[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: My Top Trance Tracks

One of the great things about meeting people in the EDM scene is we each have such unique tastes in what moves us; take me for example – I’m a sucker for some floor to the four beats but I love me some dirty dubstep and vocal trance. Actually, let’s just be real – I love it all!

The other day, a new friend of mine got to talking about favorite trance tracks and he sent me away with some homework: my mission, should I choose to accept, was to create a CD with ten songs – seven favorites and three absolute classics. Well, I’ve been bumping this mix now all morning and can’t get enough – so I thought I’d share the wealth =)

#1. First State – Falling (First State’s Stuck Parachute Mix)
#2. Above & Beyond present Oceanlab – Lonely Girl (Gareth Emery Remix)
#3. Aly & Fila ft. Jwaydan – We Control the Sunlight
#4. Armin van Buuren ft. Jennifer Rene – Fine Without You
#5. Aven – All I Wanna Do (Ferry Corsten Remix)
#6. John O’Callaghan – Save This Moment (Gareth Emery Remix)
#7. Lange ft Sarah Howells – Out of the Sky (Kyau & Albert Remix)
#8. Markus Schulz & Departure – Without You Near (Gabriel & Dreseden Remix)
#9. Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes ( G&D Sweeping Strings Remix)
#10. Tiesto – Everything (Cosmic Gate Remix)
(Bonus) – Tritonal – Hands to Hold Me

Oh, Snap: Concert Photography

There’s something to be said for combining two of my favorite pastimes and fueling my creative fire; I’m a sucker for live music, especially the electronic kind as I’ve more than displayed on my blog – and to boot, I have this new obsession with photography.  Capturing a person in a moment is one thing; capturing a community in a moment is another thing entirely.  In some situations, people might look at me like “Why is this girl standing still on the dance floor? Don’t you realize my legs want to stretch seven ways until Sunday on that spot you’re stuck in?” – but in our little EDM community. We were made out of  PLUR, kandi, lasers, confetti and a shared appreciation of all things EDM. Being able to capture that moment, share it with friends and strangers alike and relive it together – that sums us all up in a nutshell.   Besides, what good is a great time if you can’t share the wealth?

Here are some of my favorite concert snaps from the past few years; they still bring me back and give me goosebumps. Enjoy!

Porter Robinson, Hollywood Palladium

Max Cooper, King King

Krewella, Exchange LA

All Day I Dream of Cities and Angels

Bones, The Nokia Club

 HARD Summer

Cosmic Gate, Hollywood Palladium

Above & Beyond, The Shrine

Pendulum, Avalon Hollywood

Judge Jules, Vanguard Hollywood

Ingrosso + Alesso, Hollywood Palladium

Kaskade, Hollywood Palladium

Pryda, Hollywood Palladium

Tiesto, Ten Nightclub

Infected Mushroom, Sutra OC

Coachella

Trance: The Natural Evolution of Classical Music

Music, like math, seems to run in the family; both of my Grandmothers sang and played the piano.  My dad is a master of the guitar and the cello, which he brings out of the old closets every now and again.  My mom grew up playing the piano and still loves playing the guitar and piano as  hobby.  Growing up, the musical staples in the household were CCR, Johnny Clegg, Eric Clapton, U2,  the Jackson’s in any combination, and the soundtrack to La Bamba.

I picked up the flute when I was in 3rd grade; don’t let anyone tell you differently than this: it’s a difficult instrument!  I went from having a basic flute, to a silver flute, to a flute with open holes called the ‘French Model’. The older I got, the more modified the instrument became but my love for sports and physical competition outweighed my desire to play. (Fun Fact: The bone flute is the oldest recognizable instrument, coming in at 40,000 years old.)  Ironically, after I left the basketball team as a Sophomore I dove right into my music history class and joined the choir.

The more I studied the different periods of classical music, the more I picked apart modern music and saw it in context with society. The music genre says something very specific about the culture and era of the people that both produce it as well as absorbing themselves in it. The first CD I ever bought was Offspring’s Americana, my first mix tape was Hip Hop and R&B with the likes of Next, TQ, Nas, TLC and 2Pac.

By the time I was old enough to both understand what those rap songs were talking about and be annoyed by emo screaming, I’d gravitated towards electronic music and have dabbled in pretty much in subgenre, but Trance was my first love.

There were little to no vocals, and if they did exist there were sweet and delicate; much more pleasing to the ears. In my opinion, modern day trance is the natural evolution of classical music as a genre.  Songs contain harmony, modulation, and thematic development; they more or less follow strophic form and much like with classical composers, modern producers have essentially attained demigod status.

Most of my favorite DJs have a weekly broadcast on Digitally Imported Radio, which covers all genres of Electronic Dance Music – more commonly referred to as EDM.  I could go on and on and on about all of the different trance DJs and what they each bring to the genre, but I’d rather have you listen for yourself.  If you wanted to ask what my favorite trance tracks were, look no further than the Trance Thursday playlist below.  And if you still want more, check the links at the bottom for a few of the DJs and broadcasts I can’t live without.

Tracklist

  1. Lange vs Gareth Emery – This is All Out (Heatbeat vs Lange Edit)
  2. Andain – Promises (Myon & Shange 54 Summer of Love Mix)
  3. Tiesto ft Jes – Everything (Cosmic Gate Remix)
  4. Ørjan Nilsen feat. Neev Kennedy – Anywhere But Here (Radion6 Remix)
  5. First State – Falling (First State’s Stuck Parachute Mix)
  6. Maz Zo & Arty vs Oceanlab – Satellite Dynamics (Mat Zo Remix)

Podcasts: