I’m pleased to share that Project E.A.R.’s new album “Revolution” is finally available for sale.
I’m really proud of the records I produced and co-wrote on the album— “I Don’t Care,” “Chasing Rainbows” and “Can’t Get Enough,” respectively— and I wish the band nothing but success with this album.
For me, personally, I’m excited that people will get to hear something that I (and everyone else involved) worked on really hard to get right. These songs really took shape over a year ago. Let me explain.
Back in the middle of January 2012, I was on BBM with my friend Yaniz in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Yaniz manages a handful of artists and DJs there and is essentially just one of those people who makes shit happen in Southeast Asia. She tells me that the band she manages, Project E.A.R.— a super group of sorts, made up of members of a handful of band members from different countries in Southeast Asia— is getting ready to work on their album and is looking for beats for it.
Beats? Well, I always have those. So I sent a few over, and literally within hours I’d heard back from her saying that they wanted to purchase two of the tracks I sent. I love selling beats soooo, yeah, exciting !
The story would have typically ended there, as I’ve sold beats to international artists before. And while we might have connected eventually as I traveled through their respective countries, and vice versa— as I’ve done with artist artists I’ve worked with in that capacity— we’d probably never actually work on the songs together in the same room. And I kind of hate that.
In the midst of BBM convo, Yaniz told me that the band members would be flying in from their individual countries and convening in Bali, Indonesia, to record the project. They were renting a surf villa in Oluwatu for a week, and would be building a studio inside, where they would make the record.
To be honest, Bali was not somewhere I was planning to go. I know Bali has this allure to it, especially since “Eat Pray Love” was shot there and all that, but to me it just wasn’t on my radar like that.
“You should go!” Yaniz said to me in a BBM message. “It’s Bali!”
I mulled it over for a few minutes, thought about working more hands-on with the band and how that might lend itself to making better music— especially considering that these beats I’d sent were largely just skeletons— thenlooked at my schedule, decided that some of the stuff could stand to get canceled and made a rather impulsive decision. Fuck it, I’m going to Bali. Two weeks later I was on a 24-hour flight to the other side of the world by myself, having never met the people I was going to work with and the lofty goals of making some great records.
Upon meeting the band members— Moots (Malaysia), Dandee (Thailand), J.D. (Malaysia), A.J. (Malaysia) and Jamir (Philippines)— I could tell right away that we would make some good tunes. There’s just a vibe you get from certain people, where they’re very genuine and sincere. The fact that I’d traveled so far, it wasn’t lost on them. That type of energy goes a long way when you’re being creative. On occasion I’ve worked with people who aren’t so open and down to just try things out, and I’ve found that it’s often lead to poor results. I don’t know how anyone can work in a creative field these days and not be down to just do whatever. We have all these tools to produce amazing things, have unlimited computer power and space. It’s the perfect canvas to just throw things at the wall, see what sticks. What do you have to lose?
But I digress. The Project E.A.R. guys were not like that at all. If I had a suggestion, they’d at least give it a shot, see how it sounded. If collectively the consensus was that it was wack, we’d delete it. They let me produce their vocals, help them with lyrics and adjust their flows to sound more palatable for an American audience. It was a collaborative effort.
So anyway, over the course of a week we worked on the three songs I produced, and they also cut a few other songs from the album as well. I wasn’t as intimately involved in those tracks, if for no other reason than because I was so jetlagged. I would literally wake up in the morning there and we’d have a communal breakfast type thing— the people at the villa cook for you— and then we’d just jump right into working.
There really wasn’t much down time. By the early evening, following dinner, I’d be so tired. I would just retire to my room in the villa and pass out. Because of that I’d usually wake up early, too. And then I’d just lay on the couch with the door open, listening to wind blow and the waves crash outside. It was among the more peaceful experiences I’ve had in my life.
One day I walked down from the villa and went for a swim in the Indian Ocean. The water was warm and the corral was rough. I was by myself and surrounded by Australian surfers who were just there to catch a wave. I waded in the water and looked at the sky. I thought to myself that it was altogether incredible that some musical ideas that I thought up one cold and lonely night in my Staten Island apartment brought me all the way to where I was. That’s pretty cool.
