The Raw Fire Of Ruby Boots Hits SoCal

RUBY BOOTS plays The Wayfarer Apr. 26; photo Stefani Vinsel

RUBY BOOTS plays The Wayfarer Apr. 26; photo Stefani Vinsel

“I started playing guitar when I was working out at sea on a pearl farm,” explains Bex Chilcott, better known as Ruby Boots. A singer songwriter whose world travels and passion towards music have helped her carve out a unique voice in today’s musical landscape. Born in Australia and a nomad of the world since fourteen, her journey from then to her current success has been a long and winding one.

“So, when I first picked up the guitar, it was a means for staying sane and just passing the time cuz I’d be living out at sea for two or three weeks at a time,” she elaborates. “But when I wanted to start doing it professionally after traveling around Europe and the UK for a couple of years…. I had been traveling around playing open mics cuz that was the sort of scene I had fallen into, with some friends who had been doing that, to start playing on a stage.

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

“When I got home to Australia, I started feeling maybe I could do this at home. From there, I was just getting local shows. And essentially the snowball kept getting bigger: Right now, I can do this, now I can record an EP….and from the very beginning to where I am now, it’s all been really incremental which has been nice. The journey has just been really steady.”

Having begun traveling at an early age, she has spent time living and playing all over the world. And how that has affected her music is a complex subject.

“I don’t know if traveling the world has affected my music,” Chilcott ruminates. “It has affected my perspective on life, and maybe that’s why it has affected my music, in terms of how I see things and then write lyrics. Traveling the world from Australia to American to India…. There are all kinds of cultures and just disparities in how people are living. And I feel having that kind of culture shock and that kind of empathy is just really good for any kind of songwriting, and to apply it to any kind of songwriting; that you’re not writing from a single view. Traveling the world hasn’t really affected the sound. But digging into different parts of the world definitely has an effect on things over time sonically.”

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

Currently on tour behind her album Don’t Talk About It, she details the ups and downs of tour life: “It’s very tumultuous. You’re playing Phoenix on a Tuesday night and like “Oh my God, why isn’t anybody at my show?” And then you come to Denver and play to a full house, and everyone’s on fire and it’s a Thursday night. You got the rock-n-roll horns up and you’re on your knees and the microphone is collapsed and you’re screaming into the microphone because it’s the last song. And you’re like, ‘This is what I live for! I can take on the world in this moment’, you know?”

Like most musicians, the live show is a favorite aspect to playing music for the artist. “My favorite aspect of the show is when all the stars align with it,” describes Chilcott. “When audiences are present, and they don’t have to be loud and vocal, just present; you can feel…it’s not tangible, you can feel this energy in the room. When you have this immediate rapport with people who are ready to be with you…it’s so much more attainable to get that feeling of ‘here, have every little piece of me tonight. I’m going to leave every piece of me that I put into the songs’. Because you want to feel something different, aside from standing there and watching a band play. You get to reach that next level, and that’s my favorite part of live shows.”

Catch the fascinating songwriting and surreal sounds of Ruby Boots when she plays The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa on April 26!!

BBB: Back In DTLA!

Photo: Regal D

Photo: Regal D

“I’m really looking forward to this warehouse party,” says Adrian Herrera, one of the many people behind the group known as Big Booty Bass. “We’ve booked a couple people from out of state, something we haven’t done since we booked Flite for BBB last April. So we booked Bebe Breaks from Miami and Relyt from Denver. It’s gonna have two stages and go all night!”

Big Booty Bass event flyer

Big Booty Bass event flyer

BBB has been operating for almost a decade, and in that time has garnered a solid reputation for their diverse artist lineups as well as the unique vibe of their shows. “I’d say its more a kind of movement; its more than just the music, its like family,” explains Herrera. “I feel like when you come to our shows, you get that kind of a vibe, more of a family thing. It’s about the experience.

“I had just moved back from San Diego, and started going to shows,” describes Herrera of the group’s genesis. “Rene Moreno, of Kronology, and I got the idea, ‘Hey, let’s do a show, throw our own show.’ You go to shows all the time and sometimes you get to a point of ‘I wanna do one myself.’ I DJed, and he DJed, and we kinda knew people who DJed, so we started going from there.

Big Booty Bass event flyer lineup

Big Booty Bass event flyer lineup

“Originally, the shows were by Splat Media and Big Booty Bass was the name of the actual show. But as we started getting bigger, the word Big Booty Bass caught on a little more and we started going with that. A lot of time when things don’t go your way, you just quit. But we started in 2010 and just kept going; around 2016 was when we started getting more of like this following. Now, people know it’s a good party and know you will have a good time.”

