ARMNHMR Evaluates Red Rocks, Branding & Genuine Relationships

Rising melodic bass duo ARMHMR has quickly grown into one of the most successful acts in all of electronic music. With official remixes for the Chainsmokers and Adventure Club accumulating millions of plays and support from just about every major DJ around the world, it's safe to say that this duo is headed nowhere but to the top of the scene. With over 68k followers in the first year of going public on Soundcloud, ARMHMR has made a name for themselves by cultivating unique experiences with each and every track they release.

By intertwining their film scoring roots with captivating melodies, unconditional samples, surprising breaks, and cinematic intros, Joseph Abella and Joseph Chung come together to create a group unlike any other in the game. Their latest original release "WANT U" has quickly racked up over 200k plays in the first two weeks of going public. I was lucky enough to catch up with these humble individuals making thier Colorado debut at a sold out Global Dub Festival at the historic Red Rocks Ampitheatre this past weekend.

This epic set ranged from Boombox Cartel's "Alamo" to Eptic & Trampa's remix of "Get With the Program", RL Grime's "Reims", Marshmello's remix of "Alarm", Donald Buck's "Bloodclat", and San Holo's "Light" followed by the Crankdat remix to compliment multiple unreleased tracks along with fan favorites such as their newest remix of the Chainsmoker's & Coldplay's "Something Just Like This". All in all, this set was nothing but absolute perfection from start to finish. Our conversation was both insightful and motivating to anyone looking to get involved in music either as a fan or as a producer. At first glimpse this interview might seem a little lengthy but I can assure you it's worth reading from start to finish. With out further adu, I'm proud to present an interview with some of the most hospitable artist I've dealt with in quite some time. 

*BFS = Bass Feeds the Soul JA = Joseph Abella JC = Joseph Chung*

BFS: Wow guys that set was absolutely incredible! What was your experience like getting to perform at Red Rocks to all those people?

JA: The crowd was absolutely amazing. This was a once in a lifetime experience. 

JC: We’ve heard so much about this venue and to be able to play it is an absolute dream come true.

BFS: Awesome! Glad to hear it. Dating back to the beginning, what originally got you guys into music? Was this venue an inspiration for you at any point?

JA: Definitely. Red Rocks is one of those legendary venues that you just have to play. For years as we were coming up in the scene we idolized certain locations and getting the chance to play this venue in particular was extremely fulfilling.

JC: We originally made music because we absolutely love it. Music is our passion and to be able to step on that stage and perform for thousands of people was just icing on the cake. 

BFS: For sure! In my opinion one of the reasons you guys were able to get to this point so fast was because of how mindful you were of building up ARMHMR as a business and a brand rather than just as a hobby. Would you mind speaking a bit about the creation of the group and what this idea of branding means to you?

JC: To begin with, ARMHMR was created because I listened to a lot of old school electronic music (Boys Noize, MSTRKRFT, Digitalism). I loved the directions they were going in and I loved the alliteration of removing vowels and changing up the spelling. As far as the business side of things, if you love a project so much that you want to do it for the rest of your life, you HAVE to treat it as a business in order to maintain that longevity and stay relevant. We love building up this project as a business because it means doing anything needed in order to make it succeed. 

JA: Building something from the ground up is hands down the coolest thing we’ve ever been a part of. We started off playing the side rooms with only one or two people and to be able to grow this project into what it’s become today for people that we’ve never met to enjoy is so amazing and inspiring.

BFS: Would you mind speaking about your life before ARMNHMR?

JA: I was studying to be an engineer in college. I don’t think I would have gotten to the point I am today if it hadn’t been for meeting Joe. It’s crazy how things work out in a certain way because I was already on track to do something else. 

JC: This project was fate. That’s the most special part about it. We were both on track to do completely different things and at the time Joe was a film major and I was a public health major. Something hit and there was a reason why we met. 

BFS: What does the name ARMNHMR mean?

JC: It was originally spelled “Arm & Hammer”. As I mentioned before I was super into guys like MSTRKRFT and I loved the way their name looked. I decided to do the same thing with the spelling of our name and that’s how ARMNHMR came to be. This was 5 years ago by the way so taking out vowels in your name wasn’t really a thing back then. And to be honest, if I could change the name today would I do it? F*ck Yea. I’m not afraid to say it. But, I will say that ARMNHMR has turned into a household name and that’s a really beautiful thing in and of itself. 

BFS: It’s only been a year since you guys have gone public. I’m sure there was a ton of work that went into your career prior to releasing your first track. Would you mind speaking about the hard work and perseverance that got you to the point you’re at today?  

JC: Behind every successful artist there are so many things that you don’t see. 4 or 5 years of countless grinding. We came up through the club scene where you literally needed to bring a certain amount of people or you weren’t going to get booked again. We had to do SO much work to get these people into these clubs. Fast forward to now and we got through it. It just goes to show how much you can achieve if you just keep going. You gotta keep working no matter what. 

BFS: What advice do you have to producers who have been producing for a long time and feel like giving up because they haven’t quite found their sound or they haven’t been able to make an impact on the scene in the way that they had originally hoped? For you guys, I think you blew up so quickly because you hit this melodic bass scene at the perfect time. How did you develop your sound into what it is today?

JA: For the real OG ARMNHMR fans, we did Melbourne house and we did progressive house. You name a genre coming up between 2012 and 2015 and we did it. For any producers out there who are struggling, just work on recreating your favorite tracks. With time and perseverance you will have an “ah-ha” moment where you realize that you can create anything that you want. You need to have the ability to fight through those brick walls. I think everyone is capable but not everyone is dedicated. We’ve been doing this for 5 years and beyon anything else we want to connect with our fans by showing that we are not extraordinary people. We put in the time and the effort and kept pushing despite seeing people fail around us and now here we are today playing one of the most legendary venues on the planet. 

JC: There are so many people who have put in a tremendous amount of time and got nowhere. That’s definitely extremely unfortunate but at the end of the day it’s all about who you invest in. From both a business and a personal level your friends and close acquaintances are 100% going to be the ones who help you get over that wall. You need to make sure they know how important this is to you because this is truly all or nothing. People don’t really understand that concept until they’ve been there but we don’t have a plan B. It’s both a blessing and a curse because we don’t want to have a plan B but it’s definitely a bit unnerving to recognize that if this doesn’t work, we’re screwed.

BFS: Definitely! Following that idea I don’t think a lot of people realize the monetary commitment that comes along with launching a brand. Whether it’s pouring money into marketing, promotion, or social media platforms could you talk a bit about what this commitment has been like for you as group and how you’ve developed the team that you work with today?

JC: We put a LOT of money into making sure that ARMNHMR grows. We work so hard because ARMNHMR is our career and it needs to keep growing in order for us to succeed. You need to sacrifice your income. These are the things that really make or break how serious you are about your brand. Our manager Alex is willing to go to the ends of the earth to make sure ARMNHMR grows. In the past, Joe was struggling just to pay rent. But that’s what you have to do in order for your brand to succeed. You need to put all your money into the brand. If you don’t succeed and you aren’t investing everything back into your brand, that’s exactly why you aren’t succeeding. 

