Unique and utterly entertaining, Slow Magic put on a great show this weekend at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. The man behind the colorful mask knew exactly how to excite and entice the crowd with his delicious beats. From songs like “Waited 4 U” to a his mix of Odesza’s “Say My Name”, Slow Magic’s set encapsulated it all. It was a great set coupled by his amazing drumming abilities and some great openers.
“Welcome to our church. Our helmets. Our religion.” Such is the mantra of Montreal natives Patrick Barry, Marc-André Chagnon & Julien Maranda, otherwise known as Black Tiger Sex Machine. Since it’s inception in the summer of 2009, the guys have continued to evolve, transforming from a DJ collective between three friends who shared common musical interests, to the version of BTSM that we all know and love today. Part of that evolution has been translating their idea of culture to their live performances.
Comprised of high school buddies AP Adair and Luke Sims, Bass Physics have been making a name for themselves with their combination of skilled production and live instrumentation since their formation in April 2012. They're both Colorado guys, having met while attending Cherry Creek High School, and are huge proponents of the culture that we all know and love here. They've toured across the country, and maintain that Colorado is the place where people seem to be the friendliest. Whether it's the combo of the music scene, mountains, or other unique activities offered in the cities themselves, people here are simply happier than in other places. We greet strangers with a smile. We're prideful and passionate about our home state and want to exude that as much as possible at every opportunity. AP and Luke recognize this, and their aim with Bass Physics is to harness that positivity and those good vibes and do their part to make sure that they spread. And their music is the best way that they know how to accomplish that.
Operating out of Boulder by way of London, jackLNDN is another one of the artists on the Decadence lineup to whom it would be a disservice to simply call a producer. He’s classically trained on the piano, he can play the harp, and he is also a trained vocalist. He write songs that aren’t dance tracks. He also produces hip hop, having done some work on Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco’s previous album. So why produce dance tracks when you have al of these other talents at your disposal? Well, one day after his 18th birthday he flew with some friends to Ibiza with the goal of taking in a set from Carl Cox at Space Nightclub. As it happened, Carl was sick. So they replaced him with none other than Fatboy Slim. Not bad for your first clubbing experience ever. After that, jack knew that he wanted to be a part of that scene going forward.
Culture is creativity. History. Knowing where you came from. Culture itself is simply a door to the human experience. Each separate culture represents a different doorway through which you are able to shape who you are as a person. Such is culture as defined by Michael Abadie, who began performing under the Son of Kick moniker in London back in 2008.
Growing up being trained in multiple instruments in addition to as a vocalist, Michael formed his Son of Kick project to reflect the variety of music influences that he had around him as a youth. And Son of Kick's music is a blend of just that: hip hop, swing, jazz, metal, electro, trap, dubstep, downtempo, etc. He uses the entire spectrum of sonic energy in order to spread his idea of culture, and this approach also allows him the freedom to express his different moods by melding them all. It's a bit of an ADD-approach to writing music, as Michael freely admits, but it's worked so far so why change anything?
The first thing you should know about this native of Toronto, Ontario is that he isn’t your typical bass music producer. Both in the approach he takes to making his music, and the fact that he is no stranger to Colorado (having just played here a few months back with label mates Black Tiger Sex Machine, and with another date with them coming up here soon). Sure the same can be said about almost anyone in the Decadence lineup, but what distinguishes Dabin is that his incorporation of an electric guitar into his mix is more of an homage to his roots than it is a way to stand out, although he easily accomplishes that as well.
The weekend of January 22nd saw Mile High Station play host to the 10th annual Denver Winter Brewfest (with this edition being the 8th one in a row hosted by this particular bar). For 2016, the venue played host to over 75 sponsors providing everything from delicious craft beer as well as a bevy of food options (including artisan cheeses provided by Fort Collins' own MouCo Cheese Company). Lastly, as always there was live music in the back tent, and this year the band turned out to a pleasant surprise: a competent cover band playing everything from the likes of skate punk demi-gods Rancid to late 90s bubblegum sensations the Spice Girls. It really lended a lot to the party atmosphere of the event, putting everyone within earshot at ease and in an almost instantly better mood.
First thing's first however, let's talk a little bit about the most unique aspect of this event, which was the beer and cheese pairing provided by the team of Fort Collins' MouCo Cheese Company and Greeley's Weldwerks Brewing (pictured above). Offering all five of their signature soft cheeses, with flavors ranging from mild (Camembert) to robust (Pepbert), the cheeses were then paired with a beer sample designed to have the flavors accentuate each other accordingly. It was an interesting wrinkle added to the experience from previous years, and we really hope that it continues to have a presence at their future events. In terms of all things barley cola however, we figured we'd break down the experience in a couple of different ways: for best beer, and then best vendor - in our humble opinions of course. To be honest this was a tougher call to make than we had originally thought, just due to the sheer number of quality beers (and people pouring them) that we encountered throughout the night.
