Fia Nyxx – Don’t Shame Me [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

I would describe my sound as soulful, sultry and empowering

Tell us a few things about your new song “Don’t Shame Me”. What is the main idea behind it?

“Don’t Shame Me” is a pop-inspired, rhythm and blues anthem, declaring my power and asserting my strength as a woman and an artist. This song goes out to every woman (and man) whose ever been taken for granted, been made to feel inferior, or had their confidence shattered. “Don’t Shame Me” rebels in the face of anyone that’s made you feel like you’re not good enough. It’s time to stand up for ourselves; take that power stance!

For which lyric you are most proud of?

SamJGarfield and I had a blast working (and re-working) these assertive lyrics around intricate beats to evoke impacting reactions and really bring out a character that’s unapologetic and self-empowering. It’s so important to be your own hype man. We wanted to tell a story, keeping it real, a little campy, and most of all relatable. I am proud of the lyrics overall for their honesty and for their dynamic delivery, which, I believe, is what makes them so effective.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

I have always been inspired by powerful female vocals, innovative artists with an element of risk, and raw, gritty music from the motown era. One of my favorite artists, and a huge inspiration for this song, is Christina Aguilera. She’s a powerhouse and a fearless leader, with vocals and performance qualities that are untouchable. She’s played a big part in the artist I strive to be.

What would you change in the music industry?

I wish the music industry was less based on social media followers and engagement, and more based on talent and innovation. Social media is so ill-reflective of what’s really going on. It doesn’t show the moments of doubt, insecurity or countless rejections that even the most successful artists experience, therefore painting an unreal picture of what it’s really like to come up in this industry. Social media can be so taxing, harmful and exhausting, but it’s a game you have to play to get your music out there. I’ve always been an artist that prides myself on keeping it real with my fans

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

The best advice I’ve ever been given is to find happiness wherever you are in your life at that current moment. Recognize that you’re exactly where you are meant to be and embrace any aspect of that reality that makes you happy. Lately, I’ve realized I spend a lot of time thinking ahead… constantly working to reach that next level, achieve that next big step in my career, or in life in general.. And I forget to embrace the moment. Our lives are just a collection of moments and memories, and I choose to make as many of them as I can enjoyable!

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

Any time I got in trouble it was usually involving cute boys. I remember in high school, the guy I was super into was known for being the ‘bad boy’ and was always finding his way into trouble. My parents, and most of the parents for that matter, knew he had a reputation and tried to forbid me from seeing him. (I hope he’s not reading this ha). One night I decided to sneak out and see him and just as it always did when he was around, trouble found us. To make a long story short, we ended up getting pulled over by a fake cop and held at gunpoint, when thankfully this maniac decided to let us go and get back in the car. We immediately drove off and called the real cops to report what had happened. Thankfully we were fine, and I snuck back into my house unnoticed. However, the next morning my parents saw everything on the news. I think I was grounded for about 6 months after that! Ha.

Thank you!

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CITIZEN:KANE – Smog EP [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Schizophrenic, moody, quaint.

Tell us a few things about your new work “Smog EP”

Before I started creating the tracks, I decided that I wanted to make a “dub influenced EP”. And to be honest, most of the time that methodology doesn’t work: I say to myself “ok I want to do this kind of track” but at the end the final result does not match with what I wanted to do. So, this time the plan was accomplished 🙂

Which song of the EP reflects you the most?

All of them together. The dub influences are in all of the tracks and in some of them are more obvious. But there are different moods and that’s where I like to be: swinging from one mood to another is what reflects me the most.

Who is your favourite beat maker and which rapper’s flow do you enjoy the most?

It is difficult for me to highlight one single beat maker, but what I can say is that I like the work of people like Emilio Portal, Stanislav Tolkachev, Mr. Scruff (early work), Amon Tobin, Terrence Dixon, Donatto Dozzy and so many others. And I love Roots Manuva’s flow.

What would be your dream performance venue?

I would say Berghain (Berlin).

Which book should we read while listening to your music?

Patrick Süskind’s “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

The idea of having kids brought some troubles dealing with it (but after having them it was no trouble at all).

Thank you!

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Kutiman – Guruji [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Deep warm groove
Sounds kitschy but that’s the first 3 words that came into my mind

Your music blends many different genres and has an experimental tone. Should music as a form of art always challenge the listener?