BFS: What advice would you have for artists looking to launch a brand. What’s the RIGHT way to launch a profile?

JC: INTEGRITY. How bad do you want it? Are you sad to the point where you’re depressed that you aren’t doing well? How important is this to you? To Joe and me this is literally everything to us. We’ve been working SO hard for 5 years straight to get to this point. How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to succeed? You need to put it all on the line. It’s not all just about the music. In a perfect world it would be all about the music but in the world we live in today, you NEED to treat it like a business. Otherwise, you’re not going to get close to succeeding. It’s tough but that’s just how it is. 

BFS: Couldn’t agree more. I was looking back over your profile and I notice from the very first track you guys put up you started amassing crazy stats. I know this has to do with the quality and creativity of the track but would you mind speaking a bit about the promotion that went into your first few releases in order to get it in the ears of the right people?

JA: Make friends. Make genuine relationships. We’ve come up with a lot of producers that are thriving today. We all help each other grow. We use competition in a healthy way. Being social and being able to get your name out there in the producer community is such a huge thing. 

JC: You gotta invest in your friends. This is why we do well. We have so many important people around us. Quality over quantity. That’s exactly what we do. Our friends will go to the ends of the earth for us and that’s exactly why we’re here playing this venue today. 

BFS: This musical community you guys are currently involved in whether it be the Chainsmokers or Adventure Club is obviously a huge deal and something that producers around the world would kill for. Would you mind speaking about how you established these relationships? 

JC: We got lucky! It’s all about luck sometime. The Chainsmokers supported our original track “Fallen”. Scott from Slander heard it and thought it was dope and ended up sending it over to Alex from the Chainsmokers. From there on, the rest is history. 

BFS: Totally! As far as gaining the respect of other successful producers what were some of the first ways you guys got yourselves on the radars of people who you looked up to but had never met?

JA: I think it’s just about putting yourself out there. We tried to meet as many people as possible because I think most people are genuine once you really get to know them. It’s about putting yourself out there and for a lot of producers this can be tough because we all have social anxiety and for the most part we’re all introverts at heart. It takes a special kind of person to be able to sit in front of a computer screen for 16 hours a day. You gotta get out of your comfort zone because you never know when the next person you meet might change your life forever. We were fortunate enough to grow up in the LA scene where producers like Slander and NGHTMRE were coming up right around us. I actually used to live with a few ICON graduates even though neither of us went to ICON ourselves. Making those key and genuine relationships are what really matter in life. When you meet these huge artists (the Chainsmokers, Adventure Club), they recognize that we’re genuine and it helps to build a friendship based off of trust rather than stats. 

BFS: So you mentioned that you didn’t attend ICON. I take it you didn’t have much formal production and musical theory training growing up then?

JC: Neither of us had any formal music training. We both used to be in bands but that's about it. He played the guitar and I played the tenor and alto saxophone. I’m not saying don’t go to ICON but I am saying that it is very possible to do it without it.

BFS: Definitely! I feel like that’s a huge problem for our generation because people feel like they NEED to go to college in order to be successful when in reality there are so many producers all around us that didn’t go to college and are thriving today. Illenium is on this bill tonight and he’s a perfect example of how far you can get without a formal education. 

JC: I agree! I think that’s where the resilience and perseverance comes from. Are you really willing to sacrifice everything? If you’re not then dude, you’re not cut out for it.

JA: For all the kids out there, when you’re in college or just growing up for that matter, if you know that you want to do music then you NEED to commit yourself to it. It does get harder the older you grow. In some regards we wish we had started when we were younger but at the same time it’s great because things are working out exactly as we had hoped. You really need to put in the time when you have. 

BFS: How did your parents feel about you guys committing to music full time?

JA: To be completely honest growing up in an Asian-American family it was tough to tell my parents that I wanted to do music with my life. I don’t mean to be stereo-typical but it was hard to explain to our parents what we were doing. They were definitely supportive of us but I could tell at the same time that they were somewhat reserved because they had no idea what this path had in store. They won’t tell me that they don’t want me doing music but I know in their minds they’re hesitant because at the end of the day art is subjective. You can’t say something is good or bad because something that’s amazing to you might suck to someone else. 

JC: My dad was a famous singer in Korea and my mom was a dancer and my sister was a singer who had great success in music on Youtube. In a lot of ways I was set up to do this an I’m extremely lucky to have been raised in such a musical environment.

BFS: Awesome well I’m really glad everything has been working out well so far! Are you guys ready to answer a few lightning round questions real fast? 

Definitely! Let’s do this.

Favorite food?

JA: Chinese Food

JC: Chicken Breast

Xbox or Playstation?

JA: Xbox

JC: Playstation

Favorite Game on those systems?

JC: FIFA

JA: Destiny. But I will say we’re more computer guys. We love League of Legends.

What’s something that’s overrated and underrated?

JC: Hennesy is overrated. Tequila is underrated.

JA: Yeezy’s are overrated! Clash of clans is underrated.

Pet peeve and/or something that's unacceptable?

JC: When people ask too many questions. When people ask me too many questions beyond what I need to know it gets exhausting. 

JA: Non-productive time. I can’t conceptualize the act of being bored when there are always so many great things to do.

BFS: I hope I’m not falling into the realm of asking too many questions right now!

Oh no definitely not! We’re having a great time and appreciate you taking the time to interview us this has been an awesome conversation.

BFS: For sure! Well just to wrap things up here I know you had mentioned how you hate wasting time. In my personal experience when I’ve really dedicated myself to something I’ve noticed that it tends to both positively and negatively effect the relationships around me. Have you guys had any similar experiences in your lives?

JC: For me personally, it was tough at first. At the end of the day, it’s who you hang out with and who you associate with. when they see you succeed they’ll understand why you didn’t want to go out on those Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The friends who accept you for who you really are are the ones who you need to cherish because they really know you better than anyone else. When we played at NRG last night, those are the friends who came out to support us. And they’ve seen us play a million times! But it’s super cool that these same people are there for you when you have nothing to when you’re finally succeeding.

JA: Your close friends will know how much you sacrifice. I’ve had to turn down going out so many times. The ones who stay around and are genuinely invested in your success are the ones who care about your happiness. Ultimately you need to be happy with yourself.

BFS: Definitely! it seems like you guys are super happy with yourselves and it’s a huge testament to why you’ve been able to build this project into what it is today!

JA: We have the coolest jobs in the world man. We get to go around the world and meet people we would have never met otherwise. I have absolutely nothing to be upset about.

BFS: Cool well just a couple of quick producer questions for those who are still reading! If you could only have 3 VST’s what would you use?

JC: Sylenth, Sausage Fattener, and Spire

JA: Valhalla, Serum, and Neutron

BFS: When you guys were finally perfecting your sound, how did you feel about using presets?

