What up? Welcome to another edition of “Answers for questions”.You ask it, I answer it. It can be about anything. The weirder the better. If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in, then get on it! Ask me questions! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comment section below. It’s all anonymous so don’t be shy.
Let’s delve into this weeks grab bag.
Recently watched the movie Chef, and one major thing came up in my mind, which is doing what you believe in and what your superiors or powers that be ask you to.
You ever been asked to dj for certain parties, but get a ton of pre-party instructions from the organizer or host to play songs that you aren’t really feeling?
How were you able to deal with the situation, did you play what’s dope to you, find the middle ground, or just completely adhered to these pre-party instructions that go against what you believe.
I’ve never really been that kinda of DJ. To be honest, I’ve never been a DJ at all. I’ve dj’d but , in most of those cases, it was just some low key “for fun” type shit at dive bars. This would generally mean me playing whatever I want (which would typically be old soul music and hip hop) and even that was actually annoying cause , once people get drunk, the requests starts. When the requests start, that’s when the job really starts to be no fun. I wrote about that very topic a while back:http://phatfriend.com/2012/02/01/no-requests/
But as far as being told to play a certain type of music at certain parties, I’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with that shit. Sure, if people are dancing and you want them to continue dancing, you’re going to have to play stuff you might not love. But it shouldn’t be a soul crushing experience. After all, you are getting paid for that job and , let’s be honest, there are many worse ways to earn a wage.
The closest I can recall is this one time I was playing some weird electronic festival in upstate NY and the promoter, who was only vaguely familiar with my music, just asked me to not play anything too “rappy”. This was an issue cause my set is full of “rappy” things as I tend to make instrumental rap music. But , it all worked out in the end (I ended up not playing at all due to poor planning on their part).
question for answer: are you into battle rap at all? i heard drake just challenged murda mook to a battle which is HILARIOUS!
Eh…I’ve seen some funny ones and the dudes are generally pretty good but the whole no beat thing is pretty corny to me. I feel like part of rapping is being on beat and the beatless battle scene has opened the doors for endless guys who probably can’t even write a proper 16 bar verse. I mean, there are dudes like Nocando who are both able to battle and make a good song but, i dunno, a lot of those dudes are limited once you drop a drum a beat or ask them to do anything outside of that realm. It’s really just semi-rhytmic mother jokes told by angry spoken word poets.
That said, some of those dudes are extremely clever and have some really great lines. As a dude who used to rap and write “battle raps” (in the early 90’s sense of the phrase), I will always appreciate that angle of it. To be creative within that spectrum is not easy, considering everything has been said by now.
The other night my buddy who is getting married had his “bachelor” party at a Feed Me concert. While he was good and has a following. Something kept coming to my mind. His set up is ridiculous. While it’s cool and all, I feel it’s over the top, on one hand is part of the “spectacle”, Speaking of spectacle I was almost hugged by this rave baby in fur boots but ill tell you that story another time. On the other hand I feel its part of his overcompensation. His set is not that great, its only a “party time” sound. It’s not much of something you listen to while at home chilling. That being said and I am sure you got insight, how do you feel about the spectacle of a show? when is it good and where is that line of over the top?
I think we live in a funny time for live music. Due to the abundance of electronic acts, there’s simply a lot of studio music that is now being “performed” live. I’m no different. It’s all stuff that’s made in a very particular way that now has to somehow be transferred onto a stage. Some people do this by bringing as many machines and gadgets as possible on stage with them. Some opt for just focusing on the visual aspect of the show and cover the stage in screens and LED lights. In both cases, it’s just a whole lot of extra. Now, I 100% get that this is something that needs to be done cause, really, selling a laptop or dj set as a live show experience is tough. I’m older and I clearly remember a time when a dude standing on a stage with a laptop would have been laughed off that stage. Now it’s so normal, no one even questions it. Let me also clarify, I’m part of this. I Do laptop shows. So, I’m in no way pointing fingers here. It’s simply where live music is right now. As much as I’m not into it as a fan (To be honest, I’m over seeing live music in general) I definitely am glad we’ve arrived here , from an artists perspective. Not only does it allow people like me to go and play my music for people but it also pays my bills!
