OnNow.tv Guiding The Livestream Revolution

onNow-tvCovid-19 has drastically changed the landscape of our lives, from wearing face masks everywhere we go to the still uncertain future of reopening. The world of music has been struggling to cope with the loss of live events and festivals; in response, the world of live streaming has sky rocketed into the spotlight. Many artists are using it in creative ways to bring the excitement and vibe of a show to our bedrooms: DJ sets on balconies, weekend long streams, concerts in empty venues, streams for charities, and more.

However, there have been struggles with live streaming. With so many different platforms to host it from, it can be difficult to find and tune into the stream you are looking for. Streaming is also relatively easier to do than putting on a full live show, thus there are a huge number of live streams going on at any one time. As a result, these two factors often make watching live streams more complex than it should be. OnNow.tv was founded by Stephan Jacobs, Mathew Adell, Terrence Scoville and Henry Strange as a direct response to these challenges.

onNow-tvJacobs and Strange shared their unique insight into its development. Both of them have a long history in the music industry: Jacobs has been producing music for over fifteen years. He has led multiple music projects, including Kether, Pizza Party, Bosa, and his own Jacobs material. Strange produces hip-hop and dance music. He is also the owner of Strange Electronic, who manufacture hardware as well as software for live performance use.

The genesis of OnNow.tv began when the coronavirus hit the hardest. “Right around when we went into lockdown……. we both are in the touring business so everything shut down, meaning there were no shows so even what my company does was rendered useless,” explains Strange. “We were scrambling to come up with ideas to help us all survive and solve this coronavirus problem; Stephan and I talk almost every day, and were tossing ideas around with one idea centered on live streams. Live streams became a hot item, and one of the most difficult things to do with them is figuring out when they are going on.

“We are all performers and had our own livestreams; and it’s hard to round up all your friends, let them know when you are going to go on, and make sure they get there on time. Usually in the first thirty minutes of a lot of sets, there is no one there because they are just realizing you started already. So, we had the idea of a livestream guide.”

With the idea in place, they started hammering out the specifics that would make it a reality. “Originally, it was called OnNowGuide and was heavily modeled after TV Guide, even going so far as to look like TV Guide,” says Strange. “Then we were thinking of making it simplified like Craigslist – something where people could just jump on it and see what livestreams were popping off. But that wasn’t quite it so we just kept throwing ideas for how it should work out. That was in the beginning of March, and the beginning of OnNow.tv”

onNow-tvThe platform itself is a creative mix of factors that make it well equipped to become a hub for live streams. “It’s a live stream guide,” elaborates Strange. The idea is that the viewer can discover livestreams and find ones they didn’t know about. We have specific ones that we feature which we think are extraordinary in both quality and content. The viewer has the opportunity to add their livestreams into a watchlist, similarly to how it works for a movie in Netflix. So, they can always go back and go through their own list of things they want to see. Basically, it helps the viewer narrow down what they are interested in and save all those things. All of the things that get saved have a notification, such as an email, thirty minutes before a stream is due to start, so that people can watch it from the very start. On the livestream host side, it works kind of like Eventbrite. We aren’t a host for livestreams, i.e. we aren’t like Twitch or YouTube live but instead are a marketing platform for livestreams.

“This means that if you have streams on Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, etc. and want a central place to display them, you can do so on our OnNow.tv Profile page,” adds Jacobs.

“Thus, they can promote the event page to their fan base,” continues Strange. “This is especially useful if you have the stream in multiple locations, as they can all be represented in one place. And the fanbase will get the notifications thirty minutes before the stream starts. This makes it a handy tool for both ends, the viewer and the livestream host.”

As with any company there have been hardships throughout its development, but one came from a surprising source. “About two weeks into launching it – it was of course in a rough stage – there was another site that launched and was doing the same exact thing,” relates Strange. “It was called LivePilot.io and was started by Matt Adell, who is the ex-CEO of Beatport and also worked for Napster back in the day. He saw our site, got excited about it, and we merged the companies. So, he is now the CEO of OnNow.tv. It was a challenge, especially as it was such a raw dog idea that suddenly became a sort of corporate merger.”

Overall, this is a platform with a lot of promise. Live streaming is only going to continue to grow in popularity, and a tool like this one is only going to help in exploring the landscape of live streams. As it continues to host more and more content, OnNow.tv’s ability to spread all kinds of new music is only going to increase. Check it out ASAP!!

The Triumphant Return Of Grey Daze

Grey Daze; photo Anjella

Grey Daze; photo Anjella

Grey Daze is a band that hails back to the early nineties and was the first moment Chester Bennington brought his unique vocal style to the world. While eventually going on to Linkin Park, it was obvious Bennington always had a special place in his heart for Grey Daze, and especially his business partner/close friend Sean Dowdell. They were preparing to re-launch the band when Bennington tragically passed away. Since then, Dowdell has been toiling away to bring us Amends. It is comprised of vocals Bennington recorded with the band right before his death and is a tour de force of not only his talent, but the signature sound of Grey Daze as well.

“The band was formed around 1992,” explains Dowdell of their origins. “Chester and I were teenagers, he was 15 and I was 17. He came in for an audition through a mutual friend. He was a hundred pounds with these wire rim glasses; basically, he sang “Alive” from Pearl Jam and we knew right away he had a great voice. He went to his dad and asked permission to join the band and he gave permission and off to the races we were.

“We charted out a list of band names we liked at the time, and initially chose the name “Love Lies Bleeding”. But then someone informed us there was already a band called that; so, we went back the list and the next name Chester and I both liked was Grey Daze, Jonathan as well, and that’s what ended up sticking.”

Armed with ambition, a solid lineup, and a memorable name, the band steamrolled ahead with making their existence known. “We started writing originals and played our first show about four months after forming the group,” says Dowdell. “We put out two records in the 90’s, signed three records deals, but the band ended up breaking up in 1998. Chester and I had a bad falling out but reconciled about 2002 when we found out our bandmate Bobby Benish was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the prognosis was not good. Chester and I became business partners in something called Club Tattoo, which was our luxury tattoo studio. We opened seven locations for it in Las Vegas and Arizona.”