We’re pretty sure you’ve heard us talk about Illenium for quite some time, but what we’re about to share is something we’ve never had the privilege of saying before. And truthfully the thought never even crossed our minds. There are moments in our lives that define us and we try to talk about them all of the time here at Colorado Culture. When we go back through the rolodex of memories in our lives, these are the moments that stand out over and above all else. We’re fortunate enough to have these moments quite often in the line of work that we do, and we’re constantly adding to that rolodex.
This week, in preparation for this Saturday's Larimer Block Party, we sat down to chop it up with Colorado's own Catch Lungs, aka John Morse. This dude has been making waves in the Denver hip hop scene, and it's easy to see why; the guy has had hip hop on the brain since a very early age. We also touched on some of his experiences collaborating with other artists (some of Detroit's finest), and his goals for this weekend and beyond. Check it, Cultureheads.
Colorado Culture: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not making music?
Catch Lungs: Getting money. You know, music is a hard world to crack with actually getting money as an artist, but I like to invest in creating things for my future, so I give a lot of free downloads….basically encourage people to steal my music.
CC: Does that help with your promo?
CL: It does, but I've also been fortunate to make some good money by doing shows too.
CC: What hip hop albums did you listen to growing up?
CL: Well, I was born in '89, and I'm 26 now….I was probably about four or five years old listening toThe Chronic and Nas' Illmatic, and I used to be able to (still can now) recite "Dre Day" and "Nothin But a 'G' Thang". So Dre was really my first hip hop. The first CD I actually bought then was Skee-Low, and then the "Space Jam" soundtrack. You like "Space Jam"?
CC: Yup. That whole soundtrack was dope. How has the culture in Colorado influenced your music?
CL: Weed, weed, weed, weed, weed. Hahaha.
CC: A lot of that 420-related stuff?
CL: Haha nah. I rap about a lot of stuff; really whatever I'm feeling at the moment. But Colorado's culture is dope: I've lived in places like L.A. and Atlanta before, and I love those places in their own way and for their own personality, but the vibes here and the people are just different than in big cities. I choose to be here because I love it.
CL: It could just be the people that I know here, but I feel like there is a lot more genuine people who follow through with stuff.
CC: Any big collaborations coming up?
CL: Just shows mostly. I'm definitely looking at a few different people to potentially work with in the future, but I'm mainly focused on myself and making myself the main thing. I've definitely been hit up to do some features with some good people, but we'll see.
CC: Got any features out right now?
CL: I have a feature out with Danny Brown that's pretty cool, did one with Elzhi from Slum Village -he's one of my favorite rappers of all time-, Guilty Simpson from Detroit, went on tour with One.Be.Lo and Binary Star. So kind of doing more underground stuff, and evolving into a new artist. And that all comes from the same place: I'm trying to push myself to explore and become the artist that I want to be.
Colorado Culture: How would you describe your style of music and how has it progressed since the first time you played at Fox a mere year ago?
Brendan Bell: I would describe it as down tempo chill stuff, while incorporating heavier melodic stuff for people to get down with.
It progressed alot actually in the last year. I used to be into heavier dubstep and neuro. I found it to be more technical than musical and I wanted to be able to infuse more emotion into my style
CC: Where is the inspiration from the emotion behind your sound bred from?
BB: A lot of things. Walking down the street, I will hear a natural rhythm and head back to the studio and recreate it. I also get inspiration from looking at art and other artists killing it right now.
So a few weeks ago in our roundup of Decadence 2015, one of the things that we chose to highlight about the experience was their inclusion of a silent disco floor. It’s such a unique feature to have in a festival setting in the way that it gives participants the opportunity to choose their own soundtrack, and the silent disco at Decadence this past year was no exception in that regard. On both successive nights, the setup featured three producers laying down sets on their own respective channels; and the provided headphones lit up in a different color depending on which station each partier selected. On the 31st however, we noticed that the majority of the floor had the same color on all of their headphones, pretty much for the duration of one specific set time. And as people would leave the silent disco and new party goers filtered in, their headphones would inevitably light up with the same color as the people that they just replaced. For those in attendance, the reason for this was obvious, but for those who missed it, we’ll lay it out for you: the reason for this phenomenon is because Denver-based producer Aviva was bringing the HEAT on that particular station. Check out these rage faces directly below for confirmation.
