kind of advice he has for up and coming producers.

Cool Breezy:  How long have you been DJing and producing?  What came before moombahton?

JK:  [I] started DJing when I [began] high school, mostly hip-hop and some house & hardcore breaks.  My first real gig was in ‘94 playing jungle at a party in DC at that five-story “Bomb Shelter” warehouse. I remember Diesel Boy was playing too.  I was pretty hyped.

Production began around ‘98/’99, I guess.  When I started working at Music Liberated, [I] met up with Ian Carey.  Dude hooked me up with studio time here and there and that was it – I was hooked.  Around 2000 or so, Reason came out and the “room full of credit card debt” type studio wasn’t necessary.  Production became a daily thing.

CB:  What initially inspired you to start creating moombahton tunes?

JK:  The tempo is what primarily drove me to moombahton.  It was new, not just a half time snare over an existing genre.  It doesn’t mix tempo-wise with any other type of music so you have to really want to play it to play it.  I like the fact that there was pretty much every style of music represented.  It wasn’t all just noisy and hard, like it seems every new genre goes all too quickly.

I had been messing with mid-tempo type tunes for the last few years, but basically never had the balls or standing to really pursue it like Nada did.  Dude definitely went about it the right way.

CB:  Your name is at the top of many DJs’ lists of “favorite producers” right now.  How does it make you feel to be that dude?  And who are some of your favorite producers right now? 

JK:  I’m super hyped that like-minded people relate to what I do.  That’s why all of us let people hear our music.  I just do me though.  I’ve been going at this rate for a long time now.  Luckily, I found an outlet that motivated me to push myself again.

My favorites is a tough question… lotta folks.  Heartbreak, Munchi, Nadastrom, DJ Melo, Uncle Jesse, Sabo, Pickster One, Billy The Gent, Cam Jus and all the OG’s pretty much go without saying.  Tactic, Smutlee, Ckrono, Boyfriend, Neki Stranac, Sazon Booya, Soron, A-Mac, JWLS, Long Jawns, Nate Metro, DJ Theory all killin’ it right now.  Some cats I’ve only recently came across DJ DIce/Chicago Deadbeats & Habanero Posse out of Japan been sending me some nastiness lately.  I know as soon as I send this I’ll notice who I left off of this list and kick myself.

Every week I’m hearing from someone new that motivates me to go harder.

CB:  You have a lot of influence not only in the moombahton scene but also in the Baltimore club scene.  How do the two currently compare?

JK:  Current Baltimore Club is almost a grey term. It’s expanded and re-invented itself over the last few years.  Dudes like Benny Stixx, King Tutt, Murder Mark, DJ Say Wut [produce] tunes [that] can sound any number of different ways, which shows a versatility pretty much unseen since the term “Bmore Club” was termed in the early 90’s – no disrespect to anyone.

That, I believe, is the common ground.  We all wanted something new and instead of waiting for it, we made it.  We made it; expanded it; forced its evolution and made it our own voice.  That’s what makes influential music, not pandering.

It’s not supposed to be for everyone.

CB:  Do you have any words of advice for up-and-coming DJs and producers out there?

JK:  Do you 100%.  If you half ass your ideas to make dim wits happy, you should just throw in the towel and quit muddying up the craft.

Just as important, though – be humble, be polite and give credit where credit is due, but nothing of value ever comes from ass-kissing or dick-riding.

Meet Your Moombahtonistas (#2): Obeyah

obeyah

You know that one moombahton track with the tribal drum patterns and that hypnotizing flute you hear everywhere from the moombahton compilations that takeover your stereo to the super sweaty moombahton parties?  Ahhh yes, “African Flute”.  You know the one.  And if you didn’t know, that’s an edit from one of DC’s own DJs and producers, OBEYAH.  Touting over 1800 downloads on SoundCloud as well as slots in DJ Sabo’s Moombahton Massive Mix and Brodinski’s European Introduction to Moombahton, “African Flute” has taken the moombahton game by storm.  Full disclosure:  it’s one of my favorite moombahton edits to date and it’s what propelled me into Obeyah’s world.

Known as Reed Griffith when he’s not behind the decks, Obeyah hails from Arlington, Virginia and he’s way more than “African Flute”.  Did you know he’s also a visual artist?  As a member of Urban Artistry, Obeyah works to promote the thriving culture of urban art and dance.  Most recently, he was showing off his graffiti talents at the International Soul Society Festival held a month ago in Arlington, Virginia.   This month he’ll have some technicolor graffiti pieces in the G40 art summit.  Promoting twenty artists and “sensory overload” (their words, not mine), the exhibit opens on May 19th and runs until June 17th, so you have a whole month to check out Obeyah’s work.

