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!”

Complexity Breeds Creativity In Thank You Scientist!

THANK YOU SCIENTIST; press photo

THANK YOU SCIENTIST; press photo

Thank You Scientist. No, that is not a phrase but the name of a radically diverse band that is sweeping across the country. “I wish I had an entertaining story for it, but it was one of those things that I thought sounded good and fit the vibe of our music,” laughs Tom Monda of Thank You Scientist. “It’s not from Half-Baked like many people theorize.”

A rock band well known for their quirky style and dynamic sound; Thank You Scientist has been churning out their unique vision of progressive rock ever since their first self-release in 2011. One of the most interesting aspects to this band has been their evolution into the seven-person group they are now.

“The idea of the band was always to have an expanded ensemble, you know, as compared to the normal rock setup,” Monda explains. “And I think our sound has become more evolved to become more orchestrated and intricated and dynamic over the years. We want to continue that trajectory moving forward.

“Most of us are pretty big Frank Zappa fans, and there’s a lot of the seventies fusion stuff we all love. Bands like Tool and Mr. Bungle, too. “We are big fans of stuff like that. But as listeners, we’re totally all over the map so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact influence. But that’s what makes it cool, everyone has a pretty unique perspective.”

The band released their most ambitious album this year and every aspect of it is massively layered with details from its creation, to the songs themselves.

Terraformer… we called it that because it was the start of a new chapter with the band due to a couple new members and stuff like that,” divulges Monda. “So, it was like forging a new place to live so to speak. It’s a huge ginormous double album with lots of music on it. We are very proud of it and I don’t know what else to say except it’s got some of our most experimental music to date; I also think it has a very strong narrative and is a cohesive album and hope that people enjoy it.

Terraformer cover art

Terraformer cover art

“I’m very proud of the visual representation, how it relates to the music. It’s a very cohesive package in terms of the way the art looks; and the amazing art we had done by our friend, who did illustrations for each song. I think coupled with the art; it is the most immersive thing we have done. It’s something I want people to sit back with and just dive into. So, I’m proud of the fact that we were able to accomplish that with Terraformer, that kind of immersion.”

With the album complete, the band is now bringing it live to the entire county. “This is our first national tour supporting Terraformer, and it’s going great,” Monda states. “We had a sold-out show in Chicago the other night and the turnouts have been excellent. We are just having a blast playing all this new stuff for people.”

This is a band that seeks out challenges and shakes things up every chance they get. Monda notes, “I like the spontaneity you have at a live show, like the fact that we are so used to playing together so we have like little musical jokes. Or things that will happen during the set, like things one member will grab onto in a funny way. That kind of dynamic element is really great to me. And even though Thank You Scientist doesn’t have a super amount of room, I like the opportunity to get to improvise in front of people and make each night a unique experience in some way, both for myself and those listening.

“In our instrumental, our drummer always throws in a weird sample at a certain point in the music and we never know what it’s going to be. Last night he played a ridiculous sample of Alex Jones and the audience got so hyped about it. It was this thing, I’m sure people have seen it on YouTube, where he is ranting about goblins. But just to see the audience reaction to that made me laugh quite a bit. That was a highlight so far; wish I had a more profound musical highlight than something related to Alex Jones but that will have to do.”

It doesn’t stop there as evidenced by the way Monda takes risks even with his guitar itself. “I love playing the title track off our new album, Terraformer; a song that is played on fretless guitar which is always a challenge to play live. It just has cool, unique techniques in the song that are… every single night is tricky so that’s a nice challenge, but I have fun giving it a try. My failure rate is probably at 50% but hopefully it gets better as the tour goes on.”

How does such a large band effectively play such complex material together every night? “It’s typically drinking a lot of coffee and hanging out with our dog Max who goes on tour with us,” reveals Monda. “Everybody gets some dog snuggles, drinks some coffee, and has a powwow.”

The future shows no slowing down for Thank You Scientist. According to Monda, “Just today, we released a brand new single and video and hope people enjoy that. It’s nothing that is on Terraformer. Everyone can find that on our various social media outlets. It’s something really goofy and funny and I can’t wait for people to check it out.

“We are going keep touring in support of Terraformer for a bit as well. I know that me, personally, after this tour will be jumping back into the writing world and try to come up with as much stuff as I can. So that will be fun to hash out with the boys. We are just going to keep on grinding and see what happens.”

The Bewitching Cacophony Of FNGRNLS

FNGRNLS cover

FNGRNLS cover

“I use a lot of aggressive sounds, and at one point was using a lot of dissonance and it reminded me of nails on a chalkboard,” explains Zach Shrout, the creative force behind FNGRNLS. “Which is where I kind of got the name from. I just got rid of all the vowels and capitalized cuz it looks cool!”

A fitting description and glimpse into the sound of FNGRNLS, an act characterized by its sprawling exploration of electronic music. With a few releases under his belt over the past few years, he has methodically cemented his dark and challenging sound and is set to bring us another epic dose of it in the form of his upcoming release.

“The title is Ritual Sacrifice, and it refers to the sacrifices any creative makes,” describes Shrout. “Like, it’s a really isolating lifestyle, you know? It takes a lot of your time and takes a lot of time away from family and friends and relationships. So, it’s about the sacrifices we make in pursuit of our craft.”

A labor of love culminating from years of work, much of it has been influenced by his musical development. “I’ve been playing guitar and always been a metalhead my whole life,” he expounds. “I started playing guitar when I was fifteen or sixteen and was roughly eighteen or nineteen when I started messing with Fruity Loops. I was writing a bunch of metal songs and writing my own music and looking for a way to program my own drums and also record my own stuff.