In addition to his work with BBB, Herrera also DJs under the moniker Ekin. “Everyone is always playing drum and bass, and I’m always the guy that wants to be different,” he says. “So I play more dubstep and grime. What really got me into DJing was when I heard Skreams BBC essential mix from 2007. Just these tunes after tunes spinning and I just thought, ‘Damn, this sounds dope. I gotta try this’. That mix really changed everything.”

It doesn’t stop there either, being quite notorious as the MC Pookie P, who has a loyal and devout following.

Photo: Regal D

Photo: Regal D

“I’ve always been into hip-hop ever since I was little,” explains Herrera. “I was the dude who went to school with a Walkman, always recording stuff on radio, and knew every lyric to every rap song. But it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started performing at BBB shows. At first, I would just do it at small parties or with friends. But then I started doing it at the BBB shows and it just went from there. I started writing lyrics and working on tunes. Nick Kronology and I released a tune about a year and a half ago, and I’m currently working on one with Famburglar for a compilation album coming out in August.”

Photo: Regal D

Photo: Regal D

This dedication and pursuit of diverse interests is a huge part of what makes BBB events so enjoyable. The lineups are always solid, with an inspiring range of genres represented. This upcoming show is no exception. Furious and frenetic, Des Mcmahon, Consouls, Shadowsniper, and Replicant bring their heavy DnB stylings while Gabriel Habit, Zere, and Chief Jesta unleash the hidden potential of the deep and dark side.

Photo: Regal D

Photo: Regal D

The soulful sounds of WHYS should not be missed, nor should the halftimey explorations of no puls or the enigmatic vibes of BeautySchool. MELAY and JK SMILE always bring the best smooth grooves and deep rhythms of House. Bebe Breaks, Mista Maxx, and Ryan Forever will bring us all the creative beat permutations that is Breaks. And make sure to catch the lyrical flow of Pookie P himself throughout the night, along with Jtec, Dino, Landoe, Slim, and Relyt.

You don’t want to miss this BBB show, going down Friday Apr. 12 in DTLA!!

BASS LIFT Descends On Los Angeles

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

BASS LIFT is finally here!! Orchestrated by the people behind CAMP TRIP, this is a highly anticipated event featuring a lineup solely consisting of local artists. Intense light shows, excellent music, and live art all come together to create a night full of festivities.

“BASS LIFT started as a fundraiser for my burning man camp, that I’m still a part of,” explains Devan Marydyks of CAMP TRIP. “It was designed to raise money for an art car. But this idea never came to fruition. The project fell through, and since the BASS LIFT brand was specific to LA, and the camp had done separate fundraisers with separate names…I decided to use the name and essentially adapt it to CAMP TRIP’s needs.

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

“We were looking to do a warehouse party fundraiser for CAMP TRIP. We took the name and we didn’t…. well, it is a good word for it, we recycled it. More tangibly now, it is a fundraiser for the CAMP TRIP event. Its essence is a warehouse party, so it very much caters to the underground scene. There’s a lot of after-hours parties in LA, so it is very LA in a way.”

For those who don’t know, this begs the question: What is CAMP TRIP anyways?

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

“CAMP TRIP started as a literal camp trip, a camping trip,” states Marydyks. “A lot of people think the name is a double entendre…but it’s not. It’s literally named because it was a camp trip among friends. It IS a funny entendre, but it definitely wasn’t intentional.

“So, we went out as a bunch of friends essentially, just had a couple of studio monitors with a handful of people. We just had a good time in the desert, everyone was contributing a little bit in their own way, and it was really memorable. I remember as we were leaving, we all were talking about how we needed to do this again. And it has all just snowballed from there.”

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

Now, it is a full-fledged 3-day event in the desert with fascinating productions and a reputation for curating lineups of highly eclectic artists.

One of the purest distillations of the spontaneity and excitement which surrounds CAMP TRIP is best illustrated in the story of an ice cream truck: “The second time we went out, they ended up bringing this wooden cutout of an ice cream truck that got used as a DJ booth,” reveals Marydyks. “And it ended up being the inspiration for a real ice cream truck I ended up buying. I remember saying I would buy one and no one believed me. But I found this old 1982 used Chevy on Craigslist, which I got for very little money.

Photo: SERVEEZY

Photo: SERVEEZY

“I showed it to everyone, and they just lost their minds. Just couldn’t believe I did it. We used it for a couple different shows. And I’m in the process of turning it into a real food truck now, which is why it hasn’t been at the CAMP TRIP events. It’ll be its own art car when its ready…called Mother’s Milk Truck. It will be a licensed soft serve truck you can DJ out of….so it’s gonna be ‘Frozen Treats and Nutritious Beats’. It’s set to premier at this upcoming BASS LIFT!”