As seen everywhere from the walls to the dance floor, it’s clear that Obeyah is accessing so many areas of his creative abilities.  His talents as a DJ have landed him Regular Club nights in Atlanta and a residency in Panama.  Obviously, he is no stranger to the rest of this world.   But he’s still a big presence in the local scene and epicenter of moombahton, DC.  He’s running all sorts of dance floors from the little attic-like space at Little Miss Whiskeys to the two-floors of District to massive basement of U Street Music Hall.  His productions have gained popularity amongst the major players in the moombahton game, including its godfather, Dave Nada. Most notably, the mix he did for Dirty Sweaty Nasty’s Throbcast has also gained a lot of love, especially from MTV Iggy.  Pretty major!!  I’d grab that mix while ya still can and while you’re at it, check out the rest of his sounds over on his SoundCloud.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F15440787&show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=f5136a
Rishi Romero (Obeyah Edit) Rain Forest by cool breezy

Check out a new edit from Obeyah called “Rain Forest”.  A currently unreleased track, “Rain Forest”, easily exemplifies the classic moombahton style with its tropical rhythms and mid-tempo, sexed up vibes.  A different kind of track as juxtaposed with Munchi’s moombahcore stylings, for example, “Rain Forest” is totally understated but keeps you on pace to move your hips and sweat your ass off in the name of moombahton.

If you like what you hear, there’s a good chance he’ll be invading your hood very soon!  He’s playing Philly’s very first moombahton party on Thursday, May 19th at the Walnut Room with Baltimore’s Uncle Jesse, and Philly’s own Philadelphyinz.  Friday night, he’s back home in DC and going head-to-head with The Baconator Himself, Reed Rothchild, at Little Miss Whiskeys (beware of the house drinks).  Then, on June 4th, he’s back in Atlanta for Buzz at Sutra.  Don’t miss him.  Go say what up to the dude!

Obeyah is way more than meets the eye and I want y’all to know him!  Check out the Q&A session we had where we talk about his fine art, playing moombahton for motorcyclists, and life without boundaries.

 

Cool Breezy:  Catch us up first.  How long have you been DJing and producing and what initially got you into the game?

Obeyah:  I have been DJing for about five years.  I just stepped into production so it’s really new to me.  I was inspired by the turntablist and hip-hop DJ’s from the late 90’s, like Q-bert and Roc Raida, so I went to a DMC competition at the Black Cat in DC.  Hearing turntablism live really made me want to learn how to DJ.

CB:  As a member of Urban Artistry, you play a heavy hand in art shows.  Just lately you’ve done work at the International Soul Society Festival in April and you’ll be doing more work at the G40 art show coming later this month.  What are you doing at these exhibitions?  I saw you doing some graffiti work.  How long have you been into that?

O:  Shout out to Urban Artistry, one of the most eclectic and original crews in the world!! I’m just starting to get back into visual art.  I have been creating art and putting graffiti on things since I was a kid.  DJing came second but I’m learning equally from both art forms.  I recently created costumes for an Urban Artistry show, “Digital Funk 2052”, which were recognized at the DC Dance Awards as the “Best Dance Performance Costumes of 2010”.  That got me motivated to start combining my music and visual art together.  Right now I’m working on producing the score for a dance-based production – it’s turning out to be a really interesting fusion of mediums and art forms.  Soul Society has been a huge part in that too.  As a DJ and an artist, this year I collaborated with Scotty 76 from Germany.  He is a huge part in the history of graffiti so it was a real honor to work with him.

CB:  What first attracted you to the moombahton genre and what about its community keeps you in the scene?

O:  I have always been into dancehall and electronic music – a lot of what I’m listening to right now is being influenced by a wider spectrum of global rhythms.  There aren’t too many new things in art or music, just new interpretations.  When moombahton dropped it was the perfect time for this genre to be accepted.  Before I heard moombahton, I felt that people were getting bored with club dance floors being taken over by 128 bpm music.  So when I first heard moombahton, I had no idea what I was listening to, all I heard was the energy it created.  [As] with most people involved with moombahton right now it’s about supporting new ideas.  I like being able to create without boundaries; right now this genre is like that.

CB:  Your schedule of events is very eclectic.  You just played a one-year-anniversary party for the motorcycle club, Ghost Ryderz.  Did you play moombahton for them?!

O:  Yeah, actually they wound up booking me off of a mix I did for DSN that had a lot of moombahton on it. There were people in there as far away as Canada and California. It was a really diverse crowd…yeah they get pretty live!

CB:  You’ve also got some shows coming up outside of the DMV area, namely in Philly and Atlanta. Have you played moombahton for crowds outside of the genre’s comfort zone of DC and if so, how do they take to it?