“I found Fruity Loops, although didn’t know what it was; I had read somewhere that it was something I could use to program my own drums. I opened it up and found I could do so much more with it so started making shitty techno music (laughs). It was really bad, my early stuff. But that’s how I got into it. I messed around with it for a while and ended up taking a long break from it, then got back into it and started the FNGRNLS project and taking it all more seriously.”

One listen to the album and his desire to keep things interesting becomes readily apparent, from the tempo shifts in “Redlining” or the mutating melodies “Odyssey” possesses. “I’m a big fan of variety, I just like to keep it interesting. I get really bored making the same kind of stuff over and over,” Shrout remarks. “And I get bored listening to the same kind of stuff too. So, I try to make whatever it is that I want to hear, whatever I’m interested in listening to. And always ends up being a big variety.

“Originally it was going to be a three or four song EP with like trap,” reveals the producer. “But I just kept getting ideas and just ran with it, kept going with it until I didn’t have anymore ideas. That’s the thing, once I start making stuff, I just open a floodgate and just can’t stop. So that’s where it turned into an album. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened.”

The number of tracks alone signify this – but as you journey through it, the music itself reveals a wide variety of creative impulses as well. The downtempo pace of “Quench” employs a myriad of layers to create a unique atmosphere where each listen reveals something you didn’t notice before. For those desiring something to bang their heads to and fill their ears with glitchy noises, look no further than “The Temple Void.” Things get weird in the best possible way on “Double Dose (ft. VENMC),” a track that deftly blends trap with the of sound of deep dub and tops it off with some twisted vocals that make it.

“I feel that I leveled up on this album in just about every way,” says Shrout. “I feel like I’m finally at the point in production where I can make the sounds that I’m hearing in my head. So, what I’m proud of is being able to achieve what I wanted to with most of the tracks. They really capture the mood I was trying to create. “Guiding Light” or “Bloodletting” are two favorites of mine from this album.

“Guiding Light is a track I’ve been wanting to make for years. It’s kind of about loved ones who have passed on and how we keep them alive in our memories, we still remember the lessons they taught us and how they have helped us through our lives even though they aren’t here anymore. That’s kind of what the song is about and is one that I put off for a long time because I didn’t think I was a good enough musician or producer to do the idea justice. But I decided to just go with it and see if I could make it happen, and I’m really happy with the way that it turned out.”

FNGRNLS

FNGRNLS

One of the biggest challenges about electronic music is the tension between working in the studio and performing live, especially as every musician makes music for vastly different reasons. “I prefer being in the studio because it’s more relaxed and I can go at my own pace, there’s not as much pressure. I do love performing live too, but it’s just really nerve-wracking at the same time. I’d like to do more shows and have done radio shows and have talked to people about doing more of those as well.”

The production on the album is top notch, and it quickly comes across how at home Shrout is in the studio. The DnB influenced track “Doomshape,” uses the space that can be achieved in the studio to build a heavy vibe and create its dynamic sound. The subterranean bass which drives “Occultation” is another great example of his expertise, as each layer is thick and full, yet blends perfectly together without clashing.

“My whole philosophy in regard to electronic music is…like I said, I’m a big metalhead and that’s always been at the core of who I am musically. I feel that heaviness isn’t really exclusive to metal, so I’m trying to make music that is heavy without relying on guitars and insane drums and stuff. That’s a big driving force behind the sound of FNGRNLS, trying to capture and make darker textures and atmospheres and stuff to make music that’s aggressive and angry without being metal. These days I’m mostly into metal, the more extreme the better. But I still listen to it all.”

This is a lofty ambition, yet one he seems to effortlessly achieve. There is something for everyone on this album, whether you crave the heaviest of the heavy or something for dancing. Ritual Sacrifice is due for release November 20. It’s a release you do not want to pass up!

Journey Of The Kemst – Part 1

Kemst; press photo

Kemst; press photo

In today’s world of music, there are so many artists it is far too easy to miss the plethora of great art out there. What we seek out is different for everyone, but one element that always stands out is when an artist’s unbridled passion. Kemst is one of those artists; one who has deftly brought together the style of the streets and fused that with the surrealism present in beat music.

First came the creation of the name. “Originally, it wasn’t even a name for music,” he explains. “It was for graffiti and at the time, I wanted a different name. I had a few and was switching up and switching schools so I was like, I want a name. I was watching a bunch of stuff and saw Ghostbusters…. heard Keymaster and was like, ‘Whoa, that’s fresh’. After that, I realized that’s a lot to write and tag up and so I shortened that to Kemst. I had a few names to rhyme under since I was doing some hip-hop stuff but being creative I didn’t come up with another name and everyone was calling me Kemst, that’s who I was so I switch up.”

Next came the long journey into the world of music. “There was a piano in my house when I was a kid,” Kemst explains. “My sister could play, and I kind of wanted to play…. but I was doing other things so I wasn’t into it in that way. A year or so later, having been touched by hip hop as a younger kid, seeing cousins with turntables and everything, it stayed in my brain. Later, some friends of mine were getting really into it and I thought, ‘Yea, I’m down with that’.

Kemst; press photo

Kemst; press photo

“I saved up money from allowances and got some belt drive turntables. Started playing events like my sister’s engagement party, house gigs, birthday parties and whatever so I was able to upgrade to a full sound system, though not by our current standards of a sound system. That was the first time I was trying to make it and got the first consumer sampler keyboard. I would sample the b-side of Public Enemy’s “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos”, which was “B-side Wins Again.” So, I’d get that and you had to tape the key down so it plays the sample…and you have to get the loop and it’s a real short sample time, you either got it or you don’t. I never could record the full thing cuz people would always open the bedroom door or something like that.”