The reunification of Grey Daze was something both Bennington and Dowdell actively sought and fought for once they began working together again. “In 2003, we briefly tried to put the band back together and tried again in 2007 but in both instances the timing just didn’t work out,” reveals Dowdell. “In 2017, we were discussing doing another anniversary party for Club Tattoo, which Chester and I used to perform at these. He brought up the idea of putting Grey Daze back together for the event and that is how the reunion reconciled and happened.”

With Bennington fully on board and ready to commit, it was only a matter of time before Grey Daze debuted once again. “We got the other members on board and started working on three tracks in the studio once we decided we were going to work on this full-time,” describes Dowdell. “Chester was going to devote the majority of his time to once he was done with Linkin Park obligations. We set a date for mid to late 2017 for our reunion show and then we started working on music. I was in the studio working on three different tracks while Chester would be out on the road with Linkin Park; we would communicate back and forth via phone calls and emails to work out the music. We were scheduled to start rehearsals three days after Chester passed away so obviously the Grey Daze project got put on hold.”

The passing of Chester Bennington was a huge blow to Dowdell and the rest of the band. Yet there was a spirit of determination that this music, especially the singer’s vocals, that had to see the light of day. “It took me about six months to revisit the idea of completing the record and putting it out,” he recalls. “Then, I got the other members on board, Chester’s wife Talinda on board, got his mom and dad on board, and everyone gave me their blessing and we started from scratch. We stripped down all the music to just his vocals, listened over and over again, and worked from the arrangements as well as his vocal patterns. Then, we rewrote every song around his vocals and that is how we ended up with the record.”

“The amount of support we got from Chester’s friends and other musicians, some who didn’t even know him……just the outreach and support we got from other musicians was really surprising, I didn’t expect that and was a very welcome one,” Dowdell shares. “The amount of time we spent to make it right, and make it good, that didn’t surprise me but what was so special about it was that every single person involved did it for the right reasons. We did it in honor of our friend and it took two and a half years to complete it because we felt like it had to be perfect. We kept going back to the drawing board, and even have songs where we recorded three different versions and they still didn’t make the album because we felt like it wasn’t good enough. The amount of energy people put into it was the biggest surprise, it wasn’t done by myself but with everyone contributing in some shape or form.”

Of course, with this situation, there were some huge hurdles to tackle with one of the members of the band now gone. Yet a phenomenal record was still made. According to Dowdell, “I think the thing I am most proud of on the album is that we finished it, that’s first, but I am fairly confident that Chester would be very happy with how the record turned out. That was the biggest hurdle for me that we had going into this. Was this going to live up to the standards that he would have been proud of? And I think we got there.

With new music comes the question of touring behind it. “There were plans to tour when Chester was alive, we already had that in the works,” he points out. “We were getting offers all over the world to tour and he was very excited about that, as was I. As far as this project is currently concerned, there are presently no plans on touring. The only way we would entertain the idea would be to do it in a tribute fashion, where we would bring in guest singers that would sing Chester’s songs and make it about him. We don’t have any plans on touring because that would require replacing Chester and that’s just not something we want to do.”

On top of all of that, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and only threw more complication into the mix. “Originally, we were slated for an April 10th release and had to switch that date for June 26th,” laments Dowdell. “It definitely screwed up the supply chain, the distribution, all of that stuff got messed up. The people from the record company have been working from home, and still are, to get it released. We had release parties, press shows in Europe and South America, and all of those things we had planned got affected really badly. At the same time, we took a couple years to get this thing done and did it the right way, so a couple months of a delay isn’t that big of a deal.”

Dowdell isn’t about to let the virus slow him down either. “I’ve been working more than I have in a long time, to be quite honest,” he states. “I have fifteen companies, six retail tattoo/piercing studios as well. So, I dove back in with my wife doing a bunch of remodels for all of our stores while closed. I’ve also been writing a book, promoting this record, and literally have been working so much harder than I have in a very long time. So, for me, I’m actually working more now.”

As for Grey Daze, the future is still quite bright despite the complex circumstances surrounding them. “We have enough material to do one more album, if not more,” hints Dowdell. “It all depends on how this music is received…it does seem to be getting received really well. So, it looks like we will be working on the next one pretty shortly. But to hedge our bets we do want to make sure it is received well. I think that is a huge surprise for us; that we are getting another chance do another record, and that is very special.”

Tommy Castro And The Painkillers Bring The Perfect Panacea

Tommy Castro; photo Jayson Carpenter

Tommy Castro; photo Jayson Carpenter

There is no doubt the Covid-19 epidemic has drastically altered and affected all of our lives. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the music community, with so many essentially getting their entire way of life halted in an instant. Despite this, musicians have been charging forward even harder than before.

Tommy Castro and The Painkillers are such a band; having been around for over two decades, they have seen their ups and downs. Our current pandemic situation has postponed all future events, including The Painkillers night at The Coach House.

“It will continue to be rescheduled until we can play it,” remarks Castro. “I don’t know what the next date is but the one in June I don’t think is going to hold. Even if the state decided to open things back up by then, it won’t give us enough time to promote it. So, we are probably looking to have our show there in the fall.”

The Coach House is a favorite venue for many blues and rock bands, with Castro and his band included in the mix.

Tommy Castro; photo Bob By Request

Tommy Castro; photo Bob By Request

“The Coach House is great, and I even remember the first time we played there,” reminisces the bluesman. “We were coming up in popularity and our current record was doing well. That was not an easy gig to get, you had to earn it! When we finally got booked in there, we were really excited about it and haven’t missed a year since then. It’s got to be about twenty straight years that we have been playing there. It’s a good-sized room, not too big and not too small. It suits our audience very well. Blues audiences tend to be an older crowd and they like to sit down and enjoy the show.”