Not at all. I think music has many different roles to play in our life and everyone can choose to listen to whatever music they like. Sometimes I like to listen to music that challenges me and sometimes I like cachey songs that just makes me feel good. I’m not trying to challenge my audience I think I’m trying to chalange myself.

What first got you into music?

I was 6 years old and I heard my neighbor playing the piano.. I just fell in love with it and started taking piano lessons.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

So many and I’m really bad at remembering them when I need to.. I’ll try to name some of them..

Alice and John Coltrane, Jimmy Smith, Terry Reilly,
Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Bill Withers, Nikhil Banerjee Lakshmi Shankar, David Axelrod, King Tubby and many more…

What would be your dream performance venue?

It would be outdoors surrounded by nature..

Which book should we read while listening to your music?

Well unfortunately I’m having problems concentrating while reading so i don’t read books

One last thing we should know about you?

I just moved my apartment and studio back from the isolated desert to the city after almost 10 years..wish me luck:)

Thank you!

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Stuart Brignell – Speedin (I Need U) [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Musical. Emotive, Slappy

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the main idea behind it?

The idea behind “Speedin” started with my manager pushing me to create a drill inspired beat using the west African Kora instrument. The beat turned out good so we found some dope artists to feature on it. They all ended up writing about the same topic and the story flowed consistently throughout all their different verses. The funny thing is that they never collaborated on the plot of the song prior to recording, it just happened that way by chance! The song sort of wrote itself.

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

I didn’t write the lyrics but to me when Darlinao says “thicker then cream liquor” yea I felt that haha.

Who is your favourite beat maker and which rapper’s flow do you enjoy the most?

J Dilla for sure. The man was a master. So much inspiration from his music and life. For flows I think it’s either Black Thought or Kendrick for me. It’s a tough call though!

What does hip hop symbolize in your opinion?

To me Hip Hop can symbolize many things, but most strongly its the overcoming and perseverance through extraordinarily difficult circumstances and still retaining your essence and spirit through these adversities.

When not writing music, how do you spend your time?

When not working on music I love checking out other bands/ artists around Toronto, cooking or spending time in nature.

Future plans?

Future plans are a new single on the way in the fall, and an instrumental mixtape before the year is out, and a possible tour of the Dominican Republic in November

Thank you!

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2AM Ricky – Whatchu On (Ft. CeCe Peniston) [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

I would describe my sound as refreshing, soulful, and euphoric, bringing listens back to the 90s style vibe.

Tell us a few things about your new song “Whatchu On”. What is the main idea behind it?

“Whatchu On” is my single off of my upcoming album “Carolina Boy”. It features the legendary voice of CeCe Peniston and is a song of self-motivation and empowerment that also meshes LGBTQ/Ballroom culture and hip-hop.

What is the story behind your name?

The name 2AM Ricky has multiple meanings. For one, I am a transgender male, and earlier in my transition, I wanted to ensure that listeners focused more on my music than my gender, so I chose a name that was very neutral. 2am, (or late at night), also is a time and space where creativity flows, reality turns into late night thoughts, and fears get lost into dreams; its a place of vulnerability, and I allow listeners to join me in that space and lose ourselves in the music together.

Do you think there is a true underground hip hop sound today?

I think that hip-hop culture in general has become so evolved that there is no true “underground hip-hop sound” anymore. Artists are more diverse and it’s no longer just boom bap and trap.

What does hip hop symbolize in your opinion?

Hip-Hop to me symbolizes unity and power through freedom of expression. It’s a wave of Black pride that shifts the American and World culture on a daily. From vernacular, to fashion, hip-hop runs the world and through our music, we’re able to not only express ourselves but empower generations.

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

Honestly, listeners are able to enjoy my music in any state of mind but specifically, those who may be smokers, enjoy night rides, or may just need an extra boost in the morning or through a workout each may find something in my discography that caters to them.

What would you say is your biggest vice?

My biggest vice is constantly feeling like I need to prove myself, I’m an overachiever. I’m so accustomed to being viewed as an underdog, especially in hip-hop due to it being a heterosexual male dominated industry. Many judge or discredit me due to my gender identity and that in return makes me want to go 10 times harder. In every success, I’m constantly focusing on what I can do next and sometimes that can be a downfall, because although success comes, sometimes you forget to stop and enjoy smelling the flowers.

