[Artists Spotlight] Something Different with Banks and Tech N9ne

If you’ve been following this blog since its inception, you’re more than aware of my affinity for all things EDM; from festivals to intimate clubs, amazing remixes to fresh artists I can honestly say that I love it all.  However, one thing that’s been driven into my head lately is that there really is too much of a good thing.  One of my favorite quotes goes ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation‘ and I should have been more willing to apply that to my taste in music.   Over the course of this year, I’ve found myself with more than just a hand in the music industry’s ‘cookie jar’.  Back in January, my good friend and I co-founded Beatnet EDM  to provide a fun forum for EDM fans and  concurrently, I  began penning articles and reviews for The DJ List,  one of the largest Global DJ resources since ’97.   Suffice it to say, I’ve essentially over-saturated this precious brain of mine in untz, driving basslines and the sound of sweet synths and I’ve been yearning for something more.

Now, I haven’t always been an EDM junkie – once upon a time I listened to everything under the sun; not that I don’t still appreciate all of it, but I do have a method behind my madness.  Back in the late 90’s and in early 2000, I’d just discovered Trance and House – DJ Encore & Angelina, Tiesto, Benny Benassi –  but spent most of my time listening to acts like the Dixie Chicks, Yellowcard, Eminem, New Found Glory, Montgomery Gentry, TI, Outkast, 50 Cent.  Over time, the Pop lyrics were simple and the melodies repetitive; the Alternative guitar shrills, Punk drum snares and Emo noises blended together; the lyrics coming out of the Hip-Hop and Rap camps were overwhelmingly misogynistic, drug fueled and  money hungry.  Needless to say, at the time I wanted something more – and that something more was Electro.  I was sick of people dictating my emotional state with every quarter note and EDM gave me the opportunity to feel something absolutely different each and every time I listed to a track like Tiësto’s ‘Flight 643’.

Little did I know that I was more or less creating a bouncing, breathing EDM monster; there’s no way around it, I was hooked….but like I said earlier, everything in moderation – including EDM.  I’ve gotten to the point that I’ll listen to five or six songs in a row and they all blur together – artists that are completely unrelated sound absolutely synonymous and my worst fear has actually come true: I’m bored.  No, let me extrapolate – it’s far more than that: I’m not being mentally stimulated or driven to feel a profound emotion like I was before; I don’t get lost in the music – I simply find myself wanting more. More than those monotonously repetitive chord progressions, more than beats that bombard you with bass , more than music that inspires the people around me to rage face and get plurnt.  I like music with a message – whether it’s telling me one or I can derive one – I like music with a purpose, music with meaning.  And lately, it’s been harder and harder to find it.

And let’s face it, it’s not just me – my boyfriend is a shining example of a faithful festival goer who loves his dirty beats and vocal trance, but over the course of the past year he’s become fed up with the monotony of the music industry and has more than begged me to diversify my tastes and branch back out into other genres.  A few weeks ago, we went up to San Francisco for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and I was immediately reminded why I used to love acoustic music, crystal clear vocals and real instruments. So, I thought it’d be the perfect time to branch back out into the genres I’ve formerly loved and see what else is out there.   I’ve been doing some prowling over the past few days and I’m excited to share what this bouncy kitty has dragged in.

Her Name is BANKS

I literally just stumbled on her today and already have to confess something: I have the tinniest little girl crush on her!  Her sultry voice feels like silk on my eardrums and her seductive r&b infused indie rock sound is absolutely refreshing. I’ve been riffling through her discography and she’s worked with an all star production cast including two of my personal favorites, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Jamie Woon.  Yes, there’s admittedly an electronic influence – but it’s just that, an influence – an afterthought.  Banks reminds me of Jesse Ware, Landa Del Rey and Fiona Apple – but with more of a bite. 

Tech N9Ne

Little known N9ne fact for yea: you might know him for his ridiculous flow, but the veteran rapper is gaining recognition in the business world as being the mogul of the Hip-Hop  Industry.  Between his record label, Strange Music, tours, merchendising company and recording studio – he came in as the 18th highest paid rapper in the business last year. Tech N9ne has been around as long as I’ve been listening to rap, and based on the sound of his new album – Therapy – he and I share similar feelings, just about different industries.  He’s reached out to several people in the Rock and Metal scene including Limp Bizkit frontman Wes Borland and the multi talented producer behind the likes of Slipknot, Korn and At the Drive In – Ross Robinson.  His vocals still pack the same powerful punch as when I first started listening to him – but now, with the combination of the 808 and live instruments I’m completely enthralled and drawn in.  I’m impatiently counting down the days til November 5 when Therapy hits iTunes and can’t wait to hear what he does next.

[Doing it Right] SF + Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I gallivanted up to our home away from home – San Francisco – to attend the 13th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.  The festival was started by Warren Hellmen, a philanthropic investment mogul with an affinity for the city of SF, bluegrass music and the community surrounding both.   Though he passed away in 2011, his legacy – and festival – live on through a legacy fund he set-up.  The event is entirely free and full of the most ridiculous intersection of people ever; but hey, who doesn’t like free, right?! I’d say that easily half a million people showed up, but it could’ve been nearly 750,000.  Old hippies, young hippies (which, by the way – it actually costs of money to look that poor), families, stragglers, groups of friends, groups of couples, etc, etc.  We only went for Saturday but that was plenty for me!  I caught part of Elvin Bishop and then it was off to see Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz.  We saw all of Boz Scaggs, who gained notoriety as the head guitarist and sometimes lead vocalist of the Steve Miller Band; he ROCKED!  Then we sauntered over to see Los Lobos Disconnected – a unique, acoustic set by one of my childhood favorite bands; and finally, to wrap up the day we headed back to see Natalie Maines, a third of my childhood favorite country group the Dixie Chicks. Other than the festival, we spent the weekend eating amazing food with great company.  I have to admit, it’s the first time I’ve been home with my man and resigned myself to just doing family stuff – and it was wonderful! If this is growing up, I can definitely get used to this. Now, onto the pics – enjoy!

Good morning, San Francisco!

Last time we were in the city, my man wrote a thank you note to my family; it was beautiful seeing it up on their wall!

Starting the day off right with some Old Vine Zin and fabulous cheeses!

HSB!

Golden Gate Park