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Tuesday
Mar212017

The rise of soul singer Zoe K

Rising Melbourne-based soul singer Zoe K is an independent artist renown for her non-traditional interpretation of soul, blues and jazz. 

Her deliciously smooth sultry new single ‘Put It Down’ features Mister Goldfinger. Mister Goldfinger aka Ray Angry. Angry has worked with the best in jazz, R&B, and hip-hop and regularly plays on Jimmy Fallon with The Roots. 

We chat to Zoe K ahead of her album launch about working with Mister Goldfinger, what we can expect from her album, and how she worked multiple jobs to record her album in New Orleans. 

You just dropped a new track, is this an intro of what is to come?

The whole album is diverse in the mix of jazz, soul and blues. With the album being recorded in both Melbourne, Newcastle and then New Orleans, it features a lot of musicians who can bring their own personalities to the album. I chose 'Put It Down' because as the first track to the album it sets a good narrative to the rest of the album, which is mainly me singing about myself haha!

How did you and Mister Goldfinger and you link up? What was he like to work with?

I met Mister Goldfinger aka Ray Angry at the Tuesday night jazz jam at Zinc Bar in New York. When I first met him, I didn't realise how much music credentials he has behind him. I guess that is one of the great qualities he has, he is very humble. After I recorded and got my first mix back I showed him and he said that he wanted to add something to the song, so I acted all coy and said "Yeah that would be dope" but inside I was trying to keep it all together because it was a pretty big compliment that he even dug my song.  

Who is your favourite female vocalists?

Oh this is hard. I love all the greats such as Etta James, Sarah Vaughn, Ella, Billie, Chaka Khan, Bessie Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Emily King,  Melody Gardot and Eva Cassidy. I could literally keep on going. 

Who influences you?

First and foremost, my mum. She is beacon for everything that I'm ever unsure of doing. I am very lucky to have her. As much as I am to have a posse of strong, creative and talented female energy in my friendship circle. We always bring each other up. In terms of music, I would have to say the music community that I have experienced in Newcastle, Melbourne and New Orleans. Going to shows and hearing other musicians who are also grinding away to get their music out there.  

What was your favourite thing about New Orleans? 

There are too many! Obviously the music is a big factor, but I love the culture of New Orleans. Culture in the way of the food, music, expression and most importantly, the people who make New Orleans. 

Why did you decide to record your album there? 

I had visited New Orleans as part of this 'music nerd' trip I created. I basically wanted to visit all of the music cities where my favourite music artists came from. New Orleans being the birth place of jazz, I found it appropriate to end my trio there. It was New Orleans that I fell the most in love with. It wasn't until I was back in Australia that I met Mike Bass, who plays bass with Trombone Shorty that I told him how much I loved it there and that I was saving to come back. It was Mike who suggested that I should finish recording my album there, and as an independent artist it meant that I worked 3 jobs and made it happen. I put together my own band, I used the internet as a source of finding the right drummer which is where I saw Terrence Houston who is an absolute machine. It all came together, but like anything, it took a lot of hard work.

What can we expect from your new album?

Well, at one moment you can be expect me to be singing about my hard ships in the love life department and then the next I'll be singing a song I wrote for the ladies. I was actually nervous about this song, the song is called 'Walls (For The Ladies)' and it was written after the frustrations of a females role in the bedroom. It just seemed that any time I heard women singing about sex it was usually in rap music or there had to be a comedic value in it. My friends always are staying with losers because they say that the ‘sex is too good’ so I started asking them ‘Well did you think it was good because you might have contributed to it?’ With all do respect, sometimes we give men too much credit in the bedroom and this song was written for the ladies to own it. So I guess a mix of 'oh woe is me' combined with 'oh no you didn’t.' 

What stimulates your soul?

Adventure, Music, People and my mothers cooking. 


ZOE K ALBUM LAUNCH TOUR DATES

SAT 15TH APRIL // Spotted Mallard // Melbourne

FRI 5TH MAY // Lazy Bones Lounge // Sydney 

SAT 6TH MAY // Small Ballroom // Newcastle 

Links

Official Website

Facebook

Youtube

Tickets via Moshtix

Soundcloud

Sunday
Feb052017

Getting to know US R&B singer Gabriel Clarke 

We're always down for panty dropping music, especially when it's comes accompanied by old school beats. Emerging US R&B singer Gabriel Clarke first caught our musical tastebuds when we heard her on Soundcloud. Haling from Washington, the R&B songstress creates riffs in her vocals so raw you almost feel naughty listening to them. She just recently released a killer of a track called Fiona’s song which is a cover of Criminal by Fiona Apple. Whilst Gabriel is relatively new to the scene, she’s definitely our pick for the one to watch this year. 

We chat to Gabriel about how her musical journey started, she gives us a hint of when her next release will be and why she decided to change her name. Margaret Tra writes.  

How did your musical journey start? 

My musical journey started with my Grandma teaching me all the songs to the sound of music. But I started seriously pursuing music as more than a hobby about 2 years ago.

Why the name change? 