March 17th is going to be a special day, Cultureheads. Not only is it Saint Patrick’s Day, one of the best partying days of the entire calendar year, but it is also the day that the good homie Turner Jackson and his Souls in Action Entertainment crew will be hosting a party of their own at the Bluebird Theater to celebrate the long awaited release of his album Red Plastic Cup. And if you don’t already know Turner, who’s been a staple in the Denver music scene for quite some time now….well you’re about to get to know him real well. I had my first experience seeing Turner perform on the Meadowlark Patio during the annual Larimer Block Party last September, and then again the following month on the stage of the 1UP Colfax (RIP), and personally can’t wait to see what he has in store for the Bluebird here this month.
Born in Denver as Warner Isaac Jackson - his Mom calls him Isaac, his friends call him Turner or Teej, and if you call him Warner he probably doesn’t know you - his family moved from Denver to Brooklyn, NY when he was around 3 months old. After bouncing around the Five Boroughs (also making a stop in Delaware) until he was 14, they made the move back to Colorado (as so many do) coinciding with Turner’s high school career/formative years. Now here is where his story differs from the normal “I grew up around music,” “my parents were musicians,” sentiment: while spending time on the East Coast in the '90s allowed him to be immersed in that “Golden Age” of hip hop, that exposure isn’t really where Turner draws inspiration from, or what fuels his drive. His inspiration is the performance itself, rather than the music, mainly due to the culture that existed within his household as he grew up.
As we approach the new year, the tendency is for people to reflect. Not only on the previous year that has passed, but on their life up to this point. It’s a natural thing to do for all of us that are constantly searching for a little perspective. But we’d like you to consider something for a minute the next time that you find yourself awash in such a reverie: where were you at 20 years old? For the younger people that’s probably easy: you’re either there now or you aren’t quite yet. That’s fine, more power to you. You’re the future, so embrace it. But for us old heads, it becomes a bit more complicated, and requires a bit more hard of a look.
Seriously...where were you and what were you doing when you were 20? Were you creating an innovative blend of rock and roll/bass music? Had you gained a sizeable local following that enabled you to perform your art for the masses, causing that local following to increase exponentially in size and scope, far surpassing just local? Were you taking that music out on tour with internationally known artists, or displaying it at arguably the most famous music venue in the world? Odds are, you weren’t. Which isn’t intended as a slight. Everybody has their own qualities that make them special. We thought we were pretty damn cool at age 20, and although we have yet to collectively accomplish any of the aforementioned feats, we still like to think that we've retained at least SOME of those aforementioned qualities… just without the same level of accomplishment and notoriety. Odds are that you’re in the same boat as me. People like you, it’s just that your name doesn’t resonate that much. Well, we’d like you to meet someone who’s name does: Donnie “Decadon” Miller, aka the most uncommon common 20-year old you’ll most likely ever meet.
One thing that we've noticed as we continue to further immerse ourselves in the local Colorado music scene is the seemingly unceasing amount of talent that exists around here. So much so that to outsiders it might seem like Denver is a much bigger city than it actually is (we're growing, but unless you're on the road during a time of peak traffic activity, you can still get across town in twenty minutes). And what's interesting about this phenomenon is that it isn't necessarily due to an overwhelming number of new and up and coming music artists, rather it's due to the fact that everyone you meet is supremely talented. Everyone. No matter the type of music that any artists we have had the privilege of meeting with make, they all bring their own style and innovative sound to the table.