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

There is no doubt that events such as this take a lot of planning and work, but in the end, it is completely worthwhile for Mardyks: “I think my favorite aspect to putting them on is the collaboration. What you get to witness when everyone comes together, has an idea, and actually pulls it off. When we all pull through and come together, when you get to watch all these different moving parts act as one…it’s a great feeling. I think that is one of the most rewarding parts about throwing shows in general.”

Photo: SERVEEZY

Photo: SERVEEZY

It promises to be a massive night, with an incredible lineup of LA’s finest bass music talent: heavy DnB vibes from Kronology, APX1, AIRGLO, Keekz, and Soothslayer; masterful grooves of house/breaks by Shleebs, Hardknocker, Johnny Darko, and a special b2b set from Jufro and Jn9ne; a secret headliner; plus, all the crazy visual art and stage productions the group has become infamous for.

Don’t miss the adventure that is BASS LIFT, taking place March 30th in DTLA.

The Irresistible Draw Of Queensryche

QUEENSRYCHE play Observatory/North Park Mar. 27 and The Fonda Theatre Mar. 28; photo Reuben Martinez

QUEENSRYCHE play Observatory/North Park Mar. 27 and The Fonda Theatre Mar. 28; photo Reuben Martinez

“It’s a great opportunity man,” declares guitarist Michael Wilton of Queensryche. “This is my hobby, it’s awesome having a job that is a hobby.”

Having released a slew of albums throughout their nearly forty years of existence, the band recently released The Verdict, further cementing their legacy as one of the most powerful heavy metal acts of all time.

This is no small feat, as this kind of longevity for a band is a rare commodity. “The uniqueness of the music, just believing in what we want to be, and having the steady communication with our fans. Not fitting into any trend or genre, kind of having a little bit of everything and that’s how we have always been. Just seems to work out that way,” says Wilton on how the band has achieved this.

Michael Wilton of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Michael Wilton of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

“My advice for bands starting out is really take advantage of multimedia, really connect with your fans, and just keep building the communication with the fans. Just tour your asses off and build a following,” suggests Wilton for any struggling bands out there.

His passion for music has always been strong, even choosing it over a potential baseball career in high school.

“It wasn’t hard to choose,” recounts the guitarist. “When you’re in your teens, you know, you don’t know what’s going on in your mind. Wasn’t like I flipped a coin or anything. I went to a Black Sabbath show and saw Van Halen; saw Edward Van Helen open with the song “On Fire” and knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.”

Todd La Torre of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Todd La Torre of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Delving further into his story, he describes how he got his nickname “The Whip”: “When I was in my single digits as a young lad and hanging out with my friends, they said I whipped on the guitar and thus started calling me “Whip” at parties. Everybody caught on and it’s been a nickname for me ever since I was a kid. I kept it out of amusement, you know, it’s a pretty cool nickname.”

Ruminating on the bands’ recent album title, Wilton explains, “It’s the bands’ fifteenth album. The Verdict is kind of a strong statement; and if one looks at the picture on the album, he is a red hooded figure holding the scales of justice. And one realizes it’s a bit out of balance and you see the turbulent scene behind it. It’s kind of our view of the bits and parts of the world that we have seen. So not knowing what the future is gonna tell.

Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche; photo Reuben Martinez

Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche; photo Reuben Martinez

“I like playing all the new stuff, and it’s great to see the fans reactions to both the new and old stuff,” he conveys. “I think anything off The Verdict is my favorite right now cuz it’s so fresh.”

The bread and butter of almost any rock band is the live show, with its visceral energy and communal interactions. “The connection you get from the fans, seeing the joy in their faces. That is a high you can’t do with medicine, you know. It’s a real connection, and that’s what’s great about being in a band; connecting with the fans, getting that live access, and the fans reciprocate. That’s what keeps the whole thing rolling,” describes Wilton. “Whether it’s a hundred people or a thousand people, you give the same intense show.

Eddie Jackson of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Eddie Jackson of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

“I think it’s gotten to a point where bands like ours tour so much, and that aspect of playing live starts to infiltrate the creative process,” Wilton points out regarding the live energy to the studio environment.

“The intensity found its way onto the music on The Verdict. And when you’re on the road all the time, ideas come up and you just put them into your computer, document them, and just keep them organized. When it comes time to record, you pull them out and we all start working on them as a band. It’s something I’ve been doing over 35 years, and it works the same way on each album.”

Parker Lundgren of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Parker Lundgren of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Speaking about coming to LA, he states: “It’s always fun to play in the LA area. Because obviously you have seen everything over and over and over again. Nothing is ever new in LA, but it’s just a good strong base. The fans are very respective of our heritage and legacy, and the support is just amazing. We get the hardcore fans, the new fans, the young fans, we get all ages.

