[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.

[The Audiofiles / Music Monday ] Keepin’ It Moving

In standard, normal, everyday time it’s really only been a week since I’ve been home from Lightning in a Bottle but truth be told it feels like another century ago; another me ago, even.  If you want to get down to brass tax – yes, in all honesty the weekend was absolutely transformational, mercurial and magical all at the same time.  I’ve spent the past week in a solid state of reflection about life, the universe…and literally anything and everything under the sun.

My love; my life.

Part of the reason Lightning in a Bottle was such a big deal for me emotionally was that it represented multiple turning points in my life.  First and foremost, back in 2010 I actually had a ticket for LiB – but because I was just diagnosed with Vasovagal Syncope  I sold my ticket to get my health back on track.  The year after, in 2011, was my best friend’s bachelorette party in Vegas and there was no way in hell I was missing that – so this year, my adventures to and at LiB seemed more than necessary and slightly overdue.  Then mix in equal parts falling in love with my boyfriend while two of my best girl friends leave LA for Montreal and Boston respectively, and I had a whole mess of a machine to figure out for myself. Phaedra and Jessica represent two different worlds of friendships to me, but are equally loyal and loving friends; it was a blessing to have them get to know each other last summer and as people have always said – how lovely it is that I’ve met two souls who make saying goodbye so difficult.

It’s not that I define myself by the friendships I keep, but I place a lot of value on their opinions and moral codes; then again, shouldn’t we all?  In the absence of both of them I’ve been doing some soul searching and emotional wandering with this mantra in mind: we’re all cups, full to the brim of emotion and with each interaction with others we’re constantly tipping out our emotions and being refilled by the thoughts and feelings of others; I’ve come out of my shell within the last two years and maybe the shape of my cup has shifted, or I’ve switched from still to bubbling water.  Either way, I’ve watched myself grow – mature – evolve – and I simply don’t have the same needs, nor the same amounts of patience, that I used to have.  Meaning a lot of introspection into what it means for me to both have a friend and be one.

Besides taking time to detox and emotionally decompress, this past week has been about intertwining friend groups and developing the framework for future plans and ideas.  Simply put, every since LiB there’s been a sense of passion, dedication, creativity and urgency from my group of friends – business plans, life goals, trajectory altering decisions – they’re being made en masse and I couldn’t be more impressed.  As my boyfriend put it – they didn’t call it the ‘Maybe Lab’ and they don’t call it the ‘Do Lab’ for nothing; we can’t wait to see what’s possible when we put our minds together for something positive!

Besides the introspection, we did manage to have a bit of fun over the past week:  last Thursday I discovered that one our of favorite DJs and Producers – Pretty Lights – was playing a free show at the Amoeba records in Hollywood so I went with a few of my guy friends and had an absolute blast! He even freestyled for us – so legit.

Pretty Lights gettin’ funky

And now, for the next two weeks, I’ll be doing absolutely as little as possible as I get ready for the ruckus and shenanigans of Hard Summer!  Just because I’m not out and about prancing to the beat doesn’t mean I feel like sitting still – so here are some jams to help you get through your Monday – your week – your whatthehellever – just dance!

Tracklist:

  1. TJR – Whats Up Suckaz
  2. Disclosure – F For You (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix)
  3. Skrillex & Damian Marley – Make It Bun Dem (Dead Battery Remix)
  4. Major Lazer – Get Free (Ft. Amber Coffman) (Andy C Remix)
  5. Fatboy Slim & Riva Starr – Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat
  6. Sound Remedy – Chiaroscuro (Original Mix)
  7. Boys Noize – Starwin
  8. Diplo ft. Mike Posner, Boax van de Beatz, RiFF RAFF – CROWN
  9. Mounties – Headphones (Sleepy Tom Remix)
  10. Neon Jungle – Trouble (Monsieur Adi Remix)
  11. Foreigner – Cold as Ice (A.Skillz & Nick Thayer Bootleg Remix)
  12. Major Lazer – Bubble Butt (It’s The Kue Remix!)
  13. Gareth Emery & Krewella – Lights and Thunder
  14. Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Kinetik Groove Remix)
  15. HeRobust x gLAdiator – We Are
  16. Rusko – Lift Me up
  17. Deadmau5 – Suckfest 9001
  18. Knife Party – LRAD (Erotic Cafe Remix)
  19. Calvin Harris feat. Ayah Marar – Thinking About You (Laidback Luke Remix)
  20. Krewella – Live for the Night
  21. Sleepy Tom – Let It Go
  22. Tommy Trash vs A Trak – Tuna Truffle (Tommy Trash Coachella Snack)
  23. Matthew Koma – One Night (Vicetone Remix)
  24. Smallpools – Dreaming (The Chainsmokers Remix)
  25. Capital Cities – Safe & Sound (Panic City Remix)