Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Onra Interview

Onra, a new and exciting producer residing in Paris, France, spoke with me the other day about what he's up to and his future. If you haven't heard his new record Long Distance, you should go check it out now. It's one of the most tasteful and funkiest records that I've heard all year. It's making its way into my top 20 of the year, I'm pretty sure. If you don't want to read the interview, at least listen to the tracks and watch the video. The tracks will definitely make your summer play list and maybe a few mixes. 

How are you doing today, what city are you in and what are you working on currently?

Hi, I'm doing fine, thank you. I'm in Paris today, it's the first day of summer, also the day of the releasing of my new album "Long Distance". I'm working on helping promote this new LP, working on a US tour. I just started to work back on Chinoiseries Pt. 2, I made half of it last year already, and I need to finalize it for 2011. 

How old were you when you made your first production and how has it changed since then?

I was 19 when I started to play around with a computer program called Ejay. The cheapest software you could find at this time, not even 20 bucks if I remember right. I've used it for a few years, until it sounded more serious, then I decided to buy my first piece of equipment, which is an Akai MPC 1000, that I still use today. I've been using this machine for seven years now, I'm feeling really familiar with it, but I'm getting to a point where it is too limiting for me, and I feel like I need to learn those new programs if I want to step my game up.

I really like the cover art for the new record, Long Distance. How much input did you put into it or did you give free reign to the artist who designed it?

No, actually, it has been one of the main reasons why the album got pushed back, since the label and myself were not too sure of our first options. The graphist sent me something like 40 examples of covers before we all agreed on this one. I felt this album was really important to me, so I really wanted to be 100% sure that I liked the cover.  

After Chinoiseries pt. 2, I read you're going to be done with concept albums. Are you wanting all your past projects to come together and form a solid concrete sound or do you hope to create a new sound altogether?

I don't know where I'm going now, I'm not trying to think too much about it, I'm going with the flow, taking one thing at a time, and we'll see where it leads me. With "Long Distance", I feel I'm getting closer to how I want to sound, but still, there's a lot of progress to be made, I'm still very far from where I want to be.

When I hear your music I hear influences from Dam-Funk, Madlib, J Dilla, and maybe Washed Out. Are these artists big influences on your work and if not who DOES influence you?

It's true for the first three artists, especially J Dilla. He's a legend, a genius, a god for me. I guess that says a lot. I'm also inspired by all the dope Hip-Hop and R'n'B producers from the 90's, that's what I grew up listening to. I didn't know about Washed Out until recently, when someone after a show, asked me if I sampled "Washed Out" to make that "Moving" beat. It appears that we sampled the same thing. Though I made this beat almost two years ago, from the same time I released "My Comet" on a 7".

Which producers would you like to work with and why?

I'd like to work with my friends, the people that surround me here in Paris. Buddy Sativa, Walter Mecca, Häzel, etc... I'm a big fan of their work, I hope the world will soon open their eyes on what we got here in France cause there's a lot of talent. Aside from them, I'd like to work with artists that I'm already in touch with. People like Waajeed, Dam-Funk, Jneiro Jarel, Reggie B, etc...  

The MCs/vocalist chosen for you in the past seem very appropriate, but which MCs/vocalist would you like to work with if it was up to you with no budget involved?

That's an interesting question. I'd randomly say Andre3000, Sade, Prince, Pharrell, Bobby Caldwell, Kashif, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, a lot of MC's... 

What are some of your favorite albums of all-time?

Slum Village "Fantastic Vol. 1&2", Lonnie Liston Smith "Visions of a New World", Brenton Wood "Baby, You Got It", Aswad "New Chapter In Dub", Roger Troutman "Many Facets Of Roger", 

I know you're going on tour soon. What is your live set up? I heard you might be bringing a friend on tour this time.

Yeah, exactly. Buddy Sativa is coming along with me on tour. He plays synthesizer on top of my productions. I bring my two MPC 1000's on stage, and play my beats from them. We really are a good fit, it makes the show much more enjoyable for the crowd.

America seems to be on the line-up for a future tour. How many U.S. dates do you want to end up playing?

I'd like to play as many dates as possible... I'd like to stay for two months, so 20 gigs would be awesome. 

What is your formula for laying down a track?

I always start with finding a sample, then it just happens in the MPC. Sometimes I know what I want to do exactly, sometimes I don't and I go with the flow... 

Do you have a day job or can you survive just making music?

I'm surviving with music right now, thanks to the gigs I get, because the money we got from CD's/Vinyls' sales is very small. Surviving is the right word. I have basic needs, I never buy anything too pricey, so I can live off my art pretty simply. I wish I could renew some equipment, buy other machines, but for now, it's not possible.