JA: We tried to be as original as possible. The more we grew as producers the further we tried to distance ourselves from using sounds that other people had created. In order to stand out you’ve got to use your own samples and patches. 

JC: I mean you CAN use presets but what works for us is we sample things that other people wouldn’t normally think to sample. I by no means think it’s wrong to sample other people’s stuff but figuring out how to make it work is crucial.

JA: And when I say sampling we mean like taking a random ass baby’s laugh and turning it into something completely new and unique. I don’t necessarily condone exactly sampling something from someone else’s track but rather figuring out how to use a certain sample in a way that’s out of the box. Don’t try to be someone else. You need to try to pave your own path. 

BFS: For sure guys and I think something that stands out to me the most about you guys is those epic cinematic intros. Would you mind talking about how those come into existence and what gave you the inspiration to do them?

JA: Those ideas are all around us. As a film major I was super into foley and soundscapes. The idea of setting an atmosphere is huge especially in music. 

JC: We take the element of surprise very seriously. What can we do to refresh something that’s already been done. In my opinion a good intro is a great way to captivate the listener. 

BFS: Totally! As a closing thought here where do you guys see the whole melodic bass scene headed over the next few years? Are there any elements that are really standing out to you guys?

JC: Melodic music is continually on the rise. We’re really about creating tracks that are timeless. 10 or 15 years from now what am I going to be listening to? If we can make timeless music then I think people will always be able to relate back regardless of what year it is.

JA: I think authenticity is huge. We try to be authentic to ourselves and to us, ARMHMR is being able to show everyone that we’re just regular guys who happen to be able to portray our lives through our music. 

BFS: Awesome well thank you guys so much this has been a phenomenal conversation!

JC: THANK YOU!!!!

JA: Thanks so much man it’s been a blast!

Keep up with ARMNHMR via these socials:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0P2bZXPyjHYRW4guHVAFl1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ARMNHMR/?fref=nf

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ARMNHMR

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/armnhmr/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/armnhmr

Interview Conducted and Transcribed By: Cooper Turley

 

 

 

Justin Caruso Discusses Life & New Single "Love Somebody"

Justin Caruso is currently redefining the limitations of an average college student by balancing a full course load at the University of Southern California with chart topping remixes and originals for acts like the Chainsmokers, Ellie Goulding, Blink 182, and Justin Bieber just to name a few. His debut single “Talk About Me (feat. Victoria Zaro)” (a fellow student at USC) racked up over 1 million streams in the first week along with reaching the #2 spot on Hype machine and the Soundcloud Dance Charts along with reaching #44 on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts. He’s currently amassed over 60k followers on Soundcloud and casually enjoys a cool 370k average listeners on Spotify a month. You may have heard the Chainsmokers dropping his remix of “Until You Were Gone” on their most recent Memories Do Not Open Tour or you might have seen Justin performing as direct support on his good friend 3Lau’s national tour where his remix of “Is It Love” quickly became the highlight of Caruso’s exponential rise to musical stardom.

His newest single “Love Somebody” displays a taste of Justin’s signature sound by combining captivating guitar riffs with warm pads and lightly placed vocal chops to carry a strong driving bass line from phrase to phrase. It’s difficult to relate this track to any one artist in particular but one can feel influences from artists such as Marshmello, Illenium, Young Bombs, Two Friends, and Filous just to name a few. I’m extremely excited for everyone to watch Justin’s career explode over the next year so without further ado enjoy this interview with electro-pop sensation Justin Caruso.

BFS: Hey Justin how’s it going man?

JC: It’s going great! Just finished up school so I’m finally enjoying summer and I’m super excited to put a lot of work into music. 

BFS: Nice that’s great to hear! What’re you majoring in?

JC: I’m majoring in music industry studies which has been awesome because everything I learn I try and put into my day to day life which has been super helpful.

BFS: That sounds like a super cool program! I’ve heard from friends that there’s a music production program at USC would you mind talking a bit about that?

JC: Yeah so the music production program is actually a part of the music industry program and it’s been incredibly helpful with my career so far. The singer off my last single “Talk About Me” actually goest to the same school so it’s been a great way to connect and network with people who have the same passion as me. 

BFS: So you probably knew you wanted to get into music for quite some time then huh?

JC: Yeah I started messing around with mashups in GarageBand in high school and have been addicted to it ever since!

BFS: Very cool! Would you mind talking a bit about your life before music?

JC: Definitely! My life before music was all basketball. I trained all day and unfortunately came down with a knee injury before the beginning of the season. This lead to me picking up music so I guess you could say it’s a blessing in disguise. I taught myself day by day and I’m here now doing what I love so it all worked out well.

BFS: Awesome I’m glad to hear that! Can you talk a bit about how you got involved with USC and what that interview process was like?

JC: Yeah we had a series of video interviews and had to submit some of our stuff and back then I didn’t have the biggest portfolio and wasn’t extremely confident in music so that was definitely one of the more stressful times in my life.

BFS: Do you remember what you submitted for your interviews?

JC: During that time electro-house was the big thing so I was trying to recreate the same vibe and although it doesn’t really sound like anything I’m doing now I was just producing a bunch of different stuff to try and make myself a better producer. I also did an internship at Interscope records my senior year of high school which I used to leverage my way into the program. 

BFS: So I see this “I Want You To Know” remix is the first song on your Soundcloud? Was this the first song you released or what’s the story around this track?

JC: Yeah that was definitely the first track that I was proud of (and still am) and wanted to share with the public. I got some support from other bigger DJs and that was a huge breaking point for me.

BFS: When you were first getting on the map did you have a team to help promo your music or what’d you do to get noticed?

 

JC: My manager Alex was one of my brother’s best friends and saw something in my music so he eventually took me under his wing. One of my other managers Blake was a senior at USC while I was a freshman and we hit it off  right away and still work together today.

BFS: Could you speak a little about the community of artists you surround yourself with?

JC: All the artists I’ve reached out to have been super supportive. It started out with artists like Kap Slap and Gazzo which eventually stemmed into connected with Two Friends and nowadays I’m getting support and advice from people like the Chainsmokers, 3LAU, and NGHTMRE which has been super inspiring. Electronic music is one of the only genres where people regularly play other people’s music so I feel like everyone is on the same page of trying to help everyone succeed.

BFS: That sounds like a really positive environment! How did you first start establishing connections with these artists?

JC: The biggest thing for me was going to a lot of their shows and try to meet them out back of the venue. I wasn’t being annoying but was definitely trying to get feedback. I also sent a bunch of music to promo emails and surprisingly enough they check those emails pretty often. I heard back from a lot of these guys pretty quickly and once I established a connection with one artist is opened the door for me to connect with so many others. If you establish yourself and are making good music, there’s no reason they aren’t going to want to talk to you as long as you’re a good person and don’t have a big ego. I think a big problem with a lot of these young producers is that they have this ego where they think they’re better than everyone and that’s really not going to get you anywhere in life. 

BFS: Great advice right there. What’s your average day been looking like recently?