“I Don’t Care” features Dave Kennedy of Angels and Airwaves, and is an ode to arena rock, complete with a scream and shout-style chorus that I think you will hopefully have stuck in your head after you hear it.
“Can’t Get Enough” is a keyboard-driven pop rock song, a love letter to that one thing each respective member can’t live without. My favorite part of the song is probably the Nile Rodgers-style disco guitar on the song’s chorus. That, I can’t get enough of.
And there’s another song, “Chasing Rainbows,” which isn’t available yet on Soundcloud. When they make it available I’ll be sure to post it.
But anyway hit me up, let me know what you think.
Previously, I wrote about the German-language version of Joy Denalane’s “Maureen” LP, which had been released last year. The English version of the album is available on iTunes and Amazon today. I produced the song “You Are Not The Only One” on it. I think it’s a pretty great song, even if I am a tad biased lol. But yeah, if you’re into soul music you should enjoy it. Links are below where you can directly purchase it.
Okayplayer‘s been running some promo and here’s a little interview she did talking about the album.
Been meaning to upload this for some time. This is a song (“Du Allein”) I produced on Joy Denalane’s 2011 German-language LP Maureen, which dropped in the Spring. Honestly the song and album release fell of my radar for a bit, because the whole process of working on it goes back quite a while.
I actually made this beat some time in 2006. I had previously produced “For The Love” on Joy’s 2006 LP Born & Raised, and was still making a lot of tracks in that same vein. Except at this point I was looking to scale back the hip-hop vibe— particularly the drums— and make tracks that were more palatable for a vocalist to sing on.
In around March or April of 2007 (memory is hazy), I was working as the Technology Editor at Scratch magazine when I found myself on a plane to Frankfurt Germany for the annual Musikmesse convention with the mag’s Ad Director Geoff Martin. It just so happened that Joy had a show in Frankfurt one of the nights that we were going to be in town. Odd coincidence. So I rolled to the show solo that night, popped up outside the venue to Joy’s surprise and watched the show. It was great to hear “For The Love” played by a live band again (I’d heard it just one time previously, when she did her big New York showcase at the Canal Room a year prior). Backstage, I told her I had this one beat that I’d made that was perfect for her. I emailed it to her when I got back to my hotel. Then I didn’t hear anything back for a really long time.
In January or so of 2009, an email hit my inbox from Joy’s manager saying that she’d recorded to the beat and that they wanted to use it on her new album, which she was still working on. We did our due diligence on the business side and everything was ready to go. Except I’d still not heard the song. Then, in June of 2009, she played the completed version of the tune for me in Downtown Studios, in New York. At this point, the song was in English and sounded fucking amazing. I’m thinking, okay, the album should be out soon. But then it just… wasn’t. I really had no idea what was going on with the tune. Eventually I caught wind that she was going to be releasing two versions of the album, one in English and one in German. I happen to have the English-language version of the song sitting on my hard drive, but ya’know, whenever they’re ready. Anyway, the album release just sort of slid by me, cause I’m doing a million and one things and pretty irresponsible like that lol.
In all though, I’m happy the song and album was finally released. I haven’t made that many tracks like this in a while— the demand is low, and every time someone wants to buy one I get slaughtered on publishing with respect to sample clearances— but it brings back a lot of memories for me. Like, I actually remember finding the sample, how I made the beat, how there were two or three different versions with different drums, what it sounded like before all the instrument parts were replayed, etc. It was definitely one of those beats I listened to a whole lot. I really remember what I was trying to do musically at that point. It was a moment in time.
And just to hear another language over it is crazy to me. Maybe that’s a small thing to someone else, but to me it’s cool as shit. I remember around my birthday— maybe it was this year, maybe last year, can’t really recall— I was having a rare conversation with a friend of mine from Staten Island. Somebody who I produced records for in my late teens, early 20s, part of a group I funded and subsequently released thru my own indie production company back when I didn’t really even know what I was doing. Anyway, we were talking and as I often do, I was questioning who I am and what I’ve done in this world. It’s hard not to do that as you turn a year older.
