A.Def explain the powerful message on “OP8 of the Masses”. Hip-hop artists Nick FuriouStylz and X24 released a new single that refers to the excessive use of technology. Learn more about their views, the pair’s early beginnings, and much more than that, exclusively here!
1 — Where did you get the idea for your artistic name?
NF: Both X24 and I grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder. We have always shared in the reality that are both high energy, eccentric kind of guys.
X24: Yeah… The name was initially Attention Deficit, but I got sick of writing it out. Sort of telling…
2 — How did you come together to work on this project?
NF: We had united forces early on in our Hip-Hop careers in the early 2000s. X was from Santa Fe and I was in Albuquerque but my brother went to the same high school as X. The first-ever real project was called Desert Planet Arrakis. Which featured X, AKA motive, Nick, AKA The Lyrical Gunslingar, and my brother, Kauz Kat. It was a lot of fun and we learned so much but it was a young man’s game with young men’s expectations.
X24: This is around the time when the whole DIY Hip-Hop scene was really in full swing. We were in our late teens but took it all so seriously! I moved to Oakland in 2001. When I move back to New Mexico, Nick and I decided to make a song, and sort of unofficially formed A.Def.
NF: A.Def really came about and took shape over the next couple years with renewed vigor and interest and a focus on being silly, yet cutting edge.
X24: It’s a little crazy that it’s taken us this long to create an album. I mean, we both have solo music, and Nick has other bands and projects as well. A.Def has a life of its own, however. We haven’t lived in the same town since I left Albuquerque in 2001, but we have such infectious energy when we get together to create.
3 — Do you define your music style as Hip-Hop or is it something else?
NF: We truly define what we do as Hip-Hop, both culturally and musically. The stuff that’s coming out in the ethers these days, to me, really isn’t Hip Hop in the true sense. We want you to nod ya head.
X24: We just wanna make stuff that we like. Genre notwithstanding, when we get together, we really try to allow each other to experiment and create whatever we’re feeling. We don’t necessarily like the same music or things, but we always allow each other the space to express how he feels.
4 — Do you agree with the phrase, “Religion is the opium of the people”? Why?
NF: Yes and No. The opium we are referring to in OP8ofthemasses is the lack of affection and a general malaise associated with how technology has coveted all societies. The gradual deadening of what is to be human.
X24: The song clearly references that quote, but it’s not about religion or faith. Like Nick said, we see technology, especially social media, mobile gaming, etc., as literally opiating the masses.
5 — Is your new single “0P8 Of The Masses” a protest song?
NF: More of a wakeup call to humanity. A call to action before it is too late to reverse the course of a bleak future.
X24: But it’s also hopeful. Ava’s character at the end poses a hopeful future and question. It leaves us with a bit of confidence. And though the video ends in a repeated loop, the question “Where is your light?” is what the listener/audience is left with.
6 — Was it easy to agree when it felt done?
NF: Yes. We both work really well with one another. Taking away only what’s necessary to co-create some great art.
X24: Agreed… I think with any artistic venture there will always be differences envisioned initially. But we really trust each other and, despite some minor speed bumps, always trust in the partnership.
7 — How can you interpret the story behind its music video?
X24: The story really centers on the idea that we’re all leeward towards and trapped into the technology of our modern world. But it’s a double-bladed sword. We make music with electronics and computers. We benefit from the technology. We also feel, in many ways, isolated. I think, in a lot of ways, the story is more of a visual representation of the lyrics of the song. The concept and theme are very present in today’s world.
NF: The lyrics centered on the actions of the characters. The blissful sleep, the awakening, the escape, and ultimately the loop takes them right back to where they began. Technology has both helped and hindered humankind and we feel a gentle shift in the world in consciousness, awareness, empathy, and ambition. Our world is no doubt to blame but how does one ever truly get out or “escape” this matrix?
8 — Is there any funny anecdote that you remember about filming this clip?
X24: Too many to count! We shot the video in an old and dirty basement. It was very cold out, and the heater was broken. The crew were all wearing coats while we were working. There was a lot of conversation between Tim McC, the director, Nick, and myself about the best way to visually represent the song. Thank God the crew and Ava were such heroes, putting up with us as we bickered about the details of the shoot.