JC: I try and balance working on music and hanging out with friends as much as possible. In the afternoon I work on music and then at night I like to try and go out and get dinner with friends to clear my head and then keep working on music late at night. I think it’s important to maintain a balance between music and social life because at the end of the day the stuff I’m writing about is stuff that I’m experiencing in my everyday life. The more that I can get out to try and do new things and have new experiences the better off I am because I’ll have new material to write about. 

BFS: So I take it you have a lot of friends outside of music?

JC: Most of my buddies all have different dreams so its kind of nice because we’re all doing our own thing but at the end of the day we still get along super well. My friends have been super supportive of my music so I do my best to try and bring them along to shows and on tour if possible. We always have the best time together on the road.

BFS: Who were your biggest influences when figuring out what kind of music you wanted to make?

JC: I try to listen to every genre possible. One of my favorite genres is country music. I obviously listen to a lot of EDM and jazz. Porter Robinson, Swedish House Mafia, and a lot of country like Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean. Country music tells amazing love stories so I try and portray a similar story in my own music.

BFS: What do you represent as an artist and what do you want to represent in the future?

JC: I always try and explain to everyone that I’m a normal dude just like them. I was in the same crowd as you less than a year ago. I want to be able to connect with people and be really relatable in every sense. I want to try and expand my sound to reach as many people as possible

BFS: As someone who’s never heard your music before how would you go about pitching it to them?

JC: I try and make it really really relatable. I don’t try to stick to one genre but rather just make whatever I’m feeling. Drew and Alex from the Chainsmokers offered some great advice that genres don’t matter. Make what feels best to you and it’ll strike a chord with people. I’m only 21 so I’m still trying to find my place in the world and I feel like I’ve put a lot of those emotions and experiences in my music which has connected with other people my age going through the same things

BFS: Would you mind talking a bit about your personal life and who you are outside of music?

JC: I’m very close with all my friends and especially my family. I’ve definitely had my fair share of breakups. “ Love Somebody” is actually about past relationships and having a tough time with that person you love but at the end of the day you’d do anything for them because you love them. 

BFS: Definitely! When I first listened to this track I noticed how simple it was. Can you speak a bit about simplicity and how it relates to your music?

JC: Simplicity is so important to me. If there’s too much going on when listening to music it gets exhausting. I also wanted my music to be very easy to listen to. "Love Somebody” opens with a simple guitar and vocal chop. The opening vocals instantly connect with the listener. The singer is talking directly to the listener and the drop is very simple but I also like to make the vocal chops be a part of that chorus. When the instrumental is just as important as the vocals it really makes the song stand out. 

BFS: Very cool! I know we’re running out of time so for some final thoughts is there any advice you can offer to up and coming producers? 

JC: To all the other producers out there please reach out to me. My snapchat is Caruso Music and I reply to everyone and a little fan group called J2JC. I’m super quick to respond and help people out. I’ve been there so I know how it feels and I’m here to help. I always give out the acapellas for free to give people a chance and ultimately just want to give people the opportunity to succeed.

BFS: Awesome well thank you so much for your time and best of luck with everyone over the summer!

JC: Thanks man it was great talking to you!

Stream “Love Somebody” featuring Chris Lee: https://awal.lnk.to/LoveSomebody 

Follow Justin Caruso on these social media platforms:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/justin-caruso-music

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1NyxTiCivDmzgFWYD1V01m

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustinCarusoMusic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=justin%20caruso

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justincarusomusic/

Interview & Article By: Cooper Turley

BFS Sits Down With Chet Porter

Rising electronic sensation Chet Porter has been growing at an exponential rate over the past few years with releasing on Foreign Family, Big Beat Records, and Next Wave Records. The Toronto native spent four years expanding his production skills in Halifax, Canada prior to establishing himself as one of the scene’s next rising stars. His most recent release “Stay” just broke 1 millions plays on Soundcloud along with 2 million streams on Spotify. With shoutouts from Jai Wolf, Manila Killa, and the entire Moving Castle family, it’s safe to say Chet is in for a breakout year in 2017. 

Official Website: http://chetporter.com/

Full Soundcloud Page: https://soundcloud.com/chetporter

Prior to his set at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, I was lucky enough to sit down and chat with Chet about everything from tour life, the state of the music industry, steaming and more. Here a few highlights from the interview below.

BFS: How’s tour been going so far?

Chet: Tour’s been great! It’s been a blast so far! The guys (Lemaitrie) are awesome. Except for when they all speak in Norwegian.

BFS: How many times have you toured in the past?

Chet: I’ve been touring for about a year now. This tour with Lemaitre is my first nationwide tour but up until now I’ve been lucky to land shows here in the US along with a few gigs opening for Odesza.

BFS: So how’d you get on Foreign Family?

Chet: I had a demo that I thought would be a good fit. I shared it with my manger with specific instructions NOT to share the song. And then he sent it anyways! My immediate response was to fire him. Luckily, Foreign Family hit us back and really like it. During my shows with Odesza I got to talk to the guys in person and they encouraged me to finish up the track so we could put it out. A few stressful months later, “Stay” was finished and ready to be released.

BFS: Have you seen any returns on your music from streaming yet?

Chet: Honestly no. In my opinion the biggest source of income comes from touring. Touring and sync deals. I’ve had one sync deal with Red Bull but I’ve yet to see any returns from it yet. Hopefully that changes when the snowboarding commercial goes live. 

BFS: So how would you say you feel about the whole streaming game nowadays?

Chet: Personally, I like how easy it is. If you have good content, it’s relatively easy to get on large playlists to quickly start racking up streams. 

BFS: What do you think of EDM becoming very mainstream over the past year?

Chet: I think it’s great! A lot of people are being introduced to new things which leads to people trying to create new sounds! The whole electronic spectrum is so broad that it opens up a lot of room for creativity. For me personally, I want to try and find more of it. The more mainstream it becomes, the more new music I’ll find and I think that’s really cool!

BFS: How do you feel about future bass becoming incredibly saturated?

Chet: I feel like that happens with every genre. Whether it be metal, or disco, every genre is going to have bandwagon fans. I find it to be a problem, but at the same time if someone comes out with a killer future bass track, I’m still going to love and rep it. 

BFS: Who are some of your favorite artists right now?

Chet: Ah that’s a tough question but I’m going to have say a lot of my Moving Castle friends. Manila Killa is a great example. The great thing about SoundCloud is there are soo many talented producers floating below the surface. It’s hard to name them all but in time they’ll get the recognition they deserve. 

    Chet’s went on to follow up the interview with one of the most unique sets I’ve seen in quite some time. Pairing his music with well known apacellas and unreleased remixes of trracks such as D.R.A.M's "Broccoli", Chet’s set was euphoric, melodic, and captivating. He teased artists such as Porter Robinson and his synths really came to life over the house speakers. It was clear that everyone in the crowd was having a blast with cheers being heard from every corner of the venue. If you get a chance, I highly recommend checking out Chet Porter in a town near you. For more information, you can follow Chet on his social media pages below along with upcoming dates on Lematrie’s “We Got U” tour. 