The early nineties were a wild and diverse time to be into music; electronic music was first starting to make its presence known, while we still had the weirdness of rock as a dominant force along with hip-hop beginning to take over. Kemst took full advantage and dabbled in pretty much everything.

“I was DJing for a while, just doing that and wasn’t rapping or anything like that,” he elaborates. “About ‘93-’94, I got into a couple bands: one was a hardcore band I did cameos with called Hateface; and I used to get up and spit freestyles with one called LA Downset, like 90’s era hardcore style and my graffiti crews were in it as well. I was also in an acid jazz band called Indigenous Colors for a couple years, and we did record some stuff. There was one EP we recorded but it was never released. Actually, I got with them because I got on the mic at a party and afterwards the guitarist hit me up. It’s funny cuz everyone in that band had timing and desire – the trumpet player went to DaKah the hip hop orchestra; the sax player was with Ozomatli – everyone was doing something …. I don’t know if it was just luck or timing.”

Jungle music started coming into the LA scene around this time and grabbed hold of him like nothing else. “Then I was a cajoled by a friend to go to his house, to hang out with his friend who I went to high school with, but we didn’t really hang out back then,” recounts Kemst. “And that guy was Deacon, to hear his mixtapes and just know the strength of this DJ…. R.A.W., Deacon, and Machete – that was the row going down. Curious on top too, those were the local original rude boy crews you know? THAT was recognition. Before that, it was the pressure crews, and that had Markman who now does Markman Sound. He now teaches at SAE and at the Musician’s Institute and is just a heavy sound design and Ableton cat.

Kemst; CD artwork

Kemst; CD artwork

“A lot of people were just doing things because the Internet didn’t exist in its current form and so you had to really seek it out. It was still the era of, ‘I don’t know if your cool enough to have this tape’. After that, I was still making music, but it seemed like everyone was collecting the best of drum and bass because all of it was coming out on vinyl and there were ten records per city. So, if you were buying it, you were getting the most out of date stuff in the world because the timeline of a tune was that fast. It was really quick and that didn’t really interest me, I was like ‘I’ll never keep up’.”

From the get go, he sought to differentiate himself and found highly creative ways of doing that. “So, I would just buy a lot of old soul, jazz, reggae, and dollar bin hip hop,” says Kemst. “Especially the instrumental sides since nobody listens to these songs. So those instrumentals were fresh when you played it.

“I was making music, but nothing got saved; and now it’s come to, since that time and ever since dubstep manifested…work time and hustle all came together to where you could finally have a computer that recorded what you want. It wasn’t a tower or anything, but I got the stuff…maybe not all the right stuff…. I was working with Cubase at first and got monitors way too big for my space, but that setup led me to reason.”

The rapid technological development became both a blessing and a curse for Kemst. “I was frustrated and was trying to get with the learning curve!” he expounds. “This was ’06-’07 and at the time was coming back from a double hernia surgery, had a bum knee, and thought I was done. I had no diaphragm and couldn’t spin; the year prior had been in the streets for a minute….so I was really finding redemption. That setup, that manifestation and after only a year getting back into it, I’m all of a sudden being quoted as the dubstep guy even though I was still playing drum and bass stuff.

“And as I moved over and was playing these other shows, I always made room for other dudes to get on the mic too; I’ve always been cool with everyone trying to do their thing. We kicked all that around to other people a few times and using Biggie samples until I said ‘Teflon’, which becomes the tune with Kelly Dean and Steady, Orange County dudes.

“It was a wicked tune via Smog Crew, and that reverberating to where Excision and Datsik did their remix. That became the anthem for a while and to a lot of people, as far as the term dubstep goes, and was known as one of the ten greatest dubstep drops.”

The journey is just beginning……stay tuned for part two!!

The Mystical Energy Of The Acid Kings

ACID KING play Satellite Oct. 11; photo Ray Ahner

ACID KING play Satellite Oct. 11; photo Ray Ahner

“The band name came from a True Crime book I read called ‘Say You Love Satan’. It’s about this guy called Ricky Kasso who killed… well, let me just cut to the chase: He was called the Acid King because he was the guy who always sold acid,” laughs Lori S of the band Acid King.

Born in the San Francisco bay area in 1993, they have been forged in blood and fire since that time and are currently delivering their blasts of distortion across the country. With such a long history, it comes as no surprise this band has a storied career.

“I moved out here from Chicago and didn’t know many people,” recounts Lori S. “I wanted to start a band so back in those days, we put ads in papers because there wasn’t any Craigslist or social media or really the internet very much. So, I put an ad in the local paper, a like music/cultural paper I guess you would say, about looking for members.

“A bass player reached out and my ad said something like ‘Looking for someone into Hawkwind and Monster Magnet’. Peter Lucas, our very first bass player, reached out and we met and had a lot of things in common – same books, same career, listened to the same music. Obviously, it was a really easy decision that we should play together.”

“Then, the drummer… well, we didn’t have a drummer, so we started writing music together. I was at a party, with the one person I knew in town, and basically just shouted out “Does anyone know any drummers?” and this guy responded, ‘I’m a drummer!’ That was Joey Osborne and that is how he became our drummer.”

Over the course of their history, they have released four studio albums and two EP’s. And this is where the story takes a fascinating twist, especially with their album Busse Woods.