Speaking of Covid-19, everyone has that moment when they first heard about the shutdown.

“We were on tour, being in the middle of the northwest and Canada,” he reveals. “We came down from the mountains in Canada into Montana and worked our way back towards Sacramento, with that and Paradise being the last shows we played. It was very up in the air whether those were even going to happen. After those ones, we all went home and have been on lockdown ever since. I would have never imagined a thing like that happening.”

Life has been very different and difficult since the stay at home orders were first issued, but not even that can get the guitarist down.

“I’ve been keeping myself really busy with a couple of live stream shows,” divulges Castro. “I have a lot of work to do – working on songs, practicing my guitar, working on my house, the weather is warmer so getting some exercise, and just making the best of it. I’m not going around and visiting people in their homes or anything of that sort. I had my birthday on the fifteenth of April, and all of my adult kids and I got on zoom and had a little birthday party for me which was a lot of fun.”

Tommy Castro; photo Jayson Carpenter

Tommy Castro; photo Jayson Carpenter

Recently, he performed live over the internet for John Lee Hooker’s live stream show. “I’m a big fan of John Lee,” he affirms. “We knew each other and were friends, he recorded on one of my albums back in the early 2000’s. We had the same booking agency in those days so were playing on a lot of the same shows. It was a real honor and great way to pay tribute, with me playing a couple songs of his.

“It was cool because I had the time to learn to play one of his songs I didn’t know before,” relates the guitarist. “This one is in a very particular tuning and really went into the John Lee Hooker style. I’ve done his songs my own way so this time I did one that way but on the other one, I just really tried to imitate his style in Open G on an old Harmony guitar that I have. It was fun preparing for it and also playing my own songs. His Facebook page has a couple hundred thousand subscribers from around the world, so it was great exposure for me and a lot of fun.”

Moving from live shows to live streams over the internet has been a sudden and intense change for any musician out there.

“Anytime I have to learn something new it’s good for me,” explains Castro. “It always reminds me of a quote, ‘If you’re green, you’re still growing.’ Those things I don’t know that much about and I need to learn about and am put in a position where I have to learn it, it’s good for me…good for my brain. It expands my abilities. You tend to get stuck in what you know so I know how to play live and make a record, I’ve learned over the years how to be involved in online promotions, and most importantly how to keep in touch with my fans through social media and the internet.

“All of that has been a constant learning situation for me but this was a crash course in live streaming,” he points out. “Especially because it was completely solo. I never play, never in my career have I done a solo show. There have been times on the radio or something where I would play a song or two, but it was never me having a fully worked out acoustic set for a show. What I do is electric blues that requires a band and is what I really know how to do. So, learning how to step up and play a solo show like this was really good for me.”

From their humble beginnings to their current status as blues stalwarts, their journey and outlook on life is a fascinating one.

“When I was about eight years old, my brother got a guitar and started playing it,” explains Castro of his musical origins. “I had always been interested, and being six years younger, thought it was the coolest thing. Eventually I got my own guitar and started playing with friends my own age. For most of my life it was something I did for fun. I enjoyed it and didn’t get any schooling or lessons on it. I just listened to lessons and had a basic chord book and figured it out. Growing up in a lower middle-class neighborhood, nobody I knew was taking lessons or getting any proper musical schooling so my friends and I would just listen to the records and figure things out.”

That was the start of it all and it just kept rolling from there.

“I just kept playing, blues was the thing I liked best,” he elaborates. “I listened to rock and roll but was always most inspired by the blues-based stuff i.e. The Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin, etc. A lot of the blues in the sixties was being played on FM radio when it was still relatively new. FM stations were super progressive and could play anything they wanted since there wasn’t much corporate involvement yet. The DJ’s played everything: from psychedelic blues to psychedelic music, bluegrass, folk music, and a good bunch of blues music. That’s how I could hear Albert King, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland on the radio.

“That’s how I was exposed to it. Most of my friends were into rock so I was always the guy in the band who wanted to play blues. And that’s what I did for some time. I would play in various bands, we would get bar gigs and play on the weekends; until one day, I decided that this is what I was meant to do. I gave up on any other plans I was working on and decided to take a shot at making a living as a professional musician.”

One of the biggest leaps one can ever make in life, the future was tentative, but it was also a great time for this move.

“At the time, this was the eighties, and there was starting to be a market for blues bands and especially guitar players,” details Castro. “On a professional level, I played with a number of local San Francisco bay area bands until I decided it was time for me to start my own band. I’ve been doing that ever since – we have eighteen albums out there and have toured around the world for 25 years.”

This is an unprecedented time in history; but with musicians such as Tommy Castro and The Painkillers pushing forward, they give us a glimpse of the path forward and provide hope for the future. Through their commitment to make music regardless of the circumstances, it demonstrates how we can overcome anything. This is a band you want to keep up with, as they keep heartfelt live streams and stellar shows heading our way.

The Force Behind The Dub Wars

Dub WarsWhether it’s in sports, cooking, or the arts, seeing talented artists collaborate or go head to head is an exciting sight to see. It creates an intense world of mystery where it is impossible to guess what will happen next, and truly tests the participants skills as they must use all that they have on the spot while under pressure. On this note, Dub Wars is bringing us a competition between many of the most cutting-edge producers in Drum and Bass right now.

The brainchild of Ben Green, AKA OB1, his long history in the drum and bass scene gives him a unique insight into making this the high caliber event that it is. “I got started in music at a very young age working in distribution,” says Green. “I got a job working for Virus, Valve, Infrared, Prototype Recordings, and Metalheadz working as a sort of office assistant for the labels. Later, I went on to work solely for Metalheadz and that ended up with me becoming the label/tour/club manager at Metalheadz for a number of years.

“After that, I went off to have a family and start a new business as an independent; but realized pretty quickly there was something missing in my life and I needed to be involved in music on a daily basis,” confesses Green.