As mentioned above, touring is definitely the main source of income for a lot of these up and coming artists. Be sure to go out and spend a few bucks on a night you’re sure to remember. You’re not only paying for some high quality entertainment, but you’re also helping these individuals live out their dreams. For Chet, his dream job involves writing scores for major movies. These ambitions are only possibly with the help from you, the fans. As Chet’s career blossoms, it’d sure be cool if you were able to say that you were at one of his first shows of his career. 

Remaining Dates: http://chetporter.com/tour.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chtprtr/?fref=ts

Written By: Cooper Turley 

Bass Feeds The Soul Sits Down With Seven Lions

I can still remember being a sixteen year old teen in 2012 and listening to Seven Lions for the first time ever. The upbeat melody and unfathomable bass from the track, “Fractals”, flooded my earphones and from that moment - I was hooked.

Jeff Montalvo, better known by his stage name Seven Lions, is an electronic music producer from Santa Barbara, California. Montalvo’s musical production is unorthodox and ingenious. Each track aims to construct a fantasy and incorporates a mix of genres that you’ll never know what’s coming next. Currently on "The Journey" tour, I had the opportunity to speak with Montalvo. 


Your songs embody various genres such as trance and dubstep. What’s your creative process like?

It’s really different for each song. Sometimes I’ll start with the melody, sometimes I’ll start with more of a general mood. It’s always kind of changing. I definitely write very linear though, I don’t lay out the track and fill it in like a lot of other people. I like to do start to finish basically.

Is there a person, place, or thing you draw inspiration from when making music?

I’m influenced by a lot of other music. Music is what I draw inspiration from.

What type of music do you draw inspiration from? Is there a specific artist?

Just a lot of different metal music. Of course Above & Beyond as far as electronic music. I really like them. Old Delirium. Vocal driven kind of stuff.

Vocalists are an integral part in many of your tracks. How do you go about picking who sings on them?

That’s always different as well. Sometimes I’ll know exactly who I want and I’ll just reach out. Other times I’ll finish a track and have no idea, but I want something that sounds a little more like this. My management will help me look for a bunch of different options or the record label or sometimes even publishing companies like Warner have helped us quite a bit with vocalists. We’ll send it to five or six different people. They’ll all do demos, send it back, and I’ll pick which one I think fits best.

In the press release on your current tour it states “The concept for the The Journey tour was inspired by the millions of young people who are taking it upon themselves to create their own adventures and embark on their own personal journeys of discovery.” What was this “journey” like for you?

For me, it’s going to different festivals when I was younger and even now. You get a crew of people together and go to EDC and I remember doing that a long time ago. It was always an epic adventure because I didn’t live in LA so we would have to go on a long drive for that. Also going to Burning Man or Lightning in a Bottle. All these festivals are destinations so you generally find a bunch of cool people you really like. You make plans, prepare, and go for it. It’s a pretty epic adventure and it’s really cool to see so many people going to these festivals and putting in a lot of time and effort to make a cool camp or have a crew. It’s really cool.

How did teaming up with FCancer for The Journey tour come about?

My management asked me what I think about this. I thought FCancer specifically would be a really good one because I feel like everyone knows someone who is affected by cancer or has been affected by cancer. Whether it’s a family friend or a parent, it’s everywhere. There are so many people I know who have dealt with a loved one getting cancer and it’s really sad.

I think “Drinking With Strangers” is such an interesting thing you do. How did you decide you wanted to start doing that?

Basically because normal meet and greets are really, really awkward. If you sit down and have a beer with somebody, the playing field gets leveled and everybody calms down. You can actually have a really good conversation and I think that’s the best way to meet people is over beer. It’s been going really well. We’ve met tons of cool people, people we still keep in contact with actually.

Is there a city you particularly love playing in time and time again?

On this tour, San Francisco/Oakland has been one of the crazier cities that’s for sure and it’s always really good to play there. Seattle is also really amazing too. We actually just moved up there a few months ago. Not because it’s fun to play there, but because we like the area. There’s a really good crowd.

If you got to attend your dream electronic music festival as a fan, who are some of the names that would be on the lineup?

Bird of Prey, Xilent, Above & Beyond, maybe Tiesto ten years ago *laughs*. I really GRUM, he’s been opening up for us and he’s been crushing it. That’s been really good to see.

What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming producers/DJs making? What advice would you give him or her?

I would say people who try and promote their music too quickly and put out songs that aren’t polished. Once you do that, it’s really hard to recover. Generally people need to focus on making music and making it really good before they start trying to put it out there and get people to listen to it. It’s really discouraging for people to spend a bunch of time on a song and put it out there and it doesn’t go anywhere. Nobody listens to it, nobody likes it, and people just give up when they should be like “alright well I’m going to keep at it” and not get discouraged. Be persistent. Don’t have crazy expectations. I think those are the two main things.

Tickets: http://www.sevenlions.com/tour/


Interview by: Kimberlyanne Tan
Photos by: Kimberlyanne Tan

The Name is Sound… Stööki Sound

With a yin and yang fusion of style and ease, the London based duo Stööki Sound has been throwing some true heat into the trap scene. 

 

While staying true to the essence of trap, they’ve created an undeniably original sound. Whether you were intended to or not, you’re bound to recognize that effortless 808 and drum bounce in their songs, such as Ball so Hard, Talkin’ About and UPPERS.

 

Here is a playlist of the songs mentioned, with other signature originals: 

 

https://soundcloud.com/stookisound/sets/originals

 

Also important to be noted is their commitment to staying true to the origins of trap music by adding rap and other vocals while fearlessly experimenting with the more unexplored sounds and rhythms of bass and electronic music.  

 

Goldlink - Ay Ay (Stooki Sound Remix)

https://soundcloud.com/stookisound/goldlink-ay-ay-stooki-sound-remix

 

 

Stööki Sound has risen the heat even more in their recent release of Stage Dive ft. Marky D… have a listen if you dare! 

 

https://soundcloud.com/stookisound/stage-dive

 

Perhaps it’s the fact that there are two of them that permits for their distinctly high production quality, perhaps it’s because they’ve never fallen into the ‘next trap hype’—whatever it is, DJ Lukey and Jalacee show nothing but contagious love for music, and have taken trap music by the horns and made it their own. 

 

Photo by Jennie Abrams, not property of BassFeedstheSoul 

Photo by Jennie Abrams, not property of BassFeedstheSoul 

I had the chance to talk to the duo about their latest projects and 2016 US Tour.. catch up with Stooki in the interview below.

 

So you guys are just about finished with your US tour.. how does it feel this time compared to the first time you toured the states?

Yeah it’s different, mainly different cause we’re on a bus this time so it’s been really cool and much less stressful than catching flights everywhere. But it has been more intense in terms of playing four- five times a week. It’s been really sick and supporting Keys and Krates as well has been really great we’re very like-minded. We’ve also been meeting a lot of new people on this tour.

How do you feel your new tracks have played into that?