With a diverse amount of talent all across Colorado on so many different levels, we’ve been fortunate enough to meet some amazing souls over time. Each and every one of them is special and gifted in their own right, and as our journey has continued... so has theirs. It almost seems as if sometimes, in a way, things start to blend together. Especially when it comes to music. The nature of the music industry is such that people and things have a way of becoming numbers rather than individuals. This is because everything involved seems to be numbers related. Songs are often listed by track number, we see artists on stages, watch YouTube videos, listen to Soundcloud links, and begin to view things and people through a specific lens without meaning to. This light almost unknowingly gets cast upon them as they rise from their garages, bedrooms, backyards, basements, open mics, bands, etc. With so much lost in translation these days it’s easy to forget that every number has a name and every name has a story. As a company, one of our biggest honors and privileges is to share and tell these stories, because at the end of the day you can’t do life alone, and we learn that more and more every day on this journey.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the honor of sitting down with Colorado based singer/songwriter Povi and Lulu Clair(owner of Souls in Action Entertainment). In the weeks since that meeting, we’ve wrote and re-wrote this piece at least 10 times, and each time we wrote it the end result just didn’t say the right thing. How could it? We talked about so much with two of the most intelligent and cultured individuals that we’ve ever had the privilege of sitting down with. We covered almost every topic imaginable from the state of the current music scene in CO, where it’s come from to where it’s going, the music we all grew up on, our hopes, dreams, and plans for the future, and just swapping stories about life in general. But the one thing we kept coming back to in our conversation, intentional or not, was the story of our past, and stories about theirs. There was a consistency between the two narratives whose presence really ended up driving the discussion. This consistency was the age old concept that life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Life is all about building relationships. It is that human interaction and those relationships which both drive us to be better people, and also allow us to be. And it was in that moment that we realized, we just met someone who will forever impact the future of our business. The future of our lives, and the future of many others. It’s a feeling that is almost tangible, and it’s one that left us feeling more inspired, optimistic, and driven than we’ve ever been before. We left with a feeling of unity, understanding, and mutual respect. And the singular mission that was born from this unity was this, something that we could feel in the air: we’ve all got soul to spare.
Last time we sat down with Boulder, CO based Ehren River Wright better known as SoDown the futurefunk master, he had a big show on the horizon with Late Night Radio at the Fox Theatre. In the 2 months since, he’s played a handful of epic shows with some of the best artists out there including Chali 2na, The Funkhunters, Mikey Thunder, Krooked Drivers, Exmag, and The Floozies. That’s a busy couple of months for a guy who has also been working countless hours to release his brand new EP Bounce Town.
Although we didn’t go into details at the time, he had briefly hinted at the upcoming release of a new EP, so when we got the offer to review Bounce Town we jumped at the chance. We knew he had been grinding hard with Westwood Recordings to get this EP perfected, mastered, and released and needless to say he delivered as it left us addicted and wanting more. Feel free to read our full review below but we highly suggest you go listen for yourself right now. We firmly believe SoDown is on the verge of even bigger things with his unique blend of smooth and sexy saxophone over synth filled bassdrops of joy.
New music alert, Cultureheads! In keeping with our budding tradition of being your own personal musical head-stash, this week's dosage of flavor for your ears is brought to you by Colorado's own SoDown: . Peep the Soundcloud link below and get familiar, he opened for Late Night Radio last Saturday at the Fox Theater in Boulder, and he brought both his normal set up, and also his saxophone with him - you can also check the video at the bottom of the page to see exactly what we mean.
Over the last few years we've been fortunate enough to sit down with some of the best artists in and around Colorado. But this one was personal for us as Lily Fangz represents some of the best that Colorado has to offer and she's one of our favorite artists and top picks for next to blow. She has an unprecedented talent and passion for her music and culture. She recently gave her first Tedx talk and if you watch it's clear the future looks bright for this young star in the making. Check out our quick little Q & A and find out more.
The biggest reason that we all love music is because we want something out of it. This fact is undisputable. It provides solace, escape, insight, reference, pretty much every feeling from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. And the same can be said for the artists who make these tunes: the music is not only their personal expression of all the aforementioned emotions, but they also hope to inspire them in their listeners as well. In this regard, Trevor Christensen, aka Said The Sky, is no different from any of us. He just makes the music that we all draw those vibes from.
Ever since I had my first experience with Illenium’s brand of melodic dubstep a little less than a year ago: when I decided to get my ass off of my couch on a random Wednesday and meet up with some fellow Colorado Culture crew members to catch his set at Beta, his music has had a profound effect on the way that I view bass music overall. He managed - and continues - to captivate me in a way that not many other producers had been able to do up to that point, or since. And with the release of his first full length album Ashes, Illenium (aka Nick Miller) has only furthered his influence on my view.
Characterized by rolling melodies, as well as harmonious vocals and hooks which ride on a bass line that remains consistent on a track by track basis, Ashes also manages to establish a connection with the listener that is much more palpable than comparable releases within the melodic bass music genre. Maybe it’s the presence of a vocalist on every track (minus the two bonus tracks which are available via the iTunes download), maybe it’s the content of the lyrics themselves, or maybe it’s the soaring nature of Nick’s melodies that bring about such a viscerally emotional reaction….I can’t quite seem put my finger on which facet of the music inspires it. But it’s there. And what I DO know is that what Nick has created with Ashes is something that has established a benchmark for any other producers looking to cultivate a similar sound.