Thank you!

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Grim Honey – Catch Me On The Flip Side [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Ethereal, Dreamy, Experimental

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the story behind it?

I wrote this song about the euphoria experienced after a period of depression, aka the flip side. I emulate the hint of sorrows leaving my body in the first bars of the song with a single vocal track. As the harmonies build I allude to the sense of relief that I feel when I have overcome my difficulties. The lyrics “you can catch me on the flip side” is a playful way of saying I’m moving on from what doesn’t serve me and heading to better days.

What is the main topic of your lyrics?

I tend to lean towards writing lyrics that are descriptive and emulate the atmosphere I am trying to portray. I focus on existential themes, dreams, and descriptions of otherworldly places.

What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live?

I enjoy the creative process that comes with writing and the freedom it gives me to create other worlds within the sound and lyrics.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

My biggest challenge has been pushing through periods of creative blocks and finding a way to continue to create even when it feels like writing isn’t flowing as easily as it should.

Favorite music related film?

Walk the Line.

What is the most useless talent you have?

I can stand on my head for a really long time.

Thank you!

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Peter Spacey – Spacey Beats 4 Scratch Vol. 2 [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Spacey, Beats, Donuts

Tell us a few things about your new work Spacey Beats 4 Scratch, Vol. What is the story behind it?

SB4S Vol. 2 is a collection of Spacey beats that are made from my pure love for turntablism, 8-bit synthesis, Hip Hop, Electronics, Groove & Space.
After using the turntable as a musical instrument and production tool for more than a decade, I decided to produce a collection of Turntablism-oriented beats with a dedication to the creative Djing artists.
My intention was to give those beats a bigger meaning, more than just music on the streaming platforms. I wanted to contribute to the Turntablism and creative Djing worldwide community. I partnered up with ‘Tablet Beats’ app – a tool used by the worldwide Skratch DJs, lyricists & dancer community and released the beats via their app.
I wanted my music to be more than just music to listen to, to be a tool for creatives, to learn their craft, express themselves, interact with my music and create something new.
I also decided to share/submit it to ‘Artlist’ catalog – an original music platform for the use of worldwide filmmakers, video editors, and moviemakers.
The beats obtained huge exposure since I released them, and I received a lot of warm messages from a wide spectrum of creators, from Djs that use them for study purposes or playing in clubs, to filmmakers who use them in Videos, commercials, & films.

Do you like the idea of collaborating? Is songwriting a lonely process?

Collaborating is fun, always refreshing the perspective of the creative process. The end result is always surprising and it helps you break out of your comfort zone.
With that, I never get bored working alone and like spending hours in the studio by myself, making beats, exploring different sounds, blips and blops, synthesizing, producing, and playing around.
I surround myself with fun instruments and toys, they give me inspiration and I feel like I’m collaborating with them :).

Favourite album of the past decade?

Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape) – an audiovisual masterpiece, it’s basically an album but actually so much more, and for me it symbolizes the 21-century albums, an audiovisual / digital experience.
Everything is so fresh, accurate, from the sound design and music tracks to the visual aesthetics, how it all coordinates and correlates in perfect harmony.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

The biggest challenge I have faced as an artist was in May 2018 when I released my first beat tape.
For the album release party I decided to make an audio-visual exhibition based on augmented reality technology / experience.
For the first time in my career, I had to face the physical materialistic world as an artist.
print canvases, cut papers, and do all kinds of things outside of my familiar musical world.
Looking back, I feel that this was the first step out of my comfort zone as a musician and this opportunity raised me up from being only a musician and made me the artist I am today.

If you were asked to rescore a film, which one would you choose?

Hmm, that’s a good one. It will be one of the twos:
Sci-Fi film I’ll do a spacey electronic synth-based soundtrack
or
Rescore one of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, not because I feel that the music is not good or I can do better, I actually think the original scoring is brilliant, fits so well and is irreplaceable, but I feel like composing a soundtrack for Miyazaki’s films is absolute freedom, working with a huge symphonic orchestra, or playing intimate mellow piano parts. It is very much about storytelling, and I love storytelling using music.

Thank you!

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Helen – Sugar Rush [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Soft, versatile, fun

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the story behind it?