“The record was released in 1999 on this record label that’s no longer around called Man’s Ruin Records; Frank Kozik was the owner of that label” she recounts. “If you don’t know him, he is a very popular artist, and did a lot of poster art for bands back in those days. So, he opened up a label and really took to our kind of music.

“As I think back to 1999 – again, no social media, minimal internet – it basically just kind of came out and had press and so forth, though you can imagine the kind of limited press it got back then compared to now. It was just sent out to magazines and college radio stations. Then our bass player quit and there were a lot of personal issues going on within the lives of the band members, so basically nothing ever happened with that release. It came out, never had a tour, Brian Hill – the bass player on that album – quit, and the record really never had anything.”

This is an all too common story over the course of rock, as well as all music history. Yet, this is only the beginning of the story.

“Twenty years later, because of social media and charts and stuff, we found out that Busse Woods is the most popular release we have and over a million people have listened to the songs on the record,” explains Lori S. “It was like holy you know what! We had no idea. So, I decided, ‘You know what? It’s high time. It’s been twenty years now and it’s the anniversary. It is time to have a record release party and time to celebrate this release that it never had’.”

As to why this album has remained, and even gained, popularity among people all this time later is a mystery, albeit a pleasant one.

“I was pretty surprised to see that,” she says. “I love the record, there’s a lot of awesome riffs on there. “Busse Woods” is one of my favorites to play… it’s super heavy and totally gets into your butt. “Electric Machine” is I guess like a hit, as far as hits go… if there was a hit by the band that would be it as our most popular song. I think a couple of the songs are just accessible to more of the masses, and for whatever reason those songs struck a chord with them. But I have no valid reason why that happened. I guess those were really great songs people like and it’s awesome!”

Experiencing such a revival on an album that was released under the radar, it’s a testament to how social media has changed the music landscape. Which is a very good thing as now there is less of a danger of losing great music to the march of time.

“You used to buy a magazine or go on a website to read and see If you liked this band then check out this band,” elaborates Lori S. “But today, you go on Spotify and it’s all in front of your face. You’re not spending a bunch of time at the record store and reading magazines to see if you can find something new. It’s kind of a bummer cuz that was super fun and a part of the whole experience.

“But now, the word spreads. Because of YouTube your videos are out and all over. It’s so much easier for people to find you since it’s there in front of your face and you’re not even searching. It’s definitely made it a lot easier for bands, like ours or even those not as popular who don’t have a PR machine, to sit there and put your music out and random people are able to discover it easily.”

Being a heavy rock band, the live show is a key element for this band who has plenty of excitement for the current tour.

“It’s always awesome when people show up, number one,” muses Lori S. “While they are showing up, its really awesome if they are an enthusiastic crowd. It’s fun to see familiar faces who have been with the band from the beginning. It’s really fun now to see new people because the genre of music has gotten so much bigger. Lately, seeing people who have never seen the band and only heard of us for the first time even though the band has been around forever.

“It feels good to know your music has made an impact,” she continues. “Hearing people say, ‘the music really helped me cuz I was going through a bad breakup or bad part of my life and I put on your record and it made me feel better’. I mean, people find whatever touches them in the music and that’s super gratifying to me.

“As far as this particular tour, I’m excited because I’m spending money on this tour for lighting, projections, bringing a sound person; I’ve tried to strategically have shows at particular venues. You know, trying to have a higher production value and out on a special show. I don’t just want to show up and play, I want it to be an experience.”

Acid King are out on tour behind the re-release of Busse Woods. Make sure you catch the fire and the glory as they bring it to life center stage full force!!

CAMP TRIP Brings It All Together

CAMP TRIP is upon us and only a week away! The excitement behind it is so thick you could cut it with a knife. From its humble beginnings as an outing amongst friends, the core members (Patrick, Keekz, Daniel, Devan, Shawn, Gio, Corey, Mark) have turned it into one of the defining festivals in the LA underground.

“It’s kind of funny how it all ended up coming into place,” describes Keekz. “We used to throw house parties called Test Party. We didn’t even know at that time why we were calling it Test Party. We had CD-Js on both sides and had about four of those parties.”

“It makes no sense thinking back,” adds Patrick. “And it got to be too much cuz it turned into two stages and like, this is a house. We were going to go to Joshua Tree one weekend with a bunch of people. And it was a busy weekend and even getting there early we weren’t able to get any spots. We had two hours to figure out what was happening or to tell people not come out. We were taken to some private lands but it was all barbed wire and chained fence so that wasn’t gonna happen.

“Then, we were told about some BML land and thought, ‘Should we get in on that?’ So, we checked it out and it was just a dry lakebed. We researched for a minute and were down to the wire and told everyone to come now. I told Keekz to bring some speakers and stuff. It was tiny and only about twenty people. And it was so awesome that a month later we did it again, that being the first pre- CAMP TRIP. It was by total accident we even found that land.”

From there, the momentum started to build behind it as the event became more elaborate.

“We had one again in Joshua Tree where we brought an ice cream truck,” says Keekz. “That was the first time we hooked up with Shawn, Geode, and Daniel; they brought the lights, trussing…like full production. Nothing compared to what we have now, but at the time it was huge to us. I mean I started with bringing some Monoprice monitors I had and now we a have full Cerwin Vega setup with full stacks. That was also the first one where we got involved with the Big Booty Bass guys and bringing them out and getting them involved.”

Yet, like every festival event, unfortunately some hiccups occurred along the way.