We have been working on a lot of new music. We’ve kind of got to play more of the newer and unreleased tracks at VIP shows more than anything on this tour. But we’ve been testing those out and they’ve all been doing well so it’s been enjoyable.

Stage Dive with Marky D has made quite the splash in the bass music scene, how has its debut been so far?

We met Marky when we came to LA last year through a mutual friend and then we became friends. Then we just hit the studio and it really helps to get together in the same room to kind of bounce ideas off each other and to finish the track quickly. And once we finished wanted to blend classic trap with a rapper and drop more of an electronic section as well with drums and stuff-- but we got the balance right on it.

Then the opportunity came through Facebook to record a 360 music video, so that helped get the track out then. 

Do you plan on collaborating with more rappers in the future / for the EP?

Yeah a hundred percent- definitely want to work with more artists, rappers and vocalists as well.

Since the beginning of our career, people have always told us that our instrumentals really suit rappers.  Now that we’re spending more time in the States as well rappers are more accessible and it’s easier to get in the studio, the same goes for vocalists. So it’s definitely going to be an element that’s going to be more present in our future releases.

You’ve done a great job at putting yourself above the generic trap platform.. a lot of work on quality over quantity.  How do you see Stage Dive working into that aspect of your work?

Stage Dive was sort of taking it back to the essence of trapping with rapping and vocalists as well kind of just showing the essence of trap. Then we bring in our own DK’s and underground dubstep, so it’s sort of an opportunity to put our own twist on it.

Stage Dive was a precursor for a new direction in your music, could you give us more insight on that ?

We’ve been mostly working on evolving our sound. It’s not about making songs similar to other people’s music, or what’s popular at the moment. We just focus on improving our own style.

There aren’t too many duos producing at your level, could you speak on your collaborative creative process and how it works for you?

I think it helped that we were friends from the start. It takes time when you’re working with someone to get to know each other and how each other work to get a good balance when producing music. There’s just so many elements of producing as a duo that are so much bigger than just being together, or simply making trap.

I think that us doing everything in the house from the beginning kind of helped us understand what it takes to be a duo and shaped how we evolved and developed today in terms of production. We know what our strengths are and how we can work effectively. I’m kind of good at coming up with initial ideas, and experimental stuff and J is better and finishing and mastering the completion of the song. We kind of found that to be a good balance and bringing live elements to thing.

 

Does the dynamic shift at all from the studio to live performances?

 

Were different in our own ways. We try to make it more of an act during more that a DJ set. We come from London, so a long way, and we know we only have an hour or so to show people what we’re about and how we do what we do, so we try to get people to really engage with us.

 

Any words for the Denver crowd coming down for the show tomorrow?

 

Oh we love them, we’ve been looking forward to that show the whole tour. We’ve always been shown love in Denver, so we’re excited to celebrate.

So much I’d want to do in Colorado, but I guess it’s always an excuse to come back. 

 

 

Follow the rest of their moves on their, see if you’ll finally have the opportunity to see this pair in action! 

 

Website: http://www.stooki.co.uk/stooki-sound/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StookiSound

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stookisound

 

Sound cloud: https://soundcloud.com/stookisound

 

 

Interview and article by Aisha DeMorsella

An "Arising" Interview with Mike Love

BFS - Let’s start things off with one of my favorite questions to ask: What is your spirit animal?

My spirit animal is a wolf.

BFS - Is there any story behind that?

Ya know, for as long as I can remember I just had this special connection with wolves just through seeing pictures of them.

BFS - What was your favorite childhood memory?

Gosh, there’s so many. There’s one I was thinking about recently because my dad just had his 70th birthday. I remember back to this memory that has kind of changed over time, but when we were kids he took me and my sister on this long family trip that we did across the whole country where we went to a bunch of different states. He took me and my sister to this water park and then right when we got in there, there was this thing that had multiple levels of like, rubber bands. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this but you bounce on it and fall through the holes and stuff. That was the first thing we went on and right away, he just ripped his swim shorts all the way, in the back from the top to the bottom, right in the middle! It’s a thing where most parents would be like, “You know what guys, we gotta go, we can’t stay.” But he walked around the whole day like that, holding his shorts together in the back and still did everything with us. At the time me and my sister thought it was hilarious, but now when I look back on it, that’s a memory that formed how I am as a parent. I think that most parents wouldn’t do that for their kids and just kind of soldier on, and like “it sucks but I’m not going to ruin my kids’ time” because of that. That’s a really special memory for me in a funny way.

That’s a great story, even just to get things flowin’ and get a smile on your face, that’s what we wanted to do. So now we can get a little more into your music career. What was the beginning of it, what was it like? Where did you start out?

Well, in music for me it’s always been like a slow, organic growth. I played music my whole life, and I started playing gigs with a band in high school slowly like that and then I started playing more acoustic music and doing coffee shops and stuff and doing a lot of cover songs from bands that I liked. As I wrote more original music it slowly found its way from playing one or two original songs to more original songs to now all original music. And it just grew organically; it’s still growing organically. I started playing, like doing what I do now, the solo thing… I played with bands my whole life until about 6 or 7 years ago when my wife suggested that I do a solo gig just because I needed more work and playing with bands is not always easy to schedule everybody and get everybody together. So I started doing a solo thing and then it developed into what I do now organically out of doing that, and a lot of my solo act revolves around the looping thing and I loop beat box and vocals and guitar and basslines and stuff and kind of build a whole band behind what I do by myself. That just came from doing this solo gig where I started just on Monday nights playing like four hours, and it sometimes gets boring with just a dude playing his guitar and singing for four hours. So I started doing that and then I just built it, I kinda got good at it and people started noticing me so I started getting more bookings doing just that, and it became my main thing.

That’s very interesting, it sounds like it’s been a great journey for you.

Oh yeah, it’s still a great journey. Definitely. And now I’m getting booked on bigger festivals and do bigger tours.

You’re from Hawaii, correct? Which island? And has that had any influence on how you’ve come into your musicality?

Yes, I’m from Oahu. It’s definitely had a huge impact on me and my life. I was even laughing about it last night about how I think if I grew up here I would have not written so many lyrics into my songs because when I come here and sing, I sing a lot and my kind of style of writing music and singing, there’s not a lot of breaks to take breaths. So when I come up here and I get done with the song I’m panting! So I was thinkin’ like, if I grew up here I probably wouldn’t realistically have written the same kind of music. Growing up on the islands, my natural connection with nature there… I mean there when you grow up the fun things to do are go to the beach or go hike. So we grew up super connected with the ocean, the mountains, the land. There’s just so much beauty there, you can’t ignore it. Growing up that’s all we did, we’d go run up behind the house and run around in the mountains and just be real imaginative and it was always the way it was. We’d always go to the beach, body surf and body board and it’s just how we grew up, we were at the beach all the time. So I think that a lot of my music is really about nature’s connection and reconnecting with that. A lot of the places I go they’ve lost that connection because they grew up being surrounded by concrete their whole life and just never even felt that, you know? There are a lot of places like that and I think the majority of places that people live are like that, the metropolises. So when you bring this kind of music that’s about the place where I grew up and has that connection and that energy, it’s like… A lot of people I hear say, “Your music makes me feel like I found something that I was missing.”