“That was the dawning of Rebel Music, who has now pulled together 18 artists from all over the world including Australia, UK, Switzerland, France, Canada, and Europe. Rebel Music has released 14 EP’s, and just released our debut LP, Rebel One.We offer it for free for those affected by the current situation and those who pay for it are helping to raise money for the NHS, in support of the health workers fighting against Covid-19.”

Rebel Music has been storming the scene and pushing boundaries since, but this is only one half of the formula that led to the creation of Dub Wars.

Dub Wars poster

Dub Wars poster

“Going back to my early years, I was raised in a household where music was a big part of the family and the house on a daily basis,” he points out. “My mum listened to a lot of reggae music, and part of that is clash culture and sound systems. That got me into clash culture, and I have a huge love for reggae music. Over the last eight to nine years, I’ve also gotten into battle rap and is something I have spent quite a lot of time on i.e. I’ve got favorite battlers, going to events, going to all the UK things when the US artists were coming over to battle, getting into all the forum… just really digging it and getting into all the channels of it.

“So, clash culture has been a large part of things that I enjoy, and I love people putting their skills up against each other. The situation being what it is with no events going on, there are livestreams and album projects going on, but felt we needed to do something new and exciting and this was the perfect opportunity to bring these two parts of my life together. That has ended up being the Dub Wars battle clash tournament.”

Thus, Dub Wars was born and the format OB1 developed is a stroke of efficiency and genius.

“The way the tournament is setup is that it is a 16-artist tournament that takes place over four weeks,” explains Green. “Each week there is a live draw every Sunday at 9pm BST. Each artist will be drawn against one other artist – this creates eight battles that will take place so there will be eight sample packs. Each battle gets a sample pack and the artists will have five days to make their dub. The rules are they have to use the ten sounds that are in the sample pack at least once in the track and the track must be at least three minutes long, but outside of that there are no rules. When the dubs are handed in, they will go up for a 48-hour poll online that is hosted by Native Instruments.”

While many such competitions like this can come off as a popularity contest, or even be controlled by such notions, this will not be the case in this competition.

“In those polls, you won’t know whose dub is who’s. For instance, you might see Creatures Vs. Dark Ops but in the poll, you will only see dub one and dub two. It’s all about the music and makes the focus on which dub you think won the battle.”

The entire lineup is filled to the brim with exceptional talent: Creatures, Wingz, Ill Truth, MD, kolectiv, Objectiv, Volatile Cycle, Wreckless, Dark Ops, Hadley, Screamarts, Inner Terrain, HLZ, and Missledz. It’s a well-crafted lineup, as any single pairing is set to deliver an epic showdown….let alone the fact we are getting four weeks of new tracks from them. Round one has started off the competition with a jolt, having some intense pairings that are sure to result in tracks with major heat. Round Two is shaping up the ante even further as the stakes raise even higher.

“It’s certainly a format that is exciting, it brings new sounds together. The other day someone said, ‘We are creating sonic fuckery’, which I actually quite like. It’s breaking the mold a little bit…. it’s putting a number of artists under the clock to a degree; they are also having to adapt to sounds they may not have selected for themselves for a track. We are also going to see, perhaps especially with some of the younger artists, having to use ones they have never used, and they will do exciting things with that. I think there is going to be a lot of exciting music from this project.”

Stay locked! This is a massive event the likes of which haven’t been seen before and will change the landscape of the scene. Not only is it a brand-new avenue for showcasing artist talent but has the potential to bring together the diverse talents and listeners of the scene in a totally brand-new way. Get involved, vote for your favorite tracks every week, and watch history unfold as the Dub Wars competition heats up!

The Ever-Expanding World Of Kaleidoscope Productions

Kaleidoscope Productions

Kaleidoscope Productions

“We started Kaleidoscope Productions about six years ago, in 2013,” explains Ryan Kirros, one of the three founders of the label. “It was small parties we did at first, and music production wasn’t a factor yet. We were hosting stages at different events, such as silent discos and things like that.

“We all kind of met through raving; basically, we sat down one day while mixing and realized, ‘This is it. This is what we want to do’ and got straight into DJing. Ryan Dettmer, AKA Zereticz, was the producer. He’s been producing before anyone really, whereas I was the DJ. We all meshed together; from there we began hosting at events, meeting artists throughout festivals, doing renegades, and other forms of networking until it became what it is now.”

“It definitely started with us throwing parties,” adds Dettmer. “There was a community of people who had started coming around our parties and called themselves the K tribe. I asked them, ‘What’s the K tribe?’ and they told me they went to Kaleidoscope parties, and that started our whole festival family.”

“As the years progressed, I pushed us to focus more on producing and we put out a compilation last May. This (Vol 2) will be our second one and our first official release on Beatport, which also establishes us as an official label. We’ve definitely come a long way; we have a bunch of artists coming along with us that are part of our core group, as well as a bunch of new friends and artists who have thrown down on the compilation with us.”

“There are a lot of different styles of House, and one of the great things about our label is that we touch on a lot of different styles of it,” Dettmer continues. “We do house, techno, tech house, deep house, melodic techno, etc. Each artist brings their own style to the table; and when you look at a kaleidoscope, it has a lot of changing colors and that’s what we wanted for the label. For it to have all different types of house music on it – every artist brings their own style, but it still has that core House music beat.”

"Vol. 2" cover art

“Vol. 2” cover art

There is no doubt that Vol. 2 of this compilation series is a serious tour de force. “Old School” by Zereticz opens the release with a bang, showcasing the intense highs and lows tech house has to offer. Listening to this one conjures up images of the warehouse dance floor, and how impossible it would be to resist grooving to this tune.

“Dance Like This” by Fiasko and Tandros is a real party starter, creating epic tension with its robotic vocal refrain along with its driving bass beats. These elements create a surging sensation that sucks the listener deeper and deeper into the track, as the subtle elements of the high-end creating brain food for the tech heads who love to analyze minute details of tracks.