“Dude, didn’t you produce some music for some artist in another country who’s like the biggest thing in the world out there?” he asks me.
“Well, yeah,” I replied, matter-of-factly.
“Out here (Staten Island) people can’t even produce music for someone on their own block, let alone someone who’s actually known in another country,” he said.
“I guess you’re right,” I ceded. “Sometimes I feel like I exist in a space removed from all of that, where it’s almost expected to do those things, though. Ya’know, this has been beyond hobby status for me for some time.”
And then our conversation continued along the lines of that, running down a list of things I’d done and so on. I guess it was kind of cool. Occasionally you get lost in the translation of everything that is going on, and you don’t pause to consider the magnitude of stuff. Like, real shit, I have producer friends in Germany who think it’s a big deal to work with people in their country that even they can’t. Me personally, I just don’t even think about it like that. It’s just something else to do. However, it’s always fascinated me whenever I’ve been involved with anything international. There’s just something about knowing that I was sitting in the garage in my dad’s house making this beat and then it winds up being super personal for an artist, and consequently their fans.
Also it’s kind of a reminder of how long certain records take to come out thru proper channels. I mean, seriously, the process of this all started 5 years ago. One song. 5 years! Crazy when you consider how much music comes out every day.
Well, maybe it won’t mean that much to you— heck, doubt anyone outside of German-speaking folks can understand it— but enjoy.
Theo Martins goes from Providence, Rhode Island to the crossroads of the world, Times Square, in less than a year. You should probably not miss this one.
Theo Martins’ “Channel Surfin” mixtape was a success last month. Tons of linkage online, plenty of people aware of its release, folks sharing it. I couldn’t be happier (unless a big pile of money fell out of the sky, but that’s a whole nother story). It was the perfect lead-in to SXSW, where Theo rocked shows solo and with UNI, Pac Div and a bunch of others. Timing really is everything, and hey, that was pretty strategic!
Theo recently partnered with DJBooth.net, and the site will release his long-awaited EP “You Can’t Do That On Television” this month. The project is a collaboration with upcoming Ohio-based producer $port, and the name takes its cue from the Canadian sketch comedy television program, which eventually became a Nickelodeon staple in the early 90s. The sound is futuristic, but inspired by that era. The first leak song from the EP is “Kirby’s Airwalk.”
Spotted over at my former colleague and good friend Bfred’s blog, the definitive Gorgio Moroder collection. The fact that he compiled and uploaded this right now is rather convenient, considering I’m in the middle of reading And Party Every Day, a new book about Casablanca Records, who Moroder recorded and produced artists for.
It’s hard to imagine a time when synthesizers didn’t dominate popular music, but in the early 1970s, anything beyond acoustic was a pretty avant-garde act. Producer/singer/songwriter Giorgio Moroder was at the forefront of making electro go pop, through his innovative work in disco, pop, and film scores.
