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 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

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!”

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!!

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!!