“After that, I went and helped do a show in El Mirage,” Keekz continues. “It was like two weeks before we were gonna do another CAMP TRIP and we thought, ‘Why don’t we just do it here?’ It was a really stressful moment for me because I just wanted this party to go off without a hitch, I had put a lot of money and effort into it. And then the cops showed up.

“At that point, we knew we had to do it on private land. So, my friend Jerry, who builds bots and does the show Battle Bots, knew someone who had a property and would be willing to help us out. We met up with him and he said we could work something out.

“I went to the property and was just like, ‘This is dope. We have to do something here.’ And that was when it got crazy, when it became a real festival.”

“After the party, the owner of the property formed a bond with us; he really liked us, how we treated the land, the vibe of our people, the messages that we were pushing,” explains Keekz. “He wanted to keep working with us and since then we have a contract with him to do it out there.”

And it’s that exact thing that has made CAMP TRIP the success it is. Talk to anyone who has ever been, and they will respond with nothing but passion, love, and excitement. In addition, a genuine devotion to the CAMP TRIP slogan, “Be Human Again,” is readily apparent by all who support it.

“In this world where we are so sucked into our phones, to our jobs, the money, the status…. we’ve lost track of what it is to be human to each other; how to interact with each other without all those things clouding our vision,” conveys Keekz.

“It’s kind of like an art project, which is weird to say about a festival, but it’s like a video or a painting or all of those,” explains Patrick. “It’s a snowball we don’t control anymore. We don’t really hire anyone to do things, everything is accomplished because people want to help do the stuff that needs to get done. And there’s more people that want to help than we ever expected. The founders of CT only organize the higher end stuff really.”

“I like to say we basically build the skeleton of this beast and the people populate and make the meat,” Keekz adds. “If it weren’t for the people who come to the party, it wouldn’t be what it is.”

It’s this spirit of community and inclusivity that stand at the core of CAMP TRIP; in Keekz own words, “Every part of culture belongs at CAMP TRIP.” At every event, from the main festival to the fundraising events known as Bass Lift, there is a warmth and community presence that glues everything together in a way that is special and unique.

And it has always stood at the heart of CAMP TRIP.

“When I first got to LA, there was this wall up with everyone; everyone has something going on, but they don’t want to work together. They just want to do their own thing and that’s all they care about. But that’s the problem. I think right with where we are at, bringing all of these pieces together and breaking down those walls…. allowing people to realize, ‘Wait, if we work together, we could do something way better than we could by ourselves.’ And even after that, if someone decides they want to stop, someone will be there to carry the torch. If we build a greater community here, we could build a launchpad that would be strong enough to start sending our DJ’s out to other places instead of always importing these other DJ’s in.”

The lineup for this year’s festival is mind blowing. There is a huge lineup consisting of all the best in local electronic/bass music talent while also bringing live music acts as well. The stage production and light show are already of legendary status that must be seen to be believed. Some comedy acts will also be performing and interacting with the festival residents as well.

Yoga sessions, workshops, a tie-dye station, games, vendors of all kinds, the Surreal Saloon, the consensual butt touching zone, the Zen Den, and art displays fill out the event, further establishing the notion that literally everything really is at CAMP TRIP.

In addition, the Jenkem Jungle returns in even more epic fashion, making the bathroom area part of the festivities as well. Trash can be recycled at Recycling land for goodies and merch. And in a display of true heart, there will be a wall where pictures of those lost can be cherished and remembered.

In the end, CAMP TRIP is such an extensive event with so many facets coming together, it’s impossible to describe and convey everything there. It truly is something that can only be experienced, and easily establishes itself as something everyone needs to attend at least once in their life. Grab your tickets today while they are still available!!

As the founders of CAMP TRIP love to say….

“Come Join Us And Be Human Again!!”

Mèlay Brings The Boom

Mèlay;press photo

Mèlay;press photo

“I used to be really good at Super Smash Brothers Melee when I was 14,” explains Xavier Velarde of his DJ moniker Mèlay. “My brother used to drive me to tournaments and stuff because I couldn’t drive myself. So, I’d play and he started calling me Mèlay and it stuck.”

An LA based house DJ known for his unique style of mixing and music making, he has had an intense journey to become the artist we know today.

“My older brother and my uncle used to spin old booty breaks, stuff by the 619 boys and that stuff,” he says. “I used to sit there and watch them spin, and they spun at old clubs back in the day. I started playing with it and taught myself, and eventually they started teaching me stuff. They were like, ‘If you really wanna get into this stuff, you’re gonna have to learn the hard way’. So, yea, I got military drilled by them on how to DJ.

Mèlay; press photo“I started on vinyl and also using tape decks – you have two tape decks and in the middle is a mixer. You’re pretty much mixing tapes. I hated it; it was really hard. Vinyl was much easier cuz with tapes your rewinding and fast forwarding, it was a hassle.”

Despite the difficulties, this did little to deter him from pursuing a path in music.

“From there, just started getting into sounds and eventually started producing,” Mèlay elaborates. “I started DJing when I was about sixteen and went to engineering school for live production and audio engineering. I did that ‘til I was around 25; after that, it got to me while doing shows and seeing all these DJ’s play and just felt like, ‘I could do this’. So, I just went back to school for production and now it’s been three or four years since I’ve been producing.”

One of the most common discussions in electronic music is the debate between DJing and producing, and Mèlay has his own distinctive spin on it.

“At this point, since I’ve been DJing so long… I love DJing and its always been one of my favorite things to do. But once you get to a certain point and you know you can DJ, you don’t need to go that in depth into it, as long as you know you’re good at what you’re doing. So, I focus more on production now so I can go out and spin my own songs.”