Raised in a German-speaking part of Northern Italy, Giorgio made his career in Germany’s music scene in the late ’60s when krautrock artists had started sprinkling synths into their traditional rock formulas. In 1976, he hit it big with Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby,” a funky, orgasmic club anthem that turned the unknown singer into the definitive artist of the disco era. A year later, Summer, Giorgio and longtime partner Pete Bellotte released “I Feel Love,” a hard-hitting electronic disco record that is often credited as the missing link between acoustic disco and modern house music. Other German electro artists like Kraftwerk might have been more musically radical, but Giorgio brought the synthetic revolution to the dance clubs and pop radio before anyone else. He would go on to compose a string of hugely successful soundtracks, from 1978’s Midnight Express to 1983’s Scarface, phasing out classical-style scores in favor of futuristic sounds that would dominate the ’80s. I collected over 25 of my favorite Giorgio songs for the latest Uggh…Nice Watch compilation…
THE GIORGIO MORODER COLLECTION:
1. Giorgio “Tears” (1972)
2. Donna Summer “Working The Midnight Shift” (1977)
3. Giorgio Moroder “Chase” (1978)
4. Janet Jackson “If It Takes All Night” (1984)
5. Giorgio Moroder “Tony’s Theme” (1983)
6. Blondie “Call Me” (1980)
7. Donna Summer “I Feel Love” (1977)
8. Giorgio Moroder “E=MC2” (1979)
9. Freddie Mercury “Love Kills” (1984)
10. Munich Machine “It’s For You” (1978)
11. Donna Summer “On The Radio” (1979)
12. Giorgio Moroder “Theme From Midnight Express” (1978)
13. Roberta Kelly “Trouble Maker” (1976)
14. Donna Summer “Hot Stuff” (1979)
15. Giorgio Moroder “Evolution” (1978)
16. Donna Summer “Dim All The Lights” (1979)
17. Berlin “Take My Breath Away” (1986)
18. Donna Summer “Love’s Unkind” (1977)
19. Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder “Together in Electric Dreams” (1985)
20. Limahl “The NeverEnding Story” (1984)
21. Giorgio Moroder “From Here To Eternity” (1977)
22. Paul Engemann “Scarface (Push It to the Limit)” (1983)
23. Donna Summer “Love to Love You Baby” (1975)
24. Irene Cara “Flashdance…What A Feeling” (1983)
25. Pat Benatar “Here’s My Heart (Classical Reprise)” (1984)
26. Giorgio “Son Of My Father” (1972)
DOWNLOAD: [ usershare | mediafire ]
Shalom! Just in time for Purim, the first ever twitter trending topic-inspired mixtape is finally here- “The #Jewishrapnames Mixtape- Kings of Schlock”
Presented by hip-hop journalist Paul Cantor, urban culture photo blog UpNorthTrips.com and mixed by The Smoking Section‘s own Trackstar The DJ, Kings of Schlock is a humorous tongue in cheek take on Judaism’s role in hip-hop music.
“Once you get past the glitz and glamor, everybody in hip-hop wishes they were a little bit Jewish,” says Paul Cantor. “It behooves you to be a stand-up guy in rap, a mensch. Still, times are tough in the record business, and it pays to be tight with your money, a miser. So there’s a bunch of different Jewish characteristics or stereotypes, which we’re actually poking fun at, that lend themselves to thriving in the rap game.”
Guest starring HOT97 morning show radio personality Peter Rosenberg, hip-hop sketch comedy duo It’s The Real, and the OR (original Rabbi) Mike Moskoff, the project was inspired by a random twitter hashtag phenomenon that occurred last weekend (2/19-2/21), which saw the 140 character micro-blogging service turn into a #jewishrapnames free-for-all. Everyone from Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg to tastemaking DJ A-Trak to Samantha Ronson was in on the act. www.Jewishrapnames.com was launched instantly. A top #jewishrapname list was compiled by Paul Rosenberg and can be accessed at his site www.PaulRosenblog.com
“What we did was basically curate the top #jewishrapnames, the ones that tweeters kept repeating, and compiled them on one long-playing mix,” says Cantor. “The mixtape name and artwork is a play on Run DMC’s classic ‘King Of Rock’ LP cover, and then we added some skits to sort of create this Jewish rap narrative. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s all in good fun. Definitely for comedic purposes first and foremost.”
Kings of Schlock is the first of many proposed Jewish hip-hop-inspired projects. A second volume, featuring more original content, is already in the works.