One of the most standout and interesting facets of house music is its potential for exploring the low end of the music spectrum. “Double Down” by Kirros does this in spades: bass wobbles, rising bass tones, fuzzy bass stabs… if you love bass then this is a track to get lost in. And on top of all that, he flexes his mastery of placement for all to hear and revel in.

Things get deep and trippy on Slippy Toad’s “Space Dust” trek, with bass frequencies that seem to shake the ground you’re standing on. Echoed vocal samples and ethereal atmospherics collide with a hypnotic motif that refuses to let up, putting the listener into a trance state that removes all sense of time.

Carbon Street takes us down the rawer side of the genre with “Travel”, using everything from solid beats to melodic motifs to entrance the listener. Filled with echoey atmosphere and vocals as well, it is a bit more restrained in nature but through that it further expands the listeners mind as they journey through the album.

There is nearly everything under the sun on this release, and Kaleidoscope co-founder Macheddie’s track truly shows this on “Mystico.” He crafts a tune which delicately balances the deep bass tones of modern house with the horns and swing rooting from Latin music, making for a melody that brings a fun and fresh sound to the genre. It’s rare to hear a track blend the new with the old so effortlessly as this one does.

The buildup and drop is a key element of most modern dance music, with Just Henry demonstrating some true skill in delivering this moment on “How Did You See Me.” Over and over again, he employs removing the bass to build perfect moments of tension and release, playing with each break in new and exciting ways each time. And as the bouncy bassline hits, it’s nigh impossible to stay still.

Creating a rich texture of sound is no small feat, yet ATTE nails this on their track, “Risen.” Just like the name suggests, it is a tune that evokes the sensation of slowly rising from the deepest depths into the light through use of echoed out FX stabs and serious sub bass that carries you along the track.

Ending the release on a gloriously melodic note is K!NGS, bringing us that perfect fusion of American and UK Bass music. A tune that explores both the broken surge type beats of house along with the blissful consistency the genre is known for, it ends the release with an anthemic vibe that suits the label’s mission masterfully.

Available now via Beatport, Vol. 2 by Kaleidoscope Productions is an excellent collection of house music that has something for everyone. Treat your ears by scooping it up ASAP!!!

The Stream We All Need!

Emotional Support Stream

Emotional Support Stream

The coronavirus has drastically changed the world in an instant, with everyone effectively under orders to stay at home. The music landscape has been especially affected, with many artists having to cancel whole tours and even months worth of events. Despite this, artists refuse to let that stop them and have instead turned up the faucet by giving us more music than ever.

Livestreams in particular have exploded, with many DJ’s performing in a variety of new ways; from sets on their balconies, to cleverly themed attire, and even festivals themselves. People from all walks of life are coming together to work out the logistics of hosting a festival you can be a part of right from your home. One such group is The Emotional Support Stream collective and they have an epic one in store for us:

Emotional Support Stream lineup

Emotional Support Stream lineup

“The main idea was to have a virtual rave,” explained one of the event organizers who requested to remain anonymous. “The plan is to have a twitch stream that’s going to be over the course of three days, and we have about ten crews helping us book people. We got a few headliners and some label heads to join us so that will be really cool. While that live stream is going, there is also going be a discord where people will hang out, and also have vendors who will be selling clothes or whatever it is they make.”

This simple yet effective formula will create a digital version of a rave, and at a time that it is sorely needed. Streams bring people together, and remind us we still have avenues to help and support one another. Yet streams can be sporadic, and part of the experience of a rave (or festival) is the long exposure to multiple artists throughout the night. Having three days of solid music this way creates that consistency and it is a surreal experience to be able to tune into music people all around the world who are watching.

Emotional Support Stream

Emotional Support Stream

While a central focus of this collective stream is to provide the emotional support we need, this is also a charity event; it will be providing a central avenue for donating and distributing financial support to artists who have been hit hard during this crisis. Thus, this makes this a truly landmark event for the scope of its goals, the sheer number of people who have come together to make it happen, its multi-genre lineup, and its unique setup.

Get ready to get down as The Emotional Support Stream is set to air from May 1 through May 3. Comprised of a massive lineup of the best in Bass Music from all over the world, don’t miss out on the amazing music and this opportunity to support each other during this time of crisis.

Watch it here: The Emotional Support Stream

The Sound Of Positivity

CHRISTIAN FRENCH plays Constellation Room Feb. 29; press photo

CHRISTIAN FRENCH plays Constellation Room Feb. 29; press photo

Christian French has had a phenomenal rise to success in a short amount of time. And it all began from quite humble beginnings. “That’s a funny story actually,” he says. “My friend came into choir class – at the time I was in a school where you either had to be in band or choir class and I was in both for a year. So, he came into choir class one day and we learned “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles. He came in and had learned to play that from YouTube and showed me how he had learned it on piano. And I was like, ‘I can do that as well.’ So, I learned that song and just started learning how to play all my favorite songs.

“That was going on for a couple of years and I started putting my covers up on Soundcloud. Gradually, I just kept getting better at piano and started writing my own stuff. After I found I could write my own stuff, I just kept developing it more and more. Once I got to college, I started releasing music through Spotify and compilation via my college. And it was in my college town that I met my manager and we came out here and that’s where we are at now.”

Coming up with a name is sometimes one of the more challenging aspects to being a musical act, but often times the simplest route really is the best. “That was the debate for some time,” states French. “But Christian French is just my name and my music is genuine as myself; there’s always the thought of thinking about a different name but it just seemed to fit and that’s all I can really say.”

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and French has shown he seeks it in many of the unlikeliest places time and time again. “It varies from time to time,” he reveals. “Sometimes, I will mess around until I find some chords I like that go together or write lyrics that I get inspired from. Lately, I’ve been tapping into podcasts and reading a lot of stuff from self-help books and taking away the main points from them – trying to apply those to my music and see If I can write a story around it.”