NF: We didn’t have a huge budget. At one point on the big shoot day we offered the crew a coffee drink or whatever from a coffee shop. I remember X and I going and reading off a pretty funny order and really entertaining the barista lady. Then we comically juggled 8 or so drinks, both hot and cold, in the car and back to our location barely making it without a disaster. Fun times.
NF: Ava is an obvious “double threat” talent and we agreed that she would bring her unique style and talent to the project. We also gravitated toward a stand out co-star. Ava definitely puts her stamp on the antagonist in the story.
X24: Ava’s amazing. From our earliest conversations about featuring her on the song, before a video was ever envisioned, her enthusiasm and energy were so infectious. She was an obvious choice!
10 — Finally, what is the overall concept of your forthcoming album?
The Soundtrack of a Dystopian Future — We are really excited about the project! Ranging from playful to poignant, aimed at self-awareness and dark, socio-political, storytelling. We are also collaborating with some great musicians and playing with all sorts of sounds. What we are getting into is amazing! It can be difficult working on an album when we don’t live in the same city, but every time we get together, we both bring so much energy to the party. We can’t wait to share it!
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1upboy Talks New Track “Digital Aesthetic World” — Interview
Originality in music production is worth more than generic stuff. In the case of 1upboy, he works hard to be as authentic as possible. Take a listen to his newest single “Digital Aesthetic World,” a Hip-Hop/Future Bass hybrid which is the fruit of his own imagination and love for video games. Don’t miss the chance to read this great interview.
1 – The rhythms of your new track “Digital Aesthetic World” seems to be authentic. Creating hybrid forms of music is a strategy, a trend, or something else?
I like to believe creating hybrid forms of music is just taking different elements from things you like and putting it into something that represents you.
Thank you aha. I thought it would be a cool idea to make GBA style cover art, because “Digital Aesthetic World” seemed like a game you would pick up at a game store.
The meaning behind the lyrics is basically saying, ‘You do you’, really. I talk about topics like how I “leveled up”, a former lover and how we could not be together but there’s no offense to her, how I can’t associate with people who end up bringing me down, so I pretty much wanted the listener to know that I was just being me, being comfortable in my own place, hence “Digital Aesthetic World”.
4 – Is Anime and video games culture part of your signature style?
Yeah, to an extent. I’m a big fan of chiptune-y, happy melodies. Also, at the beginning of “Digital Aesthetic World”, I added ocean shore sounds as well as a Game Boy Advance starting sound effect to the beat (produced by snorkatje btw, shout out to him) to make the listener feel like they were sailing to a different place like they were playing a new game.
No one, in particular, inspired me to make this song, I just wanted to make it because I’m the type of person that likes to make stuff. One day I’m going to get old and I want to be happy knowing I made the art that I wanted to make.
6 – Are you planning to release visuals?
No, but hopefully eventually! That would be cool.
7 – What type of listeners will probably like your music?
People, who are into artists like Lil Uzi Vert, and people who like Anime. Maybe people who are into somewhat adjacent music genres like Kawaii Future Bass. I don’t really know honestly, I just make my music sound for myself.
I don’t do anything technical or anything like that. I just try to not slump over and I try to breathe through the diaphragm.
9 – Are you currently working on new music? Can you reveal to us what’s next?
I’m currently working on one new song, and two potential ones, so look out for them!
10 – If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
If I wasn’t an artist, like making any type of art at all, I think it would be cool to be a chef or a marine biologist, haha.
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Steve Marinangeli Reveals Details On Debut Album, ‘Hidden Thoughts’ — Interview
23-year-old Steve Marinangeli is a rapidly rising indie artist who has topped the Luxembourg iTunes Top Songs chart twice. This success is due to the fact that he writes and sings songs close to his heart. The way he connects with listeners through his intimate lyrics is simply outstanding. Not to mention, his first two singles resonate with daily experiences that lead you to meditate on his words. If this sounds interesting, learn more about his upcoming debut album down here, which is coming out in 2021.