O:  I just recently got back from a DJ residency in Panama; I think that was the most surprising reaction I have had from any crowd.  I was on the island of Bocas Del Torro during the 2011 Carnivale parties; people were there from all around the world.  For most people it was their first time hearing moombahton, I could watch how people from different countries went in on tracks that were based on different rhythms like cumbia or dembow.  Also I think I’m just starting to realize how new this genre is for most people.  Just like doing anything with DJing, it’s all about timing.  I’ll be in Philly for Tropicalismo with Uncle Jesse on the 19th. It’s the first moombahton party in Philadelphia, so I’m looking forward to be breaking some ground up there.

CB:  Who’s one of your favorite moombahtonistas right now and why?

 O:  Dave Nada.  [Editor’s Note:  Dave Nada needs no explanation.]

CB:  Finally, any words of advice for present and future DJs and producers?

O:  TV will rot your brain.

Q&A: SEEEEGAAAAA!

sega

IF IT’S YA BIRTHDAY, MAKE SOME NOIZE!  My boy DJ SEGA is turning twenty-four this week so we’re celebrating another year in his life and thanking him for dropping hot tracks for us on the regular.  Sega hails from West Philly and ever since he entered the music game, he’s been trying to put Philly on the map.  Taking influence from our beloved Baltimore club, Sega had an itch to create his own version and since then, he’s taken Philly club music into his own hands.

Mad Decent affiliate and Vice President of the Philly chapter of Brick Bandits, Sega is constantly bringing something new to the club music conversation and constantly pushing the boundaries of the genre.  When was the last time you heard somebody remix the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” theme song and actually drop it in the club?  To Sega, everything is fair game for his mixes.  Every sound, every bang, every boom, blip and crash is music to his ears.  He’s always tuned into his environment, pulling sounds from classic television theme songs like the “Bad Boys” intro of Cops to 8-bit beats in video games like Tetris and Mortal Kombat to hit singles like Kanye’s “Runaway” and Beyonce’s “Ego”.  When he says he spins everything, he really does.  At this rate, he’ll never run out of material.   Thank the Club Godz for that.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F3182137
Back It Up (Ego) by DJSega

So what’s he been doing with all his talent?  Fuckin’ everything.  While you’re busy sleeping, he’s awake all night producing mixtapes and singles and when you wake up in the morning, they’re all over the interwebz.  He’s like, a Club Music Santa or something.  Most recently, he did the production and mixing for Rye Rye’s mixtape, RYEot powRR – shout outz to our BMORE PRINCESS!  Also, he’s been curating his own six-pack remix series called the Sixer Series.  Parts One and Two are already out, so if you don’t have them, get them!  I hear parts Three AND Four are already done, so be on the lookout for those.  Back in 2009 he released a pretty crucial full-length album called New Jack Philly, which includes 28 club bangers and throwbacks.  You need that – trust me.  Sega has touched the Power Rangers theme song and it is golden.  Also, just check his SoundCloud page for the latest hapz.  While Sega finds success in recreating the club genre, he constantly pays homage to his original Baltimore club influences, plus I think he has one of the best drops in the game right now, so listen for those elements in his music.

Rye Rye – Party in the USA Remix

If you like what you hear, you need to see him live.  Find him.  Do whatever you can to get him to come to your city.  I’m telling you – it’s worth it.  Every show is different because he thrives on being unpredictable.  He knows just as much about what’s going to happen that night as you do.  Every time I see Sega spin, it gets wilder and sweatier and just all around WALNUTZ.  I’m not sure what it is about him and his music – maybe it’s the nostalgia you feel from hearing your childhood themes remixed; maybe it’s just refreshing to hear your favorite song from a new angle; or maybe he’s just killin’ it with the kick drums and handclaps!  But any way you wanna cut it, he brings out the primal side you never knew you had.  Or maybe you know you’ve got one but either way, Sega makes it okay for you let the beast out.  The Sega Experience is something like heavy cardio meets sweaty catharsis meets religious experience.  I really don’t want my description to be taken as hyperbole, so trust me when I say you just need to experience it for yourself if you haven’t already. It’ll be the most fun you’ve had out at the club in a long time.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F2513249
The Mighty Morphin’ Theme (AKA The Power Rangers Theme) by DJSega

Sega and I had a little chatty chat the other day about bein’ a hood nerd, working with Rye Rye, and why he doesn’t use headphones when he spins.  Keep reading!

Cool Breezy:  You said you started making music when you were 18.  What drew you into the scene?