CHRISTIAN FRENCH; press photo

CHRISTIAN FRENCH; press photo

The concept behind Bright Side Of The Moon is simple yet powerful. “It’s based off this idea of consistently focusing on the bright side of things rather than letting all the negativity take over,” explains French. “That was kind of the theme of it, because from my own experiences and being in bummer situations one day I realized that I didn’t have to be so bummed out. It’s all about a change of attitude, and after I realized that a lot of things started changing for me for the better.

“I started taking the good things out of situations rather than being stuck on the past. I started seeing so much improvement in my life that I wanted to write about it and pass the knowledge along. And that’s what Bright Side of the Moon really is, and what the whole tour is about.

“We released Bright Side of the Moon last August. We hit a lot of towns on that one but not as many as I wanted to, so we are bringing it back around so I can hit all the places we didn’t get to last fall.”

Every artist has something that drives them, something that they are extremely proud of: “The reaction to it,” he describes. “My thing with music is as long as I’m having a positive impact on people’s lives is all I really care about. The response to my songs was so motivating…and not everyone who has this type of knowledge is going to know they can do all these things, and just putting it out there for people to realize has been amazing. I’ve heard so many great and life changing stories from fans who have taken it to heart.”

In addition to that is the sheer joy of playing live for his fans. “It’s just a whole other connection to the music,” French illustrates. “Being there with fans who I’ve talked to for months over social media, finally getting to see them live and rocking out with them… there’s just no feeling to compare it to. I mean, we have live drum and live guitar so it’s just a new energy for them to experience. Last tour was the first time I got to bring a drummer out with us and that just created a whole new vibe.

“There’s a couple that are always a lot of fun to play. “By Myself” is one that everybody knows, and I always have fun with. The same goes for “Love Ride,” and both those songs have a lot of energy to them. And then, one of my personal favorites is “Head First”. Every time I play it, it’s such a rocking song. So those would be three favorites I love to play.”

Getting ready for the next show is a constant process for every touring band, and each always finds their own unique way of combating the pre-show jitters. “We kind of do our own thing to try and get into the zone,” conveys French. “My thing is I go into a bathroom and start warming up – start stretching, going over my lines, and getting into a zone where I’m not thinking about anything else. Then a few minutes before a show we will get together, talk about the show, and a have little huddle to establish a base.”

The future looks bright for French as well, who is already extremely busy forging ahead. “I just started releasing this cycle of music and just released a song called “Time Of Our Lives,” he asserts. “We are going to continue releasing music this March/April and over the next couple of months. And are also going to be on this tour for the Spring as well. After that, the focus is going to be on doing a lot of college shows and hopefully be back on the road in the fall. I also plan on releasing a lot more music before the year is over as well. I’m super excited for 2020 and getting all of this stuff out there.”

Catch Christian French on his Bright Side of the Moon Tour Part Two tour, when he plays the Constellation Room on February 29th!

Fun In The Dark

CANDL; press photo

CANDL; press photo

“That one has a history to it,” explains Walter Morales, AKA CANDL. “Going back to my creative art side, CANDL came from a graffiti background. A buddy of mine from way back in 2007 basically gave me the name CANDL, because he said anytime I walked into a room I would light the place up and had a good spirit… that I had a good aura and was always smiling. So, he told me, ‘I’m going to call you CANDL because you’re a bearer of light’. So that’s what it means, it came from my graffiti roots and brought it over to this whole DJing and producing thing.”

His path from graffiti artist to Producer/DJ is one that developed naturally and influenced the way in which he developed his style. “When I first started learning how to DJ, I was into more techno and tech house,” he elaborates. “It was researching those kinds of sounds that led me to like the UK brand of things, like jagged house and bassline; for me, it just hit way harder and was a lot more creative than the stuff I’d be hearing.

“A lot of the tech house is good, and so is the US bass house stuff, but the UK bass stuff was so much heavier to me and so much more creative and when it comes to the dancefloor, I just love spinning that stuff. I always told myself I’d make the kind of stuff that I would want to spin. I still make tech house stuff and other kinds of bass music, but it always has to be creative and smack.”

The track “DTF,” shows his ingenuity for creating tunes full of warbling bass lines, catchy vocal samples, and a unique sense of rhythm. The atmospherics create the dark vibe CANDL loves to employ but this is also a track that sets a dancefloor ablaze; listening to the track instantly creates a vision of a dark club filled with bodies writhing in perfect unison to the beat.

In addition to his activities as CANDL, Morales also helped found one of the most creative and original collectives currently operating in Los Angeles. “Basically, with LO FREQS, that all came into the picture when I met my buddy John (Mèlay) at the LA Recording school and we were the only two dudes making house music in class… everybody else was basically pop, trap, or dubstep,” describes Morales. “So naturally, we got together as we were doing the same thing. One day we were having a talk about doing something real, John said he had a dope name that was LO FREQS and we just took it from there.”

Darkside 2 cover art

Darkside 2 cover art

Since then, the status and respect for everyone involved has only grown stronger. “We stayed on top of it and didn’t want to be another cookie cutter crew, so we focused on having our friends DJ and produce top quality sh**,” he adds. “I didn’t care if it was my own brother trying to get in, if he wasn’t hungry about it and doing quality material then he would have to earn his keep. We just had this idea of doing something big and different – to bring our kinds of sounds and sounds from the UK out here.”

“The Night” is a prime example of both CANDL and LO FREQS mission to fuse the UK Sound with their own original sound. Hypnotic vocal samples create a very LA kind of vibe while the specific tonalities of the bass are very reminiscent of the UK bass sound. Together, it creates a driving house track that showcases the power this specific hybrid sound possesses.

While starting out as a DJ, he eventually got involved in production due to its potential for expressing his own unique style of making music. “What got me into production?” asks Morales. “Basically, I’ve always been creative, and always been into the scene since about 2005… like house music and trance music.

“Creating music came much later, about 2015. I think what inspired me was just hearing a bunch of dope stuff and dope music from everywhere really, and the creative part of me just really wanted to create. I was an artist before that, doing drawing and painting and stuff like that. Being able to create just called to me.