1 – What’s the name of your upcoming debut album? Do you have a release date yet?
The name of my upcoming debut album is ‘Hidden Thoughts.’ I’m still working on the album so I don’t have a release date yet.
2 – What came first the music or the lyrics?
The lyrics came first. For most of my songs, I already had the perfect situation in my head and wrote it down. A lot of the lyrics I’ve written are very personal so that made it easier for me.
3 – What’s the overall theme of this material?
The overall theme of the album is kind of a self-reflecting concept. It’s gonna be a very personal album that will describe struggles, sadness, and dark thoughts, but they will all turn into something positive, good, and uplifting. The message I wanna put out with the album ‘Hidden Thoughts’ is, “No matter how down you are, there is always a way out. It’s okay not to be okay. You are not alone!” There will be a lot of more sad/slow songs on the album, but overall I just think they will fit perfectly in the theme of the album.
Since now, I have a few songs which put me in a good mood, like for example, “It’s You,” “Dance with Me,” and “Under The Moonlight.” I won’t give away too much yet though.
5 – How did lockdown affect you artistically?
Surprisingly, the lockdown was kind of a positive trigger for me artistically, cause it made me start writing lyrics. I‘ve spent a lot of time during the lockdown to get even more into music and discover more different genres of music. During lockdown then, I started writing my own lyrics and with the help of other people (singers, producers, etc.) we transformed the lyrics into music and created some songs.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists on this project?
Yes, I did. It was hard for me to begin and take the first steps in the business, so I had the company YourSongmaker helping me with my first few songs. They turned my words and lyrics into some fantastic songs and they have a brilliant team, so thanks to David and their team. I also was looking for other ways to make music so I was looking for singers, producers, mixing and mastering engineers by myself and I’ve been in talks for some interesting collabs for the next songs.
7 – Who is your latest single “It’s You” dedicated to?
I didn’t have any specific person in mind when I wrote the song “It’s You.” I put myself into the position of being in love and having the feeling of loving someone very much and transformed it into a song. It was more general as I didn’t have someone specific I thought about. It’s certainly a song with which a lot of people can identify.
8 – When you created these songs do you have the American audience in mind or do you think it’s more oriented to European listeners?
Well, that‘s difficult to say. I didn’t focus on a specific territory while writing and creating music. My music is available for everyone to listen to. My debut song “Rescue Me” had more success in Europe, while my second single “Sacrifice” had also some success in the US and South America. My music should be there for everyone to listen to, appreciate and love, with no exceptions whatsoever.
9 – How would you describe your music to someone that hasn’t heard it before?
For me, it’s hard to already put my music into a definite genre because I‘m still in the process of finding my own sound and thinking in what genre, my music fits the best. Right now, it fits definitely in the Pop genre, sometimes a bit more slow, dark, sad Pop songs, sometimes a bit more upbeat, and funky. I do have some musical influences which are Westlife, OneRepublic, and Bruno Mars for example, but I wanna create a unique sound so that people immediately know, oh yeah that‘s a song by Steve Marinangeli, a bit like in the case with Billie Eilish. Everyone immediately recognizes a Billie Eilish song because they are so unique.
10 – Finally, What do you love the most about your followers?
I love most about my followers, that they support me and my music and that they are open to listening to my music. They support me so well and even though I’m not very known. They helped me reach 2 No. 1 iTunes singles here in Luxembourg already which is unbelievable for me. They are just the best and I can’t wait to see what can still happen in the future. I‘m very grateful for the fans I got, and I love them!
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Exclusive Interview: The Story Of DJ/Producer Jacob Colon
Jacob Colon has been working his way up the musical ladder for some years now, coming from humble beginnings in his local church band before discovering House music and falling in love with the genre. He taught himself how to DJ and produce and has since released some sensational tunes such as “Bliss” and “I Want My House Music.” Now he has his very own imprint and renowned radio show called ‘Made To Move’. We caught up with Jacob to find out more about his story and how he got to where he is today.
1 — Tell us about the very first moment you discovered your love for music?