I decided that since I’m gonna be 22 this year I wanna transition into more of a grown woman type of artist and I feel as though using my actual name that my parents gave me is a good step towards the authentic direction I’m going for.

You've released Fiona's song, can you tell us about that? 

It’s a cover of Criminal by Fiona Apple, who is an artist I really like. I knew I wanted to cover the song when my friend/fellow producer found the beat I heard it and I just went right through it. 

What's next for you? 

I’m dropping a new project in February so I’m pretty excited. I’m definitely going to be doing more shows as well. 

What's one thing you wish people knew about you?

Just like everybody else on the planet I am very complicated and unique. 

I have a lot of different experiences and I think that’s why I’m able to make music that a lot of people can relate to. 

What's song is on repeat on your phone at the moment?

The Bird by Anderson Paak 

What stimulates your soul?  

What stimulates my soul is love. The love for my family, my friends, my life and my music. 

Follow her on her Facebook.

Wednesday
Jan112017

The evolution of DJing with DJ Z-Trip 

 

International world-star DJ Z-Trip is considered to be one of the best live performance DJs in history. He's infamous for being dubbed as the Rick Rubin of the DJ world with his roots based in hip hop.

Z-Trip is set to hit Australian shores and we catch up with him to chat about the changes of DJing, how working with LL Cool J is one of his career highlights, and his recent move working on silent film projects.  

You're set to play a couple of shows in Sydney and Melbourne next year. What can audiences expect from your live performance?

Each show on this tour is different. I'm leaving a lot of room open for improvisation this time. Depending on where the crowd wants to go each night, I'll take us there. 

You've worked and collaborated with so many hip hop legends over the years. Tell us about one of the most pinnacle moments in your career so far. 

There are a lot to consider, but I would have to say linking up with LL Cool J is something I wouldn't have believed if you told a sixteen year old me. Working with him has been incredible. I'm still blown away that I was able to put together a supergroup and close out the Grammys with him, Chuck D, Tom Morello and Travis Barker. There is still so much more I think we'll achieve though, we've only scratched the surface. When we're on stage, it's a thing. It's powerful.

How did DJing and producing begin for you?

It all started from collecting records. I was always searching for the extended twelve inch records which had different versions on them, instrumentals, acapellas, etc. The way songs were put together always intrigued me. Friends knew I had a huge collection, so they would always ask me to bring my records to their parties. DJing kind of found me actually. But once I started manipulating these sounds, blending records, etc, it all became clear to me. I had to do this on a bigger scale. I bought a sampler and started making my own stuff. The parties got bigger, mix tapes turned into making actual records, I never planned on any of it. It was, and is, always about the music and sharing what I hear in my head with those who want to listen. 

How do you think DJing has changed since you first started?

It's way more accessible now. Before you used to have to really dig for the records you wanted to play. You had to find the right equipment, learn how to use it with no help, it was a struggle. Now anybody can get the materials, hop online and get the help they need and I think that's amazing. The only downside to that is with so many people doing it, the skill level is a little off. You still have to spend the hours working on your craft to become good at it before you present it to the people. There are a lot of DJs who get really good at the home alone portion, but have no clue how to perform, a lot of them just jump out there and do it anyway. It's getting better, but there was a time when all these new DJs started popping up. Nothing is worse than watching and hearing someone learning how to do it in front of a crowd because a song they produced in the studio blew up and now there is a demand to "see" that person live. Some can pull it off, but many can't. When you jump from one to the other too fast, it shows. Some crowds might not notice as much, but those who do know what I'm talking about. I'm all for people learning and practicing, but when that sort of thing becomes the norm, it sets a bad example. The skill level, the art form, they drop a bit. 

Tell us about the development of the Rane 62Z. 

Rane approached me after they made the TTM 57 and asked me what I would have done different. I gave them a ton of feedback and we started worked on making a new mixer that had those features. Other DJs also weighed in on it once we got it to a prototype stage. It took a couple years, but it happened. I have to say, there's nothing like pulling a mixer you helped design out of the box and jumping on that thing for the first time. I'm really proud of it. It still holds up strong against all the new stuff that came out after it.

Any new projects you're working on? 

I've been working on these silent film projects where I score the film and perform alongside of it live. It's amazing. I've done it a couple times at Tribeca Film Festival and AFI film fest. It's a completely different approach and execution to anything I've ever done, but I love it. I'm hoping to bring it out here soon.

What stimulates your soul?

Music!


Links

Laundry Bar

Factory Theatre

Melbourne FB Event

Sydney FB Event

DJ Z-Trip Website

Monday
Dec192016

An Audio Journey with London MC Ember Phoenix

Off the back of his impressive 2015 release ‘The Cold City,’ multi-talented London rapper slash singer Ember Phoenix is continuing to make waves with his new single ‘Jodeci.’ The track, produced by ‘Beat Beast’ (the man behind Jidenna’s classic man and many other hits) invokes a mid 90’s R&B sound true to the track’s title. 

We chat to Ember Phoenix about his background in music, what it as like working with ‘Beat Beast’ and upcoming projects, Victor McMillan writes.