‘Sugar Rush’ is a fresh Pop R&B song about having a variety of options available when it comes to romantic relationships. Writing “Sugar Rush” only took about a day and it was the most fun I had writing a song. I then sent a demo version over to the producer I work with, Jamie McArdle, and we worked on it some more and it ended up sounding even better than what I had expected which was really exciting.

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

I wouldn’t consider this song very personal haha but my favorite lyrics are “I’ve got all kinds of flavors, my favorite is the one with no savior”

Your dream collaboration?

I would love to work with Doja Cat or BTS some day!

Is Spotify the music industry’s new Gatekeepers?

I wouldn’t call it gatekeeping but it is very difficult for small artists to grow in the music industry; it would be great if there were more outlets and platforms dedicated to new and independent artists to help them find their listeners.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

I haven’t watched a lot of films to be honest but I watched 13th, which is a documentary on Netflix.

What is the one habit/thing you cannot live without?

Other than music I would say my phone.

Thank you!

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Rya – SECONDS [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

RnB, Electro, Fun

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the main idea behind it?

I started writing the song as we came out of lockdown, and I wanted to write the song to represent how I was feeling. The song is about letting loose, and having so much fun that you don’t spend all your time in your own head, overthinking things.

What first got you into music?

I’ve always been listening to music for as long as I can remember, but I first started playing the guitar when I was 1I used to post my favourite songs on their for hours at a time.

Your dream collaboration?

My dream collaboration would either be Kaytranada or Lophiile, I love collaborating with people who could teach me something, and their some of the best.

How do you relate to the London music scene? And what do you love/hate about Ldn?

The London scene is where I developed my musical tastes, All the music I listened to when I was younger started here. Now I love getting to experience through the live gig scene. The only thing I really hate about London is public transport.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

I didn’t really watch a lot of films during the lockdown but I love Fatherhood starring Kevin Hart.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten

The most I’ve gotten in trouble is probably being yelled at by a teacher, I’m usually pretty well behaved!

Thank you!

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RINZ. – Long Distance [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Groovy, heartfelt, chill.

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the main idea behind it?

The song “Long Distance” is my second release with my homie from Potsdam, Smokey Da Bear. At the time, we had never made music together in the same room. It was always a long-distance collaboration—him in Potsdam and me in Amsterdam. My initial idea for this song was clean and downtempo. Smokey works more with sampling, so, he chopped up the recordings I sent him to give the song a fresh, raw hip-hop feel. I could feel his musical essence and individuality even though we were not in the same studio. This is what inspired the title.

What is the story behind your name?

My artists name is based on my real name ‘Rinze’. It’s a Frisian name and I was named after my grandfather. I removed the letter E because most people I know pronounce my name without the E sound, so it seemed like the right choice.

Who is your favourite beat maker?

Back in the day, I used to listen to a lot of beats from DJ Premier and Marco Polo. Their skill for sampling vinyl records into their drumkits to make new, unique beats really inspired my own creativity. Nowadays, I find myself enjoying Mark Rebillet’s Sunday morning livestreams where he makes impromptu live music. Those sessions are an insight into his creativity, and I find them very motivating when working on making my own beats.

Your music has very cool grooves. Tell us a song with a lofi beat you wish you had composed yourself.

The song ‘Bitter Chocolate’ by the Lofi Artist SamuW. It’s so fire that I wish I had come up with it myself. Also, ‘Haenyeo’ by the same artist has such intricate sonic details that it’s a great joy to listen to.

If you were asked to rescore a film, which one would you choose?

This is a very difficult question. Most of us are very emotionally attached to soundtracks of movies and TV series and they get imprinted in our minds along with the stories. So, it feels odd to change it. Although I wouldn’t want to re-score it, I would love to be part of the team scoring the soundtrack to the series Stranger Things. Their unique blend of synthesizer sounds creating the 80’s nostalgia really complement the story and I’m fascinated by it as a musician.

What is the one habit/thing you cannot live without?

My morning/breakfast routine. Almost every morning I have the same order of things to get my day started. Most people don’t eat a lot during breakfast, but I really take my time to make a big breakfast every morning. This includes bread with eggs, orange juice, some nice filter coffee and an occasional bowl of yoghurt (Yes, I eat a lot for breakfast!).

Thank you!

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