In addition to making music, Mèlay is a founder and central figure of the collective known as Low Freqs – one dedicated to spreading much needed deep and dark house/bass grooves.

“Low Freqs started when I was going to engineering school. I had the idea but didn’t know anyone into the same music as me at my school. When I went back to production was when I met Walter Morales, aka CANDL. I brought the idea to him cuz he was the only one in my class making like UK House and all the grimy stuff. Everyone else was making pop and dubstep and country and stuff. So, I brought him the idea and after we all graduated was when we decided to dive into it and make it an actual thing. Along the way we met other people and started bringing them in. We have about ten people with us now.

“I feel like we are a little bit of everything. Events, collective, label… I’m trying to make it like a full circle thing. Lately we have been focusing more on label stuff just so we can get our music and our friends’ music out there. And trying to be an outlet for the people making the weird kind of music we are making.”

On that note, his brand-new release, The Boom EP just dropped and is filled with his trademark sound and grooves.

Mèlay "The Boom" EP cover

Mèlay “The Boom” EP cover

“My EP is something that, like the name of it The Boom, I have been trying to get out since the beginning of this year and hadn’t found the right tracks ‘til recently,” describes the producer. “And just trying to make this new genre-esque thing called ‘Sewer House’, which is House but a little bit darker and grimier. kind of like jungle infused with darker techno house. It’s a little weird. But I finally found three tracks and put them together; they are my three favorite tracks of the weird stuff that I make. Just because it’s different and weird doesn’t mean that it can’t be good.

“When I was making one of the tracks on there, it’s actually called ‘The Boom’, which I called it that cuz of the computerized sample, which was an old LL Cool J sample I used to mess with when I used to scratch,” he continues. “But the boom is pretty much… because I went through a long period of not producing because my brother passed away. For about five or six months I wasn’t producing, I was still playing shows but wasn’t producing at all. I had an epiphany one day that if my brother was still alive, he would be pissed. He would always push me to keep producing and keep producing. It was like a boom in my head and I thought of it like The Big Boom to kick me back into producing.”

All four tracks explore the deep and dark side of bass. “Step Wit” employs an infectious bass line with its steady groove that gets the body moving. “The Boom” is heavy and deep, evoking the feeling of getting sucked into the floor. The ethereal vocals and hard as nails punch of “Get Lost” create a grimy track anyone can get down to. And lastly, CANDL delivers his breaks remix of “Step Wit,” where he mutates the addictive bass of the original and fuses it into his singular vibe.

The album art is especially eye catching and pairs nicely with the music itself.

Mèlay; press photo

Mèlay; press photo

“I was sitting with Walter and he asked, ‘What do you want it to be?’ I wanted it to be simple and impactful, a simple image,” expresses Mèlay. “So, we ran through random slow-motion videos of guns shooting bullets and took a still of one of them. I just ran with it and we started dropping effects and colors on it and made it what it is now. I just wanted it to represent a big boom, like how big it was in my head to finally realize I should be doing this harder than I am.”

The future is jam packed with releases and events for Mèlay as well.

“After this EP, I’ve got a couple remixes of some underground hip hop songs I’ve been loving a lot that I’m gonna put out. I also have a desert show coming up on the 21st of September called Intercepted, which is pretty much an Area 51 themed rave in the desert. There is also the AYCE cheat day takeover for Low Freqs on October 2. After that, all the songs I’ve been building up and sending out to labels… one of those is going to become a single for Low Freqs again. And then we are releasing CANDL’s EP at the end of October. In November, we have a pretty big event coming up where I am playing the Jackson Tree Music festival. That’s one of my favorite places to ever play.”

Make sure to grab The Boom Ep today, available on all platforms!!

Nightcallers Deliver The Wave Of The Future

Nightcallers

Nightcallers

There’s a new band hitting the sound waves, going by the name Nightcallers. Emerging out of thin air, they are now dropping a flurry of songs on us without any warning. With songs pulling from every style and direction, their album Who Calls At Night is a real treat for the ears.

“Phil and I have really put a lot of this together late at night,” explains Ben of Nightcallers. “We call each other late at night on the phone. We are heavily inspired by things like AM Coast to Coast and radio shows after midnight. So Nightcallers was one of the few connotations that connected to all of that.

“Another inside joke for us is that we have been friends for a really long time, and when we were in our very younger years, we used to do…..in the days before caller ID or whatever…….we used to call into the news and do prank calls and stuff like that in the middle of the night. So that’s another aspect to it,” elaborates Phil of this enigmatic group.

Once you hear their music, it’s readily apparent a lot of thought, urgency, and passion went into it.

“It’s something we have been working on for the last year,” says Ben. “Phil and I have known each other for almost twenty years and have come together on a myriad of projects. We never really worked together solely on one project and are both definitely on the same page on a lot of things about pop music and music history, and the things we appreciate and love. It was a challenge, in a way, to ourselves, to create something and not wait around for people to say yes or no to it, to not dilly dally around it. Pack something in with our full force and a singular vision to it.”

Nightcallers "Who Calls At Night" album cover

Nightcallers “Who Calls At Night” album cover

“We wanted the ability to move at the speed of creativity,” ruminates Phil. “And that’s something we are both really proud of about this. We have been able to get everything out there in a pretty expeditious manner without a lot of hang-up’s and waiting around.”

Every album is written differently, through the use of innovative methods and also by the personalities involved.