How do you think growing up in West London has shaped you as a person?

I'm originally from North West London, I was 16/17 when I moved to West London. It was around the time of the "post code wars" which I was oblivious to at the time because I had been quite shut off till then.  I found out quickly believe you me.

Did you always consider yourself both a rapper and a singer or did one precede the other?

I began singing in Church when I was very young maybe 4 or 5.  I started MC'ing around the time of Oxide and Neutrino and So Solid.  I only really got into rapping much later on around the time of S.A.S. And Sway who were major influences for me to transition from Grime to Hip Hop.

Your new single Jodeci references the legendary 90’s R&B group of the same name, was the mid 90’s your favourite era of R&B music?

I wouldn't say my favourite. That's a hard choice because every era has it's greats... Jodeci was definitely a stand out group to me though.

The executive producer of your 2015 release ‘The Cold City’ was Beat Beast, the producer behind Jidenna’s ‘Classic Man’, when did you first start working with him and what is it about his production that you are drawn to? 

I think we were introduced by mutual friend and producer Nyce in 2015 officially.  I had worked with him via email up until that point.  When we're in studio we just click, he respects my artistry and I respect his.  His chord progressions are some of the dopest in the game!

You recently revealed that you and Beast are set to release a joint project entitled ‘Levels’, how in your mind, will this project sound in comparison to ‘The Cold City’? 

'The Cold City' was solely my journey this far in life.  'Levels' is Beast and I challenging each other to get the dopest sounding tracks in a project without no set story line.  An audio journey of love and positivity.

What Stimulates Your Soul?

Jesus.

Links:

Twitter: @realember

Instagram: @realember 

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/realember 

Facebook:  realembermusic

Friday
Dec162016

Denver MC Deca’s Top 5 Most Influential Albums

 

Deca is a rapper, producer and visual artist originally from Denver, CO who now resides in New York. His lyrics touch on universal truths that take us on an introspective journey through vividly painted physical and psychological landscapes. Dabbling in the spiritual and ephemeral, he navigates easily through classical literary tropes and mystical parables, presenting an enlightened allegory of our struggles with human existence. 

Following the success of his last album, ‘The Ocean,’ Deca takes us on a new journey in ‘Forest Agates’ which just released this week. We asked Deca his top five most influential albums. Margaret Tra writes.  

1. 

De La Soul - Stakes is High 


This album probably influenced my production more than any of the other music I grew up on. Dave's verses throughout are the reason he's one of my favourites of all time, particularly on "Stakes is High" and "Itsoweezee". The first verse of "Salome" off of my album The Ocean is a tribute and nod to their influence on me. 

It can definitely get a little preachy, but they were just doing what they've done throughout their career which is rail against popular currents and offer an alternative.

Favourite songs: Itsoweezee, Stakes is High and Dog Eat Dog. 

2. 

Nas - It was Written 


Nobody was on Nas's level at that time. I remember I was on my porch with my friend Site, and we were listening to "Beats Rhymes and Life" which had just come out. Then he put on It Was Written and it probably changed the trajectory of my life. It was a revelation for me. I had never heard anybody sound that good over a beat. I must have listened to "The Message" twenty times in a row. 

 "I Gave You Power" is conceptually one of the greatest songs ever. Doing a song from the perspective of a gun is genius. When I'm reading or listening to music I want to see everything in my head and Nas does that. To me he's the illest of all time.

Favourite songs: The Message, Suspect, Affirmative Action, I gave You Power, Shootouts and If I Ruled The World. 

3. 

Madvillain - Madvillainy

Flawless album. Doom's humour, imagery, and word play was next level and Madlib's production is perfect. There's all these unwritten dogmatic laws about making music and they threw them all out. I heard the leaked version before the album came out and my only qualm is that Doom didn't keep the original recordings of some of the verses. "Wasn't even tweaked and it leaked into cyberspace". 

Favourite songs: Money Folder, Meatgrinder, Figaro, Great Day, Rhinestone Cowboy, Supervillain Theme, All Caps and Accordian.

4.

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders


Midnight Marauders is as close to a perfect album as you can get. First time I heard it I was at an apartment complex above a strip club in downtown Denver called the Bradshaw zooted out of my fragile young mind. I used to skate all day every day and Midnight Marauders was the soundtrack to that whole summer for me. There's not a dud on the entire album. Countless quotables and the production is incredible.

Favourite songs: Electric Relaxation, Sucka Ni**a, Award Tour, Oh My God and God Lives Through.  

5. 

Lyricist Lounge Volume One


So many joints on this. This introduced me to a lot of rappers. Thirstin Howl, Pharoahe Monch, O.C., Ras Kass, Last Emperor, El-P, Wordsworth, Talib, the list goes on. 

Prime's "No Matter" is my favorite track. I was always searching for more from him but as far as I know that's the only thing he ever released.

Favorites songs: CIA, No Matter and Action Guaranteed.

Links:

Website: http://decaonezero.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0Up3H1s9ME6FivFcOz6qte

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DecaMusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DecaMusic 

Bandcamp: https://deca.bandcamp.com/