I started my musical journey in a church band when I was in my teens. I played the keyboard along with 4 other musicians. While playing in the band, I taught myself how to use the workstation within the keyboard. Luckily for me, my mother used to clean the church and had the keys to get in when nobody was there. Therefore, I would use her keys to get into the church and record beats all night in the keyboard. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to save my work, so I would turn off the keyboard when I was done and delete all my work. During this time is when my passion and love for music began to grow.
2 — What was the first instrument you ever tried to learn?
My aunt purchased me a toy keyboard when I was young. Though I wasn’t playing like Beethoven just yet, it sparked my interest in instruments. I played the oboe in a school band but later continued playing the piano.
3 — What type of music were you brought up listening to?
Growing up, I always heard my parents playing music that was released back in the ’70s and ’80s. They listened to guys like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and other RnB, soulful artists. When I began playing in the church band, I listened to a lot of gospel, alternative rock, and jazz.
4 — How did you continue to progress your talent as you grew older?
Practice makes perfect.
5 — When did you decide that you were going to pursue a career in music?
After I started making my first beats, I knew music was what I was made for.
6 — Tell us about your first ever gig?
My first party was at a lounge/restaurant type of venue. Of course, because it was my first gig, I invited the whole entire world and made it a huge deal!
7 — Who were your musical role models growing up?
When I first got into the music scene, I started producing hip hop and RnB music. I wasn’t a DJ at the time, so my influences came from producers like JUSTICE League, Alicia Keys, Scott Storch, and Swiss Beatz.
8 — How has your life experiences impacted your music?
Life is a marathon. The bumps in the road are all a part of the path you need to take to win.
9 — What goals have you achieved so far?
The goal is always to be the best I can be at what I do. Thus far, the biggest accomplishment I’ve had was charting #1 on Billboard’s Best Dance Song list with a remix that I produced with Crystal Waters and Sted-E & Hybrid Heights.
10 — What piece of advice you would tell your younger self when you were first embarking on music?
Don’t stress about where you currently are. Continue to strive because your later self will be grateful you did what you did.
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CDJ Discusses Music Career And His Newest Song “Mama” In Interview
With a career that’s spanned the best part of a decade, CDJ aka “The Godfather” is widely recognized for his smooth swag, making full use of his storytelling abilities. In this new interview, he talks about his career and the new single, “Mama”. Recently, he’s focused to put social consciousness at the forefront through music. Learn more below.
1 – Were you always a natural singer or did you get trained?
I’ve always loved performing in front of a crowd from a very young age. Back then I enjoyed imitating different rappers and singers that were quite trendy, you know the likes of Prince, KRS, etc. It’s something that came naturally to me, however when I decided to become a full-time artist I took some coaching to polish my skills because I felt that there were some aspects that were still raw.
2 – Why people call you “The Godfather”?
The moniker was given to me by one of my fellow musicians after a gig. He’s like, “why do you always act like you’re the godfather”. I think he meant my mannerism and how I deal with my band members. Whether it’s true or not I can’t say, but nevertheless, the name has stuck.
3 – As an artist, have you achieved financial security in the music industry?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to achieve financial security. There was a time when I was pretty close to reaching that goal, but at the moment with this pandemic, it is almost impossible for artists to have some kind of economic stability. I hope things get better soon as we are all finding it difficult to make ends meet.
4 – What is the most rewarding thing about your career?
Working with people from different walks of life, especially the creative exchange with people of different backgrounds. You never stop learning from others, it’s about feelings and emotions put in the right perspective, plus having the chance to send a positive message and to accept all living entities on this planet with all the different value systems at hand. I get a chance to raise my voice against injustice, discrimination, and all those stifling isms, last but not least, the overwhelming love and support from my fans.
5 – Who inspired you to become CDJ?
Revolutionary individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Bob Marley, or Allende were inspiring. Critical minds that stood and made themselves count in a society full of inequity. Musically, a childhood friend who could play different instruments with ease – I looked up to him. My parents were not in the entertainment business, nevertheless, they inspired me subconsciously by introducing me to great music of the flower power generation; jazz of the highest quality; sweet soul, and David Bowie.