“Producing is dope and it’s fun to get creative but being able to go out there and play sets/shows is an amazing part of it. Being able to go out there and influence people with sounds and ideas that you put out there, it’s a grand thing to be able to effect that kind of change and emotion… being able to take a person out of whatever drama they have going on that day and have them lose themselves in the music is a really good feeling. Studio time is just as valuable, that’s where the magic is made. You gotta be able to make that magic to bring out there.”

The Darkside EP is his newest release to date, and its inception as well as its content are landmarks in the ongoing development of CANDL. “The title of the EP resulted from the fact that the main track is called ‘Darkside’; that was the first track that got signed and the rest of the tracks came from that,” says Morales. “If anyone has ever heard my sets, I play a lot of dark/heavy kind of vibes whether it’s house or breakbeat, and it’s a style I’m known for. I’m not going to say G-House kind of dark or Bloodtone dark, but more UK bass which is darker and weirder. So, it just made complete sense with the kind of sound I have that I play on the dancefloor.”

Dark and weird is at the forefront of the sound of CANDL, and “Darkside” truly demonstrates his mastery of it. The mutated bass frequencies, glitchy synth motifs, and off-key rhythm employed throughout the tune create one that infects the brain and the muscles at the same time, thus making this a track easily enjoyed in any environment. The track is filled with ambient explorations as well as constant surges of effects that effortlessly combine the best of the studio world and the live environment.

“One of the things I’m most proud of about this is that it is my first UK label release,” he points out. “I’ve been playing UK stuff for so long so it’s only right to have those kinds of tracks come out on that label. Honestly, I wouldn’t want them anywhere else. I respect all the labels out there, and the ones out here, but it’s not really for me because of the style that I do. So, it feels more at home on Incursion Records; plus, the fact all those dudes are killing it in their own right and it just feels super right.

“I’ve got another EP dropping through LO FREQS, which is going to have five or six more tracks on it – that is just going to take the madness even further,” reveals Morales. “Also, super stoked on that release; really, the Darkside EP is my first EP release ever, as I’ve mostly been releasing singles and through compilations and stuff like that. This upcoming one on LO FREQS is going to be my first EP release on that label as well, and the fact that it’s getting released on the label I helped create just makes it that much more epic. I’m going to be able to showcase even more of that style that the Darkside EP offers.”

Out now on Incursion Records, Darkside EP by CANDL is a must-have release for any fan of bass music! And stay locked in on CANDL and LO FREQS, as things are only going to get wilder and more exciting!

K!NGS Reign Supreme

K!NGS; press photo

K!NGS; press photo

Bass music continues to get better and better here in LA. Mark Kingsley has long played an active role in this development; through his acts Da Moth and K!NGS, as well as co-producing Mutate Events and being the COO at Producers Social. K!NGS latest release is through the UK label Slime Recordings, which Transgressions Part 2 dropped February 7th.

K!NGS is a newer project for the producer with a unique history of development. “It’s actually a part of my last name,” states Mark Kingsley. “I wanted to use something that involved or used my last name, so I went with the kings thing and just dropped off the last few letters. And then I put the exclamation point because I live in LA and there is the Kings team so there’s that competition. So, for branding purposes I added that exclamation point.

K!NGS Transgressions Part 2 cover art

K!NGS Transgressions Part 2 cover art

“Basically, where Kings came from is that I have been making bass music going on for about twenty years now. I felt like I got to a point where I wasn’t feeling I could grow as fast as I wanted to so went back to my roots. When I first started DJing, I played a lot of UK 2-step and garage. I started looking back at some of the older music and became really inspired by it. So, I started tinkering around with that and it just came really naturally as it was the first music I got into when I started DJing.”

That older influence is readily apparent on the EP: Tracks like “Turn It Up” employ that classic beat and vocal sound that has long set dancefloors ablaze, with a funky type vibe and heavy bass line that everyone can get down to. “Gone” is much more restrained and mellow yet uses subtle breaks and FX to create emotive landscapes that fully affect both the mind and the body at the same time.

“So, I was still looking to make bass heavy and bass forward music, but more accessible to the mainstream, I would say, something more pop-oriented and vocal heavy, more happy music,” conveys Kingsley. “Most of the stuff I write for Da Moth is dark and psychedelic, and really heavy nighttime club music. I wanted to go on the opposite end and more explore another side of me and my art, like love songs and the pop-oriented material.”

Speaking towards the name of the EP, he elaborates on this idea: “I’ve spent the past 15 years creating a brand with my other project that was very strange, dark and psychedelic and that’s what a lot of people got to know me for…But being a child of the 80s, I’ve always had a passion for pop music and songs about love and heartbreak. I’ve always kind of hidden that side of me in my music…So I was working on K!NGS for about a year before I had the nerve to actually show anyone in fear of being judged I guess…So K!NGS really felt like it was this secret lover that I visited on weekends in my studio…I feel like it’s so far from what I’m known for that no one would get it…I am glad I finally got the nerve to share it because its honestly some of my favorite work I’ve ever done and I’m super happy to show this lighter side of me.”

K!NGS; press photo

K!NGS; press photo

“Wait For Love” is the best example of this lighter side. The beat is poppy and upbeat indeed, with synth melodies and effects that join the rhythm in evoking an uplifting mood. You can hear a little of his other side in the longing desire of the vocals, but nevertheless the overall atmosphere of the tune is positive and one that would get anyone out of a bad funk throughout their day.

One place this is demonstrated is in the song titles themselves. “Out of Love” has love in the title itself, but even the feelings created through the lyrics themselves and the melodies employed quickly recall the kinds of emotions we all experience when dealing with the complexity of love and relationships.

It’s a challenge producing music that satisfies all the spectrums of listeners out there, and Kingsley has spent many long hours fine tuning this into the hybrid sound he showcases on this EP.