“LA has been the springboard for so many fans; even though we are from Seattle, it’s always great to play LA. And I love playing the Wiltern, cuz it’s so close to my last name.”

Don’t miss the animal magnetism and feverish energy of Queensryche’s world tour when they hit the Fonda Theatre on March 28!

Noise Revolt: A Night Of Future Beats And Infinite Permutations

EWOL; photo Soodyod

EWOL; photo Soodyod

Bass music is booming in LA. One of the most interesting groups exploring the full spectrum of this music is Noise Revolt. According to founding member Chief Jesta, “Noise Revolt is a LA based music label and art production company, which was founded by a group of artists in 2013.

“Since its conception, Noise Revolt has hosted a unique, diverse roster of DJs and musical artists from around the globe; while also curating artistically crafted event experiences that give artists of all mediums a platform to express their emotions.”

Chief Jesta & dela Moon; photo Soodyod

Chief Jesta & dela Moon; photo Soodyod

Elaborating further, “Along the journey, I created Momentive, a Noise Revolt sub-brand with the intention of curating vibrantly powerful drum and bass shows. The name Momentive stands the evolution of perspective within the genre’s momentum and praises the growth in the future of drum and bass culture. Within just two years, Momentive has had the opportunity to debut world renowned artists such as Alix Perez, and artists from the label Flexout Audio: such as Taelimb, Fearful, Conscience, and most recently Ewol (Flexout Audio/Dispatch Recordings/Lifestlye UK/Plasma Audio/BNKR.)”

On February 16th, 2019, they delivered exactly this to all in attendance.

Photo: Soodyod

Photo: Soodyod

PRISM started the night off, with the mutated warpings of all things bass. The hypnotic throbbing beats gradually built in intensity, releasing into grimy rhythms that sucked you into the floor. When the lyrical flow of MC Woes meshed perfectly with the glitchy percussion and monstrous vibrations, it created an energy that suddenly got everyone moving. That only increased when he launched into bursts of drum and bass; giving a preview of the diverse sounds laying ahead.

KEEKZ; photo Soodyod

KEEKZ; photo Soodyod

KEEKZ took over the decks, launching straight into high octane DnB. As deep bass tones enveloped the room, everyone’s attention was pulled center stage. This set was a tour de force of drum and bass, as he employed nearly every style and subgenre: the crack of the snare during jungle chop ups, the otherworldly synths present in neurofunk, soothing warm basslines found in liquid, the technical explorations of minimal, etc. This deft play between hard hitting anthemic buildups and smooth driving vibes created a buzz in the atmosphere of the room, driving everyone to dance even harder.

AIRGLO; photo Soodyod

AIRGLO; photo Soodyod

We knew we were in for a treat next, as a metal sign towering at the back of the stage was set on fire, displaying the name, AIRGLO. Delivering a concise and focused set, this one was as heavy as it was complex. Layering the energy of technical drum patterns with razor sharp bass lines, the crowd rabidly fed off it, growing rowdier by the minute. Airglo employed an impeccable sense of flow throughout his set, leaving everyone guessing what would come next. He provided a unique twist as well, playing keyboard compositions live over the tracks. It demonstrated precise timing and brought a layer of spontaneity not usually associated with electronic music.

Photo: Soodyod

Photo: Soodyod

Three DJs in, and the night was going strong. Up next were the heavy vibes of EWOL. Just a few minutes into his set, and the growling sub bass coming from the speakers was melting my ears. Combining that low end with hypnotic grooves, he delivered the bass explorations we all were craving. Known for a rolling minimal sound, he used a diverse assortment of tracks displaying it. What caught my ear the most was how fluid the set was, despite the use of a large number of angular, jagged, and/or “off-key” tracks. As the twitchy insect-like high end and deep vibrations came to a climax at the end of the set, it created a fever pitch right at the peak of the party.

TAELIMB; photo Soodyod

TAELIMB; photo Soodyod

After that fiery set came the next dose, at the hands of TAELIMB. Almost instantly, you could hear him dial in his unique sound, as he kept the deep and dark vibes rolling. Scuzzy stabs of fuzz, subterranean bass lines, and expertly crafted beats defined his set. One of the best surprises for me came when he dropped “The Jackal” by Kodo. A throbbing deep track, and a personal favorite, it was one I never expected to hear live. It exemplified what we love about live DJ sets: hearing the favorites and hits while also being exposed to the forgotten and/or unknown ones. Taelimb demonstrated his gift for creating dense atmospheres as well, through layering enticing melodies among challenging rhythms and harsh sounds.