Wow that’s a great compliment!

Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around, but with the music, for me, I realized a long time ago that it’s not for my ego to hold onto because the music is just something that flows through me and it’s a gift that I’m given so I feel compelled. I feel like it’s my duty and my honor to bring it to people and share it with people because the more it grows, the more I hear from people how its helped them and encouraged them to become vegan or make these huge changes in their life. When I hear that it gives me chills and makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing and I need to do it more.

That’s how I feel about journalism, I love to communicate with people and I like to touch people with my words. Thank you for that answer that was awesome. So, what’s next for you? New tour, new album…?

I have an album that’s coming out September 1st, so in a few weeks and I’ve just been working really hard on it and it’s been a really huge undertaking and I have a tour that’s surrounding that album also in September I’ll be touring in mostly the southwestern U.S.

Great! So wrapping things up here, who are you excited to see here at ARISE?

I’m excited to see Rising Appalachia, they’re really cool we did a show with them in Hawai’i, they’ve got a really cool movement going. I’m also really excited to see the Earth Guardians again, they’re performing in a little while, and they’re just amazing. I don’t know if you know about them but you should check them out. They’re a couple of Utes and they’re twelve and fifteen years old. They do hip-hop and it’s like mind-blowing the stuff they’re doing. Check out theearthguardians.org, it’s a whole movement. They’re connected with over a million kids worldwide and they’re doing all sorts of cool stuff. I think they’re involved in a bunch of different legal suits in many different states but they’re from here in Colorado and they’re involved in suing the state for allowing a lot of the chemicals and a lot of the bad stuff that’s going on like the fracking and for allowing that stuff to go on and endangering the youth. They’re amazing, their message is incredible. They’re awesome performers and they just blow my mind. I said it before; I’ve never been to a hip hop show that had me in tears, just really, really touching. If you’re going to see anybody at this whole festival, see them.

I will make note of it! Thank you so much for your time, this was so much fun for me.

Bless you.

 

Mike Love’s set at ARISE was anything but typical. As just a one-man-band, his complex style of layering, looping, beat-boxing and guitar strumming kept his audience wondering what he was going to do next. With the voice of an angel, inspiring lyrics, and upbeat reggae genre, Mike Love put on a performance at ARISE that moved my heart. This man’s message is so powerful that you can’t help but be entranced when he takes the stage. “Distant Travelers”, a song about his wife, even brought tears to my eyes as I inched closer to my man and held his hand tight. Songs like “Jahwakening” and “No More War” got my feet dancing and a smile on my face. I personally recommend catching a Mike Love show next time he makes a stop in your state. 

Interview with Tommy Benedetti of John Brown's Body

            Reggae on the Rocks 2015 is almost here, with a lineup like no other. On Saturday, August 22nd, Sublime with Rome, Pepper, Third World, Wailing Souls, Mighty Diamond, Judge Roughneck and a hidden gem, John Brown’s Body will preform under the stars, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. John Brown’s Body is a future roots, reggae and dub group that formed around 1996 and 1997. This will be JBB’s second time preforming at Red Rocks, but will feel like the first time playing since the band regrouped around 2000, as a few members left and new musicians joined. JBB is a major player in the modern American reggae scene, defining, developing and pushing the genre of future roots. They’re serious about releasing records; they have ten official albums to this date. Most recently, they rereleased one of their albums, Kings & Queens (2013) with dub remixes- Kings & Queens in Dub. Check it out here.

Recently, Bass Feeds The Soul interviewed Tommy Benedetti, JBB’s drummer and one of the original members. Check it out below!

 

Tommy: Hello

BFS: Hi Tommy!

Tommy: Hey! What’s happening?

BFS: Nothing much. My name’s Sami and I work for the music blog, Bass Feeds The Soul, based in Boulder, Colorado. How are you doing?

Tommy: Right on. I’m good Sami, how’s it going today?

BFS: Great! Just starting off the day.

Tommy: Where are you at?

BFS: I’m in New Jersey. Where are you?

Tommy: Oh, New Jersey, all right cool. I’m in Boston.

BFS: Nice nice. I’m going to ask you some questions today about your band, John Brown’s Body. Ready?

Tommy: Sounds good.

 

BFS: Can you give me some backstory on your bands name? I know it’s in connection with abolitionist John Brown, but I want to hear a little more.

Tommy: Yeah, that’s correct. We are named for John Brown, the abolitionist. We were named by one of our old singers and founding member, Kevin Kinsella. He was really interested in the story, the history and what Brown stood for. It’s kind of an untold story; at least I don’t remember being taught about what Brown stood for when I was growing up in school. It’s just a fascinating story and piece of the country’s history. We look at the body as not just a physical form, but a group, a mass of people. And back then, during the early days of our band, we were a minority in doing what we were doing. There wasn’t the kind of American reggae scene that exists today. We thought it was a name that would allow us to carve out our own sound. It wasn’t a cliché reggae group name, so it stuck.

BFS: That’s really interesting. I really love American history, so I totally vibe with the name. It’s very unique.

 

BFS: You guys have been together for a long time and you’re still getting a lot of albums out. Do you think your sound is different today compared to when the band was incarnated?

Tommy: I think our sound has definitely changed. If you listen to our first couple of songs and then listen to our newer music, you can definitely hear a progression in the sound and in the instrumental talent. I think we’ve gotten a lot better and have developed our unique sound, which has always been the goal of the band. We’ve always wanted to have our own sound and our own approach. Our band started off as a traditional roots band, compositionally, and even lyric wise, with Kevin, the old lead singer. And somewhere around 2000, Elliot Martin the other singer at the time (the lead singer in our band today), started writing more and the sound started modernizing. Our music was harder, edgier, a lot more creative in terms of groove and rhythm. Our music got a lot deeper. We got deeper into the bass sound, deeper into textures, and that’s kind of where the band is at today. We just recorded another half dozen songs in Boston that we’re going to release sometime soon. I think that the songs Elliot writes are as good as the older group, and that’s important to us; we want to write good music. We want to be creative, push the genre and ourselves.

 

Photo does not belong to BFS

Photo does not belong to BFS

BFS: So this upcoming year, the band will celebrate it’s twentieth year together, correct?

Tommy: We’re getting there. It’s a little blurry because we started around ‘96/’97. I think it was ’96. Coming up on 2016, we’ll be going into our twentieth year as a band. Of course over the years, there have been many changes with the band- people leaving, new people joining. I’ve been with the band since day 1, so I’m the old guy haha.

BFS: Haha. Do you have any special plans for celebrating 20 years?