“My first two releases as K!NGS were very 2-step influenced and UK sounding whereas this one I feel has more of my own sound,” he describes. “I was having trouble finding my own audience in the US and then got picked up by the UK label, so it’s had a lot of success overseas. Part of the reason for that here is I think it’s a sound that is a little different than what people into house are used to. They can be like “yea, its bassy” but aren’t really sure about it. And on this EP, I think there is a nice medium – like it has a lot of US House influences but still has that UK Bass/Grime sound when it comes to the lower end. I’m really proud of it because it has a very unique sound and there’s not much out there that sounds like it.”

K!NGS logo

K!NGS logo

“Let You Go” unites these two sides seamlessly. The bass is very deep and heavy, along with the hypnotic use of the melodic motif. The rhythm is driving and deep, contrasting nicely with the ethereal vocals that have a darker theme to them as well. There are a lot of subtle complexities employed on this particular tune and that’s why this is a great hybrid of styles from both sides of the pond.

Being a huge fan of the UK sound, it’s a huge success story for K!NGS to be featured on a seminal label like this one.

“It’s a really cool story…. They are called Slime Recordings, and pretty much my favorite label even before I got contacted by them,” says Kingsley. “I’ve played a lot of their music in my sets, and a lot of my current top ten producers are on that label. I got an email one day from the head of the label, saying they heard one of my tracks from a Spotify playlist and that they really liked it. Basically, asked me to put material on their label, and were starting a side label that featured fresh artists and wanted me to be a part of that. I sent them my release and they said, ‘Screw the side label, we want to put it out on the main one’. This is the second release on the label, they have been super supportive, and really done a lot to help me along the way.”

Expect big things from K!NGS going forward! Grab the EP Transgressions Part 2; and you can catch K!NGS live at his first official SoCal show, Lost in the Sauce, happening April 17-19.

BC Rydah And YESKA Beatz Keep The Jungle Growing

Yeska

Yeska

“I don’t know, it’s something about those breaks, you know?” says BC Rydah. “I feel more connected to those breaks and come from that kind of chemical music.

“When I got introduced to this stuff, I was watching Liquid Television, with Alex Reece playing on the videos and stuff like that. But it’s just something about those breaks, all the elements of it are dope. Like every single break that I’ve heard, every manipulation, just brings a lot of excitement to the dance floor and to the music.”

A stunning endorsement of Jungle music, straight from the mouth of one of LA’s best practitioners of the style. A part of YESKA Beatz, who run the local magazine Jungle Juice, he has been involved in bringing Jungle to the masses for over a decade now.

“My name, BC, stands for Beach City,” explains Rydah. “That’s pretty much what it means. I go by BC Rydah because that’s what I represent and it’s just a cool name that came together following a bunch of homies just kicking it and smoking together. I’ve been running with this since about 2009; before that, I had other names and monikers, but it wasn’t until this one that I started taking music and my approach to the sound and culture more serious.

“The jungle scene found me! Like, when I was a youngster, me and the homies used to listen to tapes. Back in the late 90’s, one of my boys gave me a jungle tape and a hardcore tape, and I also came across compilations. But I was always listening to other stuff, was always listening to like the Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method because Big Beat was really big around that time. That was a part of my introduction as well as having the LA Hard House scene heavily surrounding me. So it was like I’d hear all of it: whether it was on the radio or like having DJ’s come to our school dances and playing it there with our homies battling in circles and stuff.”

Like many, he ended up finding his way to the music via raves, shows, and the culture behind it.

“I was kind of always around electronic music, but it wasn’t until I was in high school that I started going out and going to raves. I remember going to this one party, it was a club that was a gutted-out hotel that they turned into a rave club. I saw R.A.W. spinning there and he blew me away with turntable techniques. It was that and another party, at Utopia, where they had hip-hop one day and drum and bass the next day. It was pretty much after those events that I was like, ‘This is what I do now’.”

What is YESKA Beatz? According to Rydah, “We are a Junglist movement, based out of Long Beach, that started in 2012. Our goal is to bring back good, real jungle music from this area. In the beginning, I was trying to do something different but now I really like how we are putting out a different sound than the rest of what’s out on the west coast. Originally at the start, it was a skate crew that I was a part of. Later we incorporated that with the beats and now, here we are.

“The name came together while smoking a blunt in a backyard and it just created itself. We have about twenty different DJ’s and producers who are part of the crew; we also have producers from all over the world who put out stuff on our label. We stay dedicated to the cause, making sure that the culture keeps extending and people get fed that knowledge and understanding.”

Jungle Juice itself is a magazine but the events that celebrate each release are also an integral part of it as well.

“The magazine was supposed to be a monthly thing, but dealing with issues and trying to stay organized we decided to start dropping the issue without it needing to be a monthly thing,” Rydah elaborates.
“When it comes out, it comes out. But whenever we do drop an issue, we are going to do an event; this way people are informed as well as entertained. Because these are all about everyone having a good time, coming out and having a good experience. I want people to experience what it was like for me when I got into music. It’s all about experiencing that love, that vibe.”

Throwing these shows takes a huge amount of effort and planning, and it’s his genuine love for the music which drives his zeal for putting the shows together.

“I’m really excited; it’s all about all these ones we have done but really excited for the artist who is coming out. He’s a good friend and I’ve done some art shows with him throughout the years, and really want people to see his talent. Next year is going to be really exciting, as it’s going to be coming back full force with the same Jungle mind state in a new area, and ready to be in your hands.”

The future of this movement is only gaining more and more momentum as time goes on, with a blistering amount of material in the works.

“YESKA Beatz has done about sixteen releases,” reveals Rydah. “We are working on the single series, which will have stuff from R.A.W./6Blocc and Ed808 and is beginning next year. It will be single releases every month with full album releases every few months, and vinyl releases every six months. So definitely be on the lookout for a lot of new dope releases from the streets of Cali and abroad. But the focus will be on our stateside Jungle sound.

“With Jungle Juice, everyone should just come out and support! A big thank you goes out to all those involved – all the crews, different promoters, Supply and Demand in Long Beach. We are just going to keep this thing growing and spreading the vibe!”