Photo: Soodyod

Photo: Soodyod

DELA MOON and CHIEF JESTA stepped up next, ready to deliver their unique combination of intense grooves, high energy drum patterns, and pulsating grooves. The two DJs easily kept the momentum going when you would suspect it might dissipate. Using everything from industrial techy “rollers” to stripped back moody steppers, they took us on an exploration of everything deep and dark. The manner in which these two musicians fed off of each other was magical, showcasing all the frenzied fun of a b2b set. By the end, there was no doubt this pair were masters at creating dance floor vibes in ways nobody expected.

BRANDON VASQUEZ closed the night out with his mix of breaks. It was the perfect outro for the party; the steady beats and continuous bass kept people dancing, but subtly prepared us for the inevitable end as well.

Overall, it was an amazing show. A standout feature was the way each DJ carried the theme of deep and dark bass music yet created vastly different sets from each other. This created a feeling and energy which was unpredictable and exciting. Whether it was the live art being sprayed on the walls, to the lasers darting across the venue, or the sounds bouncing around the room, there was a sense of dedication and community present that was amazing to be a part of. This was definitely a show I am glad I did not miss.

The Rebel Soul Of Nattali Rize

NATTALI RIZE plays The Cave / Big Bear Lake Mar. 8; press photo

NATTALI RIZE plays The Cave / Big Bear Lake Mar. 8; press photo

Social activism has always been at the heart of reggae music, from “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley and The Wailers to “No Blood For Oil” by Cocoa Tea. Nattali Rize continues this rebel spirit, bringing the sound and heart of reggae center stage.

“What got me into music was my mother’s impeccable taste in music,” describes Rize. “I grew up listening to the greats: Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Judy Mowatt, Santana, and The Eagles. You know, it’s a wide range of music, which was all old soul music, that evidently has an influence on an upbringing and soundscape that we grow up to.”

Elaborating further, “It’s not about when we get into music. We’re born with music in us; people are musical and people love music. It’s an element of our life that is creative and taps us into our higher selves. And also taps ourselves into a collective feeling of family, which is nice cuz that’s not something many other things in this current paradigm do.”

Rize’s love and passion for the music is a defining feature of her work, from her early days of busking to the current success of her most recent album, Rebel Frequency.

“It was never a hobby for me!” explains the singer. “From the moment I picked up the guitar, I knew that was what I wanted to do. And I was thirteen years old at the time.

NATTALI RIZE; press photo

NATTALI RIZE; press photo

“Building from the street, as in I was a street performer first, and going to the stage, you meet a lot of people. Whether that’s everyday people you meet and connect with or fellow musicians when you get into a band, all of these things inform and have an influence on you. I spent time in Jamaica so I can see the influence of the culture and reggae music; the birthplace of reggae music has had a big influence and inspiration for me personally. So have everyday people and what life is like cuz music, for me, is a reflection of what the times we are living in are like.”

This journey has given her extensive experiences in playing music around the globe. As a result, she has developed a unique live energy at her shows.

“Our show is high energy, deep dub, roots, and lyrical concert music,” spells out Rize. “Connecting with people is one of the best aspects. Touring and playing live shows is the opportunity to connect with people and just share and create this energy together. It’s new and different, cuz it is unique depending on who is in the room at the time, and when you play music and make music and put intention into these gatherings that we call concerts and shows, then you have the opportunity to harness the energy and intention. That’s the kind of vibration we bring to share with crowds and for them to take home, and to give us energy to get to the next show. Really, it’s a celebration of life.

NATTALI RIZE; photo Andy Ortega

NATTALI RIZE; photo Andy Ortega

“I really like playing this song of ours called ‘One People,’” states Rize. “We are a five piece band and for this song, we break it down to just guitar and vocals for the first part of the song. And this song just really speaks a whole lot of truth. It is a song that I wrote that kind of just downloaded and the lyrics just flowed out in one hit; it’s become a really popular song for my particular audience in all parts of the world. This song is always a joy because I let them sing the chorus with me, and they sing it so beautifully so it’s nice to hear.”

2019 is looking like another great year for the reggae singer. “Currently, we are well on the way to a new album, which will be released this year so that’s very exciting,” reveals Rize. “Right now, we are starting a six-week tour across America and the album we are gonna try and squeeze in, but tour life is very busy.

“After that, we have about a month before any more shows, so we are looking forward to finishing a new album and releasing it in the second half of the year and being back on the road sharing those new songs.”

Make sure you catch all the soulful excitement and vibrant energy Nattali Rize brings to all her upcoming shows in SoCal!