6 – Is your music influenced by contemporary trends or is it something else?
My music is shaped by modern trends in the music scene and our society in general. It is also influenced by modern trends in electronic, hip-hop, and house, at the same time the mind-set of the musicians in the ’60s has left a mark. Sometimes, I feel I’m guided by some abstract fountain of energy.
7 – What keeps you motivated when it comes to writing lyrics?
Lyrics are something like my mouthpiece, they give me a chance to reach an incredible number of people. My environment, my surrounding, and the people I interact with on a day-to-day basis also fire me up. Fact of the matter is that as an artist you have lyrics on your mind 24/7, it comes naturally without giving it much thought. I simply observe what’s happening around me, this kick starts a process of lyrical exploration.
8 – Why people must listen to your new single, “Mama”?
To reflect on the present situation in the world, this is something we just forgot to do too often. It’s about the changes we are going through and how we interact with ourselves and nature.
“Mama” talks about the need to respect our ecosystem, in other words, all that has been presented to us by the universe. The slow destruction of our planet is at the heart of the song and the dawn of the era of the Anthropocene.
9 – Who is this song dedicated to?
It is dedicated to “Mama,” meaning Mother Nature, which is actually where it all starts. If you like, some kind of a reminder that we have been given all we need, but we still haven’t learned how to allocate our resources, instead we have created an imbalance on the planet. “Mama” is also about the mothers of the world including mine, those who give life and illuminate the world.
10 – What’s next for CDJ in the next months?
We have an album in the pipeline with the working title ‘The Source’, so we need to put the final touches on that. I’ll release a track or two on my various platforms to keep my fans engaged.
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Exclusive Interview: Maybon On His New Track “Joyride” And Music Production
I had the pleasure to interview Norwegian electronic artist and producer Maybon about his radio-friendly Dance-Pop number “Joyride,” which is a collaborative effort with Rainage and Skylike. This new track provides a surging dose of ear-worm inducing, feel-good vibes in mere seconds. In addition, he opens up about his music production preferences and more. Continue reading below.
1 – When you started producing music?
I was so young the first time I played around with production. I think the very first time I opened some music production software, I was maybe around 10 years old. I didn’t understand much, but I managed to create some simple melodies. It was not until later when I was 14-15 years old, that I started more seriously with music production.
2 – What different emotions evoke your new single “Joyride”?
“Joyride” is a song that gives me a feeling of happiness and it takes me back to good memories during the summer. This is really nice as we enter these darker and colder times here in Norway.
3 – What did you learn from this collaboration with Rainage and Skylike?
I learned a lot about their workflow, as well as the techniques they use when they’re working. Like how to create different patterns and rhythms on the guitar, from the initial chord progression.
4 – Is there a message behind the lyrics of “Joyride”?
The message in the lyrics is to think back to better days when you are feeling down.
5 – Where was this new song recorded?
The song was written at our school (Limpi) in Lillehammer and was later recorded properly at Need Music in Oslo.
6 – Do you have any favorite set of equipment, tools or software in the studio?
This switches once in a while, but right now I’m really enjoying Roli’s Seaboard. This is a keyboard that is unlike no other, and you can get unique music progressions right away. It works flawlessly with Logic Pro X, and other plugins like Pigments, Equator, and more. Also, I have my trustworthy Roland JU-06, to give me those smooth and warm synth patches.
7 – What’s the process you go through finding the perfect sound?
For me, it’s always a lot of tweaking, but I also believe that if you end up tweaking for too long, the foundation is not good enough. So to me, it’s about knowing when to change the melody or idea, and when to settle with the sound that you have made.
8 – What’s an unexpected collaboration you dream of? Why?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Calvin Harris lately, and seeing the way he manages to switch between styles and still making bangers is really inspiring to me. A session with him would be CRAZY!
9 – How do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
During the next 10 years, I hope to see myself as a well-established producer with a nice studio, and a vast range of songwriters to work with.
10 – What makes you want to keep producing music?
The endless inspiration from the endless opportunities! A lot of songs look alike these days, but you can really dig deep and create something new by experimenting without boundaries.
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