“The whole record was written chronologically, and it’s also a story that goes on throughout it,” Ben states. “So, it’s almost like we were working together to create this story, and then each song we knew had to be the next chapter to the story. We worked really fast back and forth and pushing each other on it. We only finished the record about two or three months ago and started getting it ready for release.”

Nightcallers have their eye on the button of the future, seeking new blends of disparate elements.

“One of the things I asked myself when making this record was how can we do something that feels modern and almost has an EDM sensibility sonically, and has pop song structures; and melodic elements that hearken back to much more vintage, classic lounge and pop and rock and new wave sensibilities that we feel are underrepresented right now in the pop/EDM artists,” conveys Phil.

“Phil and I are pop aficionados in like all genres of pop,” Ben discloses. “There’s a lot in certain styles of music where the sounds are so cool but there aren’t a lot of pop songs in that style or genre. So, we almost wanted to take some of the sounds from different areas and create more classic songs using them. We also had no rules a little bit about what could or couldn’t be a part of it. We weren’t necessarily starting a punk band that had to stay within certain lines. We wanted to create a band in the future that could pull from music that has and even hasn’t happened yet.”

And they pulled out all the stops to make something truly postmodern in today’s music world.

“This album is a story and a concept,” Phil asserts. “What is the soundtrack to the not so near distant future? So, what is music going to sound like in the near future but what are going to the be classic hits of that near future? And those are the soundtracks to our story.” Phil explained.

It doesn’t end there with the surprises of this band. There are still the live shows to anticipate.

“We haven’t been playing any shows yet, but we have been planning on what we might be doing for that,” reveals Ben. “It would definitely entail a production, like a stage production…we might spend a few dollars on lasers, and we would bring out all of our smoke machines.”

“A lot of the instrumentation on the album is live innovation and live performance, but done in a way that sounds more programmed than they are,” says Phil. “It wouldn’t be hard to do, but it has to be a big concept, it has to be worth doing that production.”

With plenty of live experience between the two of them, their excitement to bring the album to the stage is there in spades.

“The great thing about playing live, and what we would really look forward to with this project is……Phil and I kept this really under wraps so now the best part is sharing it with people, and share the entire experience you are trying to create,” Ben maintains. “Bringing them into the fold and sharing this moment that everyone is a part of. The cool thing about live performance is that it’s different than records, different than movies, different than what you watch on YouTube; it’s still this combustible organic thing that happens, people come together and get on the same wavelength. It’s a special thing about music no matter what genre you are talking about.”

“What I really look forward to is because the record tells a chronological story, and it’s written chronologically….I think it would be fun to have things that would help tell that story and get people in on our concept of how we are envisioning it – what the story, the visuals, whether it’s having a film playing behind us or have rockets that lift off or a spaceship,” Phil explains.

With an album that hearkens back to many of our favorite things of the past, such as fifties pop songs and new wave postpunk delights, while also fusing that with new sensibilities, their music often feels like you already know it yet surprises you with things you aren’t as familiar with. No matter your taste in music, this is one release not to be missed!

“One thing we want to warn people about is…. Nightcallers are real so you better watch out!”

WATCH: “In A Bad Dream” Video

Tom Keifer And His Livewire Rock-N-Roll Come To SoCal

Tom Keifer plays The Coach House Aug. 30; photo James Christopher

TOM KEIFER plays The Coach House Aug. 30; photo James Christopher

High-energy. Dynamic. Fire and brimstone. Visceral. These words help define rock-n-roll, both on and off the stage. Tom Keifer and his band are on course to deliver all of that once again Aug. 30 at The Coach House.

Keifer sang in the Philly rock group Cinderella, and went on to release a solo album back in 2013 The Way Life Goes. It was a labor of love that took nine years to perfect, and was released to critical acclaim. Unfortunately, some legal trouble caused it to get pulled from the shelf. Simultaneously, Keifer had to have voice surgery which caused delays in touring/recording schedules.

All of that is overwhelming, but a recurring theme in rock-n-roll is perseverance through struggle. And without a doubt, he is a shining example. Keifer fought for and obtained the masters to The Way Life Goes – the deluxe version of the album (with the bonus of a few new tracks) which he released in 2017.

Heading to one of his shows, Keifer says to expect “a high-energy, loud screaming rock show; it’s a rock-n-roll show” complete with Cinderella classics as well as the tracks from his solo outing.

“I’ve always really liked playing “Nobody’s Fool” live, that one always feels good to me and I like singing,” Keifer said. “Out of the new stuff, lately we’ve been doing the title track, that one has been fun. There’s a couple there I’ve been having fun with, singing and playing.”

TOM KEIFER

TOM KEIFER and band; photo Tammy Vega

While the album was made over several years, the touring band has remained constant.

“When I started touring the record, it’s pretty much been with the first people that walked in the room the first night,” Keifer explained. “With the exception of this year, we have a new drummer and a new keyboard player, which was our first member change. Much like the first auditions, the two new guys were the first ones who walked in the room. It’s all been pretty effortless, and the chemistry has been great from the get-go.”

This chemistry even continues off-stage.

“On tours I have done before this band, everyone kind of stays to themselves, and watches movies, and there’s lots of distractions of different kinds of entertainment going on,” Keifer divulged. “But honestly with this band, every night we just get together and hang out and talk.”

Being a mainstay of the rock world for over two decades, Keifer has a unique perspective on the ongoing debate over rock being at death’s door.

“That question always comes up, if it’s not in vogue, say in certain media outlets or radio formats, then oh, its dying,” Keifer explained. “But as long as it’s being created, and it’s being enjoyed by the fans and the people out there, then it’s alive.”