Tommy: Ya know, it’s a little early to say. Our team is working on some stuff. We’re excited to drop new music for sure. In the past couple of years, we kind of refocused ourselves. We did tour still as all bands have to, but we really honed in on recording and releasing music because in the past, we had long spaces between records. We’ve been paying more attention to releasing music instead of flogging away on the road 150 days a year. Now, we generally do more select and strategic touring and really concentrate on recording. We just put out a dub record, which I think is really super cool. We’re going to try to keep fresh, keep music coming for the fans and ourselves and I’m sure there’ll be some special shows and exciting things coming up in 2016, but it’s a little early to say exactly what’s going to happen.

BFS: I gotcha. I’m excited for the new music!


BFS: Reggae on the rocks is coming up. Is this going to be the band’s first time preforming at Red Rocks?

Tommy: It’s almost like our first time preforming there. We did play Reggae on the Rocks… I think it was 2000. That was obviously a pretty long time ago; it was a hell of a different band. It was a lifetime ago haha. It’ll be our second time officially there, but it’ll feel like the first with this line up and the vibe and music that we’re going to bring. It’s going to be exciting. We’re all super stoked.

BFS: The lineup is definitely awesome. I cannot wait. Do you think this performance is going to greatly impact the popularity of John Brown’s Body, today? Playing at Red Rocks is a right of pass for all music groups. 

Tommy: Colorado has arguably some of the best venues in the country, between Denver and Boulder. And we’re lucky to have played at pretty much all of them. Of course this performance is special, but is this going to be impactful? I can’t say. We’re going to go and do what we do. We’re going to try to be comfortable and play the best show we can play, which is what we do every time, regardless if it’s a 200 capacity room or 5,000 capacity room. And we’ll leave the rest to follow as it will. I remember when The Amplify came out in 2008 and it debuted #1 on the Billboard Reggae chart, everybody was like, “holy shit! This is it! This is it!” But it really wasn’t. We were in Sante Fe, New Mexico and woke up the next day and the same kind of thing happened and we went to the next venue and did the next show. The business is strange man. It’s about the hype machine, the smoke, mirrors and bullshit sometimes, but we’re just going to keep doing our thing and try to be the best we can at it.


BFS: It’s really interesting how the band rereleased the album Kings & Queens. How was your experience creating Kings & Queens in Dub?

Tommy: It was fantastic. I think it was a feather in our cap in a way to release the record in this manner. We did it top to bottom, every song is dubbed out. If you’re familiar with some of the classics from the 70s and 80s, that’s what the heavy hitters used to do back in the day, they would release records and then there would be a companion record in dub, like LKJ in Dub. For us to be able to do that, it was really important to be able to present it the way we did. There were concerns whether or not it would be disjointed, with different producers doing different tracks, but I think it came together seamlessly. Drew our saxophone player really spearheaded the entire project, and was key in getting it going and pushing it through. We were able to get one of our heroes, Dennis Bovell, who is a legendary producer and bass player from the UK, to do a tune. We also had some of our good friends work on this album. We wanted to get people we really respect, with work we love. We’re not getting people who are the flavor of the week, so we can just throw their names on and sell a hundred more copies. We wanted it to be the best it could be. That’s how we operate.

BFS: Who was your favorite produce to work with on the album?

Tommy: Well yah know, we didn’t really have direct contact with any of them. These days, you send people the tracks and it’s all back-and-forth through e-mails and everything else. But, we know all of these people personally like Lord Echo, from The Black Seeds. The Black Seeds are one of our favorite bands. We’ve spent countless hours with them on the road in New Zealand and in the States. A lot of other people worked on the album as well, like Dubfader and Dubmatix. Jesse (Dubmatix) is from Toronto. He did some work for us before. The one person that we didn’t really know was Dennis. He really dug the band and dug the sound and actually even offered up his services to us, it’s fucking mind-blowing. There’s a lot of back-and-forth that goes down. We knew when we picked these guys that it was going to be top-notch stuff.

BFS: Do you think there’s a benefit to having music reproduced without the original band there?

Tommy: To be clear, they used the same tracks from Kings & Queens, obviously John Brown’s Body was all together when we created it and recorded it together. What they were working from was still the original vibes, sounds and tracks. With remixes and dub mixes, that’s just the way it goes. It’s rare that a band member is going to be there in the studio with the dub guy recording. The coolest thing about this method of production is that these people are from London, New Zealand, Brooklyn and other places. Logistically, it’s not possible to all be in all of those places at once. I think having people from many different parts of the world lends a really cool story to the record.

BFS: Yeah that makes complete sense. Thank you for clarifying! I think those are all of the questions I have for today. Thanks Tommy for talking with us. Do you have any questions for me?

Tommy: I appreciate your time. I don’t think I do, but I’m glad that we could work this out.

BFS: Thank you so much. Have a good one.

Tommy: Have a great day.

 

Dig John Brown's Body? Find out more about them here:

http://www.johnbrownsbody.com/site/

https://www.facebook.com/johnbrownsbody

https://twitter.com/johnbrownsbody

https://soundcloud.com/johnbrownsbody

 

Click here for ticket information for Reggae on the Rocks 2015.

Interview by Samantha Elkan

AN INTERVIEW WITH GDP

If you are fatigued with the same caliber of rap songs that engulf the airwaves, then entrust GDP with enhancing your summer playlist. Hailing from West Orange, New Jersey, GDP has been toiling away at his craft for a significant portion of his life. His familiarity with rap becomes evident while listening to his music. Between his lyrics and his delivery, each song offers listeners an alternative experience. His creativity and experimentation assisted in GDP promptly becoming my favorite rapper. His first full length studio album, Involvement, was released in January of 2007 and since then, GDP has had a plethora of accomplishments to write home about. He has dropped several of his own records, as well as several splits with other artists. Fellow New Jerseyans, The Front Bottoms joined forces with GDP on the most recent split, Liberty and Prosperity, on which he released 2 brand new songs, “Parking Garage” and “Limousine”. He also has a collaborative project with close friend, Space Jesus, called #$ (Hash Money), which has allowed each of them to exhibit their talents on an alternative platform than their listeners are used to. GDP informed me that, “#$ is sitting on some new songs that we'll probably drop on the internet with little to no warning this summer”.

 

In addition to his musical achievements, GDP also assists in furthering other artist’s careers through his label Smokers Cough. He discussed the future plans for the label and explained that, “Smokers Cough has new music from White Bike, Space Jesus, Dwight Marrow, Emily Rugburn, Esseks and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal/Keyboard Kid all in the works and that's just the short list. At this point I'm way more interested in helping

other artists than playing shows or releasing new music”. While recently his live performances have been exiguous, GDP was listed on the lineup for The 710 Cup Festival in Denver this July. Unfortunately, due to legal issues, the event has been rescheduled for this October and GDP is still hoping to perform. Regarding the festival he said, “If 710 cup happens and they want me to be there I'm gonna hang glide through that bitch like a pterodactyl”, so hopefully he manages to bring his immaculate raps to Colorado this fall! Do yourself a favor and give GDP a listen, I assure you won’t be sorry!

 

Written by Zoe Whitley

*None of the photos used in this article are property of Bass Feeds the Soul and all credit goes to their rightful owners