Dr Demento- Hebrew Rap
Meshugah Hill Gang- Rabbi’s Delight
Sephardic-Cyde- Passover Me By
Beastie Boys- Passover the Mic
Yiddish Ebonics Interlude
Brand Jewbian- Schlep to the Rear
Jew Tang Clan- Shame on a Meshugganah
Souls of Mitzvah- 93 til Yontifinity
Main Schwartz/Nasty Nashkenazi- Live at the Bar Mitzvah
Biggie Schmaltz- Jewcy
Dr Dreidel- Nothin but a Jew Thing
Old Dirty Mamzer- Shimmy Shimmy Yahweh
Craig Maccabbe- Flava In Yahrzeit
Jerusalem The Damaja- Brooklyn Tuchus
Method Manischevitz/Mary Jew Blige- I’ll Be There for Jew
Queen Haifa- JEW.N.I.T.Y
The Lox feat Lil Yom Kimpur- Gelt Power & Respect
2 Live Jews- Oy It’s So Humid
Hasheminem aka Slim Zadie- I Just Don’t Give a Schmuck Lauryn Hillel- To Zion
Artwork by Mark Malazarte
Theo Martins “Veni Vidi Vici” has been officially tapped to appear in the Jerry Bruckheimer-helmed show The Forgotten, which airs on ABC Tuesday nights at 10pm, after everyone’s favorite show in the entire universe, Lost. “Veni Vidi Vici” will appear in next week’s episode. Please tune in!
Additionally, Theo will be performing on a bill at Haverford college in Pennsylvania with Guilty Simpson next week, February 12th. If you’re in the area, stop by and give us a shout.
“Veni Vidi Vici”
Alternate download link: http://www.mediafire.com/?yozztbxwnal
About Theo- The 23-year old hails from Providence, Rhode Island and in 2008 dropped a highly acclaimed mixtape project called The Birth ( download HERE). In the fall of 2009 he toured the nation as a DJ/performer with U-N-I and Kidz in The Hall on the Warren G tour. He also finalized a deal with Hall of Justus to release You Can’t Do That On Television, a collaborative project with upcoming Ohio-bred producer $port, due out in March of this year. “Channel Surfin” with DJ Wreckonize drops this month. Additionally, Theo has upcoming fashion collaborations with Street Etiquette, J. Elquist, The Madbury Club (Award Tour), AnmlHse Clothing, and Minoru Blvd, among others.
Last week I was on twitter when someone with the handle Sweatshirt replied to something I’d tweeted about bitter people fucking the music industry up. I kinda just glanced at the twitter page and thought the name Shirt sounded familiar. I asked him if he was the kid who made a mixtape with all these rock samples and he replied that he was. The mixtape was called Unsigned In New York (DOWNLOAD). I remember the mixtape because it had to be something like 2005, and he was rapping over all these Nirvana samples and whatnot, and at the time, nobody was doing that (or at least nobody on my radar). They weren’t complete flips of the samples, more like reworkings of the songs so that he could rap over them. I thought back then that he had a good flow, solid voice and was doing something forward thinking. It was rap rock, but over classic shit.
So I sent him this beat that I’d originally made a year ago with The Knux in mind for, and I actually told Krispy Kream that I was going to send it to him when I saw him at the Knux Redbull secret show in January, but just never got around to it. T-Shirt jumped right on it and sent it back to me the next day. He didn’t flip it into a song, more just like a two minute verse, a freestyle. I came away rather impressed by it. His voice and flow just sounds right on these types of tracks. He took it upon himself to send it to some blogs, with the following message attached
Famed writer, Hip-Hop journalist and producer Paul Cantor and I had an ill conversation last night. Turns out my man Ayes gave him my first mixtape 6 years ago in Staten Island and he went crazy. He told me it was “wayyyy ahead of it’s time”, and was “one of his favorite mixtapes in years”, you know, back when mixtapes meant something. This was so ill to me. Paul Cantor is like the real deal as far as industry guys go. He sent me over some music reminiscent of these big rock remixes I used to do. I’d rap on anything man, it’s so fucking fun to me. Anyway, the joint he sent over was from that era of music I was doing and at first I was a little taken back haha. It’s not what I do anymore ! I slept for about an hour, woke up this morning, and wrote and recorded this just to show ole Paulie what the fuck I’m still doing over here haha.
Flattering to say the least. So without further ado, here’s the Paul Cantor freestyle.