As for the whole “Party time” sound, I think that’s kinda what artists have to do, when approaching live performance. When I started doing laptop sets, I had all sorts of down tempo shit in my set. You know what? It bored the shit out of the crowd and killed the vibe in the room. After those first few tours, I opted to try to find a way to kick up the energy in my set without making my music something it’s not. That means raising the bpm’s a little. That means approaching some more moody and slow songs in a lighter, more fun kinda way. To me, it’s all about finding that middle ground. Some artists go way further with that and make their entire live set something completely different than their recorded music. Really, whatever works. I’ve had people be bummed about my live set not being “More chill” but that’s simply not the vibe of live music. Energy is everything. The idea is to somehow harness that energy in a way that still reflects your recorded music.
I’d also like to add that my new album “Bells and whistles” is partially named around this very topic. Cause really, as electronic artists, sometimes that’s all we got.
Do you have a fave bodega? What classifies as a “great” bodega and what classifies as a “terrible” one?
To people who may live outside of the east coast, a bodega is basically a corner store. They sell all your low level shopping needs, they make sandwiches and are typically run my arabs, koreans or puerto ricans/dominicans. The worse the neighborhood, the cheaper and more authentic they are. If fact, you can often gauge the level of gentrification in a neighborhood by the prices and the level of potato chips at a bodega. They got kale chips? That hood is long gone and you probably can’t afford to live there. If the only cakes they have are little debbie off shoots? Clutch that purse tight cause you’re in the hood.
Anyway,I don’t have a specific favorite Bodega currently. The one on my corner is bullshit and total rip off. Also, the people who run it are dickheads. When I was growing up there was one around the corner from my house that was excellent. They made great sandwiches, they were friendly and they sold me 40’s when I was 15 years old. Good guys. I still drop by that place when I’m in the area and it’s exactly the same now as it was 20 years ago. That’s a rare feat in NYC nowadays. They do have kale chips though. Like 10 varieties.
- Where do you look for samples for the music you make? Own record collection, dollar bins, random purchases, e-digging,… Or do you know beforehand what you want to do and don’t really have to look, like stuff a relative or friend listened to and you thought “Hmm that might work”.
- Depending on that last question: have you ever come across a record or song that was so good you couldn’t sample it, which was it?
Nowadays, I strictly dig online. I’ve given up on records cause 1)The ones I’d want to sample are too rare and expensive. I refuse to pay crazy amounts of money for some greedy record collector who decides how much his records are worth depending on how badly you want them. 2)All the spots near me have been thoroughly ripped. It’s NYC, everyone makes beats and the record stores show that.
So, what I do is I go to various music blogs that give away rare albums and I download them. The quality it typically pretty good and the variety of stuff I find is insane. And it’s free. That’s huge. Sounds cheap but once you realize that the artists you’re sampling wouldn’t be getting a cut no matter how you found the music, it lessens the guilt greatly.
So, yeah, I just go on binges and download tons of random albums. Then I slowly sift through them and save the songs I think I can do something with. I even organize them by instrument in an itunes folder so, when it’s time to make a beat and I need a guitar sound, I can locate it immediately and pick between tons of different possible samples.
As for the last question, I avoid sampling any song I would actually listen to in real life. So, with that in mind, there are endless soul songs I’ve passed over simply cause I didn’t want to ruin them for myself, as songs I enjoy. Those songs, however, I do often sample for my live set.
What is your 2nd least favorite animal (after cats, of course) and why
Rats. I hate rats. I’m scared of them. They’re gross. They’re everywhere. They also have no fear of human beings. I think that’s the most unsettling aspect to them. They will waddle right by you and not even flinch. Fuck rats. I think I actually like cats more than rats. The only advantage rats have on cats is that I’m not allergic to rats. God…I fucking hate rats.