ARISE ROOTS: One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019

ARISE ROOTS play One Love Cali Fest Feb. 8-10; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS play One Love Cali Fest Feb. 8-10; photo Andy Ortega

Reggae has been around for quite some time now, and over the years it has only gotten more popular. It has been through many changes, from the early days of inception through its exploration in genre-mixing as of late. It is always refreshing to see a band who can pull from its long history while adapting the music to recent changes in the musical landscape; Arise Roots deftly achieves this with their unique take on reggae.

“Root is what our own personal likes and loves were,” according to lead singer Karim Israel. “All our hearts were definitely in Roots, and that’s kinda what brought us together when we first met. We all came together and started jamming on some Dennis Brown and different Roots artists. That comes from my own personal love for that subgenre of Reggae.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

Further explaining the band’s desires, he goes on, “One thing we focused on though, in the music, was not just focusing on Roots; like we incorporate other styles and genres of Reggae, and not even just a subgenre itself. We are seeking to not just put ourselves in the box of Roots, but just creativity and music. And so, whatever comes out, we’re not necessarily trying to fit it or keep it into that Roots box. It’s still Reggae definitely, but we’re not just pigeonholing ourselves into just Roots.

“The live show, to me, by far is the most amazing factor/part/whatever you wanna call it in being a musician. That energy. It’s the energy that the crowd brings to the table every night. No two shows are exactly the same; it really depends on each and every individual person that is there, and what they bring to it. When people come, and they are expecting to share in the experience, and they are coming and bringing their energy, bringing their anticipation….it just adds. It’s like cooking a big pot of gumbo, and each show and person brings its own thing to the table. Some nights are great, some nights are just absolutely amazing.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

His passion for music is undeniable, and obvious when one goes to an Arise Roots concert. Elaborating further, “Being able to feed off that energy, and I like to not just feed but also create that energy. So that people can feed off of our energy…and it just keeps going back and forth like an electrical current. It just keeps going back and forth, back and forth, and that’s the best way I can describe it – as a current. It just keeps rotating and rotating, going and going. It’s almost unexplainable being up there and feeling it; and once the people start singing the words and stuff….it’s just amazing!”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

Israel is obviously a lyricist with his uncanny ability to put his passion into words the way he does. He describes the songwriting process, “When we write these songs, no one is guaranteeing that somebody is gonna like the song that you write. When we finally write it, and finish second guessing ourselves, and put the words on the paper; and once those words actually come out and you see the people digging it- it’s a relief, it’s a natural high that you feel, and it’s amazing. That’s what we like to bring to the table, a piece of our souls.”
Israel was raised on Reggae via his parents, especially his dad. And recently had one of his favorite moments in the band: “We were playing in San Francisco, and I was able to have my dad come onstage and sing. Which for me was a dream come true cuz my dad was the one who introduced me to Reggae music from birth.

“He actually emigrated from Jamaica to the States, back in the seventies, to do Reggae music. My mom and dad actually met at a Reggae show, so if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here. So, the whole time we have been playing, he has being hearing the stuff and seeing it online but had never been able to make it out to a show. In San Francisco, he not only was able to see us but also come onstage and perform. That was a huge moment for me.”

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

ARISE ROOTS; photo Andy Ortega

Arise Roots is amped and excited for what the future holds, evidenced by their long hours spent on their upcoming new album. Israel explains, “It’s our best album to date. We are extremely excited to get it out. We’ve done some kinds of experimentation with some sounds, and even the writing on some of the tracks has been a little out of the box for us.

“One thing that is different about this album than the others before is that before we would play it live and see what the crowd participation was like. If it works with the crowd, we’ll add that to the list of songs that will most likely be on the album. This time around, we have kept a lot of stuff secret and just kept it amongst ourselves. Not let anybody hear it, not even family members. Just pulsing on creating the vibe, the feel of the album, the mood of the album, the sound of the album. And then release it all together at once.”

But while waiting for the album to drop, Arise Roots shows are the best place to catch the smooth vibes and soul-filled music this band brings to Reggae. Catch them at the One Love Cali Fest Feb. 8-10.

Dimension Tears Up L.A.

DIMENSION; photo Killahurtz

DIMENSION; photo Killahurtz

Dimension’s only stop on the West Coast for his world tour took place at Catch One on Dec. 15, brought to us by none other than Killahurtz. “Started in 2016, it is a Los Angeles based drum and bass event production company,“ explains founder Sebastian Bordigoni, better known as Seebass.

“We specialize in bringing out some of the best talent there is to offer to produce nighttime lifestyle music events,” Bordigoni said. “Going to events and being a fan of the music for a long time, I saw the need to focus on talent that wasn’t really being represented. I believe we bring out some of the freshest and more cutting edge producers and DJ’s in the scene right now.”