DJ Sega:  That’s two different things [you’re] talkin’ about.  I was drawn into the scene itself when I was 12.  That was my first teen party; as well as my first time hearing DJ Technics’ “Ding-A-Ling” and music bump in a club.  I was hooked!!!!!  We had these teen parties that [had] been going on for years before I came into the picture.  And yes, the main music being played at these parties [was] Baltimore club.

I started making music as an outlet and a hobby.  I ended up taking a survey that led to me to getting a beta program for music productions.  Around that time I was going through a journey in my life that either made or broke me; and club music just came out of me onto that program. The first two years I made club music nobody knew about it except close friends and relatives.

CB:  This might be a total noob question, but how would you describe the regional difference between Baltimore Club, Philly Club, and Jersey Club?

DS:  I’d say the style differs about as much as the cities themselves.  We all are a product of our environment and our music is a result of it.  While both Baltimore and Jersey have more of a House or Club feeling to the music, I try to bring more imagination and the mega-mix feel to my music.

CB:  Some of your tracks explore certain places that extend further than where some DJs and producers traditionally draw from for material, i.e. the Bill Nye remix, the Fifth Element Opera remix, the Pinky and the Brain remix.  Where else do you draw your influences from?

DS:  I always had this mind that made everything into music.  Every sound I heard and every thump felt all was music to me. When I would hear the Bill Nye theme when I was small, I’d dance and play my own version in my head.  That’s how I was with a whole lotta things.

CB:  One of the first times I saw you spin, I noticed you don’t use headphones.  What’s up with that?!

DS:  I like the element of surprise.  I get goosebumps when I hear what’s mixing along with everybody else.  Plus, I know all my music…I don’t need headphones.  Not even for hip hop and other genres I spin.

CB:  How did you get involved with Mad Decent and Brick Bandits?

DS:  Once again, two different questions involving to different time spans.  I hooked up with the Brick Bandits around 2006. At that time, I kinda was doin’ my thing in the teen club scene.  I was faithfully coming out with fresh mixtapes for the kids to grab really cheap.  I was honored when Mike V called me to set up a meeting at his house in Jersey.  I’ve already been a fan of Mike V, DJ Tameil, and DJ Tim Dolla since I was in high school.  We met up, shared some vibes, and linked up.  We been goin’ hard as a family ever since.

As far as Mad Decent, I was trying to get my mixtapes into the local record stores. I met Dirty South Joe at Armand’s Record Shop in Downtown Philadelphia. Through him I met Diplo.  Shortly after, Diplo, Joe, and Switch all came to check out the weekly teen night at Jamz Skating Rink.  At that time, my rock remixes were creating a huge buzz and Hollertronix 8 was a result!

CB:  You recently did some remixes and production on Rye Rye’s latest mixtape, RYEot powRR.  What was it like working with Rye Rye and what was the creative process like for the mixtape?

DS:  I never worked so hard on a mixtape in a long while.  At first, I was supposed to produce only 3 or 4 songs.  Somewhere along the line I ended up mixing the whole 18-track mixtape; plus produced half of it.  She made it feel really easy though. I knew when she hit me up to do it that it was going to get huge.  People been asking me about a collab tour with her ever since doing a 3 city tour up in Canada some years ago.

CB:  Describe the craziest gig you’ve ever played.

DS:  Hands down, it’s the Mad Decent Block Party here in Philly this past summer. Words can’t explain what i felt before, during, and after my performance. To say that it was incredible is a COMPLETE understatement. I can’t say much about the details of it. But it involved EVERYTHING including Four Lokos before they got [to be] a huge scandal. Check out my Youtube Channel.

CB:  What are some of your favorite tracks to play?

DS:  Most likely, ones I have the most fun with. Bill Nye, Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat 1&2, Angry Birds (oops).

CB:  What have you been listening to lately?

DS:  EVERYTHING!!! I listen to all genres but only really good music. Sometimes I feel like listening to club music…and other times I feel like listening to classical music or movie scores.  It depends on my mood and mindset.

CB:  What are we gonna see you doing in 2011?  Any big plans?!

DS:  I have big plans, but I also think there’s going to be a lot of spontaneous happenings.

CB:  Do you have any advice for up-and-coming DJs?

DS:  Yes, if you only doing it for money and bitches, give me your fucking turntables, mixer, speaker, and serato!!! I’ve been producing for 7 years now, and DJing for 5. Still til this day, I never had turntables or a serato kit. I do this for the love and support. And the money goes to support my family. I don’t nor ever have practice my sets at home. When I’m home I work on my music. When I spin live, you actually hearing me “practice”. But your also witnessing me live out my dream!!!! Be honest with yourselves and make a career out of something you truly love to do or create!

Sega’s having a HUGE birthday party tomorrow night at Fluid in Philly!  Go here to get the info on that as well as more info on his other birthday parties.  Party on yall!