Thus, Keifer remains determined as ever to continue bringing rock music to his fans.

“Playing live is my favorite part of what we do, it’s great to get out there and play live and share that moment in the music with the fans,” he remarked.

“I get nervous every night, brother, as long as I’ve been doing this. I love what I do, and I want to be, you know, give it my all every night. My main instrument, being my voice, it’s flesh and blood.”

All in all, Tom Keifer is amped for his dates on the west coast, commenting, “We are out rocking and love seeing everybody at the shows.”

Airglo: Storming LA And Beyond

AIRGLO

AIRGLO

“It’s basically the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” describes Mikael Oganes, better known as Airglo, of his namesake. “It’s when you’re in the desert at one of the raves and you look up and see this giant beautiful sky and it’s all glowing and everything. But honestly, its cuz there was a show I was performing, and this chick comes over to me and says, ‘When you perform, the air is glowing around you!’ And I was also thinking about my new project and what I was going to call it and everything, and was like…Airglo, sounds cool. It’s very majestic.”

Airglo has been pumping out a flurry of music in the last new year, from remixing GOT to releasing his own productions. As a classically trained musician, he has a unique lens to look at drum and bass, with a serious passion for the genre and its high production standard.

Oganes has had an epic and storied path to get to Airglo as well. “I’ve always been in music, graduated from universities being a classically trained piano player,” he reveals. “Then transitioned into being a keyboardist/producer and started producing on Ableton as soon as I graduated around age 24. I started continuously started finding more and more inspiration from, and was very hard into the techno world for at least two and a half years. Actually, went to Texas and worked with this band called Seek Irony, and that’s where I kind of going more into electronic rock/metal and everything.”

“I always loved Drum and Bass, it was always in the background,” says Oganes. “Always listened to Dilinja, Roni Size, always, always. I wandered off of techno cuz I wanted something faster, kind of more…. I was always a metalhead and DnB is kind of like the metal/punk of EDM. So distorted bass, distorted riffs with a nice fast beat, it was just a total no brainer getting into producing DnB.

AIRGLO live

AIRGLO live

And a short time later, that’s exactly what happened. “Somehow, I started working with this band and they had this drum and bass track I really, really loved; I kind of made a remix of it, my own drum and bass remix, and remember thinking this is so cool!” explains Oganes. “When I came back to LA after working with that band in Texas, I started going to Respect shows, Xcellerated shows, and getting more and more active in the scene.”

“I released my EP called Spring, not the time of year but the coil spring, because I’ve always felt drum and bass has this spring inside,” conveys Oganes. “People ask what do I like about it and I tell them ‘I like the spring.’ They ask, ‘What do you mean?’ And it’s that every time that drum and bass plays, its like wearing spring shoes…like being elevated.”

Like many artists in the DnB scene, his love for the studio knows no bounds. “The endless possibilities!!” he declares. “Endless possibilities of mixing everything…. genres, sounds, sound design. Basically, for me the most fun part about it is grabbing something that not necessarily would be a drum and bass track and reinventing it as a drum and bass track. Or even as a bass track.”

“You can break ground with drum and bass more than any other genre right now,” Oganes elaborates. “You can do anything. Like with the Urbandawn remix of Come Together, that was crazy the first time I heard it. That’s what I love about production. With all the DAWS’s, the newer tools, and these crazy plugins; when you start going into them, you realize its unlimited. It’s literally a rabbit hole of ‘I can do anything I want.’ You can create a whole track from recording yourself going ‘Aaaah’ and you can create the whole track out of that.”

AIRGLO live

AIRGLO

Yet, he also has an intense love of the dancefloor and the live energy found at shows. “Reading the crowds, getting them to…. cooking them slowly but surely, going with them, taking them on a journey,” he affirms. “Having people go with you, like as an artist performing, and watching them go with you and respond to every little trick that you do. I’ve been through my years in different formats: as a band format, as a classically trained pianist format, there’s different formats and for a while, was even a wedding DJ! But still, when you get people dancing, and moving, and move crowds with your music…. great feeling, it’s the best feeling ever. You feel like we are all in this together and its very tribal, and it’s a very good feeling.”

Throughout rock and dance music history, classical and street music has intermingled to create some highly unusual and entertaining art. Airglo is no exception, “When you’re creating a drum and bass track, it’s more like making a collage than writing a score. You have more leeway, freedom, and movement as you’re the one telling everyone where it’s gonna go. In drum and bass, you have everyone telling you how they want it to be and you have to be, ‘here’s how it is.’

“So, I find myself writing more melodic drum and bass because I have that musical thing,” Oganes explains. “I put little harmonies in, cuz people underestimate harmonies. Harmonies and melodies, they move your soul…they get you to feel that beautiful energy, and then you crush it with a crazy drop, so it’s like a beauty and the beast thing.”

Airglo is fired up and set for a busy year of releases. Having already released the first video Chase My Desire and also recently dropping the second video of his 3-part horror series, “Rings of Saturn” you can look forward to the final installment on September 1st. Make sure to check out his remix of The Grind by Keekz along with his upcoming release on Impossible Records, Bob – O with Armanni Reign “Sick (Airglo Remix).”

In addition to all this, he is trekking cross country to spread DnB to new places as well as furthering its strength back home. You can catch him at Ernie’s Bar in Shreveport, The Green Elephant in Dallas, CAMP TRIP in September, and a Momentive later in the year!

Keep an eye on Airglo, via Soundcloud and his website!
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