Show Flyer

Show Flyer

With Dimension headlining along with support from 1991, Culture Shock, and Seebass, it was bound to be a massive event. Upon arriving, there was a huge line right as the doors opened. Being such a limited engagement, this was expected with people driving and flying from all over to attend. It was also one of the most highly anticipated shows of the last few months.

“The best part is really just being able to see all the fans have such a good time,” Bordigoni relates about putting on shows such as this one. “There is no better feeling than being able to bring together so many people from all over the country to an intimate venue with some of their favorite artists. When you see everyone smiling and they thank you for making everything happen, it is very humbling. At the end of the day, I’m a fan as well. I’m just one of them trying to have a good night out with good friends and make some great memories.”

SEEBASS; photo Killahurtz

SEEBASS; photo Killahurtz

Opening the show was Seebass. Using a diverse mix of material to warm the crowd up as everyone trickled in, he deftly established the vibe of the night; one that was full of anxious energy and rabid excitement. Laying down hard and heavy beats while slipping in some unexpectedly smooth tones, it gave us all a sneak preview of what the night would hold. As his set was nearing its close, you could feel the rambunctious energy coming to a full head.

Then 1991 took the stage. At this point, things only became more intense with this enigmatic producer’s set. Known for an extremely diverse style, he effortlessly flowed between a myriad of genres. The new track “Anything 4 U” with Netsky was brought in early in his set, and was an instant crowd favorite. The fluctuation between lush stadium liquid and heavier aggressive vibes really got the crowd going; looking across the room, the dance floor was packed with bodies gyrating in every direction. The warm, heavy bass vibrations enveloped my body and transported me to a realm of pure music. Hearing the buildup of S.P.Y’s “Rock Da House”, it cemented the thought that this night would be seared into my memory. Throughout the set, he dropped breakdowns at just the right time, including the dubplate remix of The Beatles “Come Together” by Urbandawn: when the bass dropped on this tune, the crowd flew into such a frenzy it was nearly as if everyone melded into one person in the process.

The lights went out, the strobes started flashing, and at last Dimension took the stage. The feeling at that moment was of almost pure chaos, where you have no idea what could happen and the ensuing excitement becomes almost unbearable. Opening with his rapid fire mixing style, the crowd exploded to the aural and visual feast before our eyes. Dimension masterfully shot waves of tension and release through the crowd with songs like the pounding banger “Raver”, the grimy textures of “Techno”, and the hypnotic “Generator”: all this kept the crowd raving at full force. With songs such as “UK”, it was almost impossible to tell the vocal track from the audience’s singing. Near the end of his set, Dimension finally dropped his immensely popular track “Desire”: as the atmospherics built up and up and then released, I realized we were all an extension of Dimension’s hands. Through expert use of driving beats and choppy basslines, he could instantly change the tempo and style of the dancing taking place in the audience.

CULTURE SHOCK; photo Killahurtz

CULTURE SHOCK; photo Killahurtz

Culture Shock closed the night out. I was instantly struck in the gut with some fat blasts of bass. The soundscapes now had a more experimental edge to them than the previous DJ’s, and was the perfect sort of sounds for keeping a party going forever. This was definitely a harder edged and technical based set, with deep rolling basslines paired with experimental soundscapes that resonated with the audience, getting everyone to dance harder than was thought possible. The high energy attack of “Get Physical” vibrated the entire building, reminding everyone this party was far from over. When the bubbly synth blasts of “Bunker” blared through the speakers, the anxious energy of everyone waiting for the vocal refrain (and the drop which follows it) was almost thick enough to cut with a knife. Never once in the Culture Shock set did the energy let up, employing the consistent vibe and otherworldly tones that has led to the popularity of current electronic music.

Killahurtz managed to throw an amazingly successful show, bringing some amazing talent to L.A. It was a night full of intense raving, demonstrating the power and diversity in modern music; and will live in everyone’s memory for quite some time.

NGHTMRE Before XMAS Ushers In Heavy Sounds Of The Future

NGHTMRE plays The Shrine Dec. 15; photo Koury Angelo

NGHTMRE plays The Shrine Dec. 15; photo Koury Angelo

Bass music is always in a constant state of flux, constantly evolving and absorbing influences from almost everything. NGHTMRE is no exception; the wide range of styles he has employed along with boundary pushing sound design have earned him the spotlight in electronic music.

“I grew up playing music,” explains Tyler Marenyi of NGHTMRE. “Yea, I mean I went to college in North Carolina and when I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles to write music; that’s what I was passionate about. And after about a year working on music in L.A., I felt finally ready.”

Currently headlining the NGHTMRE Before XMAS tour, Marenyi is excited as ever to be playing shows across the country.