(if you need help finding the album or tracks let me know and I'll see what I can do)

Onra - The One feat. T3 from Slum Village from Onra on Vimeo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nü Sensae Interview

This duo coming all the way from Vancouver, BC is creating new noise/punk in fun and exciting ways. They're made up of Andrea who plays bass/sings and Daniel who plays drums. I haven't been this excited to see a new punk band in years. I recently was lucky enough to interview them briefly about their influences, favorite producers and how they feel about the Real Housewives of New York. They seem like pretty silly kids and I'm looking forward to meeting them in person. Nü Sensae will be playing the Atlantic in Gainesville, FL Friday June 11th with touring partners Shearing Pinx.

Where are you currently?
A - Providence, Rhode Island.

Who are you in the band and what do you play?
A-Andrea I play bass and sing.
D- Daniel, I play the drums.

You're currently on tour with Shearing Pinx, how is that going? You're both from Vancouver, is there any kind of camaraderie or competition going between you 2?
A- We hate them, they hate us, it's cute.
D- We have all known each other many years. Our first show was with the Pinx.

It think it's pretty obvious to say you guys sound or influenced by Sonic Youth or maybe Nirvana. What other artists sonically are you influenced by and why?
A- I got into those bands a lot more after playing music, I always liked them, but I was thinking a lot simpler like the Germs or something.
D- I love Nirvana and Sonic Youth. But I am also influenced by lot of bands that don't sound anything like us..Patti Smith, The Breeders, Stooges, X...

If you could work with any producer who would it be?
A- Rick Rubin, I like what he did with Slayer.
D- Nina Simone, bring her back!

What new bands/artists are you following and who maybe would it be a dream to tour with?
A- Cult Ritual.
D- Tv Ghost and Swimsuit.

Is this going to be your first trip to Florida?

On tour what are you listening to in the van?
A- I've been listening to the first record by Epitaph, a German Sabbathy band from the 70s and Neil Young
D- Pixies, Babes in Toyland, Kurt Vile

What is your favorite city outside of Vancouver?
A-I really like California.
D-I like New York, Philadelphia and southern California.

Where would you like to tour?
A- Asia.
D- Antarctica / Europe.

Do you think we should hold Tony Hayward (CEO of BP) responsible for the oil spill in the gulf?
A- He's dead to me.
D- I hold myself responsible for that.

What are you watching tonight, the Real Housewives Of New York finale or the Celtics vs. the Lakers? Don't worry, I'm not judging.
A- I wish I were watching Real Housewives of New York, although I prefer New Jersey
D- No way! ATLANTA!

Is there anything going on in Vancouver I should check out that I probably haven't heard of art wise?
A- Yes, C/R/I/T/I/C/S/.
D- Leanne Carmicheal's photography.

Is there anything you'd like to say to Florida before you get here next Friday?
D- We don't have tans...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is Arcade Fire similar to Green Day?

I remember 2004 so well, there were releases from Animal Collective Sung Tungs, Madvillain Madvallainy, Dizzee Rascal Showtime, and countless others where I actually thought music was as amazing as it was when I was 12 years old. Arcade Fire was part of this affair with Funeral. The album was as if David Bowie made a concept album about the post-apocalyptic world circa 1973, but not then now. To say the least I was blown away from all this music. I even saw Arcade Fire on tour, the band wasn't very tight yet, but the passion was there and you knew in the future they would dominate.

About 3 summers ago I saw Arcade Fire again, this time at ACL festival. The band had gotten tighter but the new record was so cheesy and full of in-your-face messages that I couldn't get into it. The stage and show were also littered with cliché, atheist-type propaganda that I always hate seeing. Neon Bible's were everywhere. That name alone (Neon Bible) gives me a stomachache. I had to walk away and go home early.

To get to the point, The Suburbs the new Arcade Fire single with b-side "Month of May" is everything you want from whinny, rich, spoiled kids who are bored and don't want to think about anything new except the same cliché bullshit. OKAY Arcade Fire, we fucking get it. The Suburbs suck and are part of the pollution to American culture. I don't want to hear about it anymore, and I hope all you other indie bands get the same idea. I think I'd feel kind of weird if I was a grown ass man and my fan base was 16 year-old kids in all black who have these formulaic thoughts of life and being alternative. What happened to individualism? Was American Idiot any influence on Neon Bible/The Suburbs? Similar ideas are on both records, one's just dumbed down more than the other. I feel both bands are using their stardom to spread their thoughtless, unoriginal thoughts of America and the future to their empty fans.

This was written due to people wanting to read bad reviews sometimes from me. I'd go on comparing the 2 bands but I don't want to give them more press that they don't deserve.

Arcade Fire: "The Suburbs"

Arcade Fire: "Month Of May"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bored with the USA

A great icon was just denied access into the US. I can't fucking believe this, one of the best DJs in the world can't obtain a visa into the states to headline a music festival in Detroit called Movement. Ricardo Villalobos hasn't played here since 2002, and might not anytime soon. What the fuck is wrong with this country? Maybe I'm one of the only minimal house kids I know but this guy is still the real deal. (via XLR8R)