“It’s that moment we have been working on to put all this music together and you get that one hour to share your music,” Marenyi noted. “And the fact that I get to go up there…you know, as much energy as I give out, it’ll get returned. And the harder I go, the more energy I have.

“When I first started, it was when house and electro were crushing it. I made some of that, and also grew up listening to a lot of punk and rock kind of stuff too. I’ve always kinda made a little bit of everything, and definitely still do that now.”

NGHTMRE’s most recent release with The Chainsmokers “Save Yourself” showcases that love of taking risks and twisting genres together.

“I’ve kinda known those guys for a really long time,” Marenyi said. “Not super well, but we’ve shared music for years and years before we got to do this. It was nice to be able to finally work on something.

“Me and Drew (Taggart) had always talked about doing a festival banger, which they traditionally don’t do. And I’ve done crazy dubstep tracks so yea we tried to make the track a little bit of both. And we both really enjoyed it. It’s been great cuz people on that level of fame and busyness in general would be harder to get ahold of or deal with, but everyone’s been really cool.”

Along with this collab, there is also one in the works between NGHTMRE and Big Gigantic as well.

“That’s another one that I feel I grew up watching and I really fell in love with their sound at a show a long time ago,” Marenyi recalled. “I’ve grown to their music and it’s the same kind of thing; we’ve been looking forward to working together for a while.

“There was one specific idea that I wrote… and felt there was some amazing horns and vibes and live instrument swag to like every track they do… you know, they kill it. Really excited for it, I feel it is a good mixture of our sounds. It’s really jammy but really hard too.”

And if that wasn’t enough, there is still the collab with NGHTMRE and ASAP Ferg slated to be released next year.

“The song’s all done, and we just filmed the music video for it last week in New York,” Marenyi revealed. “It’s all set to release early next year. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get ahold of him, but he is really into the music video and really likes the song. I’ve been playing the song at shows, and it’s always one of the best tracks…. so excited for it.

“For me, as a producer, I came more from a background of engineering and producing rather than DJ-ing first. So, I feel every time I work on a song with someone new, I learn something new about mixing, or a tip or a trick or technique that helps me a lot. Even if you’re working with someone who isn’t as experienced as you, there’s always something I end up learning. You know, something I would never have figured out on my own.

“It gives me the excuse to do weirder things too…like I wouldn’t be able to put out a jammy saxophone song myself but with Big Gigantic, it makes sense.”

Hear all the mind-melting sounds and genre-bending grooves NGHTMRE has to offer when the NGHTMRE Before XMAS tour hits the Shrine Dec. 15!

Drum and Bass Invades The OC

COSTA MESA SOUND CLASH Dec. 19 at The Wayfarer

COSTA MESA SOUND CLASH Dec. 19 at The Wayfarer

As the OC Drum and Bass scene only continues to grow, another show is coming Dec 19 at the Wayfarer. The Costa Mesa Soundclash features a diverse lineup of local DnB talent: Rankin, What??, Ron 2 3, McNutt, and 2Much on the turntables with support from MC’s New Gent, Onemic, Slim, Werd, and Woes.

“That’s what all those old Reggae and Dub shows were, all those dancehall shows,” explains Ron 2 3 of the show’s name. “All those turntable and huge speakers…People would just come up and put on whatever the newest things were. You know, the MC and whole dancehall vibe of drum and bass originates from this or was inspired by it at least. They would use the term ‘soundclash’ cuz it was like a clash, a battle of sounds.”

The night is sure to be full of surprises for newcomers and old school fans alike. “I try my best to try and take the listener on a journey throughout drum and bass,” says McNutt. “I love the highs and lows that drum and bass can offer. I try and give the listener a rollercoaster type experience.

“There’s really so much to love about it but my favorite thing is the energy you get from a good blend/double. DnB gives you the freedom to create something new by combining two songs. Every now and then a good double can make you feel like you just drank a cup of coffee!”

Drum and bass has been thriving in Orange County for some time now. Shows such as this do occur on a regular basis; a major reason for that is due to the support provided by the organization Upgrade DNB, who has remained steadfast in delivering this music to our local area for many years now. There is also a revival of interest in the genre taking place.

“I’m excited to come out of a long DnB hibernation!” declares Rankin, who has been a DJ for over a decade now.

Each DJ and MC on this bill brings their own unique flow to the table and intertwine those styles together to create a vibe that can’t be experienced anywhere else. The desire for this particular lineup has been percolating for a long time amongst the DJ’s as well. It’s this kind of heart and passion, along with the endless stylistic variations of the music that attracts so many to this form of electronic music.

Get it on the fun and excitement when it hits The Wayfarer Wednesday the 19th!